HANSEATIC nature - "Walk the cruise" to hamburg

What does the crew do on a ship with no guests? Are all the departments staffed? And where can you park a ship? We’ve received lots of questions in recent days and so we’ve passed them on to those in the know, such as Thilo Natke, the captain of the HANSEATIC nature.

We want to walk the entire distance of our cruise on deck – from Colon to Hamburg, which is 14,048 kilometres (8,729 miles). We are calling this ‘Walk the Cruise’.
– Thilo Natke, Captain of the HANSEATIC nature

Interview with Thilo Natke - 31 March 2020

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: Where is the HANSEATIC nature currently?

We were lucky and were able to disembark our guests just before the port of Valparaiso closed. We then sailed through the Panama Canal. When we got to Colon, we bunkered with fuel and took on more supplies that had been ordered for our cruises a long time ago back in Germany. We are now heading to Hamburg, where will arrive on 15 April after a month at sea and 7,700 nautical miles (14,260 kilometres).

How many crew members are on board?​

We currently have 138 crew members on board. Around 30 were able to leave the ship with our guests in Valparaiso.

Are all the departments staffed?

Yes, the ship is still running. The staff levels have only been reduced in the tour office, leaving just the expedition director.

Uniform or everyday clothes – what’s the dress code for the crew?​

We did put our uniforms back on for the passage of the Panama Canal but otherwise we are mostly in overalls or other practical work clothes. From 17.00 hrs, we might even be found in our swimwear as some of the passenger areas are also open to the crew on this special cruise and the Pool Deck is very popular in the tropical regions.

A ship never sleeps as it operates 24 hours a day. Is that still true now?​

Even with no passengers, the ship still needs to run safely and efficiently – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The baker is even still working at night to feed the crew.

What is your daily routine?

The good thing about this long sea voyage is that as captain, I’m not bound by the port activities and events on board. I can divide up the day freely but I am still on the bridge at eight on the dot every morning. And even now, there are lots of emails coming in every day that need to be dealt with. The battle against the coronavirus crisis is being fought on board too.

Having time is also a blessing. What projects are you tackling?​

There are always projects that you have to put off due to a lack of time. Now we can work on them. For the deck crew, this means being able to do noisy maintenance and repair work. And in the captain’s cabin, I can finally get through that pile of paperwork. In any case, we won’t have the problem of being bored.

We have also started a project on board called “Walk the Cruise” to keep us active. The idea is to walk the entire distance of the cruise on our track on Deck 9. To cover the 7,700 nautical miles (14,260 kilometres), we have worked out that each crew member needs to walk or jog 28 laps of 135 m (148 yards) each day and add this to a list. That makes 3.8 kilometres (2.4 miles). We’ve worked this out as: 138 crew members × 27 days × 135 m × 28 laps = 14,084 km. Divided by 1.852, this equates to around 7,600 nautical miles. We’ll see what we have managed by the end of the cruise. In any case, I’ve done my target of 28 laps each day so far ...