The first steel cut on May 9, 2017 marked the official start of construction on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' first of two new-build expedition ships - HANSEATIC Nature. At the VARD shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Loyd Cruises, gave the official start signal for the construction process. In an official ceremony, Roger Vassdal, senior vice president for VARD’s operations in Romania, handed over a symbolic steel silhouette of HANSEATIC nature to the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ board of directors.
With the building of two, identical expedition ships, the company will expand its fleet and enhance its pioneering role in the expedition segment. The entire construction process will take 24 months. The keel laying of HANSEATIC Nature is schedule for 2017, while the christening and maiden voyage is scheduled for April 2019. The second ship, HANSEATIC Inspiration, which will serve international markets, will launch six months later in October 2019.
The new expedition ships, which will be positioned in the five-star-segment, are being built by Norwegian company VARD Group, which is a subsidiary of the Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri. Both HANSEATIC Nature and HANSEATIC Inspiration will be fitted with cutting-edge equipment and environmental technology and will each accommodate up to 230 guests (or up to 199 guests on Antarctica cruises).
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises currently operates a fleet of four ships, two of which are expedition ships. The ships sail to destinations in the Middle East, Arctic and Antarctica; eastern and western Mediterranean; US and Canada; the Caribbean; Pacific; Africa; Asia; Central and South America; and the Baltic Sea.