WHOEVER said that all that glitters is not gold has never traveled on the MSC Euribia.
This new cruise ship, MSC Cruises’ newest Leviathan, is pure gold, with glittering looks and sparkling staircases filled with Swarovski jewels that you can’t walk down without stopping to take a selfie.
It’s longer than three football fields, almost as tall as Big Ben and can accommodate a whopping 6,334 passengers.
And we Brits are lucky enough to be first on the ship as it sets sail from the UK this winter.
The MSC Euribia is named after the ancient Greek goddess of command of the seas (who knew such a deity existed!) and made history on her maiden voyage with the first voyage with cow poop.
It was just a three night hop from France to Copenhagen and that won’t be happening again anytime soon as it cost a small fortune and our bovine friends apparently don’t provide enough poop for longer cruises.
“We need more cows,” jokes Pierfrancesco Vago, the head of the MSC Group.
Like me, he enjoys himself at the Yacht Club, a gated residence at the top of the ship that features chic suites, butlers, drinks included, a private sundeck and pool, and an exclusive restaurant and lounge.
Aside from the exclusive spaces, this is a ship built for fun for all.
There are Lego and Nintendo in children’s and youth clubs, VR games where you take out aliens and fly into space, racing car simulators, three swimming pools and even a bowling alley.
I zip down scary water slides that wind through an aqua park, but pass up the chance to strap in and balance on beams and ropes stretched high above the sea.
Only those who have a head for heights should apply – and that’s not me.
Instead, I head to Helios, an excellent wine bar with more than 100 white, red and rosé wines to taste, smell and drink.
My guide is a high-tech touchscreen table—a virtual vineyard at sea, so to speak—where I can select a wine, read tasting notes, leave comments, and even learn interesting facts about the noble grape.
The wine masterclass costs £30 per person (€35) and for that I get to taste four wines and nibble on cheese.
And it scares me to death trying not to break the expensive, fine crystal glasses made specifically for the tasting.
MSC Euribia may be big, but with 21 bars and lounges, including a chic Champagne Emporium, the pub-like Masters Of The Sea and the elegant Sky Lounge, you’re never far from your next drink.
Or the live bands, singers and pianists who rock the ship after dark.
Or actually your next meal.
Along the Galleria – a promenade through the middle of the ship lined with stylish restaurants and luxury shops – there’s sushi, steaks, Mexican tacos, French gelato and crepes, as well as a cafe for chocolate lovers.
Look up and you will see the longest LED screen on the sea.
Don’t worry, the whale swimming back and forth inside isn’t real!
Restaurants along the Galleria cost extra.
For a free meal, sit down in one of the four dining rooms or head to Market Square, a massive buffet where you can enjoy curries, salads, pastas, burgers, vegetarian favorites, pizzas and more.
There is so much choice that I had to walk around twice to decide what to eat.
Go during off-peak hours, grab a table by the window, press the button for drink service and you’ve found my favorite spot.
Apart from the beautiful spa where you can sizzle and steam in the sauna, relax in an ice room and get pampered. . . Get a massage with bamboo sticks and let your worries disappear on a bed filled with warm water.
Who am I kidding? After just one day in the luxury of Euribia, you no longer have to worry.
GO: Northern Europe
SAIL THERE: MSC Cruises offers a seven-day Northern Europe cruise from Southampton on MSC Euribia, departing November 3, 2023 and calling at Hamburg, Zeebrugge (for Bruges), Rotterdam (for Amsterdam) and Le Havre (for Paris) from £499 per person incl .VAT on tips.
Drinks packages are available from €47 per person per day, food packages from €75 per person.
Visit msccruises.co.uk or call 0203 426 3010.