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Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, or the aurora Borealis, are caused by eruptions on the sun and can only be seen when it is dark. This means that cruises in May - July, when it is light almost all day, have little chance of seeing the Aurora, but in September and October, and even into November, you can witness the amazing natural phenomenon.

Aurora Borealis Forecast Remarkably the US Space Weather Prediction Centre has created an Aurora Borealis prediction system, where you can a 3 day prediction of your chances to see the Northern (or Southern) Lights, the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis - To find out more about your chances of seeing the northern lights , click Aurora Borealis prediction .

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7 of the Best Northern Lights Cruises

Set sail on these itineraries to try to spot the aurora borealis.

northern lights cruise small ship

If seeing the northern lights , also known as the aurora borealis, is on your travel list, you've probably already looked into the best places to see them : northern destinations like Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland , and Scandinavia among them. But have you ever considered visiting those destinations by sea rather than land? Many cruise lines not only offer itineraries to those regions but also offer northern lights-specific sailings, too. Cruising is particularly appealing for northern lights seekers because the ships can access remote areas without light pollution, allowing guests to see the aurora in its full brilliance. So if you haven't yet seen the northern lights — or if you're looking to see them again — here are seven northern lights cruises to help you accomplish your goal.

Viking: In Search of the Northern Lights Images

Over the course of 13 days, a luxurious Viking ocean ship transports guests from London to Amsterdam , then all the way up the coast of Norway and north of the Arctic Circle, before returning back south to the Norwegian city of Bergen. (Although some sailings operate in reverse.) The Norwegian fjords themselves are a sight to behold — and if they're paired with the northern lights, that's all the better! The sailings run from January to March when daylight is limited in the Arctic Circle, making for prime aurora opportunities. Rates start from $4,999 per person in 2023, and it should be noted that Viking is an adults-only cruise line.

Aurora Expeditions: Northern Lights Explorer

Considering the cruise line is named after the atmospheric phenomenon, it should come as no surprise that it offers a northern lights itinerary. At 19 to 22 days long, depending on the departure, there is plenty of time to hope for a northern lights appearance — or two, or three, or more. The sailings start in the northern Norwegian city of Kirkenes before sailing south along the coast, heading back north to the remote archipelago of Jan Mayen (a polar bear hotspot), over to the scenic fjords of East Greenland, and around the northern half of Iceland. The longer itinerary continues with a visit to the Faroe Islands and disembarkation in Bergen, Norway. Aurora offers just one of these sailings per year in September. Rates start from $19,705.50 per person in 2023.

Hurtigruten: The Classic Roundtrip Voyage

Hurtigruten is something of an outlier in this group because it doesn't offer specific northern lights itineraries. But the routes of this coastal ferry company in Norway just happen to traverse the perfect latitudes to see the aurora. In fact, Hurtigruten is so confident you'll see the northern lights during the auroral season (Sept. 26 through March 31) that if they don't show up on a sailing of 11 days or more, the company will give you a free six- or seven-day cruise to try again. For the best odds of seeing the northern lights, we suggest the 12-day round-trip itinerary from Bergen up the coast of Norway and back. Rates start from $2,309 per person in 2023.

Quark Expeditions: Under the Northern Lights

Specializing in polar voyages, Quark Expeditions knows a thing or two about the northern lights, which is why the company offers aurora sailings each fall. These 14-day itineraries cruise from Iceland to Greenland and back from September into early October. As the majority of the voyage takes place above the Arctic Circle, the odds of seeing the northern lights are high, especially as solar activity tends to peak around the autumnal and vernal equinoxes in September and March, respectively. And if they don't show, well, you still get to explore Iceland's Westfjords and Greenland's eastern shores — and that's a worthwhile journey in itself. Rates start from $8,501 per person in 2023.

Oceanwide Expeditions: East Greenland Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis

If you don't have two or three weeks to take off work to go northern lights watching, consider Oceanwide Expeditions' eight-day aurora borealis sailings from Iceland to Greenland and back. The adventure begins in Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland, before heading for Greenland's breathtaking Scoresby Sund, the largest fjord system in the world. If you do have a little more time, you can opt for the 13-day Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis itinerary, which embarks in the Svalbard archipelago before sailing to Greenland and down to Iceland. Both take place in the late summer into early fall, as darkness returns to the skies in the Arctic. Rates for the eight-day itinerary start from $4,600 per person for the 2023 sailings.

Cunard: Norway and Northern Lights

Each fall, one or two of the ships in Cunard's legendary fleet head north for Norway, where guests are treated to scenic cruising along the coast. The 12-day itineraries depart from Southampton, England, before traveling to Alesund, Tromsø, Narvik, and Haugesund, sailing through majestic fjords along the way. Since the ships sail this itinerary from October to November, the skies will be dark enough to see the northern lights, should they decide to appear. In 2023, the voyage will be undertaken by Queen Victoria , while next season, the Queen Mary 2 and the upcoming Queen Anne will take the reins. Rates start from $1,689 per person in 2023.

P&O: Norway

The most affordable option on this list, British cruise line P&O operates 12-day sailings to Norway year-round, but during the auroral season, there's a strong chance you'll see the northern lights while onboard. Guests embark in Southampton, England, before sailing north to Norway, traveling as far north as Tromsø, well north of the Arctic Circle. We recommend splurging on a room with windows for the best northern lights viewing options. However, those in interior cabins can always run up on deck — which you should do anyway to witness the full grandeur of the atmospheric phenomenon. Rates start from $1,385 per person in 2023.

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Northern Lights Cruises

If you’re seeking to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis, on a small ship expedition cruise or active lodge, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated the best northern lights cruises that not only offer you a chance to view the spectacle, but also so much more. Since the aurora borealis cannot ever be guaranteed, you’re sure to score with the wildlife viewing, adventure activities and local culture on these guided, small group trips.

Find the top northern lights cruises listed on this page, or read our advice about timing it right to see them on even more trips.

ON THIS PAGE – Northern Lights Cruises : Why Take Northern Lights Cruise? Timing Your Cruise Greenland Northern Lights Cruises Iceland Northern Lights Cruises Polar Bears & Northern Lights Alaska Northern Lights Cruises Southern Lights Antarctica Cruises View the Top Trips & Start Planning

TITLE PHOTO BY: Anthony Smith from Arctic Sights & Northern Lights

Why Take a Northern Lights Cruise?

Small ship cruises are the ultimate gateway to wilderness. Being on a ship allows you remote anchorages with dark skies that mirror a midnight-blue sea. The captain and his chosen route can be flexible to take advantage of clear-sky weather opportunities and other microclimates common to Arctic regions and fjords. And you get a full-package experience if the skies just don’t cooperate.

Another bonus is that ships are mobile, and able to reach the northernmost latitudes of the Earth. The aurora borealis phenomenon typically occurs between 60 and 75 degrees latitude, which covers the northern parts of Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia; all of Iceland; and the southern part of Greenland. But the auroral oval constantly shifts, so small ships can sometimes vary their route to take advantage of optimum conditions.

Timing Your Northern Lights Cruise

The only drawback to northern lights cruises are that they are not as commonly found deep in the winter months when you are most likely to encounter northern lights. But nine out ten travelers wouldn’t want to be in the northern latitudes of the Earth during that very dark, cold time.

So if you want the full-package experience, an aurora borealis cruise offers the best of the region’s weather, wildlife and culture, with the bonus of seeking to see the night sky light up. Learn about timing it right to see the aurora borealis in the regions we sail below.

northern lights cruise small ship

Our Experts Were Here

You have questions. We have answers.

Seeing Greenland Northern Lights

The majority of our focused northern lights cruises are in Greenland. Here, the aurora borealis can be seen from the end of August to the beginning of April. Aboard Greenland expedition cruises , northern lights themed itineraries usually operate in August, September and October. These routes typically focus their exploration on East Greenland, namely in Scoresby Sund.

If you’re seeking Greenland northern lights, look to several focused trips in this region for your best bets to spot them. A bonus on some: with Reykjavík as an embarkation port, you can explore Iceland pre- or post-cruise for more opportunities.

The later your departure date in the year, the more chance you will have to see the aurora borealis. But you simply never know. AdventureSmith’s specialists witnessed the northern lights (pictured above) during an August North Pole expedition that stopped in Scoresby Sund.

But of course, the northern lights in Greenland can also be seen in many other places like Kangerlussuaq, Disko Bay and Nuuk (all in West Greenland). The top Greenland Northern lights cruises are listed below, but view all our Greenland cruises to see more available itineraries that offer you a chance if timed right.

Find a Northern Lights Cruise

See the top trips to catch the aurora.

Iceland Cruises with Northern Lights

The entire island of Iceland is located in the prime latitude for viewing the aurora borealis. But interestingly, many of our Iceland-only cruises don’t focus on the northern lights. That has a lot to do with the timing of cruises operating here, primarily in the middle-summer months. Instead, look for Iceland Northern lights found primarily on cruise itineraries that also sail north into Greenland. Your greatest likelihood to spot the sky lighting up in Iceland is by booking as early or late into the sailing season as you can. Look to cruises here in April, September or October to have the best chance. View & filter all Iceland cruises by date.

Polar Bear & Northern Lights Tours in Svalbard & Canada

Many travelers have expressed interest in trips that include both the northern lights and polar bears. It is possible to be lucky enough to see both aurora borealis and polar bears in one trip to the Arctic, but never guaranteed. For a higher likelihood of this happening we would recommend taking a Svalbard cruise when there are more hours of darkness.

But the catch is that the Svalbard cruising season primarily occurs in the northern hemisphere’s summer, under the midnight sun, a time when the sun never sets in the Arctic. As such, it is not possible to view the northern lights during this time. Thus, the best time to view the northern lights here is at the end of the summer cruising season in late August and September. View & filter all Svalbard cruises by date.

Another great idea to combine both polar bears and the northern lights on an Arctic tour is the  Tundra Lodge Adventure  on the shores of Canada’s Hudson Bay. This lodge-based basecamp for viewing polar bears is offered later than cruises, into October and November, just when the nights become longer and allow for opportunities to see the aurora borealis as well.

northern lights cruise small ship

Make It Happen

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Northern Lights Alaska Cruise Options

Because the northern lights can be seen as low as 40 degrees latitude and Southeast Alaska is positioned between 55 and 60 degrees, you are well positioned to have a chance. Albeit a small one, we’ve had many passengers experience this phenomenon on a non-themed northern lights Alaska cruise. They just happened to time it right to be lucky!

Read our reviews below to see our travelers spotting the northern lights on late-season departures of the Inside Passage & Glacier Bay Wilderness Cruise , Glacier Bay & Island Adventure Cruise , Denali Backcountry Explorer and Alaska Wildland Collection trips.

To see Alaska northern lights yourself on an Inside Passage small ship cruise , book your cruise as early or late in the cruising season as possible: typically March or late September or October for the best chances. Currently, our Prince William Sound cruise itineraries in a higher latitude are not operating late enough in the season to have as good of a chance for viewing northern lights.

Since Alaska small ship cruises are among our top-selling worldwide, our offerings are continually being updated, so be sure to check back for occasional Alaska winter cruise options. Our travelers have enjoyed nights on deck watching for shooting stars and northern lights, with hot tubs on board many of the ships to ramp up the experience. View & filter all Alaska cruises by date.

See the Alaska Northern Lights

Search for trips with departures in September & October for your best chance.

Aurora Australis – Southern Lights Antarctica Cruises

Even more rarely seen than the northern lights are the southern lights, best seen every 11 years in Antarctica. The southern lights are the most active and visible here during the months of March to September. Since the expedition cruise season winds down in March, it’s rare to find a trip with a focus on seeing the southern lights. But the conditions are lining up for southern lights cruises in 2025, and a special departure of the  Polar Circle Cruise  on March 21, 2025. The captain is lengthening the itinerary to 16 days to take advantage of an optimal chance to view the southern lights as well as many Southern Hemisphere stars and celestial objects, including the Southern Cross and Magellanic clouds. Plus enjoy talks by a professor of astronomy and physics as well as a NASA scientist who are coming aboard. View & filter all Antarctica cruises by date.

The Best Northern Lights Cruises for 2024 & Beyond

Find the top northern lights cruises in 2024 and 2025 here on this page, narrowing down by your travel dates or price range. Or  contact us  for a personalized recommendation and a free quote today.

This 14-day aurora borealis cruise aboard the 128-guest Ocean Adventurer is a bucket list trip. The skies above Greenland’s eastern coast put on some of the world's best aurora displays.

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Hear It from Our Northern Lights Cruise Travelers

Every aspect of this trip was outstanding. The expedition team, the staff aboard, all wonderful. A great adventure for an eighty one year old! Thanks for the opportunity.

We absolutely loved this trip. The planning, communication, and coordination were seamless, and the many people with whom we interacted--from guides to waitstaff, cooks, and drivers--were knowledge, flexible, helpful, and pleasant. They all appeared to enjoy their jobs and to take pleasure in helping us appreciate Alaska's flora, fauna, and stunning natural environment as much as they do.

Can’t say enough nice things. Captain Mike set the tone of the trip and the staff implemented it. There wasn’t a sense of having to move on. If something was interesting, we got immersed in it.

This was a trip of a lifetime. One that I have wanted to take for many years. It completely exceeded any expectations that I may have had! I loved every moment, every place that I experienced! I would have to say that Denali was awe inspiring and the general scenery and wildlife was more than I could have ever expected. This trip and the work done by Leslie at AdventureSmith exceeded all of my expectations!

Every aspect of this trip was outstanding. The expedition team, the staff aboard, all wonderful. I will recommend this trip 100%. Well trained staff, options to stay about or have an "adventure", excellent food, service, knowledge. Enjoyed every second! [I met] some very interesting, well traveled folk, all of whom felt this trips components were outstanding. A great adventure for an eighty one year old! Saw it mentioned in travel section of The Week Magazine. Figured both the glaciers and I were melting and that we better meet soon! Thanks for the opportunity.

Accommodations Review

Comfortable, private, ship staff extraordinary. Having my own stateroom was bliss!

Crew & Guides Review

Anja was one of the most professional leaders I have ever met. She dealt skillfully with both staff and clients...really outstanding!

Traveler Advice

Not as cold as I thought, bring casual clothes for boat...enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Featured in this Traveler Review

  • Arctic Sights & Northern Lights

The lodges varied significantly in terms of locations and special features, but each provided a special environment for experiencing Alaska. The Wilderness Lodge, lacking running water or electricity in the rooms, was challenging in some respects. Getting up at 2:00 am and walking through cold dark woods to common toilet facilities wasn't particularly pleasant, but the lodge's remote location and rustic ambiance compensated. Moreover, two members of our group who had been looking unsuccessfully for the northern lights, accident found them one night on their way to the toilet. Thus a negative became a positive.

Meals Review

The lodges in the Alaska Wildland part of the trip stand out in regard to meals. Chefs at each lodge were both happy to accommodate our "pescatarian" preferences and available to discuss menus and recipes. Indeed, the chef at the Wilderness Lodge spent a good deal of time sharing some recipes we particularly enjoyed. The quality of food at these Wildlands lodges far exceeded our expectations.

Our trip leader in the Wildlands Collections was Christine. We have never met anyone as well-suited for her job as Christine. She brought new meaning to the word "enthusiastic," and she was incredibly well-prepared. She communicated clearly and at the right time so that we were always prepared for next steps and so that we would have an opportunity to share our needs or preferences with her. She seemed able to meet every need. Truly a wonderfully skilled and smart individual. All the guides were knowledgeable and personable--excellent in every respect--but two who stand out in our memories were KayDee in the Alaska Wildlands and Kerstein at the Kantishna Roadhouse. KayDee was remarkable for her flexibility and especially her willingness and ability to fit hikes to the widely varying needs of different individuals. Hiking with Kerstein was like attending a college class in the wilderness, and one taught by a charismatic and exciting teacher. She made even the most drab looking plant or dull rock interesting.

AdventureSmith Explorations Review

Excellent. Tiffany is a marvel of organization and communication. We were never confused or surprised by any of the connections in our complicated trip.

1. Use AdventureSmith. 2. Fly from Kantishna to the park headquarters. 3. Take advantage of every opportunity provided to enjoy the outdoors with guides.

  • Alaska Wildland Collection
  • Denali Backcountry Explorer
  • Kenai Backcountry Lodge
  • Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge
  • Kenai Riverside Lodge
  • Kantishna Roadhouse

Can’t say enough nice things. Captain Mike set the tone of the trip and the staff implemented it. You guys expect a lot from the crew, 7 days, long days, and back at it again with new passengers. The crew NEVER showed a sign of stress or impatience. Half the fun was bantering with the crew. 

Petersburg was a great stop. Just seeing people’s lives in a remote small town was fun. Residents were incredibly friendly and helpful. Norwegian dancers were adorable!!! Bubble net feeding and Northern Lights were a bonus. What I appreciated was that Capt. Mike stayed put. There wasn’t a sense of having to move on.  If something was interesting, we got immersed in it. Mark and Maggy were knowledgeable and fun!  The whole crew was fun. Enjoyed learning about the Tlingit culture. I heard some whining from others.....Kake is not an easy place to visit....but I thought it was necessary. I did a lot of research about the history of Alaska prior to the trip and am ashamed at what the lower 48 did to the native culture. It was a hard reality.

For the most part, it’s a pretty bright group of passengers. Well read. Well educated. Even though I’m told I have a great sense of humor and know I am a bit of a nut, I am an introvert and it’s draining to be around people. I was happy to kayak off on my own and LOVED being able to go up on the bridge.  It was quiet! 

Boat cabins are tiny but beds were very comfy. We were in Sophia. A petty annoyance was only one closet door opened all the way.  The others hit the beds that were too heavy to budge! Drawers didn’t open but a few inches. Annoying, not catastrophic!

Daniel is to be commended. Excellent choices and preparations. Loved the baked goods and desserts. If the early muffins or croissants were warmed up a bit or room temperature, that would make them perfect! Loved all the fresh fruits!

Mark M. was wonderful. So knowledgeable and ENTHUSIASTIC! It was contagious. Great sense of humor and very personable. Was always available. Maggy is a gem. She is so much more than just a naturalist. She could make cleaning fish sound exciting. I never saw her (or the other crew members) without a smile. Her whole face lights up. Her pithy invitations to meals with really bad puns were great. Both she and Mark are great ambassadors for the Dream and for AK. Ranger Julia was delightful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Ms. Alice is a born storyteller. 

All the materials were timely and thorough. We made our own travel plans but the shuttle was ready to go when we arrived In Juneau. The welcome packet was spot-on!

Wear layers. Weather is all over the place!! Pack in soft luggage that can slide under the beds. Bring enough books. Don’t rely on cell phone cameras! It doesn’t even begin to capture the magic of the Northern Lights much less the marvel of bubblenet feeding. First thing we did when we got to Sitka was buy a camera! I prefer to see and remember things thru my eyes not a lens, but when you see a miracle, you may need proof. I loved the show Maggy and Mark put together and REALLY loved that the photos were shared by guests and crew. Michael got a shot of the Northern Lights against the bow of the boat that is breathtaking. Maybe tell folks you will do that so they don’t waste time hiding behind a lens. 

Make sure folks clearly understand how off-the techno grid the trip is. To me it was delightful but a bit unnerving that work and family could not get thru if there was an emergency. Be clear and make sure folks have a second line of defense if there is an unexpected event at home. Also, if music is important, load up an iPod.

Buy Farley Mowat’s Grey Seas Under And Never Cry Wolf. And Four Years Before the Mast.....cant recall the author.  Was republished in the last few years. Grey Seas and Mast are non fiction and gripping. There is a book about Teddy Roosevelt and his trip down the Amazon that inspired me to learn more. Get some good books or movies about your other destinations!

  • Glacier Bay & Island Adventure

This was a trip of a lifetime. One that I have wanted to take for many years. It completely exceeded any expectations that I may have had! I loved every moment, every place that I experienced! I would have to say that Denali was awe inspiring and the general scenery and wildlife was more than I could have ever expected. Oh! And the Aurora Borealis! THAT was amazing! Even with the rain, Alaska was still magical and majestic.

The Kantishna Roadhouse and the Chichagof Dream were both fabulous! Cozy, intimate and without interference from the outside world. The most relaxing 2 weeks of my life.

The quality of meals at Kantishna and aboard the Chichagof Dream was A+!

All of the guides at Kantishna and on the Chichagof were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The entire crew of the Chichagof Dream was amazing!

I have wanted to experience Alaska since the mid-70s! This trip and the work done by Leslie at AdventureSmith exceeded all of my expectations! I wish I had done it earlier in my life!

Don't wait! Go NOW!! Wherever it is that you want to go. GO!!!!

  • Chichagof Dream

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

northern lights cruise small ship

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Northern Lights Cruises

northern lights cruise small ship

Explore Greenland on a Small Ship with 12 Guests

Welcome to scoresby sund: gateway to our northern lights cruises in greenland.

Our Northern Lights cruises in Greenland offer a way to explore with just 12 guests and witness one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Experience the colourful wonder of the northern lights as nature intended in a remote wilderness area with zero light pollution, surrounded by jaw dropping scenery. 

Our Best Northern Lights Cruises In Greenland

northern lights cruise small ship

  • August → October

Greenland northern lights secret atlas

Why Experience The Northern Lights In Greenland?

  • Experience the Northern Lights in an area with zero light pollution. Scoresby Sund is located hundreds of miles from the nearest town making it a haven for dark skies. When the sky is clear the colours are astounding. 
  • Witness the aurora in amongst iceberg filled fjords and epic mountainous landscapes. Perfect for photographers and nature lovers. 
  • During the days explore the wilderness of Scoresby Sund , the longest natural fjord system on the planet on a small ship expedition with just 12 guests.

To find out more about viewing the Northern Lights in Greenland please see our guide.

What causes the Northern Lights?

The northern lights or aurora borealis are polar lights  – natural phenomena that cause coloured lights to dance across the sky. The same phenomena also occur in the southern hemisphere as the southern lights or aurora australis. These celestial lights are the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere.

They can appear in smaller patches, or large, swirling light streams often most commonly in green hues, although on rare occasions they can appear as red, yellow, pink, blue or purple too.

Where Is the Best Place to See the Northern Lights in Greenland?

The Northern lights can be seen all over Greenland. For the best chance to see the Northern Lights, you need to go somewhere with a latitude of over 66 degrees north – roughly the same as the Arctic Circle.

Scoresby Sund has a latitude of  70° north and no light pollution which makes it one of the best destinations for seeing the Northern Lights in Greenland along with its majestic scenery. Our Northern Lights cruises in Greenland offer the perfect way to see this spectacular show. 

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Greenland?

The Northern lights can be seen  during the autumn and winter months from September onwards when there are longer darkness hours.

We often see the Northern lights in September on our East Greenland Explorer Expedition Micro Cruise and Northern Lights Photo Tour.

For more information please see our guide.

What Is the Best Way to Photograph the Northern Lights?

You’ll need a reasonably decent camera to do the northern lights justice – ideally a full-frame camera with a wide-angle lens, and a tripod for keeping the camera steady. Full frame cameras are better for low light photography, and the wide-angle lens will let you capture the stunning Tromsø landscape, as well the northern lights as they shimmer above. If possible, bring a lens that can be set to a fast aperture of a minimum of f4.

Switch to manual mode and turn off the flash, and you’ll have to adapt the shutter speed according to the brightness of the lights on the night. Obviously, it’s not possible to predict the speed or brightness of the northern lights. But, as a guide, if the aurora is bright and fast-moving, then try a shutter speed of between five and ten seconds, between 12-20 seconds if they’re moving more slowly and if it’s very faint then try a speed of around 20-25 seconds.

For the best chance of photographing the Northern Lights see our Northern Lights Photo Tour to explore Scoresby Sund.

What to pack for Northern Lights cruises in Greenland?

Our expedition vessel is very warm and cosy, but when it comes to packing for a northern lights cruise, it’s all about layers. Of course, you’ll need a decent coat (as well as hats, scarves, gloves, etc), but plenty of layers are the key to staying warm as you gaze up at the northern lights.

Make sure to pack:

  • A base layer: Non-breathable fabrics like polyester to keep the heat on your body while drawing sweat off the skin to the exterior of the materia,l so it will evaporate more easily.
  •  Middle layer: Your core insulation, like sweaters, hoodies, down jackets, or fleeces that aren’t too tight under your outer layer.
  • Outer layer: This layer has to weather storms, or at least deal with wind and rain. Unlike your baselayer – you do want your coat to be breathable, so material like gore-tex is a good shout.

Pack thick wool socks to keep the heat in, and a pair of warm, waterproof winter walking boots, ideally with removable spikes for extra grip.

Read more on our What To Pack for an Arctic Cruise post.

Will I definitely see the Northern Lights on my cruise?

Like all natural phenomena we can never guarantee it but when it appears  Scoresby Sund is one of the best places in the world for witnessing the northern lights.

If witnessing the Northern Lights is your main objective we recommend a cruise in the middle to later half of September. 

Travelling in a small group is a more enriching experience than a larger tour group, there’s no crowds to disturb the peace or waiting around to go ashore – there’s space for the whole group in our Zodiacs. And once you’re there, you’ll experience the Arctic wilderness without rushing, in the company of like-minded guests.

Why Choose an Expedition Micro Cruise?

We believe our northern lights cruises on a small ship are the best way to experience Greenland’s wildlife and natural wonders in an intimate, personal and lower-impact way in a warm, comfortable environment.   Our 2 onboard expert expedition guides will take you to explore some of Scoresby Sund’s most remote and beautiful places. With a small group of just 12 guests, our guides will have plenty of time to share their expertise and answer your questions about the geography, history, and wildlife of Norway.

northern lights cruise small ship


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  1. Northern Lights

    Remarkably the US Space Weather Prediction Centre has created an Aurora Borealis prediction system, where you can a 3 day prediction of your chances to see the Northern (or Southern) Lights, the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis - To find out more about your chances of seeing the northern lights, click Aurora Borealis prediction.

  2. 7 Best Northern Lights Cruises

    Midsize and small cruise ship companies offer a variety of Arctic Circle sails during prime northern lights viewing months. While this list is not inclusive, lines to choose from include...

  3. Northern Lights Cruises

    If you’re seeking to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis, on a small ship expedition cruise or active lodge, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated the best northern lights cruises that not only offer you a chance to view the spectacle, but also so much more.

  4. Northern Lights Cruises 2024 & 2025

    Northern Lights cruises. A Northern Lights cruise on Cunard offers you an unparalleled way to explore Norway’s dreamlike fjords, with the added possibility of witnessing the spectacular enigma of the Aurora Borealis - nature’s most spellbinding phenomena.

  5. Northern Lights Cruises In Greenland

    Our Northern Lights cruises in Greenland offer the perfect way to see this spectacular show. When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Greenland? The Northern lights can be seen during the autumn and winter months from September onwards when there are longer darkness hours.