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How do you improve on perfection, that’s the question I asked myself on learning that EUROPA, one of the world’s most elegant ships, had been in dry dock for renovations earlier this year in Hamburg.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA underwent a comprehensive redesign to both interior and outdoor areas where 152 Veranda Suites and 4 SPA Suites received new carpets and furniture. New carpeting, woven exclusively for EUROPA with its own design, was also installed in the public areas, corridors and staircases, as well as renovation work in the atrium and pool area, according to reports.

All 152 Veranda Suites on decks 5, 6, 7 and 9 received a new colour scheme of sandy and natural colours combined with berry tones, giving a fresh and airy atmosphere. The living areas of the four SPA Suites on Deck 7 were also renovated with bright wall closets and new seating furniture.

EUROPA’s atrium has a new colour scheme, carpet islands and contemporary lounge furniture all contributing to making this central area of the ship a comfortable and leisurely place.

The renovation has also enhanced the popular pool area on decks 8 and 9 with new tiles, maritime colours and floating lights, generating an extraordinary atmosphere, especially in the evenings.

A total of 650 specialists worked on the modernisations which included 5,200 square metres of new carpeting, 1,000 square metres of renewed Bolit flooring and applied 25 tonnes of paint to the ship.

Some culinary innovations can also be found on board.  In Restaurant Dieter Müller late risers can enjoy breakfast until 12.00 hrs where, besides breakfast specialities, the menu will feature a daily recommendation, created especially by Dieter Müller.  Now that’s what I call civilised dining times.  Most other cruise ships close breakfast service in the Dining Room by 9.30 a.m.

DSC01935The latest edition of “Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships” has awarded the two sister ships in the luxury sector, EUROPA and EUROPA 2, the highest distinction of 5 stars plus. This makes both ships global leaders. “In the 29 year history of Berlitz ratings, this is the first time two cruise ships are in the exclusive 5 stars plus club. No other ships currently achieve such a high standard, which are set by the EUROPA and EUROPA 2 and their crews” said Douglas Ward at the presentation of the Berlitz award to the management of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

From 10-24 June 2014 on a bilingual itinerary through Western Europe from Lisbon to Hamburg, EUROPA will offer its annual food festival, EUROPA’s Best, which will take place onboard in Antwerp.

Known for exceptional music cruises, EUROPA will offer two bilingual classical music itineraries. From 29 April-11 May 2014 the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition will be held while cruising from Limassol to Venice. The Stella Maris concept brings together talented up and coming young singers from the best opera houses in the world in a vocal competition on board, who are judged by the EUROPA audience and a renowned jury.  The Ocean Sun Festival, held during the cruise from Travemuende to Hamburg from 31 August-13 September 2014, features internationally acclaimed classical music stars performing onboard, as well as exclusive concerts at historical sites ashore.

Sandra Tiltman   PHOTOS:  John Pond


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