Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

History, Review, Itineraries, Ships, Deck Plans, News

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet

Review of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (officially Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten) is based in Hamburg Germany. The cruise company is subsidiary of Hapag-Lloyd AG (German-Chilean shipping company, one of the world's oldest). Until 2017, HL Cruises was a 100%-owned subsidiary of Europe's leading travel group TUI AG (based in Hanover Germany). Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is not part of TUI AG anymore. The parent company Hapag-Lloyd AG is currently ranked the world's 5th largest container shipping line in terms of fleet capacity.

Company history

Hapag-Lloyd company was created in 1970 via a merger between two of Germany's oldest steamship companies - "Hamburg-Amerikanische Packfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft" (Hapag) and "Norddeutscher Lloyd". Both companies were created in the 1840s to carry freight and passengers via Transatlantic crossings between Germany and USA.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises logo

On July 12, 2017, TUI AG sold its remaining 8,5 million shares in Hapag-Lloyd AG, which raised about EUR 244 million. The operation was an open market block trade (Accelerated Book Building) to a guaranteed minimum price close to the day’s market closing. Prior to this trade (March 2017), TUI AG disposed of a total of 6 million Hapag-Lloyd shares in individual open-market transactions. By disposing of all its Hapag-Lloyd shares, TUI AG concluded corporation's non-core business disposal program defined after the TUI AG and TUI Travel PLC merger in December 2014. The revenues were used for TUI's tourism business (hotel brands and cruise ships).

In 2017, HL Cruises reported record average daily rates of EUR 594 (pp per day) or an increase of 2,6% over 2016. In 2017 the company also reported highest-ever customer satisfaction and quality ratings. Company's average daily ticket prices increased as follows - 2011 (EUR 399), 2012 (EUR 420), 2013 (EUR 450), 2014 (EUR 536), 2015-2016 (EUR 579), 2017 (EUR 594).

For FY2018 (fiscal year), TUI Group's earnings (from the 3 cruise brands - TUI, Marella, and Hapag-Lloyd) increased by 10,7% - to EUR 901,9 million. Company's turnover was EUR 324 million (26,8% increase over 2017). Group's average daily rates increased to EUR 178 euro (TUI, up from EUR 173), EUR 141 (Marella, up from EUR 131) and EUR 615 (Hapag-Lloyd, up from EUR 594).

Hapag-Lloyd cruising experience

As a product, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises offers higher-end luxury travel deals, featuring:

  • Hapag-Lloyd's cruise ships are top-of-the-line and offer in-port and onboard experiences ranging from an expedition to luxury. All vessels are budget-wise, as fares are on the high side, but each features a different personality and specialty.
  • The best-known Europa offers a formal luxury experience as it travels around the world with few if any repeated itineraries. Both Hanseatic and Bremen are expedition ships with the highest given to passenger ships E4 ice ratings. They travel to the Antarctic and Arctic, as well as other exotic regions. Bremen is classed as a four-star ship, while Hanseatic boasts five stars and has upgraded enrichment and cuisine in addition to larger cabins.
  • The launch of the first Hapag-Lloyd new-build since 1999 was real excitement for the line. Europa 2 debuted in May 2013, aiming at the ultra-luxe market and younger and more active target audience. Families are catered to with kids facilities appealing to youngsters, from toddlers to teens.
  • The last one, Europa 2, draws on top-notch features of Europa. She is the line's most contemporary and chic ship, featuring dynamic art and sophisticated entertainment that ranges from a jazz club to a kitchen studio for cooking courses. Its appeal is to younger, less luxury-minded cruisers, including families.
  • The all-suite Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ships Europa and Europa 2 provide the largest space-per-guest ratio of any cruise ships currently sailing. All Europa 2 staterooms have balconies. The Hapag-Lloyd company has also dedicated ms Europa 2 as the "bilingual" ship of the line, reaching an international passenger base with enhanced activities geared to English-speaking guests.

New ships

Next is shown Hapag-Lloyd's new expedition cruise ship design. Three such Polar-Class vessels are currently under construction and scheduled for launch in 2019 - Hanseatic Inspiration (October) and Hanseatic Nature (April) and 2021 (Hanseatic Spirit).

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises new expedition cruise ship design (bow view)

The new ships are of the same design (sister-ships), each with max capacity 230 passengers (199 passengers on Antarctic cruises), 3 restaurants, extensive wellness area, water sports marina (aft), a fleet of Zodiacs (large-capacity inflatable boats used for landings and shore tours).

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises new expedition cruise ship design (aft view)

On July 3, 2018, VARD Holdings Ltd and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises signed a shipbuilding contract for a 3rd HANSEATIC-series vessel (Spirit). The new ship is scheduled for delivery in 2021 Q2. All ships in the series have their hulls built by VARD Tulcea shipyard (Romania).

In mid-August 2017, MS Bremen (launched in 1990) received "Polar Code" certificate that allows the vessel to operate in polar regions. All its fleet mates were also due to receive the certificate by Hapag-Lloyd’s 2018 Arctic season. Polar Code (adopted by IMO) contains regulations about polar cruise vessels' construction and onboard equipment, as well as crew training requirements. In 2017, as part of the HL fleet's routine drydocks, all ships were brought in line with the Polar Code's requirements. MS Bremen was scheduled to operate 3 Arctic cruises (2018-2019 season), including one Northeast Passage (summer 2018).

Itinerary of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Currently, Hapag-Lloyd offers a wealth of "high-end luxury" cruises for well-heeled travelers. The line's signature destinations are the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, as well as Caribbean, Asia, Australia, plus expedition itineraries to Antarctica and Alaska (Northwest Passage).

The current Hapag Lloyd cruise ship fleet includes the following vessels:

NEWS: On January 15, 2019, was announced that MS Bremen was sold to Scylla Cruises. The vessel will be officially delivered to the new shipowner in May 2021. As of 2019, Scylla owns 31 riverboats, most of which are chartered to different European cruisetour companies.

Northwest Passage cruises

Hapag Lloyd was the world's first cruise line with a Northwest Passage Cruise itinerary. In 2011, MS Bremen was the world's first ever cruise ship crossing the Passage from Kangerlussuaq Greenland to Nome Alaska. In 2012, MS Hanseatic (now RCGS Resolute) made a full transit with a 25-days itinerary leaving from Nome AK (on August 14) and ending in Reykjavik Iceland (on September 7).

(animal cruelty) The Faroe Islands cruise boycott

In mid-July 2016, Hapag-Lloyd became one of the three cruise ship companies (together with Disney and AIDA) that have banned Faroe Islands (a Danish territory) as destination part of their North European itineraries.

The boycott is due to the island nation's traditional mass slaughter of pilot whales each year. The protected by Denmark gruesome practice of killing whales is called “Grindadrap Grind". Locals use motorboats to drive a pod of whales into a harbor. The defenseless animals are dragged to the shallow water and brutally slaughtered by locals armed with knives (16-19 cm / 6-8 inches long) while their families cheer them on. The killing party even rip out baby whales from their mothers.

The Faroe Islands have a population of about 50,000 and kill each year over 1,000 pilot whales. You can see the cruise ship schedule of Torshavn - Faroes most visited port. All cruise lines with scheduled visits to the Faroes are accused of supporting the brutal whaling practices. Whaling is still officially approved and carried out by the "civilized" countries Japan, Norway and Iceland, killing over 2000 whales each year and trading in whale products.

HL's response was to the "Faroese Pilot Whaling Act" by the local government, which continues to allow pilot whales to be culled or massacred. It also empowers local authorities to imprison (for up to 2 years) people found guilty of impeding these whaling activities - despite all the international condemnations.

Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are among the largest organizations taking direct actions against the "Faroese Pilot Whaling Act". Most of the available online haunting images of slaughtered whales lying in a sea of blood are released by these organizations.

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