A Company

Health & Safety Onboard

The safety of our guests, our employees, and the communities we visit is our top priority.  This is why we have partnered with leading experts in health and safety to design and implement protocols/procedures across our expedition fleet.

Health & Safety

COVID-19 | Vaccinations

We continuously evaluate our health and safety procedures and update the information on this page. Therefore, the procedures including embarkation procedures are subject to change. Specific measures may vary per sailing due to local regulations, updates in scientific and medical advice, and the conditions at the time of sailing.  Instructions from local health authorities and changes in legislation may also impact our procedures and how we handle specific cases. Before your departure date, we will do our best to inform you of the latest requirements for your expedition if material changes are made before the sailing. 

  • Expeditions to Antarctica: All guests aged 12 years and over are required to show proof during embarkation that they are fully vaccinated with a primary COVID-19 vaccination series. However, from 4th April 2024 onwards, guests travelling to Antarctica will not have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

  • Rest of the world: COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer required for guests on expeditions to all destinations, except Antarctica. However, we still highly recommend that guests be fully vaccinated, including with boosters if eligible.   

Embarkation procedures and entry requirements

Our embarkation procedures and COVID-19 requirements may differ from national regulations. We expect you to follow all applicable travel or quarantine restrictions you may be subject to, whether at home or in your expedition destination. Please check before travelling.  It is your responsibility to meet all entry requirements for countries you visit at the time of sailing. If you are travelling to join the ship in another country or disembark in another country, please be aware that the entry requirements to travel by land or air may differ from the requirements to embark on the ship. We can’t accept responsibility if you are denied entry to a country because you don’t meet its entry requirements.

Embarkation procedures are subject to change. Specific measures may vary per sailing due to local regulations, and updates in scientific and medical advice.  Instructions from local health authorities and changes in legislation may also impact our procedures. Before your departure date, we will do our best to inform you of the latest requirements for your expedition if material changes are made before the sailing.

What is a primary vaccination series?

You are considered to have completed your primary vaccination series 14 days after receiving the final dose of a vaccine approved by national medical authorities. Please note: A primary vaccination series refers to the initial number of doses required. It does not include booster doses.

The vaccine and vaccine certificate must comply with the local regulations in the area of the cruise.

If you’re unable to be vaccinated, please contact us to discuss rebooking options.  If your booking was made before the adoption of this policy on 1 July 2021, and you are unable to get vaccinated in time for your departure, please contact us to discuss your options for refund or rebooking to a future departure.   

This vaccine requirement does not apply to Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express voyages.

Denial of boarding, exclusion policy

During the embarkation process, you may be denied boarding if you do not fulfil the requirements in our procedures. We particularly draw attention to the following:  

Guests who do not comply with the vaccination policy when required may be denied embarkation to the vessel.  For required voyages, you will be asked to provide vaccination documentation during the embarkation process.

Following a medical assessment, guests may be denied embarking the vessel if they experience new onset symptoms of the following:     

  • Cough 

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Difficulty breathing 

  • Fever or chills 

  • Loss of taste or smell 

  • Vomiting or Diarrhoea  

Please note that during the medical assessment, you may be requested to take an antigen test if our medical team deems it necessary.

Life Onboard

Face masks

Guest may be required to wear face masks if there is a significant increase of COVID-19 positive cases on board. 

Cleaning and hygiene 

All public spaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected throughout the day, and hand sanitizer is available throughout the ship.

Medical services

Our expedition ships feature a small onboard hospital available at all hours. Every ship has a medical team with a doctor and at least one nurse, supported 24/7 by dedicated land-based experts. 


You may be required to be tested for COVID-19 during the cruise, for example, if a positive case is detected during your cruise.  

Positive cases, isolation and quarantine 

Guests are requested to self-isolate in their cabin and call reception immediately if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever or chills, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhoea. Our medical staff will conduct a rapid COVID-19 test on board if guests or crew develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If required, we have robust procedures in place for outbreak prevention and response.   

We are assessing our procedures for isolation. Our procedures are based on local legislation, medical advice, and risk assessments. The isolation and quarantine periods may be reduced or removed and may vary depending on the location of your expedition cruise. 

Currently, we operate with the following standards:

Galapagos Voyages 

COVID-19 testing will only be carried out if requested by a guest. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 will be evaluated by the ship's doctor and may be required to isolate in their cabin until being released after re-evaluation.

Rest of the world 

Positive COVID-19 case  

  • Guests who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated for 5 x 24-hour periods from symptoms onset.  

  • Asymptomatic guests who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated for 5 x 24-hour periods from the date of their first positive test.    

  • Guests who test positive will move to a single cabin if availability permits. If a single cabin is not available, they will isolate in their current cabin.  

  • Guests in isolation will take an antigen test on day 3 and 4. They can leave isolation on day 4 if both tests are negative. If an antigen test returns a positive result, the guest will stay in isolation.  (Please note: Guests on Antarctic sailings must isolate for 5 x 24-hour periods and will not be tested on days 3 and 4 due to Chilean and Argentinian regulations.) 

  • Guests are permitted to leave isolation on day 5 if they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms have improved. There is no requirement for any further testing. 

  • Guests who disembark the ship before completing their isolation period may be required to isolate onshore in accordance with local regulations and cover any associated costs. The isolation protocols differ from country to country, meaning you may have to isolate for longer than 5 days in total.

  • Guests will have the option to disembark at their own expense or remain onboard as above. 

Exploring on shore 

Activities, landings, and shore excursions  

We’ll follow all mandates from local governments and communities when exploring on land, adjusting our plans and procedures as needed. This may mean some activities or independent exploration are restricted in some cases.   


Even with infection control procedures, there are some unavoidable risks to guests and property associated with expedition travel. These may, for example, include illness or disease caused by exposure to viruses, bacteria or pathogens, including the coronavirus, despite screening and testing and other steps taken by us to reduce these risks.   

If someone on board a ship tests positive for COVID-19 and/or develops symptoms of COVID-19, local authorities may require a 7-day or longer quarantine of all individuals on the ship, either on board or at another location. Hurtigruten Expeditions has no control over such requirements and must adhere to orders made by the local authorities.   

Hurtigruten Expeditions is not liable for any claims, demands, and/or damages arising from, or relating to, any exposure to the coronavirus and/or the contraction of any illness or disease as a result of any such exposure, including but not limited to COVID-19, by passengers or any other person. 

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) 

Our expert team of itinerary planners and expedition leaders continue to closely monitor Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).  

Across the globe, we actively collaborate closely with the wider scientific community and industry bodies to safeguard and study the diverse ecosystems we visit. Furthermore, we operate enhanced biosecurity procedures where HPAI has been detected.  

Should landing sites be closed on short notice to prevent the transmission of HPAI between wildlife colonies, our Expedition Team will have alternative sites or activities planned. We ensure that any material changes to an itinerary are communicated to our guests as far in advance as possible. 

Do you take measures to protect wildlife from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the Galápagos Islands? 

Yes, we actively collaborate closely with the wider scientific community around the world to help protect and research the delicate ecosystems we visit. We know our team and guests take pride in the responsible approach we take, especially when exploring an incredibly unique part of the world like the Galápagos Islands.  

Following tests in September 2023 that confirmed the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among bird colonies in the archipelago, the Galápagos National Park activated its biosecurity protocols. As such, some scheduled landings have been altered to protect this diverse ecosystem. Additionally, during landings, we provide instructions to ensure we follow enhanced protocols. 

Do your Antarctica expeditions follow IAATO’s protocols regarding Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)? 

Yes, we stringently adhere to their protocols. Across the globe, we actively collaborate closely with the scientific community and industry bodies to safeguard and study the diverse ecosystems we visit. We know our guests, team, and the communities we visit value the sustainable and scientific approach we take, especially when exploring an incredibly unique part of the world like Antarctica.

Following recent reports regarding the potential impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in South America and the South Atlantic and Southern Oceans, we have received enhanced operating protocols from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) for the 2023/2024 season. As members of IAATO, these protocols apply to us and all other Antarctic operators. In addition to our rigorous existing protocols, these updated measures include:

  • Recommending guests to wash any outdoor clothing prior to arrival in Antarctica.

  • Disinfecting boots prior to arrival (if bringing your own pair).

  • No sitting, kneeling or laying down on the ground, or placing equipment (including tripods) on the ground near animal activity.

  • Always maintaining a five-metre distance from wildlife.

  • Scouting all landing sites for any signs of HPAI prior to guest disembarkation. If any signs of the virus are present or reported, we will not land on that specific site. This data will be shared with the scientific community and our team will offer alternative activities for those onboard.

  • Camping will still be offered at our normal preferred sites, as these are away from wildlife.

Safety in West Africa & Cape Verde

Our Expedition Team are experts at crafting once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They accompany guests on every excursion, providing fascinating guidance and safety tips along the way. As well as listening to any advice from our team, we strongly encourage guests to follow sensible precautions, adhere to cultural etiquette, and always be respectful towards local populations.

For example, we encourage guests not to:

  • Wear valuables, such as jewellery, luxury watches, and smartwatches

  • Carry large sums of money

  • Display smartphones or cameras for extended periods in busy urban areas

  • Keep your ID and wallet in an easily accessible pocket

  • Walk at night in cities

  • Join any public demonstrations

  • Accept or pick up any package if you don’t know the contents

  • Take photos of people without their consent

  • Take photos of government buildings, military personnel and buildings, and police stations without asking your guide for advice

Important to note:

  • Crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, can occur, so guests are encouraged to remain vigilant while exploring crowded places, such as Albert Market in Banjul, The Gambia, and Sucupira Market in Praia, Cape Verde.

  • We celebrate diversity in all its forms and ensuring an inclusive environment for our guests and employees alike is important to us. However, it is important to recognise that some of the countries we visit do not share these values. In Gambia and Senegal, homosexuality is considered a criminal offence for which visitors and locals can be prosecuted.

  • In The Gambia, female travellers, in particular, should be cautious of young men (and sometimes women) locally known as ‘bumsters’. They offer any service that can earn them money by offering help or acting as local guides. Be polite but firm in refusing unwanted help or attempts at conversation.

  • Please observe cultural traditions and practices throughout your trip. Please listen to your guides and follow their advice.

  • Crime rates on mainland Guinea-Bissau are not indicative of the situation in the Bissagos Islands. While there is no police force on the Bissagos Islands, the local population self-polices the community, and there is virtually no serious criminal activity. However, the possibility of petty crime should not be overlooked.

Wildlife in West Africa & Cape Verde

West Africa is home to an all-star cast from the animal kingdom, from saltwater hippos and crocodiles to sharks and lizards. It’s a truly magical place, and we hope to encounter a wide range of animals – great and small – in their natural habitat during our expeditions.

We assess all excursions and landings, and our Expedition Team provides expert insight into the fascinating and often unique wildlife we may encounter. They also keep our guests well informed of any risks posed by wildlife as well as actions to take in the unlikely event of a close encounter with any such animal. Additionally, guests receive an overview of animals to exercise caution over before departure.

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