Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ First Birthday Summer Specials On Board The World’s Top-Rated Cruise Ship, ms Europa 2

Europa 2 at sea

A view from the Europa 2 at sea

In recognition of ms Europa 2 ‘s first full year at sea, Hapag-Loyd Cruises has a birthday gift for Cruise People clients. On seven cruises this summer you can enjoy cruising the Mediterranean at fantastic fares.

In a guaranteed Veranda/Ocean Suite Category 0 you will pay only £2,730 per person,cruise only, double occupancy – and save up to £1,500 per person. The eligible cruises all take place this July and August, with Saturday departures:

EUX 1419    July 12-19                              Rome to Barcelona
EUX 1420    July 19-26                              Barcelona to Rome
EUX 1421    July 22-August 2                 Rome to Barcelona
EUX 1422    August 2-9                             Barcelona to Rome
EUX 1423    August 9-16                           Rome to Valetta
EUX 1424    August 16-23                         Valetta to Venice
EUX 1425    August 23-30                         Venice to Valetta

You can enjoy even more space (560 sq ft) and cruise at a cost of just  £5,460 per person in a guaranteed Spa/Grand Suite category 6, 7 or 8.

In addition, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has a special introductory offer to the UK market, with a 10-night cruise leaving Southampton on June 25 for Barcelona, with fares starting at £3,990 per person in double occupancy. A 2-night sampler cruise also leaves Hamburg for Southampton on June 23, with fares fropm £840. Free business class flights are included either to Hamburg or home from Barcelona.

Unlike her fleetmate Europa, which concentrates on the German market, Europa 2 operates in the international market and full English-language services are offered on every departure year-round.

For further details please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise Poeple Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Mid-Size Newbuildings Take On New Importance – Small Ship Fleets Continue To Evolve – Carnival To Charge For Live Concerts

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 27th January 2014..

 

Seabourn Quest AerialRecent deliveries and orders for several new midsize ships in the 40,000- to 60,000-ton range signify a change in cruise ship development. The recent arrivals of Marina, Riviera, Europa 2 and orders for Viking Star, Seven Seas Explorer and a new 40,350-tonner for Seabourn, modelled on the smaller 32,000-ton Seabourn Quest (left), are beginning to hark back to the traditional days of cruising, making the big new ships look like circuses by comparison. The new midsize ships will become the First Class of 21st Century cruising while the megaships are quickly becoming the Tourist Class. At the same time, the small ship market continues to evolve, with the smallest Seabourn ships soon to go to Windstar Cruises. Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Lines continues the trend of adding extra charges to mainline cruises, with the addition of live concerts at a charge on board eight of its ships in the Caribbean and Mexico.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                  (See previous columns)

The Best Ship of 2013 – Changes In Expedition Ship Operations – One Hundred Years Ago: The Allan Line’s Alsatian

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 30th December 2013..

 

Europa 2 StairwellThe year 2013 has seen the arrival of the best new ship to join the world cruise fleet in some time, one that immediately achieved the top score in the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. This week we therefore bring you a brief photo essay of the Europa 2, taken on one of this year’s pre- inaugural cruises from Southampton (see one of her stairwells on the right). Elsewhere, we look at recent changes in the world of expedition cruising with the Sea Explorer and Sea Spirit. We also have a historical look at the introduction of the Allan Line’s turbine-powered cruiser-stern Alsatian one hundred years ago next month. This ship became Canadian Pacific’s Empress of France in 1919 and one of the first ships to offer a full world cruise in 1923.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                    (See previous columns)

Crown Princess Trapped by Storm – The Winter Season Of Liner-Style Voyages – Four-Night Sampler Cruises On Top-Rated Europa 2

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 28th October 2013.

Crown PrincessAfter P&O Cruises’ Ventura left Southampton for Barbados at 5 pm on Friday, Princess Cruises’ near sister Crown Princess (above) was due to leave 24 hours later. However, Princess Cruises decided to hold her back due to the impending arrival in the early hours of Monday morning of a storm called St Jude. We have a look at what other ships in Southampton did. Elsewhere, November usually marks the great peregrination of cruise ships from Europe back to the Caribbean for the winter, while January sees the annual Australasian departures, so we have a look at opportunities here. Finally, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have announced four 4-night opportunities to cruise in the top-rated Europa 2 in the Baltic next June.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                        (See previous columns)

Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 Turns Out To Be A Real Game Changer

Europa 2 at Southampton (Wikipedia)As we predicted in April 2012 after seeing the artist’s depictions of the public rooms and restaurants, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 has indeed turned out to be a real stunner. Compared to her fleetmate Europa, now fourteen years in service, it is difficult to see how cruise rating aficionados will not be able to give her an even higher rating, which would make her the top-rated ship in the world. With her high ceilings, large windows and open decks and a passenger space ratio of about 80 tons per passenger (a world record), this is a ship where everywhere you go the sea is with you.

Along with the great and the good of the cruise and travel press, about sixty top UK cruise agents were invited on a one-night cruise from Southampton along the English Channel towards Cornwall last week. Also on board was Douglas Ward, editor of the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships.

Europa 2 French RestaurantTwo of the themes on the new ship are “Relaxed Luxury” and a “Hideaway at Sea.” This is quite different from what is on offer in the rest of today’s cruise market, even from ultra-luxury operators. Europa 2 is aimed squarely at a different audience – the affluent executive and professional classes still in work, younger in age and with growing children. The new ship’s dress code is therefore smart casual, not formal.

To reach this audience, the new ship’s operation is quite different from others. Her summer cruises in the Mediterranean are based on 7-day itineraries that can be extended to 14 or 21 days, with no itinerary repeated before three cruises have elapsed. In addition, nannies will be engaged on a ratio of one for every four children. Because of this and the need to house entertainers, although the ship has been designed to accommodate 516 guests, it is unlikely that her passenger loads will ever exceed 480.

Her shorter routes are ideal for a new audience. With 7-day combinable Mediterranean cruises and 13-to-20 day combination cruises to far-away destinations by winter, Europa 2 meets the requirements of young high-earning professionals and families with limited holiday time. Calling at 123 ports on twenty-six different itineraries this year, her cruises will take guests to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia and China, and then in 2014/15 to the Americas.

119All itineraries are based on ports that have plenty of air service and are easy to get in and out of – for example, Barcelona, Monte Carlo (Nice) and Venice, Dubai in the Middle East, and in the Far East, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The ship’s size is a major advantage – with a length of 739 feet and a draught of 20.7 feet, Europa 2 is capable of calling at small, rarely-visited ports such as Bonifacio and Portofino, where larger ships cannot go. Twelve Zodiacs are also carried to take passengers ashore to lagoons and beaches that other ships cannot reach. The Europa 2 also introduces some new concepts. She has a magrodome, but it is not the usual cover over a pool deck but is two decks high.

The new ship’s accommodations are all Veranda Suites, with balconies each measuring at least 75 square feet. All suites come equipped with a free mini bar, Wi-Fi Internet access (at a charge) and a tablet computer. The ships 251 suites come in seven categories measuring from 301 to 1,066 square feet. The highest categories have whirlpools with ocean view.

144Sixteen Spa Suites have whirlpool tubs and rain showers with steam saunas, providing guests with a private oasis of well-being. For families traveling together, there are seven family suites, where parents and children live in two separate areas, connected by a door and a shared balcony. What’s more, children up to the age of eleven are carried free of charge as long as they occupy a suite with their parents.

Important to Europa 2 is that every cruise caters to international passengers who speak English. This is unlike the present practice, which is to nominate international cruises for each ship in the fleet. By this means, it is aimed to increase the number of English-speaking passengers by four- or five-fold, from ten to twenty per internatuonal sailing now to fifty to eighty in three to five years’ time.

There are eight different restaurants to choose from and wines and spirits are sold at prices that are cheaper than onshore, unlike virtually every other cruise line other than the all-inclusive ones. Beer is about €1.40, a cocktail around €4.20 and bottles of wine run from about €14. The usual practice on cruise ships has moved away from such duty free prices to charging full shoreside hotel prices. Hapag-Lloyd’s goal is not to maximise on board revenue but to offer value and a good experience. Also, in the alternative restaurants, it will not be possible to book more than forty-eight hours in advance, giving an opportunity for all to experience them where on some lines old hands have been able to monopolise these spaces.

All in all, some interesting ideas are coming out of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and this ship is a real game changer. The most interesting thing about this ship was that at the end of the voyage many said they did not want to leave her.  She was christened in Hamburg on Friday, May 10, 2013.

For further details on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and how to book the Europa 2 please contact Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or Freephone 0800 526 313 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Crystal Cruises Extends Getaway Cruises Offer – Cuba Back on the Map – World’s Largest Container Ship – South Africa Liner Voyages

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 25th February 2013

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Get away for 5, 6, 7 or 8 days on Crystal Cruises, from £1,248 per person all-inclusive for 5 nights

Crystal Cruises has announced an extension until the end of April of its special offer fares for shorter 5, 6, 7 and 8-night cruises for summer 2013. These “Getaway” cruises allow busy executives and first-timers to sample the now all-inclusive Crystal ships at lower fares. While Silversea has also announced some 4 to 7-night cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new Europa 2 is due to enter service in May. Unlike the existing Europa, which offers longer cruises, she offers exclusively 7-night Mediterranean cruises this summer. Elsewhere, Cuba is back in the news with the announcement that Cuba Cruise will begin offering 7-night Round Cuba cruises from Havana this winter in the Louis Cristal. And CMA CGM, having opened up its largest container ship, CMA CGM Marco Polo, to passenger bookings, now offers almost 600 passenger berths on 70 ships on its various routes worldwide. Finally, Cruise & Maritime Voyages has just announced two South Africa liner voyages for the Astor in  2014.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                (See previous columns)

Two Trios of Mega Ships A Century Apart – Norwegian Cruise Line Flotation – Costa Concordia One Year On

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 14th January 2013

Imperator courtesy of Ocean Liners of a Bygone Era A hundred years ago, Hapag’s 50,000-ton Imperator, Vaterland and Bismarck were the largest in the world

A hundred years ago, the Hamburg America Line introduced the largest ship in the world when it christened its 52,117-ton Imperator, first of a trio, in 1913. And last month Royal Caribbean announced that it had ordered a third ship of its 225,000-ton Oasis class, for delivery in 2016. Hamburg America Line’s successor, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, is this year introducing its Europa 2, which if not the largest in the world may be the most luxurious for today’s generation, something that the Imperator boasted as well. Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it is floating on the NASDAQ and Costa Cruises commemorates the first anniversary of the loss of its 114,137-ton Costa Concordia, the largest passenger ship loss ever, at Giglio.

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)