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Europa Celebrates Sixth Birthday in September

MS Europa, rated worldwide as the #1 ship by Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships for five years straight, will celebrate its sixth birthday in September with an 11-day cruise that encompasses the best of Western Europe. Including fascinating islands, a world metropolis, old ports with turbulent pasts, and wine-tasting at a chateau in France, this very special cruise by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises visits Germany, England, the Channel Islands, France, and Spain.

Want to experience the best of what Hapag-Lloyd's loyal German and European clientele desires on the best possible European cruise? This birthday cruise, which goes from Hamburg, Germany to Santander, Spain, visits four countries in total, from September 11-September 25 on dates, and includes these special places:

  • Sylt, favorite party island of the Germans – Take a walking tour through Thomas Mann's town; attend a Gourmet Rally (culinary event featuring Sylt's best gourmet chefs); or take an evening hike on Morsum Cliff by torchlight.
  • From Dover England, choose from London sightseeing to Leeds castle or Dover Castle and the White Cliffs.
  • Honfleur France, a medieval port city at the mouth of the Seine, home of many painters.
  • St. Peter Port/Guernsey/Channel Islands.
  • Lorient France or Carnac, or Pont-Aven, where Paul Gauguin found inspiration.
  • Bordeaux is reached by river tour, where guests will have extensive wine-tasting at a wine tasting estate or visit the Chateau Mouton Rothschild for the ultimate wine and culinary experience.
  • Disembarkation in Spain.

This trip full of magnificent highlights also offers entertainment by Udo Juergens, the famous musician; Matthias Buchholz, star cook of the gourmet restaurant "first floor"; and the renowned wine expert Renι Lambert.

"Europa has an extensive following of Europeans, mostly Germans, who are repeat guests, and this is namely because the ship is known for providing the best of everything and then some," explains Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "Naturally, the occasion of the ship's birthday will bring its biggest devotees to join the celebration. We are eager to share the best of Europa and Europe with Americans. Because the ship has a fully bilingual staff, Daily Activity Planners, and Bilingual Menus, English-speaking guests can easily navigate the language barrier."

On the Europa you'll find only suites – most with their own balcony – spacious and stylishly appointed, and all provided with first-class service. Accommodations are never less more than 290 square feet, assuring privacy and relaxation.
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Sail Around the World -- Twice

Why go around the world in 80 days when you can do it in 182 days (or the shorter version, 141 days)? If you care to do it on the only ship in the world with Five-Stars-Plus rating from Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 for five consecutive years, now is the time.

Passengers who speak English will be assisted by the fully bilingual staff.

If you understand the art of taking a slow boat to China – and everywhere else – you can choose from two World Cruise offerings on MS Europa. First, Europa will take its sixth world cruise ever from Dubai to Dubai, November 7, 2005 through May 9, 2006 (182 days). If you prefer a shorter cruise, you can leave from Mumbai on November 20, 2005 and arrive in Bali on April 10, 2006, in 141 days.

Hapag-Lloyd is providing many incentives for its World Cruise travelers including:

  • Bonus for world cruise guests: save €9500 on the longer trip and €7500 on the smaller trip per person.
  • Your friends who have never traveled on the Europa (this ship itself will celebrate its sixth birthday in September 2005) before will be invited* to join the cruise in a selected port to port segment of the trip. (*Invitation includes cabin rate; not flight or onboard costs.)
  • Guests will be given three exceptional excursions with extras including exclusive on-land programs in outward and return ports of every stage.
  • Guests need not worry about any washing services during the cruise; cleaning, washing, and ironing are free during the whole journey.
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A Spectacular Serving of Culinary Excellence

If you didn't know you could reach Gourmet Heaven by ship, look again, as two "peak experience" gourmet happenings take place in June and July aboard Hapag-Lloyd's Europa, while sailing through Europe. Named by Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 as the #1 ship in the world for the last five years, Europa is known not only for its superb cuisine and service, but for its imaginative events.

According to Managing Director Sebastian Ahrens, it is Hapag-Lloyd's objective to continually provide unparalleled food and service. While cuisine takes center stage every day of the year, two days this summer are of particular interest to epicureans who are hungry for an inimitable, world-class culinary experience.

EUROPA'S BEST
Sailing Lisbon-Hamburg, June 15-24, Europa will be in dock at Amsterdam, Netherlands on June 22 when a stellar line-up of Europe's best chefs, masters of wine, and chocolatiers will gather aboard to present their delicacies to passengers and other guests. They will line-up for a "gourmet mile" on the Lido Deck. Participants will include: Dieter Koschina of Portugal; Karlheinz Hauser of Hamburg, Germany; Rudolf and Karl Obauer of Austria; Guy Martin of France; Fromagier Phillippe Olivier of France; Chocolatiers Neuhaus of Brussels; Chocolatiers Imperial of Vienna; Wine growers Leonardo Frescobaldi, Wilhelm Haag, La Flevle; and Karl-Heinz Wolf presents the Champagne "Bollinger." Performing artists will include the legendary Magic Platters ("Under the Boardwalk," "Only You") and the showband Sonic Pearls. The night will end with a fireworks display.

BIG EUROPA EVENT, 2005
Sailing from Travemuende to Kiel, July 6-10, Europa will have a special event in Heiligendamm on July 9. The first event of its kind, a gathering of renowned winegrowers especially selected by the wine experts of Hapag-Lloyd will present their rare, large-sized (27 liters) bottles and offer tastings to the passengers. Some of the bottles will later be offered by auction. Music and fireworks will crown the event.

These events are but two examples of many events to come, and they illustrate how Europa makes food into a significant experience. Every day is a dining extravaganza on Europa, and it's a key element that helped this ship earn its reputation for its Five-Stars-Plus rating, in which cruise critic Douglas Ward summarized overall dining experience that is "simply superb."

Onboard are four restaurants, and fare includes Haute Cuisine, Euro-Asian and Italian, as well as the Lido Café - with a new open-air kitchen where chefs provide cooking lessons. Europa's 33 cooks are headed onboard by its executive chefs Fritz Pichler and Peter Springer. Guest chefs with Michelin star ratings have included French Jean-Paul Bourgueil, Swiss Reto Mathis, and German Harald Wohlfahrt.

It's Europa's policy to cater to guests' every whim, and this is especially true with food. If you have a dietary restriction, a whim for a special dish, or you even want to have your supper on the deck, MS EUROPA staff will graciously accommodate.
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Hapag-Lloyd Will Continue to Operate Bremen

Due to strong demands from parts of its German speaking clientele of the Bremen, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Expedition Leaders have amended the companies' marketing and sales partnership. Under this amendment, Hapag-Lloyd will continue to operate the Bremen under its current name and will not be renaming the vessel Discoverer by the middle of this year. By continuing to operate the vessel under its current name, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises seeks to assure especially the Bremen's past passengers that they can expect to find the same high standards with respect to service, comfort and expedition style travel programs aboard the Bremen that they have been used to from their past sailings.

Irrespective of this change in the partnership, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is continuing to market selected expedition itineraries of the vessel to an international, English-speaking clientele, notably in the US. Expedition Leaders intends to continue its support of the vessel's English speaking departures in the future through its own marketing and sales efforts in the US.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world's largest tourism group, is presently operating two ships with a focus on expedition travel: Five-Star Hanseatic and Four-Star Bremen. Both are two of the very few ships in the world that can safely navigate the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. The other two ships of Hapag-Lloyd's fleet are Europa, frequently reviewed as the world's most beautiful and luxurious ship, and C. Columbus, a Three-Star-Plus ship that holds special appeal because of its cruise trips through the Great Lakes.
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2005 Sees Numerous "Best of Breed" Awards

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world's largest tourism group, has been presented with another award for its growing 2005 collection. Captain Hagen Damaschke accepted a plaque for its flagship luxury cruise ship, MS Europa, in recognition of receiving the highest possible rating ******+ (Six-Stars-Plus) from Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation. Author Steven Stern presented the plaque.

For the first time since the guide has been published, Europa, the luxury Hapag-Lloyd ship, will capture its highest ratings in the next edition of Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, to be published in 2006. For the fifth consecutive year, Europa captured the highest ratings in Berlitz Publishing's annual definitive cruising guide, Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

All awards presented to the Hapag-Lloyd fleet recently include:

  • MS Europa: World's Highest Rated Cruise Ship, #1 and the only Five-Stars-Plus ship out of 256 ships, Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 by Douglas Ward.
  • MS Europa: Highest possible rating, Six-Stars-Plus, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation by Steven Stern.
  • MS Europa: Ship of the Year, Schlummer-Atlas, Germany.
  • MS Hanseatic: World's Best Destination-Intensive Exploration Ship, Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 by Douglas Ward.
  • MS Hanseatic: Green Planet Award from Kuoni Travel, Switzerland.
  • MS Columbus: World's Best Ship in the Great Lakes, Berlitz Publishing's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 by Douglas Ward.
  • MS Columbus: Ship of the Year 2005 from Lufthansa City Center (LCC), Germany
  • MS Bremen: Green Planet Award from Kuoni Travel, Switzerland.
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Europa Receives Plaque from Berlitz Publishing
in Recognition of being the World's
Highest Rated Cruise Ship

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world's largest tourism group, has been awarded a plaque by Berlitz Publishing for its flagship luxury cruise ship, in recognition of being the only cruise ship in the world to reach the coveted ***** + (Five-Stars-Plus) rating. Douglas Ward, author of Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 and world renowned authority on cruise ships, presented the plaque on behalf of Berlitz Publishing to Captain Hagen Damaschke of the MS Europa.

For the fifth consecutive year, Europa, the luxury Hapag-Lloyd ship, captured the highest ratings in Berlitz Publishing's annual definitive cruising guide, Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005.

"What Mr. Ward has to say about the industry and the individual ships means a lot to Europeans and Americans alike, and we value his opinions and those offered by Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005. We are honored by this award for the fifth consecutive year, and pledge to continue making Europa the best ship possible in the coming years," says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

The Europa, which entered service in 1999, is so exclusive and high-scoring in all possible decisive factors that Ward created a new class for her: Five-Stars-Plus. Europa is classified as a "Small Ship," serving up to 408 passengers. Ward has described her as "the very best and most luxurious cruise ship and cruise experience available today" and notes that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises works hard to deliver a unique life experience to every passenger on every trip. This includes exceptional cuisine, world-class lecturers, interesting and unusual excursions, and a beautifully trained staff in gorgeous surroundings. In September 2004, Europa revealed a new refurbishment that includes a new bar, a three-level fitness area, and an expanded children's playroom.

"Berlitz's Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and it is impressive that one ship has held fast to the number one spot for basically one quarter of the time the book has been in publication," says Jeremy Westwood, Managing Director of Berlitz Publishing/Insight Guides. "This book has become the most highly regarded source of comparative material not only for cruise purchasers but also for cruise industry executives, crew members, and travel agents all over the world."

He continues, "Douglas Ward, author of Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005, created the category of cruise criticism two decades ago, and his book is now as renowned in its field as Europa is in the cruise industry. His objectivity and keen observations of the burgeoning cruise industry are legendary. It's only fitting that he was on site in Miami ... to award Hapag-Lloyd the plaque on behalf of Berlitz Publishing."
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Europa Captures Highest Berlitz Rating
Luxury Ship Is in `Five-Stars-Plus' Class by Itself

[Europa]

For the fifth consecutive year, Europa, the luxury Hapag-Lloyd ship, tops the list in the most criteria in Berlitz Publishing's annual definitive cruising guide, Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005.

The vessel is so exclusive and high-scoring in all possible decisive factors that author Douglas Ward, world-renowned authority on cruise ships, created a new class for the ship a couple of years back: "Five-Stars-Plus." Europa is classified as a "Small Ship," serving up 408 passengers. Ward has described her as "the very best and most luxurious cruise ship and cruise experience available today" and notes that Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, its owner, works hard to deliver a unique life experience to every passenger on every trip. This includes exceptional cuisine, world-class lecturers, interesting and unusual excursions, and a beautifully trained staff in gorgeous surroundings.

While Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005 delivers the most far-ranging analyses and ratings for the 256 cruise ships that sail today's seas, Ward says there is "no best cruise line in the world." Cruise lines - he notes - are like everything else. Their standards can waver each year, due to competition, the introduction of new ships, and other factors. Ward asks readers to carefully consider the numbers, which he so dispassionately compiles, in the guide's ratings, rather than just the number of stars per ship. "The numbers never lie," he says. "They reflect evaluations in a most objective way, which is what I've been doing seriously for 20 years. The Europa, for example, attained 1,858 - out of a possible 2,000 - points. Ratings breakdown for the Europa looks as follows:

BERLITZ'S RATINGS FOR EUROPA:
Category Possible Achieved
Ship 500 479
Accommodation 200 189
Food 400 370
Service 400 359
Entertainment 100   90
Cruise 400 370

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High Tees On the High Seas

Is golfing your pleasure . . . or do you love cruising? Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a leading international cruise line based in Germany with an established record in golf cruising, now offers bilingual trips. Golfers should be aware of these luxury ships and golf programs now available to U.S. travelers. The best golfers will be identified this month, and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will host an awards ceremony followed by a gala dinner on the Europa, the only ship in the world to achieve a Five-Stars-Plus rating from the world-respected Berlitz Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005.

The Europa is a favorite among sophisticated travelers, and now that it offers an increased schedule of bilingual sailings, U.S. golfers can take advantage of the programs it offers. The Europa will sponsor bilingual sailings on three of its upcoming golf cruises: October 16-22, 2004 - Philadelphia-Nassau; January 20 - February 3, 2005 - Acapulco-Honolulu; and September 21-30, 2005 - Santander, Spain-Monte Carlo.

[Golf and Cruise with Hapag-Lloyd's EUROPA and COLUMBUS]

On golf cruises aboard the only 5-Star-plus cruise ship, a PGA (Professional Golfers Association) golf pro is available 365 days a year for individual training sessions usually on board and also on golf courses if available - on designated Golf cruises and regular cruises alike. Additionally, during the Golf & Cruise programs, a second PGA Pro is aboard taking special care of golfers, accompanying them to the golf courses, making video analysis of your techniques, mental fitness etc. From the middle of the ocean, players learn everything about birdies, eagles, and other terminology, or enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the anticipation of the next adventure ashore. Video analyses and individual training on the driving range help to improve your game and swing, while the Europa sails toward the glorious golf courses along the coasts of the Caribbean, the South Sea, Western Europe and the Mediterranean. Cruisers can also work on their shots on 21 of the best courses right onboard - thanks to Europa's new golf simulator. Lectures on golf psychology, fitness, and professionally organized tournaments round out the ship's offerings.

Time on the Great Lakes of North America: Golf & Cruise with the Columbus

In September 2005, the Columbus is scheduled to sail on a golf cruise on the Great Lakes with a ten-day trip from Chicago to Sarnia, which includes some of the country's most beautiful greens. Northern forests at the height of Indian Summer - colorful foliage, roaring water falls, and craggy rock formations present a dramatic backdrop for a dream of a golf trip. Even the most demanding traveler will be delighted with Parry Sound, Ontario on Canadian Georgian Bay, and with Thunder Bay, Ontario on Lake Superior. On a special course in Duluth - a true inside tip in Minnesota - passengers can tee off in championship-course-style. They can enjoy the small greens and wide fairways of Wawashkamo Golf Course on Mackinac Island and the spectacular and changing landscape of waterfalls, bays and streams when they visit the Crimson Ridge Golf Resort in Sault Ste. Marie. The duration of the Golf Cruise is September 12 to 22, 2005.

Golf for Globetrotters on the Columbus

Whether it's Mexico, America, or Australia, with Golf & Cruise on the Columbus, a vacation becomes an exciting trip of discovery for golf enthusiasts. Those who want to prepare for golf on shore can train on the ship with German PGA professionals. An individual training program prepares travelers for the greens. In addition to attention from PGA champs, Columbus offers a Golf Package with transfers, greens fees for 18 holes, a set of golf balls, a handbook, and tees. In its Book of Greens, Hapag-Lloyd provides detailed travel information for all golf cruises available on the Columbus. You may also book golf cruises now for the 2005/2006 season.
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Hapag-Lloyd Increases
Number of Bilingual Sailings

[Europa]

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a subsidiary of TUI Group, the world's largest tourism group, has increased the number of its bilingual sailings for three of its cruise ships in order to make them more accessible to the U.S. market. The ships are Europa, frequently reviewed as the world's most beautiful and luxurious ship; Hanseatic, another Five-Star ship in the fleet that specializes in expedition travel and one of the few ships in the world that can navigate the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic; and C.Columbus, a Three-Star-Plus ship that holds special appeal to U.S. travelers because of its cruise trips through the Great Lakes.

Seasoned U.S. Travelers Already Know Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

"One of the biggest secrets in U.S. tourism are Hapag-Lloyd ships, including Europa - the ship that has been rated as the Number One ship in the world the fifth consecutive year by Berlitz Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2005," says Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "As more Americans are drawn to the allure of what Hapag-Lloyd offers in its cruises, the company is expanding its schedule of English-language sailings to accommodate them."

[Hanseatic]

Mr. Ahrens emphasizes that the process of expanding the number of bilingual sailings is gradual, so as not to interfere with the integrity of each journey. "Two of our ships set unparalleled Five-Star standards in today's cruising - Europa and Hanseatic. Europa is unmatched not only for its luxury - from the smoothness of the ride to the details of its accommodations -- but also for the unique learning and entertainment she provides," he says. "And nowhere on earth can travelers experience the adventure that Hanseatic provides, and then settle back into its first class accommodations. C.Columbus delivers a well-rounded fun cruise while navigating the Great Lakes and its cities during the autumn." All ships are ISPS certified, and a minimum of 15 English-speaking passengers is needed for a bilingual sailing.


Maintaining Quality in Two Languages

Maintaining high quality on every journey for a bilingual cruise translates to investing a great deal of human resources into the effort. "The staff on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is already bilingual," says Ahrens. "Creating a bilingual trip means adding further staff; supplementary programs such as lecturers and entertainment; and making arrangements for excursions that are specially skewed toward a U.S. audience when the ship reaches its port destination."

[C. Columbus]

"Our desire is not for the greatest number of passengers that we can attract, but for the most satisfied ones," emphasizes Ahrens. "The fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is duty-bound in tradition and history, which is characterized equally by innovation and high standards."

Affirming their interest in Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, among others, are U.S. institutional passengers such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Foundation and Washington and Lee University. Three American families have already created a family tradition of staying onboard Europa for several months every year. And a group loosely known as the "Hanseatic groupies," similarly, re-assembles at their favorite ship for more adventure each year.
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