Looking from the outside in at some cruise lines, the endless kaleidoscope of cabin prices versus the value you receive from them can be daunting, especially if you’re trying to make sense of them yourself without employing the knowledge of an experienced travel agent.
Different price levels represent different inclusions and can change cruise to cruise based on season, cruise length, cabin type and destination. However, MSC Cruises has made the move to modify its pricing structure across its global operations, with the intention of simplifying things into five clearly labelled sub-categories.
Unlike many brands, MSC has structured its pricing based on the services you may wish to enjoy and the flexibility you may require during your cruise, rather than where on the ship your stateroom is located and what type of view it will provide. The five sub-categories are:
Applicable cabins: Inside, Ocean View and Balcony.
For the purposes of establishing an order, we will label the Bella category as a lead-in cruise experience only because it sits at the bottom of the tree, despite the fact it still offers plenty for inclusions for passengers. At the bare minimum, like most cruise brands, booking the Bella tier of course provides a comfortable and equipped stateroom which is serviced daily. But like a low-cost airline, for many services and perks you may wish to enjoy once onboard, you will pay extra for them.
Like all of the categories above it, Bella passengers still enjoy access to the full 20-hour per day buffet and all restaurants, whether included in the fare or at a surcharge. Guests can enjoy theatre performances, the main pool, sports facilities, a gym, entertainment for all ages including the kids club, pre-cruise cabin selection when booking, a choice of dinner seating as per normal and can earn MSC Club loyalty points. Once selected, prices increase based on whether you opt for an interior stateroom, ocean view or a balcony. Very simple.
Applicable cabins: Inside, Ocean View and Balcony.
Regardless of which cabin category you select, the Fantastica package opens up a few more perks and inclusions to guests designed to entice you to pay a little more. For kickoff, this begins with the ability to order room service, delivered to your stateroom for free. Guests on the Bella package can do the same, but will see a delivery fee added to their account.
In terms of activities, Fantastica guests can enjoy a 50% discount on fitness classes and sessions with a personal trainer. This discount is not available to Bella guests.
Pre-cruise, guests on this package also have a wider selection of staterooms open for their selection, along with a priority opportunity to book a SuperFamily cabin (where available) to ensure your group has a better chance of securing the space you need for your cruise.
This particular package won’t be available until the middle of next year but comes as a newly added tier, developed in partnership with Technogym.
Any experienced cruiser will tell you how easy it is to get caught up in the glutenous abundance of food, particularly the less than healthy options which always seem to catch out eyes. That’s where this price tier comes in, as it aims to help keep health conscious guests in their routines despite all the distractions.
Prior to the cruise, guests selecting this option are provided with the ‘Aspiration Finder’ questionnaire to detail their individual health program and routines, and once onboard, a one-on-one consultation with a Technogym wellness trainer and the ship’s doctor which seeks to determine a passenger’s individual motivations, such as whether they wish to look better, feel better, improve sporting performance or overall health and happiness.
From this personal poll, the Technogym crew and the ship’s doctor work to formulate and implement a healthy eating program for the guest to follow onboard, book in active shore excursions, access to gym classes, laundry service for gym gear and more.
Applicable cabins: Balcony and Suite.
The Aurea package is the highest tier of inclusions available with regular staterooms but certainly rewards guests for that extra investment in their holiday. From embarkation day, priority boarding and expedited luggage service ensures Aurea guests are on the ship and quickly reunited with their bags.
In addition to all the inclusions and benefits that come with the Bella and Fantastica packages, guests on this package automatically receive the top-level Allegrissimo drinks package, which covers most alcoholic beverages except for high-end spirits. Guests have access to a dedicated part of the main restaurant reserved just for Aurea passengers.
Parents can indulge in some wellness and relaxation as part of the Aurea package, with a choice of a 60-minute massage in the spa, access to the solarium and access to the thermal spa throughout the cruise. Perks extend to children as well, with included access to more advanced recreational activities such as opportunities to learn a foreign language or participate in Masterchef-style cooking session designed for kids.
MSC Yacht Club
Applicable cabins: Deluxe, Executive, Family and Royal Suites.
The MSC Yacht Club was in place before the line revamped its price tiers and remains so today. It is the ultimate MSC offering, effectively a ship within a ship, with guests booking one of the ship’s higher end suites having keycard access to an exclusive part of the ship, services of a 24-hour concierge and private areas such as The One Sun Deck and the Top Sail Lounge.
Suites are lavishly fitted with higher-end amenities such as ergonomic mattresses, higher cotton-count sheets, a pillow menu, marble bathroom, mini-bar and a games console connected to the television. Exclusive amenities include wellbeing products for face, hair and body in the cabin, a bathrobe and slippers.
A private restaurant is open only to MSC Yacht Club guests to enjoy for lunch and dinner on a free time dining basis. All drinks are also included, in all parts of the ship as well as the aforementioned mini-bar. A separate part of the spa reserved for MSC Yacht Club guests, such as the Thermal Suite, is accessed via an exclusive elevator. Extra services include priority check-in and check-out,
For more information, download this easy-to-read chart.