Northern Lights cruises

One area where cruises are really beginning to take off is in the number of ships voyaging up to view the stunning natural smorgasbord of the shimmering Northern Lights, and next year is proving particularly popular as NASA predicts 2012 to be the best year to view them. Northern Lights cruises usually run around February and March each year for between twelve and fourteen days.  A cruise can also cut out the need to fly anywhere as you can board and debark in a British port such as Southampton or Dover.

Cruises to this surreal, enchanted hemisphere are offered by companies such as Cruise and Maritime Voyages and Hurtigruten. With a wealth of stunning sightseeing opportunities at almost any time of the voyage, they offer a fantastic, heart stopping alternative to the crowded Canaries ports and the long haul runs to the Caribbean.

The legendary sight of the Aurora Borealis can only be really appreciated from a ship at sea. Shimmering, ethereal walls of green, gold and brilliant white light flit skittishly across an ink black polar night like so many exotic dancers, alternating in strength and shades as they do. Coupled with daylight scenery that displays stark, jagged snow shrouded crags emerging straight from a gun metal sea, it all makes for a magical visual extravaganza perhaps unmatched anywhere else on earth.

Many cruises feature an overnight stay in ports such as Alta or Tromso, giving a welcome opportunity to really experience the raw power of nature north of the Arctic Circle. Up here, the air is crisp and invigorating. Without much in the way of pollution, stars at night assume a clarity and rare beauty seldom viewed anywhere else in any season.

Stunningly different, sailing to these far northern waters on a cruise offers the best of both worlds; exploration and adventure in a safe, comfortable environment that has all the hallmarks of something truly unique.

Robin Maclear is Managing Director at The Cruise Line.

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