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europa 2 revisited
Europa 2 Revisited
Three years ago, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises took the cruise industry by storm when they launched a brand new vessel that is different in many ways. For one, Europa 2 is extremely spacious and ultra-luxurious. She is also very European in looks and atmosphere. With a young German service staff and a very relaxed dress code, this ship is meant to be the "now" ship. I was very fortunate to join Europa 2 for a couple of days when she was brand new. And now, after three years, I had the chance to revisit the ship in her home port of Hamburg, Germany.
My access pass to Europa 2
The reception lobby is as stunning as ever and indeed the whole ship looks like it has not seen a single guest in the past three years. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises prides itself with its excellent upkeep of their ships. And it shows. Everything is in pristine condition, as you would expect on this "Five Star Plus" cruise ship.
Europa 2 lobby
Europa 2 lobby
We are invited to enjoy afternoon tea in the Belvedere, up on top of the ship. It's a very serious affair, with immaculately dressed wait staff bring you pots of tea and cakes. And mind you, they will even take the tea out of the pot at precisely the right time. Details like this sets a cruise on Europa 2 apart from any other experience at sea.
Tea time on Europa 2
Elevator bank View aft from the bridge wing Setting the course Pool deck Sun beds on Pool Deck
View from the bridge Tarragon Restaurant Elements Restaurant Sansibar
. . . . .
But on Europa 2, not everything is the same as three years ago. There have been some discrete alterations. For one, the immensely popular Sansibar has been remodeled. Located aft on deck 8, this is an all-day, all-night bar that is modeled after the original Sansibar on the German island of Sylt. There is dancing in the evening, there are cocktails on the outdoor terrace in the afternoon. And you can come here for a late late breakfast, too. Nice staff, good wines and cheerful staff make this place packed on most evenings. And with huge sliding glass doors, the party continues outdoors if the weather cooperates.
Pool Deck
Aft deck sun beds
Europa 2 Yacht Club
Europa 2 - Sansibar
After enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the Sansibar, we are invited to proceed to deck 4 and the Weltmeere Restaurant for dinner. Europa 2 has a relaxed dress code although most passengers will dress up a little for dinner. Still, tuxedos, ties and evening gowns are definitely not needed. The quality and presentation of the food in the Weltmeere Restaurant puts dinners on other cruise ships to shame. Made to order and with a distinct European flavor, our dinner is simply superb. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises does not operate on an all-inclusive basis but drink prices are remarkably friendly. As they say here, they are not looking at making huge profits on drinks. And why pay for all-inclusive when you don't drink all that much? It makes sense.
Fish main course
Europa 2 dinner menu Europa 2 dinner menu Divine lemongrass soup Salmon ravioli Europa 2 dessert
All too soon we are asked to leave the ship as Europa 2 is preparing for departure. At precisely 10.30 PM the ship's whistle is sounded and the ship rapidly makes her way down the Elbe river, brightly lit and her decks lined with guests.
Time to say goodbye to Europa 2
This is a European luxury boutique hotel with a lot of advantages. As a guest of Europa 2, you will feel very well looked after but your privacy is always respected, so do not expect "in your face" service. What you can expect though is space, peace of mind, truly great food, well traveled fellow passengers, unequalled suite accommodation and in the end ... an utter feeling of true luxury. Until the next time Europa 2!

Photos & Text:
Bart de Boer

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