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Best Small Cruise Ships: Hapag-Lloyd’s Europa 2

The Europa 2 in New York harbor.
The Europa 2 in New York harbor.
Tarragon Restaurant on Europa 2
Tarragon Restaurant on Europa 2

By Gary Walther

On the Europa 2 this past September, bound from Thessaloniki to Istanbul, The Hotel Detective found himself in a sea of superlatives.

The Europa 2 offers the highest passenger-space ratio of any cruise ship, a key index of luxury at sea. It has the highest cabin ceilings (12-14 feet) in the cruise industry, and the largest spa-fitness facility (10,764 sq. ft./1,000 sq. meters) for a ship its size (516 passengers). The art collection (890 pieces) is one of the largest at sea, and includes works by David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, and Damien Hurst. Europa 2 has the largest gin collection (37 varieties) at sea, surely the cheapest bar prices (E1,60 for a beer, E5-6 for a cocktail), and a most memorable room-service charge: none.

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GaryGary Walther, the former editor-in-chief of Departures and ForbesLife, now writes “The Hotel Detective” column on Forbes.com.

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