This Week in Cruise: The Latest Expedition Cruise News

(Photo by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises) Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' new expedition ships will have a walkway right at the bow. // Photo by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

The reveal of the design for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ two new expedition ships wasn’t the only big news in expedition cruises this week. Windstar Cruises and newcomer Offshore Outpost Expeditions also made major announcements.

Offshore Outpost Expeditions (OOE), which just held its inaugural cruise this past November, released details on its 2018 season in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez this week. As part of the brand’s “adventure cruising” concept, guests will be able to invent their own shore excursions on itineraries aboard the 160-foot Pacific Provider. Guests can pick from activities such as swimming with whale sharks, catching fish and preparing it with a private chef, or just spending the day on the beach, with OOE providing the gear. The Pacific Provider accommodates 12 guests and eight crew per cruise.

Farther north, Windstar Cruises is headed back to Alaska, and this week the company announced the lineup for its Windstar Signature Expeditions program in the region. The new experience will debut on the Star Legend when it sets sail in Alaska this spring and summer.

The team will be led by Expedition Captain James Griffiths, and will include members expert in glaciology, photography, marine biology, evergreen botany, history and more.

Finally, this week Travel Agent got a sneak peek at two new expedition ships from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the Hanseatic Nature and the Hanseatic Inspiration, both of which are set to launch next year. The Hanseatic Nature will debut in April 2019, primarily targeting Hapag-Lloyd’s German-speaking clientele, while the Hanseatic Inspiration will set sail in October 2019, targeting both English- and German-speaking markets. The two ships will be structurally identical, with a capacity of 230 passengers each (dropping to 199 on Arctic/Antarctic itineraries), although some details, such as dining concepts, will differ between the two.

In terms of design concept, the ships will aim to incorporate motifs from nature, such as branches and waves. A number of innovative features will aim to offer plenty of interaction with the outdoors, such as a glass balcony extending outward from the sun deck and a viewing walkway right at the bow of the ship. Bookings open January 23, 2018.

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