Hapag-Lloyd’s luxury cruise liner Europa 2, docked at the Hambantota International Port (HIP) last week for an overnight stay. Over 200 passengers from the cruise liner took advantage of the stopover, making day trips to Yala, Bundala, Udawalawe, Kataragama, and Ella. Europa 2’s visit was the first luxury cruiser in Sri Lanka, after the Easter Sunday bombing as well as being the first time a cruise ship did an overnight stop at the port. The fact that Hapag-Lloyd had the confidence to bring their most luxurious cruise ship to dock at HIP is a glowing endorsement to normalcy returning to the country, and Hambantota Port was able to provide the best to facilitate the visit.
The CEO of Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS) Capt. Ravi Jayawickrema said, “Despite security being tightened within the port premises, our operations teams were able to personally look into speedy passenger movements in and out of the port to visit places of attraction in and around Hambantota within the time frame they had. We made every effort to make their movements hassle free. The feedback we have received from the tour operator was extremely positive, as they were more than satisfied with the services rendered by HIPS. With travel advisories being lifted, we hope to see more cruise ships coming into the Hambantota Port.”
“One of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships MS Europa 2, called in Hambantota on June 5-6. This was the first cruise ship that arrived in Sri Lanka after the incidents in April. Since security was a concern for the ship to come to Sri Lanka, we were really happy with the level of security provided by the authorities at the Hambantota Port. All services provided by the Port were excellent. This encourages us to promote more cruise vessels to Hambantota in the future,” Prasanjit Perera, Vice President of Aitken Spence Travels, the local tour operator for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said .
Europa 2 which was initially on a 12 hour stop at the Hambantota Port extended its stay for 36 hours.Hapag-Lloyd’s 500 passenger luxury liner, which is likened to a floating mini resort was awarded 5 star plus by Berlitz Cruise Guide 2019. It has earned the best cruise ship in the world tag, not only for its modern luxury amenities but for the travel lifestyle offered on board.