The world-wide expedition series will welcome the 30,200-ton Columbus 2 (currently the Insignia of Oceania Cruises) in May 2012 to replace the current 15,000-ton vessel, which is being sold off.

Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, explained: “The Columbus 2 is a modern ship. She provides more diversity and comfort at a very good price/performance ratio and represents for us an economically attractive expansion of our capacity in the premium segment.”

The second part of H-L’s expansion plan will arrive in spring 2013 with the completion of the all-new Europa 2, following in the footsteps of their highly-rated Europa.

Their newcomer, with 11 decks and 258 suites, will accommodate a maximum of 516 passengers and offer the largest amount of space per passenger on a cruise ship, with all-veranda suite accommodation of at least 28sq metres. Spa, penthouse and family suites complete the accommodation range.