'Europa' cruise ship back on Saturday after 10 years

After an absence of 10 years (it was last here on February 6, 2003), the cruiseship Europa, on a world-wide cruise, will be back on its third visit on Saturday.

This upmarket flagship of the Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship fleet has berths for 408passengers in 204 suites and carries a crew of 285. The ship primarily serves German-speaking travellers from Europe.

By no means big, the vessel was originally rated 28,437gt, a figure thatincreased to 28,890gt after alterations seven years ago.

And like the 2001-built Carnival Spirit that was here for the first time last Saturday, Europa was also built at the same Kvaerner Masa yard at Helskinki.

The 198.60m long, ice-strengthened ship was laid down on June 26, 1998, andwas handed over from the builders on September 19, 1999.

With a service speed of 21 knots, the diesel-electric vessel was one of the first commercialvessels in the world to be fitted with an azimuth, electric-drive propulsion system.

Nassau-registered Europa perpetuated the name of a former unit of the fleet that visited Port Chalmers on four occasions from February 16, 1989, toFebruary 2, 1999.

Slightly longer at 199.60m, this was a larger 37,012gt, 758-berth vessel thatserved the company under the German flag for less than 18 years. The 21-knot twin-screw, diesel vessel was built at Vegesack by Bremer Vulkan and wascommissioned into service during December, 1981.

The ship was sold a short time before the present ship entered service. Insuccession it carried the names Superstar Europe, Superstar Aries, HolidayDream and Bleu de France. Twelve months ago it passed to Saga Cruises, whohave renamed it Saga Sapphire.

Perhaps we might see it here one day, as their oldest vessel, Saga Ruby, makes its third visit early next month, on its final round-the-world cruise before being retired.

Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd's latest cruise ship, named Europa 2, is nearing completion in France at the STX France shipyard at St Nazaire. Construction of the vessel, which will fly the Maltese flag, commenced in September, 2011.

It was floated out of its building dock, last year on July 6, and is scheduled to make its maiden voyage from Hamburg to Lisbon on May 11.

Of approximately 35,000gt, the new 225.38m-long cruise ship, will only have a maximum capacity of 516 berths in 258 suites.

The smallest ship in the fleet, the 6752gt, 184-berth Bremen, built in 1990, comes back for the third time next month. The only other Hapag-Lloyd cruiseship to come our way, was the 1997-built C. Columbus. It called at Dunedin in February, 2009, and again in January, 2012. This 15,067gt, 423-berth vessel was sold out of the fleet last May and now serves other German interests asHamburg.

After discharging phosphate at Ravensbourne, newcomer Conti Pyrit moved down to Port Chalmers yesterday to load logs. At 33,036gt the bulk carrier is the second-largest visitor to the upper harbour, and is now the largest vessel toload logs here.

This 189.99m-long vessel has a deadweight capacity of 56,596 tonnes, and is yet another product of the Chinese shipbuilding industry. Laid down onDecember 20, 2009, and launched on January 23, 2011, the vessel was completed on May 31,2011.

It was built by the Taizhou Sanfu ShipEngineering Company, a yard establishedin 1985.

The bulk carrier is the first vessel from the fleet of Conti ReedereiManagement GmbH to visit this harbour. It has an average operating speed of 7.5 knots and was first registered in Liberia.

Conti, with headquarters at Munich, was founded in 1970. Today the grouphas a fleet of 107 vessels. Among them are two gas carriers and smaller vessels used for river cruising.

Their core business is centred on bulk carriers and boxships. The Conti fleetof bulkers numbers 35 units of various class sizes.

The largest vessels of the Conti fleetof 67 container ships are 31 7000TEU models.


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