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  Slot machines have been replaced by leather-look banquettes for seating and the roulette and blackjack tables have been replaced by a dance floor, where music is supplied after dark by a resident DJ.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.

Of Teddy Bears and Land Rovers : Brand Co-operation at Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have recently announced marketing partnerships and brand co-operation with Land Rover, makers of the famous on- and off-road vehicles, and Steiff, makers of the famous line of teddy bears.

Under the agreement with Land Rover, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will decorate a number of Land Rover off-road vehicles in black, white and orange Hapag-Lloyd Off-road Adventure livery, to emphasize adventures at sea in their top-rated expedition ships MS Hanseatic and MS Bremen. These vehicles could be driven by company managers or sales representatives or even in some cases used to pick up or deliver customers to airports when joining an expedition cruise.

Meanwhile, the agreement with Steiff is part of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ campaign to attract more family business to the line’s two new cruise ships, the MS Columbus 2, to be introduced in April 2012,  and MS Europa 2, to be built at St Nazaire and introduced in 2013. Children will be catered for in a brand co-operation with Steiff, the world’s oldest maker of teddy bears, and in particular, a new bear, Captain Knopf, will be introduced to take advantage of this.

Not only that, but the bears will be backed up by a program of children’s books. On board ship, meanwhile, children will be looked after in three different age groups, something different from what is offered in the existing MS Europa, which caters to only two age groups.

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

Photos courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Chief Visits London

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_6xEhjc_YzQ/TWtiihcqPGI/AAAAAAAANHc/5WFuO5EhAtQ/hapag-lloyd-logo.jpgSebastian Ahrens

Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in Hamburg and a graduate of Cambridge, was in London last week for a presentation of the line’s expedition ships Bremen and Hanseatic at the Royal Geographical Society, as well as a UK press briefing and interviews. The presentation was made by David Fletcher, a member of the Royal Geographical Society, and Trixi Lange-Hitzbleck, both of whom are Hapag-Lloyd expedition leaders.

The travel trade press was also in attendance and reported as follows:

Travel Trade Gazette says Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to focus more on the UK market

Travel Weekly gets a reaction from Hapag-Lloyd chief over UK agents’ habit of rebating

Seatrade Insider meanwhile revealed that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will go more international with its newest ship, the Europa 2, with announcements in both English and German. Hapag-Lloyd presently operates the five-star-plus Europa, rated the best cruise ship on Earth (or should we say water?) for eleven years in a row by the Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, and the top-rated expedition ships Bremen and Hanseatic, as well as the 420-berth Columbus, which will complete her last season in the Great Lakes in 2011.

In spring 2012, the Columbus 2, presently operating as the Regatta in the summer cruise trade to Alaska,will replace the present Columbus and in 2013 the line will introduce the Europa 2, which will be built by STX France, formerly Chantiers de l’Atlantique, at St Nazaire. The same yard delivered the Crystal Serenity in 2003 and the Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

For further information on any Hapag-Lloyd cruise or to discuss possible ship visits 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 International Brochure Now On Line

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_6xEhjc_YzQ/TWtiihcqPGI/AAAAAAAANHc/5WFuO5EhAtQ/hapag-lloyd-logo.jpgThe January-November 2012 on-line International (English-language) brochure for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ms Europa is now available on line through this link (go to the bottom of the page):-

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises International Brochures

Or click on MS Europa 2012 below for the on-line brochure

MS Europa 2012

The fare price inserts for the international market. UK residents are eligible for the Sterling pricing included in the bottom link, while North American residents qualify for the US dollar pricing in the third link.

For further details or to order a hard copy of the Europa 2012 brochure please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk