Hapag Lloyd Europa 2 - Ship Visit and First Impressions (including video)
We love German things. German Shepherds have always been the dog of all dogs (apart from the one we had when I was a small child, which used to aggressively chase me up our climbing frame and trap me there for hours), and over the years, we’ve personally owned 10 German cars over 4 different brands, not all at the same time. So, it was with great excitement that we got to poke around Hapag Lloyds Europa 2, one of the most luxurious cruise ships on the sea today, and if the Germans were to be believed, “Einfach nur das Beste”, meaning "simply the best" in German.
First, let’s have some some facts!
Year Built: 2013
Passenger decks: 7
No of suites: 251
Hospitals with dialysis units: 1
German Shepherds: none
Well, in keeping with most German products, it’s extremely well put together, exquisitely kitted out, sleek, beautiful to look at and expensive. Oh yes, expensive. So, what did this ship have to offer us that would tempt us away from our new found love for the Americans (well, Tesla and Seabourn, not so much KFC, UFC or politics)?
The ship itself is beautiful to look at from the outside. It is sleek, ultra modern and has quite a unique bevelled rear end that slices the boat at an sharp angle from the very top straight into the sea. It looks great! I don't think there's a ship on the oceans that looks quite as striking.
The external decks are full of luxurious loungers and cosy canopied double day beds. There's room for everyone and feels serene and restful.
The Pool area is the triumphant centrepiece. Situated in the centre of the ship, it has a retractable roof for all weather dipping, sipping and snoozing. It's two storey design, decorated with these huge metallic dandelionesque sculptures and edge of pool lounge seating really sets it apart from anything we’ve seen before, and quite frankly makes the other six star rivals looks distinctly ordinary.
The outside seating and bar areas were more conventional, but then there aren't many original ways you can configure these - people need tables, people need chairs. Everywhere was immaculate and looked brand new.
There are a decent variety of dining venues as you would expect, and the food we saw on offer looked very tempting indeed. Stomachs had already started to rumble. The mental march towards the highlight of the day in the ships main restaurant had begun.
As we’ve come to expect on all five and six star ships, lush original Artwork dressed every public area. Much of it was so good, you couldn't help but stop in your tracks, admire and steal the odd touchy feel (which is probably frowned upon, but hey, some of it looks so damn tactile, you know?)
The attention to every detail on this ship is evident to see. There was no sign of wear, tear, dirt, dust - come to think of it, no signs that human beings actually USED this ship for pleasure. Surely SOMEONE must make a little mess somewhere?
Speaking of making a mess of oneself, being a bit of a fitness freak, I am always drawn to ships with decent gyms. Where many smaller ships fail with, quite frankly, poky and claustrophobic afterthoughts, Hapag Lloyd pass with merit here. The gym was a decent size and well stocked with all the bits a pieces you’d need for that post ‘fourth dessert of the day’ workout. But it was so clean and tidy and unused, I felt I was walking through the fitness department of Harrods. Seriously, this was the very first time I’ve seen cream leather padding on exercise machines! Cream leather! I’m not sure I’d have felt comfortable making a sweaty mess in there to be honest! It didn't look as if anyone ever had!
The staterooms are stunning. There's no other way to describe them. The bathrooms are beautiful, the seating area large and the little touches and features incredibly well thought out. We would happily spend a lot of time in here. Nothing else to say really. Full marks.
By this time, hunger had gripped me and I was subliminally willing our Hapag Lloyd host to guide us to the nosh. Thankfully, it worked!
The food was superb and up with the best of what we’ve had on any ship. Not an oversized sausage or fermented cabbage in sight! Just take a moment to gaze at these dishes. Yes, they really were as delicious as they look.
We didn't cruise on the Europa 2, we only spent a day aboard, and we probably all know the proof is not in looking at the pudding, but eating it. This pudding certainly LOOKS delicious. But would it taste as good as it looks if you had to eat it for a week or two?
Our jury is still considering it’s verdict on that one.
There’s no doubt that this was one of the most stunning ships we’ve ever been on. No, probably THE most stunning! Visually, it really does live up to the hype.
BUT, and here comes the one very small negative, everything was SO immaculate, SO untouched by the everyday use of guests' hands, we wondered whether the experience here would be one of perfect relaxation or nervousness in case we left a fingerprint here, or a crumb of afternoon tea there. That wonderful Germanic reputation for perfection and efficiency is so apparent everywhere you look, I was desperate to find evidence of human consumption.
We'd LOVE to give this ship a hearty fortnight and give it an opportunity to prove our concerns unfounded (which I'm sure they would be), but first impressions left us with both our jaws on the floor at the beauty of this ship and also the feeling that if we were sitting on one of the sofas, minding our own business and intent on relaxation, a member of staff would appear out of nowhere to plump up the cushions around us. Yes, I’m exaggerating somewhat - the staff were lovely and courteous, but you can see what I’m trying to illustrate here.
beautifully designed ship, inside and out
the most alluring pool at sea
Food was superb all over the ship
The not so good:
overall 'feel' of perfection rather than relaxation
Costly - the fare is not all inclusive