Recently, I decided to go ahead and book our Christmas cruise on the MSC Divina. My kids had so much fun on the MSC Divina earlier this year that I promised we would go back. And, since I have always wanted to travel over the Christmas holiday and my kids are finally old enough, I went for it.
Unfortunately, cruising over the holidays is not cheap. While a 10-night cruise on the MSC Divina in January of 2019 starts at just $799 per person, their holiday cruise of the same length starts at $1,199 per person. That’s a huge difference, and it obviously makes an even bigger difference when you’re bringing your family along.
So, I did what I had to do – I booked an interior cabin. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was the only way I could justify the trip.
In the end, we wound up paying around $2,977 for our ten-night cruise in an interior cabin with a “Fantastica Experience” instead of $3,623 for an ocean view or $4,288 for a balcony cabin. It would be more, but I status matched my Hilton Diamond status to get Gold status with MSC Cruises, and their loyalty program lets you score a 5 percent discount on any cruise.
I briefly tried to talk my husband into a suite with the “Aurea” experience (better room, unlimited drinks, massage package) for $6,600, but even I realized that was absurd. The last time we cruised on the MSC Divina, we were rarely in our room other than the time we spent sleeping and getting ready. Paying double was obviously out of the question, no matter how good a suite with a separate sleeping area for the kids sounds.
Are Balcony Cabins Worth It?
Here’s the thing: I really do think balcony cabins can be worth it for the right price. Recently, I changed our Mediterranean cruise in June to a different itinerary on a different MSC ship. Both cruises depart from Venice, Italy, but we switched from the MSC Sinfonia to the MSC Poesia because we found out one thing we didn’t like about our first itinerary (that the stop on Mykonos would only be at night with no daytime hours).
Anyway, when we switched, we found out that the MSC Poesia has balcony cabins whereas the MSC Sinfonia didn’t have balcony cabins that sleep four. So yes, we upgraded to a balcony cabin for our Mediterranean cruise, but only because it was $350 more.
I can see upgrading for $350 for the week, or $50 per day for a seven-night cruise. What I cannot envision is upgrading for an extra $1,300 for a ten-night cruise on the MSC Divina this winter. Is a balcony really worth $130 per day? To me, it’s absolutely not.
For $1,300, I could almost go on another cruise or fly my family somewhere. And actually, $1,300 is around the cost we’ll pay for airfare this Christmas since the flights I’m looking at for this cruise will set us back $270 each round-trip.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to upgrades like a cruise cabin with a balcony, I like to break the costs down on a day-to-day basis. If something isn’t worth it for the daily cost, then I don’t pull the trigger on the higher price tag. But, if an upcharge is palatable on a daily basis, then I might consider it.
Is a balcony cabin worth it? For some people, the splurge is absolutely worth it. For a family like ours who spends most of our time out of our room, I say no.
It’s your money and your travel budget, so only you can decide what to do on your next cruise.
Do you always splurge for a balcony room? Or just sometimes?
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