Advancement through elegance (and technology)! By Jos Dewing
Just a quick outline and impression here of a really beautiful and brand new piece of nautical hardware!
There is a very well-known German slogan meaning “Advancement through technology”, which has in itself become a company ethos and ‘premium’ expression in the world of advertising and manufacturing. I don’t need to provide the translation owing to its ubiquitous fame but as I stepped on board EUROPA 2 on Monday and received back my key card, it was almost instantly a phrase that kept running through my mind.
Wind back a few weeks and I knew little of the ship or indeed its German owner and operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. However, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the international partner event to celebrate its launch, a mini cruise embarking in Southampton for a single night with a single objective, to showcase the very ship that is being marketed as ‘the most luxurious in the world’, but which promises a far more relaxed approach to luxury. These are of course bold statements in a marketing led world where the word ‘luxury’ has been diluted somewhat in recent years with many products and services, holidays and items claiming to be luxurious that simply don’t make the grade.
As I approached the ship however, the word seemed wholly appropriate. Sleek, gleaming and immaculate in every sense. The ship appeared large and easily capable of taking many more passengers than the 516 guests who will actually be cruising on any one given holiday. The focus on these cruises, claims the company, is of shorter voyages that can be combined, opportunities to visit smaller and more off the beaten track ports whilst still enjoying a casual atmosphere with a 5-Star rating thrown into the mix.
One of the first things that I noticed when on-board was the combination of clean lines, technology and light. There was an exceptional sense of space and the entire vessel is clearly underpinned by the very latest in German IT and engineering, from the interactive guest information panels to the suite mirrors that know your name. An extremely smooth lift journey to the Pool Deck presents a glorious blend of relaxation and fitness. A long pool, spacious deck with bar and an impressive, retractable sun roof that gives Wimbledon a run for its money. And that slogan keeps running through my head.
I’m not going to get into the technical details and ‘expert opinion’ elements here as there are people that will do it far better than me (and already have), but I am going to highlight the top reasons I would personally consider cruising on this ship and please forgive the slightly amateurish photography used.
# Reason 1 – A sunny disposition.
I absolutely fell in love with the light throughout the ship. Everything was bright, draped in sunshine and very inspiring. This experience culminated on our second day when the giant glass sunroof over the pool deck retracted and the glorious sunshine and sea air burst onto the deck. Sheer perfection!
# Reason 2 – Exclusive luxury where children are inclusive too.
As a parent it’s often the case that the experiences of luxury travel and travelling with your children don’t always mix but I was very impressed with the consideration given to children on EUROPA 2. It’s never going to be running wild with kids but there are facilities to keep them entertained and to some extent, out of the way! Childcare is available and considered and there are kids clubs for little ones up to teens that certainly provide somewhere for them to ‘relax’.
# Reason 3 – My kind of dining.
This was in effect a shakedown cruise and things were still being worked on with regards to the dining proposition I’m sure but I really enjoyed the experience. I particularly enjoyed the breakfast and subsequent lunch in the Yacht Club Restaurant. A very nice blend of hot self-service options, interesting entrées, salads bar and even a full on German Charcuterie with many kinds of cured meats presented at a delicatessen style counter. I don’t mean this the wrong way but it was like a very upmarket IKEA lunch, as you could feel the European influence and focus but there was something clinical and efficient about the experience and the food was really good too!
#Reason 4 – Evenings to remember.
I think the blend of nightlife is spot on but there is an appealing ‘cultural’ strand to it too. The shows in the theatre are seemingly quite daring and original, but there is also the Jazzclub, Sansibar and other late night options for those who prefer to dance the night away or relax with a drink whilst being pleasantly entertained.
# Reason 5 – The little touches.
It’s nice when the extra steps are taken and you feel considered and cared about. I thought it was not only funny and appreciated but an intimate touch and in fact great service to wake up to see a ‘hangover kit’ waiting for me. This may seem an unusual thing to mention but when you’ve experienced a late and inclusive evening, it can be something you wish you had, but this fantastic ship has thought all about that way in advance.
I would certainly take my family on Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Europa 2 and will watch her progress with interest.
If you’d like further information regarding MS EUROPA 2 and would like to find out more about her upcoming itineraries, please call one of our Cruise Experts on 0800 008 6677. Alternatively, if you have any questions that you’d like ask about the ship, then please feel free to leave a comment below.