Go with the flow
The best spas at sea for relaxation and even a little rejuvenation
WHAT do bamboo rods, Botox, boot camp and body sculpting have in common?
They are all spa rituals available on some of the most glamorous ocean liners. So too are diamondinfused or 24-carat gold facials, vanilla pod or coffee scrubs, hotstone massages and seaweed wraps. But the Organic Mermaid’s Purse Wrap has me pondering. What does one look like afterwards?
I’m also dubious about bamboo massage, a technique that is all the rage; I’m a bit wary of cane and don’t fancy a lot of red stripes over my person. I am reassured there is no caning involved. Instead, warm, oil-soaked bamboo rods are rolled across muscles to melt away tension. Sounds blissful.
Other new treatments afloat include a procedure to eliminate spidery facial veins (said to work instantly), a sunless St Tropez tan without exposure to harmful rays and a ‘‘no chip’’ mani-pedi that lasts up to two weeks.
As for boot camp and body sculpting? I think not for me. But I can see the value in the Kinesis Wall aboard Seabourn vessels and I’m a veteran when it comes to Botox. Detox, however, is so much harder.
But if you want to return from your cruise buffed, bronzed and beautiful, a little effort is required. A consultation with a physician at the medi-spa, then a personal trainer is recommended.
Spas on cruise ships have become destination health resorts delivering contemporary treatments in line with those available at shore-based spas. And there’s the added benefit of a cruise lifes- tyle where you can do things at your own pace in a serene environment. Spas are also important architectural features of ships. The designer-chic spas on Seabourn’s new yachts, for example, are beautiful to behold, with their filmy draperies moving gently with the breeze while you lie on a thermal chaise. Holland America Line’s stunning Nieuw Amsterdam has private cabana areas where couples can relax after treatments.
According to Jenny Lourey, senior vice-president of Carnival Australia (which represents P&O, Princess, Seabourn and Cunard): ‘‘Passengers who may not have the time in their day-to-day lives to indulge in treatments on land are finding that cruising provides the perfect opportunity to treat themselves. All our cruise lines offer a range of special treatments to cater for varying tastes. We have also seen an increase in couples’ treatments and bookings for the medi-spa, while more holistic options such as acupuncture are on the rise.’’ Medi spas offer oneon-one consultations with a physician before proceeding with any treatments, such as Botox for targeting wrinkles, fillers such as Restylane or Perlane and holistic treatments such as acupuncture. Tooth whitening is all the rage and fitness options include Pilates, Kinesis workouts, yoga and stretch. Cosmetic surgery isn’t available at sea yet but just imagine coming home after a nose job, a breast augmentation or a facelift. You’d be looking radiant by the time you returned and all your friends would be wondering if you did . . . or didn’t. Celebrity Eclipse: ‘‘What will it be today, madam? Our 24-carat gold facial?’’ This is just one of the luxe options on Celebrity Cruises’ newest Solstice Class ship, Celebrity Eclipse. Also available is Veinwave, the revolutionary spider vein removal, and St Tropez Sunless Tanning, whereby skin is exfoliated then St Tropez’s paraben-free, aloe vera-based formula is applied, resulting in a natural sun-kissed glow. More: celebritycruises.com. Crystal Cruises: Crystal ships boast the only feng shui-inspired spas at sea, so a bamboo massage is no surprise aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Other options are mani-pedi procedures that keep fingers and toes chipfree, and a body sculpt boot camp workout and fitness package with follow-up programs after your cruise. More: wiltrans. com. au. Diamond Princess: Lotus Spas are a popular drawcard on Princess ships, including Australianbased Sun Princess and Dawn Princess. Frequent visitor to our waters Diamond Princess also offers a ‘ ‘ swim-against-thecurrent’’ option as part of a spa treatment, then access to a childfree retreat to recover from your exertions. More: princess.com. Marina: Passengers on Oceania Cruises’ new ship Marina can delight in Canyon Ranch Spa’s signature massages and learn about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, including cooking demonstrations. Choose either stimulating or relaxing herbal essences then bask in fragrant, 90 per cent-plus humidity in a steamroom and relax with a therapeutic saltwater massage in open-air whirlpools. More: oceaniacruises.com. MSC Orchestra: MSC’s Aurea Spa was first introduced on MSC Orchestra and will soon be available on all this company’s fleet in the Mediterranean. Spa guests enter a Zen-like environment for a Balinese massage with lava stones, shiatsu or reflexology in treatment rooms strewn with petals. Bamboo massage applies Cho sticks, which are used in sliding, kneading, rolling and friction techniques. More: msccruises.com.au. Nieuw Amsterdam: Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam takes this company’s Greenhouse Spa to new levels with room-service spa breakfasts and in-suite treatments. There are private couples’ rooms for exotic Hawaiian Lomi Lomi or Chinese Tui Na massages. In the largest gym ever built for Holland America, there are treadmills, stationary bikes, stairsteppers, rowing machines, weights and weight machines. More: hollandamerica.com. Regent Seven Seas: Formerly known as Radisson Seven Seas, Regent Seven Seas’ Voyager, Mariner and Navigator ships also offer Canyon Ranch SpaClub amenities, which include massage, body and skin-care treatment rooms, gym and weight room with cardio and weight-training equipment, a juice bar, thalassotherapy, sauna and steamrooms. Also available are treatments employ- ing Ayurvedic principles, mud, aromatherapy oils and seaweed, plus facials and masks featuring Canyon Ranch’s award-winning Your Transformation skincare products. More: wiltrans.com.au; rssc.com. Pacific Jewel: Aqua Health Spa Fitness on Pacific Jewel is Australasia’s largest spa at sea, with 11 oceanview treatment rooms, fitness centre and thermal suite. The new medi-spa enables passengers to access a range of cosmetic medical treatments such as Botox and volumising procedures as well as Elemis and La Therapie antiageing products. More: pocruises.com.au. Pacific Pearl: This Australianbased liner’s signature facial treatment is a diamond-infused serum of essential oils with a diamond in each bottle. The serum helps brighten and energise the complexion so that passengers can derive a bit of sparkle from such a luxurious indulgence at sea. More: pocruises.com.au. Seabourn: The new trio of Seabourn yachts — Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest — each has the largest spas of any ultra-luxury vessel. A highlight is the Spa Villa, large enough for duet treatments, complete with shower, bathtub for two, private balcony for sunbathing, double daybed for relaxing, even a dining area for a healthy snack. A Kneipp Walk Pool enhances circulation and some passengers do this with a glass of champagne in hand. More: seabourn.com. Silver Spirit: Silversea Cruises’ sleek new Silver Spirit was one of the first to adopt the medi-spa concept whereby a selection of physician-administered, wrinklereducing agents are available. After your consultation, the medispa physician will recommend what suits you best; acupuncture and dental enhancements are also options. More: silversea.com. Queen Elizabeth: Appropriately, Cunard’s new Queen has a royal spa. Its centrepiece is the Royal Bath House, a relaxing covered space that includes a thermal suite with heated mosaic lounges and hydrotherapy pool. Also available are Chinese medicines and Ayurvedic techniques, cellulite reduction and a Brazilian Blowout (for frizz-free hair). Pole-walking (as distinct from pole-dancing) is also on the menu. You are taught how to walk with a pole in each hand to improve stamina, posture and balance. More: cunardline.com.au.
The gold facial spa treatment is one of the luxury options available on the Celebrity Eclipse
The Canyon Ranch Spa on Marina
Australasia’s largest spa at sea is on Pacific Jewel
Spa aboard the Australian-based liner Pacific Pearl