Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet heading back home to Germany

HAMBURG — Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is bringing its fleet home, with four of its five ships positioning in Hamburg, Germany.

The fleet of ships, which would normally be sailing the seven seas, is now heading for its homeport due to global travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.

The expedition ship, the HANSEATIC nature, will be the first to return and is expected to arrive in Hamburg on April 20. Its sister ship, the international HANSEATIC inspiration, and the two luxury ships the EUROPA and the international EUROPA 2, are expected to arrive in the port on May 2 and will remain there for the time being until operations resume. The BREMEN will remain off Auckland, New Zealand.

HANSEATIC nature and the HANSEATIC inspiration will go to Blohm+Voss for repair work. The EUROPA 2 will head to its berth in Altona and the EUROPA will moor up at the O’Swaldkai.

The final guests onboard Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ fleet all returned home safely on March 21. In total, the cruise operator brought home approximately 1,000 guests from around the world. Charter flights had to be organized as scheduled flights had been cancelled.

The HANSEATIC nature, which is currently in the North Atlantic on course for Hamburg, has already picked up crew members from its sister ships in Bridgetown/Barbados, the HANSEATIC inspiration and EUROPA, bringing them back to Hamburg.

“We wanted to give as many crew members as we could the opportunity to return home as soon as possible,” says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “This posed a logistical challenge due to the suspension of flights and the travel restrictions in place currently. Therefore, we took matters into our own hands for the return transport and transformed the journey of our HANSEATIC nature into a ‘crew cruise.’ So we are bringing our crew back to their families safe and well.”