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It’s time to take another look at ultra-luxury Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. In May, the 516-passenger, $360 million Europa2 joined the line’s fleet, adding casual elegance with a much more casual, modern, younger appeal to the luxury line. The news:
• Europa2 is truly bilingual; English is the second language onbaord. Previously, the company has been strongly dominated by German-speaking guests, with specified bilingual cruises offering some shore excursions and enrichment in English.
• With a crew of 370-plus, the ship claims the largest space-per-passenger ratio in the cruise industry, with accommodations of more than 300 square feet and some up to 1,000 square feet, all with spacious balconies. Two hundred and fifty-one suites in seven categories all have verandas and amenities from coffee machines and portable phones to tablet computers. The very formal atmosphere and dress codes of Europa have been replaced on Europa2, where there is no formal Captain’s Dinner and eight restaurants provide open seating rather than set meal times. Nearly half of the seating is tables for two and Mediterranean, French bistro and Asian cuisines are featured. The largest restaurant, the Weltmeere, has extensive international and vegetarian offerings.
• The ship is very family friendly, with dedicated spaces for toddlers, children and teenagers, and seven family-oriented suites are set up with parents’ and children’s living areas, sharing a common balcony. There is also a shore excursion program with family appeal. Children under 11 sail free, and the fee for cruisers 12 to 15 is $60 a night.
• As Europa2 is aimed at a younger, international clientele, many of whom are working rather than retired, itineraries are shorter, although many can be combined to make a multiweek cruise. Europa2 is sailing seven-night Mediterranean sailings priced from $5,295, followed by 14-16-night Arabian Peninsula and Asia sailings from $7,910 per person.