Named after an ancient deity who harnessed the winds, tides and stars to master the seas, MSC Euribia uses the latest technology to be the most environmentally advanced ship afloat. 

Rushing into the cabin to change, I want to laugh when I finally look in the mirror. I’m used to squeezing into a cocktail dress with heels or even a ballgown when I’m on a cruise. A boilersuit, hard hat and safety shoes is definitely not usually the look I go for.

Great British Life: The hull of MSC Euribia is a giant artwork #savetheseaThe hull of MSC Euribia is a giant artwork #savethesea

But this is no ordinary cruise. I’m on MSC Euribia sailing from Amsterdam to Copenhagen on the world’s first net zero greenhouse gas emission cruise. It’s the ship’s inaugural voyage, and, MSC Cruises claim, it’s the world’s most energy efficient cruise ship design yet, set to trailblaze a new level of sustainability in a bid to save our seas.

And to prove it they’re taking me below deck to see the latest green technology powering this 6,334 passenger carrying behemoth. Hence this very unflattering outfit.

This is a first for me. I’ve never been allowed anywhere near an engine room and I’m imagining coal-stoked steam engines like the scenes in James Cameron’s Titanic movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Great British Life: The greenest ship at sea has everything on board. Ivan SarfattiThe greenest ship at sea has everything on board. Ivan Sarfatti

Instead, we’re led into a large white room with some large, gleaming silver pipes. All very sterile and well, dull. Except for a big, red button. ‘Never hit the red button,’ we’re warned. We’re not told why which makes me want to hit the huge, red button. I can’t take my eyes off it as an engineer excitedly explains how the ship is run on bio-LNG (liquified natural gas), the cleanest marine fuel currently commercially available at scale. ‘What’s it made from?’ someone asks.

Great British Life: There's plenty of dazzle with all these Swarzovski crystals in the sweeping staircases. There's plenty of dazzle with all these Swarzovski crystals in the sweeping staircases.

Chicken Power

‘Wet manure,’ the engineer replies. ‘Usually from cattle, chicken or pigs.’ No one speaks for a moment. Then the room fills with laughter. ‘I didn’t expect a ship this size to run on that,’ one of the group says.

It's not the only technology making this ship the greenest at sea. There’s an advanced wastewater treatment system, which only releases clean water back into the sea to protect local ecosystems, seawater is used to produce fresh water on board and the heat from the engines produces all the hot water on the ship – including heating the pools. An optimised hull design and new generation of propeller ensures there’s less vibration and noise underwater, which is good news for marine life.

Plus, MSC Euribia is future proof, too, so that the ship will be able to use carbon-neutral synthetic and other alternative fuels, such as green liquid hydrogen to power fuel cells onboard, as soon as they’re available at scale.

It all means one thing: a ship that’s protecting the blue planet. While the LNG virtually eliminates sulphur oxides and reduces nitrogen oxides by 85 per cent - both of which can cause breathing issues - and the ship emits 44 per cent less climate-change-inducing greenhouse gas emissions per guest per day than ships built 10 years ago, MSC Euribia will also use shore to ship power to reduce emissions while in port.

Great British Life: The deluxe blacony cabin is a floating home from home. Ivan SarfattiThe deluxe blacony cabin is a floating home from home. Ivan Sarfatti

‘We are steering a course toward a lower carbon future and, by 2050, we will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions,’ promises Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman.

If the message isn’t clear enough, you just need to look at the ship’s hull. German Artist Alex Flamig has covered it with silhouettes of coral, seaweed, whales, and octopus along with seabirds and vines in ocean-inspired hues of blue and green in his work #SavetheSea. ‘What was important to me was not only the representation of the underwater world but also a message of how it should be preserved,’ he explains. ‘I also want to express that an intact sea is also the basis for a healthy ecosystem on land.’

This environmental responsibility is at the core of MSC Cruises’ work to safeguarding the world’s oceans, which is no surprise considering the line is owned by Captain Gianluigi Aponte, whose family, originally from Sorrento, were drawn to the sea 300 years ago. ‘We all have the duty to leave a better world for future generations,’ he says.

Great British Life: The largest band at sea perform in the Carousel LoungeThe largest band at sea perform in the Carousel Lounge

But while MSC Euribia – named after the ancient goddess Eurybia who harnessed the winds, tides and stars to master the seas, is the epitome of sustainability at sea, she is rather stylish, too. After all this is an Italian cruise line.

And this ship has plenty of bling. From the thousands of giant Swarovski crystals embedded in the atrium’s sweeping staircase – nothing compared to the 700,000 in the VIP luxury stateroom in the MSC Yacht club on sister ship MSC Bellissima – to the 11m LED artwork ‘Street’ by British artist Julian Opie showing walking figures in L’Atelier du Voyageur bar, the ship literally dazzles.

She smells shiny new too. The carpets literally spring underfoot, while my cabin positively gleams. ‘I’m the first person to ever stay in here,’ I think, glancing around. I try out the double bed – sooo comfortable – the sofa – ditto – and check out the TV loaded with the latest movies to watch on demand for free.

But there’s no time to hang around as I’m starving and want to check out the rest of the ship. First stop, Marketplace Buffet on deck 15, where there’s every type of pasta, and pizza – including a delicious one with a charcoal base – along with salads, and an array of other cuisines including Indian, British, and Spanish. You can literally have anything from a curry to a roast dinner with a side order of paella, and go back for seconds. There’s a huge vegetarian selection and an entire dessert station, too.

Great British Life: A virtual global vineyard is at your fingertrips on board. Ivan SarfattiA virtual global vineyard is at your fingertrips on board. Ivan Sarfatti


While the buffet is open from 6.30am until 10.30pm, you can choose from another 11 dining venues, including five speciality restaurants, including Le Grill, a stylish French bistro meets steakhouse, and Kaito, Sushi & Robotayaki. It isn’t, sadly, an eaterie where robots do the cooking, as the name suggests, but a Japanese restaurant where food is cooked over hot charcoal, similar to a barbecue. Over the cruise – the ship’s maiden voyage – the restaurants and all 21 bars are open for tastings and I finish my culinary tour of the globe on the ship happy but full.

Luckily, no one needs to worry about putting on weight if they’re happy to do some exercise instead of slump on that brand new cabin bed as there’s a state-of-the-art gym, a spa which has a dry flotation treatment and thermal area, as well as five pools and Ocean Cay AquaPark, one of the biggest water parks at sea for kids big and small. Just don’t go near the Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café where myriad chocolate delicacies try to tempt you, and chocolatiers create works of art out of the stuff to entertain and torture the sweet-toothed among you.

I eschew the cocoa offerings and wander along the Galleria Euribia, the longest LED Dome at Sea with an array of shops, and images of whales and other creatures of the sea diving and swimming overhead.

There’s just time to pop into Helios wine bar on Deck 6, which is ‘a virtual vineyard at sea’ where you can discover 100 new and old-world wines just by putting down a coaster latest digital touch screen tables. Boasting the same technology as used by the CIA, hundreds of tips, facts and options are literally at your fingertips. An hour-long wine tasting experience paired with cheeses and snacks cost from $35 per person.

Great British Life: The Galleria becomes a nightclub when the DJ performsThe Galleria becomes a nightclub when the DJ performs

I don’t have that long to explore though as I’m due in the Delphi Theatre in just over an hour for the naming ceremony of the ship by godmother and Italian movie legend Sophia Loren.

A quick shower and change and I’m taking my seat to watch the christening, eager to get a glimpse of the 88-year star of Two Women and Pret-a-Porter. Loren has been godmother to MSC’s entire fleet with Euribia making it number 22. When she comes onstage there’s a standing ovation, and the place goes berserk when she cuts the ribbon to smash a bottle of champagne on the side of the hull for luck.

She’s still beautiful, with curly, red hair and that stunning bone structure, but she has to be helped to walk on and off the stage. And then Tony Hadley entertains us with Spandau Ballet smash hits including Gold, True and Through the Barricades. His voice is as powerful and as good as it is on record, and no one wants him to leave the stage. When he finally does, we head to the Carousel Lounge at the aft of the ship where a swing band is playing. It’s 2am before we head to bed after listening to the world-famous DJ Bob Sinclair perform in the Galleria, which is transformed into the best nightclub at sea.

I only grab a few hours of sleep before leaving the ship in Copenhagen. It’s been a whirlwind few days of green glam and glitz from the Italian line that knows how to show that you can have La Dolce Vita at sea while protecting the planet.

Getting There:

A 7 nights Northern Europe round trip cruise on MSC Euribia from Southampton and calling at Hamburg, Rotterdram, Zeebrugge, and Le Havre starts from £540pp.