Press release -
HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) Sets New Sustainability Benchmarks with Largest-ever 'Season of Science’ in Antarctica
Donating over 1,100 cabins, supporting more than 20 projects and facilitating 8,000+ data submissions for third-party research
London, UK (November 2, 2023) – HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions) sets new sustainability benchmarks in Antarctica for the 2023-2024 season, donating over 1,100 cruise nights to researchers and supporting more than 20 projects. Transforming the travel experience into one of learning and participation, HX anticipates guests will contribute 16,000+ data submissions through its Science & Education Program globally in 2024, with 8,000+ specifically during the 2023-2024 Antarctica season.
“It’s been almost 130 years since HX pioneered expedition cruising. With this history, we have a profound responsibility to safeguard the places we explore,” says HX Chief Scientist Dr. Meraldi, the cruise industry’s first on-staff Chief Scientist. Since 2018, HX's Science & Education Program, a first in the cruise industry, has forged partnerships with some of the world’s leading science institutions. “Beyond minimizing our footprint, it is our duty to leave these places better than we found them," adds Dr. Meraldi.
More Cabins, More Research
This season, HX has booked 1,158 cruise nights for third-party researchers in Antarctica, marking the highest number of cabins donated by the expedition cruise line. “Scientists spend weeks onboard conducting research, often alongside our curious guests who are eager to understand the ecosystems they’re exploring,” adds Dr. Meraldi.
By year-end, HX will have provided over 1,500 cabins to researchers across its global itineraries spanning 30+ countries.
Record Support for 20+ Projects
HX will also achieve a milestone in mindful adventure by providing support for more than 20 research projects and as many as eight Citizen Science initiatives. Researchers collaborate closely with HX’s industry-leading expedition team, fostering guest education through lectures, demonstrations, and real-time data analysis in HX’s cutting-edge Science Centers.
In the 2023-2024 Antarctica Science Program, projects span drone-based whale research, penguin colony monitoring, and baleen whale population studies. A new project, part of HX’s ongoing collaboration with the California Ocean Alliance, will study Humpback whale bubble net feeding behaviour.
The University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies will also continue its social science study, examining the effects of Citizen Science activities on guest behavior during and after the travel experience. Participating institutions include University of California Santa Cruz, Oxford Brookes University, ORCA, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Norwegian Polar Institute and Western Washington University.
Doing it for the Data
In 2013, HX started contributing data to the Citizen Science project Happywhale. A decade later, in 2023 alone, curious guests submitted 15,500 observations to projects like iNaturalist, eBird, Secchi Disk Study, HappyWhale, and Cloud Observer through HX’s Science & Education Program. This collaborative effort significantly increases data collection in remote regions, particularly in projects focusing on animal populations – including whales, penguins, seabirds, and seals – and the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. Dr. Meraldi's team anticipates even higher engagement this year, with submissions expected to exceed 16,000.
Since 2019, HX’s Science & Education Program has facilitated the publication of 17 scientific reports and papers. These invaluable findings have contributed critical data to the scientific community and supported research at institutions such as UNIS, SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography, Oceanites, Institute for Marine Research, University in Tromsø, California Ocean Alliance, and more.
Visit our 2023-2024 Antarctica Science Program overview to learn more.
For more information about HX and its immersive expedition cruises, please visit www.hurtigruten.com
In 1896, HX (Hurtigruten Expeditions), set out on a journey of exploration from its homeland in Norway. Driven by a passion to discover what lies beyond the horizon, they sailed in the wake of the pioneering seafarers who were redrawing the world’s boundaries.
Today, HX is the leading expedition cruise company, taking guests to over 250 destinations in more than 30 countries worldwide. With onboard lectures and science centres, HX is committed to ensuring guests return home with a deep understanding and love of the places they explore.
HX is on a mission to be the world’s most-sustainable expedition company. They led the industry by being the first to ban heavy fuel oil and single-use plastics. In 2019, HX unveiled the world's first battery hybrid-powered cruise ship.