Hurtigruten has announced a new educational program designed for children traveling to Antarctica. The Young Explorers Program, available on Antarctica Discovery Style voyages aboard the Midnatsol between November 2016 and March 2017, encourages young travelers to learn more about the environment through the use of age-appropriate field research, games, re-enactments and lectures.
Opportunities to assist the Expedition Team are an important part of the program, giving kids hand-on experiences and a chance to learn about the rigors of exploration. The Young Explorers Program is complimentary, and is best suited for ages 7-13. It was designed using the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) guidelines as the foundation.
Children will be greeted by Young Explorer Program staff upon embarkation, and a special “Introduction to Antarctica” program will prepare them for their journey to the white continent. Each young explorer will receive a field note workbook containing chapters focusing on science, polar history, photography and nautical studies. Science lessons will take place in the science center (which is also open to adults), where children will look into the biology and geology of the Southern Ocean through real field samples. Polar history activities include a re-creation of the Amundsen party reaching the South Pole, while photography professionals give lessons to encourage young travelers to capture the majesty of Antarctica. Navigation officers are on hand to help teach nautical basics, which culminates with an exclusive meeting with the Captain. Each lesson completed in the workbook earns the young explorer one stamp; completing the workbook earns a prize and an official certificate. In addition, kids will be introduced to EcoChains, a new environmental card game, which will be incorporated into the program for play during the voyage.
On one Antarctica landing during the voyage, the kids are invited to help the staff set up the landing site before passengers go ashore, which may involve digging snow steps, carrying emergency equipment from the boat, placing flags and cones for path making, or standing post by a penguin colony with Expedition Team members. Explorers are accompanied by a staff member at all times.
The Young Explorers Program is available on all six Antarctica itineraries aboard the Midnatsol. Examples include:
- Legendary Magellan Chilean Fjords and Antarctica, where guests celebrate the holidays in the fjords, Falkland Islands and Antarctica; 18 days, priced from $7,728, and
- Discover Patagonia & Antarctica, an in-depth exploration of these two sites; 16 days, priced from $6,666.
The Midnatsol is a purpose-built ice class 1X ship with open seas stabilizers, forward-scanning sonar, ice radar, and a range of safety equipment. Landings and "iceberg cruising" are accommodated in landing crafts, launched from the side of the ship so that guests are able to get in and out of the craft while protected from winds and weather. This design leaves the ship’s top deck open for guest enjoyment. Additionally, the Midnatsol’s two-story panoramic lounge and large expanses of windows makes Antarctica’s stunning scenery viewable from comfortable environs throughout the ship for a maximum 500 passengers.