Credit: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Caviar nights, live music & free-flowing champagne – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises reveals all

Author: Lucy Abbott

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If you haven’t heard about Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, trust us, you’re missing out. Find out what the oldest cruise line in the world has to offer and jump onboard for an unforgettable adventure.

Freedom epitomises Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a cruise line that originated from Hamburg, Germany.

Germany is known for being a master of engineering for good reason (raise your hand if you have an Audi, Volkswagen or BMW) and the country crafts impressive ships that will frankly knock your socks off.

What better way to learn more about this cruise line then right from the horse’s mouth?

We spoke to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ International Brand Ambassador Jonathan Beaumont who dished everything you need to know about the line.

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Why haven’t we heard more about Hapag-Lloyd Cruises before?

Well up until a few years ago it was only operating cruises for the German-speaking markets but that changed nine years ago when its first international ship EUROPA 2 was launched.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ founder Albert Ballin actually invented the concept of cruising back in 1891, so the cruise line has been doing this for a while now!

- READ MORE: Bag 25% off select expedition cruises with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises -

What did you do onboard that’s different from other lines?

We wanted to create a space that was more like a contemporary boutique hotel rather than a cruise ship.

Everywhere you go you’ll notice how much light and space there is. The ship feels stylish and elegant in a very modern way. We also worked to make sure the ship never feels full even when it is.

Beaumont admired Manhattan as he cruised into New York. Credit: Shutterstock

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What makes EUROPA 2 special for you?

For a luxury ship I love that it’s so casual, yet so chic on board. We don’t do formal evenings, but guests do make an effort to look nice for dinner.

I love the caviar nights that are held on every cruise. Then there are the little things that happen quite spontaneously that really leave you with special memories such as the time we were cruising off the coast of Brazil and the captain saw a couple of small fishing boats.

It turns out they had just made a huge catch, so the head chef and the hotel manager took boats out to see them and bought everything! It was so wonderful to see them jumping up and down with excitement.

Then there was the time we were cruising in the British Virgin Islands and we dropped anchor at this tiny island with the most beautiful beach. The ship organised a party with free-flowing champagne and a barbecue and there was a band playing as we swam.

I finally managed to cruise into New York on the transatlantic voyage and seeing Manhattan appear in the distance like a tiny dot just getting bigger and bigger was really exciting.

The ship had flown in a band from New York and as we entered they started playing New York, New York, the champagne corks began popping and people were getting really emotional not just because we were arriving in New York, but because the ship had made it such a memorable event.

Beaumont explains how Hapag-Lloyd Cruises guests are well travelled and regularly visit hotspots like Tuscany. Credit: Shutterstock

What language is spoken on board?

EUROPA 2 is a bilingual ship and all crew speak both German and English fluently. In fact, most of the guests do too.

I know people have often wondered if they’re going to be able to mix with people onboard and then are surprised to find we attract a very well-travelled clientele who love nothing more than switching into English for a good chat. All staff members have to be fluent in English.

- READ MORE: Get close to wildlife with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Antarctic expeditions -

Cruising tends to fall into two camps, those who do cruise and those who vow they never will. How do you reach those who say cruising is just not for them?

It’s a good question and one the entire cruise industry keeps asking! The fact is most who do take a cruise love it and then continue to do it but it’s important to do your research and choose the right ship.

I think it’s fair to say most of our guests are not those who would do just any cruise, they cruise with Hapag-Lloyd because what we do is very different.

Our guests are very varied in their holiday choices and they might do a two-week cruise with us in the Spring, rent a villa in Tuscany in the Summer and then ski in Gastaad in the winter. They’re well-travelled and very cultured.

With one of the largest wine and spirit collections at sea, enjoy a glass of fizz at the Lido Cafe. Credit: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

A lot of cruise lines in the ultra-luxury sector have switched over to the all-inclusive model where everything is included in the price. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises don’t offer this. Why is that?

It’s not for us. We attract the type of clientele who want to be able to order a bottle of Château Mouton-Rothschild and who don’t mind paying for it, so we want to give them that choice.

We have one of the largest wine and spirit collections at sea ranging from around €20 euros a bottle to €1,000 so there really is something for everyone and we carry over 40 varieties of gin on board.

What about destinations, where does EUROPA 2 cruise too?

Everywhere! No two years are the same. EUROPA 2 traverses the world and we are always looking for emerging destinations which we can build into our itineraries plus being a small ship we are able to visit places larger ships cannot.

Hapag-Lloyd is currently offering 25 percent off select expedition cruises - check out the latest deals here.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.