Europa 2 -- as has been much trailed -- marks a radical departure for owners Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The ship will be heading into waters previously unchartered for the line: contemporary, family and international. Up until Europa 2, Hapag-Lloyd focused almost exclusively on the German market with its multi-award winning flagship, Europa. Now it intends to target the English-speaking countries including the U.K. and U.S. The 40,000-ton, 516-passenger, all-suite Europa 2 -- which launches on May 10, 2013 in Hamburg -- will have the highest passenger to space ratio of any cruise ship operating today.
Throughout the ship the colours are subtle with extensive use of steel, limestone, silverleaf ceilings, halogen lighting (which is kinder than LED) and the odd splash of bright colour from Murano glass, for example granny smith-green chandeliers in the Serenissima restaurant, the only place where marble has been used.
All the art is original and has been designed for particular spaces, except for pieces by Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter. Every second cruise an artist from different countries will come on board to give free art classes in the art gallery.
All 251 suites will have balconies; there will be 16 spa suites with whirlpool tubs and rain showers with steam saunas and -- in another first for the line -- seven family suites. Standard suites come in at 28 square meters, with the Owner’s Suite measuring 99 square meters. There will be bedside lighting controls, Samsung Galaxy tablets in selected rooms and customised cupboard space (there is even a space specifically designed with women's shoes and handbags in mind). The minibar/Nespresso/drinks unit is tailormade to fit the cutlery, glasses and drinks available. The bathroom with window onto the cabin comes with a blind and separate toilet. Toiletries are HLC’s own brand and contain sea fennel.
Restaurants and bars
The ship will have six bars and eight restaurants including three specialty restaurants with Mediterranean, French and Asian cuisine, as well as a Sushi Bar and no surcharges. There will be flexible mealtimes, no assigned seating, and 40 percent of tables will be for two. There is also an onboard culinary school equipped by Miele. The Tarragon Grill harks back to the eighties when serving at table was popular. The French-style bistro with tiled walls connects to the Grand Reserve which can be used as an extension but also offers passengers the chance to choose wines which the menu is then designed around. The Yacht Club has plenty of space for outside dining.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is again pushing the boat out, with a hi-tech theatre and a large LED wall extending across two stories -- a novelty for a small ship -- and big production shows exclusively for the ship.
Spa and fitness
The vast 1,000 square meter (10,764 square foot) spa area includes four saunas, eight treatment cabins, hammam and whirlpool. Within this space is a 210 square meter (2,660 square foot) fitness area with a room for pilates and spinning, and a 65 square meter (700 square foot golf area).
The pool deck, complete with 16m-long pool and magrodome, is outfitted with sound system, stage and lights, to enable pool parties within minutes whatever the weather.
Children under 11 travel free when accompanied by their parents; and kids from as young as two years old are welcome onboard. There are also seven family suites.