On Thursday, March 1, 2012, the next construction stage of the EUROPA 2 began with the keel laying. At the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, the first block of the ship was lifted into the dry dock. Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, each placed a coin in the block. The coins were welded into the block and will accompany the ship on all future cruises. This tradition is believed to bring luck to new ships. The first ship block has a length of 38.7 feet is 28.5 feet high and weighs 881,840 pounds.
Concurrently with the start of construction in the dry dock, the suites of the ship are being manufactured in the shipyard’s cabin factory. At the beginning of July 2012, the EUROPA 2 will take to the water for the very first time so that work on the interior of the ship can be initiated at the outfitting pier. A total of 835 shipyard workers are involved in the construction of the new ship. Until the delivery of the ship in the Spring of 2013 the shipyard workers will dedicate over 2.5 million hours of labor to the project.
The EUROPA 2, the sister ship of the existing EUROPA will be positioned in the luxury segment as a lifestyle-oriented, casual alternative, and is due to be commissioned in the Spring of 2013. With eleven decks and 251 suites, the EUROPA 2 will offer a maximum capacity of 516 passengers, and more space per passenger than any other cruise ship. The all suite ship has suites with balconies, with a minimum size of 301 square feet. Eight restaurants, as well as six bars, will offer culinary diversity onboard, and a large spa and fitness area taking into account the trend towards well-being on voyages.