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Northern Lights tour in Northern Norway 2020

Join a unique winter adventure in Northern Norway! In the beginning of 2020, we will head into the fjords outside the small towns Tromsø and Alta to enjoy a grand natural wonderland and hopefully experience the magical Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). If we are lucky this expedition will also offer exclusive encounters with orcas and humpback whales! In addition, we visit the coastal town of Alta and the village of Kautokeino in Northern Sápmi (Lapland). We stay at an ice hotel, learn more about the Sami culture and visit the spectacular Northern Lights Cathedral. 

Accommodation: Cabin on board M/S Quest, hotel in Alta and Kautokeino. Transport: Expedition ship, Zodiacs, bus. Ship: M/S Quest. Guides: 5 guides. Passengers: 53 passengers. Languages: English & Swedish. Length: 7 days, 4 nights on ship. Price: From USD 3 590. Departures: 17 January 2020, 19 January 2020, 25 January 2020

Itinerary

About the itinerary

During this expedition we spend four nights on board the small and comfortable expedition ship M/S Quest. In true expedition style, the itinerary is flexible due to weather and possible whale encounters. We also stay one night at the ice hotel in Alta and one in the remote village of Kautokeino in the heart of Lapland in the beginning or the end of the trip, depending on departure date.

Tromsø

The expedition starts or ends in the city of Tromsø (see departures), located 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, and beautifully framed by fjords and mountains peaks. The city has been the starting point for many polar expeditions and was referred to as “the Gateway to the Arctic” in the 1800s.

Expedition cruising with M/S Quest

We are now on an expedition cruise and our itinerary is flexible due to weather and wildlife. We travel during the second half of January, when the sun has just returned, giving us direct sunlight for a short time each day. For those who are interested in photography, the light this time of year is captivating. Even when the sun is below the horizon, we can enjoy enchanting dusks and dawns.

In clear weather we have good chances to see the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) dance in the sky. This region is known as one of the best destinations if you dream about watching this fascinating phenomenon. Watching the greenish light dancing above our ship in the smooth, protected waters of the fjords is an extraordinary experience!

Since 2010, huge shoals of herring have overwintered in the fjords around Tromsø and Alta, which has attracted many orcas, but also humpback whales. As with any wild animals, it is difficult to predict if they will return the winter of 2019/2020, but with some luck we will experience unforgettable encounters with these incredible marine mammals.

During the trip, we hope to be fortunate to see both Northern Lights and whales, but when the opportunity arises, we will head out on exciting Zodiac cruises and go ashore to explore Tromsø’s dramatic islands up close. The snow-covered mountain peaks offer marvellous sceneries together with the small picturesque houses and the beautiful fjords. The area is also a popular haunt for white-tailed eagles. Rebbenesøya, Skorpa, Ringvassøya and Seiland are examples on places we hope to explore.

On board, we listen to inspiring lectures, enjoy delicious food and keep a lookout for wildlife and Northern Lights out on deck.

Alta – The Ice Hotel & the Cathedral

The little coastal town of Alta, framed by high mountains and beautiful fjords is located an overnight journey with ship from Tromsø. The town is also known as the city of the Northern Lights. Here you have great chances of seeing the Northern Lights, but it was also in Alta that Kristian Birkeland in 1899 built the world’s first Northern Lights observatory. Of course, we explore the spectacular Northern Lights Cathedral! Alta has a long history of slate and during the day we visit a slate quarry to learn more about the handcraft. Our day ends with a dinner composed of local ingredients and a good night’s sleep at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel – made of snow and ice. It is an unforgettable and surreal experience to fall asleep in a warm sleeping bag surrounded by ice.

Kautokeino – Wilderness & Sami culture

This day, we head out in the wilderness of Finnmarken. After a couple of hours bus ride from Alta we reach a Sami camp, located in the heart of Sápmi (Lapland) - the region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people. Here we learn more about the Sami culture and enjoy a typical Sami lunch in a Lavvu. We then check in at the beautifully located Thon Hotel Kautokeino, where we spend the night, enjoy a delicious dinner and keep a look out for the Northern Lights.

Please note: The exact route will depend on weather and possible whale encounters. The captain and the expedition leader will do everything to maximise our experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!

The ship M/S Quest

  • Elke Lindner
  • Christian Engelke
  • Niklas Nilsson
  • Panorama lounge
    Niklas Nilsson
  • Panorama lounge
    Niklas Nilsson
  • Åsa Lindgren
  • Owner's Cabin
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Double Cabin Superior
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Double Cabin Superior
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Double Cabin
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Double Cabin
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Twin Cabin Plus
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Twin Cabin
    Eirik Grønningsæter
  • Triple Cabin
    Eirik Grønningsæter

A COMFORTABLE EXPEDITION SHIP WITH A WONDERFUL CREW

The ship was built in Denmark in 1992 to serve as a ferry on Greenland’s west coast. In 2004/2005 she was completely refurbished into a comfortable expedition ship and in 2018 she underwent a renovation of the passenger areas. M/S Quest takes 53 passengers and all 26 cabins are outside cabins with private facilities. The triple cabins have upper and lower berths. All other cabins have two lower berths or a double bed. In your cabin you find a desk with a chair and a cupboard for storage. The superior cabins are spacious and have armchairs and TV. The owner’s cabin has a double bed, two large picture windows, a separate seating area and TV. 

In the dining room you are treated to delicious meals in between landings and in the panorama lounge you can enjoy breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape. Here you can listen to entertaining talks on the area’s flora, fauna and history. In the lounge you also find a bar and a small library. The ship has spacious observation decks, where you can enjoy the beautiful vistas. Passengers are welcome on the bridge around the clock and there is always something to see or search for. You are welcomed by an international crew and the atmosphere is relaxed and very friendly. There are five Zodiacs and five guides on board M/S Quest.

It is always possible to share a cabin on board M/S Quest. All cabins have windows and private facilities.

Cabins & prices

Cabin category Price per person
Triple cabin (upper/lower beds) USD 3 590
Twin cabin (2 twin beds) USD 4 390
Twin cabin Plus (2 twin beds) USD 4 590
Double cabin (double bed) USD 4 590
Double cabin Superior (large double bed)* USD 4 990
Owner's cabin (large double bed) USD 5 390
Twin cabin for single use USD 7 190

Program 17 – 23 January 2020
Day 1: Embarkation in Tromsø at 16:00.
Day 2 – 4: Expedition cruise.
Day 5: We arrive in Alta and travel by bus to Kautokeino where we stay one night at Thon Hotel.
Day 6: It is time to head back for Alta and stay one night at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel.
Day 7: After breakfast, a transfer takes us to the airport in Alta and we begin our journey home.

Program 19 – 25 January 2020
Day 1: At 11:30 we gather for lunch in Alta and stay at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel during the night. (If you choose to arrive one day earlier, PolarQuest can help with hotel arrangements.)
Day 2: We travel by bus to Kautokeino where we stay at Thon Hotel.
Day 3: It is time to head back for Alta where we embark our expediton ship.
Day 4 – 6: Expedition cruise.
Day 7: After breakfast, a transfer takes us to the airport in Tromsø and we begin our journey home.

Program 25 – 31 January 2020
Day 1: Embarkation in Tromsø at 16:00.
Day 2 – 4: Expedition cruise.
Day 5: We arrive in Alta and travel by bus to Kautokeino where we stay one night at Thon Hotel.
Day 6: It is time to head back for Alta and stay one night at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel.
Day 7: After breakfast, a transfer takes us to the airport in Alta and we begin our journey home.

Price includes

  • 4 nights on board M/S Quest
  • 1 night at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta
  • 1 night at Thon Hotel Kautokeino
  • All meals
  • Coffee and tea
  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides
  • Guiding ashore and talks on board
  • All excursions and activities
  • Comprehensive information material before the expedition
  • The trip is climate compensated

Not included

  • Flight to/from Tromsø/Alta
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • The customary gratuity to the ship’s crew
  • Personal expenses such as bar and shop charges

Departures & booking

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.

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Departure Return
17 January 2020 23 January 2020
19 January 2020 25 January 2020
25 January 2020 31 January 2020