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8 Photos of the Northern Lights from cruise ship passengers that dazzle at sea

13 May 2024

A rare sight for a great deal of the population took place when the evening skies were illuminated by the northern lights over this past weekend.

Northern lights as seen from a cruise ship

The Aurora Borealis lights were able to be seen thanks to a G5 geomagnetic storm that made its way towards Earth.

The lights were seen across many latitudes, and even on cruise ships.

Just like people all over the world, our readers on cruise ships snapped photos of the lights and it was a dazzling view.

Here's a look at 8 of the best pictures captured by stargazers sailing on Royal Caribbean ships.

Ovation of the Seas

Northern Lights on Ovation of the Seas
Photo by Darryl Luke

It's appropriate to start with a photo of the Aurora Borealis on a ship visiting Alaska.

This photo was taken on Ovation of the Seas during her Alaska sailing.

Read more: Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise guide

Brilliance of the Seas

Northern lights on Brilliance of the Seas
Photo by Ricky Gagley

This photo was taken on Brilliance of the Seas, and shows the "dancing" view the lights can take.

When a geomagnetic storm occurs, it's because high-energy particles from the sun interact with Earth's magnetic field.

Usually, the northern lights are not visible at lower latitudes. Usually, you need to be in the "auroral zone," the area within an approximately 1,550-mile (2,500 kilometers) radius of the North Pole.

Northern lights on Brilliance of the Seas
Photo by Nathan Goodlet

The lights were visible from a number of cruise ships, providing an incredible viewing opportunity since cruise ships are in the open ocean with no land to obstruct the view.

Wake view of northern lights
Photo by Mike Hibbard

Solar storms happen when the sun shoots powerful explosions of highly energized and magnetic plasma called coronal mass ejections toward Earth.

The bright colors of the northern lights are dictated by the chemical composition of Earth's atmosphere. 

Some of the dominant colors seen in aurorae are red, a hue produced by the nitrogen molecules, and green, which is produced by oxygen molecules.

Quantum of the Seas

Northern lights on Quantum of the Seas
Photo by Nicola McPherson

Another photo of the northern lights from Quantum of the Seas contrasts the lights with the beautiful Alaska scenery.

Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas northern lights
Photo by Craig Duncan

The Aurora Borealis is usually visible near the poles, but it's uncommon to see them in areas that are closer to the equator, which is why the lights were such a treat to be seen in other places over the weekend.

The lights were seen in parts of China, Europe and the United States.

Friday and Saturday's storms expanded sightings of the Southern Lights into New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Grandeur of the Seas

Northern lights on Grandeur of the Seas
Photo by Mandy Jesulaitis

The best viewing opportunities were Friday and Saturday, but experts say the effects of the geomagnetic storm started to pass.

Explorer of the Seas

Northern lights on Explorer of the Seas


Don't miss these captivating Royal Caribbean cruise photos

09 May 2020

Royal Caribbean is known for its cruise ships that not only take guests to destinations around the world, but offer an incredible onboard experience as well.

In fact, the cruise ships are as impressive as they are photogenic and Royal Caribbean has taken some truly impressive photos of their vessels.  These photos capture the majesty of their design, as well as incorporating the vistas and cityscapes in the background.

I have hand-picked some of my favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos shared by the cruise line recently to show off the intriguing look these vessels offer.

If there was a recipe for a great photo, you would not want just a sprinkle or dash, but instead a heaping of sunset. Photo by Volnei M.

In the first year since Perfect Day at CocoCay debuted, there has been no shortage of jaw-dropping photos of this private destination. It is impressive to consider how closely the island ended up looking like the concept art that proceeded it. Photo by Adam H.

If you have been on an Alaska cruise, then you know just how amazing your surroundings look every time you visit. No matter the port or location of the ship, there is always sweeping landscapes to take in, and this photo is a shining example of what happens when you combine the scenery around you with a sunny day. Photo by twangster

Earlier, I talked about how a great sunset and Perfect Day at CocoCay never disappoints from a photography perspective, so it should come as no surprise to see when combined, the results are awe-inspiring. Photo by Pieter D.

The sleek lines of a Royal Caribbean ship have been eye-catching for decades, and the contrasting color you will find across its decks are always a visual treat.

In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky. Combine that with the ship's lights and you have a great photo!


The Ultimate Abyss may be a polarizing topic among cruisers, but the ten story plummet will capture the attention of pretty much anyone. Photo by Nick M.


It is always an interesting contrast between the natural wonders created thousands of years ago, and the latest in cruise ship design.

Fireworks, anyone? The launch of a new ship is cause for celebration and it makes for a great photo too.

Our final photo may not have lens flare, fireworks or even an amazing sunset behind it, but during its prime, this would have been an incredible sight to see, because Royal Caribbean made a name for itself from the beginning with cruise ships that commanded the attention of anyone who caught a glimpse.

It is incredible to consider that from this one ship, Royal Caribbean would go onto build ships like Oasis of the Seas or destinations like Perfect Day at CocoCay.

First photos from inside Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas

09 Apr 2016

With Royal Caribbean taking delivery of Ovation of the Seas, we are starting to get photos from inside this magnificent ship.

Photos shown here were posted by Royal Caribbean UK, Travis Kamiyama and Luis Rodriguez.

Ovation of the Seas is headed to Southampton, where she will offer a series of short getaways before she sets sail on her 52-night “Global Odyssey” culminating in the arrival to her homeport in Tianjin, China.

Royal Caribbean has packed Ovation of the Seas with quite a number of intriguing onboard activities, restaurants and amenities.

Later this year, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to her new home in Australia to begin her maiden Australian season in December.

Ovation of the Seas is the third Quantum-class cruise ship and is labeled as one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships ever.  

Six beautiful photos of Royal Caribbean ships in Port Everglades

04 Apr 2016

We love looking at beautiful Royal Caribbean photos and today we have a handful of great ones to share.

Photographer Rob Starling shared these great shots of four different Royal Caribbean ships coming and leaving Port Everglades, Florida.

Liberty of the Seas

Legend of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

All photos copyright Rob Starling.

Photos: Christmas on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas

25 Dec 2015

It's Christmas, and while you may be reading this from your home or a relative's home, we're all hoping there is a Royal Caribbean cruise waiting for us under the tree.  

Today we have photos from Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas by Dana Mathis showing what it's like to celebrate this joyous holiday on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Enjoy the photos and Merry Christmas!

Royal Caribbean releases 12 photos of breathktaking views from the bridges of its ships

30 Sep 2015

Royal Caribbean released some stunning photos that were taken by ship Captains of some of the best views in the world. 

The photos are part of an effort to show off the various ports of call Royal Caribbean cruise ships visit and they certainly are quite beautiful shots!

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Sydney Harbor, Australia

Venice Harbor, Italy

Geiranger Fjord, Norway

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Vesivius, Naples, Italy

Golfo di Poeti, La Pezia, Italy

Nice, France

Kotor, Montenegro

Island of Moorea, French Polynesia

Vancouver, Canada

The English Channel, UK

Which photo is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

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