The first of a brand-new class of ship for MSC Cruises, MSC World Europa can be thought of as a blend of the best features from the company's past ships, coupled with an entirely new array of bar, lounge, entertainment and restaurant options that are sure to please international families and couples looking for a break from the everyday.
The precursor to sister-ship MSC World America, which will debut in the U.S. in 2025, MSC World Europa gets a lot of things right. Gone is the over-reliance on reflective materials like mirrors that characterized past MSC Cruises ships, replaced instead with a look that is a bit more modern and toned down -- think more wood accents and soft wall treatments as opposed to mirrors-and-marble. Even the line's signature Swarovski-inlaid staircases have been pared down here compared with past ships, removed from the ship's main atrium and instead only present in the exclusive MSC Yacht Club Lounge.
That's cut down on the overall noise level on the ship, which seems to be more manageable here than on past MSC ships (all those mirrors really amplified sound). But make no mistake: this is a thoroughly MSC ship through and through, with plenty of bold colors, wave-like architectural accents and unique styling that is characteristically MSC.
The result: a ship that is bold, fun and fresh -- but which curiously never feels overcrowded, despite its hefty 6,000-plus passenger capacity. And perhaps that's the best feature MSC worked into MSC World Europa: large expanses of open deck space, coupled with clever little hideaways tucked outside select restaurants and bars for dining al fresco.
Other niceties include the ship's environmental features, which advance MSC's goal of becoming a net-zero emitter by 2050. To that end, MSC World Europa is powered by cleaner-burning Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) technology and is equipped with shore power to allow it to switch off its engines while in select ports, in addition to a host of other technological advances.
On our sailing, the ship's only real con was an elevator system that was sometimes slow to respond, with the "Call to Car" system -- by which you press your desired floor on a touchscreen and are then directed to a lettered elevator car -- taking a long time to respond, particularly in port when forward and midship gangways were both in use.
Other quirks that may annoy passengers are public restroom facilities that are outrageously tiny for a vessel of this size, and additional costs that, like any big mainstream ship, can really start to add up.
MSC World Europa includes plenty of past-passenger favorites, but it is also home to a surprising array of new bars, lounges, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
New culinary additions include the Chef's Garden Kitchen, which is based around refined cuisine garnished with microgreens grown right onboard MSC World Europa. Besides offering a modern and intimate venue, it also provided one of the best meals we've had aboard any ship.
Another new addition, La Pescaderia, functions as an upscale seagoing fish market and restaurant where the best of the ocean is on the menu. It's situated in a prime location alongside the outdoor World Promenade, and even offers a grab-and-go menu of specialties like fish and chips for those who don't have time for the full culinary experience.
Gin lovers will find it hard to tear themselves away from The Gin Project, a new 87-seat bar themed after a real distillery that serves up all manner of cocktails centered around the G&Ts of the world. What's more, passengers can descend a metal spiral staircase into MSC's classic Masters of the Sea pub -- where, aboard MSC World Europa, a selection of brews are crafted right onboard.
Keeping in that vein, Elixr is a clubby enclave that offers both indoor and outdoor seating, along with some of the most unique craft cocktails we've tried at sea, while the new Malt Lounge is dedicated to the cigar-and-cognac set and has the plush high-armed leather chairs to prove it.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to MSC World Europa is the Raj Polo Tea House, which offers dozens of different kinds of teas -- both hot and cold -- along with tea-infused cocktails in a setting that recalls the colonial settings of days gone by. Soft live piano music is played here by afternoon, and it's worth a pop-in just for the delicious cookies on offer.
And, since MSC World Europa is a thoroughly European ship, it's not difficult to find a good cup of coffee. In fact, there are two separate coffee bars onboard -- the Coffee Emporium on Deck 8, and Jean-Philippe Chocolat and Café on Deck 6 that pairs exceptional brews with high-end chocolate. It's a good thing the beverage packages offered onboard don't work at this venue; we'd be five hundred pounds heavier if they did.
Other new and notable features aboard MSC World Europa include a surf-themed outdoor bar; a causal burger and pizza joint that's open around-the-clock; an MSC Sportplex that offers everything from sports tournaments to bumper cars; and an 11-deck high dry slide known as Venom Drop @ The Spiral.
Since being introduced in 2008 aboard MSC Fantasia, the MSC Yacht Club -- MSC's luxury ship-within-a-ship concept -- has gone through a number of iterations. The line has slowly refined its design with each successive ship, culminating in the relaxing and upscale spaces and accommodations found aboard MSC World Europa.
Like MSC Seaside and its sister-ships, the MSC Yacht Club aboard MSC World Europa is anchored by a two-level signature space that combines the MSC Yacht Club Lounge on the lower level, and the Yacht Club Restaurant on the upper level. Both venues overlook a forward-facing wall of glass that offers expansive views over the ship's bow, along with a dedicated outdoor viewing deck.
But MSC World Europa kicks things up another notch, offering the line's most lavish suites yet, along with a dedicated Yacht Club Pool and Sun Deck that features al fresco dining, an outdoor bar, private seating and loungers -- including private cabanas for top-of-the-line suites -- coupled with the kind of gracious, attentive service you'd expect from a cruise costing four times as much.
If you're looking for a luxurious experience without sacrificing any of the big ship bells and whistles, MSC's Yacht Club will leave you spoiled.
A lavish suite isn't necessary to enjoy your time aboard MSC World Europa. The ship offers numerous cabins to choose from, ranging from economical inside staterooms to spacious Aurea Suite balcony cabins.
New aboard MSC World Europa are balcony cabins that overlook the outdoor World Promenade running along the centerline of the aft part of the ship. These inward-facing cabins have views of the ship's interior promenade instead of ocean views, allowing passengers to get up close to the action, and take in the amazing light shows performed here on most evenings.
But whether you choose an inside room, one with a balcony or even a suite, MSC has raised the bar on its cabin design. Mattresses are noticeably more comfortable than in past, and stateroom bathrooms -- always well designed on past ships -- seem to have been tweaked further here to offer more shower space and better countertop design. Kudos, too, for MSC's reliance on pump soap in its signature fragrance as opposed to weird little bars of soap.
Passengers in all categories will find things like in-room safes, a decent (if somewhat cramped at the lower accommodation levels) amount of storage space, and North American, European and powered USB outlets. Each cabin comes equipped with an interactive television set, but sadly few channels are in English, and movies on demand are pay-per-view.
Let's get it out there: you're never going to go hungry aboard MSC World Europa. From casual burger and fry joints to upscale dining curated to please sophisticated palates, MSC World Europa has 14 different dining options to fit the bill -- 16 if you count room service.
Four main restaurants offer dinner each evening, with one typically serving up breakfast and lunch on sea days (most are open only for dinner while in port, unless otherwise noted). Each has its own unique style and décor, while one restaurant -- Les Dunes on Deck 8 forward -- is set aside exclusively for passengers booking MSC's Aurea dining experience.
Casual bites can be had at the two buffet restaurants that are stacked one atop the other, Il Mercato on Deck 18 and La Brasserie on Deck 19. Both offer indoor and outdoor seating and a wide array of delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Grab and go burgers and pizza are available around-the-clock in the arcade-style diner on Deck 6 forward, while much of Decks 7 and 8 are given away to the ship's extra-charge specialty restaurants. And you really should dine in at least one of these before the voyage is out: from the classic American steakhouse known as The Butcher's Cut to Hola! Tacos and Cantina to the wacky Teppanyaki fun at Kaito, there is something aboard MSC World Europa to suit every taste.
And, while it's not considered a dining venue per se, the Deck 7 pub, Masters of the Sea, has a host of pub favorites including fish and chips and bangers and mash available for order for a small fee.
We aren't going to tell you where it is, or how you gain access, but there's an incredible Speakeasy Bar hidden onboard MSC World Europa. It's not listed on deck plans and isn't passenger-accessible without an invitation, but the experience -- which includes custom-designed craft cocktails presented with incredible flair, set to live 1940's-esque musical stylings featuring live performers in a space that's somewhere between transatlantic cargo hold and World War II bunker -- is out of this world. That someone greenlit this superb space continues to boggle our minds -- in the best way.
All onboard entertainment
All meals in the ship's main dining rooms, buffets, and grab-and-go pizza and burger joint
Water, coffee and juices in the buffet
Most entertainment onboard, including production shows, comedians, trivia sessions and more
All pools, hot tubs, waterslides and dry slides
Doremi Kids Clubs
In-room television channels (though very few are in English)
Excursions and port shuttles into town, where applicable
All soft drinks, specialty coffee and alcoholic drinks, unless included in your Aurea or Yacht Club fare.
Wi-Fi internet access
Select fitness classes (Pilates, Yoga, etc.)
Spa Thermal Suite
Drinks in the Speakeasy (even with a beverage package)
Passengers aboard MSC World Europa are primarily from Europe, with Italians and Germans representing the largest contingent on most sailings, followed by Brits and a smattering of North Americans. Expect to hear a wide array of languages onboard, spoken by people from all walks of life. Some are new-to-cruise, while others are experienced cruisers from both sides of the Atlantic who are drawn to MSC primarily because of its unique itineraries and lavish MSC Yacht Club options.
Families are well catered-to aboard MSC World Europa, which has one of the largest kid's club areas in the fleet onboard, ensuring little ones, kids and teenagers are well looked after. Indeed, everything about the ship speaks to its family-friendly nature, from the availability of high chairs in even specialty restaurants, to its fun pool deck diversions and thrilling games arcade, SportPlex, and Venom Drop dry slide.
Couples will also find much to like about MSC World Europa, which can be surprisingly quiet and romantic in certain spots, despite its hefty passenger capacity. Evenings out on deck overlooking the stern from the World Promenade are quiet and intimate, while the ship's specialty restaurants offer unique experiences that couples looking to get away will enjoy.
MSC also does an excellent job at welcoming LGBTQ+ cruisers, with informal gathering events on most sailings, and a crew that are gracious and friendly to people of all orientations. Passengers are generally well-educated, with most passengers running between 40 to 65 years of age on our Middle East voyage.
Despite its international origins, English is widely spoken by all crewmembers onboard, and many passengers. North American cruisers, however, may need some time to get used to the number of smoking areas onboard: most outdoor spaces have at least one smoking area, while the Malt Lounge is the only indoor/outdoor space where smoking is allowed (it is part cigar bar, after all).
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