MSC Aurea Experience: Worth It Or Not?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

When you’re booking a cruise with MSC, you’ll select your itinerary and your preferred cabin, and then – if you haven’t chosen the MSC Yacht Club – you’ll be presented with three cruise ‘experience’ options – Bella, Fantastica and Aurea (unless one or more have sold out).

These aren’t optional extras; you have to choose one of them, and it’ll directly impact your cruise booking and your onboard experience, including which cabin or suite you get, your dining time and more.

MSC Aurea Bar
MSC Aurea Bar

Aurea is the top-tier, and so will have the highest price of the three. But what do you get with the Aurea experience MSC offers, and is it worth it? Let’s take a look.

Aurea Experience – here’s what you need to know

The Aurea experience is one of several cruise packages 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.

There are a lot of reasons to choose Aurea as your cruise package, but you have to bear in mind that it does cost to upgrade – this isn’t something you’re getting for free.

So, you need to look at the various benefits you get with Aurea, and then decide whether it’s worth it or if you’d rather save money and book Bella or Fantastica.

It’s worth noting that Aurea is only available when you book a Balcony cabin or a Suite. You can’t book the Aurea experience with an Inside or Ocean View cabin.

MSC Aurea suite
MSC Aurea Suite

Everything included when you book Aurea

The Aurea experience includes everything that the Bella and Fantastica packages include, but with better options for your cabin and dining times. It also has a host of extra perks too.

Here’s everything you get with Bella and Fantastica, which you also get with Aurea:

  • 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 speciality restaurant pre-paid package

And then here are all the MSC Aurea benefits exclusive to this tier:

  • Pick from 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 whenever you want it
  • 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
  • A Balinese massage pre-cruise, available up to 2 days before you sail

Read more: What’s Included in MSC Cruises (And How Much is Everything Else?)

You don’t get a drinks package included anymore

The Aurea experience on MSC Cruises does not include a drinks package. It used to include the Easy drink package, which allowed guests to enjoy a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. This benefit was removed from the Aurea experience in 2022.

Now, the only free drinks that guests get with the Aurea experience is the welcome Prosecco in their cabin and suite on arrival. Guests will need to pay for their own MSC drinks package if they want one.

Nor do you get WiFi…

The MSC Aurea package does not include free WiFi. The only tier that includes free internet access is the MSC Yacht Club – all other guests will need to pay for their internet package if they want to get online.

Fantastic Vs Aurea – is Aurea really that much better?

MSC Fantastica is the mid-range experience on MSC Cruises – it doesn’t give you all the spa-related perks, and it doesn’t let you dine whenever you want to. It gives you some choice of cabin and dining time – more so than the Bella experience – but nowhere near as much flexibility as Aurea.

Experience BenefitsBellaFantasticaAurea
Opportunity to choose your cabin and locationNOYESYES
The choice of the best Balcony cabins and SuitesNONOYES
Change your cruise for a feeYESNONO
One Free Cruise ChangeNOYESYES
Breakfast in cabin, including deliveryNOYESYES
Free 24-hour delivery for room service NOYESYES
Discounted drinks package when you bookYESYESYES
Main Dining Room and Buffet restaurants includedYESYESYES
20% discount on speciality dining packageNOYESYES
Request your preferred dinner seatingNOYESNO
Enjoy dinner whenever you want with My Choice DiningNONOYES
Use of the pools, sports facilities and gymYESYESYES
Live theatre showsYESYESYES
MSC Voyagers Club loyalty pointsYESYESYES
Priority boarding & luggage drop offNONOYES
Welcome package (Prosecco and chocolates)NONOYES
Free access to the SolariumNONOYES
Free access to the Thermal SpaNONOYES
Bathrobe & slippers in your cabin/suiteNONOYES
Pillow menuNONOYES
40% discount on pre-paid spa packagesNONOYES
10% discount on spa treatments on-boardNONOYES
MSC Aurea Spa area
MSC Aurea Spa area

It’s not a fixed cost (so sometimes it’s definitely worth it!)

The cost of Aurea is not fixed – it depends on the cruise that you book, including the ship and the date. The price is flexible and what you pay on one cruise might be different from what you pay on another.

As a guideline, expect Aurea to cost somewhere in the region of £100 ($120) to £500 ($600) more than a Bella experience, and around £50 ($60) to £250 ($300) more than a Fantastica experience.

There may be some occasions where you try to book a cruise and Bella isn’t available. In that case, you’ll be told the Fantastica upgrade costs nothing, and the Aurea upgrade will only tell you the price difference between Fantastica and Aurea.

And on other times, you might find that Aurea is the only available option, and it costs nothing to choose it.

Don’t be fooled into thinking these are free upgrades. They aren’t. What this means is that the Bella and/or Fantastica experiences have sold out, and that Aurea is the only option left.

And the price you’ve been shown when booking your cruise already includes the upgrade fee for Aurea. You aren’t getting it for free, but it’s already been added into the fare you’ve been shown.

So just because it says “+£0” for Aurea, you are still paying for it.

So, is it really worth it?

There’s no simple answer when it comes to deciding whether Aurea is worth it for your MSC cruise. It depends on a number of factors:

  • How much the upgrade costs
  • Where you prefer to eat during your cruise
  • How much you care about your cabin
  • Whether you’ll make use of all the perks

If you were looking for a cheap MSC cruise then it’s not likely to be worth it. You’ll probably want an Inside or Ocean View cabin instead, which you can’t get with Aurea.

But if you want a Balcony cabin or a Suite, then definitely look at the Aurea prices. While you can book your own cabin of choice with Fantastica, you won’t have access to all the best locations on the ship.

a text comparing Bella, Fantastica and Aurea

The free delivery for room service is a nice perk if you’re planning on eating in your cabin or suite a lot, but it is only the delivery that’s free – you still need to pay for what you’re ordering. The spa access is probably a better benefit, but again only for those who plan to use it.

Really, the main perks to focus on are the My Choice Dining and the ability to select your cabin location from all of the best spots. Cabin location can make a real difference in terms of the views you enjoy, and your distance from facilities.

Suggested read: MSC Cabins to Avoid

MSC Aurea Suite
MSC Aurea Suite

And having the flexibility to eat dinner in the main dining rooms at a time that suits you, rather than one which is dictated to you, is something a lot of passengers prefer. You can plan your evening to suit you, rather than planning around when you have to eat.

In summary – you need to think about how much the Aurea upgrade costs against how much you’d make use of what it gets you. If it sounds like it’ll really improve your cruise, then go for it. Otherwise, maybe save money and choose Fantastica or even Bella.

Read more about the MSC Fantastica experience before you make your mind up.

Related posts:

If you found this interesting, please share!

Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

Read more about me

1 thought on “MSC Aurea Experience: Worth It Or Not?”

  1. Once again, thank you for the terrific information you provide. I would like to add my 2-cents as both an avid MSC cruiser and owner of a travel agency. The decision to upgrade to the Aurea experience is very situational based on itinerary, ships, booking timing and cost. For instance, my wife and I are headed out on the Seascape in a couple of weeks, and I only booked a couple of weeks ago. The difference between a Fantastica balcony and an Aurea premium suite w/whirlpool was only $300 per person. That was an easy decision to upgrade. Most of my MSC clients lean towards the spa benefits (Solarium & Thermal area) when deciding to upgrade or not. As most avid cruisers know…flexibility is the key to great bargains. Thank you again and keep the wonderful information coming.

Leave a comment