Hapag-Lloyd -- 'Hanseatic'


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#1
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Anyone know anything about this ship? Am planning a Nov 2004 South Pacific cruise. The trip is being marketed by Smithsonian and Intrav -- also being marketed in Germany. Thanks!
#2
Dietmannsried, Bavaria, Germany
33 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Hello mpfund

I highly recommend this ship. I believe it is a great expereince travelling with Hapag-Lloyd and even a much greater experience to sail onboard Hanseatic.

Although I never sailed with the Hanseatic I did several (apprx. 12) cruises with Hapag-Lloyd.
The MV Hanseatic is a ship built for exotic destinations. Due to its measurements you can visit small ports and so on.
If we talk about the Hanseatic we talk about a luxury cruise ship ( I think it's number five of Mr Wards ranking list). But you should be aware, that the Hanseatic is a small ship without amenities like a jogging track or a large swimming pool.

The Hanseatic offers a lot: zodiacs, wonderful and varied food. The service is outstanding. There are about 120 staff members for only 160 pax. (Many passengers travel on their own, so the number of pax. is far lower.) Every lecturer (there are several lecturers onboard each cruise) is well experienced and handpicked by the line (Hapag-Lloyd is famous for the Hanseatic and it's lecturers)

One point you should mention, too: The Hanseatic is a German ship: mainly German passengers and no (I suppose) native-speakers (They can speak English of course!!).

To cut the long story short: You would beat yourself up, if you miss to book a cruise onboard the MV Hanseatic. Apart from some language problems (But I really believe, that Hapag-Lloyd puts several English-speaking staff on the ship) it will be a wonderful cruise.

Best regards

Ernst
#3
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
While I can't be sure about this, I would assume that on a cruise marketed by Smithsonian and/or Intrav, there is the expectation of having English-speaking pax. As I recall, Hapag-Lloyd make provisions for English-speaking passengers on all cruises (and a few months ago they announced that they were going to re-start limited marketing in English-speaking markets after many years' absence - I do not think they actively market in the US, but it looks from this site as though they now are in the UK) but on these cruises in particular I would expect that they would be well-prepared for English-speakers. I have not heard anything about these Smithsonian/Intrav cruises (which are presumably new) but up until 2003, HANSEATIC's Antarctica cruises were marketed in the US by Radisson Seven Seas and were totally bilingual, and I have read nothing but praise for those cruises. She seemed to be universally preferred EXPLORER II which did RSSC's Antarctica cruises in the 2003-2004 season. Indeed I think HANSEATIC has been generally acknowledged as the most luxurious product in Antarctica and in "soft expedition" cruising in general. She and her running-mate (the slightly older, smaller, and less luxurious) BREMEN set new standards for this market in the early 1990s and they remain pretty much unchallenged to this day, though BREMEN is now for sale leading to speculation that Hapag-Lloyd may comission a new "soft expedition" ship even more luxurious than HANSEATIC. Some have characterised HANSEATIC as a smaller, less-formal, more destination-oriented version of EUROPA which is widely regarded as the top cruise ship in the world and generally speaking I have never heard a bad thing about this ship or Hapag-Lloyd nor have I ever heard anyone compare her unfavorably with anything else in that market. I can't personally endorse her as I've not been on her but I can say that I've heard very good things and that if I were travelling to Antarctica (which is on my wish list actually, but can't do it right now) there is no doubt that, with cost as no object, HANSEATIC would be at the top of my short list of ships to look at. Of course, your mileage may vary, and as I said I have no specific information on these particular cruises, nor have I been on HANSEATIC, so I don't want to go blindly recommending things, but if you look around on the web and in books (like the Berlitz guide, which I'm not a huge fan of but which is nonetheless useful to get a general impression of a ship) I think you'll find ample praise for HANSEATIC and Hapag-Lloyd. Certainly I can say that she is the most prestigious and highly-rated ship in Antarctica; that much is certain.

Incidentally on Intrav's web site the only Antarctica cruises listed are on their own CLIPPER ADVENTURER (reportedly very nice but is a totally different product from HANSEATIC). I was rather disappointed when RSSC stopped marketing HANSEATIC so I'd be interested to see more about this. I imagine it is quite pricey, but all indications are that it is worth the money.
#4
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Wow -- thanks guys -- you have convinced us! Actually, I am quite familiar with Hapag-Lloyd as I used to work for them (containers, not cruise ships), but did of course hear lots of great things about 'Europa'. Yes, 'Hanseatic' is pricey, but we only go around once.

Thanks so much for your detailed information. And yes, this cruise is marketed as being bi-lingual. BTW this particular trip is S. Pacific and is part of a longer, sort of RTW trip 'Hanseatic' is doing.

Ernst, your comments were most useful. I am not concerned about a pool -- we will have much of the Pacific Ocean in which to swim!

M. Pfund
#5
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Glad to help. There are of course many ships in the "soft expedition" category (some "softer" than others) but aside from BREMEN I can't think of any that really are in direct competition with HANSEATIC. Society Expeditions' WORLD DISCOVERER might have been some competition (how good she was, I don't know - her predecessor, the former WORLD DISCOVERER, had a good reputation but was a different kind of ship, and ran aground in the Solomon Islands a few years ago and was written off after being looted by the natives) but as WORLD DISCOVERER was just seized by creditors she's a non-issue at this point! (HANSEATIC, incidentally, was originally ordered by Society Expeditions and taken over during construction by Hapag-Lloyd.) There is also Intrav's CLIPPER ODYSSEY which has an excellent reputation but is smaller and probably not as luxurious as HANSEATIC.

Incidentally reading over your original post I've just realised that you're looking at the South Pacific, not Antarctica... Don't know where I got the Antarctica idea from, sorry about that! I guess I've just always associated HANSEATIC with Antarctica.

I have found the cruise in question on the Smithsonian web site (click here) but I still don't see anything from Intrav. I'm just curious, where did you see Intrav marketing this?
#6
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
The U.S. marketing of this trip is weird. I first found it on the Smithsonian site, but figured they would not pay commissions to travel agents. We use an agent who rebates part of the commission -- and believe me on a trip this expensive that is worth it! I then found it was also being marketed by www.lifelonglearning.biz which is a division of Intrav. But, if you look on the Intrav site, the trip does not show. Apparently Lifelong Learning was a small outfit bought out a couple of years ago by Intrav, and I can only assume that part of the purchase deal was to keep the Lifelong Learning logo intact for some time. Quite confusing for the consumer. However, our t.a. was able to book it with Intrav. Assuming the trip is a "go" (they have all kinds of disclaimers re minimum number of participants), I will post a trip review.

Any more info you can give would be great. I wonder if we will be the only Americans aboard struggling in a sea of German, of which we know not a word.
#7
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by mpfund
I then found it was also being marketed by www.lifelonglearning.biz which is a division of Intrav. But, if you look on the Intrav site, the trip does not show.
Very interesting. They seem to market a lot of cruises on HANSEATIC actually. The site is quite basic and I have to wonder if perhaps it is new and under construction (I came across a few "under construction" disclaimers there).

Assuming the trip is a "go" (they have all kinds of disclaimers re minimum number of participants), I will post a trip review.
I'll be very interested to hear about it; I haven't heard much about HANSEATIC since RSSC stopped marketing her.

Any more info you can give would be great. I wonder if we will be the only Americans aboard struggling in a sea of German, of which we know not a word.
Sorry I haven't got much more info unfortunately. Personally if I were going on her I'd try to learn a little basic German, just as I would if I were going to travel in Germany. (My mother tongue is English and my second language is French.) I don't know about the passengers (though many Germans speak English of course) but the crew should be able to handle English-speaking passengers well.
#8
Dietmannsried, Bavaria, Germany
33 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Hello mpfund,

I just have compared the prices for this trip in the States and in Germany. Believ it or not, but the German fares are much cheaper than the US ones. So maybe it would be cleverer to book this trip directly at Hapag-Lloyd in Germany (if possible) and to organize the airtrips on your own.

One further hint: If you don't want to book a suite I believe the lowest category is sufficient. Each cabin has the same size (about 22 squaremeters). If you book a guarantee cabin (is this the correct expression) you will maybe be booked on a cabin on the Marco Polo Deck.

Yes I believe the staff can handle English-speaking passengers as well as German-speaking ones.
But maybe the passengers have no sufficient command of English (But who knows it?) On the other hand is to mention that only affluent people can afford cruises like this one. So I hope, that our German "Elite" can speak English.

Best regards

Ernst

P.S.: You post made me to order the brochure of MV Hanseatic and maybe we will treat us to do a trip with the Hanseatic through the Baltic next summer.
#9
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by Ernst
maybe it would be cleverer to book this trip directly at Hapag-Lloyd in Germany (if possible)
I'm not sure how that would be done. However, I noticed in the latest issue of Cruising & Beyond (an English newsletter from our German friend Raoul Fiebig) that Hapag-Lloyd has increased the number of bilingual sailings on EUROPA, HANSEATIC, and C. COLUMBUS. Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten's MD is quoted as saying, "One of the biggest secrets in US tourism are Hapag-Lloyd ships". I can't say that anyone but Hapag-Lloyd is to blame for that but personally I'm glad to see them becoming interested in the US market again.

The article also notes that all Hapag-Lloyd staff are already bilingual.

There is no mention of where to book a Hapag-Lloyd cruise in the US. Since US tour operators like Smithsonian and Intrav only seem to market the bilingual sailings, and obviously they make it clear that US passengers are always welcome, I assume there must be some arrangement to book through them from the head office in Germany or through a GSA in the US (though I don't know of one) but I'm not sure just how that is done.
#10
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Thank you Ernst and Doug. Actually, I did check into H-L's German pricing for this trip, and I found it a bit more. For example, a category 2 cabin (nearly bottom of the line) is E9950. Using a conversion rate of $1.25 per Euro (which I think is reasonable considering cost of using a credit card, or transferring funds), works out to $12437. We have been quoted $11595 from our travel agent, not counting their partial commission rebate. The guarantee rate Ernst speaks of is E9150, approx $11437, but sold out per not only our t.a. but Smithsonian. (BTW, suite cost is over $20,000). All these figures are per person. As Ernst points out, all cabins are the same square footage (except suites), with the exception that lowest category (category 2) has portholes, rather than windows.

Hapag-Lloyd has a U.K. site www.hapaglloydcruises.co.uk and were I so inclined I don't see why I could not book with them, or H-L in Germany. (However the U.K. site seems confused re dates of this trip, precise itinerary and pricing -- probably could be resolved in a couple of emails).

Re language, I am not so worried. My English is passable, my French acceptable, my Italian and Spanish poor. However, in my nearly 60 years on this planet I have found that a couple of glasses of wine and a good attitude do a great deal to cross language barriers.

What a really interesting 3-way conversation we have going!
#11
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by mpfund
Hapag-Lloyd has a U.K. site www.hapaglloydcruises.co.uk and were I so inclined I don't see why I could not book with them
I linked that above actually. I still can't figure out whether that is Hapag-Lloyd's site (or rather, their UK GSA's site, if they have a GSA in the UK) or just a travel agency site from the UK.

I would order their brochures (which are presumably in English) but they only seem to mail them to the UK. Curious to see what they turn out to be. I doubt that they're full translations of the German ones because those are massive, beautifully done volumes. (That is, with the odd exception that the pricing and deck plans are in a separate little booklet - this seems to be an idosyncrasy shared by many German brochures, for some reason.)

Incidentally while I know you're not going to Antarctica, the bilingual Antarctica special site from Hapag-Lloyd in Germany is back (click here). Includes some ship photos etc. and information in English. Looks like a wonderful trip.
#12
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
It's a done deal. We have booked this trip. Our t.a. tells us that 35 have booked with Intrav, plus it is being marketed by Smithsonian (which I knew), and Museum of Natural History (which one? I don't know...)

We are very excited about this trip and are now looking for an air consolidator who can sell us Biz class tix LAX-NAN/PPT-LAX. If anyone reading this has any adivce, I would love to hear from you.

Mpfund
#13
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Originally posted by mpfund
It's a done deal. We have booked this trip.
Congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful trip.

Please do report back as I'll be fascinated to hear your experience. With 35+ Americans booked I assume it will be a fully bilingual cruise as that seems to be Hapag-Lloyd's policy now.

Incidentally I just got the German brochure for HANSEATIC (I'm on Hapag-Lloyd's mailing list, at what must be a fortune to them considering the air mail expenses - they have some of the most gorgeous direct mail advertisements I've ever seen, especially the EUROPA ones). Looks wonderful.

I was just chatting about her to a noted cruise travel writer acquaintance. He said she's wundebar, and he should now.
#14
1,462 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Just discovered this thread.
The www.hapaglloydcruises.co.uk website is a "convenience " site set up by a cruise agent www.cruiseline.co.uk.
The english language brochures they have are only brief descriptions of the various ships in the fleet.
When we were recently in Rostock I obtained from Hapag's travel agency the full brochure for November2004-April 2006 which is only available in German.
The contact website is www.hapag24.de if anyone is contemplating making their own arrangements
#15
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
My German friend Stephan Geisen has just uploaded an article and large photo gallery of HANSEATIC here. The article and captions are in German (you can use something like BabelFish to get a rough translation if you like) but the photos are excellent and of course photos require no translation.

Stephan's site Schiffsphoto.de also has galleries of EUROPA and COLUMBUS for those who are interested in other Hapag-Lloyd ships (plus photos of lots of other German and international cruise ships).
#16
350 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Great pix! I did not attempt to translate, but seems like he was reviewing a trip on the Amazon. The ship looks super and we are looking forward to our S. Pacific adventure. Will post a review when we return in mid-Dec.