Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has launched its first truly internationally focused expedition ship with the debut of Hanseatic Inspiration.
Unique in the German line’s trio of boutique expedition ships, Hanseatic Inspiration is bilingual –
meaning all crew, expedition leaders and guides also speak English, with menus printed in English, and lectures, port talks and excursions also conducted in the language.
The line could also open a dedicated UK sales office in the “next two to three years”, it says, if the UK market starts to grow.
“Going forward, over the next two to three years, depending on the increase in ex-UK volume, we will look at our sales structure with the possibility of a dedicated UK office,” Michael Steffl, head of international sales, told TTG during a two-night preview cruise from Hamburg to Antwerp.
He admitted Hapag-Lloyd Cruises currently has low brand awareness in the UK when it comes to expedition cruising but insisted the size of the ships was “our trump card”.
“From a revenue perspective, international passengers currently account for 10 to 15% on our cruises, of which 30% comes from the UK,” he said.
“On the expedition front, we are constantly increasing the number of year-round English-speaking guests though, by developing partnerships with tour operators including Scott Dunn and agents such as Mundy Cruising, who appreciate that Hanseatic Inspiration is a ‘hidden gem’.
“We have also been staging customer events and roadshows for agents in conjunction with Polar Routes, for example.”
The ship was christened in Hamburg by Laura Dekker, who sailed around the world solo at the age of 14.
Hanseatic Inspiration accommodates 230 passengers (199 when cruising in Antarctica) and will offer Antarctic explorations from 12 to 32 days during the British winter. There are also cruises to the Chilean fjords, while summertime voyages head to Svalbard, Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Russian Far East.
At other times of the year, the ship will sail to the Amazon, Azores, Cape Verde, South Africa and Iceland, as well as the Great Lakes in North America.
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