Oceania Cruises MV INSIGNIA at Portofino, Italy. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2008.
Top rated German-based cruise line Hapag-Lloyd will be adding one new ship each to its deluxe and premium cruise fleets. A brand new 516 passenger vessel, the EUROPA 2, has been contracted by an associated company with Hapag’s owners, TUI, to be built over 20 months with construction to begin in September of 2011 at St. Nazaire-based STX. EUROPA 2 will operate on a 12 year charter to Hapag, offering weekly summer Mediterranean cruises and long distance winter voyages in addition to the current “five plus star” rated EUROPA. Additionally, in April 2012, Hapag will charter Oceania Cruises 698 passenger INSIGNIA as the COLUMBUS 2, to sail in conjunction with the current COLUMBUS on European-based three star(premium) cruises.