Individual travel arrangements to Travemunde
Travemunde, departure 22.00 hrs
Salt on your lips and the wind in your hair: this short cruise on the HANSEATIC inspiration will take you up-close to the secrets of a unique habitat. The Wadden Sea blurs the lines between the elements. The ebb and flow, the endless coming and going, creates a landscape of salt flats, dunes, tidal creeks and surf zones, constantly changing shape with the currents. Texel, Borkum and Sylt will enchant you with landscapes full of character and a rugged charm. Each island has its own personality – and each encounter will bring thrilling discoveries.
Daytime passage through the Kiel Canal
Your cruise begins with a shortcut: the Kiel Canal travels across the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, removing the need to circumnavigate Jutland. As you pass through, the geest landscape and Eider-Treene Depression glide by as though pulled by a string. Make sure to be on deck when the ship is raised through the lock in Brunsbuttel. Where the Elbe broadens out to join the North Sea, you will find the gateway to a world of wind and water.
Texel/Netherlands, from 9.30 to 19.00 hrs
Seals and grey seals live off the Dutch island of Texel. They love to doze on the sandbanks and be warmed by the sun. If you can resist this temptation, enjoy the island’s harmonious colours on a walk between the heather, dykes and beaches. Texel sheep are true islanders. Unimpressed by the wind, they graze on the dykes in large herds. A hike in the De Slufter nature reserve* allows you to experience the Wadden Sea with all your senses and watch the animals that live in this “in-between” area. Eider ducks, little terns and skylarks breed in the protected area, which floods during storms. On the salt flats, interspersed with picturesque tidal creeks, only those plants that have perfectly adapted to the harsh conditions can grow, including sea lavender and sea thrift. A visit to the Ecomare information centre* in the middle of Texel National Park will tell you more about the Wadden Sea’s marine ecosystem. The associated bird and seal rescue centre looks after sick animals and pups.
Borkum, from 8.00 to 16.00 hrs
Breathe deeply: Borkum’s tangy, iodine-infused air is not just healthy; it also revives the senses. A fresh breeze will encourage you to explore between the dazzling dune landscapes and the heather. Stunning paths lead into the island’s interior, where orchids grow on salt flats and birds of prey live in the forests. Between the island and the mainland, the Wadden Sea is constantly moving: water flows into the mud through the inlets between the islands and forms flowing transitions between the land and the exposed seabed. Tidal creeks border sandy patches of land, seaweed and mussels grow on sandbanks and the water draws sublime patterns with its waves. Travelling alone on this vast expanse would be perilous. Not to fear! Your expert guide will take you safely to the biosphere reserve on a hike through the mudflats of the national park in Borkum* and return you to the mainland. Learn about safety, and above all about rescues at sea, on a visit to a DGzRS sea rescue cruiser*, one of 20 ships that the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service uses on the North and Baltic Seas. This is a great opportunity to explore an engine room and learn more about operational planning and rescues at sea on the ship’s flying bridge.
List/Sylt, from 6.00 to 16.00 hrs
(lay time subject to the tides)
Wooden stages in the water and dazzling dunes under an endless sky – Sylt is a dream landscape out at sea and one of Germany’s most popular islands. Cotton grass meadows, cliffs and coastal panoramas with spectacular cloud formations create a unique fascination. The island itself bears witness to the power of the tides and wind, its coastlines constantly reshaped by severe weather and currents. The best way to experience the inimitable character of Schleswig-Holstein’s Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is on a walk on the mudflats of Blidsel Bay*. Walk barefoot across the soft mud and feel a multitude of lifeforms beneath your toes. These include “Sylter Royal” oysters, which are cultivated on banks in the bay and rinsed with nutrient-rich water at high tide. Explore the island on a vintage bus* and get to know Sylt’s most beautiful parts on dry land. Your journey will take you through a wandering dune landscape, past villages such as Wenningstedt, Westerland and Hornum until you reach Keitum with its thatched-roof houses. Taking an e-bike across the island* is a truly moving way to explore. Stunning views along the “elbow” will bring peace to your soul before you sample speciality cakes in one of Kampen’s traditional cafes.
Hamburg, arrival 7.00 hrs
Individual travel arrangements from cruise arrival point
The itinerary depends on weather conditions. The natural experiences and wildlife sightings described are possibilities on this expedition and are not guaranteed.
* The shore activities are not included in the cruise price and are in the planning stage. Subject to change.