Jump to content

Early May, northern lights?


Recommended Posts

If you really want aurora, go to Fairbanks in March and then head north to get away from city lights.  Make sure that you pick a time when there is no moon.  I froze my butt off but I had 5 days of wonderful aurora.

 

DON

Link to post
Share on other sites

In May, you are so close to the Solstice that it doesn't get dark enough, even on the 12 - 4 watch. However, I have seen them later in the season by late August and September, but clear skies are required.

 

During my multiple Alaska seasons, I have only seen them a couple of times and that was spending 4 hrs every night on the Bridge.

 

We certainly didn't make P/A announcements through the cabins at night and I highly doubt any ship would make them, even if the lights were visible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, donaldsc said:

If you really want aurora, go to Fairbanks in March and then head north to get away from city lights.  Make sure that you pick a time when there is no moon.  I froze my butt off but I had 5 days of wonderful aurora.

 

DON

In March! And farther North.

 

May is too late and the cruise is too far South.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Coral said:

In March! And farther North.

 

May is too late and the cruise is too far South.

 

My point was that if you really want to see aurora, you have to do a special trip to see them and not to expect to see them on a cruise.  I did see them once on a cruise but they were really faint and hardly visible.  When I did my aurora trip, they were super intense and visible every night.

 

DON

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, donaldsc said:

 

My point was that if you really want to see aurora, you have to do a special trip to see them and not to expect to see them on a cruise.  I did see them once on a cruise but they were really faint and hardly visible.  When I did my aurora trip, they were super intense and visible every night.

 

DON

I completely understood your point 🙂 I was just emphasizing it. May has really long days of sunlight.

 

Glad you did the trip!

Edited by Coral
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

My point was that if you really want to see aurora, you have to do a special trip to see them and not to expect to see them on a cruise.  I did see them once on a cruise but they were really faint and hardly visible.  When I did my aurora trip, they were super intense and visible every night.

 

DON

 

If you only have limited time, then I agree a special land based trip or Northern Lights Cruise has a higher chance of actually seeing the lights.

 

However, in the winter months, I have seen them many times from the North & Central BC Coast. Away from ambient light they weren't washed out and the moon phase had no effect. The limiting factor on the coast was weather, as we have very few clear nights.

 

I've also seen them from some winter flights between Vancouver and London and also UK to Japan.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It needs to be dark and unfortunately during the longest dark hours in Fairbanks (December), the weather is mostly cloudy. Advice to go in March is supported by many for aurora viewing. If you look at most of the good images of aurora, few are taken in Fairbanks. Most from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland & Iceland. We do plan on taking a trip to Fairbanks for aurora because it is the most cost effective way to spend a week trying to view. Another issue is that we are just coming out of solar minimum and the aurora activity is just starting to cycle up. Have had some great activity recently.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, masterdrago said:

It needs to be dark and unfortunately during the longest dark hours in Fairbanks (December), the weather is mostly cloudy. Advice to go in March is supported by many for aurora viewing. If you look at most of the good images of aurora, few are taken in Fairbanks. Most from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland & Iceland. We do plan on taking a trip to Fairbanks for aurora because it is the most cost effective way to spend a week trying to view. Another issue is that we are just coming out of solar minimum and the aurora activity is just starting to cycle up. Have had some great activity recently.

 

Assuming that they are still having it, check on the dates for the Ice Carving Festival in Fairbanks before you decide on your winter aurora trip.  The ice carvings are fantastic.

 

DON

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with DON. If you really want to see the northern lights, schedule your visit to see the northern lights. But if you do see them during your cruise they are frosting.

 

Can't repeat enough DARK DARK DARK and no full moon. No competition from other light sources.

 

SO.... I had an office in Kake, southside of Frederick Sound (used to transverse east/west from/to Juneau, summer whale feeding ground in SE) where we'd spend the late night on the back porch in the dark discussing how the world would be much better when I became philosopher king. We could watch from 15 miles away an incredible bright glow of lights that could only be a cruise ship crossing our horizon. You'd never see the northern lights under those conditions.

 

The lovely Ms B-D has a weekly late night jazz radio show where she doesn't come home til past midnight and gives me a northern light report in the morning. Nothing we get during the summer is going to make the cover of Nat'l Geo.

 

but they're still cool as cool can be

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...
On 12/5/2020 at 12:42 PM, Heidi13 said:

In May, you are so close to the Solstice that it doesn't get dark enough, even on the 12 - 4 watch. However, I have seen them later in the season by late August and September, but clear skies are required.

 

During my multiple Alaska seasons, I have only seen them a couple of times and that was spending 4 hrs every night on the Bridge.

 

We certainly didn't make P/A announcements through the cabins at night and I highly doubt any ship would make them, even if the lights were visible.

I am told by my Princess vacation planner if the aurora appears an announcement will be made on the ship or at the lodge, even if it is two in the morning!

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dollshoe said:

I am told by my Princess vacation planner if the aurora appears an announcement will be made on the ship or at the lodge, even if it is two in the morning!

 

I wouldn't believe everything the vacation planner (aka salesman) says, as they probably haven't read the Fleet Regulations. Making a pax cabin announcement at 02:00 was a guarantee of a flight home from the next port, which was highly detrimental to career prospects, as you didn't get another ship.

 

When you work on the Bridge of a ship, the Deck Officer's follow the direction of the Captain & Fleet Regs, not somebody in an office. Prior to spending almost 30 yrs as a Captain, I worked as a Princess Deck Officer for 7 years and we NEVER made P/A announcements in pax areas at night, unless an emergency. Our son also worked for Princess for 10 years as a Deck Officer and will tell you the same.

 

Not saying it wouldn't happen, but from experience it is highly unlikely. Whales on the Stbd bow. by day - yes, but mostly on the outer decks/public spaces.

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Heidi13 said:

 

I wouldn't believe everything the vacation planner (aka salesman) says, as they probably haven't read the Fleet Regulations. Making a pax cabin announcement at 02:00 was a guarantee of a flight home from the next port, which was highly detrimental to career prospects, as you didn't get another ship.

 

When you work on the Bridge of a ship, the Deck Officer's follow the direction of the Captain & Fleet Regs, not somebody in an office. Prior to spending almost 30 yrs as a Captain, I worked as a Princess Deck Officer for 7 years and we NEVER made P/A announcements in pax areas at night, unless an emergency. Our son also worked for Princess for 10 years as a Deck Officer and will tell you the same.

 

Not saying it wouldn't happen, but from experience it is highly unlikely. Whales on the Stbd bow. by day - yes, but mostly on the outer decks/public spaces.

 

 

 

 

Oh wow, guess you can’t trust anybody

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cruise ships are a terrible place from which to view the Northern lights unless you're on the bridge, which has to be kept dark at night.  I can barely see the stars at night from anywhere on the open decks.  Every possible space is brightly lit with scant opportunity to observe the cosmos.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, wolfie11 said:

Cruise ships are a terrible place from which to view the Northern lights unless you're on the bridge, which has to be kept dark at night.  I can barely see the stars at night from anywhere on the open decks.  Every possible space is brightly lit with scant opportunity to observe the cosmos.

 

The one time that we saw them very very very faintly in late August, we were on a small ship w ~50 passengers.  In that case, they did make an announcement and they also turned off all of the lights on the ship except the required navigation lights.  As Heidi13 has said, I am reasonably certain that they would not do that on one of the Monstrosity of the Seas ships although he did not use those words to describe the ship.  I don't want to be accused of putting words into his mouth.

 

DON

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

As Heidi13 has said, I am reasonably certain that they would not do that on one of the Monstrosity of the Seas ships although he did not use those words to describe the ship.  I don't want to be accused of putting words into his mouth.

 

DON

 

Haha - fortunately in my day they even looked like proper ships and only had 700 to 1,700 pax. but totally agree today's equivalents are Monstrosity of the Seas, Gargantuan Princess, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

To even know if Northern Lights are active, especially in shoulder months, try signing up with this Alaskan website... not quite sure how it works, but imagine it is similar to our AuroraWatch out of the Uof Alberta! 

 

https://auroranotify.com/

 

Living in Northern Alberta, we get Northern lights occasionally... the city has moved out and we don’t see them as well as we did 30 years ago. But the only way to know if Northern Lights are active is to follow our local University’s AuroraWatch and get notifications ... and unfortunately I am not awake at 2 am when emails are often sent out!  We had faint strands last week not worth photographing according to my son, who get the twitter notifications.

 

Photo taken outside of Edmonton, Alberta in 2019.

16928BB5-F62E-4226-9EEE-1AF4067CAD4A.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked 21 seasons on ships in Alaska, for 7different cruise lines.

We did not make midnight announcements on the rare evenings we saw the Aurora. But we did place a notice in the daily program, advising anyone who wanted to be awakened in case we saw something, to sign up at Reception.

If the bridge watch did see anything of interest, they would call Reception, who would then telephone everyone who had registered.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Donald said:

I worked 21 seasons on ships in Alaska, for 7different cruise lines.

We did not make midnight announcements on the rare evenings we saw the Aurora. But we did place a notice in the daily program, advising anyone who wanted to be awakened in case we saw something, to sign up at Reception.

If the bridge watch did see anything of interest, they would call Reception, who would then telephone everyone who had registered.

Interesting...In addition to my post #15 experience...was it a coincidence that once we got up we also noticed that the ship (RCI Radiance) was also sounding it's fog horn.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Thank You for 25 Years - Click for Fun Stuff!
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: Ponant Cruises & Expeditions - Return to Europe!
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Barbara Muckermann, CMO Silversea Cruises
      • ICYM Our Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Explore the Remote World with Hurtigruten!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...