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Luxury CruisingIs it a state of mind?
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Apparently expert tours are only offered on the Europa, not Europa 2 (at least, that is how I interpret the website information).
We leave on our Europa 2 cruise in a couple of weeks!
I will be very interested in your opinion of the trip and the ship. I just sent in my deposit for the Athens to Istanbul and the Istanbul to Athens trips in September. This is my first trip on a Hapag-Lloyd ship. I really want to be able to use the ship's tours and not have to worry about trying to book my own tours, particularly in the countries that I am traveling to. I am interested in how you did it and if you used the ship's tours and what you thought of them. I hope you enjoy your trip.
I will be very interested in your opinion of the trip and the ship.
I will let you know!
It is our first time on H-L as well; previously we've done Windstar several times and a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary. We have one excursion booked and will probably sample one or two more, but we like to wander on our own, too.
We leave on our Europa 2 cruise in a couple of weeks!
Wonder if you are back yet ?
Really hope that you write up a full review and put it in the "Cruise Reviews" section.
There are only 7 reviews there for Hapag-Lloyd cruises ! and last one for Europa was put up in 2010 ! So, not much use for anyone trying to get an overview of many aspects of life onboard (and especially so for any cruisers who don't speak German).
And you'd be the first to review Europa2
Oh, smoking - yes, I should have mentioned that because it was a concern of mine, too. So it is allowed in parts of some public areas and on balconies, I believe. But it turned out not to be a problem at all. The rare times we were aware of smoke it was fleeting and from a distance. We never felt a need to avoid it.
I think I would still let my travel agent know your concerns, if only to let Hapag-Lloyd know it is a potential booking issue for them.
That's right about the dress code - no formal nights at all, and mostly just an expectation that you not get overly casual. Everyone on our cruised looked appropriately dressed for dinner in a beautiful, but relaxed, restaurant.
Thanks so much for your review. I have been waiting to hear how you liked your trip. I have booked 2 cruises in September. Unfortunately, 1 trip is in the Black Sea with 3 stops in the Ukraine and 1 stop in Sochi. It looks like I may be cruising on a Russian battleship rather than the Europa2 . Hopefully everything will settle down by September.
Could I bother you with 1 question. I read your comments about the dress code and wanted to know if there was any reason to take a suit or sport coat? Were there restaurants where a coat was more acceptable? My preference is not to wear a coat for any meal, but I do not want to feel out of place. Thanks again for taking the time to write this review.
[quote=retiredand happy;41921326] I read your comments about the dress code and wanted to know if there was any reason to take a suit or sport coat?
Great question! I think you will be happier if you take a sport coat (or 2?) along. You will feel quite comfortable in the restaurants if you are wearing a jacket, although ours was a tropical cruise and many man opted to go without. Another reason to take one is that you may want something nice to wear on deck in the evenings, when it is cooler. I don't think you need a suit, though. My boyfriend brought two sport coats and wore them both.
Your itinerary sounds so wonderful. I'm optimistic that the Ukraine situation will have settled down by then, and if not, I hope you get a nice cabin on that Russian battleship.
Were there restaurants where a coat was more acceptable?
Sorry, forgot this part. You'd only need a sport coat at dinner. All the restaurants are the same in this respect (although the Yacht Club buffet is always informal). But I think if you prefer not to wear a jacket you'd be fine.
Given the passengers are predominantly German, was interaction with them easy or difficult?
Well, we only tried one show, a sort of cabaret thing, but it was quite enjoyable. We heard good things about another one, too - a magic show. The shows go on at 10 pm, and the one we saw lasted about an hour.
The theater is lovely, by the way.
Interaction with the German passengers was easy! We had many enjoyable conversations, and everyone seemed to speak at least a bit of English. As an example of their general fluency, our excursions were hosted by local guides who only spoke English, and the other passengers didn't need German translations. And people were very friendly.
Just dropped back in here to say thanks...... as I've read your review. Good of you to take the trouble. It's helpful, informative and reassuring to anyone considering Hapag Lloyd and particularly Europa 2 (As I'd love to myself one day ).
Particularly comforting to find that it would not be a disadvantage in not speaking German (however having said that, if I was to go, I would make a point of learning some beforehand ).
Best wishes !
Finally: Cruise Critic's staff review on Europa 2 has launched! Hope it's helpful and happy to answer questions. In a nutshell, what I liked best:
*Cabins, beautiful and spacious.
*Variety of eating options, plenty of outside tables
*Really interesting itineraries
(oh, and the ship itself is just gorgeous).
What I didn't love?
*I'm super-sensitive about cigarette (and cigar) smoke so take this with a grain of salt but smoking was rampant outdoors at the Sansibar. It is our favorite lounge, but you come outside to smell fresh air not wafts of cigarette smoke (there was no smoking in restaurants).
Anyway, happy to chime in....
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief