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Viking introduces winter Arctic cruises

Viking Sky's 13-day itinerary includes seven destinations, with overnights at Tromsø, Alta and Bergen Viking Sky's 13-day itinerary includes seven destinations, with overnights at Tromsø, Alta and Bergen

In a bold move Viking Cruises is introducing a new itinerary that affords travelers the opportunity to see Norway's far north in the winter, prime viewing time for the aurora borealis or northern lights.

Sailing between London Tilbury and Bergen starting in January 2019, 'In Search of the Northern Lights' will establish Viking as the first US cruise line to offer a full-length itinerary in the Arctic Circle in the winter. Six departures are planned.

'Our Nordic heritage is evident in all that we do ... and no other cruise line can show guests this part of the world like we can,' Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said. 'Norway’s landscapes in the winter are truly magnificent, something few North Americans get to witness. I am pleased to offer this exclusive opportunity for our guests to explore my homeland.'

Sailing on Viking’s third 930-passenger ocean ship, Viking Sky, passengers will experience Norway’s beauty and dramatic snow-dusted wilderness, with a chance each day to stargaze and scan the dark skies for the northern lights. On the 13-day cruise, travelers will be able to immerse themselves in northern Europe's culture by visiting seven destinations, with overnights at Tromsø, Alta and Bergen, and an included excursion in each port.

Alta is home to some of northern Europe’s most magnificent natural beauty, and its frequent clear skies make it an ideal place to view the luminous aurora borealis. While there, passengers can visit the nearby native Sami community of Máze for an authentic lunch of local dishes and an exciting ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.

Tromsø offers northern Norway's largest concentration of wooden houses, dating back to 1904, in contrast with modern buildings including the Arctic Cathedral, a stunning triangular building in white and icy blue.

In Stavanger, passengers can explore the Archaeological Museum, where a host in traditional Viking dress will demonstrate essential tools and artifacts of the time period. The Swords in Stone monument commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.

During the Bergen call, passengers can explore the wharf area Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was central to the city's role in the Hanseatic League, and take a gondola ride to see the city and fjord from Mount Ulriken.

Other stops on the cruise are Bodø and Narvik.

Fares for Viking’s new 'In the Search of the Northern Lights' cruise start at $4,999 per person. From now through June 30, US residents can take advantage of an early booking discount of two-for-one cruise fare and $500 off the price of international air.

Posted 28 June 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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