Hamburg, Germany-based Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ brand-new, five-plus star MV EUROPA 2 is equal in luxurious amenities to Berlitz’ world’s highest rated ship, the MV EUROPA but the newer ship maintains an elegant casual dress code, caters to families and English-speaking guests and sails on shorter itineraries than her more formal, Old World consort. Part one of this Decked! feature covers EUROPA 2’s upper deck areas and public spaces.
MV EUROPA 2
STX Shipyard, St. Nazaire, France (hull number H33)
11 Decks (8 for guests)
739 feet (225.38 meters) long
87.6 feet (26.70 meters) wide
6.30 meters draft
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2013 unless otherwise noted.
When deluxe German cruise operator Hapag-lloyd announced it was going to build the EUROPA 2, they were not contracting for just another cookie cutter newbuild.
At 42,830 gross tons and with a guest capacity of 516 , the EUROPA 2 is half again as large as the 28.890 gross ton EUROPA, which carries 408 guests. And based on double occupancy, her space ratio is an astounding 83 versus EUROPA’s 70.
So why have two EUROPAs under one handsome orange and blue banner? With this ship, Hapag-Lloyd is staking out a brand new market. The EUROPA will continue to sail on elegant, formal, globe-trekking voyages and cater to her sophisticated adult clientele. Meanwhile, the EUROPA 2 is just as elegant and even more spacious but retains a casual, ultra modern ambiance and caters to younger guests as well as families. EUROPA 2 also sails on shorter itineraries (mainly one week) that can be combined with other sailings for those who have more time to cruise.
The smaller, older sibling was built by Kvaerner-Masa shipyard (now STX) in Helskini, Finland, while the new ship is a product of STX Europe’s St. Nazaire, France-based shipyard, formerly the celebrated Chantiers de l’Atlantique, which built the NORMANDIE, FRANCE and many other historic liners. More recently, STX has produced NCL’s NORWEGIAN EPIC and the entire MSC Cruises’ fleet.
With EUROPA 2, extra attention and expense was taken to give the ship a stately profile. She has nice proportions, a long bow and a raked stern to avoid the over-stacked, boxy appearance of most modern ships.
EUROPA 2 has eight passenger decks, beginning at the top with Deck (11).
The far forward portion of Deck 11 is a crew area which is curiously followed by an empty expanse of open deck that separates the crew space from a passenger sunning deck. Such prime “real estate” could surely be utilized for something more than the occasional helicopter landing…
The Deck 11 sunning space is served by an open air bar, is lined in fresh teak, features a jacuzzi and is furnished with cushioned rattan loungers and cabanas.
Stairs on either side of Deck 11 lead down to Deck 10. From here, there is a nice view facing aft over the Magrodome and Deck 10 promenades.
Deck 10 begins with the wheelhouse, which is open, conditions permitting, once per cruise, for guests to visit.
Unlike most modern cruise ships, EUROPA 2 has open bridge wings.
2 Category 11 Owners Suites, 2 Category 10 Grand Penthouse Suites, 10 Category 9 Grand Suites and 4 Category 5 Veranda Suites follow the bridge on Deck 10. On EUROPA 2, a central passage connects the accommodation, resulting in fewer but larger cabins.
Teak promenades continue aft along midships Deck 10, each divided by glass screens with an inner portion overlooking the pool from underneath the Magrodome and an outer portion overlooking the sea.
The outer promenades on Deck 10 have more sunning space and even a shuffleboard court.
At the far aft end of Deck 10, there is a terrace of cushioned loungers shaded by a large cabana. A fleet of eight zodiacs are stowed just aft of the funnel.
Deck 9 begins with a gorgeous teak-topped observation area.
Open promenades continue aft on either side to the stern.
The interior portion of Deck 9 begins with the L-shaped, 157-seat Belvedere Lounge with a span of full length windows forward and along the starboard side.
The Belvedere and all of the EUROPA 2’s light and airy interiors were created by Hamburg-based Partnership Design. On the port side of the room, there is a snack and dessert counter as well as a bar.
The Belvedere Lounge is a wonderful place to relax, read and just gaze out at the sea. Each afternoon, it is the elegant setting for high tea with live music.
Directly aft of the Belvedere Lounge on the starboard side of Deck 9, a Culinary Center can host between 8 and 16 guests for cooking classes.
A dedicated art gallery follows the Culinary Center on the starboard side of Deck 9. A number of German-based galleries supply key works for the on board gallery on a revolving basis. In addition, the ship’s public spaces and key accommodation are filled with contemporary art compiled by curators from International Corporate Art (ICA).
On the port side of Deck 9, there is a 3-D Cinema with 75 seats that can be used for enrichment lectures, port talks, meetings and, of course, movie screenings.
Twin Libraries face each other from either side of the midships Deck 9 passage. On the starboard side, the dynamic space is largely used as a card and games room.
The Library on the port side of Deck 9 has books and DVDs in German with a small selection in English.
The forward foyer spans the height of the ship from Deck 4 to Deck 10 with a pair of panoramic elevators and stairs on either side. Each vestibule is enhanced with full length windows and artwork from the 890-piece, multimillion dollar EUROPA 2 collection.
Under the Magrodome, midships Deck 9 continues with one of the largest pools afloat. On either side, there are wood veneered bars that each seat 9 guests.
The long pool is surrounded by a tiled basin and wet seating area.
Another stairtower spans the aft part of the ship from Decks 9 through 4. More top-notch artwork adorns its landings.
The U-shaped interior portion of the Yacht Club buffet eatery seats 142 and is divided into three sections. The forward port area is the children’s dining area.
The center portion of the Yacht Club has action stations and a buffet counter as well as seating that overlooks the al fresco terrace aft.
The forward starboard wing of the Yacht Club is Sakura, a dedicated sushi restaurant.
Seating an additional 134 guests, the aft portion of Deck 9 is the Yacht Club terrace, an extremely popular al fresco dining area that overlooks the EUROPA 2’s wake.
Deck 8 begins with a narrow, sheltered observation terrace that is accessed from Deck 9. Immediately aft is officers’ accommodation, which is followed by guest suites in four categories (12 Category 8 Grand Suites, 2 Category 13 Grand Suites, 22 Category 4 Veranda Suites and 8 Category 12 Family Apartments).
The Knopf Club/Kid’s Club is located on the starboard side of Deck 8 near the stern. It is divided into several sections to accommodate different ages.
Sansibar is an extremely handsome nightclub/bar on aft Deck 8 that accommodates 48 guests inside…
…and 77 on a sheltered al fresco terrace.
Deck 7 starts with officers’ accommodation followed by a large block of suites (24 Category 2 Veranda/Ocean Suites and 46 Category 3 Veranda/Ocean Suites). On the starboard/aft side, there is a small Teen Center.
End of EUROPA 2 Double Decked!, Part One
Much More To Come…
Very special thanks: Martin Cox, Moritz Krause, Cindy Tanenbaum
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 www.midshipcentury.com 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."