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The ships from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises consistently receive top honors; last year, the line’s Europa 2 was named as one of the world’s best vessels in the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2018 guide. Now, the company — which is increasing its presence in the English-speaking market — is releasing details about its two new luxury expedition ships, which are due to arrive next year and will be structurally identical.
Hanseatic Nature will be for the German-speaking market, while onboard Hanseatic Inspiration, sailings will be conducted in both English and German. Both ships are being constructed at Polar Class 6 level — the highest ice classification for passenger vessels — for the extreme environments they will explore.
During a recent press conference in New York, Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, announced that last year was the company’s best ever, when it also received the highest ratings for guest experience. Pojer additionally revealed features of Inspiration, which is set to launch Oct. 14, 2019, with a 14-night cruise from Antwerp, Belgium, to Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
Both ships will have capacity for 230 guests, but on Antarctic cruises, they will sail with a 199-passenger limit. In keeping with the ship design’s aim to open the vessels to their surroundings, all six accommodation categories will be outside staterooms or suites, and most will have either a step-out balcony or a French balcony. All rooms will be equipped with binoculars, Nordic walking poles and a heated wall in the bathroom that is as good for wet parkas as it is for damp towels. Accommodation options will range from the 226-square-foot Panorama Cabins to the 764-square-foot, apartment-like Grand Suite, which comes with butler service.
Onboard public spaces, too, will be centered on the destination. Each of the two ships will feature a 180-degree panoramic lounge, and retractable glass balconies on the sundeck will suspend guests above the water. In addition, a deck track at the bow of the ship will bring passengers closer to the world around the ship than the captain’s bridge.
Enrichment is such an essential part of expedition cruising that it deserves its own venue. Luckily, Nature and Inspiration will have two such spots for both group and independent learning about the cruising regions. HanseAtrium will be a multifunctional lounge where experts offer daily presentations, and Ocean Academy will give guests the facilities for individual research. There will be reading chairs with swivel touchscreens, where travelers can navigate an interactive media wall that provides extensive information about the ship’s current exploration.
With Hapag-Lloyd, luxury also equates to wellness. The expedition ships will each have a 2,529-square-foot Ocean Spa with a Finnish sauna, a steam sauna, a relaxation area, a hairdresser, beauty treatments and massages. There will also be a 1,076-square-foot fitness area with ocean views, plus a canopied, counter-current pool. An aft marina will provide a launch area for watersports ranging from kayaking and snorkeling to stand-up paddleboarding.
As for dining, Inspiration will have a main restaurant that can seat 178 passengers, supplemented by an indoor-outdoor bistro with a barbecue and a show kitchen that can accommodate 184 guests. The alternative specialty restaurant will offer Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. All restaurants will be open seating, and there will be 24-hour cabin service.
Though it might seem contrary, Inspiration and Nature are good for families and multigenerational groups: School-age children (about 6 or 7 years old) are welcome onboard. However, the minimum age for those who want to camp in Antarctica is 10.
Inspiration will sail the Arctic in summer and the Antarctic in winter. In between, there will be a selection of destinations including the Lower and Upper Amazon River, the Chilean fjords, the Azores in Portugal and Africa’s Cape Verde. Sailings will range from four-day cruises to Europe’s Frisian Islands to 23-day sailings to the Antarctic.