The expedition ship Hanseatic of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has set a new record for passenger ships in the Northeast Passage, as informed by the company. On August 26, 2014, the 122.8-metre-long ship reached the northernmost point at 85°, 40.7′ north and 135°, 39.6′ east. At this latitude, the Hanseatic was just 480 kilometres from the North Pole.
Captain Thilo Natke said: “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, the passengers took a Zodiac ride along the edge of the pack ice. This event was then celebrated in style with a party on deck.
The expedition through the Northeast Passage set off from Nome/Alaska on 12 August 2014 and will continue on to Severnaya Zemlya in the next few days.
It will feature expeditionary landings followed by cruises through the Kara Sea, Novaya Zemlya, the Barents Sea, Murmansk (end of the Northeast Passage), Hammerfest/Norway and Bodö/Norway, where the expedition will come to an end on 10 September 2014.
The design of Hanseatic – including the highest ice class for passenger ships (E4) – allows the ship to travel to destinations previously inaccessible to a cruise ship.