The expedition ships, which are planned to launch in April and October 2019, respectively, are an investment by the TUI Group on behalf of its Hamburg-based subsidiary.The pair are being built by Fincantieri subsidiary, Vard.
In terms of its growth strategy, the world’s largest tourism group is increasingly focusing on its own hotels and cruise ships.
The new expedition ships – both of which feature an identical construction – will each accommodate up to 230 passengers (or up to 199 passengers on Antarctic expeditions).
Alongside the highest ice-class for passenger ships, they each boast three restaurants and an extensive wellness and fitness area. There is also a marina for water sports.
Karl J. Pojer, ceo of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, said: 'The potential in the expedition ship segment is more than three times higher than supply. With our choice of names, we are continuing the success story of today’s Hanseatic, retaining the popular and well-known brand name and establishing a new and separate class within our fleet.'
The design concept, 'inspired by nature', reflects the expeditionary spirit and is the creative idea underpinning both ships.
This comes to the fore in the choice of materials, colours and forms, as well as in the contours and lines of walls and surfaces, the lines of sight and therefore the interplay between the interiors and the world outside, Pojer noted.
The on-board design highlights include two extendible glass balconies.
'Passengers standing on these balconies can experience the unique feeling of floating over the ocean,' he noted.
The hulls of the two ships have been optimised to achieve the maximum reduction in fuel consumption for the propulsion system and cut overall bunker consumption. The new vessels are fitted with an SCR catalytic converter, which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by almost 95%.
Additionally, each of the two ships features a PROMAS rudder with a special propeller. This also helps reduce fuel consumption and therefore lower emissions.
IR ice detectors are a further highlight, with the infrared camera making it possible to spot ice at night and in misty conditions. Cold ironing is also envisioned.