Ramy Salameh stepped on-board MSC Euribia as it docked for the first time at Southampton's 'Horizon Cruise Terminal', ready to begin her winter sailings around Northern Europe. The arrival was celebrated by a traditional exchange of crests, between the ship’s master Captain and local authorities.
Mid-October, saw the port of Southampton welcome the first call of MSC Euribia, ready to begin her winter sailings around Northern Europe.
The arrival was celebrated by a traditional "Exchange of Crests"; this time-honoured maritime custom was led by the ship’s master Captain Christopher Pugh, who studied at the Warsash Maritime Academy in Southampton, alongside local authorities involving an exchange of commemorative plaques.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director, MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, stated "The 'Crest Exchange' is a maritime tradition that stretches back to Roman times" and further commented: “the arrival of MSC Euribia to the UK is an exciting moment, welcoming another ship in our fleet to the port of Southampton. After seeing the success of no-fly cruises on MSC Virtuosa, our newest flagship will give British travellers another chance to explore a variety of destinations through the convenience of a cruise.”
Tradition then morphs into the ultra-modern and sustainable world that is the MSC Euribia. As one turns onto the Western Esplanade and Southern Road from Southampton Central Station, an elegant floating 'City' in the form of MSC Euribia fills the horizon, docked beside the aptly named 'Horizon Cruise Terminal'. MSC has a commitment for 25 years at the terminus, having made significant investments in the building of Horizon. The roof of which is fitted with more than 2,000 roof-mounted solar panels, which means that on a day-to-day basis it will generate more power than it uses.
It is with these sustainable initiatives, that every cruise traveller who steps through the door of the terminal, is being ushered into "the future of cruising" as described by Mr. Paradiso, who explained to his invited audience during the Crest Exchange, that the Horizon Terminal perfectly blends together with MSC Euribia, which is the most sustainable ship in the MSC fleet. The MSC team is obsessively committed to 'sustainability' across its fleet, with MSC Euribia the main eco-Ambassador of the company, as it was the first ship to successfully carry out a net zero greenhouse gas emission voyage between the shipyard of Chantiers de I'Atlantique in St Nazaire and Copenhagen.
All MSC's new ships will be powered by the latest and best fuel available and the company is investing much time, resources and efforts in developing and sourcing alternative types of fuels; they have been looking at batteries and hydrogen, also studying different solutions to make cruising even 'Greener'. "When it comes to building new ships we need to think 20-years ahead" and "we are fully committed to reaching a net zero scenario by 2050" Paradiso added.
As one zigzags up the walkway from the terminal to board the ship, the cruise passenger is greeted by a fabulous piece of artwork running along the entire 331m hull. It carries the most important message hashtag #savethesea, which has been incorporated within a mural that showcases an array of the ocean ecosystem's rich diversity, depicting waves to whale's tails, also blossoms, leaves and symbols representing the globe and recycling. The artist who designed the mural is Alex Flamig, who won a competition launched by MSC Cruises to create a customised design for the hull of MSC Euribia, which conveyed a message of respect for the marine environment.
This mural can be seen as the starting point to the MSC mindset about the 'future of cruising' in an eco-friendly way, or at least steps towards this process. Arriving on-board one passes security and into the 'Galleria Euribia'; one gazes up in awe at the LED dome running for 80m down the centre of the ship and surrounded by restaurants and bars, as well as spacious shopping areas offering international brands. It is a quite outstanding piece of digitalisation that in one moment changes from blue skies and puffs of cloud to brickwork of an ancient building or a mosaic of whales frolicking in the surf. This and the grand staircase, encrusted with 61,000 sparkling crystals form the obvious meeting point and exchange point for guests to traverse the ship in either direction.
It is a floating resort, where emphasis is placed on enjoyment, entertainment, wellness, cuisine and wine, sports and of course a luxurious means of travelling to numerous shores without checking-out or re-packing. One can dine around the world at 7 restaurants which recreates cuisine from Indochina and Japan to Mexico and the Mediterranean. A top-deck aqua park compliments 5 pools across multiple decks; the nightly theatre can hold up 945 people and for night owls there is a casino and countless bars. The wellness centre is the place to be pampered and the ‘Sportsplex’ which includes a gym, basketball pitch, bowling alley will keep one fit.
If the budget allows, accommodation stretches between the MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite and onto another 20 plus categories; facilities on-board are so good, that one could almost forget being at sea, until they step onto a room balcony, go to one of the external pools or through the many light filled lounges with views out to the ocean.
Feeling the 'Zen' of the ocean, the distant horizons and the serene swan-like approach to famous harbours and cities, is what this wonderful means of transport allows. If that can be achieved in a more sustainable way, then it is a win-win for an ever expanding industry.
Go to MSC Euribia for more information.