Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Columbus 2 Sets Out On Her Maiden Voyage

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises new 698-berth Columbus 2 was christened in Palma today by Carmen Riu Güell, chair of Riu Hotels and Resorts. Oceania’s former Insignia, she has been taken by Hapag-Loyd on a two-year charter with option for a third year.

Tonight, she sets out on her maiden voyage, a 12-night cruise that will include Formentera, Barcelona, Ibiza, Menorca, Monte Carlo, Corsica, Civitavecchia for Rome, Sardinia and Sicily before finishing in Valletta, Malta.

As she will operate in the German-speaking market only, there will be no International Hostess as there is on other ships in the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet.

Compared to the 420-berth Columbus, which she replaces, Columbus 2 has a passenger space ratio of 43.4 gross tons per passenger, as compared to 36.3 on Columbus. On average, Columbus 2 also has a third more cabin space, at 200 sq ft compared to 150 sq ft on Columbus.

Columbus 2 offers two-thirds veranda cabins compared to just two on the Columbus, and has only 8% inside cabins compared to 31% on Columbus, so this will be a big advance for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ premium German product.

For dining, Columbus 2 offers a choice of three restaurants, the main Albert Ballin Restaurant, plus two alternative restaurants, the Polo Grill steakhouse and Toscana Italian restaurant, the latter two at no extrra expense but requiring reservations.

In addition, the ship’s Lido restaurant opens for breakfast. lunch and dinner.

In order to widen the market for the new ship, a number of specially-designated family cruises will be offered, carrying children up to age 15 free of charge when travelling with two adults in the same cabin.

On all other cruises, children up to 11 will be carried free and those between 12 and 15 will be charged just €25 (about $35) per night. In aid of this, two children’s rooms, one for kids and one from teenagers, have been installed on deck 9.

In terms of the other changes, the biggest is that the casino has been completely removed and replaced by a new lounge and bar called Martinis.  Slot machines have been replaced by leather-look banquettes for seating and the roulette and blackjack tables have been replaced by a dance floor, where music is supplied after dark by a resident DJ.

Elsewhere, the library at the top of the ship is now stocked with German-language books, television channels are all German and new Continental-style individual duvets have been added to the beds.

As the Columbus 2 comes into service, preparations are meanwhile being made for the Columbus to be delivered next month to Plantours & Partner of Bremen, who will operate her as the ms Hamburg.

For details on any Hapag-Lloyd Cruises itinerary, please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

About thecruisepeople
Specialists in sea travel - ultra-luxury cruising, freighter travel, small ships and expedition voyages.

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