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Northern Lights

Northern Lights

No Fly Cruise
11 nights from £1599pp

Mid size Ship Holiday
  • Alta Cathedral

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Northern Lights Itinerary

Day 1 - Liverpool

From world-class attractions and sports to legendary music, Liverpool offers old-world charm with modern sophistication, underpinned by a rich cultural history.

Day 2 - Belfast

Before English and Scottish settlers arrived in the 1600s, Belfast was a tiny village called Béal Feirste ("sandbank ford") belonging to Ulster's ancient O'Neill clan. With the advent of the Plantation period (when settlers arrived in the 1600s), Sir Arthur Chichester, from Devon in southwestern England, received the city from the English Crown, and his son was made Earl of Donegall. Huguenots fleeing persecution from France settled near here, bringing their valuable linen-work skills. In the 18th century, Belfast underwent a phenomenal expansion—its population doubled every 10 years, despite an ever-present sectarian divide. Although the Anglican gentry despised the Presbyterian artisans—who, in turn, distrusted the native Catholics—Belfast's growth continued at a dizzying speed. The city was a great Victorian success story, an industrial boomtown whose prosperity was built on trade, especially linen and shipbuilding. Famously (or infamously), the Titanic was built here, giving Belfast, for a time, the nickname "Titanic Town." Having laid the foundation stone of the city's university in 1845, Queen Victoria returned to Belfast in 1849 (she is recalled in the names of buildings, streets, bars, monuments, and other places around the city), and in the same year, the university opened under the name Queen's College. Nearly 40 years later, in 1888, Victoria granted Belfast its city charter. Today its population is nearly 300,000, tourist numbers have increased, and this dramatically transformed city is enjoying an unparalleled renaissance.This is all a welcome change from the period when news about Belfast meant reports about "the Troubles." Since the 1994 ceasefire, Northern Ireland's capital city has benefited from major hotel investment, gentrified quaysides (or strands), a sophisticated new performing arts center, and major initiatives to boost tourism. Although the 1996 bombing of offices at Canary Wharf in London disrupted the 1994 peace agreement, the ceasefire was officially reestablished on July 20, 1997, and this embattled city began its quest for a newfound identity.Since 2008, the city has restored all its major public buildings such as museums, churches, theaters, City Hall, Ulster Hall—and even the glorious Crown Bar—spending millions of pounds on its built heritage. A gaol that at the height of the Troubles held some of the most notorious murderers involved in paramilitary violence is now a major visitor attraction.Belfast's city center is made up of three roughly contiguous areas that are easy to navigate on foot. From the south end to the north, it's about an hour's leisurely walk.

Day 4 - Ålesund

The coastal town of Ålesund is the commercial capital of the Møre og Romsdal district. But more important, it is noted for its characteristic Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) buildings, which some claim make Ålesund one of the most beautiful towns in Norway. This Art Nouveau style emerged when the town was completely rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1904 destroyed nearly 800 buildings and left 10,000 residents homeless. It is said that the fire started by a tipped oil lamp. Rebuilding was carried out with the help of many young, foreign architects who added their own flourishes to the architectural blend of German Jugendstil and Viking roots. Today, narrow streets are crammed with buildings topped with turrets, spires and gables that bear decorations of dragonheads and curlicues. As one of the few remaining Art Nouveau towns in the world, in 1998 Ålesund was awarded the coveted Houens National Memorial Prize for the preservation of its unique architecture.

Day 5 - Cruising Torghatten

Day 5 - Cruising Seven Sisters mountain range

Day 5 - Crossing the Arctic Circle

Day 6 - Tromsø

With its centre located on the island of Tromsø, the municipality of Tromsø is more than five times the size of Norway’s capital, Oslo, and is the world’s northernmost university city. Lying 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle, it is known as the 'Gateway to the Arctic' because it was used as a starting point for hunters looking for Arctic foxes, polar bears and seals. In the 19th century it was a base for explorers on Arctic expeditions – a history that is remembered in the city’s Polar Museum, which you can visit on an excursion. Also commemorated in the area is the history of Norway’s indigenous people, the Sami. Visitors can learn about the traditions, heritage and modern preservation of the Sami culture at the Tromsø Museum. Nowadays, Tromsø is a charming mix of old and new, with wooden buildings sitting alongside contemporary architecture such as the impressive glacier-like Arctic Cathedral, which features one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe. Looking down on the city is Mount Storsteinen, and a cable car runs to the top, giving wonderful views over the surrounding countryside of forested peaks and reindeer pastures.

Day 7 - Alta

People have been attracted to the community of Alta for thousands of years, and prehistoric rock carvings discovered in 1973 can be seen at the Alta Museum. Situated at the head of the Altafjord, it is a lush, green and hospitable shelter in the otherwise cold and windswept Finnmark landscape. Halfway between the grim, barren mountain plateau and the wet, stormy coast, Alta offers tree-clad valleys, pleasant temperatures and no more rain than the Sahara. However at 70 degrees North it is quite a different story in winter, when heavy snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures are the order of the day, and clear dark night skies become the arena for dazzling displays of the elusive Aurora Borealis, also referred to as 'the temperamental lady' by Laplanders. The world’s first Northern Lights Observatory, which played an important role in the development of geophysical and meteorological research during the first half of the 20th century, is located just 12 miles from Alta. Perched atop Haldde Mountain, it towers almost 3,000 feet above Kafjord, where the battleship Tirpitz was based during the Second World War.

Day 8 - Sortland, Vesteralen Islands

Sortland is a town in Norway's Nordland county, in the region of Vesterålen. The Norwegian Coastguard has a base here, and it is also a popular place for observing the Northern Lights. The town is the location of the Sortland Bridge, which provides a road connection between Langøya and Hinnøya by road. Sortland is sometimes nicknamed the Blue City, as many of its houses are painted in that colour.

Day 9 - Bodø

The capital of Nordland is a peaceful city, but beneath the surface lies a fascinating and colourful military past. During the Cold War it was an important NATO base, stationing fighter jets to intercept Soviet naval vessels and aircraft. The situation culminated when Premier Kruschev threatened to destroy Bodø with nuclear weapons after a CIA U-2 spy plane bound for the city was shot down over the Soviet Union. You can learn more about the city's Cold War history at the Norwegian Aviation Museum, which is uniquely designed to resemble a biplane and houses an intact U-2 plane, a Spitfire, a rare Hønningstad C-5 polar seaplane and many other interesting exhibits. As well as its military heritage, Bodø boasts the world's strongest maelstrom at Saltstraumen, which attracts a host of visitors every year.

Day 12 - Liverpool

From world-class attractions and sports to legendary music, Liverpool offers old-world charm with modern sophistication, underpinned by a rich cultural history.

FR182 Operated by Fred Olsen


2022 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • November
    • Nov 13th - Liverpool and back - Sailing on: Borealis From: £1599
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