Bring your young explorers on board!
Aimed at 7 to 13 year olds, the Young Explorer Program gives Hurtigruten's youngest guests the chance to learn about the polar regions in a fun and interactive way. It also ensures that onboard a Hurtigruten ship, no guest, young or old, will ever get bored!
The program is to be offered onboard the MS Trollfjord and the MS Finnmarken, along the Norwegian coastal cruise routes from April 2017, and the MS Midnatsol, travelling to the Chilean Fjords and Antarctica in 2016 / 2017.
“Last week we had a very successful test trip of Young Explorer on MS Finnmarken. Children from Switzerland, England, France, Italy and Norway participated, and we had a lot of fun! We learnt how to pack a backpack, we pitched tents on deck, we whittled barbecue sticks, and we barbecued twist bread and hot dogs. We fished from the dock in Brønnøysund, and learned how to fillet the fish by the Head Chef. We tasted Norwegian food – while we were blindfolded.”
Reported a Young Explorer Host returning from a trip onboard MS Finnmarken.
The programme ensures that on their journey, younger guests stay active and curious about their surrounds and come away from their adventure with a deeper understanding of nature, climate and culture through discussions and activities around wildlife, local food, environmental protection and pioneering explorers. Children are guided by specialist Young Explorer Hosts, who speak Norwegian, German and English, through daily activities such as lectures, excursions and onboard activities.
The programme emphasises the environmental challenges that we are facing, particularly in relation to the polar regions of the globe. On MS Midnatsol in particular, the age-appropriate lectures and activities are based on the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) guidelines.
The Young Explorers Programme offers the following:
- Daily on board activities related to different topics
- Environmental actions and excursions like beach clean-ups in cooperation with Hurtigruten Foundation (a minimum of one excursion per roundtrip)
- The kids will get a Young Explorer Package consisting of a t-shirt and logbook at the beginning of the voyage. In the logbook they can note observations and learnings they make during the day (wildlife, attractions and so on)
- Every day they have an Explorer Meeting where they talk more about the day's topic.
- A Young Explorer Kit will be for sale
- Advice on child-friendly attractions on land such as Pirbadet, Vitensenteret and the Hurtigruten Museum
- An environmental educational card game, EcoChains, will be incorporated into the programme for downtime play during the voyage
Young Explorers on MS Midnatsol
One of Hurigruten's main aims is to work towards a sustainable solution of preservtation of the world's most fragile areas, particularly the polar regions. The Hurtigruten Foundation is involved in many environmental actions to ensure that their future guests can have the same meaningful journey experience as the guests of today. The Young Explorer program onboard the MS Midnatsol focuses on sustainability and educating the younger generation about the challenges that will only become more urgent in their lifetimes.
There are four elements of the Young Explorer programme: science; polar history; photography; and, nautical. Upon boarding the ship, children aged 7 to 13 who wish to participate in the program are introduced with a meet and greet and given their Field Notes Workbook. There will be an initial "Introduction to Antarctica" lecture and various activities for each of the following chapters thoughout the journey.
SCIENCE: Exercises using the science centre, looking into the biology and geology of the Southern Ocean via samples. Amongst other things, children have the chance to collect the ocean samples.
POLAR HISTORY: Both onboard and field excursions are available. For example, kids can get involved in recreating the scene where polar pioneer, Amundsen, and his crew reached the South Pole.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Some sessions together with the onboard photographers, and then sessions in the onboard Photo and Optics Centre.
NAUTICAL: Some exercises of a nautical nature together with the navigation officers. For example, a meeting with the Captain for the children only.
Every task completed in the Field Notes Workbook will earn one stamp - in total four different stamps representing each main field. Once each section of the notebook is completed at the end of the journey, the Young Explorers will receive a special stamp from the Captain, a certificate and a prize.
The Science Centre onboard the MS Midnatsol is also available for adult explorers to engage with the environment around them with both biological and geological microscopes available for use.
Young Explorer Volunteers
Young Explorers can also get involved with the work of the Expedition Team in volunteering to assist in Expedition Team duties. This a great, hands-on way to get kids thinking about the planet and really feel like they are a part of running an exploration. Kids will be invited to help the crew with various tasks on one Antractica landing to prepare for guests to go ashore. These tasks may include:
- Digging snow steps
- Carrying ashore emergency equipment from the boat
- Carrying flags and cones for path-making
- Stand on post by penguin colony with Expedition Team member
- General help on landing site, accompanying a staff member at all times
Join the programme
The programme has already been implemented on the MS Midnatsol, and from April 1st 2017, children will also be able to explore the Norwegian coast on MS Finnmarken and MS Trollfjord in a way that's both fun and educational.
Participating in the Young Explorers Programme is compliementary for all of the younger guests onboard. All three of these ships also offer extensive facilities suited to families onboard including swimming pools, Jacuzzis, playrooms and libraries.
Hurtigruten's Young Explorer programme aims to give children a real understanding of the world around them and a sense of what it is like to explore some of the most untouched, beautiful regions of the world.