“Stay at home” is the global message of the moment and that is exactly what the fleet of the Hamburg-based cruise company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is doing next. While the ships would normally be sailing the seven seas they are now heading for the waters of the company’s home port.
Hapag- Lloyd Cruises‘ expedition ship, the HANSEATIC nature, will be the first to return and is expected to arrive in Hamburg, Germany, on 20 April. Its sister ship, the international HANSEATIC inspiration, and the two luxury ships, the EUROPA and the international EUROPA 2, are also now on their way back to Hamburg. All three are expected to arrive in the port on 2 May and will remain there for the time being until they can start operating their schedules again. The BREMEN will remain off Auckland/New Zealand.
The last guests on board Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet all returned home safe and well on 21 March. The cruise operator brought a total of around 1,000 guests home early from all over the world on charter flights as scheduled flights had been cancelled.
A special meeting of ships off Barbados
The HANSEATIC nature, which is currently in the North Atlantic on course for Hamburg, has already picked up crew members from its sister ships, the HANSEATIC inspiration and EUROPA, in Bridgetown/Barbados.
“We wanted to give as many crew members as we could the opportunity to return home as soon as possible. This posed a logistical challenge due to the suspension of flights and the travel restrictions in place currently. Therefore, we took matters into our own hands for the return transport and transformed the journey of our HANSEATIC nature into a “crew cruise”. So we are bringing our crew back to their families safe and well,” explains Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
Life on board without guests
Even with no guests aboard the ships the remaining crew members are keeping busy: meetings are being held, watches and inspection rounds are carriedout and maintenance and repair work that needs to be done is being completed where possible. Sailing home without guests on board provides the ideal opportunity as some of this cannot be carried out during normal operation. One of those jobs for example is a thorough spring clean of the entire ship. Noisy work – which is out of the question when guests are on board – is also being carried out. Furthermore there are also various training sessions for the crew being held.
Walk the Cruise – walking on board to Hamburg in 27 days
To keep fit, the crew on the HANSEATIC nature has started a project called “Walk the Cruise”. The idea is for the crew to cover the entire distance of the ship’s journey on foot until it reaches its home port in Hamburg, Germany. This means that the 138 crew members each day have to walk or jog 28 laps of 135 metres (148 yards) on deck 9 of the ship. This way at the end of the 27-day cruise, they will have walked a total of 7,600 nautical miles (8,751 miles; 14,084 kilometres).
Upon arriving in Hamburg the two expedition ships, HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, will go to Blohm+Voss for repair work, while the EUROPA 2 will head to its berth in Altona and the EUROPA will moor up at the O’Swaldkai.
Pictures courtesy of Vivienne Druve/CruiseVision/Hapag-Lloyd Cruises