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In case anyone should forget, a discrete plaque in the lobby reminds all guests of the prestigious Europa that they are indeed sailing on the only cruise ship in the world that achieved the coveted five star plus rating in the 2004 edition of Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships. Operated by respected German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd on unique worldwide itineraries, Europa is often referred to as the epitome of European refinement and style. On June 6th, 2004 I was able to take a peek on board and get a taste for "luxury cruising, Europa style".  

From the outside, Europa is a beautiful vessel. Not too big, not too small. With a well balanced profile and pleasing lines. The unconventional orange and blue livery was first introduced on the twin-funneled Europa that sailed for the line from 1965 to 1981. That ship was very popular, but quickly proved too traditional for her upscale clientele. Hapag-Lloyd obviously listened carefully to their guests, as the "new" Europa of 1981 was revolutionary in many respects and was quickly regarded as one of the best cruise ships afloat. When designing the Europa for the new Millennium ten years later, Hapag-Lloyd stunned the industry by introducing a slightly smaller and even more luxurious vessel. With even more space per guest than her predecessor and a whole range of innovations. Wilkommen an Bord!

Cruise Line: Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten
Year built: 1999
Price tag: DEM 260 million
Yard: Kvaerner MASA Yards, Helsinki, Finland
Gross Tonnage: 28,437
Length: 651.5 ft / 198.6 m
Beam: 78.7ft / 24.0 m
Passengers (norm.): 408
Passengers (max): 408
Crew: 245
Service speed: 21.0 knots
Flag: Bahamas


All photos and text: 2004 Bart de Boer -

First published on October 16, 2004. All rights reserved.