My experience in seeing the Aurora with Lights Over Lapland was very enjoyable and I wouldn't hesitate to book with them again. Our guide Chris was absolutely fantastic in making sure that everyone was taken care of and ensuring that we all got the most out of the our time when the aurora was visible.
However there are couple of things that could have made my trip even more enjoyable.
The first thing is that they didn't make it clear to me that many of their services and tours would be filled by third party companies. The airport pick up, hotel transfers, sled dog and snowmobiling was all provided by third party companies contracted by Lights Over Lapland.
This caused some initial confusion for me when I arrived at Kiruna airport because I was expecting to see a driver holding a sign with either my name or the name Lights Over Lapland but this was not the case. It turns out that the name of the company that is contracted for the airport pickup is called Visit Abisko.
Considering that all my correspondence so far had been with a company called Lights Over Lapland it doesn't make any sense for me to think that I would be picked up by a company with a totally different name. Especially when there was a dozen or so other companies all waiting to pick up guests at the same time.
Once I arrived back home I did see on the Lights Over Lapland website that they mention their transfer service is done by a company called Visit Abisko but it would have been nice if this was mentioned to me in advance.
I also noticed that none of the drivers who came to pick me up at the hotel for the various tours that I had booked had the name Lights Over Lapland on their vehicles or clothing. In fact the only time I saw the Lights Over Lapland logo was on the arctic overalls they gave me to use.
I believe that Lights Over Lapland could do a better job here in letting their guests know who exactly will be picking them up.
The second thing is that there was a lot of confusion from the guests when it came time to go out on our different tours. It seems that there are various companies all operating at the same time and so it was a bit confusing as to which guide everyone is supposed to be following.
Asking the other guests which tour they booked doesn't help because most of the tours have very similar sounding names with some combination of aurora, photography and tour in them. Add in the fact that many of the guests I saw were not native English speakers and I noticed the guides spent a lot of time trying to organize everyone into their correct groups.
The guides themselves were excellent but I feel that this part could be more efficient. Especially considering that some guests are booking the same tour but through different websites, it all adds to a lot of confusion on the guests part.
As I mentioned Chris and all the guides that I had were excellent and really worked hard to make the tour memorable. One wish that I have is that I wished their was some type of "advanced" option for each tour.
It seems that most of the other guests who were out on the nightly photography tour were not photographers and it was a little frustrating at times to have to deal with the lights from their headlamps. This was especially annoying when I was taking a time lapse photo and one of the other guests wandered over to me with his headlamp ablaze!
I would love the option of a photographer specific tour where everyone knows what they are doing and we could all share tips with each other on how to get the best photo.
Another tour that I wished had an advanced option was the snowmobiling tour. Most of the other guests had never driven a snowmobile before so we had to take a rather slow pace with stops every few minutes to make sure everyone was ok. Then we took what felt like an exceptionally long break while the guide built a fire to allow the other guests to warm up.
I realize the company has to cater to all different abilities but I would have liked it if we could have spent more time on the sled to explore the park more.
Overall I'm happy with the experience I had with Lights Over Lapland and perhaps the desire I have for more advanced tours is something that I need to book independently myself. If you're thinking about visiting Abisko to see the aurora I highly recommend it because she the green lady dances it is an amazing sight to see!
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