When Hapag Lloyd Cruises launched their barnstorming new Europa 2 back in May this year, the line embellished her with a whole new series of firsts. She has her own cordon bleu cookery school, as well as the greatest amount of per passenger space ever seen on any ship.
Then there were the standard balconies; the largest ever seen in the deluxe market. Eight restaurants… the superlatives kept flowing like fine wine.
And speaking of wine- Europa 2 boasts a stunning, 19,000 bottle wine cave. Carefully situated on deck 2, where any movement of the ship will least upset the wine, it is a platinum chip ticket to spectacular indulgence. No less than four hundred and fifty cuvees are stored here, originating from across something like fourteen different countries.
This probably makes the Europa 2 wine cellar the most spectacular discovery since Tutankhamun’s tomb, and with the top of the range, 2008 Romanee St. Vivant Domaine Romanee Contee Burgundy coming in at a mere fourteen hundred plus euros per bottle, it might be only slightly less valuable in terms of content.
Not that all of the stuff down here is of that kind of price, mind you. Perfectly fine, very drinkable red and white house wines are on offer for between twenty and thirty euros per bottle.
The installation and stocking of wine cellars has always been a major preoccupation of all top end lines. Back in 1935, the legendary Normandie had her wine cellar stocked up a full six months before her maiden voyage, in order that the wine have time to settle properly.
Similar care and dedication seems to be a priority on the new Europa 2 as well. Chief wine sommelier, Florian Sender, can organise some truly spectacular wine and food pairings in the Grande Reserve restaurant aboard the new flagship. Some of these wines are incredibly rare; the choice of wine by the guest determines the kind of dish that will be served to complement it. In such a setting of casual, spectacular luxury, this idea is an inspired, surefire winner.
In need of inspiration and education? The Grande Reserve also hosts some truly intimate, exclusive wine tasting sessions, limited to a maximum of twelve persons per session. And, as well as hosting a whole raft of sensational vintages and champagnes, the spectacular cave on Europa 2 also cradles a few, select caches of specially picked ‘winegrowers champagnes’, sought out and brought aboard for their exceptional high quality and originality.
Inspiration. Education. Individuality and sheer, exclusive excellence. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises are clearly onto something here. Prost!