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Cruise Ship Information

Hapag-Lloyd is a German transportation company comprising a cargo container shipping line, Hapag-Lloyd AG, which in turn owned other subsidiaries such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises which is today integrated into TUI AG, Hanover. It was formed in 1970 as a merger of two 19th century companies, Hapag, which dated from 1847, and Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) or North German Lloyd (NGL), which was formed in 1856. Hapag-Lloyd was acquired in 1998 by TUI AG (Hanover) and became its fully owned subsidiary in 2002. In 2009, TUI sold a majority stake to a group of private investors and the City of Hamburg, the so-called Albert Ballin Consortium. The main founders of Hapag and Lloyd in the 19th century were Berenberg Bank, Fritz Albert Haas, and H. J. Merck & Co.. In February 2012 the German company TUI sold more shares of the German owned company Hapag-Lloyd to the City of Hamburg which is the largest share holder with approx. 37% followed by Kuehne Maritime with 28% and TUI AG with 22%. The other shareholders are Hamburg based banks and insurances.

Atmosphere on board

Europa 2, which debuted in 2013, marks a radical departure for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The ship is less formal, more family-oriented and definitely more contemporary than Europa, the company's flagship luxury vessel. Europa 2 is also aiming to attract cruise travelers from beyond its German-speaking base. As such, Hapag-Lloyd has pledged that all voyages on Europa 2 will be bilingual, with everyone from cabin stewards to enrichment lecturers offering English-language services; Europa offers just a handful of bilingual cruises each year.


No question, 40,000-ton, 516-passenger Europa 2 is one of the most beautiful ships afloat. It feels more like a chic boutique hotel on the French Riviera than it does a cruise ship. It's sleek, with Hapag-Lloyd's trademark high ceilings on the main level. Aside from a sprawling lobby bar/reception area, spaces are more intimate and cozy than grand. Hapag-Lloyd spared little expense: Colors are subtle, and steel and limestone are used throughout. The ship features silver leaf ceilings and halogen lighting, along with the odd splash of bright color, such as granny smith-green Murano glass chandeliers in the Serenissima restaurant, the only place where marble is used.


All the art is original and includes pieces by Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter in addition to works designed just for Europa 2.


Ship highlights include spacious, well-designed standard cabins (all with seating areas and balconies) and a handful of family-friendly connecting cabins. The Ocean Spa is a destination unto itself, with numerous steam rooms, relaxation areas, a beauty salon, a gym, workout rooms and a lovely outdoor lounge area off the aft.


Hapag-Lloyd hopes English-speaking luxury travelers will make up some 25 percent of Europa 2's passenger base, while the other 75 percent probably will hail from German-language countries like Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It must be noted that although smoking is limited onboard, there still is plenty of it, particularly in lounges like Sansibar and Jazzclub.


If you're familiar with the venerable Europa and longing for a more laid-back experience amidst edgier surrounds, Europa 2 offers a superb cruise experience. It's not traditional luxury, but with its emphasis on food and service, its industry-highest space ratio in public spaces, intriguing itineraries, family-friendly programs and staterooms, and a genuine commitment to offering English-speaking travelers the same experience as its core German passengers, Europa 2 is a gorgeous addition to the industry's global luxury lineup.


Family with Kids/Teens

One big difference with Europa 2 is the ship's emphasis on a family-friendly environment. Children younger than 11 travel free when accompanied by their parents; kids from as young as 2 years old are welcome onboard. There are also seven family suites. Children have a choice of two kids facilities; one is geared to teens and the other to the rest. These are expansive, at least for a luxury ship.


There's no special pool area for families, so the main pool is reserved at various times for kid swims.


Also to attract families, the ship's spa features kids treatments for those ages 8 and older, including chocolate and aromatherapy massages.


Europa 2 only charges for kid-related activities in the 2- to 3-year-old category (65 euros per day) and for services outside of its clubs' operating times. The cost for baby-sitting is 10 euros per child, per hour; after 10 p.m., the price goes up to 15 euros per child, per hour.


Past Passenger Programs

The ship's light and airy atrium is elegant, with a bar to one side, a customer service desk in the middle and massive windows on either wall. This public deck has higher-than-usual ceilings, which contribute to a loftier ambience. On Europa 2, art is taken seriously, and corridors are lined with original works from well-known artists. There's a lovely gallery onboard, as well, with revolving shows and pieces to purchase. Adjacent is an attractive library with books in numerous languages, along with magazines and newspapers in German and English. Internet-connected computers are also located there, too. The ship's stem-to-stern wireless permits those with their own devises to log on from any spot.


Wempe, the German jeweler and watchmaker, has a boutique onboard. There's also a ship's shop, selling high-end casualwear.


There's no casino onboard Europa 2.

Fitness And Spa

As befits its mantra to appeal to younger, more active travelers, Europa 2's spa and fitness facility is a major event. The vast 620-square-meter (6,674-square-foot) spa area includes four saunas, eight treatment rooms, hamam and an indoor whirlpool. One neat feature, especially for hot days, is an ice wall to cool you down. There's also a lovely aft-facing spa deck for relaxation. A Kneipp pool offers cold water hydrotherapy.


All passengers are welcome to use the spaces at no additional charge.


One new feature is what Hapag Lloyd calls "Your Personal Spa." Available on an hourly or daily basis, this offers a separate whirlpool, massage tables (with televisions set in the floor so you can watch while you're face-down) and a relaxation area. There's a surcharge to use the private space.


Other spa features include a 210-square-meter (2,660-square-foot) fitness area with a room for Pilates, yoga, Zumba, spinning, and core tuning classes. There's also a 65-square-meter (700-square-foot) golf area. Classes are fare-inclusive, but personal trainers are onboard for an extra fee; the charge starts at 45 euros for 30 minutes. There's a full-service beauty salon, as well.


Europa 2 has one main pool, which is located under a retractable roof. For a cruise ship, it's a good length, and lap-swimmers can get some exercise. One nice touch: There's a tremendous range of spots for lounging, both around the pool and on the open deck 10 above. We love the cozy nooks for dual loungers that face out to the sea up there and also the bed-sized chaises. The sun deck above features a secluded hot tub and basket chairs.


Europa 2 carries bicycles onboard, and these are available to use, free of charge, when in port.


Food & Dining

Europa 2 has eight restaurants, including three specialty restaurants with Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisine, as well as a Sushi Bar. There are no surcharges. Mealtimes are flexible; there's no assigned seating, and 40 percent of tables in Restaurant Weltmeere, the main dining facility, are two-tops.


The Restaurant Weltmeere describes itself as "where a souffled guinea fowl meets a classic schnitzel." It's open for breakfast, with a continental buffet and made-to-order menu service that includes porridge, pancakes, omelets, sausages and the like, as well as specialties that include veal steak and sole fillet. At lunch and dinner, a buffet area offers starters and salads, and passengers otherwise order off menus.


Weltmeere is smaller than restaurants on most luxury ships and feels boutique, yet spacious enough, with windows that wrap around three sides.


Restaurant Serenissima is the ship's Italian venue. It's the most beautiful restaurant onboard, with its sleek tables and green Murano chandeliers. Similar to its counterpart on Europa, various menus showcase Italian regional specialties, from Tuscany to the Ligurian coast. Serenissima is open for lunch and dinner.


Across the corridor, Restaurant Elements is an Asian-fusion space that's open for lunch and dinner.


Restaurant Tarragon, the ship's French venue, is noteworthy because the atmosphere is fantastic: true casual French bistro, with black and white checkerboard floors. The food, though, is a little more elaborate than what you'd find at a bistro, with appetizers like venison terrine and starters like chateaubriand. The atmosphere is better suited for casual French lunch fare, such as roast chicken and pommes frites. We could also imagine fabulous French breakfasts and coffees, but it's only open for dinner.


One of the biggest hits on our voyage was Sakura, a casual sushi restaurant. Open only for dinner, the 58-seat venue, tucked away on one side of the Yacht Club buffet eatery, features freshly prepared sushi.


The most casual option onboard is the Yacht Club Restaurant. It's mostly a buffet restaurant, organized in stations, with consistently delicious fare. We'll warn you flat out: The gelato station is hard to resist, as are the Yacht Club's seafood, breads and desserts. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Patrons can also order off a small menu at breakfast and lunch. There's also a grill for made-to-order sandwiches and a pasta station; this is the only alfresco restaurant.


The Belvedere Lounge serves a decadent afternoon tea. Poolside waffles, freshly made, are a popular tradition onboard Europa 2.


In-cabin food service is available 24 hours a day. The menu ranges from salads and burgers to more continental fare. Worth a special mention is the ship's breakfast menu, which offers tremendous variety. Choices include "wholesome" (cheese, crudites, muesli, fruit and yogurt), "gourmet" (smoked fish, shrimp cocktail and goose liver terrine) and standard egg dishes and continental options.


In part to appeal to its desired international passenger base, the production shows are unique to Europa 2 and feature daring acrobatic and theatrical style performances. Europa 2's high-tech theater boasts a large LED wall extending two stories -- a novelty for a small vessel -- and big production shows designed exclusively for the ship. On our trip, four shows were themed around the elements of earth, fire, water and air, and each offered avant-garde acrobatics and dance.


During the day, the Meile Cooking School offers for-fee classes. (The charge, at about 80 euros, generally includes a meal and wine.) The ship has a small cinema, which shows flicks in 3D, and lecture theater; typically, on sea days, destination-related talks are given. The arts are a major focus on Europa 2, and, on our trip, enrichment-oriented opportunities ranged from a concert by the Philharmonic Soloists Munich to a reading by a German stage and movie actor that, alas, was only hosted in German.


At night, the range of bars and lounges offered much variety. A new concept bar is the Jazzclub, which hosts dancing and live jazz. In the Pianobar, located in the atrium, a pianist holds court. Sansibar, the ship's aft-facing indoor-outdoor lounge, is always a hotspot with live music or a DJ. When the weather's good, the all-glass doors separating the areas unfold to create one giant space. Herrenzimmer is the place for fine wines, spirits and cigars. There's also a pool bar, and the area can be converted to an alfresco dance venue at night.


While the ship sails on some of the most interesting itineraries in the industry, mixing smaller offbeat ports with the occasional marquee city, shore excursions are surprisingly run of the mill. They're offered to German- and English-speakers, though the latter has less variety.

Fellow Passengers

Europa 2's strongest passenger base is German, though it does attract English-speakers, primarily from the U.K., Hong Kong and North America. There's a younger demographic on this ship, especially during European school holidays, due in part to its design and shorter itineraries.


All tips are included in your price.

Our recommendation

Equipped with cruise ship standard facilities, the Cruise Europa has a capacity of 3000 passengers, selection of cabins and being 225 metres long and 31 metres wide it can hold up to 963 vehicles. On board you will find à la carte and self-service restaurants, a swimming pool, gym, casino, a disco, a supermarket, an entertaining piano bar, shops, internet point, a variety of video games for older passengers and a children’s playground and much more.