Line: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Vessels: ms Europa, ms Hanseatic
Star rating: Europa 5+ star, Hanseatic 5 star
Tonnage: Europa 28,890, Hanseatic 8,378
Passengers: Europa 408, Hanseatic 184
What's included in the price:
- All meals (no surcharges)
- Soft drinks in minibar
- Sending and receiving text emails
- Cancellation penalty insurance
- Insolvency insurance
- Port taxes
- Government fees
- Room service
Hapag-Lloyd is one of the oldest shipping companies in the world and one of the two major German cruise line operators. The line operates at the top end of the luxury scale of cruise ships and has won many prizes and much praise from the cruising industry. The line operates four ships and is about to launch another. The ships tend to be more compact than the floating resorts that are now becoming popular in other cruise lines. Two of the ships are dedicated to pure cruising whilst the others are orientated toward adventures, such as visiting the ice packs at the poles, Greenland and sparsely populated South Pacific atolls. The company does not market itself much outside of the German speaking world but English speakers will be found on board. There are always the Americans but many Canadians and Brits join the Great Lakes and other cruises in North America.
As befits a line that aims to be at the top of the market, each ship is full service and all passenger accommodation is in outside suites, many having private verandas. Every suite is equipped with television and a fully stocked mini-bar. There is plenty of storage space with walk-in closets. Bathrooms are fitted out to the highest standards and fully stocked with luxury toiletries. There are no cabins especially designed for singles but the company always sets aside a number of them for single occupancy.
Each ship has several restaurants but the full passenger list can be accommodated for dining in the main dining room. Something that is unusual is that all drinks are included in the price of the cruise. There are no add-ons which can make other apparently cheaper cruises far more expensive when the final bill is totted up. Eating in restaurants other than the main dining room carries no booking or other fee either. This means that speciality Italian or Oriental food can be taken without the extra price tag applied as on many ships. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style with the opportunity to request special entrees for lunch. Dress code in the dining and other public rooms is collar and tie in the evenings with formal nights being balck tie occasions.
Each year the flagship Europa does a world cruise. Not many people take the whole cruise but the temptation is great to stay with the ship following the sun visiting exotic locations whilst living in the lap of luxury.
The ships have fully equipped fitness centres and saunas but there are no Broadway style revues or similar entertainment. However, there is always plenty of entertainment on board, especially music and dancing.
The passenger list is mainly made up of German speakers. Unless there is a significant number of English speakers aboard, all lectures and other events will be conducted in German. The crew speak many languages between them but almost all are able to speak English. Hapag-Lloyd aim to provide an all-inclusive luxury cruise which is aimed to educate as well as to entertain.
Top-class entertainment awaits you on Europa with high-carat music and entertainment. Occasionally there are performances at unusual locations ashore. There is the Europa Lounge " for performing artists and the Sansibar " a cosy bar at the aft overlooking the ocean.
Expect high-quality food on either ship. Europa has 4 restaurants: The Europa Restaurant, the two speciality restaurants, Venezia and Oriental, and the Lido Cafe with a more informal atmosphere. Being a smaller ship, Hanseatic offers two dining options. The quality of the food is truly worth her 5-star rating. There are no surcharges for alternative dining or special events.
Both ships carry bicycles for passenger use in ports and zodiacs for landings at remote sites. Business centres and in cabin access to internet and email. Europa offers a full Spa Centre, Ocean Spa, with a sauna and large treatment menu, fitness loft with sea view, a practice area for golfers, 15m long pool. Hanseatic has a dedicated cinema/lecture room, rubber boot room, gym with sauna, saltwater pool.
On Europa all cabins are outside cabins that are never less than 27sqm and the majority feature a private verandah. Outer cabins on Hanseatic measure 22sqm and suites measure a comfortable 44sqm. Each cabin features a complimentary TV information network with private email, movies on demand and satellite radio and cruise information.