Countdown to Europa 2: Here’s One – Barcelona to Monte Carlo, 7 nights, June 22, from £3,070 per person for top luxury

Countdown to Europa 2This classified advertisement will appear in the lineage adverts of The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph on Saturdays for the next few weeks, leading up to Europa 2′s arrival in Southampton in early May. Meanwhile, from The Sunday Times of January 13:-

The Next Best Ship: Europa is a rather special vessel. She’s been voted the best in the world by cruising’s most revered critic, Douglas Ward, for 13 years running. From this May, though, she’ll have a sister ship to vie for the title. Europa 2 promises a “more casual and modern approach,” which translates as trendier interiors, glitzy entertainment, a cookery school and far fewer black-tie dinners. Will they maintain the same impeccable service and superb food? You be the judge on a seven-night voyage  from Barcelona to Monte Carlo, casting off on June 22. The Cruise People (020 7273 2450) has the trip from £3,070, full-board. Flights are extra; easyJet (0843 104 5000, easyjet.com) and British Airways (0844 493 0787, ba.com) fly to both Barcelona and Nice.

Call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Europa 2 Suites Now Being Installed, Ship To Be Ready For Early May

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ultra-luxury Europa 2 takes shape at the STX shipyard in St Nazaire as her suites are installed. Between twenty-five and thirty a week are being installed in the various guest decks.

The standard suites are produced in two blocks – the living and the bathroom area. At the factory, more than 150 workers are busy putting suites together on eleven production lines and assembling different elements such as bed frames, slatted frames, desks and wardrobes which have been produced to custom designs.

Once secured, the stateroom blocks are loaded, hauled onto the ship with a lift, placed side by side on board and fitted. After this, all that needs to be done is for the carpet to be laid and the sofa to be positioned.

While the Standard Suites are assebled in two blocks, the Penthouse Suites are fitted directly on board as they are far too large to transport to the ship. The installation of all the suites will be complete by Christmas.

Countdown to Europa 2The new Europa 2,  which is set to undertake her maiden voyage in May, offers maximum space for all guests – and all suites have their own veranda of at least 75 sq ft looking onto the ocean. Passengers booking now can choose from a total of 251 suites in eight categories – from the Veranda Suite measuring more than 300 sq ft to the Owner’s Suite with its generous 1,065 sq ft. Seven family apartments consist of two separate suites that have both connecting doors and shared verandas.

The Europa 2  is a modern and lifestyle-oriented sister ship of the Europa 2, the world’s only 5-star-plus ship (Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2013).

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings, inquiries, or to request a brochure, please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk .

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Antarctic Season 2012/2013 Opens Tomorrow

On Sunday, November 11, the Bremen opens the 2012-13 Antarctic season with its first expedition cruise. From Montevideo, she will carry the maximum 164 guests to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands, then the Antarctic Peninsula. The Hanseatic will follow in mid December. For many guests, an Antarctic expedition means fulfilling a dream they may have had for a long time. To ensure that the expedition becomes an unforgettable experience, planning is recommended.

Antarctica is among the most sensitive ecosystems in the world and is under special ecological protection. The expedition ships Hanseatic and Bremen have been using more environmentally sound marine diesel oil in the polar regions for years, long before the new law entered force in 2011. Beyond this, a code of conduct for Antarctica stipulates that visitors are required to protect sensitive mosses, lichens and grasses and stay a safe distance from animals, for example five metres in the case of penguins. These rules are communicated by experienced lecturers in the time spent ashore.

“You need to take time when visiting Antarctica, as you cannot explore this unique destination on a cruise with a duration of merely one week. Anyone wishing to see more than plenty of water and a bit of ice should schedule around two weeks,” recommends Mark Behrend, captain of the Bremen, who has been to Antarctica more than 30 times.

“The choice of route and ship is decisive for intense expedition experiences. Solely small ships with few passengers fulfil the conditions for landings. With the Bremen’s twelve zodiacs, we offer first-hand nature experiences and ideal opportunities in terms of animal observations.

“Only passenger ships with the highest ice class are capable of advancing really far into Antarctica and even moving safely to the south of the Antarctic Circle. Besides the ice class, it is primarily of crucial importance to have on board an ice-experienced ship management and crew, who are able to read the ice and navigate accordingly,” adds Captain Behrend.

It is advisable to book Antarctic expeditions as early as possible – especially on ships with a capacity of fewer than 200 passengers. Special routes, for example those beyond the Antarctic Circle, are also booked out more than a year in advance.

Here Are Some of the Top Expedition Experiences in Antarctica:

- Zodiac tour in Paradise Bay and setting foot on the Antarctic mainland
- Landings in colonies with hundreds of thousands of penguins on South Georgia
- Bathing in the hot springs of Deception IslandCountdown to Europa 2
- Whale watching
- Cruising through the pack ice and huge table icebergs
- Sailing though the Lemaire and the Neumayer Channels
- Visit to a scientific station
- Landing at Cape Horn

Cruise Example: Expedition Semi Circumnavigation Antarctica with the Hanseatic from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Bluff, New Zealand, January 25 – February 21, 2014, 26 days, from €17.120 EUR, £13,360 or US $20,550 per person, cruise only, including charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ destinations and itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings, inquiries, or to request a brochure, please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk .

Originally posted on The Cruise People Ltd:

Last Thursday, Julian Pfitzner, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ product manager for its newbuilding Europa 2, visited London to preview his new ship, which is now due to enter service in just over seven months.

Two of the first impressions he created were “Relaxed Luxury” and “Hideaway at Sea.” This is something that is a little different from what is on offer in today’s cruise market, even from ultra-luxury operators. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises seem to be basing their marketing on the proper definition of that word: identifying a need in the market and designing a product to fulfil that need at the best price available. Unlike her ultra-luxury fleetmate Europa, the world’s top-rated ship since she was introduced in 1999, Europa 2 will be aimed squarely at another audience – the affluent executive and professional classes still in work, younger in age and quite possibly with growing children. The new ship’s dress…

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises To Expand Internationally

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced that the two pillars of its future development will be luxury cruising and expedition voyages, while at the same time it will be looking to grow these sectors by expanding in the English-speaking market. The newbuilding Europa 2, to be introduced in May 2013, and fleetmate of the existing Europa, will be aimed at the 5-star luxury sector. And, in addition to the existing expedition ships Hanseatic and Bremen, new growth opportunities will be sought in the expedition sector.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Hanseatic in Hamburg

Today’s m.s. Hanseatic

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is already known in German-speaking countries as one of the leading operators in the luxury and expedition sectors. And at the same time, the proposed expansion into international markets will go hand-in-hand with this focus on luxury cruising in these two sectors. “By consistently focusing on these two pillars, we strive to enhance further our strength and our leading position as regards quality in these segments and at the same time we will address new markets“, explains Dr. Wolfgang Flägel, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Selected cruises aboard all ships in the present fleet except for Columbus 2 are already marketed internationally. But Flägel added that “with  Europa 2, we will put into service a ship designed to offer an international flair and address a sophisticated, cosmopolitan target group, planning in future to increase market share in English-speaking countries such as the USA, UK and Benelux.” The first English-language Europa 2 brochure is released this week.

As a result of this new strategy, Hapag-Lloyd’s charter on  Columbus 2, which concentrates on the German-speaking four-star market, will not be extended when it expires in April 2014. Hapag-Lloyd took over Columbus 2 this May and has been operating her under bareboat charter from Oceania Cruises, where she had been operated as Insignia.

It will be interesting to see if these decisions bring Hapag-Lloyd Cruises back into the mainstream of world cruising, where for many years its ships attracted a large English-speaking clientele. Hapag-Lloyd’s Bremen (right) and German Atlantic Line’s Hanseatic were considered amongst the best ships on the North Atlantic fifty years ago.

Equally, to-day’s product is one of the best in the cruise market and its attraction is not only the line’s great tradition, but also in its great attention to detail when it comes to service. As well, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is one of the last lines to sell drinks at real duty-free prices and not the landside hotel prices that have been adopted by all other lines except the all-inclusive ones.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises offer Relaxed Luxury. For further information and competitive Sterling fares for any Hapag-Lloyd cruise please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises To Release International Brochure For Its New 516-guest Flagship Europa 2 In London This September

For those following the introduction of the world’s most exciting new cruise ship in a decade, our UK clients will be pleased to know that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is releasing its English-language brochure for its new 40,000-ton Europa 2 on Thursday, September 13, in London. The new ship has been designed to cater not only to the German-speaking market, where Hapag-Lloyd have been particularly strong, but also to the international trade in general.

Now under construction at St Nazaire, in the shipyard that built the Ile de France, the Normandie, the France and the Queen Mary 2, the 516-guest Europa 2 will feature all-balcony accommodations,  some of the most stylish restaurants afloat and a myriad of new features, and will have the highest passenger space ratio of any ship afloat.

The Europa 2 will undertake her maiden voyage from Hamburg to Lisbon between May 11 and 25, 2013, and may also make an inaugural appearance at Southampton in early May on her way from the shipyard in St Nazaire to her delivery in Hamburg – so watch this space for further news.

For further details on any of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ international offerings please contact Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Originally posted on The Cruise People Ltd:

Discoveries – Adventure Islands in the Pacific– From Valparaíso to Tahiti (EUR1301) 5 – 19 January 2013, 14 days.  From £ 3,720 per person in a guarantee suite of Cat 0, double occupancy, cruise only

South Seas – A Wealth of Blue Lagoons — From Tahiti to Auckland (EUR1302) 19 January – 6 February 2013, 17 days. From £ 5,000 pp in a guarantee suite of Cat 0, double occupancy, cruise only

Encounters – The Colourful Smile of Asia — From Singapore to Dubai (EUR1306) 30 March – 13 April 2013, 14 days. From £ 3,550 pp in a guarantee suite of Cat 0, double occupancy, cruise only

Southeast Asia – Of Wonderful Beaches and Forest People (German) — From Hong Kong to Singapore (EUR1305) 15 – 30 March 2013, 15 days. From £ 4,330 pp in a guarantee suite of Cat 0, double occupancy, cruise only

New Zealand…

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