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Hapag-LLoyd Europa 2.

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Would love an update retiredandhappy!

 

Carolyn

 

I just found your post while I was surfing the web trying to find more information about the Europa 2. I have requested a quote for a combined 14 and 7 day trip in September from Athens to Istanbul and back to Athens. I am traveling with a person who is on kidney dialysis and the Europa 2 offers dialysis on selected trips. My main concern was the availability of English speaking shore excursions through the ship. I took a 14 day riverboat trip this summer on the MS Mozart (also a German ship) on the Danube and I made several German friends who I still communicate with. On the Mozart, they went out of their way to accommodate the small number of English speaking passengers. I am now over my fear of being in the minority on the ship. I am looking forward to your review as I wait for my quote. I am preparing myself for the sticker shock when the quote arrives.

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Would love an update retiredandhappy!

 

Carolyn

 

I have been working on this trip since the last post. As of yesterday it looks like the 2 cruises may be a go. At first the rep from Hapag-Lloyd said they could not guarantee English speaking tours. I also needed 2 beds, and their suites only have 1 bed. Their sofa beds are only big enough for a child. Seemed strange that they would build a new ship with that configuration, but it appears to be the case. Hapag-Lloyd now says that they offer at least 1 English speaking tour in each port. The bed situation has been resolved with a rollaway that will be set up in front of the veranda door in the evening and removed during the day. Not the best solution, but a reasonable compromise that will allow me to take this trip. These 2 cruises (21 nights and only 2 sea days) take me to a part of the world that I really want to see. The ship offers kidney dialysis which is a requirement. It also allows me to travel on a small ship. I am sold on the atmosphere of a riverboat or a small ship. Large ship cruising just isn't my cup of tea. Now for the price; it isn't a budget trip. With the cruise, business class air from Dallas, visas, shore excursions, tips, travel insurance and a glass of wine or 2, I estimate about $43K (for 2 people). I am waiting on the final confirmation from the travel agent and then I will start counting down the days until September. Everything I have read about the ship makes me look forward to the cruise. I have never traveled on any other small ship luxury cruise so I don't have anything to compare this trip to. The fact that I need kidney dialysis really limits my choices. I look forward to reading your review.

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I would never let what kind of tours a ship offers factor into my decision on whether to sail a certain ship or not. You are FAR better off arranging private tours in each port and they always offer English speaking guides.

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That might be true for 'normal' tours but any Hapag Lloyd expert tour is probably better and cheaper than what you could arrange by yourself.

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My last tour guide was a professor with degrees in Art History and Archeology who spent same time at Oxford and has lived in several countries including Egypt and Italy and works for the UNESCO world heritage center as an advisor. Another one had degrees in History and Archeology and has several books published. If you know tour companies who offer tours with people like that (especially in Italy or Spain) please let me now as I haven't found any.

Edited by cathaana

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Depends on where you are. In St. Petersburg most of the top private tour companies provide guides who are PHDs and extremely knowledgeable. Some ports require guides with local knowledge more than art or history backgrounds. And I don't care personally who competent the guide is if I have to sit on a bus and not be in control of what I'm doing or where I'm going.

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In St. Petersburg, we had private concert in the Heremitage with 1.5 hours to walk around after they had closed for the day. I checked a few tour operators but couldn't find any that offered something similar. And if I had it probably would have been prohibitively expensive.

I don't mind sitting on a bus for a bit if I have a guide who really knows what he is talking about or having a larger group (10 in St Petersburg) for events like the above-mentioned. So I'll stick with private tours when doing 'normal' stuff and with Hapag Lloyd when they do their special stuff. :D

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That might be true for 'normal' tours but any Hapag Lloyd expert tour is probably better and cheaper than what you could arrange by yourself.

 

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!

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On the Europa sometimes but on pretty much all the Hanseatic and Bremen cruises. Europa 2 I haven't seen any either. I don't think it goes with the 'vibe' that they are trying to create there.

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On the Europa sometimes but on pretty much all the Hanseatic and Bremen cruises. Europa 2 I haven't seen any either. I don't think it goes with the 'vibe' that they are trying to create there.

 

Too bad, if so. Sounds like something we would enjoy.

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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.

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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.

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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 :cool:

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We are back, and had a wonderful time. I'll put together a review today.

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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.

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Thanks so much for the review. The only thing I would like is included wines and alcohol. But it sounds like a great ship.

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…and here is my review. Hope you find it helpful.

 

http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=250860

 

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 :eek:. 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.

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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.

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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.

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