MSC Cruises officially named its new flagship, MSC World Europa, at the Grand Cruise Terminal in Doha, Qatar, ahead of the FIFA World Cup. The first of the line’s new World-class vessels, it is the largest ship in the MSC fleet and the first to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is the cleanest marine fuel.
The 6,762-passenger ship, spanning 22 decks, was named on the quayside of the new terminal in a ceremony attended by guests from around the world. The glittering spectacle included a cutting-edge video mapping projection onto the ship’s hull, aerial display using 600 drones and a grand finale performance by international singer-songwriter Matteo Bocelli.
During the World Cup MSC World Europa will be used as a luxury floating hotel with fellow vessels MSC Poesia and MSC Opera. Afterwards the ship will spend an inaugural season sailing in the Arabian Gulf before moving to the Mediterranean in March 2023 for seven-night cruises calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Naples and Messina, as well as Valletta in Malta, Barcelona in Spain and Marseille in France.
MSC World Europa boasts a list of firsts including the longest dry slide at sea, The Venom Drop, which spirals down 11 decks. There are 33 restaurants, bars and lounges, including an all-new onboard brewery, gin bar, La Pescaderia fish market restaurant and Chef’s Garden Kitchen created in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Niklas Ekstedt. Focusing on natural ingredients, the restaurant has the first-at-sea hydroponic garden where edible plants are grown without soil. Other new venues include the nostalgic Raj Polo Tea House where the extensive tea menu – including British-style ‘elevenses’ and afternoon tea – showcases a special blend of tea created for MSC and only available on MSC World Europa.
Elsewhere, there is a 104-metre outdoor promenade lined with shops, restaurants, cafés and bars and the ship’s 2,626 cabins include the largest and most luxurious MSC Yacht Club. This exclusive ship-within-a-ship area is accessed by key card and passengers have their own lounge, restaurant, sun deck and 24 hour butler service. The ship also has the line’s largest children’s play area.
MSC Cruise is the world’s third largest cruise brand, and the line describes MSC World Europa as the most innovative and environmentally advanced cruise ship in its 20-strong fleet, which continues to expand with more ships being launched this year, in 2023 and beyond.
MSC’s goal is to have a zero emission fleet by 2050 and LNG fuel eliminates local air pollutant emissions such as sulphur oxides and reduces nitrogen oxides by up to 85 per cent. The line says MSC World Europa marks a 50 per cent improvement in terms of emissions per mile than ships constructed a decade ago, with a 25 per cent improvement on vessels built only three years ago.
Other eco-friendly credentials include a hull that minimises resistance through the water, engine room and propellers designed to reduce underwater sound to protect marine mammals, using desalinated seawater to produce 100 per cent of the water needed to run the ship, reprocessing heat and recycling 60 per cent of waste.
Antonio Paradiso, the line’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, said:
“This ship is spectacular because there is something for everyone whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with your family. The amount of public space per passenger is the highest we’ve ever had on any ship. We also want to be ahead of the game with sustainability so it’s the first of many ships that will be powered by LNG.
“The naming ceremony has been brilliant. MSC World Europa is our most innovative, environmentally advanced and exciting ship to date, and I have been blown away by it. We’re already seeing a surge in bookings on board MSC World Europa, and it is proving to be the most popular ship for UK guests following MSC Virtuosa, which is based in Southampton year-round.
“Winter cruises in the Middle East have always been a success with our UK guests and in recent years we have expanded our offering in this popular region. We have developed new itineraries that include Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as, of course, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and we have also increased the number of ports of embarkation.”
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of MSC Cruises
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