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Construction of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ms Europa 2 is underway at STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France with the ship slated to launch in May 2013.

The 516-passenger all-suite ship will offer 11 decks with the largest space per passenger in the industry and 251 suites across seven categories featuring balconies measuring at least seven square metres.

All suites measure from 28-99 square metres and will offer WiFi, a tablet PC and a complimentary mini bar. The higher category suites will feature a jacuzzi with the 16 ‘Spa Suites’ offering a rain shower and steam sauna as well.

Families will be catered for with seven suites connected by a door and shared balcony.

“We are breaking new ground with the Europa 2. She will represent a modern and casual interpretation of luxury cruises in terms of her architecture, her restaurants and her entertainment program,” Hapag-Lloyd Cruises managing director Sebastian Ahrens said.

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

26 itineraries from seven-days in duration will be offered, taking in a total of 123 ports in the western and eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula and Southeast Asia including the rarely visited ports of Bonifacio and Portofino that are difficult to access by larger ships.

The eight restaurants onboard will offer flexible mealtimes with no assigned seating and a variety of tables for two. Three specialty restaurants will include Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisine along with a Sushi Bar and will be included as part of the cruise fare.

A Miele cooking school will feature classes by professional chefs and passengers will be able to reserve a private dining room for celebratory occasions.

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Words: Natalie Aroyan