What: The Floating Piers, Art Project Where: Lake Iseo, Italy…
What: Traveling with the MS Europa 2
Where: Greek Aegean
Half of my childhood I spent on the sea. As a captain for a Hamburg shipping company, my father drove a reefer ship, so-called banana boats, on whose decks I learned to walk and later spent my school holidays on. Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific – on the world’s oceans around the world. In the opinion of my old master, cruise ships did not count to the true sea voyage. “Floating hotels” was his succinct commentary. The more exciting I was on my first cruise on the MS Europa 2, a 225-meter-long passenger steamer of the luxury category with room for 500 passengers. Our course: from Rhodes to Athens, a five-day short trip through the Greek Aegean. MyStylery’s diary in four chapters.
I leave Berlin at 30 degrees and bright sunshine and land on Rhodes in the southern Aegean Sea with rainy 20 degrees and grey sky. At the airport a friendly English-speaking taxi driver picked me up, who proved to be a perfect tour guide on the half-hour drive to the port. We pass the old, four-kilometer-long city wall of Rhodes town with its towers, fortress bastions and tombs before the driver drops me off at the berth of the MS Europa 2 directly in front of the gangway. When I arrive at the port, I pass security checks along with hand luggage – a procedure like at every airport. And soon I have the first bubbly in the hand, while I am at the front desk on deck 4 check in.
When I enter my 35 square meter porch suite (with outside balcony!) on deck 5, my luggage is already there. A fast service, which I miss in several luxury hotels. A short cabin scan: For the suite design, the Interior-team combined high-quality materials in beige and off-white tones with light wood. At the top of my favorites list is the walk-in wardrobe with lots of storage space. The spacious, mosaic-tiled bathroom with shower, bathtub and a generous range of personal care products is also available. My personal highlight is however the outside balcony. Here I will later bottle my bottle of welcome champagne, I suppose. Two hours to the sea rescue exercise – enough time for a small country trip through Rhodes’s enchanting old town. What I am experiencing here, I will soon report in a Rhodes extra.
Back on board, there is hardly time to air-sweep, because I am already in my orange-colored rescue vest, in which I look a bit like SpongeBob and just hear the security officer say that straighteners and curling irons from the cabin steward are collected as possible burners. Good to know! And yes, there is room for each of the 500 passengers in rescue boats: one should listen carefully, if the ship horns sound seven times short and once long. In the next round trip, over the seven passenger decks, past the pool, the six specialty restaurants, various bars, including the Sansibar, the theater and the jazzclub, the gentile and the spa, I wonder where I am right now? Ah, yes, at the MS Europa 2. Of a ship reminds me here at most the view outside. Would I be able to get around without the discreet signs on board?
In the evening I dine in the Asian “Elements”, one of six specialty restaurants, which are all included in the price, but require a previous reservation. A passenger of the MS Europa 2 will hardly suffer a famine, because the food is eaten theoretically around the clock and at a high level. If you miss the essence, go for club sandwich, pasta or sansibar’s legendary currywurst to the bar of the same name, or order the 24/7 roomservice. After the dinner, the passenger awaits the nightly entertainment in the theater: On the program “Musical Moments”. A showact – without a show. I do not worry. The actual theater takes place outside. At 11 o’clock local time, we set off under triple, penetrating ship horn’s signal and the ship’s own song „We are the sun“. Next stop: Santorini.
The early bird catches the worm, I tell myself, when my alarm clock dries me at 6 o’clock in the morning from the bunk – the very comfortable master-bed. From here I can look at the sea and watch as the MS Europa 2 seems to float above the water. I go to my balcony and look at the sunrise. This pink-gold shimmering light that blends the smooth sea and the sky into one. I listen to the water and the waves. And there it is, this typical, so familiar, deep-roaring engine noise of the ship that I know so well from my childhood memories, on whose quest I have been. Feelings of happiness.
With the elevator I reach deck 10, sit on the daybed and look at the islands that have passed. No one can be seen far and wide. The ship belongs to me. The rugged, brown rocks of Santorini are already visible, and the outline of the white houses with the famous blue domes, which stretch over the hills of the still active volcanic island, like pearls on a cord. Underneath I hear cutlery rattles from the “Yacht Club” restaurant. At this time you get one of the coveted outside seats.
My stomach is ready and suddenly I am already at the seemingly one hundred meters long breakfast buffet and before the agony of choice: I say no to egg dishes, the many bread and rolls, the salmon and sausage variants, the cheese buffet and other seductions. With muesli and fresh fruit, a green smoothie and “morning dew”- tea, I watch as the MS Europa 2 drives in front of Santorini, because there is no free berth for the ship.
One of the two 2 ton heavy anchors is let into the water under a powerful dive. A short time later, the first tender ship will be equipped with passengers who are equipped with a landing gear. I’m there and no 15 minutes later on Santorini. The island of Cyclades corresponds to the dream of a travel treasure prophecy, which I discover by bus and by foot. My tips and To do’s for Santorini I tell you in a special about the island. At this point only so much: Without hat, sunglasses, light protection factor 50 and some patience with the crowds of Asian travel groups nothing is possible here.
Had I already mentioned it? We left the bad weather front of Rhodes behind us. Instead pleasant 25 degrees, which let me enjoy my lounger on my suite balcony in the afternoon for the first time. As soon as I’m a little dozed off, it means to get changed for the evening program. Apropos change: The dresscode on board MS Europa 2 is very relaxed and casual. Surely, flip-flops in the evening are a no-go, but the tie can stay at home, too. Well-dressed women are always a feast for the eyes, so my tip for the ladies: grab your favorite dress or white pants with a chic tunic and leave the big robe.
In my currently favorite outfit, I walk to the “Serenissima” for dinner, go for the care of the friendly staff and a culinary journey through Italy: antipasti, homemade pasta and lobster on artichokes. There is always a fresh sorbet on the MS Europa 2, which is optionally filled with vodka or champagne. Guess what I choose?
Those who prefer to go ashore have the opportunity to do such until 11.30pm. Then the last tender boat goes from Santorini to the MS Europa 2, before we start at midnight with starry skies and calm sea to Naxos. A last look at the flashing lights in the hills of Santorini, before I review the day with my bedtime candy – white cranberry chocolate with red pepper. BvH
Read part II of my cruise experience, coming soon. Here are some more impressions for you …
Good to know:
13 to 20-day long-haul travels are offered during the winter months, while the MS Europa 2 travels on seven-day, combinable journeys during the summer. A one-week trip through the Aegean costs 4,920 Euros per person in the Veranda Suite including flight.
Contact MS Europa 2:
I was invited to this cruise as part of a blogger trip by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.