With the building of the two, identical 5-star expedition ships HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will expand its fleet and enhance its pioneering role in the expedition segment.
Please note: The HANSEATIC nature will be a German-speaking ship, with all cruises conducted in German only. The HANSEATIC inspiration will be an international ship, with all cruises conducted in both English and German.
THE NEW EXPEDITION CLASS
The names of the new Hapag-Lloyd Cruises expedition ships are HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration. In our PASSAGEN BLOG, we shall be covering the origins of the two ships – individual construction phases, details of facilities, transportation, initial testing and the people behind the project. Henning Brauer, New Ships Project Manager at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
His desk is in a light-filled office on the first floor. This is a place that is suspended between vision and reality. After all, once the decision has been made to bring a new cruise ship onto the market, there are constant decisions to be made as to which, if any, of the original ideas can be implemented. A ship is a prototype. And so it is tested very thoroughly. Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, once said: “Reality begins with dreams.” And the journey from one to the other takes us through the offices of the New Ships team on the first floor and across the desk of Dr Henning Brauer. Dr Brauer is the New Ships team leader at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
Whilst we are still discussing cushion covers, the cabins are already starting to be built in the shipyard.
By the time the 1,000-page contract for building the new expedition ships was signed on a very hot day in Hamburg back in summer 2016, many facts had already been established in the contract, such as external dimensions, number of decks, quality of steel, colours and insulation. But at least as many details again were left open, such as the capacity of the restaurants, engine specifications, fixtures and fittings in the suites. When the contract was signed, 15 months of planning had already gone into the HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration project. And much as the ships had already been developed on paper, it was clear to all those involved at the time the contract was signed that we still didn’t know the details of exactly how the ships would look.
Since the steel cutting began in May for constructing the HANSEATIC nature, more and more decisions have been manifesting themselves. All the dimensions have now been defined. All the dimensions? Henning Brauer smiles and corrects himself. “Almost all the dimensions.” A good example for explaining these intertwining processes is the suites. Of course, the key data has already been established. Floor areas, floor plans, window dimensions and even the location of the bed. Meanwhile, some essential points are still under consultation. Carpets, colour of walls, lights – reality imposes itself. “Whilst we are still discussing cushion covers here, work has already begun on building the cabins at the shipyard.”
During these months, many of the offices at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises are a hive of activity. Fitters, designers and other service providers are constantly coming in to present samples. Groups and teams get together to prepare approvals. Henning Brauer’s New Ships team acts like an internal service provider, asking for feedback as well as testing and providing recommendations. Thanks to the very latest computer technology, it is possible to produce 3D animations so that everyone can get a picture of how it looks. It’s not just about looks, but also about practicability, since a suite should be easy to clean. “But sometimes it can also be the case that when we stand inside the mock-up cabin, which is a 1:1 scale model, someone will say: “That’s not how I imagined it would be.”
This doesn’t bother Dr Henning Brauer. The 39-year-old shipbuilding engineer was a consultant at McKinsey and was part of the EUROPA 2 project group. The construction of a completely new type of ship – a luxury cruise ship with a modern layout – was a real challenge. Brauer now leads a team of five, which is a genuine interdisciplinary think tank. It includes a hotel and catering expert, who has worked as head chef at a restaurant on Sylt. The team travels a lot, often visiting the shipyards in Romania and Norway. They also travel time and again to see important suppliers. Whilst the mock-up cabin is fitted in Hamburg, Henning Brauer’s colleagues put out an invitation to tender for the main engine, the propellers. The decision on each contract is made by the management team at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, whilst the New Ships team makes recommendations.
We also have to make decisions about some very special details. How should we cool the winches of the deck crane? With oil or water?
A small ship is no less complex than a large one. But an expedition ship is considerably more challenging than a standard cruise ship. It’s not just about aspects such as the special manoeuvrability or the highest ice class. There are also some tricky details to think about: even though the lay time in Ushuaia is only eight hours, the ship has to take on supplies for three weeks in this time. How quickly does the deck crane operate? How can I cool the winches, so that they can cope with this level of activity? With oil or water? For the latter, what sub-zero temperatures can be tolerated? The decisions we make today will have a lasting impact on the people working at sea from winter 2019 onwards on expedition cruises to the Antarctic. All of this is part of this job “between the times”.
The HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration will have some special features. No gimmicks, but details focussing on the experience. This includes circulation on the bow, on which you can stand and look out to sea, and the extendible glass restaurant deck, from which you get a clear view down into the water. These features capture people’s attention. Others, such as the generous space to passenger ratio, ensure that 400 people, crew members and guests feel comfortable on board. And others ensure up-to-date operation, such as emissions control and the water system. Success depends on the sum of all parts. According to Henning Brauer, “At the end of their cruise, guests judge us based on their experiences.”
One of our subsequent articles will be a profile of Isolde Susset, Director of Product Management for Expedition Cruises. And another will present the New Ships team working with Henning Brauer.
The design concept, “inspired by nature”, reflects the expeditionary spirit and is the creative idea underpinning both ships. Nature is not only experienced outside, but also is reflected in the interior design. This comes to the fore in the choice of materials, colours and forms, as well as in the contours and lines of walls and surfaces, the lines of sight and therefore the interplay between the interiors and the world outside.
The on-board design highlights include the two extendible glass balconies. Passengers standing on these balconies can experience the unique feeling of floating over the ocean. The all-round deck in the upper deck forward (bow) ensures a genuine expeditionary feeling. Here, passengers can experience the action at close quarters – closer even than the captain. This contributes to the expeditionary character, especially when the ships embark on journeys to the Arctic, Antarctic, or Amazon.
The current and successful route concept, which focuses on untouched and unspoilt regions, will be continued and expanded. PC6, the highest ice class for passenger ships, makes it possible to conduct expeditions far into Polar waters, with tropical destinations such as the South Seas and the Amazon remaining on the itinerary.
HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration have been fitted with cutting-edge equipment and environmental technology. In a highly complex process, the hulls of the two ships have been optimised to achieve the maximum reduction in fuel consumption for the propulsion system and cut overall bunker consumption. The new vessels are fitted with an SCR catalytic converter, which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by almost 95 per cent. Additionally, each of the two ships features a PROMAS rudder with a special propeller. This also helps reduce fuel consumption and therefore lower emissions. The IR ice detectors are a further highlight, with the infrared camera making it possible to spot ice at night and in misty conditions. Cold ironing is also envisioned.
16 on-board Zodiacs and E-Zodiacs with eco-friendly electric drive systems allow for landings in remote expedition areas, regardless of the vicinity to a port. There is a marina for water sports.