Part of the
Hurtigruten Group

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.

On board the Hurtigruten ship, "safety first" applies as the most important. Credit: Oscar Farrera / Hurtigruten.

Life onboard

Medical services

Our expedition ships feature a small onboard hospital essential equipment, and medication to handle small emergencies.. Every ship has an English-speaking medical team with a doctor and at least one nurse, supported 24/7 by dedicated land-based experts.

In the event of a serious emergency, the nearest hospital will be contacted. Medical consultations as well as medicines will be charged to the passenger affected. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance.

If you depend on medication, remember to bring sufficient supplies to last through any unforeseen delays. We also recommend that you keep your medication in your hand luggage, properly labelled, and with clear instructions for its use. If you depend on vital medication, please inform the ship’s doctor upon arrival.

Guests with reduced mobility and accessibility challenges and those bringing mobility or medical equipment onboard may find our policy on accessibility here.

Illness on board can lead to quarantine, and orders from the ship’s physician and captain must be followed.

Cleaning and hygiene

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

Face masks

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

Positive cases and isolation

Our medical staff may conduct an antigen COVID-19 test if guests or crew develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If required, we have robust procedures in place for outbreak prevention and response.

  • Guests who test positive for COVID-19 during a cruise will isolate for 5 x 24-hour periods from symptoms onset.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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. HX Hurtigruten Expeditions has no control over such requirements and must adhere to orders made by the local authorities.

Our procedures are based on local legislation, medical advice, and risk assessments. We may apply similar policies and procedures to the above in relation to other communicable illnesses or diseases.

Exploring on shore

Activities, landings, and shore excursions will follow all mandates from local governments and communities when exploring on land, adjusting our plans and procedures as needed.


Even with infection control policies and procedures, there are some unavoidable risks to guests and property associated with your journey, including but not limited to onboard the ship, flight, while travelling to or from the ship, in hotels, terminal, and airports or during excursions. These may, for example, include illness or disease caused by exposure to viruses, bacteria or pathogens, including but not limited to influenza, norovirus, COVID-19 and cold. The risk of such exposure is inherent in many activities where people meet, interact and share common facilities, even with infection control policies and procedures in place.

HX 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.

Pre-boarding & COVID-19

HX Hurtigruten Expeditions no longer requires guests to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to board any of our ships. We also do not require any pre-departure COVID-19 testing.

We continuously evaluate our health and safety procedures and update the information on this page. Therefore, procedures, including our embarkation protocols, 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.

Entry requirements

Before you set off on your trip, please familiarise yourself with our pre-departure requirements and the travel regulations and requirements in place for your destination. Please note: It's your responsibility to identify and obtain all required documents and other vaccinations you may require for your expedition. Further information can be found here.

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.

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

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