NASA predicts the 2011-12 winter will provide the most spectacular display of the Northern Lights for 50 years.
Fred Olsen’s Boudicca, and Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo will be among the cruise ships heading north in early spring, and Hurtigruten, with its ships of the Norwegian Coastal Express, is pulling out the stops to attract British passengers.
They are organising flights from regional UK airports to join their 11-day round-trip voyages through the fjords to the icy wilderness of North Cape and back.
The ships, which carry vehicles and cargo as well as passengers, call at 34 ports along the way, most of which are never visited by the larger cruise liners.
Fly from Leeds-Bradford airport on January 25 (£1,199), Edinburgh on February 5 (£1,369) or Manchester on February 16 (£1,369) to join one of the Hurtigruten shipos in Bergen. Fares include direct return flights plus transfers in Norway and 11-nights’ full-board accommodation on the ship.
Optional activities include snow-mobiling, husky dog sledging, and a Viking feast.
Details at www.hurtigruten.co.uk or 0844 448 7601
In the warmer waters of the Caribbean, Carnival Corporation is pumping $65 million (£40 million) into creating a new destination on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.
The port at Maimon Bay, near Puerto Plata, will accommodate up to two cruise ships a day and will have a shop and restaurant complex on site, with facilities for excursions to historic sites such as Fortaleza San Felipe, and nearby beaches.
Carnival already operates a similar destination at Grand Turk (above), which includes the largest Margaritaville restaurant and bar in the Caribbean – complete with FlowRider surf simulator – and the idyllic private islands of Catalina, off the Dominican Republic’s south coast, and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.