Cruise International Contributing Editor Sara Macefield gives her verdict on the recent enhancements made to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa 2
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2 emerged from dry dock in Hamburg in September with a fresh new ambience and a range of new facilities.

“We have to keep innovating and keep moving forward,” said a company spokesman during Europa 2’s maiden call to the UK when it docked at Tilbury.

The most extensive refurbishment took place in the spa area, which now features a lounge with an electric flame-effect fire, and new lounge furniture, while its four saunas have been given new themes with a Finnish Sauna; a Black Forest-inspired herbal sauna; a Deep Ocean escape; and a mineral steam bath.

The Spa, Europa 2
The Spa, Europa 2

Teenagers now have a new, more private space, with eye-catching graffiti artwork by Hamburg-based artist Lady Wave, a chilled lounge area containing cosy alcoves, and games consoles.

Europa 2’s library has moved to the Belvedere Lounge, a beautiful light and airy space at the ship’s bow which has been revitalised with a new layout and contemporary furnishings that have injected fresh life.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises bosses hope that by introducing distinct areas to the lounge with the library, a new barista coffee bar which also serves 50 different types of tea, and relaxation/seating area, it will become more of a focal part of the ship.

Belvedere Library, Europa 2
Belvedere Library, Europa 2

On Deck 4, the former Herrenzimmer gin bar has also undergone a transformation. Now called Collins, it boasts the largest gin collection at sea with 45 varieties.

This is also Europa 2’s smoking hub, as depicted by the striking centrepiece artwork of German shipping magnate Albert Ballin – credited with inventing Mediterranean pleasure cruises and former chief executive of the Hamburg-America Line, forerunner to Hapag-Lloyd. He is pictured smoking a pipe and surrounded by wild animals.

Smokers wanting to relax to a musical backdrop can also take their pick from the selection of old-style records housed here and spin their own sounds on the lounge’s new record-player.

Collins Bar, Europa 2
Collins Bar, Europa 2

Opposite this bar is the former Jazz Club, which has been renamed Club 2 to reflect the wide genre of live music performed here.

Europa 2 may only be five years old, but this ship has also gained its own museum, a pocket-size collection of memorabilia housed in a corner of the cruise sales lounge, formerly the ship’s library, and undoubtedly to whet the appetite of cruisers spurred to book again by changes which look guaranteed to keep Europa 2 at the top of its game.