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Floridiana

Hanseatic Inspiration Review

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Posted (edited)

Itinerary Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, March 2020. We were booked to to go to Iquitos, but the cruise ended in Rio. 

 

Positive: Very lovely and fresh décor. Large screens in the theatre/presentation space. Large pool deck which has more space, chairs, sofas and loungers than passengers using them on our cruise. Maybe some people just hang out on their balcony. The pool is 1.50 m deep and can only be accessed via two ladders.

The lido buffet has many outdoor tables and seats which were very popular on our cruise. We preferred the uncrowded restaurant which was open on sea and port days for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

Sort of negative: This expedition ship needs able bodied passengers. Both the wonderful sea view lounge/bar/library at the front and the theater have irregularly placed steps. The access to the outdoor front walk and to the marina in the back is by stairs. The hot tub has lukewarm water, no way to warm up weary bones.

 

Food and service: Both were outstanding. Iberico pork, lamb, fish, caviar, salads were excellent. I loved all the desserts with traditional Austrian recipes thrown in but more refined. The vanilla sauce with Cointreau, the red wine pears etc. Beef seemed to be from Argentina and was tough in some dishes. Lots of crusty roll varieties and tasty bread!

Servers were young Germans, Austrians and Swiss with helpers from the Philippines. All of them top notch. One was placed at the restaurant entrance to point to the discreetly placed disinfection stations inside the wall. It sprays a liquid.

 

Cabin: Plush carpet. I pre-ordered a softer mattress which turned out to be just right. There is a bedside lamp and an additional reading spotlight. The lamps overall had so many switches that the ship provided an instruction manual. Maybe we would have learned all the functions if the cruise hadn’t been cut short.

The ship provides Nordic walking sticks in each cabin, safety vests which are designed in a way that they are very safe and, just like the lighting system, need instructions to put them on.  They also have lighter expedition safety vests, an expedition backpack and a canvas shopping bag. Large umbrellas are provided at the exit and they can be hooked over your arm.

 

There were six usb outlets for our devices and so many German electric outlets, we didn’t count them, but we found only one American outlet. Bring your adapters.

The balcony has two hooks that close if you want to hang your bathing suit to dry. We were lucky that none of our neighbors smoked on the balcony. The ship will soon be smoke free.

 

Bathroom: Spacious shower with a small bench, plenty of plush towels, lots of drawers and other storage options. The sink and faucet have a designer shape. Outlets and the trash can are hidden. The shower has a retractable line for drying things and 4 hooks which I assumed were for the expedition parkas in cold areas. The shower wall was not heated during our hot weather cruise.

 

Negative: Although very good shampoo, body wash and lotion are provided in large tubes, there is no hair conditioner and the amenities do not include shower caps.

 

Entertainment:  A piano player and three expedition experts for lectures. All well qualified university researchers with South American experience, very informative; their presentations had many high-quality photos and were entertaining. The library had a limited number of books. The ship is excellent for itineraries with many ports and a few sea days to recover from them. Since the cruise abruptly ended in Rio de Janeiro, we have no experience with the actual expedition segment on the Amazon river.

 

Excursions: Some were good; others should be improved when the ship does its second run along this South American coast. Our excursions had somebody from the ship for firsthand experience. Bring your own water bottle. Water is provided in your cabin‘s refrigerator in glass bottles. Sometimes the ship had water at the exit, sometimes the bus was supposed to provide it.

 

We would really like to return and do the Amazon itinerary on this ship.

Edited by Floridiana
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Thank you for your review, very helpful!

I am surprised at the absence of conditioner on a luxury expedition cruise.  It means one has to carry that much more stuff in luggage.

The lukewarm water in the non-hot hot tub was also on the Europa and Europa 2, to DH’s displeasure.

Was the ship full?

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It was fully booked, but about 10 passengers didn't come due to Covid-19 concerns. That's what I was told. 170 passengers came in one group from Frankfurt. 1 couple came from Guam in a series of flights. They decided to fly back via Frankfurt-Taiwan-Japan-Guam. I hope they are not stuck by now. I thought they would be better off flying via the USA because they said they had US passports. They were the only people who did not speak German at all. The onboard translator helped them all the time.

 

The lukewarm water was also on Mein Schiff.

 

About the specialty restaurant with its Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. We were not impressed. We thought the food was not harmoniously put together. I love Japanese and Peruvian cuisine and I thought this fusion did not do either of them justice. The very salty soy sauce ruined at least two dishes. We had way better broth in simple restaurants in Japan.

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How many English speaker passengers were on the boat. I noticed 170 German passengers but how many total people were on this particular cruise?

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I sure didn't count  them, but I guess about 200 - 220 passengers out of 230 maximum. 3 of them bilingual German/English and living in the USA, 2 passengers from Guam who did not speak German. Quite a few German speakers who spoke English well enough to talk to the American couple from Guam frequently.

 

We were told that 40 English speakers would have come aboard in Belem for the Amazon segment of the cruise. Only 40 of the passengers on the first segment to Belem had booked the Amazon segment.

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That’s good news. I don’t need a boatload of English, speakers. I think we had a group of 12 on our cruise in the English speaking group. Some of them were Dutch and from the Netherlands. Only four of us had English as a mother tongue. This was a few years ago on the Hanseatic. Several German couples socialized with us as well.

That was all fine by us for almost three weeks, it was also a repositioning cruise at the end of the Antarctic season so we had a week at sea. A common language does not mean that one necessarily has anything in common. I enjoy meeting and talking with people from around the world.

 

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The 7 Dutch on our cruise went to the German meetings without a translator.

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On my Antarctica cruise in Jan., the stabilizer was not functioning fully, and the ship rolled from left to right LIKE HELL ( the first two nights ).  Hope they had done something about it by now.    The pool could not be used unless the ship is not moving.  They said they will make a new one later.    

Food was not the best, and lack variety comparing to Europa 2.  But understandable due to the size of the ship.

 

The staff shine !    

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No problem on our stretch. Calm waters, plenty of great food. They probably stocked up in Buenos Aires. The Europa 2 had more food, true, but also more passengers. The quality was similar in the main restaurant. We didn't care for the Nikkei specialty restaurant. We had had better food in Japan and in Peru.  IMHO, this fusion didn't work very well, but the dishes looked fabulous. 😉

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My husband wants you to know that he didn't like that the only news channel on board was Tagesschau. If the ship really wants to be international it needs to add an English language channel like CNN international or BBC. We had an included ship e-mail address and could communicate that way in addition to one hour internet per person which was extended to 2 hours after IlhaGrande wouldn't let us go ashore.

 

On the positive side, we are grateful that Hamburg headquarters reacted fast and made sure that passengers could fly back home from Rio. Although we booked our own flight,  everybody else's was booked by the cruise line. We only changed our flight reservation date. We used the same free bus to the airport as the bulk of the other passengers.

 

When we boarded in Buenos Aires, the Zaandam was also boarding. Her passengers are still stuck on the ship. None of the Chilean ports would let them get off. The Hanseatic Inspiration is now heading towards Belem, probably without docking. We would have arrived there on Wednesday. I am following on cruisemapper.

 

Crew members told us that the situation in Chile changed so fast that the crew of the Hanseatic Nature was suddenly called back to the ship in Valparaiso. They had been out exploring the city. I think the ship managed to get her passengers back home before Chile closed its borders and ports. The Europa was in Puerto Vallarta until yesterday. The city still lets people fly out. I am following Captain Albert's blog of the Rotterdam which is also in Puerto Vallarta.

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I was going to ask about the news channel! Hopefully one change resulting from the new partnership will be making the TV channels more international. BBC Worldnews is a good choice.  
Our Dutch and Danes (in the English group) did not choose to go with the German groups for reasons that were not clear to me. They understood German well enough and English was. It their mother tongue, either! 

Our Antarctic trip was three weeks. How the restaurant managed a different menu every night without the ability to reprovision was noteworthy. Our last week, after South Georgia was all sea days. 
Thank you so much for your reporting, Floridiana.
 

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You are welcome!

 

I never realized there was a Dutch group on the ship until I saw and heard them in the Nikkei restaurant. They came to the German briefings, but they were never in our bus (usually German speaking tour guides) and did not avail themselves of the translations like the American couple from Guam did. 

 

 

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