Hapag-Lloyd Announces Great Lakes Expedition Cruises


Hapag-Lloyd announced at a press conference last week at the Langham Place New York the details regarding its two new ships, Hanseatic inspiration and Hanseatic nature, the first of which will cater to both German and international markets, while the latter is geared towards just the German-speaking market. The biggest news—other than the introduction to the new ships—is that, in a move to help introduce the U.S. and Canadian markets to the brand, Hapag-Lloyd will be offering a Great Lakes itinerary from Toronto to Chicago first sailing June 3 to 17, 2020.


On the voyage, guests will travel through each of the lakes (Ontario to Erie, Huron, Superior, Huron and then Michigan). Hanseatic inspiration will then take travelers in the reverse order June 17 to July 1. Stops include Traverse City, Mackinac Island and Sault Ste. Marie, MI, Duluth, MN, Thunder Bay, Little Currnent, Parry Sound, Tobermory, Windsor and Toronto, ON. At these stops, a few noteworthy excursions include the boat trip through or flight over the 30,000 islands of limestone cliffs of Northeastern Manitoulin and its surrounding islands, a scenic train ride to Agawa Canyon, hikes to Ouimet or Eagle Canyon near Thunder Bay (including a walk over Canada’s longest suspension bridge) and an exploration of the historic Fort William and Kakabeka Falls.

There are 20 additional voyages from October 2019 to September 2020 that visit the Arctic and Antarctic, the Amazon, the Chilean Fjords, Cape Verde, Europe and more.

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Education On Board

As for the vessels, both inspiration and nature are part of Hapag-Lloyd’s new Expedition Class. Structurally, they are identical and can accommodate up to 230 guests (and 199 guests on Antarctic cruises). A standout feature is the retractable glass balconies on the sun deck that allow guests to hover 15 meters above the water (and, yes, even the floor is glass).

For guests looking to learn about the destination, each ship will offer the HanseAtrium and Ocean Academy. The HanseAtrium is a separable multifunctional lounge with state-of-the-art technology; it will host daily presentations by experts, film evenings and excursion briefings. In the evening, it becomes a center for gathering as it also has a bar with floor-to-ceiling windows. In the Ocean Academy, guests can study and research the destination either through a large interactive media wall, an interactive poster that provides clear visual explanations of selected scientific contexts or personal reading chairs with swivel touchscreens.


Each ship will have three dining options: a main restaurant with 178 seats, a bistro restaurant with 84 indoor and 100 outdoor seats, an outdoor BBQ grill and an open kitchen, and a specialty restaurant with 44 seats—this will be one of the main differences between inspiration and nature (in addition to a different color palette in the cabins and public areas). On Hanseatic inspiration, the specialty restaurant will be a blend of Japanese and Peruvean, or “sushi meets ceviche,” as CEO Karl J. Pojer said. Good to know: On all voyages there will be flexible mealtimes and free seating.

Cabins and Wellness

The 120 cabins and suites range from the Panoramic Cabin at 226 square feet to the Grand Suite at 764 square feet. There are exclusively outside cabins, almost all of which have their own balcony or French.

Spanning 2,529-square-feet, the Ocean Spa will have a Finnish sauna, steam sauna, relaxation area, hairdresser, beauty treatments and massages. There will also be a 1,076-square-foot fitness center with a large counter-current pool and more. 

For bookings, call 877-445-7447 or 800-334-2724, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.hl-cruises.com/contact-services for local agents.

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