This week, we conclude our coverage of Europa 2 with a special Europa 2 video, 5 Reasons Why You May Want To Cruise Europa 2, and our comprehensive review. If you’re thinking of dropping €600 per day, per person to cruise on Hapag-Lloyd’s newest ship, our Europa 2 video and review will equip you with the tools you need to make an informed decision.
Chances are that you’ve never heard of Hapag-Lloyd cruises. Based in Germany, the company operates a couple of expedition vessels as well as what has been ranked as the world’s best cruise ship: the highly acclaimed Europa.
I cruised on Europa a few years ago and liked it a lot. You can read about that experience here on avidcruiser.com.
This past spring, when I was invited to cruise on the new Europa 2, I leapt at the opportunity.
Actually, I got to cruise twice on Europa 2. The first was a preview cruise. I spent 24 hours on board. That was simply a teaser, or an appetizer if you will.
Then in July, I was invited back for the main course, a sailing from Malta to Ibiza that was both filling and delicious.
The new Europa 2 was built for a new target audience — working professionals who may have only a week or so to vacation, and some of them want to bring along their families.
Hapag-Lloyd is also trying to reach the same target demographic in the North American market. That’s a challenge.
Europa 2 is in the same competitive set as Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn. All of these are in the so-called luxury segment, and while they offer unparalleled cruise experiences, they are costly.
Currently, Europa 2 is the costliest of them all. It will set you back at least 600 euros (yes, euros) per day, per person. And that’s for the lowest category suite.
And unlike its competitors, Europa 2 does not include alcohol in the cruise fare. You will pay for wine and spirits, and outside your stateroom, you’ll also pay for soft drinks and bottled water but not speciality coffees. It’s a bit confusing for those used to all-inclusive luxury ships.
So is it worth the price differential to cruise on Europa 2? It is if you can afford it. Why? Because of the experience. Any of the cruise lines I just mentioned will give you a memorable travel experience. What Europa 2 will give you is a few things that are different from other luxury ships.
1. Experience Germany, Afloat
For starters, you are going to be on a German cruise ship. The folks serving you in the dining rooms and in the lounges; they’re German. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Don’t worry. Everyone that I encountered spoke impeccable English.
Now I could add that Europa 2 has exceptionally high service standards, but so do all of the other cruise lines that I previously mentioned. After all, this is luxury cruising. The stakes are high.
2. Europa 2 Has More Space Than Any Other Cruise Ship
Second, Europa 2 is a beautiful vessel with the highest space ratio in the cruise industry. Let’s not fret over mathematics. What the high space ratio means is that there is lots of space. You’ll find wide corridors and high ceilings.
And that space is filled with some stunning artwork. Walking through the ship is like walking through a museum. German engineered and constructed in France, Europa 2 is one of the most stunning ships I’ve ever been on.
3. More Restaurants Than Any Other Luxury Ship
Third, you can dine every night of your cruise in a new restaurant. That’s something you can’t do that on other vessels in the luxury segment.
In fact, Europa 2 has eight dining venues, and all are free of charge. The cuisine was no better or no worse than I’ve had on other luxury ships, but the variation of venues and menus was interesting. The dining experiences could range from casual to elegant and from sushi to chateaubriand.
4. Families Are Welcome On Europa 2
Fourth, families are welcome. That’s either a plus or a minus for you. Don’t worry if you don’t have kids. You won’t see little ones running rampant throughout the ship. First off, there aren’t that many of them on a ship that carries only 516 passengers. And secondly, they’re well-managed, in kids activities and in dedicated facilities throughout the day.
5. Gorgeous Suites With Spa-Like Bathrooms
Fifth, Europa 2 has some of the most beautiful suites I have ever encountered. There are eight categories that range from 301 square feet to 1,066 square feet.
Standard staterooms are also attractive. Hapag-Lloyd likes to call them suites. My Ocean Suite measured 301 square feet, and it had all that I needed, a comfy bed, sofa and balcony, as well as a desk, flat-panel television and a mini-bar with free beer and soft drinks.
My bathroom was large, with a whirlpool tub and natural light provided by glass separating the bathroom and the bedroom.
In the largest suites, the bathrooms are bigger than some staterooms on the big ships. With floor-to-ceiling windows, some of them were just gorgeous. In fact, many of the bathrooms in the larger suites were like mini-spas.
Speaking of spas, Europa 2 has an expansive spa, which features a beautiful whirlpool, a sauna with lots of wood and glass looking aft toward the sea, treatment rooms and a lot more.
There’s also a fitness area with a variety of cardio and weight-training machines. It’s not the best I’ve seen at sea, but it’s a good facility that will help you offset those extra calories that are so easy to consume.
You can always go for a stroll on the outer decks. I found them to be exceptionally beautiful. There is lots of room to lounge, and lots of places for privacy. The pool is nice too, with a magradome that will enclose the pool area during inclement weather.
As on some other luxury cruise ships, Europa 2 has a casual dress code. Men should be prepared to wear a jacket to dinner, but gents, leave the tie at home.
The entertainment, which was not language-dependent, was different, and for those of you who have seen it all, Europa 2’s entertainment may be another reason that you should experience the new ship.
Europa 2 also features some great lounges, including Belvedere, where high tea is served; it’s also a great place to read the morning newspaper.
In Herrenzimmer, I sat down for a gin tasting and a cigar one night with the Hotel Manager. That was fun.
With more than 30 types of gin, Europa 2 claims to have the largest gin collection at sea. We only tried three, including the acclaimed Monkey 47, from Germany’s Black Forest.
One of my favorite bars was situated aft, Sansibar, a subsidiary of the well known bar, well among Germans, on the island of Sylt.
Along with friends, I could be found in Sansibar every night during our short voyage. It was a great place to have a nightcap and to enjoy the stars, the moon and the dark sea. And where else on the ocean can you get German currywurst at midnight?
Also see …
- Photo Tour & Five Things I Like About Europa 2
- Seven Reasons Why Europa 2 Can Command The Luxury Cruise Segment’s Highest Prices — For Now
- Photo Tour: EUROPA 2 Restaurants
- Photo Slideshow: Europa 2 Dining & Lounges
- Photo Slideshow: Europa 2 Interior Beauty
- Photo Slideshow: Europa 2 Spa & Fitness
- Photo Slideshow: Europa 2 Exterior Decks & Pool
- Photo Slideshow: Europa 2 Staterooms & Suites