PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Willingness to compromise on comfort is a basic requirement on board a historic sailing vessel. Important information about the sailing program: The boat is equipped with sails to be used in good conditions (based on open sea, water depth, wind, and time). This is not guaranteed. The captain decides whether to use the sails or the engine. There is no claim to one or the other propulsion method. If sails are used, the crew operates them. Guests must follow the safety instructions of the team. The average cruising speed for s/v Noorderlicht is 6 knotsThe North Norway cruise follows the path of more than one kind of whale as it travels amongst the fjords of Troms. The long Norway nights offer travellers on this expedition an excellent chance to take in the beauty and wonder of the Northern Lights.
South route: (around Senja)
Day 1: Paris of the North
Your adventure begins in Tromsø, nicknamed the “Paris of the North,” located in an area rich with Norse and Sámi history.
Enjoy exploring this sub-Arctic Norwegian town, said to have been inhabited since the last ice age.
All voyages with s/v Rembrandt van Rijn aim at departing from Tromsø in the evening of day one, while s/v Noorderlicht will set sail in the early morning of day two. All passengers of Rembrandt are kindly asked to board the vessel by 17:00, while passengers of Noorderlicht are welcome to board the vessel between 17:00 and 23:00.
Day 2: In search of Norway’s whales
The itinerary depends largely on the weather conditions, the amount of daylight during the voyage, and the expected location of the whales.
You might sail clockwise or counter-clockwise around the island of Senja.
Day 3 – 6: Whales of the shelf
You spend the next several days along the north coasts of Senja and Andfjorden, areas where many whales have been spotted in recent years.
Keep a look out for sperm whales and other whale species here. Near Andenes, along the edge of the continental shelf, whales dive particularly deep to feed on giant squid.
You may also see white-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey in Europe, vying for their share of the herring. In the afternoon, you find a place for the night in one of the scenic fishing villages nearby, such as Skrolsvik, Andenes, Gryllefjorden, Hamn and/ or Sommarøy.
Once the sun has set, you can make short hikes along the coast or in small villages – and maybe even catch sight of the aurora.
Day 7 – 8: Under the northern lights
Continuing your circumnavigation of Senja, you sail to the small island of Sommarøy. Here there are good opportunities to see the northern lights as well as embark on pleasant hikes.
You spend the last morning of the cruise exploring the island’s small bays and white beaches.
On day seven, you sail back to Tromsø and arrive around midday. You’ll have enough time to shop for souvenirs in town, visit a museum, or simply take a walk in the fresh winter air.
After spending the last night on board, you disembark on day eight (Saturday) with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Important note: Tromsø is the base and gateway in which our voyages start and end
These voyages focus on viewing the aurora borealis and whales, and the expedition leader determines the final itinerary to be intruced during the welcome briefing on day one.
The map shows two possible routes that we may take in order to raise our chances for wildlife sightings:
One route (the described one) heads south around the island of Senja, mainly in the period from mid-January till March.
The other route (represented by the dotted line) heads north to the Kvaenangen fjord, very likely to be visited during November to mid-January.
Because of the seasonal occurrence of herring and whales in these fjords, the whale safari cruises take place in winter, when the Northern Norway days are short and the nights long.
Whale watching (orcas and humpbacks) is highly dependent on the variable herring stocks in the area, and this is ultimately unpredictable. Other whales (i.e., sperm whales) are not dependent on herring, which is why we have a good chance of seeing them in specific areas, such as along the south route near Andenes.
Our chances of seeing orcas are minimal, while the odds of encountering other species (for instance, humpbacks) are higher. The expedition leader will adapt the sailing plan to maximize your chances of seeing whales.
Additional note: The coasts and fjords of Norway are renowned for their beauty
In the far north of the country, about 350 km (217 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, lie the islands of Kvaløya and Senja. Enormous schools of herring gather in the fjords around these islands to live out the winter.
This abundance of food creates one of the largest concentrations of biomass on Earth, which in turn attracts large numbers of whales. It is these giants of the sea that this voyage is dedicated to finding.
During winter the daylight is limited, but the nighttime hours are far from wasted: North Norway is one of the best areas in the world to see the northern lights, a magical phenomenon that can only be fully appreciated when the sky is clear and dark, with minimal light pollution.
This voyage offers ample opportunities to admire the auroras from the remote bays and fishing villages where you’ll spend the night.
Highlights you might experience
s/v Noorderlicht is well suited for sailing among small islands and offers good open-deck viewing areas, also when under sail. Full ship info >>
Cabins & Prices
- 1 upper / lower berth
- Shared shower & toilet
- Wash basin
- Storage space
- Frosted glass in the cabin ceilings which provides some daylight into the cabins.
- All cabins have shared shower & toilet facilities
- s/v Noorderlicht has 4 showers and 5 toilets onboard which are conveniently located
Share your cabin with others for the best price
Price for the complete cabin occupied by 1 person (1.7x the shared rate).
Price for the complete cabin, fully occupied.