Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2, A Truly International Ship, Seems To Find Some of her Roots in the Empress of Britain of 1931

The Elements Asian Restaurant on board Europa 2

The Cathay Lounge on board the Empress of Britain of 1931

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new Europa 2 may well prove to be one of the most interestingly decorated ships since the Empress of Britain of 1931 and Normandie of 1935. But to keep things in a modern tone, Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said, “We are breaking new ground with Europa 2. She will represent a modern and casual interpretation of luxury cruises in terms of her architecture, her restaurants and her entertainment programme.  Europa 2 will offer an international atmosphere for sophisticated, cosmopolitan customers who still have very demanding professional lives and are looking for the greatest possible degree of individuality in their spare time. We have therefore consciously decided to do without cruise traditions such as the Captain’s Dinner.”

“The ship will be positioned internationally.  English-speaking guests will feel comfortable on every cruise on Europa 2. Most of the entertainment on board does not rely on language. The on-board announcements will be reduced to a minimum and made in German and English at all times,” added Ahrens.

Flexibility and individuality will be found in every detail from entertainment to gourmet cuisine on board Europa 2. The routes of Europa 2 will be geared towards working people and families, with one-week itineraries offered. Personalized service will be heightened, with more than 370 staff members for a maximum of 516 guests, as well as butler and travel concierge services offering unsurpassed quality when it comes to catering to guests’ needs. New standards will also be set with regards to environmental protection – Europa 2 will be the first cruise ship equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction, which reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides by almost 95 percent.

Shorter Routes, Ideal for Working People and Families

With 7-day combinable cruises to the Mediterranean in the summer and 13-20 day combination cruises to far-away destinations in the winter, Europa 2 will meet the requirements of working people and families with limited holiday time. The ship will call at 123 ports on 26 different itineraries in 2013. Cruises will take guests to the western and eastern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Southeast Asia. The size of the ship is a major advantage – with a length of 739 feet and a draught of 20.7 feet, Europa 2 is capable of calling at small, rarely-visited ports such as Bonifacio and Portofino, which is not an option for larger ships. Furthermore, a total of twelve Zodiacs will be carried to take passengers to lagoons and beaches  in remote parts of Southeast Asia where ships can’t dock.

Accommodations On-board, All-Suites

Europa 2 will exclusively offer Veranda Suites with balconies each measuring at least 75 square feet facing the sea, a novelty in the cruise market. In addition, all suites will have a free of charge mini bar, Wi-Fi Internet access (at a charge) and a tablet PC. The 251 suites in seven different categories will measure in size from 301 to 1,066 square feet and will offer their own whirlpools with ocean view in the highest categories. In addition, 16 Spa Suites will have whirlpool tubs and rain showers with steam saunas, providing guests with a private oasis of well-being onboard. For families traveling together, there will be seven family-style suites where parents and children can live in two separate areas, connected by a door and the shared balcony.

Culinary Diversity with Flexible Times and Open Seating

The restaurant concept on board Europa 2will be synonymous with diversity and flexibility – flexible mealtimes, no assigned seating, and plenty of tables for two. There will be eight restaurants to choose from among them, three speciality restaurants with Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisine, as well as a Sushi Bar. The Asian restaurant Elements provides an interesting comparison with Canadian Pacific’s Empress of Britain of 1931, which as the time was advertised in Germany as “das Luxusschiff der Welt” (“The Most Luxurious Ship in the World”). One of the Empress of Britain‘s chief attractions was the Chinoiserie used in her decorations, particularly in her Cathay Lounge, something that stemmed from Canadian Pacific’s Transpacific ocean liner service between Vancouver and the Orient. This is interesting as it was Hapag-Lloyd that took over CP Ships, the former Canadian Pacific Steamships, in 2005.

The Tarragon French restauramt on board Europa 2. No extra charge to dine here.

All restaurants will be included in the cruise price (excluding beverages). On special occasions, guests can book the private dining room, allowing them to dine in a very personal atmosphere. There will also be an on-board cooking school, equipped by Miele, where professional chefs will provide guests with unique insights. In addition to the eight restaurants, six bars are to be found on-board.

Entertainment with Exclusive Productions & Performances

The entertainment programme will reflect the modern concept Europa 2. The theatre will have modern stage technology and a large LED wall extending across two stories – a novelty on a relatively small ship. For the first time for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the entertainment programme will feature spectacular productions, performances and light shows. The shows will have no adaptation of shore programs, but instead will be exclusively performed aboard Europa 2. Two different shows per week will be offered, ensuring plenty of variety. Passengers who spend 14 days onboard will see four different shows. International guest artists will further enhance the entertainment program. Many shows do not start simultaneously, allowing guests to enjoy more than one show nightly.

Wellness and Fitness: 1,000 Square Metres/ 10,000 Square Foot Spa

Guests will also find diversity and plenty of space in the wellness area of Europa 2, which will boast 1,000 square metres/ 10,000 square feet. Treatments ranging from massages, to facials, to Thalasso therapy will be offered in the eight treatment rooms at the Ocean Spa. The extensive sauna landscape grants every guest more space to relax than any other ship of this class. In addition, passengers can book a Personal Spa experience and enjoy the private sauna and whirlpool facilities, as well as massage beds and comfortable relaxation furnishings, by the hour or the day, in an intimate atmosphere. The on-board facilities also include a large fitness area with fitness and cardio equipment, as well as a room where Pilates and Spinning will take place. Upon request, a Personal Trainer is available to counsel guests on their workout, and sports hosts are available to organise shore excursions, for example, bicycle tours or Nordic Walking.

Child Care Available For Toddlers Two And Older

Young cruise passengers are sure to enjoy themselves in the Kids and Teens Club, compiled by qualified child care specialists. For the first time in the German market, child care will now be available for toddlers two and older on board Europa 2 (subject to charge). There will be a special area for the infants called the “Knopf Club,” equipped with cots, changing tables and a lounge furnished with cuddly toys, by the renowned manufacturer Steiff. Steiff is a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality for over 100 years. Children aged 4-10 years old play in the adjacent Kids Club, and children 11-15 years old meet in the Teens Club, where table football, video game consoles, or the disco will await them. Children eleven and under will travel free of charge on board Europa 2, when accompanied by two full-price cruise guests. Shore excursions for children, teenagers, or the entire family are offered on all family cruises.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings or brochure requests please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Keel-Laying Takes Place Today for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ New Europa 2

europa-2The next construction stage of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 began with her keel laying today at the STX Europe shipyard in St Nazaire, France, with the lowering into the dry dock of new ship’s first block. Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France, each placed a coin on the block. The coins were welded into the block and will accompany the ship on all her future voyages. This tradition is believed to bring good luck to new ships. The first block has a length of 11.8 metres and is 8.6 metres high and weighs 400 tonnes.

Concurrent with the start of construction in the dry dock, thenew ship’s  suites are being manufactured in the shipyard’s cabin factory. Then, at the beginning of July, the Europa 2 will take to the water for the first time so that work on her interior can be initiated at the outfitting pier. A total of 835 shipyard workers are involved in the construction of the new ship. Until  delivery in the spring of 2013 the shipyard workers will dedicate over 2.5 million hours of labour to the project.

For more information on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ exciting destinations and itineraries visit www.hl-cruises.com. For bookings, enquiries or brochures please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Photo: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises