Get to know Greenland with HX

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HX at Evighedsfjord Greenland

Get to know Greenland with HX

Immense glaciers, sparkling fjords and some of the planet’s hardiest animals. It’s amazing to experience the natural wonders that define Greenland – but it’s even better when you learn about them. Because when you understand what you see, you look at everything in a new way. That’s why aboard every HX cruise is an expert Expedition Team made up of scientists, photographers, historians, cultural interpreters and more, all working to bring you closer to the enchanting destinations on your itinerary. Torstein Gaustad, Expedition Team Leader shares his insights on an unforgettable Greenland itinerary with HX, and why he loves his job.

Why a Greenland cruise with HX Hurtigruten Expeditions is unforgettable

Illulissat, Greenland

Illulissat is one of the highlights of a Greenland cruise. Photo: Ted Gatlin.

What are the highlights of a Greenland expedition cruise?

“Every stop or location in Greenland has something special to offer. There are so many majestic landscapes of mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs… one standout is the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, with its serene blue waters flanked by dramatic icebergs. Another highlight is the colourful community of Qaqortoq, where icebergs often drift right by the port entrance. But it’s not just about the spectacular scenery – it’s the people, too. Greenland has a really unique cultural identity and historical background, and they make visiting here truly special.”

What kind of activities can guests expect to choose from?

“There’s something for everybody. We might head ashore for a community visit, where a variety of excursions await – in Qaqortoq, for example, you can join a local family for a traditional kaffemik (meaning ‘via coffee’), or take a boat trip to the historic Hvalsø Church ruins. Depending on the weather, we also offer activities like kayaking, guided hikes and nature walks, along with cruising remote areas on our small expedition boats to explore fjords, icebergs and glaciers."

How about the days when you’re not out exploring?

“The adventure continues even on ‘sea days’. The Expedition Team hosts an onboard programme of lectures, art workshops and more, along with briefings about what’s coming up in the trip. Acknowledging that every guest has different interests, our team is a treasure trove of information covering everything from science and wildlife to history and local culture. Although we find that many guests leave their cruise with brand-new passions!”

The role of HX Expedition Teams

Vaigat Sound in Greenland

At Vaigat Sound, Greenland. Photo: Ted Gatlin.

How does the Expedition Team enhance an HX cruise?

“Between the scientists, historians, photographers and more the Expedition Team brings a wealth of expert knowledge to every cruise. Some team members are Greenlandic, and it’s their local insight into daily life, history and culture that transforms the cruise into a deeper, more involved experience of Greenland – not just a visit to see it. In fact, this understanding of local culture and people has even changed many guests’ perspective on life. That’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job: when I hear from guests that they see things differently because of what they’ve learnt along the journey.”

Are you carrying out research during the cruise?

“Yes! When they’re not sharing knowledge, our Science Team are busy collecting samples and data for research projects, and guests can even join in! We run an extensive Science & Education program, with our onboard Science Centres at its heart. Here, guests can immerse themselves in the people, places and wildlife they encounter through hands-on learning experiences, while also having the chance to support real research. We also have guest scientists joining our voyages who not only conduct vital scientific research during the trip, but also give presentations and share their findings with guests.”

Torstein on being an Expedition Leader for HX…

Torstein Gaustad, HX Expedition Team leader

Torstein Gaustad, HX Expedition Team Leader.

What does a typical day as Expedition Leader look like?

“No two days are the same. But on the days we’re out exploring, I start the morning with a coffee out on deck, enjoying the best office views in the world. I get a look and feel of the conditions, then head to the bridge for the latest update on timings, weather and position to see if our plan for the day needs adjusting. Then, we get ready to explore…”

What does your role as Expedition Leader involve?

”I head up both the program of expeditions and onboard activities, working closely with our onboard Expedition Team to craft the perfect itinerary for our guests. This includes planning, considering the highlights and activities we want our guests to experience along with the predicted weather conditions, as well as making sure we’re operating in a safe and environmentally responsible way.”

What’s it like to work for HX?

“I’m really proud to work for a company that isn’t just expert at what they do, but upholds such high standards for sustainability. HX is leading the way in the industry, from their investment in hybrid-powered ships to being the first to eliminate single-use plastics and heavy fuel oils. We also collaborate closely with the communities we visit, using local providers for excursions and onboard food.”

What’s your favourite part of the job?

“There are the incredible views, of course, but I also love the experience and knowledge gained from working in the areas we sail. There’s always something new to discover, and learning from our Expedition Team brings me a huge amount of joy. I also enjoy the logistical planning of our operations, creating an unforgettable cruise for all guests. Another big joy of this job is that no day is the same – and our guests can experience that same joy on an HX cruise, too.”

Find out more about HX Hurtigruten Expeditions and its Greenland itineraries

Kayaking at Camp Frieda in Greenland

Kayaking at Camp Frieda, Greenland. Photo: Andrea Klaussner.

HX Hurtigruten Expeditions is the cruise company for curious travellers. Experts in expedition cruising since 1896, its itineraries offer the opportunity for mindful adventure on small ships, ensuring that guests return home with a deep understanding and love of the places they’ve explored. HX Greenland itineraries range from 10 days to 21 days, with some routes also exploring neighbouring Arctic destinations of Svalbard and Iceland. You can find the full list of HX Greenland cruises here.

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