Hunting the Light – a ‘different kind of cruise’

Gayle Austin-Hogg – 01-05-2013 - Hurtigruten - MS Trollfjord


The Aurora Borealis (or the ‘Northern Lights’) is a spectacular natural phenomenon creating beautiful shades of light, best seen between November and March. In Europe, Tromso, and the coast of Norway is one of the best places to view the Lights and I was lucky enough in March to see them ‘dance’ in the sky for hours. It is something I will never forget.

Our voyage started with a four hour flight to Tromso, where we boarded a Hurtigruten ship on a ‘coastal voyage’ down to Trondheim. The ‘cruise’ was unlike any I have experienced before. The ship, MS Trollfjord, had all the comforts you’d expect of a small vessel (822 passengers) – en-suite cabins; a restaurant; bar area (with evening entertainment); observation lounge; shop; library; gym; sauna and Jacuzzi. But these ships also carry local passengers and freight between the cities, towns and hamlets of Norway, so you get to experience life the ‘Norwegian’ way.

Our visit in Tromso started with dog sledging, followed by Reindeer stew in a traditional ‘Sami Lavvo’ (tent) – which was much needed to warm us up. Travelling South, we joined a tour in Harstad where we experienced more beautiful scenery driving through the Tondenes peninsula (with a stop at the white medieval church and the Historical Centre); across Hinnoya Island and crossing the Gullesfjord by ferry. We rejoined the ship in Sortland. The final day of our voyage was a little more relaxing, enjoying the breathtaking scenery (covered in snow) and the celebrations on deck as we crossed the Arctic Circle (sampling a spoon of Cod Liver Oil). On day four, we disembarked in Trondheim to fly home. Wow – what an experience, oh and did I mention the fabulous Northern Lights appeared on two of the three nights?...

The 12 day Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen is the most popular Hurtigruten voyage for British passengers, where you visit 34 ports. There are also shorter options from 5 days in length with opportunities to spend a night in the Snow Hotel or go King Crab fishing. Prices start from £1,303pp for the 12 day voyage.