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There have been some reports of seeing Northern Lights in the far northern parts of Alaska cruises later in September, but conditions have to be just right. Otherwise, generally, HAL doesn't go far enough north in the more likely times.

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I would not count on seeing them in Alaska in September.

 

Look for Northern Europe/Fjords cruises from October through March for best viewing. Not sure if HAL currently offers anything that I would consider optimal.

 

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The Northern Lights can became a quest and sometimes without a good ending.  We have been above the Arctic Circle on 3 cruises and never saw the Northern Lights.  On our last attempt we met another cruising couple who told us an even sadder tale.  They had done multiple cruises up north in both Norway and Canada/Alaska with no luck.. So a couple of years earlier (then when we met) they booked a 14 day cruise on a Hurtigruten ship during Dec-Jan.  It was a cruise to the most Northern parts of Norway in the worst part of the winter.  It cost them a lot of money and the weather turned out to be awful with 2 weeks of overcast skies.  They never saw the Northern Lights.

 

Hank

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Best option is Northern Norway or Iceland - several cruise lines are offering northern Lights cruises along the Norwegian coast at locations as Lofoten, Tromsø, Alta,  Andenes or Honningsvåg.

Northern Lights are visible from September through March when dark and clear skies.

One option is Hurtigruten - either the traditional Coastal Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes or expedition cruise from Dover. 

Here is a link to my last Hurtigruten Northern Lights Voyage

 

12050059-A111-450D-A697-CFA3508CA12A.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

The Northern Lights can became a quest and sometimes without a good ending. 

 

Indeed.   We got uber lucky on the Millennium just around Icy Straights Point just a couple of years ago.

 

The Captain woke us with a shipwide announcement near midnight (which was highly irregular in itself)  and  many people took to their balconies to watch the slip-shapy emerald spirits waving against the mountain-range star-lit backdrop.   Surreal fits the description.

 

I have a picture somewhere in our digital domain.  It does not look like much though because we only saw a sliver of what some people have seen.   

 

It was early September too.

Edited by JRG
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53 minutes ago, hallasm said:

Best option is Northern Norway or Iceland - several cruise lines are offering northern Lights cruises along the Norwegian coast at locations as Lofoten, Tromsø, Alta,  Andenes or Honningsvåg.

Northern Lights are visible from September through March when dark and clear skies.

One option is Hurtigruten - either the traditional Coastal Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes or expedition cruise from Dover. 

Here is a link to my last Hurtigruten Northern Lights Voyage

 

 

 

Hurtigruten actually offers a Northern Lights "guarantee" on certain cruises, specifically the 10- and 11-day Norwegian coastal R/T, at certain times of the year.

 

https://www.hurtigruten.com/offers/northern-lights-promise/

 

If you do not see the lights on your cruise, they will give you a 6-night cruise.

 

Edited to add: Although to the OP's question -- these Hurtigruten cruises are quite a different thing than cruising with HAL. They are more utilitarian than luxury, although most of the newer ships have a very nice forward lounge with viewing area much like on HAL ships.

 

Edited by cruisemom42
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End of Oct. and into Nov. 2019 we were on the Sapphire Princess for a cruise to the northern parts of Norway to see the Northern Lights, and were successful for one night with amazing lights.  It was cold but no regrets going at that time of year. Nicole

 

Edited by Noodles84
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56 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

specifically the 10- and 11-day Norwegian coastal R/T, at certain times of the year.

Hurtigruten also offer the ‘Northern Lights Promise’ as expedition cruises from Dover and Hamburg - pretty good chances for Northern Lights - in particular in January to March - where better chances for clear skies.
Still the compensation is only a “6 or 7 days Classic Voyage in an unspecified inside twin cabin on a full board basis. A choice of departure dates will be given. Offer excludes flights, transfers, all on board expenses, excursions, luggage handling.”

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I repeat what I have said on CC about aurora many times.  If you are serious about seeing aurora, you need to do a land based trip to a high northern latitude (AK, Iceland or one of the Scandinavian countries) in the middle of the winter.  You also need to plan to stay there for a long enough time so that a few days of cloudy skies will not ruin your trip.  Taking a cruise with the idea of seeing aurora is too much of a crap shoot for me if seeing aurora is really important to me.

 

I will add a few things to Hallasm's accurate comments on the guarantee.  The decision as to whether there were aurora is solely Hurtigruten's.  If there is a really little bit of green in the sky for a few minutes at 3:30 AM, that counts as seeing aurora.  I will bet that they have almost never had to pay off on the guarantee.  It is sort of like the whale trips that guarantee that you will see a whale.  The single spout way off in the distance counts as seeing a whale.

 

DON

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We were lucky to see the Northern Lights on an early Alaska September RCI cruise...thanks to our adult kids waking us late one night and then realizing the captain was also blowing the fog horn.

 

We'll be doing a similar cruise later mid September 2022 and hoping to experience seeing them again.

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Have completed 2 Alaska seasons, spending at least 4 hrs per night looking out the Bridge windows. Memory is hazy, but might have seen them once, in Alaska. Have seen them more often on the BC Coast in the middle of winter.

 

On a cruise, you have a better chance on a Winter cruise in Northern Norway, but weather is always an issue, as you need clear skies.

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In non-covid days, there were special winter cruises out of the UK in Feb/ March by Fred Olsen and P&O. Viking also was doing them, but I'm not sure from which port.

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1 hour ago, jocap said:

In non-covid days, there were special winter cruises out of the UK in Feb/ March by Fred Olsen and P&O. Viking also was doing them, but I'm not sure from which port.

I believe Viking used Bergen and London (Greenwich)

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

I believe Viking used Bergen and London (Greenwich)

We began and ended a Hurtigruten coastal cruise in Bergen. It's a nice city with GREAT food!

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There is an iPad app called “My Aurora” which shows where the solar activity is actually ongoing and thus what your chances are wherever you are .... sample pic ..

 

C9C17928-3382-4AEB-B37E-59E440D95529.png

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I realize the OP is asking about Northern Lights Cruising, but perhaps a land vacay to Iceland, Norway, Fairbanks Alaska, or Finland could afford more possibilities to witness the solar phenomenon?

 

We had a 10 day Norway fjords cruise booked for last June that had no chance of seeing the aura, so we also booked a 10 day "In Quest of the Northern Lights" land tour that included a few nights in northern Iceland town of Akureyri for October.  Again, no guarantee but much better odds.

 

We chose not to book for the winter months, as they can be brutally cold and snow bound, and Iceland did indeed experience paralyzing life threatening winter storms B2B a few months ago.

 

Now both of those vacays are back on our bucket list due to COVID cancellations.  We may never get there, we might be too old by the time safe travel returns.

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We saw the Northern Lights on an Alaska cruise some years back. It was in September, in the Inside Passage, and in the middle of the night. We were told to leave the tv on the Princess channel and they would make an announcement if the lights were active. That worked well for us. I think we were lucky on this, and I wouldn't ever count on it happening again for us.

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42 minutes ago, Sea Hag said:

We saw the Northern Lights on an Alaska cruise some years back. It was in September, in the Inside Passage, and in the middle of the night. We were told to leave the tv on the Princess channel and they would make an announcement if the lights were active. That worked well for us. I think we were lucky on this, and I wouldn't ever count on it happening again for us.

I tried that twice. You were lucky.

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I concur with Sea Hag. In Alaska, we've seen them on september cruises when the sky was very clear and the ship made an announcement. Of course, a few cruise friends thought they saw them on a cloudy night when I brought a multi-colored flashlight. Yes I revealed the secret to them.

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On 2/22/2021 at 10:37 AM, evandbob said:

We chose not to book for the winter months, as they can be brutally cold and snow bound, and Iceland did indeed experience paralyzing life threatening winter storms B2B a few months ago.

 

Do you remember when you were there? We were in Iceland a few years ago and it was warmer there in December than it was in Seattle when we flew out. I had clothes I never wore. Oh, btw, not a cruise.

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12 hours ago, clo said:

Do you remember when you were there? We were in Iceland a few years ago and it was warmer there in December than it was in Seattle when we flew out. I had clothes I never wore. Oh, btw, not a cruise.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/12/12/iceland-blizzard-brings-mph-winds-up-feet-mountain-snow/

 

https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/nanna/a-massive-storm-hits-iceland-see-the-devastation

 

https://www.icelandreview.com/travel/winter-storm-hits-iceland/

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Booking a cruise that visits Iceland is the best option in Europe - its a lovely journey with stops in the Faroe Islands and Orkney etc -  but - actually seeing the lights is pure luck - I went a few years ago in February on the now defunct CMV  Magellan -  my twin 80 yr old aunties went off up a mountain late at night - freezing cold - fogged in - I stayed on the ship and the harbour was frosty and clear and the lights - green, purple, reds even - absolutely amazing

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