Antarctica is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world given its pristine beauty and wondrous elusiveness. Once you make the decision to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience come true, you would definitely need the best cruise expedition provider in order to make the most of your southerly adventure! To date, there are several IAATO-accredited companies out there who offer varying perks and services; however, from them all, I am highly recommending Hurtigruten.
Why so? Well, I traveled with them last 2017 on a 20-day Antarctica cruise expedition and it has been the best trip that I have ever done in my life! Sure enough, I was more than happy that I have chosen Hurtigruten because they were exactly how I expected them to be — and more.
Now, of course, it’s true that I have collaborated with them for this Antarctica expedition, but it helps to note that I actually had offers from other companies too. In the end, after scrutinizing those top performers through research and reviews, I chose to work with Hurtigruten as I have discerned them to be the best in the industry (and I was right!).
To best illustrate how I have made that decision, below are the top 10 reasons why you should also choose Hurtigruten when you travel to Antarctica.
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Why Travel to Antarctica with Hurtigruten?
» An established world-leading cruise expedition company
Photo by Marsel van Oosten + Top Photo by Tessa Van Drie / Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten [website] is a Norwegian company that has since operated in 1893. Backed by their rich explorer heritage, they have since developed into a world-leading operator of sustainable expedition adventures and polar journeys that are fit for just about any traveler and especially those who value learning, personal growth, and unique experiences.
Not to mention, they have an impressive fleet that explores a LOT of remote areas all over the globe: other than Antarctica, they also go around Amazon rainforests, Arctic Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and South America.
» Expedition fleet that combines exploration, learning, luxury, and sustainability
Hurtigruten does not only focus on providing comfort but also on giving meaning to Antarctic adventures via a fleet that makes each and every guest feel like a true intrepid explorer.
To date, they have 2 expedition ships that travel to the ‘White Continent’ and they are called MS Fram and MS Midnatsol. Both of these have been built with polar travel in mind; furthermore, they feature amazing amenities such as observation decks, lecture halls, outdoor jacuzzi, bar, fitness room, sauna, and library among many others.
This year, the company will even be launching the 1st of 2 new hybrid-powered expedition ships and it will be called MS Roald Amundsen. This is said to be a major step towards emissions-free travel which will even further stabilize Hurtigruten’s position as the biggest Antarctica explorer operator globally — whilst also enforcing its positive stance on sustainable travel.
» Made up of the best crew of experts
In every ship that Hurtigruten has, you’ll be assured to know that they are equipped with an experienced and professional expedition team — which is basically a dedicated group of individuals that will help you discover the best of Antarctica. After all, they are teachers and adventurers who are passionate about what they do and who love the wilderness!
To start off, Hurtigruten has scientists who are experts in areas such as arctic survival, geology, glaciology, marine biology, oceanography, and others. There will even be a professional photographer on board who will help you capture your memories in the best way! As such, they will be conducting various lectures, presentations, and workshops all throughout the journey so you’ll surely get to acquire the knowledge you need in an educational yet relaxed environment.
Naturally, the captain and the officers are armed with years of experience and know-how for polar regions, guaranteeing your safety all throughout the expedition. If you’re also curious about how things work, everyone is free to visit the bridge and learn more about the work that they do.
» Puts safety first and always
READ: Camping in Antarctica
It’s no news that Antarctica is one of the wildest places on Earth — everyone will be subject to the elements, as erratic as they may be. Rest assured, when you’re traveling with Hurtigruten, you will undoubtedly be with the company of people who will always put everyone’s safety first and foremost.
Much like what I’ve already mentioned previously, the whole expedition team knows the terrain well through years of experience and knowledge. For starters, there will be safety briefings and drills held to acquaint guests with how to act in case of any emergencies.
Every shore landing will be done with care and with your well-being in mind too and all deployments from the ship’s deck via Polar Circle boats will be easy and safe with the staff’s instruction and guidance. Once you’re on land, you will be guided through the safest paths with ample personnel to assist you if you ever are in need.
Simply put: you’ll have peace of mind with Hurtigruten who will help you create a great and hassle-free Antarctica adventure!
» Offers an array of unique Antarctic activities and itineraries
Hurtigruten never settles for anything less (and they know that you won’t too); so with their varied itineraries, you will definitely be given greater options on activities than any other company out there!
Depending on your budget, time, and travel preference, you can explore southerly islands like the Falkland Islands or sub-Antarctic islands such as South Georgia and South Orkney whilst you make your way to the Antarctic Peninsula in order to witness colonies of albatrosses, seals, and penguins. You could even choose from optional excursions that will suit all explorer levels like overnight camping in Antarctica, hiking, doing a polar plunge (inside the caldera of an active volcano!), kayaking, snowshoeing, and so much more.
Basically, what this means for you is that any trip to Antarctica with Hurtigruten will definitely be a jam-packed journey that is memorable and worth (even more than) the money that you’ll spend.
» Provides more shore landings
While we’re still on the topic of activities, it helps to know that as per the Antarctic Treaty and IAATO rules, every Antarctica landing should have no more than 100 people at a time on shore. With that in mind, it’s therefore vital for you to come with a reasonably-sized ship so that you can do more shore landings and make the best out of the time you get to spend in Antarctica.
For instance, with Hurtigruten’s MS Fram which holds only about 200 passengers, you’ll certainly have enough time taking turns doing landings and excursions as compared to ships that hold 500 people.
Though of course, there will be times that some landings may not be possible due to sudden weather changes or ice conditions; but you can be sure that Hurtigruten’s expedition teams will do their best for as much as they could in order to make you experience a lot of things without sacrificing your safety. No worries!
» Committed to sustainable travel
Photo by Karsten Bidstrup / Hurtigruten
It is said that anyone who comes to Antarctica should have “no more than a minor or transitory impact” on the environment and Hurtigruten puts this as a core part of their every decision.
For years, they have established sustainability and climate policies in order to scientifically reduce their environmental footprint (not only in the short term but for the long term too), and this ethic surely shows in the way that they operate their ships and expeditions.
Moreover, as a full member of IAATO, they always make it a point to practice and promote safe and environmentally responsible travel practices in Antarctica. Hurtigruten even helps turn you into an “Antarctic advocate” through onboard educational programs and first-hand experiences, so that you and everyone else on board can return home as ambassadors of goodwill and guardianship for this far-flung region.
» High-quality on board equipment
Photo by Esther Kokmeijer / Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten NEVER skimps on the materials and equipment that they use. Some examples…
- Polar Circle boats that are used for landings and zodiac cruising are extremely robust and approved for Antarctic waters.
- Safety-approved life jackets (required for wear) are available for every guest on board and there are even thicker dry suits that are available for those who will do boat cruising (protection against the wind and cold).
- Supplied complimentary jackets and muck boots are well fitted for Antarctic conditions.
- Guests who opt for kayaking activities will get to have top-to-toe kayak gear and stable double kayaks.
- Top-quality gear that meet Antarctica standards are given for overnight campers, this includes camping tents, thermal mats, and winter-grade sleeping bags.
- Sturdy snowshoes and hiking poles.
- …and more!
» 5-Star Meals
You’ll be spending quite some time on the sea, but when you’re onboard a Hurtigruten ship, it does NOT mean that your meals will be below par. In fact, their fleet is manned by 5-star chefs who will bring you the freshest and most delicious food that you can ever eat!
During my 20-day expedition, there was never a day that I got sick of the food because it was always so varied (from the ingredients to the cuisine — and there are even vegan options). Apart from the buffet, we also regularly held luxurious 4-course meals. …If you ask me, I really missed waking up to that kind of feast every day!
» They “give back”
I love a company that thinks of social responsibility — that’s why I loved how Hurtigruten has established a foundation not only for raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges in the areas that they sail to but also for financially supporting locally-initiated projects and to encourage volunteering in worthwhile causes.
As an example, Hurtigruten already supports several local initiatives such as ‘Clean up Svalbard’, Association of Greenlandic Children, and conservation projects of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctica.
Henceforth, your trip with Hurtigruten will clearly go a long way!
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If you’re looking for an Antarctica cruise provider that’s worth your money and has all the right priorities in place with regard to adventure, knowledge, responsible travel, and safety among many others, Hurtigruten [website] is clearly a cut above the rest.
I’ve had an amazing time traveling with them and I’m pretty sure that you will too — guaranteed!