TOP OF THE TREE

It’s that time of year when the awards come thick and fast in the travel industry, including some focused on cruise lines.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' ship Europe 2 is rated tops in two leading 2017 cruise guides.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ ship Europe 2 is rated tops in two leading 2017 cruise guides.

With hundreds of cruise ships to choose from australiancruisingnews.com was surprised to see two of the best known guides for cruise ships – the annual Berlitz Cruise Guide for 2017, and Stern’s Guide to Cruise Vacation 2017 – had both rated the same ship as “the best” on the high seas.

The Berlitz Guide awarded Europa 2 and her sister ship Europa its highest distinction as the only 5-stars-plus cruise ships worldwide. Out of a possible 2,000 points, Europa 2 was awarded 1,860 points to lead the category “top 5 small ships with 251 to 750 passengers”. Europa scored second place with 1,852 points.

Both luxury cruise ships, each carrying 516 passengers, are with the German Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary year.

Berlitz guide author Douglas Ward, who spends more time at sea than on land, judged 295 cruise ships from large to small and scored them on a range of criteria such as ship fittings, accommodation, food quality, service, crew, entertainment and the cruise experience.

Ward says Europa 2 is an ultra contemporary ship that is only a few years old, and very traditional in its style, catering for guests, predominantly Germany, “who love to dress for dinner”.

In Stern’s Guide, Europa 2 took top ranking with the highest distinction, 6-stars-plus for cruise ships worldwide, and Europa was also honored with 6-stars.

“Having cruised on over 800 ships, I can honestly say that no other ship was as exquisitely beautiful as the Europa 2,“ author Steve Stern said.

Commenting on the success of his ships, Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, says the company’s aim is to create unique cruise experiences for guests.

Right now Europa 2 is cruising from Tahiti to New Zealand and will cruise on to Australia over Christmas-New Year, while Europa is sailing from Mumbai to Singapore, hl-cruises.com

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