Below, Hanseatic Inspiration is seen docked at Antwerpen on the 14th of october in 2019. Antwerpen was het first port of call and initially, sha was planned to be named there also. This was later altered to Hamburg.
In the end of the 1960's, HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd had a choice. The transatlantic passengerservices were declining rapidly and containerization changed the face of freighttravel over sea drasticly, but this was very expensive. A lot of older shippingcompanies just went out of business or made the choice to reform as a cruisecompany without freight operations, like Cunard Line, Norwegian America Line or Holland America Line. Some, like P&O, started to diversify and entered the real-estate business. In 1968, the HAPAG part of the combine introduced their first containership Elbe Express. They were really trying to get into this expensive containermarket. In 1970, a total merger between HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd created the new holding HAPAG-Lloyd, so capital could be increased and more investments into containerized shipping would be possible. The company gambled that this could be a real game-changer for the struggling shippingbusiness and indeed, it did. For HAPAG-Lloyd, this became their main objective, although they were not leaving passengerservices entirely. In 1970, the fleet of passerships numbered two, the former French Line ship Pasteur (renamed Bremen in 1957 and sailing for the combine untill 1971) and the former Swedish American ship Kungsholm (renamed Europa in 1965). This ship was sold in 1981 when a new purpose-built Europa joined the fleet.
In 1993, HAPAG-Lloyd also aquired the small 1990-built Frontier Spirit for expedition cruises and renamed her Bremen. This part of cruising seemed to suit them well, as they also aquired the 1991-built Hanseatic and their operating company Hanseatic Tours in 1997. In 1998, the whole of HAPAG-Lloyd was sold to the tourism conglomerate TUI, fully owned in 2002 and resold since 2008 to several investors. Another ship on charter basis who sailed for HAPAG-Lloyd's expedition brand was the c.Columbus, aquired in 1997 as a newbuilt and sold in 2012 to Plantours, who now use the ship under the name Hamburg.
In the 2010's, expedition cruising saw a huge growth and many companies started to order new, sometimes luxurious tonnage. To stay in the race, also HAPAG-Lloyd acted in reneweing their fleet and ordered two expeditionships for the replacement of the older Hanseatic. The ships were going to be 15.600-tons and the name of Hanseatic was also the basis for these ships as the first one was entering service in early 2019 under the name of Hanseatic Nature and she was followed by Hanseatic Inspiration in late 2019. A thirth ship was also ordered in the same class, planned to enter service in 2021 under the name of Hanseatic Spirit. With these ships, HAPAG-Lloyd can be assured of staying in the forefront of semi-luxury expedition cruising.
Construction and general statistics
On the 16th of august in 2016, the first two ships were ordered from the VARD Yards at Tulcea, Romania. Hanseatic Nature was the first to be built and the keel for the second ship, Hanseatic Inspiration, was laid at the 18th of october in 2017. In the ceremony, HAPAG-Lloyd's CEO Karl J. Pojer also laid a specially produced coin in the first steel block, which was welded into this 'keel' to wish the ship good-luck.
The ship has a tonnage measurement of 15.540. She is 138 meters long, 22 meters wide and her draft is 5,75 meters. She can sail up to a speed of 16 knots. The crew numbers 170 persons and they take care of 230 passengers who can use seven decks out of a total of nine. On Arctic expeditions, the number of passengers is decreased to just 199.
The fitting out of the ship was not done in Romania, but for this the hull was brought over to the Norwegian yards of VARD at Langsten. At the 16th of february in 2019, the hull started her 6450 kilometer journey from Romania towards Norway, which took her five weeks to complete. In Norway, the ship's fittings and interiours were installed. At the 2nd of october in 2019, the ship was delivered by VARD to its owners and was able to raise the flag of the Bahamas as the ship is homeported officially at Nassau.
Hanseatic Inspiration and her sisters are five-star ships, so they provide a lot of luxury to their passengers. They are rated within the highest ice-class for passengerships, P6, so that they can safely operate in especially the Polar regions. Also, the ships have intractable bridgewings so they can be sailing through narrow locks like when they are sailing the St. Laurence Seaway in Canada for cruises at the Big Lakes of north America. The ships have optimized hulls so they can achieve a higher fuel-efficiency for the propulsion system and reduce overall bunker fuel consumption. Also they are equipped with ice-detecting infra-red sensors so ice can be spotted while sailing at night. This is used next to a long-range 3D sonar which is installed within the ships bow. This device can spot approaching hazzards like icebergs or underwater coral reefs so the ship can safely navigate around them. The ships' rudder is designed by Rolls-Royce and is integrated with a specially designed propeller combining the benefits of lower emissions and low-speed manoeuvrability. Of course the emissions of the ship are reduced by 95% through a SCR catalytic converter and also cold ironing (shore-to-ship power capabilities) is available.
Inside, the ships are 'designed by nature' although the German firm Oceanarchitects does help nature a bit with the more difficult parts of the job. The ships offer 120 cabins in seven different categories, including two cabins with even a glass-floored balcony to give extra unlimited views. The cabins were designed by the Finnish company NIT Design and prefabricated by VARD Accomodation. NIT Design also were involved in the design of the ships' Spa, all staircases and outdoor area's and the a-la-carte restaurant. The restaurants aboard do have plenty of seats for every passenger so nobody will have to wait for his or hers turn. At the bow on deck 6 there is the possibility of viewing wildlife. A pool with its own bar and sundeck are located at deck 8 and a main central lounge is placed at deck 4. The ship also features a 215 square meter Spa complex, a 100 square meter fitness complex and a knowledge studio with a seperate classroom to really get to learn about the ships surroundings. On each voyage, lecturers will be present.
The ships have also a watersports marina and are equipped with 16 zodiacs, of course driven by eco-friendly electric systems. Next to those, also paddleboards, kayaks and snorkling equipment can be used from here.
The biggest difference between the both sisters is that Hanseatic Nature is purely marketed to the traditional German clientele of HAPAG-Lloyd, and Hanseatic Inspiration will be marketed to a more international passengerbase, also being bi-lingual onboard.
After her delivery, Hanseatic Inspiration made her way to Hamburg, Germany, where she was named at the 11th of october by the Dutch ocean yaughtswoman Laura Dekker. Born in 1995, she was the youngest solo-traveller sailing around the world on a two-masted sailboat. This cicumnavigation took her 518 days and she completed this in 2012. She was only 14 years of age when she started her journey. Host of the event was the 1959-born physicist and natural science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar from Luxemburg. After her naming, the ship started her Maiden Voyage from Hamburg to Lisbon. Her first port of call was Antwerp in Belgium, where her naming was originally planned. Due to the signifigance of Hamburg for HAPAG-Lloyd's history, this was later altered.
Her first season brings the ship from Western Europe to the Canary Islands, Barbados and South America, before she will sail northbound and starts a series of cruises within the Great Lakes from june 2020 onwards.