In July, I’ll be embarking on an adventure that I’ve been eyeing for years: the chance to sail on an expedition vessel to Alaska. But this is no ordinary expedition ship: she is the HANSEATIC, one of the five-star expedition ships in German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet. Sailing from Seward to Vancouver, this 14-day expedition voyage calls on both the major ports in Alaska, and the ones that you may not have heard of.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' HANSEATIC will be our home for two weeks as we sail Alaska from Seward to Vancouver. Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Our full itinerary on this adventurous expedition:

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Normally catering to the German-speaking market, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also offers a number of itineraries that are fully bilingual, conducted in both German and English. They’re also known for having some of the highest-rated cruise ships in the world, with Hanseatic continually earning a Five Star designation from Douglas Ward’s well-respected Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, while fleetmate Europa is the only ship in the world to have been consistently awarded a Five Star-plus designation by the book every year since her launch in 1999.

With just 184 guests sailing onboard Hanseatic, this expedition promises to be a memorable one, and for me its timing couldn’t be better, coming on the heels of my first expedition experience aboard Silversea’s Silver Explorer in the British Isles.

Alaska, though, lends itself perfectly to a ship like the Hanseatic, with plenty of inlets, islands, and remote ports that larger ships heading “North, to Alaska” simply cannot hope to visit. And with 14 durable Zodiac rafts located onboard, the opportunities to get up-close and personal with this picturesque destination are greater than ever.  Remember those shots in many cruise line brochures showing whales rising majestically out of the water, or bears roaming the shoreline? You’ve got a better shot at seeing that kind of wildlife aboard Hanseatic than with ships four times her size.

MS HANSEATIC's staterooms were also given a refresh during her recent refit. Photo courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Still, Hapag-Lloyd’s foray into Alaska this season still includes all of the major Alaska mainstays, such as calls to Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway, famous for its White Pass Railroad and colourful Gold Rush history.

While I have sailed to Alaska many times before, this will be my first journey to the region onboard an expedition ship, and my very first sailing with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Personally, I can’t wait to say guten tag! to this new experience!

Stay tuned – coverage from aboard Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Hanseatic in Alaska begins Sunday July 15, 2012!  Curious to know what Hanseatic is like on the inside? Read our article on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ brand-new VR tours.


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