Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 446 out of 500
Accommodation: 173 out of 200
Food: 348 out of 400
Service: 346 out of 400
Entertainment: 88 out of 100
Cruise: 364 out of 400
Overall Score: 1765 out of 2000
Size: Boutique Ship
Cruise Line: Hapag-Lloyd Expedition Cruises
Former Names: Society Adventurer
IMO Number: 5321679
Builder: Rauma Yards (Finland)
Original Cost: $68 million
Entered Service: Mar 1993
Registry: The Bahamas
Length (ft/m): 402.9/122.8
Beam (ft/m): 59.1/18.0
Draft (ft/m): 16.1/4.9
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (5,880kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 7
Total Crew: 122
Passengers (lower beds): 184
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 45.5
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.5
Cabins (total): 92
Size Range (sq ft/m): 231.4-470.3/21.5-43.7
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 0
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 2
Wheelchair accessibility: None
Cabin Current: 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): 0
Slot Machines: 0
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 1
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes (160)
Onboard currency: Euros
A delightful, small and stylish expedition ship for discovery
Overview. Hanseatic provides destination-intensive, nature cruises and expeditions in elegant but unstuffy surroundings at a suitably handsome price that ensures good food and service. It is at its best in the Arctic and Antarctic, but passengers should be wary of the difficult conditions for shore landings in these areas.
The Ship. Hanseatic, operated by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, was designed for worldwide expedition-style cruises in contemporary, but quite luxurious, surroundings. It is extremely environmentally friendly, and is one of few ships that allow you to tour the engine room. It has a fully enclosed bridge and an ice-hardened hull with the highest passenger vessel ice classification, plus a helicopter pad and the very latest in high-tech navigation equipment.
A fleet of 14 Zodiac inflatable craft, each named after a famous explorer, is used for in-depth shore landings (including one named David Fletcher, the celebrated expedition leader who spent 16 years working with the British Antarctic Expedition - he loves being aboard Hanseatic). These craft provide the ship with tremendous flexibility in itineraries, with excellent possibilities for up-close wildlife viewing in natural habitats. Rubber boots, parkas, boot-washing and storage rooms are provided. For warmer climes, a Bike Box, with 10 bicycles for passenger use at no charge, is offloaded in each port the ship is alongside, where possible.
Inside, the ship is equipped with fine-quality luxury fittings and soft furnishings, and exudes a microclimate of good taste. There is a choice of several public rooms - most located aft, with accommodation forward. All are well-furnished and decorated, and all have high ceilings which help make the ship feel much larger than its actual size. The library/observation lounge provides a good selection of hardback books in English and German, including many geographical, travel, wildlife, and archaeology titles; it has a sunken bar, and a warm, inviting atmosphere, and two Internet-access computer stations. A large lecture hall, with excellent audio-visual facilities, on a lower deck, can accommodate almost all passengers.
The passenger count is generally kept to about 150, which means plenty of comfort, no lines, and lots of space. In passageways and suites/cabins, 400 large, framed, black and white photographs depict wildlife and expedition experiences. Bouillon is always served at 11am.
Safety is paramount, particularly in Antarctica, and here the ship excels with professionalism, pride, and skilled seamanship. Most of each day is taken up with being ashore, and evenings consist mainly of dinner and daily recaps. Lectures, briefings, and the amount of information provided about the itinerary, ports of call and expedition landings are excellent. Well-qualified lecturers and naturalists accompany each cruise, and a discreet crew and service staff are hallmarks of this ship.
Hanseatic operates in two languages, English and German, though many staff speak several languages, and it caters well to both sets of passengers. All port taxes, insurance, staff gratuities, and Zodiac trips are included. A relaxed ambience and informal dress code prevail.
There are few negatives. The ship is marketed mainly to German and English speakers, so other nationalities may find it hard to integrate. Hapag-Lloyd publishes its own excellent handbooks (in both English and German) on expedition regions such as the Arctic, Antarctica, Amazonia, and the South Sea Islands, as well as exclusive maps.
Accommodation. There are no bad cabins, and accommodation is priced in seven grades. The all-outside cabins, located in the forward section, are large and very well equipped, and include a separate lounge area next to a large picture window (which has a pull-down blackout blind as well as curtains).
All furniture is in warm woods such as beech, and everything has rounded edges. Wood trim accents the ceiling perimeter, and acts as a divider between bed and lounge areas. Each cabin has a minibar, flat-screen interactive TV with Internet access, when available, and wireless keyboard. A complete infotainment system includes movies and audio tracks on demand at no extra charge. There’s a separate bedside three-channel radio, two locking drawers, a retro alarm clock, and plenty of closet and drawer space, as well as two separate cupboards and hooks for all-weather outerwear. One useful feature of all cabins is a blue, night/safety light, nicely hidden in each bathroom. A privacy curtain between the cabin door and the sleeping area of the cabin would be useful - you can be seen from the hallway when the cabin door is opened.
All cabin bathrooms have a large shower enclosure with curved glass wall, toiletries cabinets, hairdryer, and bathrobe. There are only two types of cabins; 34 have double beds, others have twin beds. The bath-size towels are large, bed linens and pillowcases are 100 percent cotton, and individual cotton-filled duvets are provided. Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services are available.
Suites and cabins on Bridge Deck have impeccable butler service and in-cabin dining privileges, plus stationery and a larger flat-screen TV. Free soft drinks in the refrigerator are replenished daily, but all liquor costs extra. Bulgari and Crabtree & Evelyn amenities are provided.
Dining. The 186-seat Marco Polo restaurant is elegant, warm, and welcoming, with large picture windows on two sides as well as aft. There is one seating for dinner, and open seating for breakfast and lunch, although many passengers like to be seated at their ‘regular’ table. On embarkation day, waiters introduce themselves after the meal, so hungry passengers won’t be delayed by small talk.
The cuisine and service are absolutely first-rate, but are slightly more informal than, for example, aboard the larger Europa, which is at or close to the same price level. Top-quality ingredients are always used, and most items are bought fresh when available. In some ports, passengers can go shopping with the chef to source local, regional ingredients and fresh fish.
The meals are very creative and nicely presented, each being appealing to the eye as well as to the palate. There is always an outstanding selection of breads, cheeses, desserts, and pastry items. In the Arctic or Antarctic, table setups are often minimal, due to possible movement of the ship - stabilizers can’t be used in much of the Antarctic - so cutlery is provided and changed for each course. Three types of sugar are presented when coffee or tea is ordered - it should never be placed on the table during meal service.
An alternative dining spot is the Bistro Lemaire, with 74 seats and leather-topped tables indoors, as well as copious seating at outdoor tables. An informal, open-seating, self-serve (or waiter service) buffet-style eatery by day, it changes into a second dining room at night, with themed dinners and barbeques featuring region-specific food. Reservations are required - you make them in the morning of the day you want to dine there - but there is no extra charge and no tipping.
The Bistro features four different breakfast themes: the well-named Zodiac breakfast (quick and easy before Zodiac landing); Small Hanseatic Breakfast; Big Hanseatic Breakfast; Gourmet Breakfast; Healthy Breakfast. Each cruise also includes a full Viennese teatime, as well as a daily teatime with a selection of cakes, pastries, and finger sandwiches befitting a Viennese coffeehouse.
Entertainment. There is no showlounge as such, although there is a lecture room. Entertainment is certainly not a priority aboard this ship, but the itinerary and destinations are the main show. There is no formal entertainment - except on some summer cruises, when a small classical music ensemble might be on board - nor does the ship normally carry a band.
Spa/Fitness. The spa facilities include a decent-size gymnasium (with up-to-date cardio-vascular and muscle-toning equipment, treadmills, and exercycles) and sauna, all located forward on the Sun Deck in an area that also includes a solarium and hot tub. There’s also a cosmetics/make-up room. Massage is available in a rather clinical room within the medical facility, on a lower deck.