Good Morning London! Boarding EUROPA 2, Your Questions Answered

London aerial

Arriving in London after a pleasant (nowhere near full capacity) flight from Chicago. I’m on the way to Southampton to board – for one night only – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new Europa 2. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

It was a picture-postcard morning when United Airlines’ flight 928 began its descent to London’s Heathrow Airport this morning. I’m here, courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, to step aboard the new EUROPA 2, which will dock Monday in Southampton, about two hours from my hotel here at London’s Victoria Station (see Boarding Next Week: Hapag-Lloyd’s New EUROPA 2).

With only one night on board, I’ll be working in hyper mode to answer questions posed by Avid Cruiser readers. They (and possibly you) want to know such things as the ship’s general ambience. One reader says Hapag-Lloyd’s brochure makes EUROPA 2 look “Retro” and “70-ish,” as in 1970s-ish. I wouldn’t mind that — the 70s were one of my favorite decades — but I’ll be sure to take lots of photos so that readers can judge for themselves.

Some want to know how passengers are dressed. On EUROPA, the predecessor to the new ship, the dress code is less casual than on EUROPA 2. While Hapag-Lloyd is relaxing the dress code on the new ship, I packed a tie just in case. Will I need it? I’ll know tomorrow, and so will you.

Along with the relaxed dress code on EUROPA 2 are shorter itineraries (seven days compared to 14 and longer on EUROPA) that allow for working professionals and their families to enjoy “casual” luxury getaways.

Readers have asked me to check on drink prices. Our one night on board is hosted by Hapag-Lloyd, so I need not worry about the cost of a glass of wine or a cocktail. Unlike other luxury cruise companies, however, Hapag-Lloyd does not include alcohol in its cruise pricing. Is that a plus or minus? I’ll find out how the company sees it, and I’ll peruse the price list and report to our readers.

Others want to know about the restaurants and the service levels. Some are concerned about where Hapag-Lloyd recruited staff for EUROPA 2. The concern is that the company may have raided its other vessels, “diluting the quality” of service on the other ships, as one reader put it.

Finally, a few folks want to how the company manages the bilingual (German and English) service on board. I’m on the case dear readers.

Stay tuned as I step aboard Monday for a preview of the newest luxury cruise ship to enter the market, the EUROPA 2. Meantime, if you have questions, leave them in the comments section below this post. Your comments are emailed directly to me and posted on this page.

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  • theavidcruiser

    Thank you for the additional insights. We are about 45 minutes away from boarding, and the anticipation is building!?

  • Terence Maurice

    Hi Ralph,

    Hapag-Lloyd have posted on YouTube a video of the official handover of Europa 2 which contains brief glimpses of the ship’s interior.

    To me it looks very light, airy, understated, and elegant.

    If that is 1970s then I am all for it.

    As for the dress code for men, the ( UK ) brochure is quite clear:

    ” On the Europa 2 there is no fixed dress code. However during the evening we would recommend you wear smart casual clothing in the restaurants……………………for gentlemen a jacket or a summer suit is appropriate – a tie is not compulsory.”

    On the Europa 2, with the exception of the Magrodome, smoking is allowed on all outside decks, and on verandas.

    I would be interested in knowing if you found smoke to be particularly noticeable on board.

    Have a very enjoyable introduction to what appears to be a fantastic ship.