Viking Ocean = Northern Lights cruise - Norway - Questions

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#1
Turlock, CA
1,135 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
I see that Viking Ocean has a Northern Lights Cruise= Jan, Feb & March. I am looking at 2019. Is there anyone on here with any experience with that area of the world and of those dates What might be the best 'Pick'?? I know the Northern Lights can be hit and miss but looking for advice, What to book sooner rather than later. I have been on a Midnight Sun Cruise in that area and it was Fantastic, Northern Lights cruise sounds interesting and I would imagine the Captain would be on the look out for good spots along the way??
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Royal Caribbean - Mexico 1992 & 1994
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Uniworld River Cruises
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10 days Northern France, Normandy - 2013


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Princess Alaska – July, 1997
Princess Caribbean – Millennium New years eve
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Princess Greek Islands - May, 2013

Princess Mexico - Nov - 2013
Princess Panama - Jan - 2014
Princess Hawaii - April - 2014
Princess British Isles - Aug - 2014
Princess Mexico (Get Away) B2B's - Nov 2014
Princess Australia / New Zealand - Feb - 2015
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Princess Hawaii Dec 2017




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Arlene - Retired School Secretary = 25 years
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Turlock, CA
#2
London, UK
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
My wife and I did a very similar cruise on P&O last year and travelled in March. We didn't stop in Bodø or Narvik but did stop in Åndalsnes, Tromsø and Alta. We should also have stopped in Stavanger but high winds in Alta delayed our departure by about 18-20 hours making it impossible to make up the time. Temperatures in Alta, the most northerly port, can range from -25°C in January to a balmy 0°C in March, so layers are the order of the day. The Northern Lights themselves can be very fickle - we saw them from the ship on our first night in Alta and faintly the second night (we opted not to buy the expensive excursion which would take you to a secluded spot inland and hopefully better viewing possibilities). The main problems are cloud, light pollution and Northern Lights that are much fainter in reality than the vivid pics that you see online. We count ourselves very lucky to have seen the lights - a friend who did a similar cruise on a different line the year before saw nothing. If you want a flavour of what to expect, some photos can be found on my Flickr account here.
#3
Boston MA
6,287 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Harley0711
I see that Viking Ocean has a Northern Lights Cruise= Jan, Feb & March. I am looking at 2019. Is there anyone on here with any experience with that area of the world and of those dates What might be the best 'Pick'?? I know the Northern Lights can be hit and miss but looking for advice, What to book sooner rather than later. I have been on a Midnight Sun Cruise in that area and it was Fantastic, Northern Lights cruise sounds interesting and I would imagine the Captain would be on the look out for good spots along the way??
Viking is offering just two sailings, March 2 and March 14. While Viking has sailed a "Midnight Sun" itinerary a couple of times already and is about to do 6 more sailing this summer, 2019 will be the first time that they sail a Northern Lights itinerary. I can imagine that the weather will be the biggest challenge; there will still be snow on the ground in March and it will be fur-lined boots and winter coats for the entire cruise. However, I have seen pictures of Tromso in the snow and it is magnificent and the "walk with the huskies" that is offered in summer in March will be a true dogsled ride (and hopefully Viking will include it among their optional shore excursions).

If you are booking now, sign up for the airfare with Viking; yes, you have to pay for it now but that locks in the pricing and it will be refunded if you decide to book your own. Since the itinerary includes Bergen, custom air will not be available and you will have to take whatever Viking gives you for air arrangements. As things get closer, like 300 days out, you can start looking at airfare on your own. Viking Air includes transfers so if you decide to get your own flights, you will have to figure out how to get from Heathrow to the dock in Tilbury and then from the ship to the airport in Bergen or even Oslo (better connections but probably means an overnight in Oslo before flying home (check out Norway in a Nutshell). In the end, the decision will be whether to book on your own or to just hope you get a good flight plan from Viking (because you will not know what Viking has arranged for you until much closer to departure time, when it is too late to shop on your own).
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
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Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#4
London, UK
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I've been told by Viking here in the UK that there will also be sailings on the 13th and 25th January and 6th and 18th February 2019 even though they're not showing on the US website yet.
#5
121 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by jimgri
My wife and I did a very similar cruise on P&O last year and travelled in March. We didn't stop in Bodø or Narvik but did stop in Åndalsnes, Tromsø and Alta. We should also have stopped in Stavanger but high winds in Alta delayed our departure by about 18-20 hours making it impossible to make up the time. Temperatures in Alta, the most northerly port, can range from -25°C in January to a balmy 0°C in March, so layers are the order of the day. The Northern Lights themselves can be very fickle - we saw them from the ship on our first night in Alta and faintly the second night (we opted not to buy the expensive excursion which would take you to a secluded spot inland and hopefully better viewing possibilities). The main problems are cloud, light pollution and Northern Lights that are much fainter in reality than the vivid pics that you see online. We count ourselves very lucky to have seen the lights - a friend who did a similar cruise on a different line the year before saw nothing. If you want a flavour of what to expect, some photos can be found on my Flickr account here.
Your pictures are wonderful.....can you please tell me what camera you used? I have been told my point and shoot Nikon won't be adequate for the northern lights!
#6
NC
208 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by jimgri
My wife and I did a very similar cruise on P&O last year and travelled in March. We didn't stop in Bodø or Narvik but did stop in Åndalsnes, Tromsø and Alta. We should also have stopped in Stavanger but high winds in Alta delayed our departure by about 18-20 hours making it impossible to make up the time. Temperatures in Alta, the most northerly port, can range from -25°C in January to a balmy 0°C in March, so layers are the order of the day. The Northern Lights themselves can be very fickle - we saw them from the ship on our first night in Alta and faintly the second night (we opted not to buy the expensive excursion which would take you to a secluded spot inland and hopefully better viewing possibilities). The main problems are cloud, light pollution and Northern Lights that are much fainter in reality than the vivid pics that you see online. We count ourselves very lucky to have seen the lights - a friend who did a similar cruise on a different line the year before saw nothing. If you want a flavour of what to expect, some photos can be found on my Flickr account here.
Wow!! Your pictures are breathtaking! ! I have never given a thought to this trip until now--what stunning beauty! Now, I'm afraid I'll be disappointed on my upcoming Homeland Baltic Sea cruise after seeing your pictures of northern Norway!!
#7
Turlock, CA
1,135 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by jimgri
My wife and I did a very similar cruise on P&O last year and travelled in March. We didn't stop in Bodø or Narvik but did stop in Åndalsnes, Tromsø and Alta. We should also have stopped in Stavanger but high winds in Alta delayed our departure by about 18-20 hours making it impossible to make up the time. Temperatures in Alta, the most northerly port, can range from -25°C in January to a balmy 0°C in March, so layers are the order of the day. The Northern Lights themselves can be very fickle - we saw them from the ship on our first night in Alta and faintly the second night (we opted not to buy the expensive excursion which would take you to a secluded spot inland and hopefully better viewing possibilities). The main problems are cloud, light pollution and Northern Lights that are much fainter in reality than the vivid pics that you see online. We count ourselves very lucky to have seen the lights - a friend who did a similar cruise on a different line the year before saw nothing. If you want a flavour of what to expect, some photos can be found on my Flickr account here.
Nice pictures, May I ask - did you 'enhance' the colors of the northern light pictures?
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(Michael) 68/72 USS Oriskany - Vietnam {Inside cabin and No room service}

Royal Caribbean - Mexico 1992 & 1994
Royal Caribbean - Caribbean 2016

Celebrity Bermuda 1997

Uniworld River Cruises
14 days Vienna to Amsterdam - 2002
10 days Northern France, Normandy - 2013


Viking River Cruise
European Sojourn - Bucharest - Amsterdam July 5, 2017

Princess Alaska – July, 1997
Princess Caribbean – Millennium New years eve
Princess Hawaii - March - 2012
Princess Greek Islands - May, 2013

Princess Mexico - Nov - 2013
Princess Panama - Jan - 2014
Princess Hawaii - April - 2014
Princess British Isles - Aug - 2014
Princess Mexico (Get Away) B2B's - Nov 2014
Princess Australia / New Zealand - Feb - 2015
Princess Norway "Land of the Midnight Sun" - June 2015

Princess Caribbean Jan 2016
Princess California Coastal March 2016
Princess Baltic Heritage- July 2016 - Cabin C626
Princess Mexico December 2016 cabin C618
Princess Alaska Sept 2017
Princess Hawaii Dec 2017




Michael- Retired Firefighter = 35 years
Arlene - Retired School Secretary = 25 years
[email protected]
Turlock, CA
#8
London, UK
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thanks, all, for the kind feedback regarding my photos. In answer to eurolady, the photos were taken on a Fujifilm X-E1 camera using a wide angle zoom lens. The challenge when taking photos is not whether your camera is point and shoot but whether you can manually override the controls to take long exposures, eg 20 seconds at f/2.8. For that you will need a tripod as you will get too much camera shake and therefore blurring without it.

In answer to Harley0711’s question, the photos were post-processed using Adobe Lightroom. For those of you not familiar with Lightroom, it’s the digital equivalent of an old fashioned darkroom. It’s a moot point whether the colours of the Northern Lights were enhanced as the camera is more sensitive than the human eye and thus captures the Northern Lights more effectively. What I often saw in the sky was a paler and more milky show of lights with a gentle tint to them. The camera, however, captured much more vivid colours than I actually saw but Lightroom was used to tone down highlights and make slight adjustments to the colour balance where necessary.
#9
Turlock, CA
1,135 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by jimgri
Thanks, all, for the kind feedback regarding my photos. In answer to eurolady, the photos were taken on a Fujifilm X-E1 camera using a wide angle zoom lens. The challenge when taking photos is not whether your camera is point and shoot but whether you can manually override the controls to take long exposures, eg 20 seconds at f/2.8. For that you will need a tripod as you will get too much camera shake and therefore blurring without it.

In answer to Harley0711’s question, the photos were post-processed using Adobe Lightroom. For those of you not familiar with Lightroom, it’s the digital equivalent of an old fashioned darkroom. It’s a moot point whether the colours of the Northern Lights were enhanced as the camera is more sensitive than the human eye and thus captures the Northern Lights more effectively. What I often saw in the sky was a paler and more milky show of lights with a gentle tint to them. The camera, however, captured much more vivid colours than I actually saw but Lightroom was used to tone down highlights and make slight adjustments to the colour balance where necessary.
Old School - You are a dying breed - I thank you for your honesty. Hope you did not take offense to my question, did not mean any.
I was in Hawaii last month, posted a nice sunset on FB - a highschool friend took that picture and 'played' with the colors on his photo program - WOW, major difference and very nice - However, no where near what I saw or shot. I also believe that travel brochure people 'Enhance' pictures of destinations to get us to go there.
I do not have Near the photo equipment you have and often tell people the colors in Person were Much better than I could catch on my camera.
I think we are going to book with Viking for 2019 - just trying to decide what cruise to take and which month.. its all a gamble - just like to make the best gamble possible - If Possible, lol
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(Michael) 68/72 USS Oriskany - Vietnam {Inside cabin and No room service}

Royal Caribbean - Mexico 1992 & 1994
Royal Caribbean - Caribbean 2016

Celebrity Bermuda 1997

Uniworld River Cruises
14 days Vienna to Amsterdam - 2002
10 days Northern France, Normandy - 2013


Viking River Cruise
European Sojourn - Bucharest - Amsterdam July 5, 2017

Princess Alaska – July, 1997
Princess Caribbean – Millennium New years eve
Princess Hawaii - March - 2012
Princess Greek Islands - May, 2013

Princess Mexico - Nov - 2013
Princess Panama - Jan - 2014
Princess Hawaii - April - 2014
Princess British Isles - Aug - 2014
Princess Mexico (Get Away) B2B's - Nov 2014
Princess Australia / New Zealand - Feb - 2015
Princess Norway "Land of the Midnight Sun" - June 2015

Princess Caribbean Jan 2016
Princess California Coastal March 2016
Princess Baltic Heritage- July 2016 - Cabin C626
Princess Mexico December 2016 cabin C618
Princess Alaska Sept 2017
Princess Hawaii Dec 2017




Michael- Retired Firefighter = 35 years
Arlene - Retired School Secretary = 25 years
[email protected]
Turlock, CA
#10
London, UK
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Harley0711
Old School - You are a dying breed - I thank you for your honesty. Hope you did not take offense to my question, did not mean any.
I was in Hawaii last month, posted a nice sunset on FB - a highschool friend took that picture and 'played' with the colors on his photo program - WOW, major difference and very nice - However, no where near what I saw or shot. I also believe that travel brochure people 'Enhance' pictures of destinations to get us to go there.
I do not have Near the photo equipment you have and often tell people the colors in Person were Much better than I could catch on my camera.
I think we are going to book with Viking for 2019 - just trying to decide what cruise to take and which month.. its all a gamble - just like to make the best gamble possible - If Possible, lol
I'll take old school as a compliment! No offence taken at all. The question of what is "real" is an issue I wrestle with all the time in photography. Is use of a flash gun or a polarising filter "real"? When is a photo real and when does it become art? (rhetorical question, btw!). I agree about the travel brochures - you can usually tell as the colours are over-saturated.

My wife and I are going on our first Viking cruise next year - In the Wake of the Vikings from Bergen to Montreal. We're really excited about this as I'm doing a master's in Viking Studies and I can pretend the cruise is homework! I hope you get to see the Northern Lights whichever month you travel in.
#11
Boston MA
6,287 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Harley0711
Old School - You are a dying breed - I thank you for your honesty. Hope you did not take offense to my question, did not mean any.
I was in Hawaii last month, posted a nice sunset on FB - a highschool friend took that picture and 'played' with the colors on his photo program - WOW, major difference and very nice - However, no where near what I saw or shot. I also believe that travel brochure people 'Enhance' pictures of destinations to get us to go there.
I do not have Near the photo equipment you have and often tell people the colors in Person were Much better than I could catch on my camera.
I think we are going to book with Viking for 2019 - just trying to decide what cruise to take and which month.. its all a gamble - just like to make the best gamble possible - If Possible, lol
Most point and shoot cameras use software in the camera to photoshop your photos before you even see them (and so does the camera in your mobile phone). If you haven't updated your camera in a couple of years, it might be time, just to take advantage of the improvements in the software, if not to get the control that jimgri talks about.
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"Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar." Antonio Machado
Expand for links to links to photos and more.
The high value put upon every minute of time, the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living, is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy Herman Hesse





Click on the links below for photos

AT SEA: 1983/NCL Caribbean ~ 1985/Premier DisneyWorld+Cruise ~ 1997/NCL Alaska ~ 2000/Renaissance Istanbul to Athens ~ 2001/Celebrity Horizon Southern Caribbean ~ 200?/NCL Boston to Bermuda ~ 2005/Celebrity Zenith Central America/Western Caribbean ~ 2006/RCCL L.A. to Ensenada ~2007/Celebrity Century Scandinavia & Baltic Capitals ~2009/Celebrity Infinity South America around the Horn ~ 2016/Viking Sea Midnight Sun ~ 2016/Viking Sea NYE on the Med

RIVER DAYS: 2010/Viking River Cruises "China's Cultural Delights" ~ 2013/Viking "Footsteps of the Cossacks" ~ 2015/Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe"

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#13
Turlock, CA
1,135 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Question for Jimgrl - ruff seas durning winter passage thru the North Sea? Good point. I have yet to have a problem (worked flight deck Viet Nam for 3 years) 25 ocean cruise in some pretty good seas/ wife on the hand can get a little woozy? She now wears the patch
Have cruised the North sea 4 times but in Summer

Your thoughts


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(Michael) 68/72 USS Oriskany - Vietnam {Inside cabin and No room service}

Royal Caribbean - Mexico 1992 & 1994
Royal Caribbean - Caribbean 2016

Celebrity Bermuda 1997

Uniworld River Cruises
14 days Vienna to Amsterdam - 2002
10 days Northern France, Normandy - 2013


Viking River Cruise
European Sojourn - Bucharest - Amsterdam July 5, 2017

Princess Alaska – July, 1997
Princess Caribbean – Millennium New years eve
Princess Hawaii - March - 2012
Princess Greek Islands - May, 2013

Princess Mexico - Nov - 2013
Princess Panama - Jan - 2014
Princess Hawaii - April - 2014
Princess British Isles - Aug - 2014
Princess Mexico (Get Away) B2B's - Nov 2014
Princess Australia / New Zealand - Feb - 2015
Princess Norway "Land of the Midnight Sun" - June 2015

Princess Caribbean Jan 2016
Princess California Coastal March 2016
Princess Baltic Heritage- July 2016 - Cabin C626
Princess Mexico December 2016 cabin C618
Princess Alaska Sept 2017
Princess Hawaii Dec 2017




Michael- Retired Firefighter = 35 years
Arlene - Retired School Secretary = 25 years
[email protected]
Turlock, CA
#14
London, UK
39 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Harley0711
Question for Jimgrl - ruff seas durning winter passage thru the North Sea? Good point. I have yet to have a problem (worked flight deck Viet Nam for 3 years) 25 ocean cruise in some pretty good seas/ wife on the hand can get a little woozy? She now wears the patch. Have cruised the North sea 4 times but in Summer. Your thoughts
There was a little swell on the way up from Southampton and again leaving Alta, but we've had much worse seas in the Gulf of Alaska in the middle of summer. I don't recall that many people wearing patches or looking green.
#16
Arizona
133 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We are booking the March 2 sailing. In looking at info on the Lights, general consensus was that sightings can happen into March, especially when there is a new moon. I believe there's a new moon around March 4 or so. I've looked at the Hurtigrutin line, but I like the comforts of Viking. As for discounts, only one I've been offered so far is for being on previous Viking cruises.
#17
Ohio
142 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Thanks for this thread! Hubby and I are considering the March 14 sailing; Northern Lights is a serious bucket list item for him! We did Viking River's Rhine Getaway last month and loved it, but prefer ocean cruises.

Just got a catalog from Viking which shows this itinerary in January, February and March, but the US website only shows the March sailings. No worries for me, I have no interest in going that far north before March! Not sure I really want to go before July, actually, but the Lights won't cooperate! I'll be following this thread, and showing hubby the photos from jimgri as incentive ��
#18
Arizona
133 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Our TA also said Viking has dropped TA discounts and also stopped selling through Costco. We formed a "group" for the Northern Lights tour and people booking through that will be able to get some special pricing, but doesn't look like the discounts from Viking will either not be offered or not very plentiful in the future. Northern Lights is a bucket list trip for us and I trust Viking to provide a high quality experience.
#19
Maryland
5,003 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by Harley0711
I just called my TA which is a nationally know large company who advertises Discount cruises - I used them for my July 2017 Viking River and got a very nice discount.
Well, they told me today that Viking is changing their policy about any TA giving discounts and that ALL discounts will be Gone - not sure when that was suppose to happen - Just that the March 2019 booking was NOT discounted at all - straight retail?
I posted this info/question over on Viking Ocean main forum here and got a fast response from a member that he just booked yesterday for March 2019 - Northern Lights cruise and Their TA gave a discount?
I posted and ask that member to contact me off line - I want to learn more... I smell a 'fish' somewhere in this story

Has anyone hear heard that Viking is changing policy with TA's?
I haven't heard that, but I haven't asked either. I ALSO use a nationally known large company which advertises discount cruises. They give us a great "discount" but it's not really a discount. The company sends a rebate check after we complete the cruise. Of course, we've been using the same agent and company for 6 or 7 years, and perhaps they don't want to lose us as customers, so they make us happy. So far they've given us great service (very responsive) AND goodies, so I seldom shop around.

I didn't think Viking gave any discounts - not before, not now and not from an agent or from Viking - but then again, I haven't really looked around enough to know what's out there.
#20
Sebastopol, California
46 Posts
Joined Jan 2016
We were looking seriously at this cruise... which is almost sold out. Ifi you are going, sign up for an earlier one if possible... As we researched the cruise, we found that the Northern Lights are cyclical... with the top of the cycle being the last couple of years. It starts to drop off substantially this year and is very, very weak after 2019 for quite some time.

Another article said that above 6j9 degrees (which this cruise will be for part of the time) there is not nearly as much dropoff. Just food for thought. We decided that, since it's not available this year, we're just going to go to the Fairbanks, Alaska area to try to see them this winter. Not nearly as much fun, though!! (We loved Viking Sky Homelands.)