Photo: Francesco Bonino/Shutterstock

These Two Cruise Lines in Norway Will Redo Your Trip if You Miss the Northern Lights

Norway Cruises
by Alex Bresler Mar 20, 2024

Only two cruise lines sail Norway’s Coastal Route from Bergen to Kirkenes and back: Hurtigruten and Havila Voyages. The two cruise lines, which travel through parts of Norway where you can traditionally see the northern lights during the colder months, also have something else in common: northern lights promises.

The basic concept of the northern lights promise is that Hurtigruten and Havila Voyages will give cruisers who sail during peak aurora season a complimentary repeat cruise if the northern lights fail to appear during their original voyage. On both cruise lines, the deal only applies to travelers who book a full voyage originally, which typically lasts 12 days, and the makeup cruise is only good for a one-way cruise traveling either northbound or southbound for six or seven days.

Both cruise lines historically outlined peak aurora season as the beginning of October to the end of March. Now, Hurtigruten has extended its northern lights promise to include voyages that begin in mid-September.

Of the decision to amend its northern lights promise, Hedda Felin, CEO at Hurtigruten, said in a press release, “We firmly believe that Norway is the best place to experience the [northern lights] and that our coastal cruises offer the best way to explore Norway. We are thrilled to extend our Northern Lights Promise sailing period, allowing more guests to immerse themselves in the magic of the [aurora borealis].”

While Norway’s current aurora season is quickly coming to an end, Hurtigruten’s northern lights promise will apply to sails between September 20, 2024, and March 31, 2025, for both the North Cape Express and Original Coastal Express routes. (Hurtigruten cruisers can also look out for astronomy-focused sails that include special lectures and an expert-led visit to the Northern Lights Planetarium in Tromsø during both the 2024-5 and 2025-6 seasons.)

On Havila Voyages cruises, travelers who book round-trip sails between October 1 and March 31 will still be eligible for the northern lights promise.

If you’re traveling all the way to Norway with a dream of seeing the northern lights, the insurance policies that these cruise lines put forth is worth its weight in gold, or Norwegian krone as it were. But as reassuring as the possibility of a repeat cruise is, the goal is still to see the aurora on your original sail.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse, you’ll want to be prepared. That means knowing how to successfully photograph the northern lights — not only will you forge an incredible in-person memory, but you’ll also have proof to show off to your friends and family and marvel at privately for years to come.

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