The ultimate in luxury cruising

  • Serenissima, the Italian restaurant Serenissima, the Italian restaurant
  • Familina apartment Familina apartment
  • Weltmeere Resturant Weltmeere Resturant

A Quick Glance

Destination(s) Worldwide

Duration 3 - 19 Days

Traveller(s) Family, group or friends

Trip highlight Exciting destinations, understated luxury, state of the art ship, exquisite cuisine

Travel Advisor Tracey Nelson

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The term luxury is used with abandon these days, but sometimes you find just the right definition.

We all know luxury is a relative term, and its definition is reflective of your personal circumstances.  On some days, luxury can be defined as a quiet afternoon without email or phone calls or social media, and a glass of wine as your only company (or is that just me?).  On others it can be a day on the bay with a group of friends, enjoying the sunshine and the company while everyone else is at work.

Recently I had the opportunity to tour Europa 2, rated by the 2017 Berlitz Travel Guide as the best small cruise ship in the world for the fourth consecutive year. In my job, I am not unfamiliar with luxury travel, and especially luxury cruise ships. So why is this ship more luxurious than its competitors? 

To being with, there’s the space ratio.  At 42,830 gross tonnes (which is a measure of internal space, not the weight of the ship), Europa 2 carries only 500 guests so there’s plenty of personal space.  Similar sized and even smaller ships, also billed as “luxury” regularly carry up to 700 guests. The ship itself is state of the art.  Furniture and fittings are bespoke.  Nothing has come off a factory line. This ship has been designed, built and decorated to offer a specifically individual experience.  There is an art gallery onboard, that does not sell art.  It’s purely for the purpose of enjoyment and education, and is complemented by scheduled art tours of the ship.

Huge windows throughout the vessel ensure that not only your suite, but the entire ship is flooded with light.  For those cruisers among you, this is not something that can be taken as given.  There’s nothing worse than feeling claustrophobic on a ship.

  • Tarragon French restaurant. Tarragon French restaurant.
  • Penthouse suite Penthouse suite

As well as the main dining room, there are six restaurants, none of which attracts an additional charge.  You are guaranteed a reservation in all of them should you so desire.

With 370 crew, to paraphrase the Europa 2 brochure, “mathematically speaking, you are only slightly more likely to come across another guest than encounter one of the Europa 2 team”

And this to me is where Europa 2’s true luxury is best demonstrated.  Service on this ship goes far beyond a pillow menu and gluten free meal options.

Unobtrusive restaurant staff come and go throughout your meal, serving courses and clearing plates in unison.  Whether you are a party of two or ten, the service never falters.  It is seamless, and the food is exquisite.  Menu choices are extensive, and no expense has been spared on quality ingredients nor on restaurant fittings.  Just look at the spectacular Murano chandeliers in Serenissima, the Italian restaurant, and the hand painted tiles and checkerboard floor in the Parisian brasserie inspired Tarragon.

If all that eating gets too much for you, the sporting amenities on board Europa 2 will have something to help you recover.  There’s two golf simulators and professional golf instructors if you want to improve your swing.  There’s a fully equipped gym and a sports & fitness program designed by a former German World Cup alpine racer and Olympian.  No half measures here!  And the pool with its retractable roof is a stunner. In addition to a fabulous spa offering all the requisite treatments and services, there are four saunas each with a different temperature, a Kneipp treading pool, a whirlpool and an ice fountain.  That’s for refreshing yourself, not your drink, by the way.

If there are kids in your travelling party, children up to the age of 11travel free and fares are heavily subsidised for those in the 12-15 year age bracket. As well as family friendly accommodation and Kids’ and Teens’ clubs, there’s also a full program of specially tailored shore excursions.  The day Europa 2 was in Melbourne the kids had their own visit to the Melbourne Aquarium – no adults allowed.

All suites have their own veranda, and can be configured to suit singles, couples, friends, and families (there are a number of two bedroom family suites), all with ample room and superb comfort.  It’s perfect for multi-generational groups.

There’s an entire list of amenities and benefits I haven’t covered here – including world class jazz, classical & theatrical onboard entertainment, a well-stocked library, zodiacs for cruising to hidden beaches & bays, free bicycle use in port, cooking classes in the Miele demonstration kitchen, and unbeatable environmental credentials.

You can start to see your own definition of luxury being realised already, can’t you?

Europa 2 itineraries follow the sun and include the Mediterranean, the Amazon, Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Indian Ocean.

The ship is part of the Hapag-Lloyd cruise fleet which also includes two quality expedition vessels which follow the ice, including both the polar regions. Imagine returning from a zodiac landing in Antarctica to a sublime lunch of steak tartar, turbot with leek, duck with sour cherries and chocolate gateau.

Adventure travel has certainly come a long way since the days of the early explorers.
  • Pool Deck - Ms Europa 2 Pool Deck - Ms Europa 2
  • Sansibar - Ms Europa 2 Sansibar - Ms Europa 2