Due to strong solar activity, the coming Norwegian winter promises a particularly impressive Northern Lights season, according to Hurtigruten. Thus, the company said that a winter voyage on one of its ships offers the optimum conditions for observing polar light phenomena.

In addition, Hurtigruten offer what it calls many and varied activities by land and sea, including pre- and post-cruise programs to experience winter in Norway.

The company cited solar scientist Paal Brekke of the Norwegian Space Research Center who has reported optimum conditions for Northern Lights observations this winter: "It is highly probable that we shall be seeing even more of the Northern Lights between September 2012 and April 2013 than we did last winter, because solar activity, which varies over an 11 year cycle and affects the intensity of the Northern Lights, is expected to reach a new climax in the coming season," he said in a prepared statement.

In addition to sky watching from the ship's deck, Hurtigruten's offers land excursions to experience the Norwegian winter and see the Northern Lights, dog sled tours, snow scooter safaris or reindeer sleigh rides venturing far from light sources.

Pre- and post-cruise offerings include a "cool" night's sleep in the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes. The hotel is constructed anew every year from snow and ice, and lodges its guests in illuminated snow suites. Another shore experience is the Red King Crab Safari also in Kirkenes: At the end of a snow scooter trek to a frozen fjord, participants cut their own hole in the ice and try their hand at fishing for the Red King Crab. The crabs, which can reach a leg span of 2 meters and weigh up to 15 kilos, will subsequently be prepared in a traditional fisherman's hut and served as a meal “truly fit for a king,” according to Hurtigruten.