Up in the bridge, it was quiet as a church. The ship runs by a computer most of the time, but they allowed a picture of me pretending to steer the wheel. The computer interested some of us, but I had other questions for the Security Officer: ‘Have you seen Love Boat?’ ‘No,’ he said, but he heard about it. Then he said that next year onboard their newest ship, they would film a reality show for Norwegian television. That should prove interesting.
Then I asked if we could expect to see the Northern Lights on this trip? Sure, he said, he saw them last night about 1:00 AM. Had I only known! I was awake and missed it. I guess looking out the porthole isn’t good enough – you have to look higher up in the sky. Devastated, I arranged with him that if he sees them again, he is to call our cabins no matter the time, to which he agreed. Racing back to my cabin, I gathered my ‘Northern Light clothes kit’ to be ready in a jiffy, should that call come.
Alas, when I awoke the next morning there had been no Northern Lights wakeup call, but we had new interests today. Up at 6:00 AM, armed with a bottle of champagne and our cameras, we huddled in the panoramic lounge with a couple of other sleepy souls obviously not from around here, to witness the crossing of the Arctic Circle. Last night the crew organized a contest where passengers could guess the exact time we would make this momentous crossing; usually, they cross between 6:00 AM and 8:30 AM. During our visit to the bridge, the Safety Officer said he would note the crossing by a single blast from the ship’s horn. Seeing the Northern Lights is an iffy thing, but it is physically impossible to miss crossing the Arctic Circle when one is sailing over it, so there we sat, on the edge of our chairs, champagne bottle poised. Two hours later, we were still there when they announced we had crossed the Arctic Circle an hour earlier, at 07:11. My guess was off by three minutes, which was okay because the winner got a free swim to a nearby island.
After the crossing, we received an invitation from the Captain to the bridge for a sherry and a certificate to commemorate our Arctic Circle crossing. Whispering out of the side of my mouth during the ceremony, I quizzed the Safety Officer who had promised to toot the horn. He said he didn’t want to wake everyone up.
With only one more day and night on board, we roamed the ship and its decks taking pictures and staring into the icy splendor. The scenery got better and better. That night, we would have one last chance to see the Northern Lights.
If this were a fictional story, you would now be reading about how we received a Northern Lights wakeup call, jumped into our clothes, raced to the deck and stood dumbstruck, staring at the strange phenomenon in the sky. I would gush forth with feelings of being more at peace with the universe and other such nonsense.
In reality, we slept blissfully through the cloudy night, got up the next morning, Kathe took another hundred pictures and we all packed up for our departure at Tromso. Never have I had a more relaxing experience. Everyone agreed we wished we could have stayed longer…..Norway had not yet revealed all her secrets.
NORWAY TRAVEL TIPS: HELPFUL SOURCES
- Scandinavian Airlines
- NSB Norway Passenger Train Division
- Foreign Exchange Converter
- Hurtigruten Cruise
- Stuff We’ve Learned About Travel