Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover

Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover

Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover

Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover

Travel information 12 days MS Maud
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Sail from Arctic gateway Tromsø to England’s Dover on an expedition to rarely-visited Norwegian islands and villages, hunting the magical Northern Lights along the way.

Arctic adventure 

Your expedition cruise starts in the vibrant city of Tromsø. You’ll sail north to one of the northernmost points in Europe at North Cape. Turning south, we’ll dock in Alta where you can join exciting winter activities and visit the impressive Northern Lights Cathedral.

In Senja, you’ll explore an island rated one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world for its diverse landscapes. With an impressive mountain backdrop and beautiful fishing huts, the village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands is understandably one of the most photographed spots in all of Norway.

Enchanting mountains and hidden gems

Continuing south, we cruise the Helgeland coast, looking out for the Seven Sisters mountain range and the ‘Troll Hat’ mountain with its eye-catching hole. The ship then sails to the village of Loen deep within Nordfjord, not far from Jostedalsbreen – the largest glacier in Europe.

We’ll then go on to visit the charming fishing village of Kalvåg which few ever see. Stroll around its collection of old waterfront buildings before heading to Harlingen, one of the busiest ports in the north of the Netherlands. After an enjoyable winter expedition along the Norwegian coast, your journey ends in Dover, England.

Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover Expedition Cruise from the Northern Lights to Dover
  • Day 1
    Tromsø, Norway - Full day

    Gateway to the Arctic

    Welcome to your winter adventure to Dover, starting in Tromsø. 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.’ 

    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. 

    Sailing north towards North Cape, spending time out on deck will give you the best chances at seeing the magical Northern Lights. Since you are above the Arctic Circle during wintertime, daylight tends to be in short supply, which means more opportunities for the aurora to appear in the night sky.

    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.

    Day 1
    Tromsø, Norway - Full day

    Gateway to the Arctic

  • Day 2
    Honningsvåg, Norway - Half day

    At the edge of Europe

    Start the day by arriving at the small town of Honningsvåg. You’ll now visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion. 

    The scenic bus ride from Honningsvåg passes small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 2,100 kilometres away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between. 

    Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze out across the sparkling sea. The North Cape is the closest you may ever get to the top of the world. There’s the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument to snap before visiting the North Cape Hall for several exhibits and a short film which chronicle the history of the cape.      Back in Honningsvåg, enjoy a stroll by the pretty harbour, browsing the charming shops, houses and church. Like many towns in northern Norway, fishing is the main source of income here. The local restaurants offer fresh fish and seafood, with king crabs available all year round. This is the ship’s turning point and from here, we start our return trip southbound.

    • Included Honningsvåg - The North Cape
    Day 2
    Honningsvåg, Norway - Half day

    At the edge of Europe

  • Day 3-4
    Alta, Norway

    The City of the Northern Lights

    Alta lies well above the Arctic Circle at 70 degrees north. This is one of the northernmost towns in the world with a population over 10,000 and the biggest city in the vast wilderness of Troms and Finnmark County, making it the perfect destination for winter activities.  

    We’ll arrive here early in the morning and we’ll stay until tomorrow afternoon. 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, situated at the end of a cute pedestrian street. The titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here, all the more impressive when illuminated at night.  

    You’ll also find an interactive exhibition in the cathedral 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.  

    The following day you’ll explore Alta even further. Alta is home to many dogsledding teams, some of which compete in the biggest races in the world. You can visit one of the teams during an optional excursion, go on snowmobile tours, mountain hiking or riding snow-suitable fat bikes in the hills around Alta.  

    Troms and Finnmark county also forms part of the traditional lands of the indigenous Sámi whose livelihoods revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Not far from Alta is Máze, a Sámi village located along Kautokeino River, that you can visit and experience Sámi culture and food 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. For example, the ice hotel in Sorrisniva has a new design every year and is open to visitors for tours. You will also be able to join optional excursions to go snowshoeing and hiking in the incredible tundra wilderness. 

    • Included Experience the Northern Lights Cathedral
    Day 3-4
    Alta, Norway

    The City of the Northern Lights

  • Day 5
    Senja, Norway - Full day

    Microcosm of Norway

    Today, we dock at Senja, one of the most ruggedly beautiful and less-visited islands in Norway. You’ll be awestruck by the scenery on display here and understand why it made CNN travel’s list for ’10 of the world’s most beautiful islands’. 

    We will find a location to drop anchor, possibly on one of the ports on the outside if weather permits. Should the weather be rough, we might move to Finnsnes. Either way, everything is set for a great day for exploring. 

     Senja is Norway’s second largest island but counts fewer than 8,000 inhabitants, most of whom are employed in fishing and aquaculture. The Captain will decide on a location to drop anchor or a port where we can dock. Should weather be rough on the outer coastal side, we’ll seek shelter in the bays or inlets. 

    Sometimes referred to as ‘Norway in miniature’, the island boasts diverse landscapes that seem to change in the blink of an eye. Senja’s northern coastline is characterised by lofty mountains plummeting straight into the sea, interspersed with isolated coves and sandy beaches that fringe crystal clear turquoise waters.

    Southern Senja is distinguished by rocky coastline and pine forests and is home to Ånderdalen National Park. The eastern side of Senja has gentler, more forgiving landscapes with rolling hills and birch forests.

    • Included Tasting Senja
    Day 5
    Senja, Norway - Full day

    Microcosm of Norway

  • Day 6
    Reine, Norway - Full day

    Idyllic island life

    In the morning, we dock into the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted, snow-covered rorbuer cling to a string of islands beneath sharp, dark grey 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. You’ll be hoping the Northern Lights are active above the village when we are there, completing the composition of your own photo of this piece of paradise.  

    After marveling at the scenery and discovering pretty Reine, 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, we return to Reine where there may be optional excursions to go on hikes with the Expedition Team or even try some winter kayaking. The views here will certainly tempt you to sign up to either. You’ll then rejoin 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, Norway - Full day

    Idyllic island life

  • Day 7
    Sea day

    Scenic nature and mythical mountains

    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, characterised by pointed mountains, and thousands of islands.  

    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. 

    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 7
    Sea day

    Scenic nature and mythical mountains

  • Day 8
    Loen, Norway - 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.  

    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 metre 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 8
    Loen, Norway - Anchored - Full day

    Fjord side to mountain top in five

  • Day 9
    Kalvåg, Norway - Half day

    The hidden ‘Frozen Bay’

    We’ll dock at the little fishing village of Kalvåg after breakfast, situated far out on the coastline with the open North Sea to the west. Its name literally means ‘Frozen Bay’ in the Old Norse. This probably gives you an indication that it isn’t always possible for our ship to make a landing here and that it does depends on the local weather and sea conditions at the time.  

    If and when you do come ashore here, you’ll discover one of the best kept secrets of the Norwegian coast. No other expedition ships visit Kalvåg so you can expect a warm welcome as you experience an authentic slice of community life.  

    As part of our traditional Norwegian coastal voyage, our Captains have sailed these waters for decades, always wishing there was time to stop and show you around this oh-so-charming village. We’ve listened to their expert recommendation and that’s now exactly what you’ll get to do on this expedition cruise. 

    Admire an open-air art exhibition and walk around Kalvåg’s collection of old waterfront buildings, from restored wooden wharfs to herring salting warehouses. Cosy-looking houses cluster together around the bay, the reflections of their lights shimmering like candles in the waters below. The wonderful wintery atmosphere is even more captivating if you come when the village is coated with a snug blanket of snow. 

    Day 9
    Kalvåg, Norway - Half day

    The hidden ‘Frozen Bay’

  • Day 10
    At sea

    Headed for the UK

    Your expedition cruise 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 about. 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 10
    At sea

    Headed for the UK

  • Day 11
    Harlingen, The Netherlands

    One of Friesland’s 11

    Harlingen is one of the 11 cities of Friesland. Its harbour was the only seagoing port in Friesland and the area has a strong nautical heritage: fishing, trade, and whaling. Nowadays, Harlingen is the busiest port in the north of the Netherlands. 

    In the Old Town, you can visit the 18th century City Hall, Hannemahuis Museum, Blauwe Hand - the city’s oldest warehouse, and St Michael’s Church.  

    Explore the old harbours of Noorderhaven and Zuiderhaven, where you’ll see historic warehouses and a fleet of traditional sailing ships. Out by Zuider Pier, look out for the life-sized sculpture of a sperm whale, which spouts a powerful stream of water into the air at regular intervals. 

    The 16th century Arctic explorer, William Barents, was born on the nearby island of Terchelling. The reproduction of his expedition ship is a must-see for anybody interested in Arctic exploration. 

    The Harlingen Aardewerk Museum will delight those interested in Frisian pottery. Harlingen is home to the last traditional pottery factory in the Netherlands, still using the original majolica technique, entirely handmade and painted with tin glaze. This style has been used since 1598, and the local tiles and ceramics make for wonderfully original souvenirs. 

    Day 11
    Harlingen, The Netherlands

    One of Friesland’s 11

  • Day 12
    Dover, UK

    The White Cliffs of Dover

    We pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After a final breakfast, it’ll be time to say a fond farewell to the ship, the Captain, crew, Expedition Team, and your new-found friends. For our part, we look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon!  

    As you head ashore, you’ll take with you special memories of Norway in winter: wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.  

    Dover acts as the gateway to 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 12
    Dover, UK

    The White Cliffs of Dover


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 and indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

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

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


  • 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

Explore other destinations: