We finally saw the Light(s)!

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Cruise

Location

Date of travel

February, 2022

Product name

An Arctic Aurora cruise on the Spirit of Discovery

Product country

Norway

Product city

Several

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Have you ever set off on a holiday with a specific objective, not having any idea whether you might actually achieve it? That certainly was the case for us as we departed on the Saga cruise “An Arctic Aurora”, hoping we would see the Northern Lights (one of the things on our bucket list!) but nowhere near certain that we would!

We chose this particular cruise, due to stop at ports along the Norwegian coast, as we had been on the Spirit of Discovery before (see my review of August 2019) and really looked forward to this opportunity to travel again on such a beautiful ship. So much so that we even chose the same cabin and same dinner table as we had the first time!

The first real difference between this cruise and the previous one was the weather. Of course we were heading north to colder climes, not south to the sun. No sitting out on deck enjoying the Mediterranean heat! No cocktails at the sail-away party!! The seas were also less friendly than before so the first couple of days were spent inside, getting our sea legs. The northbound ports of call each offered interesting excursions, from the Sunnmore Open Air Museum in Alesund, to the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso, and of course to the monument on the North Cape marking the northernmost point of mainland Europe, where we really felt the cold wind! Otherwise, the weather was mostly good, not too cold, and didn’t prevent our enjoyment of the visits.

Heading south again, the ship docked in Alta for two nights to allow for evening excursions to a dark sky area where the Lights may be visible. We had no idea what to expect, but were absolutely delighted as we got off our coach to see colours in the sky starting to appear. We were treated to around 45 minutes’ worth of ever-changing patterns, shapes and colours in the sky, and could hardly believe that we had actually seen what we had come for. It was wonderful – literally – and with many photos as souvenirs!
Setting sail again the next evening, so happy to have seen the Aurora, we were overjoyed to hear that there were once again colours in the sky, so never mind the evening entertainment, everyone was out on deck again taking photos and enjoying the spectacle. Not only one experience of the Lights, but two! Double success!

Having been reindeer-sledding in Alta and visited an Igloo Hotel, there was one further stop on the way home at Kristiansund, where we travelled over the precarious bridges along the Atlantic Ocean Road, before two further days sailing back to Southampton. Again, the weather and seas weren’t very kind to us as we had to spend the majority of the time indoors, but we accepted that travelling north to the Arctic was never going to be a sunshine experience.

The Spirit of Discovery is an outstanding ship, and it was an excellent cruise to a country new to us. We saw and did many different things especially having been so fortunate to see the Lights on two separate occasions. Had we not seen them we may have felt differently, but as I said earlier, you set off more with hope than certainty. Fortunately for us, this particular trip turned out to be perfect!

David

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