Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Expands Fleet
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will extend its cruise products until 2013 by adding two ships to the existing fleet. The luxury segment will be enhanced by a long-term charter for the new EUROPA 2. The new ship is being acquired by a third-party proprietary company outside the TUI group at the French STX shipyard and will enter service in 2013. The charter agreement is being concluded for a period of 12 years. The premium segment will be enhanced by the two-year bareboat charter of Oceania Cruises' Insignia. As of April 2012, the ship will be integrated into the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet under the name "COLUMBUS 2".
For the first time ever, a second ship of the same name will be positioned in the luxury segment of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet alongside the EUROPA. The EUROPA 2 will offer a modern and casual 5-star alternative to the existing EUROPA. With sets of 7-day cruises in the Mediterranean in the summer months and faraway destinations in the winter, the two ships will also complement each other in terms of their itineraries. The new ship will have 258 cabins and thus a maximum passenger capacity of 516 persons. The 20-month construction period begins as of September 2011 at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.
With 349 cabins, the COLUMBUS 2 offers accommodation for a maximum of 698 passengers; the amenities include a variety of restaurants and bars as well as a spacious spa and wellness area. In the summer months, the ship built in 1998 will be cruising the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Nordic countries with a wide range of combinable voyages lasting between 7 and 12 days each. During the winter, the COLUMBUS 2 is scheduled to go on a world tour.
As Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, explains, "We have identified potential for growth in both market segments, and we would like to make use of it. Beyond this, both ships adequately enhance our portfolio, enabling us to serve new target groups. The COLUMBUS 2 offers more diversity and comfort to the existing COLUMBUS, and the EUROPA 2 will be the logical evolution and modern interpretation of the standards we have set in the luxury segment of the international cruise market."