'The future of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is starting today,' CEO Karl Pojer said at the steel-cutting for expedition ship Hanseatic Nature. The first of two planned luxury expedition vessels is being built at the Vard shipyard in Tulcea, Romania.
Pojer pushed the button to start the laser-cutting. Roger Vassdal, SVP for Vard's operations in Romania, presented a steel silhouette of Hanseatic Nature to the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises board of directors.
Hanseatic Nature's keel is scheduled to be laid in June, with the hull to be completed in 11 months. Then it will be towed to Vard's facility in Langsten, Norway, for outfitting, with the ship's christening and maiden voyage to take place in April 2019.
Pojer said the project had involved many years of planning.
'The segment of expedition cruises currently offers enormous potential,' he added, 'and with two new additions to our fleet next to the very popular Bremen, we are well-positioned for the future.'
Following Hanseatic Nature by six months, Hanseatic Inspiration—which will serve the international markets—is expected to enter service in October 2019.
Each ship will accommodate up to 230 passengers (up to 199 on Antarctica cruises). PC6, the highest ice class for passenger vessels, will make it possible to conduct expeditions far into polar waters, while tropical destinations will include the South Seas and the Amazon.
Sixteen Zodiacs and E-Zodiacs with eco-friendly electric drive systems allow for landings in remote expedition areas.
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