This company was formed at the first of january 1970, although they started working together since the slumb of the 1930's. It was a combination of the Hamburg Amerikanischer Paketfahrt Aktien Gesellschaft, or simply HAPAG, and the Norddeutscher Lloyd. These were the two companies that operated the transatlantic lines between Hamburg (HAPAG) and Bremen (Norddeutscher Lloyd) and Northern America. From the 1970's onwards, they mostly concentrated on containerized shipping and their containerships became familiar all over the world and some of them were rated amongst the biggest ones ever built. Although passengershipping was always very important for the German lines and the passengerships of these companies were often the fastest of the biggest in the world, after the 1970's it became overgrown by the freightdivision.
Below, a rare picture postcard from my private collection of the Norddeutscher Lloyd liner Europa is shown. More interesting still is that the poststamp is dated the 1st of january 1941, when she was out of service. Europa and her sister Bremen were in the 1930's among the largest ships in the world and the comeback from the German companies after the first worldwar. In 1950, Europa became the Liberté for the French Line, sailing untill 1962.
In 1980, a modern and big liner named Europa was added to the passengerfleet and this ship became very popular. It was the fourth time this name was used and a very well known name in liner history. She was in fact the largest cruiseship ever built when she was put into service, as all larger passengerships in service at the time were built originally as oceanliners.The ship sailed for HAPAG-Lloyd untill 1999 when she was sold to Star Cruises as SuperStar Europe. Her replacement was a ship with the same name, but in the meantime more new ships were added to the fleet. The small and luxurious Bremen started her sailings in 1993 and it became obvious this was the direction HAPAG wanted to go. She is an expedition like vessel that can sail into ports not many other cruiseliners can go to. As mentioned, the fifth Europa came in 1999 and in between another ship was built and that was the c.Columbus
In 2011, HAPAG-Lloyd announced that they were going to built a new ship under the name of Europa 2. Next to this new ship, HAPAG-Lloyd chartered Insignia from Oceania Cruises from 2012 onwards and she recieved the name Columbus 2. The ship that sailed recently under the name c.Columbus is now replacing Vistamar for Plantours, under the name Hamburg. In april 2014, the Columbus 2 was again handed back to Oceania Cruises to resume service under her former name for them. The Oceania ship had mainly been used to get more focus on the luxury expedition-like cruises aboard Hanseatic for the International market. Normally, HAPAG-Lloyd concentrated on the German market as its main focus, but since the introduction of Europa 2, the company also really tried to get more hold on other markets.
The company also started to modernize it's expedition brand with the introduction of their first purpose-built expeditionship Hanseatic Nature in 2019. Two sisterships also will follow in the nex years.
HAPAG-Lloyd Air Operations
Air involvement by HAPAG-Lloyd started as early as 1910, when the company was one of the major sponsors for the Zeppelin-program in Germany. But in was on the 30th of march 1973 that the first flight aboard a Boeing 727 under their own name departed Hamburg with tourists that were flown to the cruiseships of HAPAG-Lloyd that departed from the United States since the ending of the line-voyages by the company. Over time, more flights were added to the scedule and in 1997, the air operations were taken over by TUI, as was the rest of the company. Since 2007, Hapagfly and Hapag-Lloyd Express (that was a sistercompany operating low-cost services throughtout Europe) were rebranded under the name of TUIfly, ending the Hapag name in the sky. Or not?
Over the last years, HAPAG-Lloyd offers fly-cruises from Hamburg to several parts of the world, including China and Africa, using their own private jet that is named Albert Ballin, after the founder of the company HAPAG. The jet has space aboard for 44 passengers and those can travel from hotel to hotel in splendid luxury.
Other ships that have sailed for HAPAG-Lloyd have been placed elsewhere on the site
Europa (1982-1999) has been placed under Saga Cruises as Saga Sapphire
c.Columbus (1996-2011) is placed under Plantours & Partners as Hamburg
Columbus 2 (2012-2014 charter) is placed as Insignia under Oceania Cruises
For booking information, visit Hapag-Lloyd's website.