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New ship

Virtual vineyards, VR racing & ‘unchallenged’ parties: A stay on new MSC Euribia

MSC Euribia, the world’s most energy-efficient cruise ship, is now officially sailing after its christening in early June. Sailawaze was onboard the first-ever net zero GHG emissions journey to discover what to expect on the MSC Cruises ship.

Words by Harriet Mallinson

A werewolf is spewing blood at me. His open jaws gleam as he advances, sharpened claws outstretched – but he’s no match for me and my gun. Pow Pow. Dead.

And then I’m off, running through Victorian train stations, leaping into horse-drawn carriages, launching myself off moonlit rooftops in pursuit of these bloodthirsty monsters. But what’s that over there? Another werewolf? A human? A horse? Doesn’t matter! Shoot it anyway! Pow Pow. Dead.

No, not exactly what I’d expected in the middle of the North Sea – and an alarming insight into my total lack of team spirit in the eventuality of an apocalypse on Earth – but thankfully none of this is real.

I’m sitting in the XD Interactive Cinema on brand new cruise ship MSC Euribia – and I have no blood (werewolf or otherwise) on my hands, although there’s no denying my own is pumping and endorphins are soaring.

This thrilling experience is just one of the impressive high-tech bits of kit this MSC Cruises vessel features.

Excitingly for the cruise industry, MSC Euribia is the most energy-efficient cruise ship design ever. Boilers are a mere backup thanks to waste heat from the engine, external water isn’t required – the ship makes its own potable stuff onboard and, in its biggest coup, MSC Euribia utilizes bio-LNG using a mass-balance system, which, in simple terms (as I’m astounded to discover) means it’s running on animal manure.

But shit this ship is not, as my time onboard – both zombie killing and elsewhere proves. “We’re keeping people busy 20 hours a day,” MSC Cruises’ Managing Director Antonio Paradiso tells Sailawaze of the endless MSC Euribia entertainment available in this Italian family-owned floating hotel.

“We are challenging all those stereotypes and misconceptions about cruising; we’re saying cruises are cooler than we think.”

He might be on to something. I’ve certainly never gone straight from the buffet to piloting a futuristic hover vehicle, for instance.

“You need to be safe because you are going into space,” the attendant tells me straight-faced as I’m strapped firmly into my VR motion simulator craft [below, left] in Euribia’s games and sports venue Sportplex. Next thing you know I’m racing at full tilt through giant ice caves in the year 2066 – call me Anakin Skywalker!

Fun and swanky tech are also tied into MSC Euribia’s food and drink offerings. While previous sister ship MSC Virtuosa wowed with its robotic bartender, at this vessel’s exclusive bar venue Helios [above, right] oenophiles can enjoy sophisticated wine tastings via in-depth, interactive tabletop screens – a virtual vineyard at sea – activated just by putting a coaster down (see, mum’s nagging wasn’t for nothing).

According to the wine butler, these devices boast the same tech used by the CIA. Just don’t break the expensive crystal glasses, who knows what data they have on you…

MSC is also proud of the new ship’s Galleria Euribia. At first glance “it reminds you of a coastline in an Italian city,” says Paradiso as I take in the ice cream shop, boutiques and striped awnings lining the promenade.

But when you look up this is not just a theme-park Venice. The longest LED Dome on the waves stretches the length of the gallery where I spy giant turtles and whales rolling and diving above me on the screen during the day. “Every hour we broadcast a two-minute show,” Paradiso – for whom the spot is a ship favorite – explains, “It’s jaw-dropping.”

Come dark “it transforms and becomes the biggest party venue,” he goes on. “MSC is still unchallenged when it comes to parties, there’s a different one every night… we have some of the best DJs coming from all over the world.”

Elsewhere, there’s the Big Band – one of the largest at sea – which performs in the ship’s Carousel Lounge. The venue has been reinvented with a new layout on MSC Euribia and now sports even more panoramic ocean views thanks to vast windows which at night turn into projection screens to create a vibrant, toe-tapping music venue.

Another experience I enjoy onboard is a trip to the spa where MSC Euribia is the first in the fleet to offer a dry flotation treatment [below, right]. “It’s warm…as if someone is holding you,” the therapist tells me.

Of course, this might inadvertently happen for free on a visit to the sensory steam baths – I’m so blinded by the thick wall of, well, steam when I enter that I could easily have ended up on the lap of a dashing Italian man had I sat down on the wrong spot (and there had been any dashing Italian men to hand).

Unperturbed I happily bubble in the large whirlpool and roast to perfection in the Finnish Classical Sauna before trying out the shower “journey” – only the “cold storm” option seems to be on the blink and is more a balmy gush than a bad day en route to the Baltics.

The wellness zone certainly got singer Tony Hadley’s approval. The Spandau Ballet star performed at MSC Euribia’s christening ceremony and told his audience: “The spa looks amazing”.

Perhaps I could have ended up on his lap if I’d timed my visit right…

Set Sail

Northern Europe

Duration: 7 nights

Where: Southampton, UK | Hamburg, Germany | Rotterdam (Amsterdam), Netherlands | Zeebrugge (Bruges), Belgium | Le Havre (Paris), France | Southampton, UK

Ship: MSC Euribia

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Published 06.20.23