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Old 07-17-2004, 07:54 AM
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HAPAG-LLOYD INCREASES NUMBER OF BILINGUAL SAILINGS IN 2004; THREE LUXURY & PREMIUM SHIPS ALLOCATED FOR U.S MARKET: FIVE-STARS-PLUS EUROPA; FIVE-STAR HANSEATIC AND THREE-STAR C.COLUMBUS

Hamburg, GERMANY, July 2004 – 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 fourth consecutive year by Berlitz Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2004,” 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.”

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.”

“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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