Simply the best!
This was our fourth family cruise on MS Europa in as many years (that speaks for itself) and we were very interested to see whether she still sparkled, given that in the Berlitz ratings, she had just been overtaken by her younger (and slightly larger) sister. We need have had no fears despite her Number 2 world ranking! We flew from London to join the ship in Nice and were swiftly greeted on the quayside and escorted on board by a charming stewardess (who insisted upon carrying our hand luggage). Once on board, we were promptly offered fine quality champagne and canapés before being taken to our suite towards the aft of deck 6. The suite had been newly refurbished and was simply stunning. A bottle of champagne, strawberries and chocolates awaited us as well as a lovely gift for my daughter - little details which mean a lot. The in suite entertainment system is fabulous and offers complimentary e-mail which is very helpful for my business! After unpacking, we made our way to the life boat drill which was delivered in English within the comfort of the Clipper Lounge. We then set about dressing for dinner and took our seats in the beautiful EUROPA restaurant just after drinks and canapés in the Atrium Bar (delightful pianist) at 7pm. The food is simply awesome and even my daughter enjoyed every meal with us in its entirety. Excellent quality caviar is served properly several times during the cruise but is also available on request. The menus are extensive, never repeated from our previous 3 cruises and all very interesting indeed. We even ordered "off menu" with no trouble at all. The word "no" does not appear to exist on board. We were invited by the absolutely charming International Hostess Catherine Galez to a stunning meal in the Dieter Muller (fine dining) restaurant. This was even more amazing than the Europa restauarant and the cuisine some of the best I have ever tasted at sea or on land. Sadly we did not have enough time to sample Venezia but I understand that it too serves first class food. This was a Classical Music Festival cruise so the entertainment was geared towards that genre and even featured an evening concert offshore in Barcelona which was a real treat. In addition however there were excellent musicians, dancers and we would rate the entertainment on this cruise even higher than before. This was a port intensive cruise (1 per day almost) taking in some very interesting places such as Algiers, Casablanca, Valencia and the like. We tried some English speaking shore excursions which were fantastic value for money as we usually ended up having our own car and guide. Service is simply superb and all of our table waiters (and wine waiters) in each of the restaurants merits a special mention. Afternoon Tea in Belvedere Lounge accompanied by a delightful classical pianist was another daily treat not to be missed. The cakes, sandwiches and tea were of the highest quality and served in delightful china. I cannot stress enough that the little details on EUROPA are what makes it such a wonderful cruise ship. The waffles by the pool, snacks in the late night bar, early evening canapés properly served, fine tea and coffee, wonderful chocolates at every meal, ice creams on deck, gala evenings with complimentary champagne, intimate English cinema viewings, open bridge visits, buffets on return to the ship after excursions.....all make for the best possible cruise experience. I could go on and on but will stop there. I will be happy to answer any questions on any aspect of the ship which still looks as new as the day it sailed on its maiden voyage. Finally, the ship caters very well for children who sail for no charge up to the age of 15.
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