Sailing aboard the worldâs highest-rated luxury cruise ship
This September, Iâll be travelling to Istanbul, Turkey for a short stay â and the start of a very exciting Live Voyage Report.
Aside from the exotica allure of Istanbul, the primary reason for my trip is to experience Hapag-Lloyd Cruisesâ EUROPA 2 â the highest rated cruise ship in the world according to Douglas Wardâs well-respected Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships, 2014 Edition. The second most highly-rated ship in the world is actually EUROPA 2âs sister â EUROPA. Iâll be joining this sleek 500 passenger ship that was just launched last year for a short voyage around Turkey and Greece.
The full itinerary, both here and onboard:
|Friday, September 19, 2014||Istanbul, Turkey||International Flight to Turkey||Overnight in Hotel|
|Saturday, September 20||Istanbul, Turkey||Embark EUROPA 2||24:00|
|Sunday, September 21||Cruising the Dardanelles Strait|
|Monday, September 22||Mitilini /Lesbos, Greece||04:00||18:00|
|Tuesday, September 23||Volos, Greece||07:00||17:30|
|Wednesday, September 24||Kusadasi, Turkey||Disembark||Onward journey home|
Designed to cater to a bilingual clientele of German and English-speaking guests, EUROPA 2 is unique amongst her fleetmates in that the vast majority of her voyages are roughly a week in length, and each one is offered in both English and German. In the past, the line had offered a selection of voyages catering to English-speaking guests, but these were operated on specific dates and destinations that may not have always meshed, particularly with interested guests who hail from the United States, where vacation time is a precious commodity.
If a week isnât enough time, itineraries can be combined to create a longer voyage, and guests have the option to embark and disembark at most major ports of call â pending government approval and the approval of the line.
The changes aboard EUROPA 2 arenât just limited to the onboard language and itineraries. Despite being the highest-rated luxury cruise ship in the world, Hapag-Lloyd wisely caters to families as well, with separate kid and teen areas and dedicated programming and activities for both.
Thereâs also no official dress code onboard, though Hapag-Lloydâs 2014 brochure does recommend a jacket during the dinner hours for gentlemen. Itâs a move that the lineâs bilingual clientele wants: a classy, elegant liner without the rigid formality that continues to define even mainstream cruises.
For example, you wonât find the Captainâs Dinner onboard â or a single large, cavernous dining room, for that matter. Instead, dining has been turned into one of ERUOPA 2âs strong suits, with seven different restaurants onboard. Thereâs no strict meal times, and each restaurant offers its own intimate design and beautiful colour palette.
The one venue I canât wait to try is the Restaurant Tarragon â complete with dark pillars and upholstered green seating flanked by overheight windows, this French-oriented restaurant is designed to mimic a fine Parisian brasserie. Hapag-Lloyd says the cuisine here is âsimple but refinedâ, and I donât doubt them for a minute.
The post Live Voyage Preview: Turkey and Greece onboard Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2 appeared first on From The Deck Chair.
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