Safety on board

The safety of all passengers and crew members has always been top priority aboard our ships. All staff members on-board and ashore are genuinely committed to this corporate safety philosophy; our leading team on-board is selected on this basis. Regular inspections and check-ups, as well as continuous safety exercises are part of day-to-day life for us, because every employee – both on-board and ashore – is aware of his or her major responsibility. On-board the ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a competent and qualified crew is dedicated to the well-being and the safety of all our guests around the clock.

Aboard the ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the safety exercise is mandatory for all passengers and is invariably carried out at the beginning of every cruise and prior to the ship leaving the port of embarkation. In this context, we practice scenarios, such as the important procedure to determine whether all of the passengers are assembled on the deck. Passengers who embark on their own or in small groups en route will be instructed individually without delay. The on-board language of our entire fleet is German; accordingly, the safety exercises are conducted in German. However, the safety exercise is also carried out in English for guests who do not speak German. In the course of the safety exercise, crew members will demonstrate the correct way of putting on a life jacket, showing the guests escape route,s and how to get to the life boats, as well as presenting general rules of conduct in extraordinary situations.

The participation of the passengers in these safety exercises is mandatory. This also applies to guests who have booked several consecutive cruises – those who go on a world tour consisting of a total of seven partial routes, for instance, will always participate in the safety exercise seven times (comparable to the safety instructions on airplanes).

With Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, only Captains who have been appointed by our shipping company assume responsibility for the guests, the crew and the ship. To become a Captain, they undergo extensive training in the course of which they gather plenty of theoretical and, first and foremost, practical experience. Our staff members’ career progression to becoming a captain usually begins with their specialised training to be a ship mechanic. During the training, the professional newcomers are instructed in nautical and technical fields; this way, they learn about work and life at sea. Our future Captains subsequently study nautics (six semesters). In this context, they are taught scientific basics and gather navigational experience in the ship handling simulator. Furthermore, their knowledge in the fields of meteorology, maritime trade legislation and safety at sea, as well as their skills in terms of emergency management are enhanced. Having completed the studies, their career, with the aim of becoming a Captain begins with an on-board assignment as Navigation Officer. Responsible for different fields of work, our navigation officers receive ongoing advanced training. A well-trained character, evidence of outstanding achievements and experience gained over a certain period of time, can result in their promotion to First Officer. The First Officers of our fleet gather additional experiences while navigating different ships in a variety of cruising areas, with changing guests and colleagues. At the end of their long occupational training, when they are mature and confident in dealing with people and technology, gained over the years, they are appointmented to Captain/Master Mariner (highest nautical qualification). Only extremely experienced Captains navigate the expedition ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in polar regions.

Besides the patents and certificates, our nautical and technical crew has been awarded, all employees are instructed concerning the safety of the guests and colleagues on a regular basis. The crew members already participate in intensive safety exercises before their first assignment on-board, so that the day-to-day training on-board serves to brush up and reinforce their knowledge and skills. Crew members working on-board one of our ships for the first time are familiarised with their tasks and obligations, as well as safety-relevant procedures and systems of the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. These obligations always exceed international requirements.

On board the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, you can rely on a professional and well-organised crew.

The number of means of rescue and the overall number of seats in the life boats exceeds the maximum number of passengers on all of the ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Every passenger will find his or her life vest, in his or her cabin; beyond this, additional life vests are available at the assembly points. Life vests for children are handed out to the parents before each cruise, and additional life vests for children are to be found at the assembly points. In the case of an incident, numerous assistance teams with specifically trained crew members are on hand. This also includes the comprehensive assistance and support of guests in need of help on the part of crew members, who have undergone the relevant training.

The ships of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet have life boats with the following capacities:

Overall capacity of all means of rescue: 900 persons
- 4 life boats (capacity: 150 persons per boat)
- 12 life rafts (capacity: 25 persons per raft)

MS EUROPA 2 (commissioning in May 2013):
Overall capacity of all means of rescue: 1,150 persons
- 4 life boats (capacity: 150 persons per boat)
- 2 life boats (capacity: 50 persons per boat)
- 18 life rafts (capacity: 25 persons per raft)

Overall capacity of all means of rescue: 420 persons
- 4 life boats (capacity: 80 persons per boat)
- 4 life rafts (capacity: 25 persons per raft)

Overall capacity of all means of rescue: 360 persons
- 2 life boats (capacity: 32 persons per boat)
- 2 life boats (capacity: 73 persons per boat)
- 6 life rafts (capacity: 25 persons per boat)

The ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises boast state-of-the art navigation equipment. The navigation tools thus categorically exceed the stipulated standards. All important systems are redundant. so that the failure of one system cannot impair the safe navigation of the ship.

Every route and each partial route – no matter how short – of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ships is meticulously planned in advance in compliance with all safety and environmentally-relevant parameters. Once they have been approved by the captain, these routes are binding for all nautical officers and the team on the bridge. The almost continuous monitoring of the ship’s movements is carried out accordingly – ensuring that positions, courses and speeds are complied with in accordance with the requirements of safe bridge management and taking into account the environmental factors (traffic, weather and swell conditions etc.). As a matter of course, safety is attributed top priority in this context.

Passenger ships are divided into numerous watertight compartments by means of watertight dividing walls. These dividing walls extend to above the surface of the water to ensure that the ship is still capable of floating if an extraordinary event leads to water leakage. All of the watertight doors in the bulkheads are connected to a surveillance system and can be operated both on site and centrally from the bridge. Daily internal inspections and regular examinations by external institutions are carried out to establish and ensure that they are in perfect working order. The watertight sliding doors are operated in accordance with the legal regulations. Compliance with the stipulations is meticulously monitored aboard the ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

A vast number of regulations applies to the international cruise shipping industry. All ships must be built and operated in keeping with the strict stipulations of the numerous international legal regulations. In addition, in some cases even more strict stipulations of the ship’s flag state and the national requirements of the ports of call to be visited need to be complied with. All of these stipulations must be captured and made feasible in a comprehensive safety management system in accordance with the regulations of the ISM Code (International Safety Management Code) and the ISPS Code (International Ship & Port Facility Security Code). The aim is to ensure the safe and environmentally compatible operation of the ship, and for an ideal emergency management plan to be implemented in the case of an extraordinary incident. This includes, but is not limited to, very detailed and individual procedures, the execution of which is practiced and, if necessary, further optimised in intensive daily safety exercises.

The safety management of all of the ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is surveyed and verified by the German classification society Germanischer Lloyd at regular intervals. Beyond this, the ships are continuously examined and monitored in terms of their compliance with all international regulations, and in all areas of the ship in the context of unannounced inspections at the ports of call. This usually also involves the practical demonstration of the emergency procedures in comprehensive “emergency drills” with the participation of the entire crew.

The European Cruise Council (ECC) has compiled an overview of international and European regulatory framework:

Cruise ship safety - FAQs (313 KB)