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Hurtigruten Group

Explore Antarctica with HX

A visit to Antarctica is the experience of a lifetime, at the very top of every intrepid traveller’s list of dream destinations. Start planning your HX adventure here, with the global leader in Antarctica cruises.


9.3 / 10

The average rating our guests gave their HX expedition experience to Antarctica

"Such a professional cruise company to deal with, from initial booking to the crew being there to say goodbye as we disembarked at the end of our truly amazing experience of Antarctica.

I cannot praise HX enough."

Janice B. sailed with us in 2023.

"Such a professional cruise company to deal with, from initial booking to the crew being there to say goodbye as we disembarked at the end of our truly amazing experience of Antarctica.

I cannot praise HX enough."

Janice B. sailed with us in 2023.

Like nowhere else on earth

Exploring the pristine, other-worldly continent of Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime dream for many. To cross the Drake Passage and reach the last great frontier – a place where the sun glints off sculpted ice and wildlife reigns supreme – is truly a life-changing experience. For such a unique adventure, why go with anyone but the most trusted and experienced Antarctica operator there is?

At HX we’re proud to be the global leader of expeditions to Antarctica. For over 20 years, more people have explored the Seventh Continent with us than with any other operator. They do so because we have a proven track record of sustainable exploration, and because we have a world-leading science programme that actively helps protect the fragile ecosystems we visit. And they do it because our ships are the perfect size for Antarctic adventure, and because we’re consistently given a top rating by former guests. Why settle for anything less?

We are the global leaders in Antarctic adventure, with more guests trusting us than any other operator.

S 69°13'3", W 069°40'2"

The southernmost point reached by MS Roald Amundsen.

33

Antarctica voyages between October 2023 and March 2024.

What does it feel like to explore Antarctica?

As the sea below you begins to turn a vivid crystal blue and the first towering icebergs come slowly into view, you may find yourself wondering if you’ve arrived on another planet.

Here you’ll breathe the freshest air on Earth. You’ll look up at the clearest skies you’ve ever seen and sink into the quietest silence you’ve ever heard. Icebergs, glaciers, volcanoes and vast expanses of nothing but pure white snow – you’ll experience natural beauty like never before.

Under this initial impression of unparalleled tranquillity is something far more lively. You’ll find yourself charmed by waddling penguins as they nonchalantly inspect you before diving elegantly into the water. You’ll watch families of seals basking on rocks, soaking up the sunshine between dives. You may even wake to humpback whales breaching the water right outside your cabin window.

You’ll also have the opportunity to find out more about these enthralling creatures and their habitats, spotting them alongside our expert expedition team, enjoying onboard lectures delivered by local wildlife researchers and joining citizen science projects during your time with us.

What does a typical day in Antarctica look like?

One of the many joys of an Antarctica expedition with HX is that there’s no such thing as a typical day. Our itinerary is guided by the conditions around us, both so that we can ensure the safety of everyone on board.

There are certainties, however. On an all-inclusive expedition, your day will begin with a generous breakfast buffet overlooking the sea. You’ll then don your snow gear and head for the expedition boats.

To navigate the icy mazes that get you closer to the action, we take to our expedition boats. These are smaller, more agile and hybrid, enabling us to cruise along silently, while treading lightly on delicate ecosystems – always our priority, as Chair of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).

If you head back to the ship for lunch, you’ll have time to relax in one of our restaurants, each serving delicious, freshly prepared and locally-sourced dishes, with drinks included.

After the day’s adventures, you might decide to wind down with a sauna, massage, or perhaps fine dining and cocktails, or perhaps you’ll spend time in our onboard Science Centre. If the weather is kind, we run a lottery for camping evenings, so you may decide to head back out after dinner and pitch up on the ice for a night under the stars like no other.

“You come away from this so much more knowledgeable”

Mindy R. sailed with us February 2024.

Feed your curiosity, with our onboard Science & Education Program

An expedition to Antarctica is bound to inspire your curiosity and our Science & Education Program allows you to dig deeper.

At HX, we have over 20 years of experience supporting the study and research of Antarctica. We work with universities, scientists and organisations to facilitate world-leading research, from the impact of climate change to the migratory patterns of marine life. We even contribute meteorological observations as part of our partnership with NASA.

When you join an HX expedition, you’re welcome to be led by your own curiosity. Experts will join us to give lectures or workshops, there’ll be opportunities to contribute to Citizen Science Projects and you can spend time in the Science Centre to examine samples and find out more about everything you’ve seen and experienced.

*Stats from the 2023 / 2024 Antarctic sailing season

1,620

nights donated to guest scientists from 13 research projects.

794

Citizen Scientist workshops helped guests gain a deeper understanding of Antarctica.

273

whale encounters submitted by our guests to the Happywhale citizen science project.

“I was expecting a vast emptiness. You begin to realise that it’s teeming with life.”

Andrew S. sailed with us in February 2024.

When is the best time to visit Antarctica?

Timing is everything.

To experience the very best of Antarctica, you’ll want to choose the month of your visit wisely. From April to September, the region is plunged into darkness, with treacherous winds and unbreakable ice. The expedition season runs from late October through to late March, giving us the opportunity to experience this captivating region to the fullest.

Expeditions before Christmas

Those with an eye for photography will love the early part of the season, where the sun hangs low in the sky and, combined with clear weather, creates incredible displays at both sunrise and sunset. You also see the largest expanses of sea ice, as well as courtship rituals between penguins.

The Antarctic summer begins in December, giving you up to 22 hours of daylight in which to enjoy wildlife spotting, hiking, kayaking and more. You’ll also see humpback whales begin to arrive from the tropics and perhaps even a penguin chick or two.

Expeditions in the New Year

As the weather begins to warm (sometimes over 10oC) and the long days continue, January and February are the months to see fluffy penguin chicks, along with orcas, humpbacks and seals.

The season draws to a close in March, with temperatures returning to their normal below freezing levels. It’s still a great time for whale watching, the water is clearer for diving and you may find that the penguins become a little braver, waddling up to inspect you as you explore.

Our expedition cruises to Antarctica

12 Days | Highlights of Antarctica Expedition

23 Days | Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia Expedition

18 Days | In-depth Antarctic Circle Expedition

How to get to Antarctica: crossing the Drake Passage

One of the world’s most fascinating bodies of water is the Drake Passage. Known for being both unpredictable and challenging, it comprises the area of the Southern Ocean between the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. It’s a little over 500 nautical miles across at its narrowest but by far the shortest distance to travel to reach Antarctica. It’s even said to feel like a symbolic transition from one world to the next.

To sail the Drake Passage is to follow in the footsteps of history's greatest explorers. Luckily, a voyage on our modern, exceptionally designed and specially adapted ships is far easier, safer and more enjoyable than the treacherous crossings of history and folklore.

As you sail across, it's the perfect time to learn more about our upcoming destination with the Expedition Team. They'll offer fascinating lectures about Antarctica, and teach you about the rules for respecting wildlife and nature when you arrive.

Penguins perched on the ice of Cuverville Island, Antarctica. Credit: Espen Mills / HX Hurtigruten Expeditions

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