When I outed myself as a cruise ship beginner, the reactions of my fellow travelers - all cruise ship-advanced - were very similar. They said the Europe 2 would spoil me. And then they just looked blissfully in memory of their own first cruise and a bit jealous that I was allowed to experience something like this for the first time.
So I realized quite early that my friend and I would not be the same afterwards and we just started a memorable trip.
For ten days, the MS Europa 2 was our home in March. The best cruise ship in the world with the highest score of 5-star plus, according to the Berlitz Cruise Guide. We traveled from Sri Lanka to Singapore. Landed five times on land - in Galle in Sri Lanka, Phuket in Thailand, >
I may be a cruise ship beginner, but I am not a travel starter. So far, I have come from A to B with the help of planes, trains, cars, ferries, bicycles or on foot. So sometimes I stood for hours on the wrong train ticket counter in India , sat shoulder to shoulder in an unclimatified bus on winding mountain roads or cursed my rental car in an attempt to drive out of a big city without GPS signal. After such actions, I felt that I could master everything in my life. Of course, that was not always easy.
What would traveling feel like leaving a location in the evening and arriving elsewhere without effort the next morning? Taking day trips to strange places from a floating, luxurious base camp every now and then? What is such a holiday that consists of sea days and landings? He's pretty simple, I can tell you that.
And so I left the vacation planning this time Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, who put my friend and me in a 28 m² suite with a 7 m² veranda and sailed across the Indian Ocean.
Galle, Sri Lanka
For the first time we were landed in Galle. It is a pretty town and Unesco World Heritage Site. We walked on the fortress wall to the lighthouse and then sought shade in the old town. The small streets could lead through an Italian village, but there were bags of elephant motifs, spices, teas, fabrics and pottery in the shops. Old cars parked randomly in front of trendy restaurants and looked pretty good. It was amazingly clean and quiet for Sri Lankan standards, and it was not until we took a tuktuk to Unawatuna Beach that I recognized the bustle of the honking buses and jostling tuktuks of the country through which I had previously traveled. From the beach we looked for the Europa 2, which was behind the next bay in the roadstead.
Everything was well organized. Nevertheless, a cruise ship beginner needs some time to get used to it. The napkin slipped a couple of times off my lap when I wanted to take a picture while eating. I squinted to the next table to see how one ate a lobster tail. Moved five times a day as I know how to dress on backpack trips but not yet, what attracted to an art walk, a pool afternoon, a food tour and dinner on a luxury cruise ship (my clothes from well-known Spanish brands seemed to be alright his). And I was always amazed at how tidy our room was tidy, how parallel the tempo pack was next to the rolled-up charging cable and my notepad when we returned from breakfast or dinner.
Three days lake
The sea was always there: waking up, having lunch, sunbathing, doing yoga. Even after dinner it glittered under the full moonlight. For three days we drove from Sri Lanka to Thailand. The sea rolled past the balcony and sometimes carried a container ship with it. Three days only the sea, the horizon and the Europe 2. The number of people was very manageable for a cruise ship: 400 guests and 360 employees.
So as not to lose sight of the sea - or because we could hardly believe it would always be there - we ordered breakfast on our veranda. With scrambled eggs, salmon, bacon, raspberry jam, croissants, freshly baked rolls and orange juice. Even before the first sip of coffee from the room's own Nespresso machine, we saw dolphins jumping out of the water, as elated as if they were waving their whole bodies at us. "1150 miles are between Sri Lanka and Thailand", captain Christian van Zwamen greeted us over the speakers and wished us a nice good morning.
When we were not staring at the ocean, we played shuffleboard, ate waffles by the pool, and read cruise books. The Indian Ocean was flat and tame. His colors changed constantly. Out here, far from the land, the sea was really dark. Dark blue at midday under the bright sun, dark gray-blue in the afternoon under the cloudy sky and almost black at sunset. The waves rippled, beat, sloshed, plucked, jumped. We never got tired of the sea view.
Eating and drinking, or: potty, cook.
Just as the sea never came to an end, there was also a seemingly endless supply of food and drink. As if someone had forgotten to say "potty, stand up", the sweet porridge never got empty. Food and Beverage Manager Lutz Greffrath took us through the stockpile aka Cockaigne. "In total there are 140 tons of goods on board," explained Greffrath. Six tons are plastered away every day. The choice is plentiful: 460 different wines, 60 champagnes, 47 gins, 80 types of cheese. And so on. Fruit, vegetables and eggs are bought locally, and ham and cheese are flown by plane. "In Singapore, there will be nine containers of fresh fish," Greffrath said. We threw another look into the cooling chamber, where the caviar waited in beautiful doses for the caviar night.
We ate a lot and really good. The restaurant reservations have already been made for us. Beginner or travel blogger luck. There are four specialty restaurants for which you need a reservation, plus the World Seas Restaurant with international cuisine and the Yacht Club with buffet. So we tried several delicacies evening after night, wishing we would never get enough to eat more tagliatelle con gamberoni in the restaurant Serenissima, more sashimi in the sushi restaurant Sakura, even more ceviche in the yacht club and above all: even more freshly prepared, very best Tatar in the restaurant Tarragon.
In the beginning, unsure of how many courses would be possible, we were able to order faster after a few days, kept our napkins on our lap, leafed through the wine list more relaxed, worked our way with the cutlery from the outside in, and knew that to answer the question : "Can it still be a sorbet for you before the main course? Filled with champagne and vodka? "Was always allowed to follow a" yes ".
Home on water
After a shore leave and three days at sea, I no longer felt like a beginner, but almost like home. We already had favorite places on Europa 2.
The library, where on some late afternoon I leafed through the piano anthems of ocean pianist Rainer Frank through the cruise anthology "Von Meeren und Menschen" and sank into the wingback chair. Or the place in the Elements restaurant overlooking the red mountains of Korean artist Minjung Kim, who made the work on rice paper especially for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Or the Collins, where I drank a whiskey sour under the mural that showed the cruise ship founder Albert Ballin smoking and surrounded by smoking animals. Or the upper deck, where we hid ourselves from the sun in a shell and occasionally accepted the iced tea from the waiter's outstretched, tanned arm. Or the walkway of our Deck 6, where the analogous photographs of Christian Schoppe hung, showed the people and landscapes in Asia and inspired to look attentively on the next landings.
Of course our absolute favorite was the veranda of the Suite 624, where we had the ocean to ourselves - for breakfast, afternoon nap, afternoon coffee, sunset and nightcap.
Three days of shore leave
On a boat trip you wake up every morning somewhere else. When you go ashore, rupee becomes baht and ringgit, orange-colored coconuts turn greenish, the water warmer, and the beaches whiter.
Phuket overwhelmed us with a different kind of abundance: the beaches full of people, the streets full of taxis, scooters and red tuktuks and, on the edge, countless bars and shops and markets. The sounds came only muffled through the windows of the taxi, which brought us directly to the Wat Chalong temple. There we found peace, undressed our shoes at the entrance and ran barefoot between golden Buddhas.
At night we drove on to Georgetown. The Unesco World Heritage Site is beautiful: peeling plaster, street art and Chinese characters adorned the walls, and red lanterns floated over the streets. The population is mainly Chinese. We let ourselves drift, ate stuffed dumplings under circling fans, photographed bicycles, flow and tea houses and let us explain the art of tea on the Lebuh Pantai. It was hot, 31 degrees. Nevertheless, we could not stop walking through the small, colorful streets and to look around attentively.
When we left the harbor, I was allowed to press the horn - the key for the Typhon. Three times for five seconds. The deep drone had to catch all Georgetown, made sure the children looked excited and reminded them that there was another ship, had to let people look out of their shops, if they recognized the Europa 2 mark, like a hat on sitting on the ship. The roar had to ring to Penang Hill and much further. A sound, a goodbye, a listening. With my little index finger.
Captain Christian van Zwamen and First Officer Aleksandar Sokocic hurried inside to lure Europa 2 out of the shallow waters. The captain gave the command to increase to two machines and twelve knots. The maximum speed is four machines and 21 knots. Then he says goodbye to his date and handed over to the first officer. Sokocic pointed to the green dots on the radar, which looked like a star chart with its round shape. "These are fishing boats. We're going to get around it. "For three months, Sokocic is always at sea and three months at home in Croatia. In the 4-hour shifts, they carefully watch out for fishing boats and container ships.
We stayed until the sun went down and we had bypassed the fishing boats. On board you hardly noticed that the course had changed, only our track in the water betrayed the bow. Then we drove two nights and one day on the road from Malacca to our last stop Singapore.
After that, in Singapore.
It was true. The Europa 2 had spoiled us. On land, the food did not taste so good. Our new hotel room in Singapore was tiny. I woke up from street noise at night. On the ship, you really slept deeply and firmly. You were right. But most of all we lacked the sea view - the always new sea view, when we stepped out on the porch in the morning, were somewhere else and a new country waiting for us.