When celebrities appear in public wearing the same outfit, the fashion media frenzy ignites with the question, “Who wore it best?”
The same question could apply to MSC Cruises’ new World Europa megaship with her curvaceous silhouette.
The main design feature of this magnificent 6,700-passenger ship echoes another cruise line’s ships – a canyon-like aft with interior balconies that overlook a promenade and spiral slide.
However, MSC gave Europa’s aft a classic blunt cut, padded the shoulders and dressed her in luxurious layers that’s so befitting of MSC.
Her silver spiral slide gleams like jewellery, and at night, the entire area glitters with lights. Europa’s aft wows with a palatial atmosphere instead of fun theme park vibe.
Clients will enjoy more than 30 impressive restaurants and bars, three exciting theatres, seven gorgeous pools, 13 hot tubs, and colourful waterpark adjacent to largest children’s space of the fleet.
There are also thrills and chills ranging from virtual reality experiences to an 11-storey spiral slide called Venom Drop.
MSC makes elegance look easy and every deck of Europa has design elements that make for an Instagram feast.
The attention to detail is extreme, right down to the tiniest of props gracing a shelf – whether it’s at one of the casual buffets or a luxurious specialty restaurant. No nook is left unadorned without good reason on this beauty.
PAX attended Europa’s extravagant naming ceremony in Doha, Qatar recently – an event that included a 600-drone show and spectacular fireworks, perfectly setting the tone for what’s on board.
Behind Europa’s immense physical beauty is a well-organized layout of districts on its 20 decks named after European capital cities (there are no decks 13 or 17).
The heartbeat of the ship is the three-deck interior promenade area called the Galleria lined with luxury shops, restaurants, bars and a few entertainment venues, such as a 5D movie theatre and multipurpose Luna Park theatre for special shows.
The Galleria also features an enormous LED dome ceiling with videos such as whales swimming above. A massive two-deck Swarovski crystal chandelier commands attention at every angle.
The chic Zen district is for adults only at the aft and has a relaxing space with two pools, a shady area and bar. You’ll also find a glass walkway with plummeting views to the sea if you dare to look.
La Plage is the main pool area where the action is and has in-pool beds, an enormous two-storey pool deck area for sunbathing and a stage, bars and eateries.
The Botanic Garden pool is a lovely, lush spot with lots of greenery, a retractable roof if it rains, hanging lounge beds and two hot tubs surrounded with rope netting.
The Family district is the largest in the fleet with about 10 children’s facilities including seven age-appropriate clubs, shallow pool and an aquapark with waterslides.
Nearby is a sports zone for bumper cars, roller skating, basketball and more. F1 simulators, a drone academy and arcade are also nearby.
Europa also has a casino, large well-equipped gym and spa with snow room, salt room, hydro pool and more.
Focused on taste
Of the 33 restaurants and bars, there are four gorgeous main dining rooms, buffets, six specialty restaurants and several new bar concepts not seen on other MSC ships.
The Chef’s Garden is a collaboration with Niklas Ekstedt, a Michelin-starred chef, TV personality and author. The restaurant features the first-at-sea hydroponic garden and guests are treated to an immersive experience with a chef who prepares creations in an open kitchen.
La Pescaderia offers a fresh selection of seafood in an upscale market-style setting, with an impressive display of fresh fish.
Masters of the Sea is the line’s first onboard microbrewery created with Teo Musso, creator of Baladin Farm Brewery.
The Coffee Emporium is a sleek and modern coffee house. Raj Polo Tea house takes a step back with a turn-of the-century atmosphere. The Gin Project is a must to try some of the 70 craft gins available.
Elixir Mixology Bar is the “It Bar” for cool and edgy cocktails.
MSC fan favourites remain such as Hola! Tacos & Cantina, Kaito Sushi Bar, Kaito Teppanyaki and Butcher’s Cut.
Luna Park Pizza & Burger is a great addition although the burgers are still not quite up to the par of other cruise lines who have perfected these fast foods. However, you can get a burger cooked fresh in front of you, rather than pre-cooked and staying warm under heat lamps.
The quality of meals in the main dining room has improved as MSC continues to focus on taste. Your clients might find that a speciality restaurant package isn’t quite as important as it was years ago on MSC ships.
At the buffets, offerings are basic fare you would expect, from morning omelettes to evening pasta, but with more flavour and choice than ever.
There are also designated eateries devoted to those with a sweet tooth such as chocolate and ice cream venues.
“MSC has upped their entertainment game”
There are five new theatre productions in the 1,153-seat World Theatre.
Four themed experiences are featured in the Panorama Lounge with its floor-to-ceiling aft windows and impressive chandeliers.
There’s also pop-up live entertainment such as wandering musicians.
MSC has also upped their entertainment game with more impressive acrobatic acts added to the usual singers and dancers.
Europa’s 2,626 cabins feature an impressive 19 different categories and 65 per cent of cabins have balconies.
Not only do these require more comparison study than usual, but there are also seven new cabin types.
For example: there are now balcony cabins that overlook the outdoor promenade and ocean view cabins with a large window that slides down for fresh air to create a balcony experience.
MSC Yacht Club
Europa’s private-access MSC Yacht Club is the largest of the fleet with more than 150 staterooms.
Guests enjoy a multitude of special privileges, butler service, a pool, hot tub, cabanas, restaurant, lounge, Swarovski crystal staircase (in case you’re wondering where this icon went) and much more.
Europa is the first MSC LNG-powered vessel and the most environmentally advanced.
The ship has shore-to-ship power connectivity, advanced wastewater treatment and a system to reduce noise and vibration to minimize impact on marine mammals.
This ship marks a major milestone on MSC’s journey to zero emissions.
Europa is spending her inaugural season in the Gulf offering seven-night cruises from Dubai to the Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE, Dammam, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar, before returning to Dubai with an overnight in the city.
In summer 2023 she’ll head to the Mediterranean offering seven-night cruises to Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille.
The ship sets the stage for what’s to come with this exciting new category and World America will soon be waiting in the wings.
Diane Tierney has been on 81 cruises to 48 countries. Follow her on Instagram @Cruiseguru.
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