Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover

Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover

Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover

Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover

Travel information 15 days MS Maud
Departures
20 departures between Oct 2022 and Mar 2024
Price from
4121 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Sail direct from Dover to the best of the Norwegian coast above and below the Arctic Circle. You’ll enjoy adventure under the active Auroral Zone, assured by our Northern Lights Promise of a free voyage if the aurora doesn’t occur. Engage in exciting optional winter excursions while you visit cosy cities, historic towns, and beautiful villages. 

From the White Cliffs of Dover to Norway’s Arctic ... 

Board comfortable MS Maud in Dover bound for Norway. Our first stop is Loen at the foot of Mount Hoven, the summit of which has views of Jostedalsbreen Glacier. We’ll head to the exceptionally pretty fishing villages of Reine and Å in the Lofoten Islands before sailing to Alta, the ‘city of the Northern Lights.’ Perhaps you’ll see the aurora appear above its artistic Northern Lights Cathedral. 

… and back again!  

Discover Tromsø, the ‘Paris of the North’ and its Polar Museum. You’ll learn the importance of this polar city and enjoy optional winter excursions before brushing up on British WWII history in Narvik. We’ll spend two wild days ‘on expedition’ discovering the hidden natural gems of mid-Norway before arriving in the bustling city of Bergen and ride the funicular to the panorama at Mount Fløyen. After soaking up the cosy vibe of Egersund, your expedition will end back where it started in Dover.  

Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover Northern Lights Expedition Cruise from Dover
  • Day 1
    Dover, UK

    Setting off from the White Cliffs

    Estimated time of departure is 4:00 PM

    All aboard at Dover! MS Maud is here, ready and waiting to bring you north to Norway´s magical landscapes on the hunt for one of nature’s greatest spectacles: The Northern Lights. 

    Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship and attend a mandatory safety drill. After the first of many sumptuous dinners and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team. They are your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey. Many grew up and live in the places you’ll be visiting and are passionate about sharing their home with you. First and foremost though, they are there to keep you safe and well. They’ll be making it a priority to run through important health and safety aspects with you and your fellow guests.   

    When the ship sets sail, we’ll pass the white cliffs of Dover and head up to the North Sea. Stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud, your cosy home away from home. If the weather holds, take in the salubrious sea air from out on deck or park yourself in the Explorer Lounge and Bar to watch the world go by from the panoramic windows, maybe together with a relaxing glass of wine. Your adventure to the Arctic under the Auroral Zone is officially underway! 

    Day 1
    Dover, UK

    Setting off from the White Cliffs

  • Day 2-3
    At sea

    Norway bound

    The next two days at sea will give you all the time you need to ease into your journey. You’ll definitely want to start enjoying onboard facilities like the hot tubs, sauna, and indoor gym. But you’ll likely also be striking up a camaraderie with the Expedition Team as well as other crew members and guests.  

    The Expedition Team will begin the first in their series of insightful lectures over at the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition Team is an expert on different subjects and you’ll find them to be walking, talking treasure troves of stories and information. They’ll share their extensive knowledge about the places, history, nature, people and natural phenomena we are likely to encounter during this winter cruise along the Norwegian coast.  

    Possible lecture topics might include the geology of the North Sea, the science behind the Northern Lights, or the history of Hurtigruten as a national icon of Norway. 

    Day 2-3
    At sea

    Norway bound

  • Day 4
    Outside Loen - Anchored - Full day

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

    We start the day with some scenic cruising into Nordfjord, passing Hornelen, Europe’s highest sea cliff, early in the morning. The fjord run offs from Jostedalsbreen, Europe’s largest mainland glacier, and flows west into the ocean just south of the Stadlandet peninsula.  

    Thanks to the smaller size of our expedition ship, we’ll be taking you through straits and channels that larger vessels simply can’t fit through. This allows you to get that much closer to the fjords and mountains that the Norwegian coast is so famous for. It also means we can access small communities that few ever get to visit, giving you an intimate glimpse into the culture and way of life here. 

    It would make sense if lectures for today focus on the geology of Norway, covering the formation of its fjords, mountains and glaciers. You might also learn more about the Viking culture that used to inhabit the region and their thirst for exploration that still beats in the hearts of Norwegians today. 

    You’ll spot numerous old fishing communities located along the fjord that actually date back to pre-Viking times. One such place is Loen, where we arrive around noon. In the shadow of the mighty Jostedalsbreen glacier, at the very heart of Nordfjord, Loen is the perfect place to explore the gorgeous surrounds.  

    We use our small boats to land at a floating jetty which is conveniently also a starting point for the Loen Skylift. The cable car climbs 1,011 metres to the top of Mount Hoven in only five minutes. At the summit, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable vista over the fjord. Mount Skåla and Lake Lo can be seen to the east, and Jostedalsbreen Glacier and Olden to the south.  

    With these panoramas all around you, you can participate in several optional winter activities on the mountain, such as snowshoeing or sledding. If time and weather allow, there might also be an opportunity to do some thrilling winter kayaking on the fjord. 

    • Included Loen Skylift
    Day 4
    Outside Loen - Anchored - Full day

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

  • Day 5
    At sea - At Sea

    Approaching the Arctic Circle

    Today you can spend time in the ship’s lounge, soaking in a hot tub, or out on deck. Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off the scenery as we sail through Helgeland county and the thousands of islands of the lowland area.  

    Pick out the peaks of the Seven Sisters mountain range, thought to be the petrified bodies of seven troll sisters caught out at sunrise. You’ll likely be amazed by Torghatten mountain too, with its distinct hole right through the middle. Local legend states that the mountain was in fact the troll-king’s hat which turned to stone when it was pierced through by an arrow. 

    At this point of your expedition, we are around the halfway mark along Norway’s long coastline and you won’t be far off from the Arctic Circle. This is an exciting time as the further north we sail, the greater your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The natural phenomenon occurs when charged particles carried by the solar wind disturb the Earth’s upper atmosphere, creating mesmerising ripples and rays. The end result is a cosmic lightshow of dazzling colour and dance.  

    Our route along the Norwegian coast will take us directly under the Auroral Zone, a prime area of Northern Lights occurrences. We’ll be hoping to see multiple sightings of the lights in different locations. 

    The weather in northern Norway will be noticeably nippier and the amount of snow you’ll see will normally start to increase as well, which actually has the effect of making the landscapes seem brighter. Depending on when in the winter season you sail, the periods of daylight will be fairly short and grow even more brief above the Arctic Circle. 

    It’s not complete darkness though as you’ll also get to experience the very romantic ‘blue hour’. This is an extended twilight that can actually be several hours long. The winter sun glows just below the horizon, bathing Norway’s fjords and mountains in a dreamy cobalt-blue light. 

    The Expedition Team will continue their onboard lectures which may cover local folklore and fairytales or a history of navigation along the coast from lighthouses to satellites. You might also learn about the quintessentially Norwegian love of the outdoors known as friluftsliv. Or perhaps pick up tips from the professional onboard photographer on how best to capture the aurora when they appear. 

    Day 5
    At sea - At Sea

    Approaching the Arctic Circle

  • Day 6
    Reine

    Idyllic island life

    In the morning, we dock into the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine back in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted rorbuer cling to a string of islands beneath sharp granite mountain ranges. The 450-metre tall Reinebringen is one of the most distinctive peaks, particularly dramatic when layered with snow.  

    The combination of setting and colour makes Reine one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Norway. After spending some time wandering around the village ooh-ing and aah-ing at the scenery, you’ll go on your included activity for today. A 30-minute bus ride will take you to Å, one of the best-preserved traditional fishing villages in Norway.  

    At the heart of the tiny village is the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum which covers the importance and development of fishing in Lofoten over the last 250 years. Exploring at your leisure, you’ll soon discover that the village is the museum and the museum is the village. 

    Later on, return to Reine where there may be opportunities to do some hikes with the Expedition Team or even try some winter kayaking. The views to enjoy here will certainly tempt you to sign up to either. You’ll then re-join the ship and marvel more at the surrounding scenery which is spell-bindingly beautiful, whether washed in the lights of the aurora or not. 

    • Included Reine - The Fishing Village of Å
    Day 6
    Reine

    Idyllic island life

  • Day 7
    Alta, 70° North

    The City of the Northern Lights

    Alta lies in the vast wilderness of Finnmark county, well above the Arctic Circle at 70 degrees north. Welcome to the turning point of your expedition and to one of the northernmost towns in the world with a population over 10,000. We’ll arrive here in the early afternoon and plan to stay past midnight to stargaze and watch for the aurora in Alta’s usually clear skies. The town is directly beneath the Auroral Oval, a zone known for consistent Northern Lights activity. If the heavens aren’t overcast, and the conditions are right, you might well be in for quite the show... 

    You’ll learn more about the aurora at the modern Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta. The titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here, all the more impressive when illuminated at night. There is an interactive exhibition here that chronicles how Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland established Alta as an epicentre for ground-breaking Northern Lights research in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You’ll also be treated to a classical concert in the cathedral as part of your visit.   

    Troms and Finnmark county also forms part of the traditional lands of the indigenous Sámi whose livelihoods revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding. The Expedition Team may take the opportunity being in Alta to talk more on Sámi culture. Not far from Alta is Máze, a Sámi village located along Kautokeino river and visitable as part of an optional excursion. When more snow falls as winter progresses, Alta is also prime territory for visits to snow hotels, dog sledding and snowmobiling. 

    • Included Experience the Northern Lights Cathedral
    Day 7
    Alta, 70° North

    The City of the Northern Lights

  • Day 8
    Tromsø

    Gateway to the Arctic

    It’s time to explore Tromsø, capital of the Arctic. But before we do, we’ll be on the watch for humpback whales out on deck or in the Explorer Lounge. Families of these gentle giants are known to frequent the winter waters here, feeding on the abundant herring. The Expedition Team will also be on the lookout and alert you to any sightings.  

    We’ll reach the city of Tromsø around lunchtime and spend the rest of the day and evening exploring its fascinating history, culture and bold architecture. The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø, especially when lit up at night. It features an attractive, huge stained-glass window that is well worth seeing up close.  

    Historically, Tromsø was a frontier town for returning hunters and explorers and acted as a launch point for several Arctic expeditions. Compared to the barren tundra they experienced, Tromsø was like Paris because of the fashion and food they found there. Hence the nickname, ‘Paris of the North.’ 

    You can busy yourself by browsing the shops or sampling the region’s fresh produce in a range of restaurants. Feel like meeting some of the friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub where townspeople go for a chat and a few pints.  

    Your included activity in Tromsø is a visit to the Polar Museum which is housed in a converted 1830s warehouse on the seafront. You’ll enjoy exhibitions that cover the city’s heritage as a base for famous trappers Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad, the first female hunter in Svalbard. Tromsø also played a crucial role in the expeditions of legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.  

    Other winter activities available in Tromsø include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes, snowshoeing, and aurora-hunting bus rides. And like many places in Arctic Norway, when there is enough snow later in winter, the landscape becomes the ideal place to engage in some exhilarating dog sledding.  

    • Included The Polar Museum
    Day 8
    Tromsø

    Gateway to the Arctic

  • Day 9
    Narvik, Ofoten

    The Battle of Narvik

    We arrive into Narvik in the morning. The town has a spectacular setting on a peninsula surrounded by three fjords: The Ofotfjord, Rombaken, and Beisfjord. The multiple mountains also help to shelter its popular ski slopes from strong coastal winds. And while Narvik is one of the most northerly towns in the world, some 220 kilometers within the Arctic Circle, it enjoys a milder climate than expected thanks to the North Atlantic Current. 

    Narvik traces its history back to the Bronze Age and was a Viking settlement for a time as well. Modern Narvik developed as an all-year port for Swedish iron mines, which made the town a strategic target for Germany during World War II. You’ll visit the Narvik War Museum to see exhibits and artifacts from the war, learning about the heroism of British and Allied troops in liberating the town from the Nazis.  

    Aside from the museum, you can enjoy galleries, shops, and restaurants which specialise in locally-sourced seafood from the fjords and reindeer meat from the mountains. Ride the cable car to the top of Mount Narvik for the breathtaking views or go on optional excursion hikes, snowshoeing or kayaking on the fjords. The lectures for the day will probably be about Narvik’s World War II history or about the mammals of northern Norway. 

    • Included Narvik War Museum Visit
    Day 9
    Narvik, Ofoten

    The Battle of Narvik

  • Day 10-11
    At sea - At Sea

    Double expedition day

    The plan for the next two days is that there isn’t one! In true expedition style, we’ll spend the time getting off the beaten track and heading to wherever takes our fancy. Activities and any landings will be picked at the discretion of the Expedition Team, and they’ll draw on their in-depth knowledge of the area to bring you to the most exhilarating and naturally beautiful locations.  

    There are many islands and fjords to discover in this region, and we’ll be sailing in to get a closer look at some of them. Our expedition boats will take us ashore where we’ll be on the lookout for the local wildlife in these stunning surroundings. Weather conditions will also play a part in deciding where to explore – so all we can say is expect the unexpected! 

    Day 10-11
    At sea - At Sea

    Double expedition day

  • Day 12
    Bergen

    City of Seven Mountains

    Welcome to Bergen, one of the country’s most picturesque cities and ideal for exploring on foot. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years and you’ll see that the city has retained a great deal of its local character, heritage and charm.  

    Your included activity in Bergen is an excursion to Mount Fløyen. We’ll hop on Hurtigruten buses from where the ship docks and drive to the Fløibanen funicular. The ride to the top of the mountain takes just six minutes. At the summit, 320 metres high, bask in stunning views over the city surrounded by seven mountains and the sea. If there’s time, we might also have an opportunity to venture into the alpine forest here for a short hike. 

    Once back in the centre of Bergen, spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets and alleyways of this thriving, compact city. Be sure to stroll through the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its colourful wooden wharfs. The area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling a range of Norwegian arts and crafts. Across from Bryggen is Bergen’s famous fish market which is full of sights, sounds and scents to savour.  

    • Included Bergen - The Fløibanen Funicular
    Day 12
    Bergen

    City of Seven Mountains

  • Day 13
    Egersund, Norway

    Picturesque town of wooden houses 

    You’ll love Egersund, with its cosy vibe. The town is famous for its brightly coloured, wooden houses – a real departure from the white-painted dwellings of many of Norway’s towns, and a welcome sight as you approach the harbour.  

    People have lived around the area of Egersund since the Stone Age. There are several places around the town where you’ll find ruins of settlements dating back to the early migrations around 400 – 600 BCE, and ancient runes have been found carved into rocks nearby. It’s also one of the best natural harbours in Norway, and it used to be the largest in the country when measured in quantity of fish landed each year.  

    Enjoy exploring the bijoux town centre, which has preserved some of the best examples of wooden houses – a few even dating back 160 years. The varied landscape surrounding the town is great for walking.  

    Day 13
    Egersund, Norway

    Picturesque town of wooden houses 

  • Day 14
    At sea

    Headed home

    Your expedition is fast coming to an end. By this stage of your journey, you’ll have made friends with your fellow explorers, finding that you have much in common in terms of your interests and passion for nature. You can spend time chatting with them over a snack at the bistro-like Fredheim, perhaps recalling the best moments of your expedition together.  

    Enjoy drinks at the Explorer Bar while swapping friendly banter and stories of past adventures. You might even catch a couple of the crew and Expedition Team here too.  

    If you’d rather spend this last day at sea in quiet contemplation, you’ll likely have multiple memory cards full of Northern Lights photos and more to sift through and reminisce on. Take stock of everything you’ve seen and experienced with a blood-pumping session in the gym and then relax in the soothing steam of the sauna one last time. 

    Day 14
    At sea

    Headed home

  • Day 15
    Dover

    Back to England

    Estimated time of arrival is 9:00 AM

    We pass the White Cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’s time to leave your home for the past 11 days. As you head home, you’ll take with you unforgettable memories of the magnificent fjords along Norway’s west coast.  

    Dover acts as the gateway to the English countryside, the verdant counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond to the melting pot of London. But before you rush off, Dover itself has a number of attractions you won’t want to miss either.    

    No trip here is complete without walking alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs that have become a symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is on a walk to St. Margaret’s Bay which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach.   

    You might also like to visit Dover Castle, tipped to be the largest in England. There is a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the UK’s oldest building. You can also go on a tour of the underground hospital and secret WWII tunnels that run beneath the castle complex.    

    Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!  

     

    Day 15
    Dover

    Back to England

Departures

2022

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
October:
6.
20.
November:
3.
December:
8.

2023

January:
5.
February:
4.
18.
September:
30.
October:
14.
28.
November:
11.
25.
December:
9.

2024

  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
January:
6.
20.
February:
3.
17.
March:
2.
16.
30.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise  

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim 
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests 
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported. 
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board 
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore 
  • Range of included activities 

Onboard Activities 

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics 
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes 
  • Citizen Science program allows guests to assist with live scientific research 
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos 
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms  
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come 

Renowned Astronomer Tom Kerss (Tom Kerss | Astronomy & Astrophotography) will be joining us on board the following sailings, giving lectures and sharing his knowledge about the Northern Lights. Be sure to ask him lots of questions. 

  • 20th October 2022
  • 19th January 2023

Landing Activities 

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Trekking poles, head lamps and walking poles available if necessary 
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket 
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings 

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change  
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected 
MS Maud
Interior in restaurant Lindstrøm
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Your ship

MS Maud

Year built 2003
Shipyard Fosen Mek. Verk. (N)
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Beds 500
Gross tonnage 16,151 T
Length 135,75 m
Beam 21.5 m
Speed 15 knots

Formerly the MS Midnatsol, the MS Maud is well-suited for expedition cruising.

Read more about MS Maud

Science center - MS Maud
Photo: Oscar Farrera
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