IN SHIP SHAPE

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM WELLNESS - PE­TRA O’NEILL

Cruise lines are in­creas­ingly fo­cused on well­ness, pro­vid­ing di­etary-spe­cific food, spa treat­ments and tai­lored fit­ness pro­grams. Healthy cruis­ing pro­vides the chance to re­boot and come back feel­ing recharged. And at a cost that’s com­pa­ra­ble to a health re­treat, you’ll get many ac­tiv­i­ties, on­board en­ter­tain­ment, en­joy beau­ti­ful ocean panora­mas while you ex­er­cise and ex­plore far-flung des­ti­na­tions.

SPA TREAT­MENTS

As Shalini the mas­sage ther­a­pist flicked the switch to ac­ti­vate elec­tric cur­rents across my neck as part of my “age-de­fy­ing fa­cial”, she told me she had a loyal fol­low­ing of pas­sen­gers who cruise just for the treat­ments. And I be­lieve her – the plump­ing, ton­ing and hy­drat­ing pro­vided a more youth­ful ap­pear­ance.

I was at Celebrity Sol­stice’s Canyon Ranch Spa, which of­fers mas­sages and beauty treat­ments and is also found on Cu­nard and Ocea­nia Cruises. Other spas in­clude Princess Cruises’ Lo­tus Spa, Vik­ing Cruises’ Liv Nordic Spa, Sil­versea’s House of Elemis and the Spa at Se­abourn.

HEALTHY EAT­ING

With in­ter­est in ve­g­an­ism grow­ing, many cruise lines have ex­panded menus to suit. On Cu­nard’s Queen Mary 2, menu op­tions for veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans are ex­ten­sive, in­clud­ing chick­pea and spinach frit­ters, and co­conut curry with al­mond rice.

When I com­mented on sal­ads la­belled ve­gan but dressed with Worces­ter­shire sauce, Cu­nard food and bev­er­age man­ager David Lea said staff were trained in spe­cial di­ets.

“The sauce has an­chovies,” he said. “I should know, my an­ces­tors started the com­pany back in 1837!”

Ocea­nia Cruises, renowned for the finest cui­sine at sea, of­fers 250 dishes for ve­g­ans and veg­e­tar­i­ans. Un­able to de­cide be­tween mains, I gen­er­ally opted for a sam­pler plate, my favourite be­ing gnoc­chi, mush­room risotto and pump­kin dumplings.

Bern­hard Klotz of Ocea­nia Cruises said the Canyon Ranch Spa cui­sine, gourmet veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan menus, and raw juices have proved pop­u­lar, with ev­ery­thing made fresh to order. Other cruise lines to cater for spe­cial-diet cruis­ers in­clude Hol­land Amer­ica Line, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line, Sil­versea and Princess Cruises.

If you have a di­etary re­quire­ment, no­tify the cruise line well ahead of time and it should en­sure a trou­ble­free cruise, but not al­ways. Some cruise lines are a work in progress.

On one cruise, my ve­gan en­tree was let­tuce with four cherry toma­toes. Not to be up­staged, the main was the same again. Af­ter two weeks, I cor­nered the head chef, say­ing: “I don’t mean to cause a prob­lem, but I need food.”

“Your last night will be mem­o­rable,” he promised, and while the lights of Hong Kong har­bour twin­kled, I waited for two hours, re­as­sured my spe­cial din­ner was com­ing.

It ar­rived – the head chef pre­sented a large bowl of cold co­coa “soup”.

FIT­NESS

With fit­ness now be­com­ing a fo­cus of cruis­ing, I joined daily group fit­ness classes on board Celebrity Sol­stice, in­clud­ing yoga, pi­lates, Zumba and med­i­ta­tion. I also at­tended well­ness lec­tures on healthy age­ing, and eat more to weigh less (very pop­u­lar).

Cruise ships have decked out gyms with state-of-the art equip­ment and it’s a great way to give ev­ery­thing a try.

Fit­ness in­struc­tors can pro­vide a per­sonal con­sul­ta­tion and de­velop a well­ness train­ing plan. Walk­ing around the prom­e­nade deck or mak­ing use of the jog­ging track also help de­velop a healthy rou­tine that can be con­tin­ued back home.

If you’d pre­fer adrenalin-charged fit­ness, Royal Caribbean of­fers surf­ing, ice skat­ing, zip-lines, rock­climb­ing walls and roller skat­ing, while Car­ni­val and Nor­we­gian have sports courts and ob­sta­cle cour­ses.

Themed cruises cen­tred on fit­ness, well­ness and nu­tri­tion are of­fered by UnCruise Ad­ven­tures, Ocea­nia Cruises, Ha­pag Lloyd, and Uni­world, with classes on yoga, med­i­ta­tion, cook­ing healthy cuisines and lec­tures by ex­perts on bet­ter health.

PIC­TURE: P&O

En­joy stun­ning ocean vis­tas with a morn­ing stretch.

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