Earlier this year Fincantieri's VARD received a two ship order for expedition cruise vessels from an unnamed buyer. Today that order became official, with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises confirming that they had ordered the ships which will both be delivered in 2019. 

The ships will have capacity for 240 passengers at 16,100 tons.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

 Sebastian Ebel, member of the Executive Board of TUI Group in charge of cruise, said: “The cruise business is one of the key elements of TUI’s growth strategy. Our ambitions are underpinned by our investment in the two new ships for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury and expedition cruise segments serve as world-class benchmarks.”

Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, added: “The former director Albert Ballin invented the modern cruise concept 125 years ago. We are perfectly positioned in the luxury market with our cruise ships. This anniversary year, we are charting the course for the future. Already we operate successfully in our expedition segment, which offers growth potential for 5-star cruises. Our new-builds will help us to develop further the expedition segment and offer a modern interpretation. They will also serve to strengthen our leading position in this market, in particular at the international level.”