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Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

In cooperation with: Visit Norway
Boston...
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Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

HELP, both Guide Gunnar and Kjetil are booked the nights we are in Tromso!!! (Feb 18-22)

Guide Gunnar recommended Arctic Fishing Adventures, but the price is much more than all the other options available so I am confused about what to do. Here are my questions:

- Arctic Pathfinder and Arctic Guide Service are both priced well for the amount of time they take you (5-7hrs) but I haven't seen any reviews about them- has anyone gone with them??

- Day 1 we arrive in Oslo from the US, at 11:00 and then will catch an SAS flight to Tromso at 14:00 (3 hour connection). We should arrive in Tromso at 16:00. So, I am worried about making any plans for this evening in case we have problems with flights. Are delays really common and to be expected?

- Do dog sledding/ snowshoeing (ie. Lyngsfjord or Willmark) fill up in advance, or is that something I can wait to book once we arrive in Tromso, or at least 3-4 days in advance?

- Do the Skjervoy bus/ferry trips usually fill up in advance as well?

Also, someone mentioned these are only Mon - Thu... but on the Hurtigruten site, it said there were trips from Skjervoy to Tromso only on Sat 2/18, Sun 2/19, Mon 2/20... can someone clarify?

thanks for any help and advice!

Edited: 5:47 pm, October 21, 2011
Harstad, Norway
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1. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

GG mentioned earlier that there are many new NL tour operators this year, so it would be hard to find reviews or recommendations. So I suppose you either take a chance with one of the new ones or follow GG's advise. Or consider renting a car for a couple of days.

February/March is peak season and I suppose any popular activity could fill up well in advance. I suggest you contact the tour operators directly for further details if the booking calendars are not published on their sites.

Winter weather is unpredictable, delays are not common but they do occur if the weather condions are bad. Very heavy snowfall or strong winds or a combination can cause delays.

As a general rule Hurtigruten runs 365 days a year, but from time to time they have to go to the shipyard for a overhaul. This is done in low season (winter). If you find that ships are scheduled on the web site, there are ships on the days mentioned. Bus timetables for 2012 are not yet published, but the buses Tromsø-Skjervøy that correspond with Hurtigruten run on a daily basis in December and that is a good sign. You can use this travel planner to find the buses

…tromskortet.no/scripts/…

The tour is a suggested tour by public transport and cannot really sell out. You can buy your tickets before 2pm on your day of departure.

Oslo, Norway
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2. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

I dont think you should worry about the busses for Skjervøy filling up if you buy the package. The reason being that you have to buy the tickets at least two hours before the bus leaves, so you should be ensured a seat on the bus.

As for Hurtigruten, they have plenty of capacity for taking daytime passengers.

Just make a fake buy on the hurtigruten website to see of a ship is going that day. It will also tell you what ship you will be going on. Preferably, imho you should go on the newer ones, like Trollfjord,

Hurtigruten has two older ships on their fleet, and unless you prefer the charm of those vessels, go for the more modern cruise ships.

hurtigruten.co.uk/norway/…

Hurtigruten will also reintroduce the ship Finnmarken in february, after the fire of Nordlys this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qwtb9mp9N0

Finnmarken is one of the newest ships and has been leased to Australia for a while. It has also been used for antarctic cruises.

Oslo, Norway
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3. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

I have checked for Skjervøy-Tromsø on the hurtigruten website:

February 18 Midnatsol

February 19: Vesterålen

February 20.: Nordkapp

February 21.: NO SHIP

February 22.: Polarlys

hurtigruten.co.uk/norway/…

Altrincham, United...
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4. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

Hi

I am traveling the weekend before you and have had the same issue with tours booking up. I have just booked with arctic pathfinder. Although they are more expensive, you are in a jeep max 4 people. They collect and drop of at your hotel and provide food and a camp fire. The arctic services tour is on a bus with up to 50 people and they collect from one hotel point. Not sure if a fire and food is provided but I guess it is down to personal taste. Also I have noticed lots of places are closed on Sundays and have booked for a Sunday night rather than the Saturday as I don,t think there will be many restaurants open on Sunday, so may as well be on the tour that night and save Sat night for in the town. Unless anyone can tell me any different, I would be glad of the info?

Thanks

Sharon

Altrincham, United...
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5. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

Hi

I am traveling the weekend before you and have had the same issue with tours booking up. I have just booked with arctic pathfinder. Although they are more expensive, you are in a jeep max 4 people. They collect and drop of at your hotel and provide food and a camp fire. The arctic services tour is on a bus with up to 50 people and they collect from one hotel point. Not sure if a fire and food is provided but I guess it is down to personal taste. Also I have noticed lots of places are closed on Sundays and have booked for a Sunday night rather than the Saturday as I don,t think there will be many restaurants open on Sunday, so may as well be on the tour that night and save Sat night for in the town. Unless anyone can tell me any different, I would be glad of the info?

Thanks

Sharon

Manchester
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6. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

Ello

top tip... dont fall into the tourist trap. Every year we go and every year when we are stuck at tromso airport waiting we constantly hear brits and americans moaning that all they could see is a dim white looking cloud and had to use their camera to take a picture whilst we ,who dont fall into the tourist trap, get out there and see stunning aurora displays most nights. Tourist guides tend to give up hunting after you have taken a few poor looking pictures, like many you see on the internet with someone in the background all blurred, as their job is done... you've seen it all alboard kind of thing. So.

1. As soon as land head to Hertz car hire at tromso airport ( the cost of hiring a car and a full tank of petrol is cheaper than going on a tour!!) petrol is dirt cheap in norway.

2. Use your iphone to check out www.virtualtromso.no ( tour guides use it!) this has a live webcam showing the aurora and most importantly a magnetogram graph ( in a nut shell if the graph is all over the show it's dancing above your head or about to). NOAA is not half as good as this site.

3. Head over the bridge onto the 862 route and join FV57 ( on the way there is a petrol station open on sundays were you can get hot drinks and snacks) head towards Ersfjordbotn just as you reach the top of the road there is a car park which has the most breath taking views looking out to sea. This is the place where most of the famous photographs of the aurora are taken. To get here will take around 25/35 minutes.

4. If you get bored of the view re join the FV57 and go to Grøtfjord again another amazing place to view the aurora.

There is plenty of parking in Tromso and cheap!! it will give you so much more freedom ;-) and peace. If you want a log fire get some logs from the petrol station and make a little fire where you decide to stop and wait for the lights.

Last year on the 21st & 22nd there was a fab display of the aurora - so good luck.

p.s if I hear an american accent between the 18-22 at Ersfjordbotn I'll say hello as we are staying there this year.

Edited: 6:12 pm, January 23, 2012
Manchester
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7. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

p.s lady luck is on your side already: 5-11th Feb 2012 - the moon may be too bright to view the Aurora ( full moon on the 10th) unless there is a full on storm.

18-22nd Feb 2012 -( new moon on the 22nd) so will be really dark sky's for you. ;-)

Edited: 7:08 pm, January 23, 2012
Tromso, Norway
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8. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

To Kerrjs, and another; Don't be so worry about full moon, just because sometimes we have the best Aurora show when the moon are there.

And with the moon you will also see the landscape around you...

And it's much easier to take good pics of our dancing lady. The NL photographers says the week before the full moon are best time...

Boston...
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9. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

Kerrjs- thanks for your advice! I have a car booked and do plan to explore on our own. We are experienced winter drivers but I wasn't sure about closed roads, etc. Visiting the little villages actually interests me as much as the lights anyways, so if we see both, it will be bonus!

If we drive west into Lyngsfjord, we'll try to stay out of the guides' ways :)

Is the Polar Zoo in Bardu worth the 2.5hr drive south?

I was interested in hanging out in a lavvu like the one at Camp Tamok, but those seem to be only for their tour groups. Is there one we can visit independently?

As for a guided NL chase, Arctic Pathfinder never responded to my booking request, so I reserved with Arctic Guide Service as a last resort if we don't have any luck on our own. I still haven't seen reviews for these new tours- any traveller updates yet?

Barcelona, Spain
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10. Re: Northern Lights Tours in Feb 2012

Hi,

Just came back from Tromso, we have been there the last 4 days. Amazing aurora storms, lucky us !!

We had the same problem, we arrived all the usual ones were booked. The woman ad the tourist info recommended us http://www.scanadventure.eu/

We booked with them and it was quite good. we departed at 19.00, went back around 1AM because most of us asked them to. One thing is to chase the aurora, the other is what we had: celestial fireworks all the time, no need to chase anything. In fact, we could clearly see the aurora from Tromso when we departed in the minibus. So after 4 hours aurora fireworks, everybody voted to go back.

Pros: Karina (the guide) is really nice, it's a small group (minivan for 16 max)

Cons: Nowhere to pee, god luck doing your needs in the forest at -10 degrees C, especally if you are a woman !

We also did the snowshoeing with Villmarkssenter and would not recommend them at all, that's a total tourist trap, we felt like cows in a herd!

Good luck !!

Marc