By Elissa Richard
March 8, 2013
While you might be missing the sun’s rays this time of year, rest assured that there’s still plenty of solar activity to be enjoyed—in the form of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis (aka “Northern Lights”) phenomenon.
In fact, the winter and late fall months (from September through March) are the very best time to witness the elusive spectacle light up the night skies, best viewed from points close to the Arctic Circle in spots like Norway, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, and Alaska.
Cruises offer the perfect platform for sneaking a peek, steering spectators away from land-based light pollution and going out to sea for one of the best perspectives of the colorful flashing swirls and zigzags (the lights are actually electrically charged solar particles passing through Earth’s atmosphere).
Best of all, this year and next are predicted to be exceptional ones for solar activity, so get on deck with one of these ships and prepare to marvel at the mysteries of the Arctic night sky.
Small-ship expedition cruise line Adventure Smith Explorations’ newly announced seven-night Scoresby Sund Aurora Borealis voyage (embarks Sept. 6, 2013; rates from $3,850/person) sets sail to the Arctic Circle and the longest fjord in the world at Scoresby Sund, in eastern Greenland. The trip begins in Reykjavik, Iceland, where guests are transferred to the 114-guest Plancius. In addition to scouting the night sky, cruisers can expect encounters with plenty of icebergs, fjords, and wildlife (like snowy owls, musk oxen, and whales).