Cruising speed: 21 knots.
Number of passengers: 408 at double occupancy.
Staterooms: 204, all with water views.
Where she cruises: World cruise, the Mediterranean, Europe.
Flagship of the Hapag-Lloyd fleet, Europa is one of the world’s top rated ships, distinctly European in style and boutique in size. From her sleek exterior styling, to her spacious accommodations and dining options, everything on this ship has understated elegance inspired with German flair. It is a ship offering big ship amenities in an intimate environment.
Who Should Go?
Things You Might Not Know
Europa has a private nude sun deck, and one of its most popular watering holes, called Sanzibar, is named after a famous bar on the island of Sylt in Germany. Many onboard documents such as daily news and menus are provided in both English and German.
All of Europa’s accommodations are classified as suites and have ocean views. At the top end of the scale are two Penthouse Grand Suites, both of which have 85 square metres of space including a generous veranda, and are elegantly styled with accents of dark wood, and muted colours of cream and gold. There are also 10 Penthouse Deluxe Suites which are about half the size at 45 square metres, and have a different feel with more cream, biscuit and soft grey colours.
The majority of accommodations are outside staterooms with verandas, 152 all up, which are spacious and classically styled featuring sitting areas, light wood accents, plush bedspreads and soft gold and blue colours. Similarly styled, there are 36 staterooms with views but no veranda, and perhaps the most colourful and contemporary are the four SPA suites with verandas, which like the spa boast strong accents of red.
All staterooms come with the expected mod-cons including beds which can be configured as doubles or twins, walk in closets, marble bathrooms, sitting areas with a desk and full-sized couch, balcony furniture and television.
Facilities and Entertainment
For a boutique sized ship Europa has many of the impressive facilities of a much larger vessel. When it comes to activities, there is a two-tier fitness centre overlooking the pool, a golf simulator for practicing your swing, and a permanent golf pro for tips or tuition. The glamorous swimming pool on the lido deck is partially covered by a retractable roof allowing for relaxation on deck even in inclement weather, and offers decent lap swimming unlike other ships of its size. The Ocean Spa is also one of the prettiest I have seen at sea, with plenty of bright colours and Asian-inspired flair, and has a co-ed sauna, steam room and relaxation room.
Entertainment appears to be low key for a ship of its type, with a focus on concerts and musical performances, destination lectures, and the place to go dancing is the popular Sanisbar boasting views and the opportunity for an al fresco cocktail. There is a library on board but the majority of books are in German, unusually there is no casino, and bars include the Havana Bar for Cuban cigars and a club-like ambience or the elegant Champagne Bar. For a five-star ship there are kid facilities although they are limited to the number of children they can handle per cruise. The Kinder Club is designed for children aged 10 or under and is basically one room with plenty of educational and play activities to keep young ones entertained.
There are four dining venues including two specialty restaurants which don’t incur a surcharge, which is impressive for such an intimate ship. The Europa Restaurant serves as the main dining room and is a spacious, elegant venue dominated by a vast crystal chandelier. The cuisine is continental in style with plenty of popular German dishes to keep the majority of the clientele feeling at home. Dining here is fixed in the evening, but although your table is allocated you can choose to dine anytime during the service hours.
The Lido Cafe is the casual option with buffets for breakfast and lunch, and occasional theme buffets, and a bonus of this venue is the opportunity to eat al fresco. The two alternative restaurants are very small and require reservations, and are quite different offering a unique experience. New to Europa since last year is Restaurant Dieter Muller inspired by the famous three-star Michelin chef, who fuses French origins with German cuisine. The other is Venezia which serves top quality Italian cuisine.
The Low Down
Until recently Europa wasn’t well known outside of the German market, but in recent years Hapag-Lloyd has made inroads into English-speaking markets. If you enjoy European-style luxury and elegance, and perhaps have a smattering of German under your belt, Europa will provide an enjoyable luxury cruise with a difference.
Call Landmark Travel on 1300 136 846.[nggallery id=80]