Europa 2 – consistently rated the world’s most luxurious cruise ship – aims to tempt more Britons on board by offering every overseas passenger 200 euro towards their bar bill.
The move was announced by German owners Hapag-Lloyd in London as part of a bid to increase the ratio of foreign passengers on the ship to 15 per cent within three years.
Much of that increase is expected to come from Britain, which currently accounts for around five per cent of those on board.
Europa 2, launched last year, was awarded the highest rating of any ship by The Berlitz Guide to Cruising and claims to have the most space per passenger at sea.
It achieves this with all-balcony cabins, open art areas and tall ceilings. Being quite small, at 42,000 tonnes, and equipped with 12 Zodiac craft, the ship can pull into smaller harbours – or a captain can, on a whim, decide to organise a barbecue for passengers on a secluded beach.
With Michelin-star quality food in its seven restaurants, superb furnishings, spacious spa, a large passenger-staff ratio and comprehensive crew training, Hapag-Lloyd boasts a 98 per cent guest satisfaction score. Its director of product management, Julian Pfitzner, described it as ‘a contemporary lifestyle hotel floating on water’.
But with an occupancy rate of 60 per cent, Hapag-Lloyd wants to attract more Britons to its sailings in the Med – though executives did admit they were looking at ex-UK and even round-Britain cruises in the future.
The company has four ships – Europa and Europa 2 for the luxury market and Hanseatic and Bremen for expeditions. It promotes Europa 2 and Hanseatic for international guests and the others for German-speaking passengers.
One of the questions posed by British customers is whether Europa 2 is all-inclusive. Hapag-Lloyd bosses said they were reluctant to go down that route because they want to continue serving quality wine at decent prices.
So they struck on the offer of 200 euro per person to go towards beverages, which is likely to start this autumn though details are still being finalised.
With 30,000 bottles of champagne drunk in Europa 2’s first year and a 22,000-bottle cellar for 500 passengers, they might need a little help.
New routes announced this year include south and east Africa and Bali.
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