Keel Laid for New Hapag-Lloyd Expedition Cruise Ship

October 20, 2017
Hanseatic Inspiration keel laying

(6:36 a.m. EDT) -- German cruise line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has started construction on the second of two new expedition ships at a keel-laying ceremony in Romania.

The Hanseatic Inspiration will be a sister ship to the Hanseatic Nature and will launch in October 2019.

The "laying" of the keel is the official first step in the construction of the ship and is celebrated with a ceremony attended by officials from both the cruise line and the shipbuilding company.

The 230-passenger ship will have the highest "ice class" certification and will offer cruises to Antarctica, where it will carry a maximum of 199 passengers.

Unlike its sister, Inspiration will be an "international" ship -- i.e. it will be sold to English speaking passengers and will be English speaking onboard.

The ship has a unique design -- a retractable bridge wing -- which will allow it to pass through narrow locks.

Itineraries will include a return to the Great Lakes in North America.

--By Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, U.K.