Hapag-Lloyd Cruises vs Signature Collection by Gate 1 - Tour Companies Compared

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Tours 2 Trips 1 Trip
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 0 $ 0
Operator Type Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line Group Tour Operator
Size Global Operator Global Operator
Trip Types
  • Group Tours
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Group Tours
Service Level Luxury Standard
Regions
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
  • Antarctica & the Arctic
  • North America
  • Central America & Caribbean
  • South America
  • Australia & Pacific
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Middle East & North Africa
  • Europe
Known For
  • Safari
  • Trekking & Camping
  • Adventure
  • 50+
  • Budget
Headquarters Anckelmannsplatz, Hamburg, Germany Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Year Established 1847 N/A
Solo Friendly N/A N/A
Tour Languages N/A
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        About Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

        German-based Hapag-Lloyd has only four ships in its fleet, but they are all considered among the finest at sea. Its two expedition-style ships, the 175-passenger MS Hanseatic (the world’s only five-star expedition ship) and the 155-passenger MS Bremen (four-stars-plus), spend much of their time in the Antarctic and Arctic regions. H-L’s two regular cruise ships, the 400-passenger Europa and 500-passenger Europa 2, are anything but “regular,” having recently been named the two top cruise ships in the world by the authoritative Berlitz Guide to Cruising. 

        What Makes Them Stand Out?

        Everything about these ships is first class. The service is impeccable, the cuisine is bountiful and first rate, the cabins are roomy and well equipped, and the public rooms are comfortable and inviting. Itineraries will take you well off the beaten cruising routes. They also have excellent safety records.  

        Who Travels With Them? 

        The clientele is largely German, but you’ll also find other Europeans and some Americans on board; Hapag-Lloyd is currently making a push to woo more U.S. and Canadian passengers. Announcements and tours are given in both German and English, and English is widely spoken by the staff. Most passengers are affluent since prices are high. While not really family-oriented, Hapag-Lloyd ships do welcome children. Expedition-style cruises require passengers to submit medical forms from their doctors attesting to their physical ability to board Zodiacs and keep up with the group. 

        Where Do They Operate?

        Along with destinations as far-ranging as Papua New Guinea and Madagascar, the expedition-style cruises visit Antarctica and surrounding areas, as well as the Arctic regions. The latter include Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Iceland, Greenland, northern Canada, and the North Pole. The Europa and Europa 2 cruise the rest of the world, with some forays to the far north as well in summer.  

        How Does It Work?

        The hardest thing you’ll have to do on a Hapag-Lloyd cruise is get off and on the ship, and – with the possible exception of boarding Zodiacs in the Polar regions – that’s pretty easy. Top-flight service ensures everything runs smoothly on board, while amenities sparkle. The expedition-style Hanseatic, for instance, comes equipped with an enclosed swimming pool and fitness area that offers panoramic views.  

        Why Travel With Them?

        If you can afford it, you can’t find nicer ships than those of Hapag-Lloyd. Dress is mostly casual on board, and itineraries will take you to the farthest points on the globe. On the expedition-style ships, don’t look for typical cruise-ship-style entertainments such as stage shows and casinos; instead, you’ll find lectures and fellow passengers interested in nature and wildlife viewing. If that describes you, check your bank account and consider signing up.

        About Signature Collection by Gate 1

        A unique collection of luxury trips designed by Gate 1 travel.

        What Makes Gate 1 Signature Collection Stand Out?

        These are luxury minded trips with a local focus. Guides are all local experts, from and living in the destination you’re visiting. Each itinerary features exclusive experiences. Groups are small and each day is full of activity but well balanced.

        They focus on offering only a select group of trips in this special collection - allowing them the freedom to create truly spectacular itineraries - which include more inclusions in the price than their other collections.

        The tagline is “More Luxury for Less”. These tours may not be in same luxury travel class if you’re used to Abercrombie & Kent, however where comfort and extravagance meets fun and busy travel days of sightseeing and tours, you’ll find Gate 1 Signature Collection.

        Who Will Enjoy Traveling with Gate 1 Signature Collection?

        Those travelers who are willing to spend a little bit more for a 4-5 star experience, will probably find a sweet spot with Gate 1 Signature tours. These trips tend to be attended by older travelers, in the 50+ range.  

        Don’t expect too much strenuous activity. You can expect easy paced walks, guided tours and lectures, and stops to explore interesting cultural sites and historical attractions.

        While some of these cultural experiences, included in their “Signature Experiences”, are truly unique, be wary that many of these inclusions are fairly standard offerings - such as a hot air balloon ride over the African savannah. So the luxury experience of exclusivity you may be expecting is to be taken with a grain of salt. These tours offer wonderful experiences - but the destinations or activities are not always particularly uncommon or rare.  

        Top Destinations

        They currently don’t offer an overly extensive list of countries, but tours do go all over the world. This includes Central Europe, Spain, and the UK, Israel, Jordan and Morocco, Peru, Southeast Asia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

        Gate 1 Signature Collection Travel Style

        Signature Collection tours with Gate 1 aim for comfort, ease, and unique cultural experiences. Like their other brands, Gate 1’s Signature Collection is about making sure your sightseeing is maximized, and the price is right for the experience.

        Most sightseeing, meals, wifi, tips, and their “Signature Experiences” are included in the itinerary price - unlike Gate 1’s main brand which offers less inclusions. This type of itinerary more helpful to budget travelers wishing to pick and choose which activities they would like to pay for. Gate 1 Signature Tours, however, are best suited to those who want more inclusions and less hassle to have to decide on how to spend their travel time.

        Why Choose a Tour with Gate 1 Signature Collection?

        If you’re an older traveler looking for a boutique, comfortable, and well paced tour, the Signature tours may suit you very well. Travelers love the customer service, attention to detail, and depth of knowledge the guides bring to each day on the tour. There is also a good balance of free time and optional additional sightseeing opportunities.

        All tours feature included “Signature Experiences” which are the main highlights that make the Signature Collection tours stand out from the other Gate 1 brands. These are unique excursions, usually with a strong cultural focus - such as an evening of Irish music in Galway, or a traditional dinner in the deserts of Morocco. They also often include lectures that explore a destinations history or a specific facet of the culture.

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