The vision behind the development of the newly built 157 ft. luxury yacht, Hanse Explorer, was to train professional seamen, including officers, engineers and chefs, whilst simultaneously offering up to 12 passengers the opportunity to experience a very different kind of luxury adventure, allowing the passengers to participate as much as they wish in day-to-day life on board a luxury yacht – from ship navigation and itinerary planning to learning how to make soup in a Beaufort 12!
Ship owner and businessman, Peter Harren, is the man behind this new concept in expedition cruising and, in November 2004, Fassmer - a German ship-building company pecializing in navy and high speed vessels – was commissioned with the development, design and manufacture of a new five-star vessel, Hanse Explorer.
Harren had identified what he saw as a major problem in the shipping industry; they were not seeing the same growth pattern in the levels of well-trained staff as they were in the number of new ships being constructed. As the owner of almost 40 vessels, Harren is well aware of the contribution a well-trained crew can make, not only towards the smooth running of a ship but also the safety and service on board and ultimately the costs.
Harren’s solution to the problem involved designing and building a brand new luxury vessel - the Hanse Explorer - with the aim of actively supporting the training of professional seamen, whilst at the same time offering up to 12 passengers the opportunity to experience a very different luxury adventure.
The Hanse Explorer has been designed and built to the highest specification with a view to operating "real" expeditions. With a length of 157 ft., a shallow draft of 14 ft. and an E3 ice-class, she can sail and land in areas where many vessels, other than private yachts, can not. As with some other expedition cruises already on the market the itineraries are flexible.
However, the Hanse Explorer has an added benefit - the guests are encouraged to be actively involved in the day to day schedule planning and, subject to wind, weather and ice conditions, the decision of ‘where to go tomorrow’ will be taken together with the guests. The vessel carries two Zodiacs which, depending on the itinerary, will be used for landings and also cruising around small bays and islands, as well as amongst the magnificent icebergs of Antarctica and the Arctic.
The vessel has been designed with five-star facilities for up to 12 passengers. All of the six interior designed guest cabins are luxuriously and tastefully fitted and come complete with powerful rain shower systems in the en-suite bathrooms and the most up to date electronics equipment including satellite phone and a large flat screen, ideal for working on digital photographs. The accommodation for the 12 trainees and six crew members is also of unusually high standard.
The 12 trainees on board will include officers, engineers and chefs with varied experience levels, from graduates with a Captain’s degree to professional chefs who need sea-experience. The food served on board is of the highest international standards. However, it wouldn’t be unusual to enjoy a tiramisu for dessert which has been prepared with the guests’ help earlier that day.
The voyages offer passengers the unique opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the day-to-day life of a seaman and many areas of the vessel have been specifically designed to facilitate this.
From the state-of-the-art bridge, where an additional radar screen has been installed for trainees and passengers who are keen to know more about navigation, to the engine room and pantry – the passengers have the whole vessel at their disposal. For those guests who have always wanted to know how a five-course dinner is prepared at Beaufort 10 – the well-equipped ship’s galley is the place to find out!
The Hanse Explorer was officially launched at the end of 2006; she will spend April in Ireland and Scotland, sailing up to the Arctic for the summer months on voyages that include Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland, before moving down the east coast of the USA to Central and South America and then on to the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.