TTG got to take a look at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic Inspiration, the line’s newly launched bilingual expedition ship
To meet pent-up demand in expedition cruising, there are currently 28 new expedition ships scheduled to take to the oceans between now and the end of 2022.
Hanseatic Inspiration is the latest entrant to this exclusive armada and was christened earlier in October in Hamburg.
The spectacular ceremony on the river Elbe projected an animated tableau of iconic off-the-beaten track destinations on the ship’s white hull; perhaps not as adventurous as those, the ship started more modestly with a 15-night maiden voyage from Antwerp to Tenerife.
I sailed on the ship’s short preview cruise to see what Hanseatic Inspiration has to offer British travellers, as the line looks to grow this market.
This is Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ first ‘international’ expedition ship, meaning all crew (including expedition leaders and guides) speak English and menus are in English; while lectures, port talks and excursions are conducted in English.
Another noteworthy point is this ship accommodates 230 passengers (199 when cruising in Antarctica) and has a crew of 175.
Also significant is the space-to-passenger ratio, which is 68.04 – one of the highest in luxury cruising let alone expeditionary ships.
Novel features I spotted include the extendible glass balconies on either side of the ship where passengers will really feel as if they are hovering over the ocean; and an Inspiration Walk at the bow of the ship for close encounters with nature.
Enhancing the expedition context, there’s an Ocean Academy onboard with interactive computers, Study Wall for enhanced learning and scientific microscopes for further examination. The ship also carries a fleet of 17 zodiacs and two eco-friendly, battery-powered zodiacs specifically for explorations in particularly sensitive areas.
The 120 cabins and suites come in six categories ranging from 226-square-foot Panoramic Cabins to 764sqft Grand Suites.
Stylish Hanseatic Restaurant seats 180 guests at tables for between two and eight guests and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It’s accompanied by the buffet-style Lido Restaurant, which has tables inside and outside at the stern of the ship and is open for breakfast and lunch, while the intimate 44-seat Nikkei Restaurant specialises in Japanese-Peruvian cuisine.
Expedition leaders and Polar experts will offer presentations in The HansAtrium with it floor-to-ceiling LED screens.
The Observation Lounge offers 180-degree panoramic views, which can be enjoyed while relaxing with an aperitif at the bar.
There’s a swimming pool too, as well as a whirlpool, Ocean Spa and fitness room, plus marina for a variety of watersports.
With the highest ice class rating for passenger ships, Hanseatic Inspiration explores current go-to Polar destinations and cruises to Antarctica will vary from 12-day to 32-day semi-circumnavigations.
There are also cruises to the Chilean fjords, while summertime voyages to the Canadian Arctic, Russian Far East, Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland are on the roster too.
At other times of year, Hanseatic Inspiration cruises will head to the Azores, Cape Verde Islands, South Africa and the Amazon and it will be one of the few ships to sail the Great Lakes in North America.