What it’s like to cruise aboard MSC Euribia in the land of the Vikings

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There probably isn’t a better way to experience the stunning natural beauty and picture-perfect towns of the land of the Vikings than by sea.

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Especially if you’re visiting Norway’s fantastic fjords, the deep-water sea inlets surrounded by sky-high rocky cliffs, aboard the MSC Euribia, the newest, second-biggest and most environmentally friendly ship in the European cruise line’s fleet.

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Combining a cruise aboard MSC Euribia with a visit to the western Norwegian coastline, plus bonus stops in Copenhagen, Denmark and Kiel, Germany, is the best of both worlds.

I’ll break down the entire journey from Copenhagen, through three ports in Norway — Maloy, Nordfjordeid (home of the Sagastad Viking Centre and the Myklebust replica ship) and Flaam — and a final stop in Kiel before returning to the Danish capital, but let’s start with the ship, then move on to the itinerary, since that will change from season to season and year to year.

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MSC Euribia, named after the mythical goddess Eurybia, who mastered the seas much like the seafaring Vikings, was launched in June 2023 and officially named by screen legend Sophia Loren after its maiden voyage to Copenhagen. The 331-metre-long ship, with a maximum passenger capacity of 6,334, is the 22nd vessel and most energy-efficient in the MSC Cruises fleet.

MSC Euribia musicians
Musicians perform for passengers on MSC Euribia during a sea day. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

When we boarded in Copenhagen a few months after its maiden journey, MSC Euribia practically had that new-ship smell.

After embarking — we had a sea day that allowed us to explore the ship from stem to stern — we discovered it also had all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a high-end cruise ship, from five pools, to the Ocean Cay AquaPark, one of the largest waterparks at sea, to the 21 bars (five outdoors) and lounges, 10 dining venues, a massive sports area with full-size bowling alley and a really fun Formula One racing simulator, plus the 945-seat Delphi Theatre.

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MSC Euribia is tricked out with everything you could possibly imagine — or want — and is also an incredibly beautiful work of art, with its twin Swarovski crystal stairways that act as the centrepiece of the ship’s main atrium and the longest LED dome at sea that acts as the constantly changing ceiling of the two-story Galleria Euribia, the central area on deck 6 with shops, restaurants and other entertainment. Personal faves were the Jean-Philippe Chocolat and Cafe, which served up some of the most mouth-watering treats I’ve ever had, and the Jean-Philippe Crepes and Gelato shop.

MSC Euribia pool deck
Passengers enjoy a warm day on the MSC Euribia pool deck. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

My favourite specialty restaurants were Le Grill, where I had one of the best steaks of my life; Kaito Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar, where the show put on by our chef was almost as good as the food; and Hola Tacos and Cantina, where you can tuck into some authentic Mexican offerings like the Al Pastor tacos (spicy pork, pineapple, onion and scallions) I crushed.

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Given that much of the time during our fall cruise the cool Norwegian weather pretty much took the main outdoor pool out of the equation, many folks turned to the aquapark and indoor pools or hunkered down in the hot tubs ensconced along the outside of deck 16. A power-walking track is also located on deck 16 or, if you’re inclined to do a more vigorous workout, visit the Technogym-equipped fitness centre.

A good way to kill some time and pamper yourself on those sea days is to book a Balinese massage — or many other treatments — at the MSC Aurea Spa. Or pop into the thermal area and sweat out your worries in a sauna. The ship also boasts a hair salon and barbershop.

MSC Euribia white night
White Night is a popular event for MSC Euribia passengers. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

My cabin, a deluxe balcony with partial view on deck 14 (keep in mind there is no deck 17 on MSC Euribia, a superstitious nod to the company’s Italian roots), was more than comfortable, with ample space to move around (and stow your clothing) and all the amenities needed for an enjoyable week at sea. It didn’t hurt that the cabin attendant servicing my room, Anand, did a fantastic job. The only minor drawback of being that high — the top deck was 19 — was the overhang from the deck above didn’t give me an unobstructed view.

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One of the other attractions of MSC Euribia is how environmentally conscious the ship — and cruise line, which is aiming for a net zero greenhouse gas emission across the fleet by 2050 — is, in part due to being powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is a much cleaner fuel. Other advanced technologies that make the ship more sustainable are LED lighting, smart HVAC, advanced wastewater treatment and waste management, anti-fouling paints and trim optimization.

MSC Euribia restaurant
Our chef performs during dinner at MSC Euribia’s specialty Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)


Arriving a day before we set sail allowed us to take a private driving/walking tour of Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city and one of Europe’s most beautiful.

We started with a stop to view the Little Mermaid, one of Copenhagen’s most famous (if not the smallest) landmarks, then moved on to the nearby Kastellet, a 17th-century fortress that is one of the best preserved in Europe.

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Moving on to Amalienborg Palace, which the Danish monarchy calls home, we got to witness the changing of the royal guard — the soldiers, wearing large bearskin headdresses, march from their barracks at Rosenborg Castle to replace guards at the palace every day at noon — then paid a quick visit to the dome-topped Frederiks Kirke (church) just steps away.

Little mermaid
Tourists take photos of the world-famous Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

Wrapping up things in Copenhagen, we strolled along the waterfront across from the impressive Opera House before walking through Nyhavn, a 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district with brightly-coloured townhouses that are now occupied by bars and restaurants. On a warm day, Nyhavn is packed with locals and tourists alike, enjoying everything the area has to offer.

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Don’t miss the Stroget, Copenhagen’s pedestrian shopping zone — an estimated 80,000 people visit it every day during the tourist season — and home to an incredible Lego shop. Luxury goods can also be found along the 1.1 kilometre street.

After a day at sea to explore the ship and get used to our new floating home, we woke up berthed at Maloy, a town of 3,000 and one of three stops among the Norwegian fjords and a recent addition as a port of call for cruise ships.

MSC Euribia in Maloy
The MSC Euribia berthed at the town of Maloy, Norway. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

On our private tour, we stopped to check out the Kannesteinen, a three-metre-high stone sculpture created by Mother Nature along the rocky shoreline, and Refvik Beach, a sandy 1.5-km beach that is a popular spot for Norwegians during the summer months. It can also be very windy, with houses in the area all boasting concrete walls on the side that is buffeted by the prevailing winds.

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Topping off the day trip was a lunch visit to Krakenes lighthouse, located on a promontory on the northwestern tip of Vagsoy Island, that has warned ships of the rocky, wave-slammed coastline since opening in 1906. A delicious meal of arctic char made by Andreas Foss, owner/chef at KB77/Kadaver in Maloy, was the icing on the cake.

Norway lighthouse
The Krakenes lighthouse (right) on the rocky shoreline of Vagsoy Island, Norway. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

With some free time, I checked out the Maloyraid Senteret, a museum dedicated to Operation Archery, a Second World War raid by the allies on the Nazi-occupied town in December 1941. Anyone with an interest in the Second World War needs to make the museum a must-visit.

Maloy is also home to the annual Norwegian Elvis Festival — yes, Elvis — held every August. In 2024, it runs Aug. 1-3.

We were left to explore the next two ports — Nordfjordeid and Flaam, on back-to-back days — at our leisure, although excursions booked aboard the Euribia were available. But for me, it was just as much fun to wander through the towns solo.

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A rainbow adds beauty to the Nordfjord sign on the fjord shore in Nordflordeid, Norway. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

Nordfjordeid is home to the popular Sagastad Viking Centre, which houses a replica of the largest Viking longship ever discovered in Norway, the Myklebust, and other artifacts from that era. The wooden Eid church, which dates back to the mid-1800s, and its cemetery, where Edvard Munch (the uncle of the famous artist) is buried, are both worthy of your time.

The wooden buildings that date back to the 1700s along Eidsgata, the old town’s main street, house specialty shops and cafes, along with the mandatory troll figurines that are popular in the country.

Flaam, a town of just 350 at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjorden that hosts 160 cruise ships every year, is the fjord-side terminus of the railway and home to a museum that details the history of trains in the area. Book yourself an excursion that includes a round-trip on the Flaam Railway through the mountains, with some of the most stunning scenery you will ever encounter.

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MSC Euribia in Flaam
A popular bear statue in a park in Flaam, Norway, with the MSC Euribia in the background. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

Wrapping up the ports of call was a stop in Kiel, Germany, although we opted for a full-day excursion to Hamburg, just over an hour south of the coastal city. Be sure to see St. Michael’s Church, the old red-brick warehouses of the Speicherstadt, the majestic Elbphilharmonie concert hall, the Reeperbahn’s “mile of sin” and Hamburg city hall, which is near the Binnenalster, one of two small artificial lakes in the centre of the city that is great for people watching and a tasty lunch from one of many food stalls.

Women in Hamburg watching rowing
Women watch rowing on the Binnenalster during a warm day in Hamburg, Germany. (DAVE POLLARD/Toronto Sun)

WORDS OF WISDOM: Most of our group flew direct to Copenhagen, our departure point, from Toronto via Air Canada. When cruising, it’s best to arrive a day before departure in case there are travel issues. Getting to Copenhagen a day early, after an overnight flight, also allowed us to do some sight-seeing in the Danish capital … We stayed at the Comwell Copenhagen Portside Dolce by Wyndham, a short taxi ride from the Oceankaj Cruise Terminal and near a Metro stop … Don’t forget to pack the appropriate attire for White Night. And bring something formal to wear … I’d advise booking an early dining option if you’re not planning on eating in the buffet restaurant every day. The late option, in this case, was at 9 p.m., which might be too deep into the evening for most … Book reservations at the specialty restaurants you’re interested in and any shore excursions as soon as possible after embarkation (or even before boarding) to avoid disappointment … If you’re going to explore a port of call on your own, I’d advise you to do so as early as possible and return well before the “all aboard” call, especially if tender boats are needed to go ashore, as they were in Nordfjordeid. Leaving your return until the last minute could find you in a real pickle, or at least at the back of a long queue, and potentially getting left behind.

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