Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced the line will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2016.
In 1891, Albert Ballin launched the first pleasure cruise on the Augusta Victoria and in doing so laid the foundation for what is now a major industry. The Augusta Victoria, the flagship of HAPAG (“Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft”), was set to spend its winters at anchor and out of use. Ballin, who later became the general director of the shipping company, proposed sending the ship on a Mediterranean cruise during this season. On January 22, 1891, the Augusta Victoria departed from Cuxhaven, Germany, on what proved to be a resoundingly successful two month round-trip cruise, with a 245-strong crew and 174 guests from Germany, Britain and the U.S. Today, 125 years later, the cruise sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the travel and tourism industry.