Are European cruises worth it?

MS Europa: are luxury cruises worth the money?

4,000 euros and more for a 7-night cruise on the MS Europa. How great must a cruise ship bethat it's worth it? From the experience with some expensive, noble hotels ashore, I was always of the opinion that - for me, very subjectively - it is not worth it, to spend a lot of money on such a luxury cruise. I can't afford a luxury ship anyway, but you do think about whether you would treat yourself to something like this if you could. So far, my answer has always been a resounding “no”. Too aloof, too stiff, too obsessive, I have seen corresponding hotels on land.

Reserved, reluctant employees, given the floor "Tip" literally on the forehead or on the open palm is written. Receptionists who treat you so exaggeratedly polite that you almost feel ridiculed. But then a page who - politely but not condoning any objection - tears my suitcase out of my hand, only to take 20 minutes to bring it to my room.

But the MS Europe has now convinced me of the opposite for the first time, at least as far as cruise ships are concerned. I could very well imagine a private vacation on this ship. I would be on the Europa if I could.

Why? I am fascinated by that warm cordiality on the ship. The passenger is almost treated like a good friend - even if it sounds a bit silly and everyone knows that of course it is not. But it looks like that, and it's pretty believable.

Which is me too surprised has on the MS Europa is how much difference it makes that the staff not only speak German - many crew members on other ships do that too, with a very sympathetic, Ukrainian or Hungarian accent. Most of the crew members on the Europa are actually German. I say that my English is excellent. I can think in English, I often even dream in this language. Nevertheless, it is surprisingly relaxing and actually gives you a certain additional "at home" feeling when you are surrounded by native speakers. This is probably not just the language alone, on which one has to concentrate less, but also the culture and mentality, which just seems familiar and requires less (unconscious) effort.

Far away from Ballermann and Co.

And now comes the point where I'm probably acting like a snob. This is not intended (and hopefully not the case). But I also felt very comfortable on the MS Europa for another reason, which I find worth mentioning, even if I am then accused of being a snob ;-) Because of the relatively high price For a cruise on the MS Europa you won't meet a passenger here who would otherwise like to book all-inclusive in Antalya, a week trip to the Ballermann or a coffee trip to the Bavarian Forest. Because it is this audience that usually leads me to to make a wide berth in typical German holiday destinations.

Through the modern-casual atmosphere on the MS Europa On the other hand, you don't meet the overly important, I-show-what-I-have-German, who rushes nagging across the decks with egocentric importance at everything ("After all, I paid for it, so please jump a little faster for me"). The audience is refreshingly friendly, communicative, but unobtrusive. People who don't have to show off, but are simply well-off as a matter of course, without having to show it.

Time to relax

In another aspect too I hardly recognized myself on the Europa. I can hardly sit still even on a cruise. Curiosity, the urge to explore, drive me too much ashore or at least with the camera over the ship to explore every corner. Sometimes also the unconscious worry of missing out on something. Different on the Europa. On the one hand, Europe is of course not that big, so you can quickly get through with photography.

But that's not all. In the morning in the Lido Café on deck 8, half in the sun, half under the white awning time seems to stand still. Here I sit and just don't get up anymore. Why should I? Here it feels like you've found the perfect place on earth. With a cup of tea, the gentle rustling of the sea, a deep calm and relaxation. Why should I move away from there again? It takes a lot of willpower. Or a wife, a daughter or - as on the press trip in May - a colleague who nudges you and brings you back from your daydreams into the less unpleasant reality of the ship.

I don't want to rave about too much, or someone will comment again: "No wonder he writes so positively, after all, he was invited to the cruise by Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten." That's right, I was invited. As already mentioned, I couldn't afford to do it any other way. And maybe you see things a little less positively if you haven't paid for them with your own money. But if there's nothing fundamental to complain about - and that's what you should expect from a 5-star-plus ship - then that's the way it is. I can't make up anything negative just to demonstrate that I don't shy away from criticism.

Details that make the difference

Let's get to the point again with a very mundane example: Even the toilet paper is much better on the MS Europa than on mass market cruise ships. There one is always told that the marine toilets can only tolerate the extremely thin, scratchy paper. I'm not an expert on ship sewers, but on the Europa the toilet paper is still fluffy and soft and has four layers. And not an ultra-thin version of what I usually know as sandwich paper.

The toilet paper is there as an example for a lot of small details on the MS Europa - Most of them, of course, in a more appetizing context ;-) Only those who don't care about such details will not share my judgment. But if you have always wished that a lot of things would go much better on a cruise than with the usual mass market standard, you will see it just like me: Cruising is twice as much fun on this ship. Maybe it's enough for a 3 or 4 night short cruise. In any case, that brings about as much of the recreational value as a whole week on one of the 4,000-passenger mass-market ships. In relation to some ships that are now deliberately not named, even significantly more ...

Note *: Cruisetricks.de traveled three days on the MS Europa at the invitation of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten.
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Notes on editorial independence and advertising

Cruisetricks.de traveled three days on the MS Europa at the invitation of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten.

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