Cruising along the famed North West Passage with the HANSEATIC

Jan 21, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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Fancy a cruise with a difference? Hapag-Lloyd is offering a Northwest Passage cruise later in the year on board their 184-passenger HANSEATIC (8,378-gt, built 1993).

The ship departs from Kangerlussaq, which is in Greenland for those who didnít already know, on 16 August and will spend 24 days at sea sailing along the Greenland coast and near the Arctic Circle, before ending the voyage at Nome in Alaska on 9 September.

This wonít be a voyage of discovery, for Hanseatic has covered the famed passage before, as has another Hapag-Lloyd vessel, the BREMEN. The two ships have done the cruise on no less than 12 occasions, so itís not something of a trip into the unknown, although the Northwest Passage has long retained an air of mystery and intrigue.

Last summer both ships repeated the cruise in opposite directions, crossing each other in the Northwest Passage itself.

Itís not all plain sailing however and passenger will feel the sense of adventure as they journey to places where few others have been and in waters that seldom see other shipping of any description. According the Hapag-Lloyd the amount of time spent at sea and the length of the voyage requires accurate forecasts of all the provisions needed, including fuel, drinking water and food, to maintain the high standards aboard the ship.

Although Hapag-Lloyd is taking advantage of global warming and retreating ice, which exposes places otherwise inaccessible, it remains essential that the ships have ice class, which both Hanseatic and Bremen possess, with strengthened hulls and the highest ice class (E4) for passenger ships.

Included in the itinerary is a passage across Disko Bay where passengers will be able to inspect bizarrely shaped icebergs. While crossing the Canadian Arctic the ship with its shallow draught will be able to sail close to the Canadian arctic coast, providing an ongoing panorama of caribou, polar bears, musk oxen, bald eagles and whales while also making use of the zodiac landing craft to go ashore wherever possible. Planned visits, depending on weather, include a former whaling station on Herschel Island, a landing in Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island which includes a visit to the wreck of the vessel MAUD in which Roald Amundsen conquered the Northwest Passage and various other stopping places including Barrow in Alaska, the most northern city in the world.

The voyage is priced from USD 21,000 per person based on double occupancy for an outside cabin. Details available from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises at Hapag-Lloyd - Please mention PORTS & SHIPS.



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