Luxuriating On The EUROPA 2, Part Three

Peter Knego wraps up his voyage on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises brand-new, five-plus star MV EUROPA 2 with a day in Cagliari, Sardinia, a day at sea and a quick visit to La Savina, Formentera before disembarking in Ibiza.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

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I watched as EUROPA 2 made her approach to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. After breakfast, we were off on a full day tour…

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Nora promontory.

Our first stop was the ancient ruins of Nora, some 40 kilometers away. The oldest known settlement in Sardinia, it was strategically situated on the southwestern tip of the island where a promontory sheltered its twin harbors.

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Nora mosaics.

In addition to a still-used amphitheater, Nora might be best known for its beautifully preserved mosaics. Much of the site has yet to be excavated.

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Stone and sky: Cagliari.

Back in Cagliari, we took a short walking tour through the upper castello region, past the two Medieval limestone towers (Torre di San Pancrazio and Torre dell’Elefante)

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Capers over Cagliari.

En route, we marveled at capers growing abundantly along the walls overlooking the city. Even without being processed, the little buds have a tangy “bite”.

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MV EUROPA 2 at Cagliari.

From the promenade atop Terrazza Umberto I, there was a nice view of the harbor and EUROPA 2.

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Terazza Umberto I from Constitution Square.

The Classically styled Terrazza Umberto I was completed in 1901 and nearly destroyed in World War Two but like most of historic Cagliari, faithfully rebuilt. We descended its steps into Constitution Square and enjoyed lunch at a local trattoria.

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MV EUROPA 2 at Cagliari.

Later, we walked out to the other side of the harbor for some shots of EUROPA 2.

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Via Roma, Cagliari.

The majority of the colorful buildings along Cagliari’s waterfront street, Via Roma, were built in the early 20th Century.

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Bronze lion of Cagliari.

One particularly grand structure, the Palazzo Civico (former town hall) of 1907, boasts bronze lions and eagles by sculptor Andrea Valli. As nice as it would have been to keep exploring, the heat in the aptly-named “City of the Sun” was beginning to take its toll.

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MV EUROPA 2 Belvedere, facing aft.

I was all-too-happy to head back to the air-conditioned ship. It was time for tea in the lovely L-shaped Belvedere Lounge on forward Deck 9, where a span of windows overlook the teak observation deck.

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MV EUROPA 2 Belvedere tea selections.

In the soothing air conditioning, the idea of freshly brewed green tea was most appealing. At the rear of the lounge, there are boxes with a variety of fresh leaves, including a pleasantly potent Shizuoka Sensai.

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MV EUROPA 2 Belvedere tea line up.

Gorgeous bone china pots, polished silver trays and those pretty blue sand hourglass timers were arranged in neat rows.

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MV EUROPA 2 Belvedere tea.

With a pastry selected from the bar on the port side, I sat, gazing into an introspective cosmos, savoring the chance to relax is such genteel surrounds.

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From Yacht Club to Cagliari.

I had almost forgotten how hot it was until venturing up to the Yacht Club for an al fresco dinner as Cagliari disappeared in our wake. We would soon be rounding the tip of Sardinia into the Gulf of Lyon as EUROPA 2 made course for La Savina, Formentera in the Balearic Islands. Fortunately, a day at sea lay in between.

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MV EUROPA 2 pasta served.

I became fast friends with the chef at the pasta bar, selecting extra garlic, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and a mound of Parmesan to augment a lovely marinara sauce.

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MV EUROPA 2 Yacht Club salad bar.

I also befriended the salad bar with its myriad greens and wide range of veggie selections. Of course, there was an armada of olive oils and vinegars as well as freshly made dressings to choose from.

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MV EUROPA 2 Yacht Club Mussel Bar.

The shellfish aficionados were swooning over the fresh mussel and oyster selection.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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Blue and orange to the sea.

A day at sea, not just to relax, but to savor and explore the wondrous new EUROPA 2, began contemplatively on the veranda with a fresh-brewed espresso.

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MV EUROPA 2 Bridge, facing starboard.

At 10:30, the bridge was opened for guests to visit.

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MV EUROPA 2 Captain Wolter on the wing.

It was great to see Captain Rolf Wolter once again. I first met EUROPA 2’s youthful master aboard HANSEATIC in Alaska some five years ago.

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MV EUROPA 2 aft from wing at sea.
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MV EUROPA 2 wing to sea view.

I lingered on the wing for some optimal views of the sea, then was granted a visit the fo’c’sle to get those signature shots.

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MV EUROPA 2 bulb at sea.
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MV EUROPA 2 face.

How nice that on such a new ship, there was actually a generous amount of space between the tip of the bow and the terraced superstructure.

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MV EUROPA 2 Gallery, facing port/aft.

After lunch, we met in the Art Gallery on the starboard side of Deck 9. Hapag-Lloyd partners with land-based galleries to host revolving art exhibits for several weeks at a time aboard both EUROPA and EUROPA 2. On our cruise, the Rothko-esque works of the late Rolf Hans were being featured.

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MV EUROPA 2 Knud shows an Eva Hild epoxy and ceramic work called “Loop”.

We were led throughout the ship on a guided art tour by enthusiastic and knowledgeable curator Knut Martensen. EUROPA 2 boats a world class collection of art that is enhanced by the ship’s tasteful, light-infused surrounds.

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MV EUROPA 2 stores tour.

Our afternoon of exploration included some off-limits areas like the refrigerated stores.

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MV EUROPA 2 wine stores.

Literally tons of fine wine, champagne and caviar await emancipation from the depths of the vessel.

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MV EUROPA 2 Control Room.
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MV EUROPA 2 Chief Engineer Silvio.

A handful of us enjoyed an even more special treat in a guided tour of the machinery spaces, from the control room to the azipod chambers.

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MV EUROPA 2 Weltemeere Restaurant, facing forward.

Definitely among my favorite spaces on any contemporary ship, the EUROPA 2’s wondrous Weltemeere Restaurant features a scalloped ceiling and extraordinary Murano glass light fixtures as its focal point. The room enjoys a restrained palette of burgundy and olive tones and is terraced in such a way that it feels both intimate and grand in scale.

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MV EUROPA 2 Weltemeere fixture.
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MV EUROPA 2 Weltemeere setting.

Those gorgeous Murano chandeliers are brazenly reminiscent of Seattle-based glass maestro Dale Chihuly and will surely be a challenge to maintain. That said, they lend a cutting-edge elegance and dramatic impact to the room, which can accommodate up to 266 guests in a single seating.

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MV EUROPA 2 Weltemeere sorbet.

Although we enjoyed the comfort and convenience of dining in casual attire, dinner was a supremely elegant affair with Hapag-Lloyd’s stellar service and exquisite attention to detail in both presentation and execution.

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MV EUROPA 2 Weltemeere pasta dish with a rosy dash of Parmesan.

Even so, I kept things simple with a pasta main course, marveling at the rosy reflections cast by those breathtaking chandeliers.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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MV EUROPA 2 at La Savina, Formentera.

I’d never been to La Savina, Formentera in the Balearic Isles, so took one of the first tenders, riding back and forth twice to get optimal shots of the ship in perfect lighting, framed by the rocky backdrop of Ibiza a mere ten nautical miles away.

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La Savina marina.

When I finally went ashore, I wandered into the marina town for about ten or so minutes before heading back to the ship.

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Formentera to Ibiza.

As lovely as Ibiza looked in the distance, I took in the rocky view with a tinge of dread, realizing that it was the end point of our short cruise.

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La Savina beach.

EUROPA 2’s fleet of zodiacs came in very handy, ferrying guests for joy rides along the shores of Formentera through a cluster of super yachts and into a cove with some of the most spectacular water I have ever seen.

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Zodiac refreshments.

In grand Hapag style, we sidled up to another zodiac for a cool drink and a toast.

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MV EUROPA 2 at La Savina.

On the way back, our zodiac “driver”, Hotel Manager Franz, circled the ship so we could get some nice photos.  Once back on board, there was barely time to eat, pack and grab a quick tea before EUROPA 2 made her way into Ibiza port.

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The revenge of Paris Hilton.

Sleepy by day, Ibiza is renowned as the party spot of the Mediterranean.  Alas, our visit was too brief to catch Paris Hilton’s upcoming engagement.

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Talamanca Beach, Ibiza.

After a dip at Talamanca Beach and dinner in a nice cafe on Ibiza’s waterfront, this latest adventure was drawing to a close.

End Of Luxuriating On The EUROPA 2

Very special thanks: Martin Cox, Moritz Krause, Cindy Tanenbaum

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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