On 11 October 2019 the second new arrival to the new fleet of expedition class vessels of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is christened at the Overseas bridge of Hamburg port. The team of EVENT SERVICE RS together with CC Cruise Company are tasked with designing and orchestrating an exceptional event.
The "Hamburger Abendblatt" newspaper reports about a "grandiose spectacle the likes of which Hamburg has never seen before".
The ship itself turns into a floating stage, and the guests turn into explorers: from zodiacs and barges floating right in the middle of the River Elbe, which is temporarily closed to other traffic, they witness a multimedia show with 3D architecture mapping and live acts on and in front of the 3,000sqm hull of the vessel.
After a press talk and individual tours of the ship, science journalist and facilitator Ranga Yogeshwar welcomes 350 invited guests on the pool deck and introduces Laura Dekker, the ship's godmother. The famous around-the-world solo sailor will later trigger the christening mechanism and name the ship from a pontoon decorated to look like an ice floe right in front of the bow of the HANSEATIC inspiration. This is preceded by the christening dinner after which the guests, snug in their blue expedition parkas and in excellent mood for exploring, board the 27 zodiacs and four barges. The co-workers closely watch the action on the southern bank of the Elbe from the Louisiana Star, specially chartered for the event.
Against the subtly shimmering backdrop of Hamburg with the Elbphilharmonie concert hall and the Michel tower, the HANSEATIC inspiration suddenly lights up bright as daylight and sets off a 15 minute multimedia show projected onto the ship's hull by 11 high-performance laser projectors with infrared tracking to balance the tidal range. Supported by 278 high-performance spotlights on the upper decks and with two 6m high speaker towers mounted on two pontoons to provide the sound via FM radio signal, a story unfolds that will be written in the immediate future: the new expedition class lets us escape the man-made stress and bustle of our civilised environment and sets new standards for variety, passenger comfort and personal space. Vertical acts performed in a blue grid open up a view of the technical innovations built into the ship before double Echo award winner Oonagh, standing on a glass balcony high above portraits of historic discoverers, intones the official christening song "GÄA" and takes the audience on a unique journey from exotic destinations in the Amazon to Arctic waters, where nature in all its splendour, quiet and seclusion safeguards a history of many thousand years. The show concludes with the fascinating colour play of the northern lights. To the mythical tunes of Norwegian ice musician Terje Isungset, captain Ulf Wolter steers the zodiac with the ship's godmother to the brightly illuminated ice floe in front of the bow. After the christening words the obligatory bottle is smashed against the bow and the lettering of the ship's name lights up the length of the hull.
Back on board, the expedition mood continues unbroken during the christening party on the pool deck. The guests can't stop talking about what they have seen. "Breathtaking", says actress Nova Meierhenrich. The well-known nature film-maker Thomas Behrend is impressed "not just by the splendid visuals – the orchestration, the entire event, were unique".
Behind the scenes, the event team of 130 and the 170 ship's crew all pull together smoothly, directed by Roland Schwaizer and coordinated by project manager Jan Struve and production manager Alexander Rottmann. After 18 months of planning and mastering the logistic and technical challenges of implementation, numerous experts agree that the event sets entirely new standards for future launching ceremonies.
The extraordinary event format wins GOLD in the supreme discipline "Corporate Events" at the Austrian Event Award 2020.