In Search of the Northern Lights

21st Dec 2023 14 nights Sails from Southampton Balmoral L2328
Festive cruise
FREEDOM FARE FROM £2,699 per person
The northern lights over Alta city, Norway The northern lights over Alta city, Norway
FREEDOM FARE FROM £2,699 per person
£200pp Free On Board Spend or £400pp when booking a Suite

*Applicable to new bookings made from 16/03/2023 on 2022/23 cruises sailing from the UK, of 13 to 15 nights in duration, see terms & conditions.

For a festive season to remember, revel in the winter wonders of Europe’s spectacular northernmost region. In Northern Norway, you can get closer to dramatic Arctic landscapes and sample life amongst them; embark on exhilarating adventures; and even go in search of the spellbinding Northern Lights. The journey will be unforgettable throughout, beginning with chances to witness the Seven Sisters mountains and Torghatten, a mountain with a hole through its centre, whilst enjoying Christmas Day festivities on board. For a memorable Boxing Day, a visit to Narvik is an opportunity to explore majestic, mountainous landscapes on thrilling husky sledding excursions. Then there’s Alta, considered one of the best places on earth to see Aurora Borealis; your overnight stay here could be the highlight of your holiday. With luck on your side, you may be fortunate enough to see Mother Nature’s remarkable light show illuminate the clear night sky with dancing ribbons of colour. There will be time to connect with Sami culture and see the UNESCO-listed rock carvings of Hjemmeluft at the fascinating Alta Museum too.[ReadMore]

Spending a day in Tromsø will also afford time to uncover the abundant attractions of a city known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’. Explore and you’ll find everything from Neoclassic architecture to the Mack Brewery and the iconic, iceberg-shaped Arctic Cathedral. Be sure to ride a cable car up Mount Storsteinen here – the views of Tromsø and its stunning scenery from the top are not to be missed. Finally, after a scenic shortcut through the Tjeldsundet Strait – a navigation made possible by Balmoral’s smaller size – you visit Ålesund to perhaps admire the town’s pretty art-nouveau architecture and take in the panoramas available from atop Mount Aksla, before seeing in the New Year in style watching the a fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks display. To start 2024, enjoy scenic cruising by Nordfjord’s might Hornelen sea cliff as you head for home too.

In recent years, we have seen a new era emerging in cruising.

There is a trend for everything to get bigger and busier, and for a cruise to be seen as an alternative to a large luxury resort, with a limitless flurry of activity. But this is not for us. Find out more 


We are free to do things a different way because we are family-run. Of course some people enjoy the bigger, busier cruises, but it is not for everyone, and it is not for us. We prefer to do things, 'The Olsen Way'.


We have fewer guests, so the atmosphere on board our ships is always warm and civilised. Our smaller ships allow us to visit the more interesting places that the world has to offer.


We pride ourselves on putting our all into the Fred. Olsen cruise experience. Our itineraries are created from scratch every year, our service is genuinely personal and each and every area of our ships is designed by hand.

Balmoral, carrying up to 1,350 guests is small enough to navigate narrow waterways such as Kiel Canal and bring inspirational sights and experiences closer to you.

Like the rest of the fleet, Balmoral retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation and lounges, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.