On the two MSC cruises we have taken – one last year on the MSC Divina and one this year on the MSC Preziosa – we have paid for the thermal spa pass in the Aurea Spa for the week. I’ve always like the idea of going to a spa on a cruise. The flyers they send around to all the cabins are so very tempting. However, I just couldn’t stomach the high cost of just an hour or so in the spa!
When we’ve booked cruises in the past, I’ve perused the spa offerings before we got on board to see if there were any deals to be had. Usually, there isn’t. I’m not about to spend upwards of $200 to use the thermal areas on ships like the Norwegian Escape. For example, I can purchase the thermal spa pass on our 6 day cruise in the fall on the Norwegian Bliss for $229. I think I’ll pass.
Enter MSC Cruises’ Aurea Spa…
Last year when we booked our Mediterranean cruise on the MSC Divina, I once again was perusing the spa offerings. I landed on the thermal pass for only $79. What?!? Is this a misprint? A typo? Did someone forget a number? Needless to say, I booked it.
What Did it Include?
I’m going to focus this section on the Aurea Spa onboard the MSC Preziosa. It had more to offer than the MSC Divina, and I have pictures to show.
Included For Everyone At No Cost
Upon entering the Aurea Spa, the reception desk and gym will be directly in front of you. To your left, you will see the juice bar. These areas can be used by anyone on the ship without paying for spa access.
Included In the Cost of The Thermal Area Spa Pass
Upon your first visit to the spa, you will need to visit the Aurea Spa reception desk. They will take your cruise card and verify your purchase (if you purchased online). On the MSC Preziosa, they placed a small red sticker on my card to make it easier to show on my next visit.
After that, you will visit a second desk within the glassed in spa area. It will be to the left beyond the seating area around the reception desk. Once there, the spa staff will allow you to check out a robe for the week. Make sure you verify and watch them check the robe in and out to make sure you don’t get mistakenly charged for it at the end of your cruise. We had to turn the robe in before 8 pm on the night before our departure from the ship. If you get your robe dirty, you change exchange it for a clean one at any point during the week.
At this desk, you can leave your cruise card with them in exchange for a key to a locker in the changing room. At the end of your spa time, return the locker key to this same desk to get your cruise card back.
We usually came already dressed in our swimsuits. However, the locker rooms had changing areas as well as showers if you needed them. Clean towels were also provided. Once you finished with the towels, a dirty towel hamper was located next to the sink area.
Outside the locker room and down the hall was the thermal area. It includes the relaxation area, saunas, steam rooms, and frigidarium. When we went, the relaxation area was usually pretty crowded. You know how people drape towels over chairs on the sun decks and save chairs for hours on end. Yeah, they do that in the spa as well. So, I can’t say that I know how comfortable (or uncomfortable) those stone loungers are. But, there is a large window in the room with floor to ceiling glass, and they have a beautiful view of the ocean going by.
Tip: If you are entering any of the saunas or steam rooms, make sure they are on. If you see the temperature displayed on the LCD screen at the door, they are on. If not, hold in the button until it starts. It might take a little while to get hot (especially in the sauna), but don’t be like me sitting in a sauna that wasn’t even on. 😂
Steam Room, Saunas, Frigidarium
The steam room and saunas are great for relaxing your cares away. I’m sure they are great for other things (i.e., removing toxins from your skin), but all I wanted out of it was the relaxation aspect. The frigidarium, however, left a lot to be desired. I expected it to be super cold in there and it just wasn’t. Even after coming in directly from the sauna, I didn’t feel like it was cold enough. There was “Sonic ice” coming out of the ceiling, (If you’re Southern, you’ll get that reference. 😉), but even that did’t help it feel colder in there. Needless to say, we didn’t spend much time in there.
Is it worth it?
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide that for yourself. Be sure to pay attention to what your ship offers in the thermal area, because the ships do have different offerings (even within the same class of ship). For the Divina, it was only the relaxation room, sauna, and steam room. For the Preziosa, it was all those plus the cold room. Our cost for the week was $79 per person. Other ships may offer more, but that would also up the price. For example, the MSC Seaside offers access to the lasso pool, heated stone loungers in the relaxation room, salt room, snow room, steam light therapy, saunas, and speciality showers with hot cold breeze mix. But, those extra offerings are going to affect the price ($190 pp last time I checked).
You also need to decide how much you will use it. For our cruise on the MSC Divina, we were in port every day and the spa closed at night at 9 pm. Some nights, it came down to “Do we want to go to the show or the spa?”. Usually we were so tired from touring around that day, the relaxation benefits of the spa won out over going to the shows. If you have more sea days like we did on the MSC Preziosa, you will get more use out of it.
If you think the thermal area is something you would want to do on our cruise, I highly recommend purchasing the pass online before your departure. The pass that I paid $79 for online beforehand was $129 once onboard.
Have you done the thermal area pass on a cruise? What about specifically at MSC’s Aurea Spa? Which one was your favorite? Did you do the thermal area on one of the bigger ships and it was life changing? Or, did you feel like it was even worth it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!