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Antarctica

Explore this wild and wonderful frozen continent and see penguins, whales, and seals in their natural habitat

See all expedition cruises

Antarctica

Explore this wild and wonderful frozen continent and see penguins, whales, and seals in their natural habitat

See all expedition cruises

Why travel to Antarctica with Hurtigruten

Go ashore and on small-boat (RIB) cruises to discover charming wildlife and spectacular frozen landscapes, from snowy mountains and jagged peaks to icebergs and glaciers.

We’ve sailed these polar waters for over 20 years. Our expedition ships combine hybrid-electric technology and a premium onboard experience, designed for your safety and comfort.

Learn about Antarctica’s fascinating history and science through lectures and hands-on projects. Fully enjoy your discovery of the ‘White Continent’ with peace of mind, knowing that we have the lowest possible CO2-footprint of all Antarctic expedition cruises.

Travel Guide to Antarctica

Six reasons to go to Antarctica

Antarctica is a land of superlatives: It’s the Earth’s coldest, driest, highest, and most remote continent. The elements rule here. Exploring this vast, white continent may seem daring and extreme to many. But that’s exactly why you’re drawn to it.

Great Antarctic explorers such as Roald Amundsen described the seventh continent as “mythic”, “otherworldly”, and “like a fairy tale”. Nothing compares to an Antarctic travel experience.

Six reasons to go to Antarctica

Antarctica is a land of superlatives: It’s the Earth’s coldest, driest, highest, and most remote continent. The elements rule here. Exploring this vast, white continent may seem daring and extreme to many. But that’s exactly why you’re drawn to it.

Great Antarctic explorers such as Roald Amundsen described the seventh continent as “mythic”, “otherworldly”, and “like a fairy tale”. Nothing compares to an Antarctic travel experience.

1. Incredible icescapes:

One reason to go to Antarctica is for the splendor of its scenery; endless ranges of snow-coated mountains and majestic icebergs sculpted by sun, wind, and waves. Experience the tranquility of this vast landscapes, the stark and monochromatic white, and the way the light plays off the shades and hues of the ice, sea, and sky.

2. Rich wildlife

The krill-rich waters of the Southern Ocean are a beacon for abundant wildlife: whales, seals, seabirds, and of course, penguins. The Antarctic Peninsula is home to an estimated population of 12 million penguins across several species. Depending on the stage of the Antarctic summer you visit, you’ll witness penguins courting rituals, see newly hatched chicks, or observe the chicks’ molting period.

3. Active exploration

You won’t simply wave at Antarctica from the ship as you sail past it. The Expedition Team will lead onshore landings, small-boat (RIB) cruises in the area, and optional activities such as kayaking, snowshoeing, and camping. No matter your activity level or interests, explore Antarctica in the way that best suits you.

4. Knowledge seekers

Our Expedition Team members are there to guide and enhance everything you see and experience in Antarctica. They will share their insights on the continent’s geology, polar history, and wildlife, as well as climate change. We also offer photography tutorials, Citizen Science projects, and access to the ship’s onboard Science Center, a fully equipped learning zone with a library, microscopes, and other advanced technology and learning tools.

5. Going beyond the Antarctic Circle

Some of our expeditions attempt landings south of the Antarctic Circle in Marguerite Bay, Crystal Sound, and the Weddell Sea. Much like the great explorers before you, your expedition will be determined by the weather and sea conditions, where plans sometimes change and adventures can present themselves in unexpected ways… which is exactly what you’d expect from a polar expedition.

6. Protecting the pristine

Antarctica has a pure and fragile environment. We leave nothing behind but (sterilized) boot prints and take nothing but precious memories. Our ice-classed expedition ships use state-of-the-art hybrid-electric technology, giving us the lowest possible CO2-footprint of all expedition cruises to Antarctica. Additionally, we’ve sailed these polar waters for over 20 years.

Cruises

Penguins on a giant iceberg in the Antarctic sound Penguins on a giant iceberg in the Antarctic sound

A polar wildlife paradise

On small boat (RIB) cruises and onshore landings, you’ll see some of the most inspiring animals on Earth, who survive and thrive in their frozen desert home.

Depending on when in the austral summer season you visit, you may see whales feeding, seal pups playing, penguins mating, or penguin chicks hatching.

The Antarctic Peninsula is home to an estimated population of 12 million penguins. Observe these curious, uninhibited creatures in their natural habitat.

Wildlife in Antarctica
  • Whales near an expedition boat
  • Gentoo penguin on Cuverville Island, Antarctica
  • A close up of an animal
  • A colony of Adelie penguins in Antarctica
  • Killer whales

Photo: Genna Roland, Andreas Kalvig Anderson and Dominic Barrington

Activities in Antarctica

Your expedition cruise comes with a wide range of included activities and optional excursions for you to immerse yourself in the frozen continent’s many wonders.

There will be something that suits you, no matter your activity level or interests. Here are some of the activities and excursions you can enjoy on your expedition cruise to Antarctica with us.

Activities in Antarctica

Your expedition cruise comes with a wide range of included activities and optional excursions for you to immerse yourself in the frozen continent’s many wonders.

There will be something that suits you, no matter your activity level or interests. Here are some of the activities and excursions you can enjoy on your expedition cruise to Antarctica with us.

Landings

Whenever weather and sea conditions allow, we will attempt landings in small boats (RIBs). Sites might include scenic harbors, ruins from the whaling era, or penguin rookeries. Once ashore, the Expedition Team will guide you on where to go and what to see. You are free to walk around on your own, but you must keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter.

Small-boat (RIB) cruising

Even though your expedition ship was specially designed for sailing in Antarctica, there are still limits on where it can go. This is where our small boats (RIBs) come in. Enjoy gliding through the water as you take in views of the surrounding white landscapes and floating icebergs. You might even see seals, penguins, or whales feeding on krill.

Kayaking Adventure in Antarctica

Paddle quietly through Antarctic waters and admire the sight of glaciers, icebergs, and snow-covered mountains. You might even meet seals, birds, penguins, and perhaps even whales along the way.

Camping in Antarctica (An Amundsen Night)

In the true style of the early explorers, we venture out for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of camping in the Antarctic night.

Although explorers Amundsen, Scott, and Nordenskjöld used different equipment, they used the best gear available at the time. So do we. This activity features top-of-the-line camping equipment that meets Antarctic standards for camping on snow.

Snowshoeing in Antarctica

This activity is only possible when snow conditions are right, which is usually austral late spring or early in the Antarctic summer. Equipped with modern snowshoes, you’ll easily walk on the soft snow and reach places that are normally difficult to visit on foot.

Extended hikes in Antarctica

Join the Expedition Team on handpicked hikes based on their deep and extensive knowledge of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. Reaching the best viewpoints involve some effort, making it all the more satisfying when you do.

Citizen Science

You can also choose to get involved in a variety of Citizen Science projects that ask you to document wildlife or aspects of the environment. Your photos are then uploaded for scientific organization’s use around the world. Not only do you engage with nature, but also contribute to important research!

Lectures and talks

Your expert Expedition Team will deliver lectures on a range of topics, such as the geology, marine biology, history, and ornithology of the destinations you’ll visit, as well as offering photography tips and tricks. These lectures and talks will occur in the ship’s onboard Science Center, out on deck, ashore during landings, or when cruising in small boats (RIBs).

Polar plunge

The bravest on board can choose to literally dive into Antarctic waters at the end of one of the landings. Plunging into the icy-cold water for a few seconds will undoubtedly get your blood pumping. Only a few guests on each expedition meet this challenge. Will you?

Hurtigruten expedition leader prepping guests for a landing. Hurtigruten expedition leader prepping guests for a landing.

An Expedition Team with expertise, experience, and enthusiasm

You’ll get a broad perspective on what you see and experience in Antarctica in the excellent company of your Expedition Team. Their knowledge and operational experience of Antarctica is second to none. Their passion and energy is infectious.

Through our lectures and workshops, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of this splendid, complex, and fragile ecosystem, as well as how to protect it.

Expedition Team in Antarctica
  • Hurtigruten Expedition Team member with guests in the onboard Science Center.
  • Expedition Team members awaiting guests at Esperanza Base on Trinity Peninsula.
  • Hurtigruten Expedition Team member in a small boat (RIB) during a landing.
  • Hurtigruten Expedition Team member with guests collecting Citizen Science samples.
  • Woman with microphone standing in front of two screens that say ‘Whales of Antarctica’.

Photo: Agurtxane Concellon, Stefan Dall, Genna Roland and Andrea Klaussner