Hamburg seen docked at IJmuiden at the 19th of august 2015.
The old company HAPAG-Lloyd
is the combination of the former German transatlantic lines HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd. These companies were once among the largest and most influential passengerlines in the world. From the 1970's onwards, when the linertrades declined, they combined forces and concentrated on containerized shipping. Next to this, they kept one passengership in their fleet named Europa
. In 1980, the company had built a new Europa
to very high standards and this ship was becoming a successtory for the line. Cruising boomed during the 1980's and especially the beginning of the 1990's with more modern and large ships and HAPAG realized that the growing German market could be an opportunity for them. Europa
was getting a little outdated and they needed a new gem in their fleet.
The keel for this new ship was laid down atthe 5th of september 1995 and her design showed that HAPAG-Lloyd was going to concentrate on the very upper market. She was to recieve a well-known name from the companies liner history, Columbus and dedicated to the German market with German as the main language aboard. She was also built in Germany, at the MTW Schiffswerft at Wismar as yardnumber 451. Rather small, she is 145 meters long, 21,50 meters wide and her draft is 5,15 meters. Her tonnage is 15.067 and she can give 423 passengers a great cruise on eight decks.
Below, Columbus is shown under her slightly altered name cColumbus leaving the port of IJmuiden after a visit to Amsterdam at the 24th of may 2009.
This new ship floated out at the 30th of october 1996 and was named Columbus at the time. But when she was delivered to the company, this was altered to c.Columbus and so this became a new name for the line. Her delivery was at the 17th of june 1997 when she was babtized with her homeport being Hamburg at eleven in the morning. Just one and a half hour later she sailed on her guestcruise and her homeport was changed to Nassau when she set sail.
Her first cruise was from Bremen to the North Cape and started on the 29th of june. After that, she became the first cruiseship of the high seas that visited the ports of the Great Lakes of Northern America and these iteneraries became very important for the ship. She became a well-known ship all over the world and she comes virtually everywhere. c.Columbus does have a small and friendly atmosphere about her and in a time when everyone wants to built the biggest ships that look very the same, HAPAG concentrates on these kinds of ship. It is one of the last surviving companies of the old liner-age and they do very well up to this point.
That c.Columbus was a succes for HAPAG-Lloyd can be seen by the order for the new Europa, a ship that had entered service a few years after her during 1999. She was a replacement for the 1980-built one and was even more in the upper style of the cruisemarket.
In 2012, there were major changes in the fleet of HAPAG-Lloyd, after they had introduced their new flagship Europa 2. c.Columbus left the fleet and was leased for six years to Plantours as a replacement for their smaller and older Vistamar. After those six years, Plantours is able to buy the ship. HAPAG-Lloyd chartered the Insignia from Oceania Cruises for a few years to fill in. For Plantours, the c.Columbus was re-named Hamburg, that is also a former HAPAG name. Before her new service started, she had a small update and repaint at the Enti Bacini shipyards at Genoa, Italy. The first cruise for Plantours started at the 25th of may 2012 from Genoa and on the 7th of june of that year, the ship was officially re-named at the port of Hamburg, before her series of Baltic cruises started.
In 2015, the ship had some technical problems and several cruises during june and july had to be cancelled. Luckily, Deutschland was available on short term as Peter Deilmann had failed at the end of 2014 and the ship was just awaiting a new service. So the former Deilmann ship took over four cruises from Hamburg between june the 9th and july the 29th.