A christening of firsts: for the first time in the history of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, an ocean-going christening will be celebrated, for the first time in the 21st century, a cruise ship will be christened off Helgoland and for the first time, a grey seal will take on the symbolic task of godmother. For our team, on the other hand, this is already the third ship christening that we have been commissioned by the shipping company to plan together with the CC Cruise Company and successfully realize on board the HANSEATIC spirit. Together with the HANSEATIC inspiration and the HANSEATIC nature, the third newbuilding now completes the luxurious expedition fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
The five-day cruise departs from Hamburg for Helgoland, Germany's only high-sea island. After an individual on-board program and the first shore excursions, the christening guests will be invited to the "Expedition Night" on the pool deck on the second day following dinner in the on-board restaurants, which has been lovingly and lavishly transformed into a dune landscape for this information evening in show format. With anthemic songs full of goose bumps potential, the North German singer and songwriter Björn Paulsen provides the atmospheric framework. Presenter Lutz Deyhle leads through the program and welcomes numerous discussion guests on the temporarily created pool stage.
Captain Axel Engeldrum reports on the construction phases of the HANSEATIC spirit. Isolde Susset, Head of Product Management Expedition Cruises, and CEO Julian Pfitzner introduce the fascinating world of voyages with the ships of the new expedition class. The entertaining talk rounds will be supported by pre-recorded video clips, including greetings from the two sister ships. The greetings of the island bring Helgolands mayor Joerg Singer again personally. As a guest gift, he presents a valuable photograph by the artist Franz Schensky as well as Helgoland Kringel, the traditional pastry for the christening of a Börteboat. Finally, before the official christening bottle - a double magnum of Veuve Cliquot - is presented by the sommelier, the vet Ulrike Meinfelder now introduces the actual godmother of the ship. Nemirseta, called Nemi, is a grey seal. She was born in Lithuania in 2005 and found completely weakened on a beach. Since the animal does not feed itself, the seal could not be released into the wild after it had been nursed back to health. Since 2006 she lives in Friedrichskoog. The guests applaud enthusiastically as Julian Pfitzner explains that that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has also taken on a sponsorship for howlers for all participants of the naming voyage.
The next day brings a christening event that has probably never been seen before. First of all, all guests are invited to participate by signing the christening bottle. In the afternoon, it's off to the boats, either in one of the ship's own Zodiacs or in one of the colorfully decorated Börteboote, which are part of Helgoland's intangible world cultural heritage. Captain and CEO pilot the christening Zodiac with Ulrike Meinfelder directly in front of the bow for the christening chant. "Representing the grey seal Nemirseta, I christen you, you beautiful expedition ship, with the name HANSEATIC spirit!" She pulls a rope, triggering the mechanism to throw the bottle. The champagne wets the bow and cheers break out on the Zodiacs and boats that swarm around the new expedition ship. The HANSEATIC spirit lets its sonores Typhon sound and two sea rescuers of the society for the rescue of shipwrecked spit water fountains into the blue sky over the North Sea. After the successful christening, the merry armada of flot boats and Zodiacs sails to Helgoland's southern beach, where there is an expedition-style champagne reception: informal, cordial, open-air. The sun is shining. The North Sea shows itself from its most beautiful side. The guests then dress up for the christening dinner. A multi-course menu is served in all restaurants. After a small fireworks display over Helgoland, the successful day is celebrated in high spirits on the pool deck.
The christening cruise of the HANSEATIC spirit ends with a sea day. The weather has changed, it has become cold, a low-pressure area is moving through. But the faces of the people on board are beaming. Our production team, on the other hand, is already busily editing the official highlight video, which will be launched on the shipping company's social channels at the same time as the return to Hamburg.