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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.


MS Hanseatic

Your Rating:Five Stars
Reviewed by:Philip Hurst
# previous cruises: 5
Date of Trip: December 19, 1998
Itinerary: Antarctic

A fantastic, wonderful, trip. Hanseatic is a superb ship -- beautiful cabins, wonderful food, impeccable service -- lots of warm woods, expensive wools and silks, and brass. Its Antarctic voyages are handled with great expertise and efficiency. The ship is surprisingly luxurious for an expedition vessel, but it goes everywhere. Zodiac landings are a major feature of the cruise, and all were very well executed by the crew. Antarctica is not for everyone, but there is no better way to see it than from the Hanseatic. It is far from inexpensive, but worth every penny that one pays.

Public Areas
Although Hanseatic is only a 9,000 ton ship (making it smaller than Seabourn ships, but larger than the Sea Goddesses), it seems very spacious because of the high proportion of public rooms. The Observation Lounge at the front of the shop, up top, is a great place to sit and watch the incredible scenery -- it is finished in high quality walnut panelling, with huge windows. The Marco Polo Dining Room is a beautiful room, and the Columbus Lounge (informal dining room) is a bright and cheerful place to eat breakfast and lunch. In Antarctica the pool (for obvious reasons!) was empty, and, thank God, there is no casino. There is a small gym, a sauna and a little chapel.

Food and Service
Absolutely superb. Food of the highest possible quality, beautifully presented and served by a wonderful, German dining room staff. Festive dinners on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve were magnificent. The Chef de Cuisine is from Vienna, so the desserts were extraordinarily good. For wimps, light dishes were always available, but few people seemed interested: after a very active day, the "full" menus were just too appealing. Lunches were also excellent, but no outside buffets were served: risk of frostbite in the Antarctic! Informal lunch and dinner was served in the Columbus Lounge, where an Asian menu was available in the evenings. The Marco Polo dining room is very spacious and airy, and the tables were set with excellent china, flatware and glassware.

Excellent: standard cabins are 230 square feet; suites 440 square feet. Beautifully appointed, lots of wardrobe and drawer space. Coffee/dining table, sofa and armchair, writing desk, TV in the standard cabins. (TV is all closed circuit, as there is no TV reception in Antarctica. Therefore, fortunately there was no CNN -- hooray!) Impeccable cabin service by German stewardesses. Bathrooms are full-sized, with tub and shower, plenty of cupboard space.

Entertainment is not the point of going to Antarctica. However, Hanseatic provides a variety of entertainment: classical and modern piano; a four-piece band, plus a soprano and piano duet.

Cruise staff are first-class: cannot be faulted.

Itinerary: Ushuaia, Falklands Islands, South Georgia, South Orkneys, Antarctic Sound, Wedell Sea, Antarctic Peninsular, Deception Island, Livingstone Island, Diego Ramirez, Cape Horn, Ushuaia. A very busy timetable, with 17 zodiac landings, numerous lectures. Hundreds of thousands of penguins, seals, millions of birds, dozens of whales and dolphins. No children on board: this is not a voyage for children.

Who Goes
Of the 144 passengers, 120 were German speakers (German, Swiss or Austrian). Remainder were American, British, Australian or French. Younger than most cruise passengers on other ships, probably wealthier too. Most were professional men or women, some military officers -- all very educated. All announcements and all documentation in German and English.

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