In this latest guest post from cruise expert David Wishart, we learn about newcomer MS EUROPA 2 – the second flagship of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet which, starting this month, will be heading out to some of the world’s most attractive destinations.
I am in Southampton, England for the shakedown cruise of MS EUROPA 2, the latest, and perhaps best, new cruise ship to set sail to date. It is the latest addition to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and the sister to MS EUROPA; the only cruise ship in the world to have been repeatedly awarded the coveted distinction of “5 stars plus” by the Berlitz Cruise Guide.
Showing off its trendy newbuild in a cruise that was full of surprises, this 43,000-tonner, with 516 passengers is a little bigger than its renowned sister. It is also the roomiest vessel afloat in terms of passenger space ratio, and every cabin comes with balconies much larger than competitors.
Its stunning design is outward-looking with huge windows that are a remarkable contrast to recent, mega new builds aimed at focusing attention on revenue-increasing interior features like shops and bars. And its hull shape allows the ship to access smaller ports such as Portofino, Italy. (Although it also carries Zodiacs, which are particularly usefully up the Amazon, as well as for lunches on the beach at St. Tropez).
Fun for the Whole Family
In a sea of change the EUROPA 2 will focus on a younger, more international clientele who will sail without the traditional captain’s dinner or casino and, more surprisingly, be encouraged to bring their children with them.
The new clientele, which the German owners hope will have more Americans, British and Australians, can dress casually and will have a choice of eight restaurants with anytime dining and the promise of many tables for two.
As for shows, you won’t find Broadway Hits on EUROPA 2, but instead the kind of fun that I saw – which was actors frolicking in a bathtub. Not that EUROPA 2 won’t surprise. There will be performances by famous guest artists, as well as stage shows produced exclusively for the ship by renowned producers, directors and choreographers.
For young passengers there are age-appropriate clubs (The Knopf Club for toddlers, the Kids’ Club for four-to-ten-year-olds, and the Teens Club); each designed to give children a truly fun and unique experience – including shore excursions without parents. (Sources say they feature a lot of ice cream)! There are also 17 family-themed cruises. In fact EUROPA 2’s shorter itineraries (mostly seven-day voyages), are all about pleasing families.
EUROPA 2’s route concept will concentrate on four regions: Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula and Asia. Although initial itineraries will be in the Mediterranean, with Southeast Asia on the winter radar.
Featured Image: Pool Deck on Europa 2 (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises)