For the first time in its career, the luxurious expedition ship HANSEATIC, has been fully integrated into the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, emerging from the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in their now traditional colors of an orange funnel with the blue company logo and the characteristic orange and blue stripe around the hull. This unifies the appearance of the four ships in the current fleet. It also means that the former funnel logo which carried the old Hamburg Atlantic Line/German Atlantic Line logo, reflecting back to the North Atlantic Liner HANSEATIC and later the “Space-Ship” HAMBURG of 1969, has nearly disappeared from the seas. Nearly, although it is still seen on the ship’s nameboard outside the observation lounge on either side. Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said, “With the charter contract for the HANSEATIC extended until 2018, we opted to add the visual unification of the fleet. Nevertheless, the legendary former logo of the HANSEATIC will be retained as a product logo on board.”
The 13-day refurbishment employed 400 shipyard workers, in three shifts to complete more than 780 individual items. Most notably, all cabins on Decks 5 and 6 were refurbished and modernized. The buffet restaurant was fully renovated, as was the pool and sauna. Another big change converted the Columbus Lounge into the newly redesigned Bistro Lemaire. Altogether, 11,482 square feet of carpet were laid, 3,937 square feet of fabric were used and 621 gallons of paint went into the comprehensive makeover.
The 8,378 gross ton HANSEATIC was originally built in 1991 as the SOCIETY ADVENTURER for the now defunct Society Expeditions. They went bankrupt before the vessel entered service. Hanseatic Tours took over operations of the ship on a charter basis until 1997 when the company was taken over by Hapag-Lloyd, who up until now had retained the livery. This HANSEATIC is 403 feet long, with a beam of 59 feet. The 184-passenger HANSEATIC has a very high crew to passenger ratio, and is classed as a Five Star expedition ship, with the highest (E4) ice class rating for passenger vessels. This will certainly come in handy during her upcoming cruise into a portion of the Northwest Passage this August, and once again in Antarctica during the Austral summer. The first cruise, post-renovations, left Hamburg on June 10, 2011.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.