Aurea Spa: taste of Bali on MSC Splendida


If you have read my earlier posts on Splendida you’ll have gathered that she oozes character. She is vibrant (flamboyantly so at times) but also a calming oasis – that is if you venture into the soothing spa found onboard.


The Aurea Spa, thermal suite and gym found on the forward of deck 14 is no exceptions to the design detail found all over the ship. It is as peaceful, beautifully envisioned a retreat as you would expect to find on a ship of her class.


As you enter from the minimalist steely landing by the lifts, you find yourself enfolded in a warm welcoming space. You’re surrounded with multi-tonal tropical wood and fabulously textured gray slate and stone.the sunny, smiling staff in greet you as soon as you enter the Aurea Spa and you are transported to the Indonesian island of Bali in no time.

The key colours used in the spa are earthy warm browns & golden yellows. This colour scheme is also mirrored in the uniforms of the ladies who work there.  This theme is also found in the spa cabins on the deck below (see my earlier post).

If you book one of the Aurea Spa cabins we stayed in you get a range of perks including a bathrobe & slippers, a spa package and access to the Thermal area of the Spa for the duration of your cruise. It is possible to buy either single or 2-person day access passes (or weekly ones) to the Thermal area if travelling in a non-Aurea class of cabin.


As you enter the spa, the hair salon is to your right. I had planned to book a wash & blow dry for formal night (€27, not bad) but time just ran away from me. The corridor continues past the salon and leads to the Spa Bar that offers a range of Wellness cocktails, smoothies, and herbal teas.



Access to the spacious gym in front of the Spa Bar is free and changing rooms are provided. There is an extensive range of cardio equipment by the forward windows giving you fabulous view to the seas ahead. As expected you will find a selection of cardio and weight equipment, free weights and Powerplates. There even is a group of spin bikes and a lot of free floor space for yoga class (minimum attendees required for both classes, €10 charge if it goes ahead).

Why anyone would want to do a torturous spin class on a cruise I cannot fathom! I burn my cruise calories by dancing and walking everywhere – suppose all the calorific cakes aren’t there to tempt me since they’re not vegan 😉 But yes, it is possible to continue your fitness regime onboard, should you have one.

On the right side of the Spa Bar, behind the wall, are the beautifully decorated treatment/massage rooms. I snapped a photo of the two nearest to the Spa Bar for you to see.


Zumba classes on our sailing were held in Club33 rather than the spa gym, but for the noise it creates, that is understandable. Also, children under 13 are not allowed in the Spa & Thermal suite. Hopefully that should keep the area a quiet haven to relax in.

Aurea Spa offers a range of services in addition to Balinese massage, such as pressure therapy and acupuncture, aqua biking (think of spin class in a small tall bath tub) and the usual manicures and pedicures etc. Various multi-buy offers were available in addition to the one featured in the daily programme. Prices offered were surprisingly good value compared with what other cruise lines charge for similar services. The staff were friendly, helpful and never too pushy with sales be it treatment or products, which was great to see.


There are two saunas and two Turkish hammams to enjoy and an adjoining relaxation area with loungers. You won’t find a pool or jacuzzi within the Thermal complex of the Spa, though. You can, however, book a spa treatment that features jacuzzi relaxation as two jacuzzis are in the treatment rooms located past the gym. There are free-to-use jacuzzis out in the lido pool area though.

For those planning to use the Thermal suite, note that at least on our sailing from 7 to 9 am swimwear use was optional (Scandinavian & German style), although the use of towels for cover-up was recommended. Just a wee warning to the more reserved Brits here not expecting to be faced with Continental (partial) nudity first thing in the morning!

Outside the Aurea spa is the indoor/covered free-to-use L’Equatore pool for those looking for a quick dip or jacuzzi session after a gym or spa treatment. The Aurea Spa Balinese masseuses have an ‘express 10minute chair massage’ station in this area too, for those wanting a quick refresh. This was €10 for a 10-minute massage.

For those wishing to continue their spa relaxation in an adult only pool area, the Playa Del Sol pool & bar is located at the opposite end in the aft of the ship. On a warm Mediterranean 7-day sailing it no doubt is a haven – not so much on our often-overcast cool September sailing on the English channel. But yes, another great place to chill out. Another win for Splendida. But what did I think of the dining – especially for us vegans? That’ll be my next post – stay tuned!




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15 thoughts on “Aurea Spa: taste of Bali on MSC Splendida

    • It was lovely! If I’d had a full week rather than three nights (with organised tours & presentations for sea day and a day in port in France) I would have booked a massage and DEFINITELY used the Thermal Suite. Still not convinced by the spin class but would do Zumba or Yoga 😉

  • Thanks for the detailed spa overview. One of these days I’ll have to check out the spa. I only do the calorie-burn side and even then manage to put on about a pound a day cruising. Neat that they have Turkish hamam, that is an authentic spa I tried in Turkey and an experience I will never forget! Guys and spas don’t always mix 🙂

    • I have to admit I don’t know authentic the hamam is never having tried a real Turkish one – I am simply going with the tour the staff member gave me. As a Nordic person I am often disappointed with saunas as they’re rarely authentic (not warm enough, no water allowed on stones…and mixed gender). I would love to go back and try every thing on offer – just did not have the time on our short taster cruise as the one port day we spent in Honfleur instead of the spa 🙂

      • Ah, I noticed Kusadasi, Turkey on your profile picture. On my cruise right after Kusadasi was a 2 day stop in Istanbul that’s where I had my legit Turkish bath. The water was warm enough alright. It was scaling hot! That’s what made it memorable, plus there was a lady there at the same time as my buddy and me. Was not expecting that, or any of it for that matter 🙂

  • You’ve written about two things I know very little about; cruises and spas! You definitely made me want to try out both! BRB, gotta go out some cucumber slices on my eye! Ha!

  • Wow, gorgeous photos – I love the stonework at the spa, my dream house would have that same aesthetic 🙂 I also love your exercising-on-vacation philosophy – why exercise in a gym when you could be wandering around the ship or the streets of each destination? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whereas you can go to the gym anywhere 🙂

    • I loved the grey stone effect…I used to watch ‘Flipping Boston’ on TV and they often used that kind of stone effect around fireplaces (feature wall) when doing up properties to sell them 🙂

  • Looks Amazing !!! I have never done a cruise and am
    Nervous !!!

    • Don’t be 🙂 Cruises are fun and there’s so much to see & do. My hubby gets motion sickness on buses but he’s fine on cruise ships. We love the food, drink, entertainment and exploring new ports each morning 🙂

  • Ah, so this is your recent cruise experience! Great tip on the swimming pool nudity scene haha. I’m not quite comfortable with this, too. So it’s good to know! But I don’t wake up for a swim that early anyway so I guess I should be fine! 😉 I’ve been on a cruise once and I’m taking a Caribbean cruise in summer next year. How far ahead should I book it to get cheaper deals?

    • Hi Sarah, I believe the nudity (or towels only applies to the thermal suite (saunas & steam rooms etc) and not the poolside. As for prices, it varies. Sometimes booking maybe a year+ in advance you get perks like free drinks, flights, gratuities etc. But if you don’t need those, you can grab a bargain 3-1months before travel as companies sell last remaining cabins or cancellations. But if you are like me and can’t travel at a month’s notice said deal is no good. Also, getting cheap flights to ports from my home is difficult last minute so I normally book at least 4-12 months in advance. There are sites you can use to monitor cruise cost (price drops) and in the US booking terms favour customers as you can change bookings and lower prices (if booked at higher cost) are often honoured or at least OBC is given to the amount. Find a local cruise specialist travel agent to give you tailored advice (dates you are tied to, flights etc) 🙂

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