Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 by Peter Knego
Time to don life vests and hop into a zodiac — and don’t forget the champagne! This Decked! feature offers a top-to-bottom look at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises recently renovated, five star, 184 passenger MV HANSEATIC — one of the world’s highest-rated expedition cruise ships.
Please click on image to see larger version. All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2009 unless otherwise noted.
Operators: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Builder: Rauma Repola, Finland
Entered Service: 1993
Gross Tonnage: 8,378
Length: 404 feet
Beam: 60 feet
Draft: 16 feet
Passenger Capacity: 184
Number of Crew: 125
Propulsion: diesel, twin screw
Maximum Speed: 18 knots
Hapag-Lloyd’s 8,378 gt MV HANSEATIC is the fourth in a noteworthy line of passenger ships to carry the name.
She carries on a tradition started by German-Atlantik Line’s HANSEATIC of 1958, the heavily-rebuilt former Canadian Pacific EMPRESS OF JAPAN (later EMPRESS OF SCOTLAND). The legendary liner, which also enjoyed a dual career as a deluxe cruise ship, was damaged by fire in New York on September 7, 1967 and subsequently broken up in Germany.
Her replacement, the second HANSEATIC, was the 1964-built former Zim liner SHALOM. The ex-Israeli flagship was one of the world’s top-rated cruise ships under the German-Atlantik banner until being sold in 1973.
The 1969-built “Space Ship” HAMBURG subsequently became the third HANSEATIC but only sailed one voyage under that name before the company shut down in 1974.
The current appellation was actually built for Society Expeditions as the SOCIETY ADVENTURER but while she was under construction at the Rauma-based Finnyards shipyard in Finland, her owners declared bankruptcy.
She was completed and sold in 1993 to former German Atlantik Line captain, Dirk Moldenhauer, who revived the red and white Maltese Cross banner of German Atlantik Lines and named the ship HANSEATIC for his newly-established Hanseatic Cruises.
HANSEATIC was the world’s first five star expedition cruise vessel with a 1A1 super ice classification (the highest a non-purpose-built ice breaker can attain) and a fleet of fourteen zodiacs.
With an 8,600 nautical mile range, HANSEATIC voyages from pole to pole, providing her contingent of 184 pampered passengers the opportunity to visit remote ports of call and explore off-the-beaten-track regions, often landing via zodiac.
In 1997, HANSEATIC was chartered to upscale German-based Hapag-Lloyd, which maintains her loyal following and exotic cruise programs under their aegis in conjunction with the four star, 6,752 gt expedition ship BREMEN. Although HANSEATIC lacks BREMEN’s balconies, her all-outside cabins and public areas are slightly larger and more comfortable than the BREMEN’s and the quality of food and service is a notch or two better.
When her charter to Hapag-Lloyd was recently extended through 2018, HANSEATIC visited the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg for her most extensive refit to date.
Emerging in June of 2011, she sported Hapag-Lloyd’s distinctive orange and blue livery, although the red and white Maltese Cross will remain in use as a “product logo” on board.
In the 13 day transformation, all cabins on Decks 5 and 6 were fitted with new paneling, furniture and soft fittings and the Columbus Lounge casual dining venue was restyled as the Bistro Lemaire.
HANSEATIC is a very well-proportioned, handsome ship. Her raked bow, low superstructure and angular but nicely configured funnel and terraced stern are a pleasant visual alternative to today’s average “box of flats” megaship.
Here’s a nicely chilled glass of champagne as we board the ship for our top to bottom tour. Two stairtowers and two lifts facilitate a smooth and uncrowded passenger flow among her seven passenger decks as we head up to Deck 8.
The uppermost level, Deck 8, is a large, turf-lined, open observation terrace surrounding the mast housing and overlooking the midships lido.
Deck 7/Observation Deck
Seen from the outside, the 102 seat Observation Lounge, which begins the public areas on forward Deck 7, sits atop the wheelhouse like a prominent brow. From inside, it is an elegant space offering 180 degree views through full length windows and a stepped up central seating area which also sports a piano and bar.
The aft bulkhead contains cabinets with board games and a Library with a variety of English and German selections. Warm, burled veneers enhanced by lacquered brass accents make a nice backdrop for burgundy and gold soft fittings. By day, the Observation Lounge is a quiet place for reading or taking in the view while enjoying a drink or a cup of tea (in addition to a full bar list, there is even a tea menu). At night, it is a favorite gathering place for pre or post dinner cocktails, daily recaps of sights and fauna seen and soothing piano melodies.
Aft of the forward vestibule on Deck 7, there is a salon, small gym, sauna, jacuzzi and bar.
The sheltered midships lido features rows of comfortable deck chairs and a shallow, heated salt water pool. Short, narrow promenades on either side lead to the aft vestibule. The aft portion of Deck 7 is crew space and also where the zodiacs are stowed.
Deck 6/Bridge Deck
Deck 6 begins with the large wheelhouse and its open wings. The bridge is especially large for a ship the HANSEATIC’s size, enabling an “open bridge” policy where passengers can visit almost any time they like (except in port and under certain sea conditions).
An officer is usually on hand to offer insight into how the equipment works.
The teak wings continue aft past officers’ accommodation to passenger suites and cabins.
Aft of a block of suites, passages on each side lead all the way back to the former Columbus Lounge, now the Bistro Lemaire, and its sheltered stern terrace.
Until June of 2011, the 102 seat Columbus sported pleasant lemon cream colored soft fittings, wicker furniture and long banquette seating enhanced by natural light from either side and aft. Although serving the same function, it is now called the Bistro Lemaire. Dynamic new furnishing and soft fittings give it an edgy, contemporary feel.
The Bistro Lemaire is HANSEATIC’s open seating breakfast and lunch buffet, often accompanied with a barbeque or special function on the terrace. On select nights, the space is “spiced up” with special decorations to suit the culinary themes of “Ethno Dinner”, a reservations-required, non-tariff specialty restaurant.
An adjoining terrace just outside seats an additional 60 passengers.
Deck 5/Explorer Deck
Deck 5 begins at the open fo’c'sle, where passengers can venture while HANSEATIC sails through picturesque passages for an up close view.
Inside the superstructure, there is a block of passenger accommodation that leads aft to the reception and tour desk in the aft vestibule. Finite open promenades are located midships on either side.
On the port side a photo gallery leads aft to the Explorer Lounge and a small terrace on the fantail.
The HANSEATIC’s largest public room, the Explorer Lounge was designed to seat the ship’s entire passenger complement of 184 plus an additional 12 occupants. By day, it is used for various games and functions and at night, it serves as a special cocktail and show venue (usually just the ship’s musicians or a visiting artist when in port). There is a large central dance floor and stage aft and a bar on the forward/starboard side. The decor is pleasant with dark wood veneers, polished brass and blue, gold and brown soft fittings.
A narrow terrace on the Deck 5 fantail can be accessed via the Marco Polo Lounge or the Bistro Lemaire terrace, just above.
Deck 4/Marco Polo Deck
Deck 4 begins with crew quarters. Passenger accommodation commences aft of the forward vestibule.
A boutique is adjacent to the aft vestibule on the starboard side and a gallery leads aft to the Marco Polo Restaurant.
The open seating Marco Polo Restaurant accommodates all of HANSEATIC’s 184 passengers and an additional 12 guests. It has tables for two, four, six and eight in a handsome setting with full-length picture windows, wood-toned veneers, polished brass accents and black enamel-framed seating. Service is on fine china with elegant stemware, silver plate cutlery and starched linens. Daily lunch and dinner menus are specially printed (English versions are printed for non-German speaking guests) and service is…exemplary.
Deck 3/Amundsen Deck
Deck 3 begins with crew accommodation and includes a large block of passenger cabins.
Deck 2/Darwin Deck
Deck 2 contains crew accommodation and the hospital off the forward vestibule. Accessed from the aft vestibule is the Darwin Hall, the ship’s 76 seat lecture room and cinema. All presentations are simulcast in passenger cabins.
Changing rooms with parkas and rubber boots for zodiac landings are located next to the gangway on Deck 2.
HANSEATIC guests can take guided engine room tours. The ship’s engineer is on hand to provide an extremely detailed look at the machinery. Tours are free and can be requested at reception.
All accommodation on HANSEATIC features individually-controlled air conditioning, a stocked mini-bar (all juices and bottled water are replenished daily and complimentary), fruit bowl, fresh flowers, a potted plant, television with English and German stations, a night stand, writing desk, large wardrobes, closets, travel alarm clock, hairdryer, complimentary binoculars, en suite WiFi access and Crabtree and Evelyn brand toiletries.
Category 7 Suites
Four spacious 436 square foot U-shaped suites top the HANSEATIC’s accommodation both in luxury and location. Situated on Deck 6/Bridge Deck, they have two sets of large picture windows and a separate living room.
Special suite amenities include a safe and butler service (packing and unpacking of bags, ironing, shoe cleaning, welcome caviar and champagne, daily snacks and petits-fours).
Suites have a separate bedroom with bedding that can be configured with twins or a queen.
Suite bathrooms are especially large and feature marble surfacing, a full tub with massage head shower, twin sinks and plenty of storage.
Category 3, 5 and 6 Cabins
These are the newly-refurbished cabins on Decks 6 and 5, all of which feature a picture window and all the standard cabin amenities previously listed. All outside cabins except the suites measure 237 square feet. Butler service is provided for Deck 6 cabins.
Category 4 Cabins
Located on Marco Polo Deck, these cabins feature a picture window with original furnishings.
Category 2 Cabins
These staterooms are located on Amundsen Deck and feature twin portholes with original furnishing.
Outside cabin bathrooms feature marbled surfacing and showers with massage head controls.
Handicap Access Cabins
Although the same size as all other outside cabins, staterooms 321 and 322 have a modified layout and larger doors to accommodate wheelchair passengers.
321 and 322 also have modified bathrooms and controls.
End Of HANSEATIC Decked!
Special thanks: Martin Cox, Cruise Director Matthias Mayer, Chief Engineer Sinisa Mrvica, Hotel Director Robert Peukert, Chief Officer Ulf Sodemann, Hostess Helga Spickerman, Lectorin Sylvia Stevens, Isolde Susset, Cindy Tanenbaum, Captain Ulf Wolter