Monday, September 26, 2011

See the Northern Lights at Their Brightest in 50 Years

September 2011 – A surge of solar flares has NASA predicting the Northern Lights activity to be stronger than any time in the past 50 years – making this winter the perfect time to sail aboard the “world’s most beautiful voyage” -- Hurtigruten’s classic cruise along Norway’s 1,250-mile west coast. Hurtigruten’s modern fleet wends its way between the cultural center of Bergen and Kirkenes, high above the Arctic Circle, on six to 12-day itineraries that visit 34 unique ports illustrating the charm of winter in Norway, from the snow-capped wooden buildings in Trondheim’s harbor to the artfully constructed Kirkenes Snow Hotel. According to scientists, the increased Northern Lights activity is caused by the Solar Maximum – a period when the sun’s magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. This collision with the Earth’s air molecules causes energy in the form of lights to be emitted.

In addition to experiencing the elusive aurora borealis as few can – along the coast, where the lights are the strongest – passengers are privy to a host of onboard activities, educational lectures about the Northern Lights and local history, and optional excursions that delve deeper into the areas visited. Fares between November 1 and March 14, the ideal time to see the Northern Lights, range from to $2,698 to $7,569 per person, double. Members of the 1893 Ambassador Club, a loyalty club for those who have sailed on Hurtigruten in the past three years, receive 10% off of the voyage as well as a range of complimentary onboard benefits.

A comprehensive range of optional excursions brings to life the diverse ports visited, from Art Nouveau Alesund and the small fishing villages in the rugged Lofoten Islands to the medieval Viking capital of Trondheim and Norway's "Paris of the North," Tromsø. Guests can experience an adrenaline-fueled husky ride that takes them through a frozen landscape of ocean, mountains and open plateaus on the “Dog Sledding” expedition in Tromsø; watch as a guide plunges through the ice to catch and then cooks giant king crabs on the “King Crab Safari” in Kirkenes; or be immersed in ancient Viking culture with the “Lofotr Viking Feast,” which includes a visit to the Viking museum and a real Viking feast, complete with home-brewed mead. Guests are encouraged to book optional excursions prior to departure, when available, as limited space is offered on board.

Rates are subject to availability and include accommodation in cabin or suite of your choice, full board, educational lectures and all aspects of the onboard program; flights, transfers, optional excursions and cruise fuel surcharge are additional.

Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition cruising, sailing to the most remote of destinations including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen as well as year round along Norway's coast and Europe in the spring and fall. The company’s fleet of 12 intimate ships, with 151 to 646 berths, allows passengers to enjoy unique destinations in a relaxed atmosphere.


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