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If you’re like me, seeing the Aurora Borealis aka The Northern Lights have been on your bucket list for many years. We have looked at many options to fly north in the middle of winter, but it always seemed like a lot of work and very little comfort to sit in a snow drift in the middle of nowhere.
Then my wife spotted the Princess Cruise “In Search of the Northern Lights”. This cruise only sails once a year in October, right before the ships reposition from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
In 2019 we booked the cruise for October 2020, Covid-19 cancelled the cruise of course. Booked again for October 2021, I was on the phone making the final payment and it got cancelled. We booked again for 2022 doubting that it would happen, but before we knew it we were on the plane to London.
The 14 night cruise departs Southampton and heads north into the Artic Circle, stopping at ports in Norway.
A huge storm blew into the North Sea as we headed north, cancelling the first port, so the captain put the pedal down and 4 days later we were at the top of world.
This was our main attraction to taking a cruise ship to see the Northern Lights. Who cares what the weather is, or if you can’t go outside, because you have all the comforts and entertainment of the ship during the day.
The clouds remained unfortunately, but on day 4, our first day inside the arctic circle, a small break in the clouds gave us our first glimpse of nature’s wonder in action.
For each of the next 5 days, we explored small Norwegian Ports, ate fantastic meals, enjoyed a variety of entertainment, then around 10:30 or 11:00 we would bundle up and head to the top deck at the front of the ship. The captain would turn off all the lights at the front of the ship and we would gather and wait for the show. We were not disappointed.
Other times I would just wake up in the middle of the night and step out on the balcony and be rewarded with a view.
We are not professional photographers; these pictures were taken with our smart phones who seemed to know just how to catch these photos.
There were excursions offered to take you ashore at midnight, get on a bus to get further inland and away from ‘city’ lights. Those who took those came back with even better photos so next time we may give one of those a try.
Some passengers wanted to turn in early and have the crew wake them with an announcement when the Northern lights came out. That sounds like a perfectly valid request. But for reasons I cannot imagine, other guests complained about the announcements in the middle of their beauty sleep, so the announcements stopped. I cannot understand what those people were thinking, did they not realize the whole purpose of this cruise was to check something off their bucket list? I hope they enjoyed their sleep and getting to see other passengers pictures gave them the vacation they wanted.
If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list, or you just want to see them again, we would definitely recommend trying it on a cruise. – Mike West
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