Hurtigruten's 'Northern Lights Promise' Ensures Every Cruiser Sees Auroras

The cruise company doesn't want to leave you hanging

Hurtigruten - Northern Lights

Courtesy of Hurtigruten Group

Seeing the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon created by solar flares striking the Earth's magnetic field—is just one of those life experiences that rightfully deserves a place on any adventure seeker's bucket list. But while it is highly sought after, the colorful light show can be challenging to track down, as the sky must be dark and clear, and the greatest aurora activity occurs in late March and late September, around the spring and fall equinoxes.

So what do you do if, after careful planning and budgeting for what you think is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, the Northern Lights just... don't appear? For those chasing the aurora borealis onboard Hurtigruten Expeditions' latest expedition cruise, you can take a deep breath: there might be a free cruise in store for you.

In what it calls the "Northern Lights Promise," the cruise company says that if there are no "Northern Lights Occurrences" during its 15-day expedition—whose MS Maud will depart from London and stop in Norwegian destinations such as Tromsø, Lofoten, and Narvik—it will give passengers eager to still see the aurora a second opportunity. "A Northern Lights Occurrence is defined as a sighting of the Northern Lights from the ship that is recorded by the ship's deck officers and announced to passengers on board," Hurtigruten states on its website. "An Occurrence can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. The deck officers' decision as to whether a Northern Lights Occurrence has happened is final."

With or without aurora sightings, Hurtigruten's Northern Lights expeditions are spectacular. Passengers will enjoy a range of onboard and landing activities and amenities fit for any explorer: expert-led lectures and discussions, photography classes, an opportunity to contribute to research projects via Hurtigruten's Citizen Science Program, shore excursions with the expedition team, and, when you need to warm up, hot tubs and a sauna. MS Maud, which features 297 cabins and three onboard restaurants, also comes with complimentary Wi-Fi, so you never truly have to go off-grid.

Still, Hurtigruten's offer of a free cruise ensures that you're not left disappointed—you're here to see the Northern Lights, after all, and no amount of fun activities can stave off frustration when nature doesn't want to cooperate. However, there are some conditions to consider when booking your free cruise. You can only choose from two classic itineraries, The Voyage North (seven days) and The Voyage South (six days), and you must travel the following sailing season, from Oct. 1 to March 31. Only inside cabins with twin beds are covered as part of the deal, but you can upgrade for an additional fee. Other costs—such as flights, onboard expenses, and excursions—are also not included.

Want to make 2023 one for the memories? There are currently six cruises available to book this year, with departures running from September to December; expeditions start at $5,443 a person.

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  1. Hurtigruten Expeditions. "Northern Lights Promise on Select Norwegian Coastal Voyages." Accessed January 24, 2023.