GERMAN luxury expedition operator Hapag-Lloyd may be getting a much-needed capital boost following an ownership restructure that will see it incorporated under the umbrella of a 50:50 joint venture between Tui Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL).

Formerly owned outright by Tui Group, the expedition cruise line has been sold to Tui Cruises for US$1.3 billion, a move that will likely see new ships added to the fleet in the coming years, and driven by what Tui Group CEO Fritz Joussen describes as a “capital light” approach to expansion.

The decision was also made to help shore up the balance sheet for Tui Group, which has indicated it will use the funds to push forward its transformation into a digital organisation.

Despite the reorganisation of ownership, Joussen stressed the move would not affect Hapag-Lloyd’s current brand identity.

“The ships’ identities, service, quality and customer experience will remain as individual and unique as they are today, this will create significant advantages for the group, for our expansion and for our investments,” he said.

“TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will continue to operate their successful product concepts in the future…and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will continue to have an exclusive presence in the luxury and expedition ship segment,” Joussen added.

On the other side of the ledger, the restructure further strengthens RCL’s foothold in the luxury expedition market, having previously purchased a two-thirds stake in Silversea Cruises back in June 2018.


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