Mediterranean Cruise on Hapag-Lloyd Europa 2

MS EUROPA 2Expat Splurge: Mediterranean Cruise on the Hapag-Lloyd Europa 2

By Marla Cimini

Global Living Magazine – Issue 15 | Nov/Dec 2014

Ready to splurge on a luxury cruise? Some expatriates are doing just that. Today more than ever, tourism companies across the globe are actively seeking to attract expats who embrace new travel experiences and enthusiastically explore new cultures and cities. German-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is leading the way with their new, exquisite cruise ship, the Europa 2.

Launched in 2013, the Europa 2 is aMS EUROPA 2 small vessel by most standards, accommodating just 500 cruisers and boasting the highest ratio of space per passenger than any other ship. With most services available 24/7, staff and crewmembers treat cruisers like special friends, and are always accommodating and friendly. As a recent guest myself, I was fortunate to discover the ship’s impeccable services and amenities first-hand. The entire cruise was enveloped in casual luxury… with a laid-back feel, without being too stuffy or formal.

From the moment cruisers board the ship, the airy lobby greets them with muted tones and massive, light-filled windows framing the brilliant blue sea. Guests on this cruise are warmly welcomed into a posMS EUROPA 2h, stylish world of friendly elegance. And, really, that’s no surprise from a ship that was just recognized by the prestigious Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2015 guide. The ship was given the highest distinction (along with Hapag-Lloyd’s other ship, the Hanseatic) as the only 5-stars-plus cruise ship worldwide.

For expats and other internationally-minded passengers planning a more upscale vacation, this cruise is an optimal choice. As a German line, the company has traditionally catered primarily to Europeans. In fact, it has been virtually unknown to Americans – until recently. Today, Hapag-Lloyd is actively attracting a sophisticated expat crowd along with U.S.-based passengers and English-speaking guests. On this particular ship, all crew members are fluent in English. Although announcements are rare, when you hear them, they are in both languages. In addition, on my cruise last spring, most German passengers I personally encountered also spoke English and were open to making new friends on their vacation.

Michael Steffl, International Sales Manger at Hapag-Lloyd, explains, “The expat market has always been an important target for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and now more than ever with our new luxury ship, the Europa 2. Through our dedicated marketing and public relations program, we are targeting Germans living in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as expats in Belgium, Holland, Australia and Scandinavia. Expats have always enjoyed luxury travel to exotic locales, and with diverse itineraries starting at seven days, the Europa 2 trips fit almost any lifestyle.”

MS EUROPA 2For experienced cruisers who may have been on larger ships, Hapag Lloyd is truly a refreshing change of pace. This ship has no formal dining rooms and interestingly enough, no set meal times. In fact, nothing ever feels crowded – no matter where you are. The buffet lines? Believe it not, they are almost non-existent. The swimming pool? Always an oasis where there are plenty of open and inviting lounge chairs and a retractable glass-domed deck roof that ensures the ideal temperature by the pool.

For food lovers, the culinary diversity on the Europa 2 is sublime; with seven restaurants and six bars, there is something for everyone. In the chic main dining room, along with specialty eateries and bistros, daily cuisine ranges from French and Italian to sushi. The design of each restaurant is cosmopolitan and chic as well – just as fantastic and creative as the menus. Reservations are encouraged in these specialty restaurants, although the main dining room and the ship’s more casual Yacht Club buffet are always open as well.MS EUROPA 2

Rooms and suites on this ship are extremely spacious, with the smallest being 300-square-feet, well-appointed, and accented in earth tones. There are eight categories of suites, each featuring a large, beautiful terrace with lounge chairs, a table and chairs. In addition, rooms have state-of-the-art technology, a separate sitting-room area, complimentary mini-bar items, large bathrooms (some with double sinks), showers and glass walls.

And, great news for families… the ship also has a Kids’ Club, offering childcare for toddlers age two and older. (Children under 11 travel free when accompanied by two adults).

Other perks include a luxury spa, featuring a private couple’s massage room. Meanwhile, art lovers will adore the ship’s onboard gallery, along with beautiful, modern works that are displayed throughout the ship.

Although, for this trip, the ship is the star of the show, the cruise includes a number of ports that change each year. On my voyage last spring, destinations included stops in picturesque areas around Italy, Sicily, Greece and Malta. Not surprisingly, a variety of land excursions are available, from kayaking to hiking activities, city tours, and more.

HLC_EUROPA 2_Cooking school

Of course, it’s fun just remaining onboard and taking advantage of the ship’s amenities and activities (such as cooking classes and wine-tastings).

In addition, for 2015, the company is offering more perks, including an on-board beverage credit to international markets.

Karl J. Pojer, Chief Executive Officer of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises comments: “I am delighted to see the number of bookings increasing from our international markets. We have received a lot of positive feedback, which is reflected by an overall 97% guest recommendation rate. We would like to embrace further our new international markets and therefore address the different needs of our international guests.”

Pojer explains, “Diversity and choice are two of the main elements which define our high standards on board. For example, we have approximately 500 varieties of wines available on Europa 2 – one of the largest wine menus on the high seas. By offering this ‘beverage credit’ we are ensuring this diversity; however, we are also offering our international guest the flexibility to make choices.”

Cruise prices:

Special rates on Mediterranean cruises start at $4,190 per person for a seven-day cruise.

Visit www.hl-cruises.com for more information.


Sailings in 2015 include:

Central/South America

From Miami/Florida to La Guaira (Caracas)/Venezuela

January 3-17, 2015 | 14 days, from €6,820 / USD 8,190 in a Veranda/Ocean Suite

Atlantic Crossing

From New York to Hamburg, Germany

April 1-11, 2015 | 10 days, from €5,310 / USD 6,380 in a Veranda/Ocean Suite

Western Europe

To / from Hamburg

April 24 – May 2, 2015 | 8 days, from €4,190 / USD 5,450 in a Veranda/Ocean Suite

Images courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

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