03/09/2014 Leave a comment
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic set a new record for passenger ships in the Russian Arctic last week, when on August 26 she reached 85° 40.7′ north and 135° 39.6′ east. At this latitude, she was just 259 nautical miles from the North Pole.
The Hanseatic is the first non-Russian ship to sail Russia’s Northern Sea Route, in her case westbound, leaving Nome, Alaska, on August 12 for Bodo, Norway
Captain Thilo Natke commented: “Unusual ice conditions made this record possible. North of the New Siberian Islands in the Russian Arctic, there was a large ice-free zone stretching north through the Arctic Ocean, which we used for this spontaneous detour.”
In temperatures of around zero degrees and a brisk north-easterly wind, passengers took a Zodiac ride along the edge of the pack ice and celebrated with a party on deck.
The Northern Sea Route expedition has now continued on to Severnaya Zemlya with Zodiac landings. This is to be followed by cruises through the Kara Sea, Novaya Zemlya, the Barents Sea and Murmansk, at the end of the Northern Sea Route. From Murmansk she proceeds in open water to Hammerfest and Bodö, which she will reach on September 10.
The 5-star-plus Hanseatic was built to provide intensive exploration in elegant surroundings for a maximum of 175 guests. Her design includes the highest ice class (E4 or 1A Super), allowing her to travel to destinations inaccessible to cruise ships. Guests explore in Zodiacs with only 10-12 guests.
On board experts include experienced scientists, expedition leaders and specialists who guide landings and offer guests the opportunity to observe plant and animal life up close.
But what makes these expedition adventures secure is the fact the highly experienced captains of Hanseatic and her running mate, the 164-berth Bremen, have together made more than 200 voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica.
The first passenger ship to undertake the Northern Sea Route was the 52-berth chartered Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy, which did so for Aurora Expeditions of Australia, crossing eastbound from Murmansk to Anadyr in August 2011.
The furthest north any vessel with passengers has reached is the North Pole, which the nuclear icebreaker Sibir first visited in 1989. In the twenty-five years since, many more passenger trips have been made by the Yamal and the 50 Years of Victory, but the last scheduled trips are planned for 2015. After this, the icebreakers will be needed for escort duty on the Northern Sea Route.
For further details on Hapag-Lloyd polar expedition voyages please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail email@example.com.