Norwegian cruise line Havila Voyages has announced details of three new astronomy themed sailings hosted by lecturers from the Royal Astronomical Society.
Designed for travellers who are curious about the sky at night and want to learn more about the Northern Lights, star constellations and space missions, the sailings will be on the classic Norwegian coastal route between Bergen and Kirkenes.
Havila operates a fleet of four modern eco-friendly ships that are geared to maximise opportunities for spotting the Aurora Borealis which dance across the sky on cold, clear nights. The ships have large panoramic windows, and the observation lounge has a glass roof and reclining chairs so passengers can stay warm while looking out for the lights. There is also a special button on telephones in all the cabins which guests can press if they want to be woken up when the Northern Lights make an appearance.
The cruises, which have been designed to deepen guests understanding of the universe, depart in February, March and October 2024, sailing for 11 nights from Bergen to Kirkenes and back.
John Zarnecki, a distinguished English space scientist and former President of the Royal Astronomical Society, will join the voyage departing on 2nd March. John’s lectures will cover an array of fascinating subjects such as spacecraft and cosmic creatures as well as asking the age-old question: “Are we alone?”
Ian Ridpath editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy will be special guest on the 1st February and 30th October cruises. He will lecture on a wide range of subjects including the Northern Lights, comets, stars and the Apollo space missions. Both lecturers will offer hints and tips on spotting the Northern Lights and be on hand to explain more about the spectacle as it happens.
Havila Voyages is so confident the aurora will be visible from their ships that the line offers a Northern Lights Promise for all winter cruises, including the astronomy departures. If the light show doesn’t appear on an 11 night voyage between August and March, guests can enjoy a free six or seven-night cruise the following winter.
The astronomy cruises also feature an array of guided shore excursions including husky dog sledding, visiting the remote North Cape headland or exploring the snow hotel in Kirkenes.
The cruises cost from £1,058 per person full board, based on two sharing a cabin. The optional lecture programme costs an additional £250 per person.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Havila Voyages