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Why cruise the Arctic Circle in winter? It’s all about the northern lights

Aurora Borealis, Abisko, Sweden
The northern lights are one of winter’s phenomena best seen in the Arctic.
(Getty Images)

Why go on a cruise to the Arctic Circle in winter? To see the northern lights of course. It’s the time of year when small ships ply the Norwegian coast and points north to see brilliant displays of green and purple shards of light.

The best time to go is between October and March, when you have the best chance of seeing them in the dark night sky.

Viking Cruises is jumping into the aurora borealis market with a new cruise called In Search of the Northern Lights. The 13-day tour will sail from London to Bergen, Norway, starting in January 2019, aboard the Viking Sky, which holds 930 passengers.

The itinerary includes seven destinations and overnight stays in Tromso, Alta and Bergen. Passengers can watch the aurora borealis in Alta, share an authentic lunch with locals in the Sami village of Maze, and visit the triangle-shaped Arctic Cathedral in Tromso on this trip.

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Other highlights include a stop at the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger and a gondola ride up Mt. Ulriken at 2,209 feet in elevation.

Viking Cruises will be sailing In Search of the Northern Lights starting in January 2019.
Viking Cruises will be sailing In Search of the Northern Lights starting in January 2019.
(Viking Cruises)

Prices start at $4,999 per person, based on double occupancy. It includes a stateroom with veranda, shore excursions, meals, port charges and taxes. It also covers beer and wine with meals, Wi-Fi and access to the Thermal Suite in the on-board Spa. Info: Viking Cruises, (855) 884-5464 or contact a travel agent.

The Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten offers the “largest selection of Arctic winter cruise dates,” according to Cruise Critic. It also has a cruise called In Search of the Northern Lights that focuses on an area between Tromso and Bergen, and makes other coastal stops as well. Six-day cruises start at $965 per person, based on double occupancy, and sail starting November and December. Info: Hurtigruten, (866) 552-0371

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Cruise Critic also recommends checking out Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Marco Polo Cruises and Saga Cruises.

travel@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimestravel

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