This past Friday, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises took delivery of what the company is calling a “casual” luxury ship, the EUROPA 2. Next Monday, when I step on board the new vessel in Southampton, I’ll relay what I can — via Twitter, Facebook and on Avid Cruiser — about EUROPA 2′s positioning in the luxury sector.
What’s “casual” luxury? A company press release indicates that one aspect of casual luxury is the doing away with such traditions as the captain’s dinner. For our one-night on board, dress code recommendations suggest casual dress during the day, and in the evening, smart casual, meaning that I can skip packing a tie. I am eager to learn more about Hapag-Lloyd’s philosophy when it comes to catering to today’s luxury cruisers.
EUROPA 2, Beautiful & Spacious
The photographs and renderings of EUROPA 2′s suites and public rooms are appealing. EUROPA 2 features only suites (none smaller than 301 square feet) with verandas. Eight restaurants and six bars are dedicated to serving up culinary diversity, and a large spa and fitness area accommodates the well-being trend on cruises.
Carrying up to 516 guests, the vessel will provide the greatest space per passenger of any cruise ship in the world, according to a company press release. I’ll need to confirm the numbers, but my back-of-the-napkin calculation shows a space ratio of around 83. For more about how space ratio is calculated, see Nautical Nomenclature: How Space Ratio Affects Your Cruise.
EUROPA 2 was constructed by the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire. Dr Wolfgang Flägel, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises signed the takeover protocol, noting: “By adding the EUROPA 2 to our fleet, we are acquiring the latest generation of cruise ship, which embodies an entirely new type of luxury cruising at sea. I am certain that we will raise the bar with the EUROPA 2 in the luxury cruise sector.”
Check out our September 2009 coverage of what was then called the world’s best cruise ship, EUROPA
EUROPA 2 will be christened in Hamburg on May 10, 2013, as part of the port’s anniversary celebrations. The luxury vessel will then embark on a 14-day maiden voyage toward Lisbon.
Unfortunately, I’m on board for only one night, but I will have the chance to experience EUROPA 2′s dining, entertainment and drinks in the Sansibar from 11 p.m. “until the last person goes to bed,” our hosts tell us. The Sansibar was a favorite watering hole on the now-more-than-decade-old EUROPA, when I cruised it in 2009.
Questions or comments about EUROPA 2? Leave them here in the comments section below or at @avidcruiser.