INTERNATIONAL. MSC Cruises is preparing to launch MSC World Europa, its most advanced ship to date, in six months’ time, and has pledged to deliver a new standard of retail excellence onboard.

The new flagship is the first in the World Class prototype, spanning 22 decks, 47m wide, with 2,626 cabins and more than 40,000sq m of public space. MSC said it would set “a new standard for the cruise industry” across its environment and services. She will come into service on 20 December 2022 and will spend her inaugural season in the Gulf.

“The future class of cruising and the next generation of cruise retailing.” MSC World Europa will homeport in Dubai before heading to the Mediterranean in Summer 2023

MSC Cruises last year said it planned to launch its first ‘department store at sea’, its first outdoor luxury boutiques and an exciting new vision for its logo stores built around sustainability.

Adding more detail, MSC Cruises Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway said that MSC World Europa “will offer the future class of cruise retail excellence, with a concept designed around the principles of immersive dynamism, family experiences and ever-changing exciting discoveries for our guests”.

The retail offer is built around three main concepts on each of the main public area decks:

The Deck 6 Shopping Gallery is “a true innovation in cruise retailing” according to Pittaway. This new concept brings together various products and experiences for the first time on a cruise ship, in a ‘department store’ style.

The categories of beauty, fashion, jewellery, watches, sunglasses, technology, food, tobacco and liquor will be offered together in the same retail environment at the heart of the World Galleria with a fully interconnected department store for the first time.

The core categories in the department store environment are situated in the central Galleria; below, the outdoor World Promenade

Pittaway said: “There will always be something to experience with an ever-evolving, digitally-enhanced event plan, which can change dependent on the day, time or port in which the cruise docks, with different spaces and feelings every hour. This flexible environment ensures that our guests are always able to discover something new and engaging throughout the cruise.

“A new retail theatre at the heart of the store will allow the retail cruise director to guide guests through different activities and events, including tastings, learnings and seminars. An industry-first, seamless guest payment system will allow for a truly frictionless guest experience that is completely connected to all other departments, meaning a totally innovative approach to tailored offers, cross promotions, recommendations and incentives.”

MSC promises immersive experiences for guests in the Aft Lounge

On Deck 7 is MSC Cruises’ own-brand shopping concept. Created as “a connected MSC multiverse”, the area contains the MSC Shop, MSC Hub and MSC Foundation, with the experience designed to capture the essence of MSC brands into different family experiences.

The MSC Shop will be double the size of similar zones on Meraviglia class ships with a reinvented portfolio of products focusing on new designs, sustainability and experiences of MSC World class, with an “exhilarating” new design.

Pittaway said: “Outside the front of the store will be a new MSC World Experience space to host various events, seminars, workshops and promotions throughout the cruise, bringing the world of MSC Cruises to life in new and creative ways. The MSC Foundation shop will further our mission of providing guests a selection of dedicated merchandise to help raise money for good causes and worthy partnerships around the world.”

MSC World Europa will be home to the largest areas for children and families in the MSC fleet

Deck 8 houses the Luxury Outdoor Promenade housing watches, jewellery & accessories.

Pittaway pledged a “brand new world of luxury boutiques in the unique outside space at the aft of the ship. The new stores, including an Omega boutique, have been designed to offer a premium and relaxed luxury retail experience to showcase our finest brands in a truly unique and high quality environment.

“The use of contemporary designs and large, open spaces are interwoven with the spectacular concepts in the outdoor spaces of the MSC World Class. The double height shopfront, large open display windows looking out to sea will give a new sensation of space, previously unseen in cruise ship shops, offering a perfect environment for luxury retailing.”

The Zen Pool sits at the heart of the wellness zone onboard

Other highlights of the groundbreaking new vessel include:

* The 104m long, seven-deck-high outdoor World Promenade

*33 restaurants, bars and lounges

*A variety of entertainment with a host of different venues from grand-scale theatre productions to immersive performances in the aft lounge, interactive family entertainment in the Luna Park Arena and authentic Bohemian street theatre around the ship

*MSC Cruises’ largest and most technologically advanced family offering in 766sq m of space

*Leisure and wellness services with seven swimming pools and 13 whirlpools

*The most luxurious MSC Yacht Club in the fleet

*Innovative new accommodation design, with seven cabin types.

MSC World Europa will be the first LNG-powered vessel in MSC Cruises’ fleet and the most environmentally advanced to date.

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