Cruising gets all-inclusive on MSC

divinaMr S and I used to cruise often. For those of us living near a port it can be both an inexpensive getaway and a way to see the world without having to switch hotel rooms and fly from country to country. When I cruised Europe last year I realized JUST how convenient it can be. But…like flying in coach, I often found that I was paying extra for my espresso at the coffee bar, soda, and those splits of prosecco and champagne really added up. We always opted for a balcony or mini-suite, as I can’t imagine being on the ocean without sitting on the balcony in my robe each morning, reading and relaxing.

MSC Cruises FINALLY gets real about cruising, by offering guests ALL-INCLUSIVE packages for those who don’t want to be hit with that sticker shock when they settle their bill at the desk on that last day of sailing. With FOUR different experience packages, there’s something for EVERYONE’S budget.

Bella Experience — Best Price:

The Bella experience is designed for value-conscious travelers looking to enjoy the wide-range of amenities and entertainment MSC Cruises offers to all its guests, while having the option to add additional onboard services, such as beverage or spa packages, a la carte.  The Bella experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Fantastica Experience — Priority Choice:  

The Fantastica experience provides guests additional flexibility and comfort options, such as the ability to choose a premium location stateroom and priority choice of early or late dining.  Additional benefits in the Fantastica experience include 50 percent off all fitness classes and personal training; free delivery of room service between 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and enhanced recreational activities for children including cooking and foreign language classes.  As a special promotion, guests who book the Fantastica experience for select 7-night or longer sailings on the MSC Divina in the Caribbean or Mediterranean will also receive a beverage package. This experience is available for guests booking interior, ocean view or balcony staterooms.

Aurea Experience — Premium Choice:

The Aurea experience bundles several exceptional amenities, including premium choice of balcony staterooms and suites and dining in the main restaurant with “My Choice Dining” flexible times.  Additional benefits in the Aurea experience include priority boarding; a beverage package consisting of unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, excluding premium drinks; a spa package with a massage and private spa consultation; access to the exclusive adults only Top 18 sun deck; and all the perks associated with the Fantastica experience.  The Aurea experience is available for guests booking Aurea balcony staterooms and suites.

MSC Yacht Club – Elite Choice:

The MSC Yacht Club is for guests interested in an all-inclusive VIP club level experience.  Guests selecting this exclusive experience enjoy a private club with keycard access; priority check-in and check-out reception; signature Butler service; dedicated 24-hour concierge; exclusive Top Sail lounge and pool; 24/7 complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available within the Yacht Club area; and a private MSC Yacht Club restaurant.

About MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, South and West Africa, The United Arab Emirates and the Red Sea. In March 2014, the line announced the construction of two new cruise ships by STX France due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. Two months later, the line announced the construction of two additional new builds by Fincantieri due for delivery respectively in Nov. 2017 and May 2018.  For more information, visit www.msccruisesusa.com.

I’ll be traveling with them soon, and I’ll let you know more…LIVE FROM ON DECK.

7 at-home spa day secrets

I received product to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

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What woman doesn’t LOVE going to the spa? I go EVERY chance that I get, but with a day at the spa costing as much as a weekend away, it’s not as often as I like. So, I do what many of my friends do. I pamper myself at home. While the football game is playing in the living room (meaning Mr. S is occupied), I slip into the bathroom for a self-indulgent day. The experience isn’t an expensive one and you don’t need an arsenal of gadgets or equipment.

At the core….it’s about allowing ourselves enjoy the time and also taking a break from the day to day world that can cause stress and anxiety.

So…brew your tea or uncork a bottle of wine, get comfortable, light some candles, move your music into the bathroom. and tell the family you are officially unavailable to sunset.

Here are my FAVORITE at-home spa day secrets that go beyond the usual.

1. Steam Facial and massage

  • On your stove top place chamomile, lavender or rose petals in a large pan of lightly boiling water.
  • Remove from the heat and place on the counter.
  • Place a towel over your head and tent it over the pan allowing the steam to collect around your face (as close as possible to the pot will be comfortable), and inhale the fumes.
  • Massage each facial area in a circular movement and let the tension disappear.

2. Body wash and hot bath

3.Dry brush and herbal steam shower

  • Scandinavians have the spa down to a science.
  • One thing they understand best is dry brushing the skin!
  • Not only can it gently exfoliate, but dry brushing enhances circulation to the skin and facilitates toxin release.
  • Use a wash cloth or a natural bristle brush designed for the skin.
  • Take a warm shower to open your pores, spray on some Suave Moroccan Infusion Dry Body Oil and relax.
  • Real Time in the water itself may be minimal. What you really looking for is the warm, moist air.

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4. Hot Towel Wrap

  • This is great AFTER you’ve given yourself a spa treatment, or simply by itself.
  • The towels should be very warm and very wet but not completely humid.
  • Wrap towels around your head, hands, neck or feet for as long as comfortable.
  • Add cucumber slices over your eyes (refrigerate them first – they’ll be so refreshing)

5. Foot Bath

  • This can be as simple as good bath salts and hot water in a large roasting pan or as high-tech as the last whirlpool foot bath.
  • Have you ever wondered why such a simple foot massage makes you feel almost as good as a full body rub-down?
  • Trigger points!!!
  • Little pampering points = great relaxation.

6. Scalp Massage

  • The head is full of trigger points, so take advantage!
  • I love using a shower head with a pleasant pulsation, you can also try one of those inexpensive scalp massagers.
  • The problems of the day will suddenly seem a million miles away
  • Add a warm facial massage and neck massage, and you will be in your happy place.

7. Soften

  • Once you’ve relaxed and are clean and feeling wonderful, keep that skin that you just pampered in it’s best condition.
  • Slather on some Suave Moroccan Infusion Body Lotion with Moroccan Argan Oil for a silky experience with a luxurious Awapuhi Ginger scent that helps you relax.

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NOTE: Suave products can be picked up at CVS, Walgreens, WalMart, Target and a host of other places for a FRACTION of what the “other brands” cost.