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.