Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been given approval by parent company TUI Group to order a third expedition cruise ship.

The newbuilding will be a sister to the 230-berth Polar Class 6 ships Hanseatic Nature and Hanseatic Inspiration, which will be delivered by Norwegian shipbuilders Vard in 2019.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will soon launch the planning and negotiation process for the vessel, which is to be delivered in 2021.

The order for the new ship was announced at TUI Group’s annual Investors’ Day conference held on board TUI Cruises’ recently-delivered 2,900-berth Mein Schiff 1, the second of that name, in Hamburg on 8 May. The first is now sailing as Marella Explorer.

TUI Group decided to order the new ship following strong growth by all three of its cruise brands.

TUI Cruises average passenger occupancy rate remained in the same range, at 99.7% in 2016 to 98.9% in 2017, while Marella Cruises recorded steady 99.6% occupancy and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises saw its occupancy rate increase from 73.8 per cent to 76.4 per cent.