German line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new ship Columbus 2 has entered service on its first cruise from Majorca to Malta.
The 698-passenger vessel is being chartered from Oceania Cruises for two years with an option to extend. The ship has been converted to accommodate families with new areas for children and teenagers.
Sebastian Ahrens, Hapag-Lloyd's managing director, said: “Thanks to a few conversion measures, including the addition of a Kids and Teens area, we can now attract families onboard the Columbus 2.
“The family-oriented ship will be positioned in the four-star segment, and will offer a range of German-language cruises.”
The next expansion step by the Hamburg-based company is the completion of the new-build five-star ship Europa 2. The vessel is due to enter service in May 2013 as a “modern lifestyle-oriented” version of Hapag-Lloyd flagship Europa.
All Europa 2 crusies will be fully bilingual and will cater to the English-speaking market. The maiden voyage will take place on May 11-25 next year from Hamburg to Lisbon.
The ship is currently being built at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The new addition to the fleet will feature 11 decks, all-suites with balconies, and what the line claims will be the largest space per passenger ratio in the cruise industry.
An English-language brochure will be published in the autumn.
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