Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2

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The fight to claim the title of “world’s most luxurious cruise ship” is hotly contested among a handful of players. Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd is one, with it’s boutique sized ship, Europa 2.

  • Sailing since: 2013.
  • Size: 42,830 tons.
  • Guests: 500, at double occupancy.
  • Accommodations: 251 staterooms including 2 owner suites. All accommodations, including 141 entry level staterooms, have a private veranda, and there are seven family apartments and a range of suites.
  • Dining options: 7 gourmet venues including room service.
  • Entertainment: Low key, with cultural talks, theatre including classical music shows and acrobatic performance.
  • What’s onboard: An outdoor pool with a retractable roof, a solarium, two whirlpools, a spa and gym, and shops.
  • Where you’ll find her: In 2018-19 Europa 2 will be cruising in Africa, Asia and Europe, also the Baltics, and the Middle East.
  • More Information: www.hlcruises.com.

The Ship

Haag-Lloyd's Europa 2 is regarded as one of the world’s most most luxurious cruise ships, and has been awarded the coveted distinction of 5-stars-plus by the Berlitz Cruise Guide 2018. Spending five days onboard, I had the chance to mingle, chat and talk ‘cruising’ with my fellow internationals, which consisted of 48 travellers on a full ship, and the consensus was that the ship is the ultimate luxury experience on water. As a luxury hotel consultant, I could appreciate the five-star hospitality which makes the Europa 2 highly sort after among affluent travellers in Switzerland and Germany. To welcome more international travellers, the ship has included German and English speaking programmes – I never felt at a loss for not speaking Deutsch on board. Translations were provided at most of the fitness classes and the entertainment where also bi-lingual. The international hostess Shereen made life simply enjoyable onboard Europa 2 -  and yes, she is an Aussie! 

Where We Stayed

Our Veranda Suite was was a spacious 28 square metres in size with a veranda, and came with perks including a walk-in wardrobe, a living area with a sofa separated from the bed by a small divider, a luxury bathroom with a separate bathtub and shower, and a free mini bar. The decor featured light blonde wood, and a soft palette of colours including cream, beige, and white, adding to the sense of brightness. The veranda was equipped with two chairs and a small table. Our stateroom was kept meticulously clean, the service was friendly yet not overbearing, and the staff were efficient and professional. Everything you can expect in a five-star hotel was available on Europa 2, including REN cosmetics for the high-end suites, thongs to wear to the pool, and a designer swim-bag for you to keep. 


(Everything else including dining, activities, etc) With more than seven exciting gourmet food outlets, each boosting their own chef, signature dishes and atmosphere, it definitely pays to be a little pedantic and reserve your dinner reservations in advance to avoid disappointment. The lineup includes the Italian,Serenissima, the Pan-AsianElements, Weltmeere which has a focus on European cuisine, the Japanese Sakura, the Yacht Club which is International, and the French venue, Tarragon. Spots for a drink include Sansibar The Belvedere café, the Collins Club which will be a hit for gin lovers, and a pool-side bar – it really is a gourmet foodies cruise. The Art2Sea is an ideal programme for art-lovers, while Be.You offers an intensive fitness program by a three-time Olympic champion Maria Höfl-Riesch. Music stars also perform at MS Europa 2 Unplugged, and the event evening Fashion2Night is an exclusive fashion show set against the backdrop of Hamburg. There are also Golf-specific cruises which take you to award-winning golf courses as shore excursions for golf-enthusiasts.

UltimateTravelMagazine.com Loves 

  • Caviar Night, where more than USD13500 is consumed in a single sitting!
  • The extensive Gin collection with over 200 labels.
  • The art collection aboard Europa 2 is one of the largest at sea, with 890 originals commissioned exclusively for the vessel. The collection's focus is on contemporary pieces; it includes works by Olfur Eliasson, David Hockney, Damien Hirst and Hans Hartung.
  • Masterclasses for gin and wine lovers, and cooking classes with Sous Chef Domink.
  • A bonus for international guests is a credit of 200 euro per traveller for drinks and free wi-fi.

Insider Tips  

  • Although Europa 2 is a luxury cruise ship, the dress is smart casual.
  • Book speciality restaurants before you cruise to avoid disappointment.


About Our Guest Writer

Michelle Tchea is the bestselling author of four books on travel, food and culture, and her work has been published in over 100 international magazines. She is also the owner of the Organics Company, Healthy Spoon, in Australia and a consulting firm in Europe, PopIntel Group, a luxury strategy firm in F&B. Michelle was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and has a steady stream of followers on social media reaching millions. Michelle's new book, Chefs Collectiveis out now. 


Guest Writer, Michelle Tchea