05 August 2010

Europa, 22 June 2010


IMO 9183855
Built 1999, Kværner Masa Yards Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland
Tonnage 28 890 GT
Length 198,60 m
Width 24,00 m
Draught 6,00 m
450 passengers
4 MAN B&W diesels, combined 21 606 kW
2 azipods
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

This is a ship that should require no introduction. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Europa is the only cruise ship in the world 5+ stars (some ratings actually give her the improbable six stars). Carrying a maximum of 450 passengers, she has an impressive passenger/space ratio of 64,2 when full, while the standards of service are set by the 280 crew serving the said max. 450 passengers. Fittingly for the best in the world she was built in Helsinki at the same shipyard that built the first modern purpose-built cruise ships in 1970. One could go on and on about the ship's accolades but let's no waste too much time on that.

Europa is a traditional name in the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd and their predecessors HAPAG and Norddeutscher Lloyd; the current Europa is in fact the sixth ship to bear that name. The most famous of her predecessors is without a doubt the 1930-built third Europa that (together with her sister Bremen) took the blue riband of the Atlantic for Germany for the last time. The fourth Europa was the former Swedish American Liner Kungsholm bought by Norddeutscher Lloyd in 1964; she was replaced in 1981 by the purpose-built fifth Europa that in turn had to make way for the sixth in 1999.

Externally the Europa has a sleek design, actually looking rather like an elongated version of the 1992-(re)built Sally Cruise ship Sally Albatross (present-day Louis Cristal for Louis Cruises). That said, externally the Europa lacks some of the design coherence of the Sally Albatross, with the oddly terraced forward superstructure and lack of clear defining lines on the top of the superstructure. But perhaps these minor external flaws can be forgiven for a ship of the Europa's status.

Photographs below are of the Europa leaving Helsinki via the Kustaanmiekka strait on 22 June 2010, photographed from the ramparts on Kustaanmiekka. Click on the image(s) for full size.

Europa in the Kustaanmiekka strait...
...and entering the narrowest part of the strait.
Passing between Kustaanmiekka and Vallisaari, with the top of the King's gate in the foreground.
Just moments later, the Europa has cleared the strait and heads for the open sea.

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