Cruises offered by Hamburg-based HAPAG-LLOYD—with four ships
sailing to hundreds of destinations worldwide—present an interesting
and different perspective for adventure-minded clients, especially those
sailing on one of the company’s small expedition ships to either the
majestic landscapes of the Arctic or Antarctica.
Indeed, expedition cruises are gaining in popularity and according to
Sebastian Ahrens, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ managing director, the reason
is that, “The more people travel, the more they feel a desire for discovering places off the beaten path and for seeing the world and its beautiful
flora, fauna and cultures from a different perspective.
“Our expedition cruises to the Arctic and to Antarctica bring them
closer to the natural habitats of exotic species and open up new experiences. We are the only operator in this field who offers an unmatched
combination of an expedition cruise experience drawing on years of
hands-on experience with a luxury cruise product for the well-experienced, discerning travelers.”
life on the bremen
Luxury cruise product, indeed. RECOMMEND sailed on the company’s
164-passenger Bremen—on a route that ran from Halifax to Greenland’s west coast, ending up in Reykjavik, Iceland—and had a chance
to sample the high-end onboard amenities, including the myriad onboard lectures presented by experienced lecturers who also serve as
guides during visits to the numerous Inuit villages on the mainland.
Built in 1990, the Bremen provides a high comfort level. The cabins
are spacious with ample closet space. One can become familiar with
the entire ship within an hour of boarding and feel like it is “their yacht.”
There are no casinos or lavish Vegas reviews. In fact, the whole experi-
28 march 2009
ence aboard ship is very intimate—a welcome delight in this world of
3,000-plus passenger ships.
Most of the passengers on the Bremen’s Greenland cruise were Europeans, mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There was a
nice mix of English-speaking passengers hailing from the U.S, U.K.,
Canada and Australia. So, in addition to offering the excitement of polar expeditions viewing gigantic icebergs, cruising aboard the Bremen
gives an internationally minded client an opportunity to mingle with passengers from around the world.
Most passengers on Hapag-Lloyd’s bilingual (German and English)
cruises, according to the company, are over 60 years of age. Of particular note is the fact that 50 percent are repeat cruisers.
Hapag-Lloyd classifies the Bremen as a four-star ship, but don’t tell
that to the staff and crew who, according to Frank Newman, the
Bremen’s hotel director, exemplify the term, “five-star service.” The wait
staff is young, bilingual and attentive and have significant service experience. Before they are employed by Hapag-Lloyd, they must have
worked in a four- or five-star hotel or restaurant for at least one year and
then are given vigorous training prior to being deployed to the ships.
The Bremen has a single seating in its unpretentious dining room. The
food was not the usual standard American fare. Passengers feasted on
such appetizers as mousse of smoked eel with beet root and horseradish, and grilled pheasant breast with mousse of truffled turnips and cassis coulis. Entrees included grilled partridge breast with cognac cream
sauce, brussel sprouts and potato croquettes, and braised venison in
cranberry red wine sauce with stuffed white cabbage balls and walnut
spaetzle. And, yes, of course, there was prime rib, turkey, rack of lamb,
a variety of fresh fishes and other items for the mundane appetites.