Monday, May 27, 2024

Europa 2

 Hapag-Lloyd established a reputation for quality with their first cruise ship called Europa, the former Swedish-America liner Kungsholm. Built in 1956 it served Hapag-Lloyd until 1991. One of the finest looking ships ever to sail the seas, it was also among the last "two stacker" ocean liners.

Built in 1953 by Royal Schelde in Flushing (De Schelde Koninklijke Maatschappij, Vlissingen) Netherlands, iIt made its first Atlantic crossing from Gothenburg to New York in November 1953. North German Lloyd acquired it in 1965 (before the merger with Hamburg America Line to form Hapag-Lloyd in 1970) and it made its first voyage as Europa in January 1966 sailing to New York. It worked as a transatlantic liner seasonally until 1971 then became a full time cruise ship.

In 1981 it was sold to Costa Line and renamed Costa C.   On July 29,1984 it struck a breakwater at Cadiz, sank and was declared a constructive total loss. It was broken up in Barcelona the next year.

The second Europa, also a fine looking ship, but in a more modern style, came from the Bremer Vulkan yard in Vegesack in 1981. The 33,819 gt ship was a Halifax caller in its prime until sold in 1999 to make way for the third Europa. After its sale the ship changed hands several times and was been extensively rebuilt twice. After six renamings, the second Europa is now sailing as the Blue Sapphire in the Mediterranean from Turkey.

Another Europa (the third) was built by Kvaerner-Masa in Helsinki in 1999. A 28,890 gt ship it has a capacity of 408 passengers in 204 suites, with a crew of 275 and continues to serve Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Europa of 1999 held the Berlitiz rating as best cruise ship in the world - that is until Europa 2 came along. The Europa 2, (actually the fourth "Europa") built by STX France in St-Nazaire in 2013, is a 42,830 gt ship with a capacity of 526 passengers in 251 cabins with a crew of 370. With the greatest space per passenger of any cruise ship it wrested the Number One rating from its older fleet mate.

Europa 2 arrived in Halifax this morning May 27 and sailed this afternoon for Quebec City with an ETA of May 30. It is certainly a fine looking ship - free of  any of the super graphics and amusement park features of many new ships. Even its blue over orange hull stripe has been reduced to pin stripe proportions. It presented a sleek image as it picked up speed outbound and raised a small rooster tail. The only detracting feature is the unfortunate blue Hapag-Lloyd logo on orange funnel, with blue surround - although not as disturbing as the first Europa's double barrelled display on plain orange.

The Europa 2 is on an 18 day trip from Miami (May 13) to Montreal (May 31). It will then embark on a 14 day trip to Hamburg via St.Lawrence River ports and St. John's.


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