How much did the MSC Cruises self-guided cruise from Dubai cost?

A cruise is an easy way to see many destinations on one trip and also combines a relaxed feeling with life. A new morning dawns in new landscapes, but without the painful drives and dragging of luggage from place to place. It’s like stepping on the ship and letting others take care of the transitions, cleaning, and cooking, and the scenery changes & the hotel room goes along with your trip. So easy to get used to!

Many have asked after our cruise in Dubai how much such a trip costs on its own, so I made a summary of the cost of the trip, please!

Cruise planning and booking

When planning a cruise, you should actively monitor the price level, so you know what it costs. There are even significant differences in the prices of shipping companies and the contents of packages, so a careful comparison is worthwhile. For this purpose, the Seascannerwebsite , for example, is good help.

MSC Cruises cruises have an excellent value for money, especially from the perspective of a family with children, and based on our experience, I can warmly recommend this shipping company. MSC Cruises ships offer a wide range of services, from budget travel in the cabin to a pampering holiday in the Yacht Club suites with their own leisurely section, so there is plenty of choice for many tastes and many wallets.

With a reservation, it’s a good idea to be on the move in time, especially if you mind a particular route at a specific time. When traveling as a family, it is also a good idea to note that there are a limited number of extra beds and/or connecting cabins, so when you receive an excellent offer, such as a cruise with a drink package or spending money on board, grab the reservation!

I booked our cruise Soile Tours evening, where we got excellent personal customer service and quick answers to the questions we were considering when weighing the different options. Another good player in the cruise market is Cruise Center, which, like Soile Tours, offers expert customer service in Finnish. Reachability is the strength of domestic players. Reliability and also, prices are right.

Cruise price in Fantastica (B2) balcony cabin, 2 adults and 2 children (under 10 years)

At the time of our voyage, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises cruised from Dubai, the latter of which we ended up with both a lower price and a newer ship. During this winter season 2017/2018, Royal Caribbean has been off the route, but MSC Cruises’ cruises in the Gulf will continue. Also, e.g., Celebrity Cruises has had a few departures from Abu Dhabi.

We cruised the MSC Fantasia, which has been replaced this season by the MSC Splendida for a 7-day itinerary. Also, MSC Lirica will operate on the 11-day route in addition to MSC Splendida during this and the upcoming 2018/2019 winter season.

At the time of booking, the price of our cruise from January 6 to January 13, 2017, was  1,856 for two adults and two children under the age of 10 in a Fantastica class (B2) cabin. As of this writing, a similar cruise is available for February-March 2018 departures at about the same price.

The corresponding 7-day cruise in the coming winter season from January 5 to January 12, 2019, currently costs € 4,178 for two adults and two children under the age of 10. Hence, it’s worth keeping an eye on prices and promotions for a while.

The cruise route for next winter is the same as the ones we booked but in a slightly different order. After all, we never got to Sir Bani Yas Nature Reserve because of a broken oil pipeline, and the route suddenly came to Doha Qatar, which was a great experience.

  • Sat 05/01/19 Dubai / United Arab Emirates 23:00
  • Sun 06/01/19 Abu Dhabi / United Arab Emirates 05:00 – 23:00
  • Mon 07/01/19 Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi) / United Arab Emirates 09:00 – 17:00
  • Tue 08/01/19 At Sea
  • Wed 09/01/19 Muscat / Oman 08:00 – 18:00
  • Thu 10/01/19 Khasab (for Khasab booking) / Oman 09:00 – 18:00
  • Fri 11/01/19 Dubai / United Arab Emirates 09:00 –
  • Sat 12/01/19 Dubai / United Arab Emirates

Additional cruise services

The cruise price itself includes all meals, either in the ship’s buffet restaurant or in the main restaurant during the chosen table setting. The buffet is open from early in the morning until late in the evening, and there is a smaller snack between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, meaning the hunger on the cruise will not come as a surprise.

As for drinks, then there is variation in whether or not they are included in the price of the cruise. Currently, for example, MSC Cruises’ summer-season cruises in the Mediterranean area on sale, which will consist of an all-inclusive beverage package and wifi, which is an excellent advantage. The cruise price excluding the beverage package includes water, coffee, and tea from the vending machine in the buffet restaurant.

A beverage package for the Dubai cruise was not available on sale, so we purchased an all-inclusive beverage package (formerly Allegrissimo) that includes an unlimited amount of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, ice cream and canned soft drinks, juice and bottled water (natural or mineral) throughout the cruise. Alternatives to this package include the Mealtime beverage package for beverages to be enjoyed with meals, as well as a premium beverage package for those looking for higher quality cognacs and champagne.

It is therefore worth thinking according to your own habits, which of the options would be the most appropriate, and it is good to be aware that no personal drinks may be brought on board. In a previous blog post about the cruise, here you will find information on the prices of beverages purchased from the ship. A drink package can also be purchased during the cruise, but at that time, the price does not include service charges.

We felt the all-inclusive beverage package was a carefree option, and we drank bottled water alone under the scorching sun in a pattern that the water bill would have been commendable. Namely, we fetched a big load of big bottles of water from the ship’s bar before the really necessary day trips. The price of the all-inclusive (formerly Allegrissimo) package was € 182.00 / adult and € 84.00 / child, drinks total: € 532.00. In addition to this, we did not go for a drink during the cruise.

Also, we pre-purchased the  Internet Surfer Cruise Plus package for € 34.90 to use the internet. Still, the connections were so weak that we only had a quick glance at the lighter-loading pages and used port wifi when available, e.g., in Abu Dhabi.

The cruise price includes the ship’s rich program offer. For an additional fee, it is possible to test your skills, e.g., In the Formula Simulator and relax while enjoying the spa services or enjoying the specialty restaurants.


Airfares are another one that you should actively monitor and grab the deals that can be found in Dubai today comfortably. When traveling as a family, it is a good idea to be on the move in time, also because there are a limited number of discounted seats per flight. Today, prices are less likely to fall as the departure date approaches, on the contrary.

We fly most often with Finnair because, with domestic wings, we can fly from home and buy the whole trip with one ticket, which in the event of a possible delay ensures that Finnair re-routes us to either our own or the same alliance’s flight. Unfortunately, this option is missing when using Norwegian or if you have purchased a domestic flight for your own ticket and a connecting flight for your own.

We paid 421.28 € / adult and 371.79 € / child for flights VAA – HEL -DXB, total. € 1,586.14 of which domestic connecting flights account for about € 500. We made the reservation three months before the time of the trip at Finnair’s campaign price.

At the time of writing, Finnair flights HEL – DXB (January 3 – January 13, 2019) can be found on the corresponding cruise in January 2019 at a promotional price of € 316.18 / adult and € 270.18 / child, for a total of € 1,172.72 without meals. The return price of checked baggage is 40 € / 23 kg bag and meals 14 € / adult / direction and 12 € / child / direction.

It is recommended to book a return flight to the cruise departure city so that the arrival is 2 days before the departure of the cruise, but no later than the day before. It is also a good idea to leave room for a flight on the return flight in case of possible delays.


Land transport and excursions in the destination

Day trips to the destination can be purchased from the cruiser, or these can be booked in advance when booking the cruise. However, we did not use these and moved to the destinations on our own as well as with the local guide. Also, we used a lot of taxis in Dubai, e.g., on arrival at the airport and cruise port. I do not have accurate records of all these times and purchased excursions, but it is good to book 300 – 500 € from the family for these, depending on how much you want to take a taxi to the destination. In Dubai, we also visited, e.g., At Legoland, which cost € 293.97 from our family, plus a few tens of euros in taxi costs.

For comparison, the price of the Explorer Formula package (Dubai City tour, City tour of Abu Dhabi and Mystical Muscat), which includes 3 trips from MSC Cruises, was € 167 / adult and € 127 / child at the time of our trip, for a total of € 588 for two adults and two children. We carried out these excursions independently, and their cost is included in the price range of 300 – 500 € I mentioned.

Pearl Marina’s view of the opposite beach is beautiful in the evening.

Hotels before and after the cruise

We had a night flight 5.1. From Helsinki to Dubai, where we arrived at 6.1. early in the morning, and we wanted to get to the hotel to rest right away instead of waiting for the hotel room to be vacated until the afternoon. I booked us the most affordable apartment in the Marina area from the Pearl Marina apartment hotel, which served its purpose in this case, even though now no gem was despite its name.

We had a room reservation for two nights, but they only charged for one extra night due to our arrival time. The price of this 2-night accommodation with an extra bed and tourist tax was € 390.48 fortwo adults and two children. 

At the time of writing, Pearl Marina prices for the corresponding cruise time in January 2019 are not yet available. Still, in a similar type of Hotel Atana, for example, the room rate is now in the same category when booking, e.g., on the Booking page.

After the cruise, we stayed for another night in Dubai, this time in Downtown at the Rose Rayha by Rotana Hotel, where I had booked us a base room for € 224.12 per day. However, on arrival,we were greeted by a 62nd-floor suite instead of a basic room (for the same price!), And it was amazing to end that enriching and unforgettable cruise with those views!

You can read our experience of Pearl Marina here and Rose Rayhaan by Rotana here.

Total price for two adults and two children (under 10 years)

  • Cruise in B2 Fantastica-class balcony frame € 1,856
  • All-Inclusive drink package 532 €
  • Internet Surfer Cruise Plus package € 34.90
  • Round-trip flights with Finnair Vaasa – Helsinki – Dubai DXB € 1586.14, of which domestic connections account for about € 500
  • Land transport and self-guided day trips in cruise ports € 500
  • Hotels 2 days before and 1 day after the cruise € 614.60
  • TOTAL € 5,123.64 flying from Vaasa, ofwhich domestic connecting flights account for about € 500, making the price from Helsinki € 4,623.64

In addition to the expenses mentioned above, we visited, e.g., Legoland, in Dubai, whose entrance tickets cost € 293.97. Meals before and after the cruise I don’t include in the cost because dining is anyway you were at home or traveling. Groceries at the Market are inexpensive in Dubai, and cooking at the aparthotel itself saves you comfortable food costs.

I warmly recommend an experiential cruise to the exciting destination ports of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar!

There is plenty to talk about the destination ports and cruise content on the blog, articles on MSC Cruises, the cruise and destination ports can be found hereand lots of information and tips on the UAE here – welcome to the reading trip!

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