Hapag-Lloyd Cruises christened the newest addition to its fleet, the Columbus 2, off Mallorca. After a short conversion was completed in Barcelona this month, the Columbus 2 will sail its first cruise from Mallorca to Malta this week.
The ship is best known to agents as Oceania Cruises' Insignia. Oceania chartered the ship to Hapag-Lloyd for a two-year period between now and spring 2014. Hapag-Lloyd also says it has an option to extend that charter.
Columbus 2 has 11 decks and 349 cabins, accommodating a maximum of 698 passengers. Among the "conversion" efforts was the addition of a kids and teens area (as Insignia had no children's facilities), so the line can attract families onboard.
Hapag-Lloyd said that "Columbus 2 will be positioned in the four-star segment, and will offer a range of German-language cruises,” according to managing director Sebastian Ahrens.
The next step in the line's expansion is the launch of its new five-star Europa 2 in May 2013. The maiden voyage is scheduled for May 11, 2013 from Hamburg to Lisbon.
Currently under construction at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, Europa 2 will feature eleven decks and all-suite accommodations with private balconies.
All Europa 2 cruises will be international - meaning they will be conducted in both German and English. An English-language brochure will be published in Fall 2012.
For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises visit www.hl-cruises.com.