Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cruising ~ Spa Style

When I think of cruising I immediately think of lazy days on deck, sunning myself on the most gorgeous Caribbean beaches and food and drink to my hearts content.  A vacation fit for a queen...that is until I return home!  It's no secret that cruise vacations in the past have brought about thoughts of heavier homecomings (that endless consumption of food and drink has got to end up somewhere!), not to mention most needing a vacation from their vacation!  Not anymore!

The presence of spas on cruise ships is not necessarily a new trend. Indeed, the days of exercising in a closet size studio and maybe a beauty shop onboard that might offer an occasional hand massage are long gone!  Cruising, along with all the traditional amenities it has to offer, now offers the opportunity to invest in your well being as well.  Cruise ships are now offering their guests everything from massages and aromatherapy wraps, to steam rooms, full gym services and even some medical treatments!  The good news? It is possible to stay healthy while cruising!  Here's a few highlights of what some of the top cruise lines are offering.

Carnival Cruise Lines: Four of Carnival Cruise Lines' ships feature the 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa.  The spa spans two full decks on the forward portion of the vessel offering large picture windows for panoramic views.
Among its features are a thalassotherapy (seawater used as a therapy) pool with a glass dome, a thermal suite with climate-controlled rooms, 17 private-treatments rooms, and a full gymnasium. A private elevator connects to the 68 spa staterooms and suites.  Not to worry, the remaining ships in the Carnival fleet also offer Spa experiences.  Guests can also stay in shape with Spa Carnival's state-of-the-art exercise equipment, jogging track and aerobics classes. Each ship's spa features a staff of knowledgeable fitness experts ready to assist her guests. Spa Carnival also features a variety of beauty treatments that will have you looking and feeling your best. Services for men and women include facials, loofah treatments, manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling.

Cloud 9 Spa Suite aboard Carnival Breeze

Carnival Cloud 9 Thalassotherapy pool

Norwegian Cruise Lines operates with a fleetwide agreement with Mandara Spa, a leading operator of exotic resort spas in the world. Spa treatments reflect the beauty, spirit and traditions of Bali. Services include the Hawaiian Majesty, Bali-Press, and Four Hand massages. Exquisite treatments like the Oxygen Lifting or Japanese Silk Booster Facials nurture guests inside and out. For those special occasion evenings, you may finish your spa visit with an up-do or manicure and pedicure. NCL Epic, Norwegian Cruise Line's newest vessel, has a 31,000-square-foot Mandara Spa, reputedly the world's largest such facility afloat, with two dozen treatment rooms, private couples' villas,  two exotic steam rooms, Do It Yourself sugar or salt scrub, hydrotherapy, thermal suite, and a salon and barber shop.  She offers 39 spa suites and  balcony staterooms featuring mood lighting, circular beds and several come with whirlpool tubs.  Guests of these rooms also gain free access to spa facilities.  Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic even offers mother-daughter massages and ice cream–themed mani-pedis, proving you’re never too young to relax and rejuvenate!

Norwegian Epic Spa Suite

Spa pools aboard the Norwegian Epic

Holland America Cruise Lines:  Holland America's newest Signature Class ships feature spa staterooms, most with private balconies.  In-room amenities include yoga mats, iPod docking stations and Elemis bath products.   The Greenhouse Spa & Salon offers breathtaking views for guests as they enjoy exotic skin, body, and hair treatments ranging from hot stone massages and pedicures to hair styling and facials. Facilities include a heated ceramic lounge reminiscent of an opulent Turkish bath, therapy rooms inspired by an exotic blend of cultures, or a hydrotherapy pool bubbling with warm sea water. Whatever the service, passengers enjoy the indulgences that are a signature feature of Holland America Line cruises.

Spa Suite aboard the ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Holland America Greenhouse Spa and Salon

Fitness Center aboard the ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Disney Cruise Lines: Not just for kids anymore, Disney ships are catering to the adults as well.The Vista Spa & Salon offer some adult pampering that always leaves you wanting more. For example, onboard the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder couples may share a rejuvenating spa experience with a Vista Spa Villas Treatment. Upon arrival, couples receive a soothing foot cleansing on a private outdoor veranda. Couples then relax in a bubbling hot tub amidst the incredible ocean vistas and warm tropical breezes from this perfect perch. Following a massage or other treatment of your choice, the experience culminates with a traditional tea ceremony. Other spa treatments include an Elemis Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap, Exotic Hand Ritual with Manicure, or Marine Facial, to name a few.  Rather then wonder why you spent your adult vacation time on a Disney Vacation, you'll be highly disappointed when your cruise comes to an end.

Couples Massage room at the Disney Cruise Lines Vista Spa

Celebrity Cruise Lines:  On Celebrity's Solstice class ships, the AquaClass staterooms are located within steps of the spa.  They all come with balconies, five jet shower systems, upgraded bath products, fine linens, a healthful room service menu and spa access. Celebrity Cruises offers a two-deck AquaSpa that includes a Persian Garden aromatherapy room and Relaxation Room. In addition to deluxe manicures, mineral essential facials, and aromatherapy massage, you may also pamper yourself with a hydrotherapy spa bath, herbal steam bath in the Etruscan Chamber, or Elemis Synergistic Therapy, which combines reflexology, Shiatsu, and pressure-point massage. Or splurge for the Sensory Heaven treatments, offered exclusively on Celebrity Cruises.  A nearby specialty restaurant, Blu, features Mediterranean-influenced "clean cuisine."  Celebrity Solstice class ships are among few to offer acupuncture at sea.

Treatment room aboard Celebrity Solstice class ships

AquaSpa ~ Celebrity Cruise Lines 21,000 square foot complex

Blu Restaurant ~ serving health conscious cuisine

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines:  Not to be outdone, Royal Caribbean is one of the first lines to introduce the younger generation to the luxuries of the Spa, GenerationYSPA, a program specializing in services and treatments for teens ages 13 to 17.  Spa services include Acne Attack, an oxygen facial for problem skin, or Fabulous Fruity Facial, a massage for the face utilizing a moisturizing, organic mixture of fresh fruits. The girls take a break together to enjoy the side-by-side Mother and Daughter Paradise Massage, or smarten up the tootsies with a Sole Mate pedicure. Boot camp fitness classes get the blood pumping to prime tweens and teens for adventure. Royal Caribbean International's newest, and currently the world's largest, ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas contain the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, which includes a two-deck semi-enclosed solarium on the bow. Seating in this facility is on "islands" surrounded by burbling water, swimming pools, and whirlpools.  Opportunities aplenty to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvinated!

Thermal Suite aboard Oasis of the Seas

Oasis of the Seas Fitness Center

The Epic, the Allure of the Seas, and all Celebrity Solstice–class ships are now offering some medical treatments as well.  Botox, acupuncture, even teeth-whitening, to name a few.  Who knows, face lifts, liposuction and tummy tucks may not be far behind.  Eat and drink to my hearts content AND return home tighter and thinner than when I left!  Now THAT'S a dream vacation!!

Until next time...

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