MSC Euribia Northern Europe Cruise Review

By Scarlett Shepherd

We went on MSCs new ship, the MSC Euribia, taking one of its 7-night Northern Europe cruises. We embarked at the port of Southampton with an itinerary of Hamburg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, and Le Havre.


Prior to embarkation day we were allocated a boarding time of 11am.

We arrived at the port on time, parked our car at the onsite ABP parking, and headed over to the terminal building.

Outside the terminal building we were directed to the luggage drop off area, which was easy and quick.

We then proceeded to the terminal building entrance where we were greeted with a very long line. After queuing outside for around 15 minutes, we finally got into the building to be welcomed with another even longer line for security!

After queuing for at least another 30minutes to go through security, we thought the end was in sight. Unfortunately, we were wrong, as we were then directed into ANOTHER line, where we had to queue to check in, show our passports and collect our cruise cards. This took around another 15 minutes.

Finally with cruise cards in hand, and after 1 hour of queuing, we were finally ready to board!

Overall, we found the embarkation process at the port of Southampton to be a very slow process with MSC compared to other cruise lines. There were numerous different queues that we had to wait in, and the time that it took felt unnecessarily long.

The Ship

The MSC Euribia is a brand new ship to the MSC fleet, and they have done a brilliant job with the design of this ship, as it is BEAUTIFUL!

From the outside the ship has an artistically painted hull, and inside the beauty continues, with a massive LED dome screen, crystal staircases, and magnificent artwork.

The layout and design of the MSC Euribia is almost identical to her sister ship the MSC Virtuosa. With there only being a few minor alterations.

The Price and Value for Money

When it comes to MSC, they are very reasonable on the price of a cruise. It is easy to find voyages which are much cheaper than other cruise lines, and the added extras such as drinks packages, dining packages and excursions are also a more reasonable price.

Although MSC are very reasonable on price, this does come with other costs, in the form of a reduced level of service and food quality.

The food quality on MSC we feel is very poor, especially compared to other cruise lines. We went on this cruise knowing this, and subsequently decided to purchase the finest four dining package for £109 each. This allowed us to eat 4 meals at each of the speciality restaurants. Where MSC lacks in is included dining options, it excels in the speciality restaurants, and we had 4 delicious meals with brilliant service.  

During our Northern Europe cruise the ship was to capacity, as we booked to go during the school half term. The size of the MSC Euribia is large, but not large enough for a capacity of over 6000 guests. Due to this large capacity, there is often a lack of space in the theatres, lounges, bars and restaurants.

We felt for the restaurant staff in the main dining room, as they were always very busy with a high number of guests per waiter. This meant that on each evening we went to the main dining room we had to often wait over 30 minutes for our order to be taken, and there was a lack of chatting and laughing which we would normally have with the staff in the main dining room on other cruise lines.

The lack of staffing was also felt throughout other areas of the ship, especially in the bars and lounges. If you were firstly able to find a seat in a bar or lounge, it would then often take a very long time to be served and get your drink, again sometimes this took over 30minutes. This was by no fault of the staff as they were all working very hard. There was just not enough of them working in each area for the number of guests there.

MSC can feel like a pack it full and sell it cheap cruise line, however, this was my 4th cruise with MSC, and I came onto the ship knowing that all these things were likely to be an issue, as they were the same issues I had experienced before. However, for the price that they sell the cruises at, I would expect aspects of the cruise to be of a lesser quality compared to Royal Caribbean, Princess, and P&O. However, you must consider the service you are getting for the price paid, and if you are looking for a cheap family holiday where you can still have a good time, then this cruise was brilliant. Also, if you are willing to pay a bit extra by buying things like the speciality dining package and MSC Fun Pass, then you can make your experience with MSC much better.

The Itinerary

The itinerary of our cruise was as follows:


At sea


At sea

Zeebrugge (Bruges)


Le Havre


On the MSC Euribia Northern Europe cruises, there is the option to embark the ship for your cruise at any of the ports, as the ship is doing a continuous loop of this itinerary.

The order of this itinerary is continuing throughout November, and is being slightly altered in December, as the days at the ports of Zeebrugge and Rotterdam and being switched, that itinerary is then continuing until April.

We found this itinerary to need improvement.

The first big issue is the port of Hamburg. The ship is due to call at Hamburg on a Sunday for ALL of the sailings. This is an issue because all the shops are shut on a Sunday in Hamburg. This made the options of what we could do very limited, due to so many places being closed.

The other issue was regarding the port of Zeebrugge. MSC advertises this port as Zeebrugge (Bruges), however, despite the close proximity of Zeebrugge to Bruges, there was no easy regular transportation options from the port to the city centre. There was the option to book the Bruges on your own excursion, but we found this to be rather pricy, and the times more limiting. In the port of Hamburg and Rotterdam, the MSC Excursions team had regular shuttle busses from the port to the centre of town (for an additional price of around €12-€15 per person). However, in Zeebrugge, the only shuttle bus was from the port to Blankenburg, which then required you to get a train from Blankenburge into Bruges.

Unfortunately, we never made it to the port of Le Havre, as we encountered Storm Ciaran during our cruise, which led the captain to cancel the port, and instead have a day at sea due to safety concerns. You can read all about our experience of Storm Ciaran while in the English Channel here.

Aside from these issues, we did enjoy the itinerary.

Our favourite city from all the ports of call was Bruges. This was a beautiful city, with stunning architecture, amazing beer and delicious chocolate. There were loads of places to visit, and it was great to spend a day here.

canna in Bruges

Another port which we really enjoyed was Rotterdam. The ship docked fairly close to the centre of the city, so it was great to be able to walk off the ship and be straight into the action. MSC did provide the option for a shuttle bus to take you into the city centre, however we enjoyed the short 20minute walk, which took you over the remarkable Erasmusbrug bridge. The best part of Rotterdam was markthal (market hall). This was an indoor area which was beautifully designed with massive glass windows and an artistic ceiling. The food stalls here served amazing fresh food, and it was the perfect spot for lunch.

market hall in rotterdam Markthal

Continuous Embarkation/ Disembarkation

Having people embarking and disembarking the ship almost daily was a new thing for us, and we did not like it. It meant that there were daily announcements regarding mandatory safety briefings for embarking guests, along with frequent announcements being broadcast into our cabin regarding safety briefings which we did not have to attend, and these were often very loud and would wake our baby. With the constant embarkations at the ports this led to a lot of different nationalities on board. Although we enjoyed the mix of different people, the downside to this was the long length of all the announcements, as each announcement would be made in multiple different languages.

Lastly, having people frequent embarkations also led to a very different vibe for the cruise. We are used to cruises where everyone embarks at the same time at the same port, which leads to a shared atmosphere amongst all passengers, as everyone is at the same point in their holiday experience. Having everyone at different stages of their holiday led to a strange ambiance which I did not enjoy as much.


Overall, we enjoyed our time on board the MSC Euribia on our Northern Europe Cruise.

When it comes to MSC, you have to consider what you are getting for the price you are paying.

The MSC Euribia is a large ship, however, the capacity for this ship in relation to the amount of guest spaces available to far too large. It feels as though MSC have a larger guest capacity so that they can offer a cheaper cruise than other cruise lines, however, this compromises quality. Which for the price that we paid for this cruise we understand and accept. This is why we don’t mind paying a bit extra for the specialty dining package, as the price of the cruise was cheaper than what we would pay with another cruise line, so we have a little extra left that we can spend on extras, like the specialty dining, to improve our experience.

Although we enjoyed the itinerary, the port of Hamburg felt a little pointless with so much being closed and it feeling like a ghost town. If MSC were to change the day of the Hamburg port, then this would greatly improve the itinerary experience.

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