Well, where did that year go. Seems just yesterday I was heading out on my first MSC cruise aboard the Divina. Now I am on the final countdown, 16 days until my two week cruise aboard the MSC Seascape.
It’s pretty exciting as the Seascape is a brand new ship and I believe twice the size of the MSC Divina.
Why am I back To MSC
We sailed on the MSC Divina Feb 12-24, 2023 and I told you afterwards, YES I would sail them again. And here I am. Were there a few glitches, yep, but overall great staff, beautiful ship and what a price. So lets focus on the price for just one second.
I shopped around for weeks trying to find our next cruise to celebrate my 60th Birthday. So other than price I also had parameters that were specific, 14 days and including Jan 31, because I wanted to be at sea on my Birthday. Weird, I know but it matters. There was no cruise line that came close to MSC pricing.
Now, many will tell you, well you get what you pay for. I am here to tell you this is like stumbling upon the perfect sale in your fav store. This is not a cheap or budget line, it is a cruise line that is pricing their packages for their target market. A beautiful cruise line with wonderful staff, lots to do and yes delicious food. Plus the drink package is included. Maybe if you are a non-drinker that will not sway your opinion but we like to have a “few” drinks, ok maybe more than a few.
MSC Seascape vs MSC Divina
Bit of a back story here, I really wanted to head back on the MSC Divina with friends from our last cruise. Unfortunately the 18 Day Caribbean/Panama Canal cruise didn’t hit my Birthday, so I kept looking. Heading back a year later to the Divina was truly on my mind, being with friends, seeing new locations and of course a perfect size ship. I was also interested in seeing if any of the small glitches had been fixed. So as much as I am two weeks out from my cruise I am sad that I am not sailing the Panama.
Truly as I said last year, the only glitches were shortage of bar staff on the Island and on the ship sometimes. Let’s be clear the shortage wasn’t enough to impact the fact we still had ample to drink everyday. Hoping that the staff shortages felt in 2023 have eased up. Remember folks, staff shortages are being felt in every industry “post-C” so be patient.
So Seascape talk now, very excited to be on a brand new (well a year old) ship that is twice the size of my last cruise. Hoping that the sure size and number of people is not to overwhelming for me. Plus the pictures of the private Aurea area have me really excited.
MSC Seascape apparently pays tribute to New York City. As such, the design features, public areas and venue names are inspired by this metropolitan U.S. city. These include an imposing three-metre-high replica of the Statue of Liberty at the heart of the casino and a newly designed expansive retail and entertainment area, aptly named Times Square.
And the piece de resistance an impressive 8.5 metre-high LED wall spanning four decks with a projection of the iconic skyline of this entertainment hub in Manhattan that can change from day to night.
Seascape also has a few more restaurants, but lets face it just seeing the new and shiny is enough to make anyone excited. Seascape bound in Aurea Class.
So on that note let’s talk Aurea shall we?
What is the Aurea experience on MSC Cruises?
The Aurea experience is one of several cruise packages that guests can choose from when they book their MSC cruise. Of the three options (excluding Yacht Club, which is separate), it is the best option, giving guests the best choice of accommodation and various other perks.
MSC Class System and Aurea
Well that sounds awful doesn’t it, a Class system on a cruise ship. I need a new name let’s stick with Packages, hmm nope how about “experience” shall we?
The exclusive Aurea experience includes:
- the best Balcony cabins and Suites in the most desired locations on the ship
- 24-hour room service – items are charged for, but delivery is free
- My Time Dining – enjoy your dinner when you want to eat
- Free access to the exclusive Solarium deck area
- Access to the Thermal Spa area (reservations needed)
- Bathrobes, slippers and a pillow menu for your room
- 40% discount on a dedicated pre-paid spa package
- 10% discount on all spa treatments purchased on-board
- Priority boarding and luggage drop off
- A welcome package in your cabin or suite, including Prosecco and chocolates
With the Bella and Fantastica experience, (which you also get with Aurea fyi):
- Your accommodation, meals in the main dining room and buffet, and live entertainment
- The option to book a discounted drinks package when you book your cruise
- Access to the swimming pools, sports facilities and gym
- Kids clubs
- Earn loyalty points for the MSC Voyagers Club every time you cruise
- The chance to choose your own cabin and location on the ship
- One free change to your cruise (cabin or cruise date)
- Breakfast served in your cabin with free delivery
- 20% discount on a specialty restaurant pre-paid package
My MSC Aurea Experience
After booking the Aurea experience on our first cruise I don’t think I sail without it anymore. Now as entitled as that may sound let me explain.
It is not about the actual room location, pillow option or bathrobe, although that is nice, it is about the thermal spa and the exclusive Solarium deck area.
On our last cruise we made a daily reservation for 5:00. After sunning all day or touring we would head to the Thermal Spa for a Sauna and Steam path. What a delightful way to end your day and prep for the evening. Really excited about the Seascape Thermal area, there apparently is a snow room. So for any Northern you know there is nothing better after a steam or sauna than a snow plunge.
The Solarium on the Ship
As for the Exclusive Solarium, well peace and quiet and availability of loungers at any time. Seriously in our 11 days last year there was only one sea day where we did not have a lounger immediately, and that is without getting up at 7:00 A.M.
The amazing staff of the Solarium truly take care of the passengers. The Top Deck on the Divina does not have it’s own Bar but a quick trip down to get a drink provided a nice walk, or the staff will go get your order for you. The Seascape has it’s own bar so that will be a nice perk.
Can you discuss MSC without mentioning Ocean Cay? Truly not. While every cruise ship line now seems to have their own Private Island, none of them can compare to this. We are not talking crazy party vibes and touristy traps, we are talking about a true beach experience.
Touching just briefly on this today because the Island truly deserves it’s own post.
And lets not underplay the significance of the MSC Island and what it is doing for the environment and sealife. Lets be frank it is called Ocean Cay Marine Reserve for a reason.
MSC Cruises transformed a former industrial sand extraction site into a flourishing marine reserve and private island destination. Ocean Cay was designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings.
Their vision was to create a sustainable destination with activities that allow guests to connect with nature and provide opportunities to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs. Plus they continue to build and improve on the programs that they offer.
Excited to see if any changes have been made in the last year.
Have you tried MSC yet? And if you happen to be booked Jan 7th through to Feb 10th let’s meet up.
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