Astronomy Voyage

Hunt for the Northern Lights and enjoy a visit to the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø, with our exclusive winter Astronomy voyage. Accompanied by experts in the field of astronomy and experienced in leading expeditions to see the Northern Lights, this popular 12-day cruise will give you a unique insight into the Aurora Borealis – the greatest light show on earth.

Gateway to the Fjords and The Northern Lights

Join us for a special expedition cruise as we hunt for the Northern Lights. Prepare to be amazed at the natural wonders of more than 100 fjords and 1000 mountains that make up the rugged Norwegian coastline. Your adventure begins in the historic city of Bergen. You’ll then meander through breathtakingly beautiful fjords and natural valleys en route to Trondheim and Kristiansund.

  • Discover fjords, mountains, islands and waterfalls that will take your breath away
  • Cross the Arctic Circle and visit the Lofoten Islands
  • Take part in adventurous and exciting land and sea excursions
  • Learn from our experienced Hurtigruten guides and specialist astronomers as they lead lectures and activities both at sea and on shore

Our itinerary will give you a few ideas about what you can expect to see and do on your coastal voyage but bear in mind that this is just an indication of what you can experience.

Day 1: Bergen

And We’re Off!

This amazing voyage starts from the lovely city of Bergen, the cultural gateway to the fjords. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen is steeped in history and still retains a great deal of its charm and character.

Get a unique insight and learn from the best as they share their knowledge of the Arctic sky and the Aurora Borealis.

Day 2: Ålesund

The Fjords Await

Arriving early at Ålesund, you’ll get the opportunity to go ashore and explore this pretty town. Devastated by a fire in 1904, a large part of Ålesund was burnt to the ground. The entire town was rebuilt in the then fashionable art nouveau style.

Then from the deck of the ship, our astronomers will take you through a guided tour of the night sky, bringing the world of stars, planets and meteors to life. Packed with information, the lectures cover:

 

  • An introduction to the Northern Lights
  • An exploration of the solar system (from Mercury to Neptune) and a chance to view the planets up close as seen by space probes
  • Stories of the stars – relive the Greek mythology of the constellations
  • All about Comets – find out about where they come from, what they are mode of and their role in the development of life on earth
  • The splendour of total solar eclipses
  • Our violent sun and space weather

Day 3: Trondheim

The Royal City

As we continue north, we head for the medieval city of Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway. Dating back to the 11th century, the city’s colourful history is reflected in its handsome civic architecture.

If you want to explore the delights of this vibrant city, there are numerous optional excursions for you to take advantage of.

Day 4: Arctic Circle and Lofoten Islands

The Arctic Circle

As we continue north and cross the Arctic Circle, we head towards the Lofoten Islands and their capital Svolvær. Famous for their distinctive dramatic peaks, sheltered bays, untouched beaches and excellent fishing, the snow-capped Lofoten Islands really are truly inviting.

Day 5: Stokmarknes - Tromsø

Expand Your Knowledge

Our fifth day sees us arriving in the Capital of Arctic Norway, Tromsø. Often described as the ‘Paris’ of the north, it really is something out of the ordinary and offers something for everyone.

Included in the voyage is a visit to the Northern Lights Planetarium. Part of the science centre, it is the northernmost planetarium in the world and the largest in Norway. Its spectacular full dome ceiling offers 360-degree views and caters for 100 visitors. Showing daily films on The Aurora and the constellations, it’s one trip not to be missed.

Day 6: Honningsvåg

Two for One: The Northern Lights and the North Cape

The North Cape rises 307 meters above the Arctic Ocean and is one of the northern most points on the European continent. The heartland of the Sámi people and home to millions of birds during the nesting season, it is truly spectacular.

Docking for a full day in Honningsvåg, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore. So why not take a scenic bus ride to the North Cape plateau, where only the Svalbard Archipelago separates you from the North Pole? At only 2000km away from the North Pole, you’d be forgiven for feeling that you’re at the end of the world as you stand on top of the 307m high plateau.

Day 7: Kirkenes

The Russian Border

Kirkenes, located in the extreme north-eastern part of Norway and just a few kilometres from the Russian border is the final stop before the ship turns back for the return journey. The area around Kirkenes was a common Norwegian-Russian district until 1826 when the present border was settled. Although renamed Kirkenes after the Church that was built in 1862, there are still strong bonds and cultural influences from Russia today.

Kirkenes offers a wide range of classic winter activities but your trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to an Arctic Ice Dome. And as you head back on board, remember you’ve only seen half of Norway’s coastline. More delights await as the ship starts its voyage south for the return journey.

Day 8: Hammerfest and Tromsø

The Extreme North

Hammerfest is the first major stop before we continue to Tromsø. Rich in history that goes back about 10,000 years. Due to the warm waters of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, the port of Hammerfest didn’t freeze as most of the other ports in the northern Norwegian coastal towns did. In 1789, it was officially chartered as a town, making it the oldest northernmost town in the world.

Perfect for hiking and fishing, nowadays, Hammerfest is a popular travel destination for nature enthusiasts.

Day 9: Vesterålen and Lofoten Islands

The Kingdom of the Whales

The archipelago of Vesterålen is defined by contrasts. The landscapes span from calm, peaceful beaches and farmlands, to rugged alpine mountains, dramatic fjords and wilderness. There is plenty to explore, but one of the biggest draws has to be the whales. An area rich in nutrition, Vesterålen is a year-round whale destination.

We pass through one of the most beautiful stretches of the Norwegian coast as we negotiate the intricate network of inlets and isles that make up the Lofoten Islands. Swathed across the tempestuous waters of the Norwegian sea far above the Arctic Circle, this exceptional landscape is made up of majestic mountains, fjords, seabird colonies and long sandy beaches.

Day 10: Arctic Circle, Seven Sisters

Land of Legends and Folklore

As we cross the Arctic Circle on our return journey, we enter a world of legend and folklore as we pass the Seven Sisters mountains. 1000 metres above the shoreline, these majestic mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the countless islands and lush landscape.

Day 11: Trondheim, Kristiansund

Old Cities

Our penultimate day takes us once again to Trondheim, before moving on to Kristiansund, a city spread across four islands with a harbour that has been active since the Stone Age! Renowned for its centuries-old export of dried fish, today it is known as Norway’s ‘Cured Cod Capital’.

If you’re looking for something different, why not try an excursion to Bergtatt marble mine. Going inside the mountain, sailing across an illuminated subterranean lake and enjoying a meal in the mine’s ‘Grand Hall’, it’s one adventure you can’t afford to miss.

Day 12: Bergen

We Bid You Farewell

Our final day on the Astronomy Voyage sees us travelling back to Bergen where you will catch your return flight to the UK and, where we will, unfortunately, have to say goodbye.

What’s included

Included in your voyage:

  • 12-day Bergen – Bergen Round Voyage in a cabin grade of your choice
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • English speaking tour leader on board
  • Tour Manager and lectures from a renowned Astronomer
  • Exclusive excursion to the Planetarium, Tromsø

What’s not included in your voyage:

  • Return flights and transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional excursions
  • Luggage handling

Please Note:

NB: All prices shown are based on two people travelling together sharing an inside twin cabin.

Suites are available on request.

Prices may change at any time before departure. The applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking.

Life On Board

The Hurtigruten line was originally launched to transport people and goods along the coast of Norway. It was particularly prevalent in winter when infrastructure was still in its infancy and land travel was generally more difficult. Even though there are now alternative means of transport, the Hurtigruten line still runs, calling at 34 ports along the Norwegian coastline.

They are though, not traditional cruise ships and life on board a Hurtigruten ship is vastly different to what you might expect onboard a traditional cruise liner and offers less in terms of entertainment. However, as a majority of their ships are much smaller than traditional cruise ships (150 – 500 passengers as opposed to 1000s) it means that they can enter the fjords in both winter and summer. And because they stop at so many ports, you will get to see more of the Norwegian coastline as opposed to just the ‘highlights’.

They also don’t fall short when it comes to comfort and amenities. The cabins are all elegantly furnished with a choice of cabin to suit all budgets. One of the most popular ships, the MS Polarlys, was refurbished in 2016. Featuring a modern, Arctic-inspired interior, there are three restaurants offering a range of different cuisine, a Multe bakery and ice cream bar, a sauna and fitness room. On deck you can while the time away and take in the view from one of the two hot tubs, or if you prefer, enjoy a drink at the bar at the front of the ship.

But Hurtigruten really does come into its own with its on-board Expedition team. Passionate and experienced about all things ‘Norwegian’, the team host lectures, presentation programmes and activities on a regular basis.

Features at a glance:

  • Expedition Team
  • Three restaurants
  • Multe bakery and ice cream bar
  • Explorer bar lounge
  • Wi-Fi
  • Sauna
  • Hot tubs
  • Fitness room
  • Conference room
  • Lift
  • Car deck

Can’t see what you are looking for? Don’t worry, in all probability we can still do it.
Call us on 01582 349480.

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About Suitcase Travel

A family run boutique travel agency, we specialise in creating memorable travel experiences. Offering unique adventures, tailored to your specific requirements, we focus solely on you, helping you to understand the experience that your holiday will give you and equipping you with those all-important tips that will help to make your holiday that extra bit special. Oh, and the best part? Our service is free – it literally costs you no more than if you were to book direct. Come and talk to us and we’ll help you to create memories that really will last a lifetime.

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