One year after the launch of its second luxury newbuild, Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has announced that it is prioritising the growth of its international guest ratio with the UK as a key target source market.
The company's CEO Karl Pojer, who had just taken on his current position when the new ship was completed, told media and sales representatives in London on 17 July that Hapag-Lloyd had already seen a 42% increase in international passengers across all its ships between 2013 and 2014. He said the company was committed to growing its English-speaking guest numbers to reach 15% of total passengers on two of its ships. The line's cruises are currently dominated by German-speaking guests from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Hapag-Lloyd has a clear split in its strategy with its four ships, said Pojer, with Europa and Europa 2 serving the luxury cruise sector and Hanseatic and Bremen undertaking expedition cruises. It is on Europa 2 and Hanseatic that the company is looking to grow international passenger numbers.
Speaking of Europa 2, Pojer said: "We have a commitment to quality and always meet the expectations of our clients. Our key USP is space and freedom. We have the right product for the right niche." All cruises on the ship are conducted in English and German. He said that a cruise from Istanbul to Piraeus will have 130 English-speaking guests among its 500 passengers, the highest number to date. "I am very happy as this gives us potential that we strongly believe in." He added that bookings overall on Europa 2 had already been so successful that the ship's current occupancy level of 60% was reached after a year (it took Europa three years to reach this level).
Regarding the two expedition ships, Pojer said: "These very successful ships are built to the highest ice class so that they can go to places nobody else can." International guests on Hanseatic are sourced from the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Scandinavia. Up to 60 guests per cruise are from non-German source markets.
Hapag-Lloyd also announced several developments relating to Europa 2 following her first year of operation. Product manager for the ship Julian Pfitzner said that following guest feedback, the company had decided to offer a drinks package of 200 Euros on all cruises. He emphasised, however, that the cruise line would not adopt the all-inclusive model favoured by several other luxury cruise operators.
In addition, he said, some suite names on Europa 2 had changed: Grand Suites had been renamed Penthouse Suites, while Spa Suites were now called Grand Ocean Suites.