First Steel Cut at St Nazaire for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ MS Europa 2

europa-2Yesterday, the first steel was cut for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, marking the official beginning of her construction. The cruise line’s managing director Sebastian Ahrens  gave the start signal at the STX shipyard in St Nazaire, where ships such as the Normandie, the France and the Queen Mary 2 were built. With the MS Europa 2, to enter service in the spring of 2013, Hapag-Lloyd will further advance its pioneering role in the luxury sector.

A total of 835 shipyard workers will be involved in the project, with an estimated 2.5 million hours of labour dedicated to the new ship’scompletion. “After an intense planning stage, we are very pleased to be taking this decisive step towards the extension of our fleet with the first steel cut,“ said Mr Ahrens.

With individual parts of the ship being manufactured in different shipyard halls over the coming months, the keel laying will take place in the spring of 2012, and commissioning in the spring of 2013.

The Europa 2 will enhance the luxury segment of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, offering a modern and informal interpretation of the existing Europa, the only cruise ship to be awarded with the highest “5-stars” plus ranking in the Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships.

The Europa 2 will have eleven decks and will offer 258 suites. She will have a maximum capacity of 516 passengers and will boast more space per passenger than any other cruise ship in the world. Spa Suites, Penthouse Suites and family suites will complement the range of accommodations on board.

Seven restaurants including a sushi bar, two lounges and four bars will enhance the ship’s culinary diversity. Guests will also enjoy a wide range of on board entertainment, a large wellness and spa area, and numerous sports and health-oriented offerings.

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

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

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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

Ultra-Luxury Cruising from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa 2, due for delivery in spring 2013

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-_6xEhjc_YzQ/TWtiihcqPGI/AAAAAAAANHc/5WFuO5EhAtQ/hapag-lloyd-logo.jpgAt Cruise Shipping Miami 2011, Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, made a significant contribution to the discussions on ultra-luxury cruising today with these comments.

In the years beyond 2010 Mr Ahrens describes the cruise market as having become a mass market phenomenon, but with the onset of the affluent baby boom ultra-luxury forms of travel are emerging that are becoming significant volume markets in their own right. Tied to this is the advent of an age of “non-ostentation” compared to earlier years, when luxury cruising had often been a means of showing off. Younger people entering the market today tend to think differently.

People are more interested in health, space, experience, authenticity, individuality and sustainability, as well as that most valued of commodities, time. Superficialty, ostentation, excess, noise and status are now giving way to enlightenment, authenticity, conscientiousness, discretion and symbolism. More intelligent approaches are  expected rather than sales and hype.

Mr Ahrens also outlined Hapag-Lloyd’s new Europa 2 product, to be introduced in the spring of 2013. Her cruises will not be as long as offered in the past by earlier Europa’s, but will be offered instead in 7-day segments that can also be taken as 14-day or 21-day vacations, with the ship triangulating on three ports, say Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Valletta in the western Mediterranean, or Venice, Athens and Istanbul in the eastern Med, with 7-day sectors offered between turnaround ports that repeat.

As to the ship itself, in addition to more verandahs and premium and spa suites, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will pay more attention to the children of the affluent. While parents will be able to make their own “private arrangements” around their cruise holidays, children will now be attracted by a new brand co-operation with Steiff, the world’s oldest maker of teddy bears, and 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, children will be looked after in three different age groups, something quite different from what was offered in previous ships that carried the name Europa.

The Europa 2 will have seven plus one service restaurants, including a sushi bar, and free seating with open timing. And no extra tariff will be charged at any of the ship’s restaurants. This will be backed up by authentic culinary events.

Entertainment will consist of a mix of production shows, solo artists and theatre and the music and talks on board, as well as the decoration (by Partner Ship Design) will be more contemporary in nature.

In addition, the new ship will concentrate on fitness and wellness and there will be a broad range of interactive services, television, video, music, news, internet and services for information and reservations, all provided in cooperation with Siemens Media4Cruise.

Finally, in the winter time the Europa 2 will not perform world cruises, but shorter voyages in warm waters, for instance the Far East. The present Europa will meanwhile continue her program of world cruises for the ultra-luxury market while the Columbus 2, presently sailing as the Insignia, will look after the premium market.

For further information please consult The Cruise People at http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/luxury.htm or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk

Images courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Steiff.