Why You Should Book a Wellness Cruise
- Written By:Christina Valhouli
If your ideal vacation involves a spin class, unplugging with meditation and refueling with a green juice, along with sight-seeing and hiking, you may think that a destination spa is your best bet. Think again. As wellness travel continues to grow, cruise companies are offering onboard (and offshore) activities that fuel the mind, body and spirit. Today’s cruise ships are more like floating boutique hotels, making the most of ocean views and natural light while also offering its guests every type of fitness class available. Days at sea can be spent breaking a sweat on a Peloton bike, trying a Pilates class or unwinding in a salt room – or getting a rejuvenating facial. In addition to helping guests break a sweat, more cruise ships are offering classes geared towards mindfulness, whether it’s a seminar on how to be happier or a guided meditation in some of the world’s most scenic spots.
Oceania Cruises, which is known for its foodie and destination focused itineraries, recently debuted its Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center, which will be introduced across its fleet of six ships this winter. Bob Binder, President and Chief Executive Officer for Oceania Cruises, said in a statement, “Our guests love balance – they’re active, they’re leading rich and fulfilled lives. For them, wellness is not a pursuit, it’s a lifestyle.”
Whether you’re looking to keep up with your fitness routine while traveling, try something new or have a mindful vacation, here’s a look at wellness focused cruise ships.
When the Celebrity Edge debuted in 2018, it was an industry game changer, with sleek interiors by Kelly Hoppen and an emphasis on fitness, wellness and beauty. It’s easy to break a sweat on the Edge. Hop on a Peloton bike in the fitness center while soaking in the ocean views from floor to ceiling windows in the fitness center. Barre and cardio kick-boxing classes are also available. Guests may be tempted to spend all of their onboard time at the Edge’s spa. It offers 124 treatments, including a zero gravity immersion massage, and a poultice powered muscle release treatment, which includes eucalyptus and juniper. Or just unwind at the SEA Thermal Suite, which is home to a hammam, crystalarium, salt room and a rainfall water therapy room. The spa offers Elemis treatments and hot shaves for men, and the ship is also home to a MedSpa. Guests can refuel with a cold-pressed juice at the Spa Café + Juice Bar.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is upping its wellness offerings with the soon-to-launch Serene Spa & Wellness across its five ships. The spa will offer globally inspired treatments, such as an Around the World massage, which incorporates Swedish massage techniques along with Indian cardamom and Egyptian coriander. The spa will also offer Kerastase hair treatments, a men’s pro-collagen grooming treatment with a shave, and group fitness classes, ranging from yoga to indoor cycling. The spa will also curate wellness shore excursions such as soaking in a mineral-rich thermal spring in Rome or trying a taiji (tai chi) class on a beach in Palma de Mallorca.
Another way to experience the legendary Aman design and hospitality is by setting sail in the Indonesian archipelago on one of their two ships- the Amandira and the Amandikan. Aman offers a wellness oriented itinerary, which means that guests can see the Komodo dragon in its natural habitat and dive among manta rays while also enjoying yoga and healthy food. Aboard the Amandira, guests can sip on fresh tangerine juice, or an orange and watermelon combination. Meals range from soto ayam, a light Indonesian curry served with brown rice, to freshly caught fish served with tangy Thai salads and coconut sorbet. Depending on how many passengers are on board, yoga classes may take place on the boat or on the beach.
If your perfect cruise involves pampering massages along with mud baths and meditation, consider Oceania Cruises. The company is in the midst of unveiling its Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center across its fleet. The spas will offer a mix of pampering treatments along with healing therapies, and the wellness aspect extends to off-shore excursions as well. In Malaga, Spain, guests can try a Wellness Arabian Bath Experience at the ancient baths of the Hammam Granada, which involves a circuit of hot and cold baths and a steam room. Or sign up for the Meditation Experience with a Monk in Bangkok, where guests can explore a Buddhist temple and then practice meditation in this sacred setting. One of the most spectacular settings to practice yoga is overlooking the caldera in Santorini. This yoga sessions takes place at a hilltop winery which also includes a sampling of the wines.
Dr. Andrew Weil was one of the earliest proponents of an integrated approach to health and medicine. In 2017, the luxury cruise company Seabourn launched “Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil,” a mindful-living program at sea that combines physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. This means that guests can enjoy pampering massages and facials at the ship’s OneWorldSpa as they go deeper with a wellness focused itinerary, led by a Mindful Living Coach. Guests can try mediation and yoga classes along with seminars adapted from Dr. Weill’s books, looking at how to heal body pain and enhance mental focus/happiness. Optional shore excursions could include climbing an ancient temple, a day of yoga and lunch at a historic site in Crete, or a visit to Le Monastery des Augustine in Quebec for a medicinal workshop. Dr. Weil will sail on a different Seabourn voyage each year where he will lead workshops, lectures and Mindful Living shore excursions.