On 5th November 2013 Cruise and Maritime’s newest ship Astor sets sail for Australia from Rome’s Civitavecchia port. A week earlier the England Cricket captain Alastair Cook rounds up his men and also heads down under to begin their defence of The Ashes urn. In truth the team’s journey will be far shorter than the Astor’s 36 night southbound voyage (and will ensure they will be in Brisbane and Adelaide for the first two tests) but they will not have luxury of the Astor nor take in some wonderful countries enroute!

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon that has puzzled and charmed generations, but what is the science behind the Northern Lights?

One of the charms and appeals of the Northern Lights is that each appearance is completely unique. Commonly seen is three green bands across the night sky or the lights come as rollingsmoke or even flickering curtains. The colour is an electric green, often with a hint of pink along the edge, and occasionally with a deep violet centre. The colour palette seems to definitely have a disco vibe from the 1980s!

If there is a lot of activity in the skies, the Northern Lights spring into life for a minute or two in a corona. The next minute it is all over and you are left with magnificent memories.