When asked about the sudden growth of the expedition market, with 20 new ships to be launched over the next three years, he points out that this represents only 6,000 berths - a mere fraction of the overall cruise market.
Hapag-Lloyd boasts, according to the Berlitz Guide to Cruising, the very finest ships in the world, and Pojer claimed that the company has just enjoyed its best year ever, both commercially, and in terms of guest satisfaction. Interesting to us is that although Hapag-Lloyd is unashamedly a German company (owned by global holiday giant TUI) their focus is clearly on increasing the number of international guests they carry, and the second of the two new expedition ships, Hanseatic Inspiration, will operate as a fully bilingual ship (German/English) just as Europa 2 does.
Building an expedition ship represents certain technical challenges - they need to be able to go for up to 36 days without refuelling and without provisioning, as they are sometimes operating so far from any developed infrastructure, and to cope with extreme weathers and temperatures. Which brings us to the key point made by Pojer - 'this is no place for experiments. Experience counts.' We couldn't agree more - adventuring way off the beaten track is potentially very dangerous, and choosing a company with extensive experience of navigation, crewing and operating way off the radar (not literally obviously!) is essential when selecting your expedition operator.
Likewise, during this period when, as we said, the fleet is expanding rapidly, top quality expedition leaders and guides are going to be in high demand, so you need to know you are travelling with a company which can command the best in class. As the market leader in luxury expedition, Hapag-Lloyd is an excellent choice, with a long history of focus on luxury and expedition combined. The company is known for protecting the value of its assets, with its ships returning to the yard every two years to be brought back to peak condition.
With the arrival of the new vessels, Hanseatic will leave the fleet in October 2018, but the much-loved Bremen is to stay, continuing to offer truly pioneering adventures (such as this summer's North East Passage, not to mention the semi circumnavigation of Antarctica). The new ships will feature some key characteristics which will make them particularly appealing to expedition travellers. All the focus is on more opportunity to see - when a pod of dolphins are playing off the starboard bow, or you are pushing through the ice towards a polar bear, you don't want to be stuck behind someone with an oversized zoom lens.
With 50% more open deck space than Hanseatic, an innovative deck track at the bow, floor to ceiling windows in the cabins, extendable glass balconies hovering above the water and more, you are going to be closer to the action. The new marina at the back will make access to the zodiacs both speedier and easier. And on board the ship, enhanced lounges and libraries will mean you can learn more than ever before.