Get ready for a rare adventure! From Ushuaia you cross the Drake Passage and sail on to an unforgettable exploration of Antarctica. Meet penguins up close and touch icebergs with your bare hands. On board there is so much to do: the Explorer room, Young Explorers Program, theme days, exciting lectures, and more, all designed to enhance your trip.

November 17, 2018

Dr. Thagard is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of 5 space flights, including an incredible 115-day mission as a cosmonaut/researcher on Russian Mir-18 with liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and a historic landing at the Kennedy
Space Center.

This special cruise includes a two lectures from Dr. Thagard and viewings of a documentary about the Russian Mir-18 mission and Dr. Thagard’s training and experience as a cosmonaut/researcher on the mission. On this special voyage, Dr. Thagard shares his first-hand experiences with Hurtigruten guests.

Dr. Norm Thagard - Five Space Missions Spanning 12 Years

1983: Second flight for the Orbiter Challenger. Mission duration 147 hours.
1985: Spacelab-3 science mission aboard the Orbiter Challenger. 110 orbits of the Earth.
1989: Magellan Venus probe deployment mission aboard spacecraft Orbiter Atlantis. 64 orbits of the Earth.
1992: Payload commander on the Shuttle Discovery mission investigating the effects of microgravity. Mission duration 8 days.
1995: Cosmonaut/researcher on the Russian Mir-18 mission. 28 experiments and duration of 115 days.

Dr. Thagard is a decorated Marine Corps veteran, with 11 Air medals, flying over 163 missions in Vietnam. As a pilot, he has logged over 2,200 hours flying time – the majority in jet aircraft. After being selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1978, he trained for assignments on future Space Shuttle flights. 

A veteran of 5 space flights, he has logged over 140 days in space, performing many NASA ‘firsts’ including deployment and retrieval exercises, conducing various medical tests on physiological adaptation to space, launching the first planetary probe from the Shuttle, and serving as payload commander on the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 module for investigators from 11 countries. Most recently, Dr. Thagard was the cosmonaut/researcher for the Russian Mir-18 mission, a 115-day research-based assignment with the Russian space program.

Now, with an impressive list of graduate degrees, Medals of Commendation, books and scholarly works, Dr. Thagard shares his firsthand experiences and photos with guests on this very special voyage with Hurtigruten. 

Close Encounters with Antarctic Wildlife

Taking an expedition to Antarctica with MS Midnatsol is sure to rank among the most exciting things you’ll ever do: exploring the most remote place on earth. Join us on this adventure filled with the unparalleled highlights of Antarctica.

A Living Continent of Ice

The adventure starts as we sail the famous Drake Passage before arriving in remote Antarctica. Things quickly become even more interesting – behind every new iceberg a new highlight appears.

The goose bump factor is huge. The wildlife of Antarctica is a chapter in itself. You will see whales, meet thousands of penguins and even some seriously cute seals. And the icebergs drift by in fantastic variety, in all shapes and colors. The horizon seems endless and blue white, the oceans are full of icebergs and whales. Even more awe-inspiring, we will have our first encounters with huge colonies of penguins. Most importantly, you will explore ashore and in small craft through iceberg-rich waters to feel like a real polar explorer. 

Back on board, you’ll have fun opportunities to learn and share discoveries with family and new friends in a relaxed way. MS Midnatsol is a ship built and designed to meet the needs of modern explorers – both on and off board.  Our explorer deck is where you can meet fellow adventurers for scientific fun with our engaging Expedition Team, no matter what age you are. The media room on board shows the highlights of the day, and if you haven’t joined an excursion or landing, you can see films and photos, and share in the adventures here at the end of each day. The children check out our Young Explorers Program. All scientific content is presented in a lively, fun and easily understood manner: first class edutainment, so to speak.

So join us on a voyage to the extremes of the world, on the adventure of a lifetime.

Dr. Thagard will give two lectures to guests on the November 17 cruise:

Dr. Thagard will give two lectures to guests on the November 17 cruise:

  1. The Life and Times of Dr. Norm Thagard, NASA Astronaut
  2. The Russian Mir-18 mission, featuring a National Geographic documentary on his training and flying on the mission

Price Includes:

Not Included: 

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and weather, wind and ice conditions determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.