cruising in style.
by victoria comment

8/30/18

port stop on hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 through spain and portugal. / sfgirlbybay

as you probably saw on my instagram feed, i took a cruise recently. and not just any cruise, but a beautiful luxury cruise on hapag-lloyd’s MS EUROPA2 through spain and portugal. i hadn’t been on a cruise in about 30 years, but this was an invitation i couldn’t refuse. hapag-lloyd invited bri and i along for a ride on their press trip and i have to say it changed everything i’ve ever thought about cruise ships and the kind of experience one could have at sea. first of all, as i mentioned, this ship, based out of hamburg, germany is stunning and our cabins looked more like five-star hotel rooms rather than the bunkbeds i’d envisioned from my first cruise. if it hadn’t been such a gorgeous Mediterranean sailing, i might never had reason to leave my room. but the MS EUROPA2 offers so much more than a cozy cabin (complete with my own veranda, deck chairs and did i mention a walk-in closet?). this ship is everything it promises (gyms, spa anyone?) and so much more. oh, and if you’re an art lover, the ship’s collection includes over 800 individual pieces of art — one of the world’s most expensive and varied art collections at sea.

aboard hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 luxury cruise ship. / sfgirlbybay

cozy cabin bed onboard hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 cruise ship. / sfgirlbybay

modern bedroom aboard luxury cruise on hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2. / sfgirlbybay

poolside cabanas and lounge beds aboard hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2. / sfgirlbybay

besides the pretty pool and its lovely and very decadent daybeds (we spent a lot of time here, reading and relaxing), there are deck chairs everywhere so the EUROPA2 never ever felt crowded, not even the day we were at sea without a stop in port and all passengers were aboard — it’s just that spacious and private feeling. there are cozy nooks at both the stern and bow of the ship to get lost in. oh, and instead of one large communal dining space you might expect, there are seven restaurants on board including french, italian, thai, sushi and even a lovely tea room. and room service is available 24/hours a day should you be feeling lazy or desire breakfast in bed or on your private veranda. this is the kind of all-inclusive trip where if you want a seven-course meal, go on right ahead. or just have the chef in the yacht club restaurant make you surf & turf or a pasta of your choosing — like bri did (perfectly al dente pasta and fresh grilled shrimp for lunch? yes, please!). i’ve really never experienced such luxury and had such a warm and friendly staff anticipate my every need before i even knew i needed it! sorbet poolside every afternoon, or perhaps you’d rather the self-serve ice cream cone you could grab at any time of day — okay!

hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 luxury cruise ship. / sfgirlbybay

the pool on board hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 cruise ship. / sfgirlbybay

poolside bar menu on board hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 cruise ship. / sfgirlbybay

luxury cruise on hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 through spain and portugal. / sfgirlbybay

cliffside bar in spain. / sfgirlbybay

cliffside bar in mallorca, spain. / sfgirlbybay

and then there are all the Mediterranean ports we stopped in along the way — leaving from Palma de Mallorca, spain and eventually docking in lisbon, portugal. each stop was pretty magical — from mallorca to valencia, málaga to cádiz, and then on to lisbon — one of my favorite cities in the world. the EUROPA2 offers everything from biking tours, to museum visits in port or you can simply wander on your own. we visited Malaga’s Picasso Museum and it was simply unforgettable. in valencia we stopped at the mercado central which has to be the most beautiful food market i’ve ever seen, complete with pale pink stained glass ceilings.

ornate ceiling inside market in spain. / sfgirlbybay

travel photo from spain. / sfgirlbybay

red and white building in spain. / sfgirlbybay

a visit to the farm and restaurant barraca. / sfgirlbybay

from there we visited chef Toni Montoliu’s Barraca farm and restaurant for his world famous Paella (which we helped make) and a ride around his farm by horse & carriage. in Menorca, bri and i went off on our own leisurely stroll around the old town and a visit to cova d’en xoroi which was simply awe-inspiring — a cave-like bar and cafe on the cliffs of the sea that becomes a disco at night. ending up in lisbon for a dinner at Vicente by Carnalentejana with our press group was the perfect ending to one of the best holidays i’ve ever had. thank you hapag-lloyd for taking us on such an unforgettable journey. should you have a holiday coming up, and perhaps a special occasion, i can’t say enough good things about setting sail with the MS EUROPA2.

luxury cruise on hapag-lloyd's MS EUROPA2 through spain and portugal. / sfgirlbybay

• photography by victoria smith for sfgirlbybay.

One response to “cruising in style.”

  1. I’m so glad I follow you Victoria! You always have the best information out there in regards to travel, design, art etc! I want to save up for this cruise- I’ve been wanting to visit Portugal!

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