A German-run luxury expedition ship, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' MS Hanseatic attracts a clientele largely from her mother country, with a bilingual crew that caters to both German and English speakers. The 175-passenger vessel covers some of the most remote places in the world, from Antarctica and the Amazon to Easter Island and Spitsbergen, Norway. While some of the landings on shore — usually via Zodiacs or tenders — may require some physical dexterity and braving of the elements, the watchword on board is comfort. Dinners are lavish multicourse affairs that draw on an eclectic range of cuisines, service is generally superb, and the roomy cabins are outfitted with flat screen TVs, DVD players, and Wi-Fi. All Zodiac and tender boat landings are included in the rates, and warm parkas and rubber boots are provided in polar regions.
What We Love
Flexible Routes: By the nature of the areas visited, weather and other factors can force changes in itineraries more often than on a non-expedition-style ship. Hanseatic's captains know the ship's destinations intimately and can make quick course corrections when necessary. What's more, they just as quickly inform the passengers about any route changes.
Observation Lounge: With panoramic views of the seas ahead, the Observation Lounge offers a cozy place to watch for whales, attend a daily briefing, or have a drink or before-dinner snack.
Best Known For
Top Experts: Each cruise includes seasoned professionals with expertise in fields such as the history, wildlife, botany, and geology of the region. Lectures are presented separately in both German and English, and the experts also provide commentary and answer questions while on the Zodiac landings.
High Ice Class: When cruising Antarctic and Arctic waters, Hanseatic can sail through broken pack ice and cut through solid ice about a foot and a half thick, enabling it to navigate in otherwise inaccessible territory.
Shop for Cruises
Who It's Best For
Luxury Adventure Travelers: This ship caters to active explorers who enjoy fine dining and luxe touches — and who can afford the accompanying price tag. It's popular with the 50-plus crowd, plus those with an international mindset who can embrace the German atmosphere on board.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Landing Prep Rooms Are Uncomfortable: The area where you change into your rubber boots and life vests for Zodiac rides and landings is crowded and cramped, which makes it one of the few unpleasant spaces on the ship.
It Caters Mostly to Germans: Some sailings operate only in German, and though there are sailings designated as English-speaking (with bilingual announcements and onboard lectures), they can still feel very German focused.
Shop for Cruises
MS Hanseatic at a Glance
- Line: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
- Number of Passengers: 173
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1993
- Refurbish Date: 2015