29 July 2014

Hamburg in Helsinki, 28 July 2014


IMO 9138329
Name history: C. Columbus, Hamburg
Built 1997, MTW Schiffswerft Wismar, Germany
Tonnage 14 903 GT
Length 144,13 m
Width 21,50 m
Draught 5,15 m
Ice class 1B
400 passengers (lower berths)
423 passengers (maximum)
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 10 560 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Service speed 18,5 knots

Our series of ships that have never been featured on this blog before continues with the Hamburg of Plantours Kreuzfahrten. The ship was originally built in 1997 by the MTW shipyard in Wismar, Germany as the C. Columbus for Conti Kreuzfahrt, who chartered the ship to Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten for ten years. I have often wondered if the ship was originally meant for a different operator from Hapag-Lloyd, as her exterior styling and onboard product were so different from the (then-)soon-to-be-completed Hapag-Lloyd flagship Europa. (However, this is pure conjecture).

In any case, the C. Columbus continued in service for Hapag-Lloyd without blemish for fifteen years, with apparently the only major event of her career for the company being the installation of a duck tail in 2001. Eventually, in 2012, Hapag-Lloyd decided to replace the C. Columbus with a larger ship more in keeping with growing demands of the premium market segment. The Insignia was chartered from Oceania Cruises and renamed Columbus 2, replacing the C. Columbus. The C. Columbus, to the best of my knowledge still owned by Conti Kreuzfahrt, was then chartered to Plantours Kreuzfahrten, who renamed the ship Hamburg. The Hamburg replaced the Vistamar are Plantours sole ocean-going cruise ship.

The photos below show the Hamburg passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait shortly after departing Helsinki South Harbour in the afternoon of 28 July 2014. Photographed from the ramparts of Kustaanmiekka. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

From this point of view, the forward superstructure actually reminds me very much of Renaissance Cruises' second batch of newbuildings (Renaissance Five through Eight).
Sleek, but I'm definately not a fan of the "hidden bridge" school of design.
Incidentally, the bridge wings are retractable to allow the ship pass through the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes of North America.
The angular scifi sleek aft superstructure is really at odds with the streamlined forward superstructure. The theme of conflicting stylings is also carried over in the juxtaposition of round and angular windows.
I have to say that the aft superstructure actually looks rather nice. Had the whole ship been designed in similar style, it would actually look rather good.

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