Travel + Leisure (USA)


Cruise lines are getting wise to wellness. On board the Celebrity Apex, Jeff Bogle explores fitness and relaxation offerings, hoping to just let it all go.


IT WASN’T UNTIL we were sailing toward St. Kitts, a few days into our weeklong cruise aboard the Celebrity Apex, that we finally entered the spa. The day before, my wife, Lorelei, and I met a couple who had been going there on a daily basis, and they waxed poetic over something called the Rainfall Water Therapy Room. Lorelei and I exchanged glances, wondering what we’d been missing. Our new friends, it turned out, had booked the AquaClass staterooms. Sailing at this level on Celebrity Cruises’ Edge Series ships (which, along with the Apex, include sister vessels Beyond and the eponymous Edge) brings perks including priority embarkatio­n; a personal spa concierge (to help map out an entire trip’s worth of treatments); and unlimited access to the SEA Thermal Suite— home to an array of experience­s, from a hammam and a sauna to an amethyst-filled “Crystalari­um.” AquaClass travelers also get compliment­ary dining at Blu, the health-conscious restaurant specializi­ng in minimally processed meals (zucchini carpaccio, seared snapper), and all the fitness classes they can handle. The AquaClass is only one part of Celebrity’s push to solidify itself as the cruise line for wellness. Take, for instance, the company’s two-year-old partnershi­p with Goop, the lifestyle brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow. On select sailings beginning this fall, Goop at Sea will feature programmin­g that includes sessions with Paltrow-approved practition­ers like spiritual leader Deganit Nuur and energy healer Dana Childs. (The next Goop at Sea voyage sets sail for the Italian Riviera and France on September 24.) Determined to make up for lost time, we headed for the spa. Lorelei was ecstatic

after the resurfacin­g facial she received, which incorporat­ed an ultrasonic peel, lactic and hyaluronic acids, and three types of oils (sandalwood, thyme, and lemon), leaving her with a brilliant glow. We tiptoed past waterfille­d daybeds that cocooned meditative guests with ambient sound, and peeked into the Iyashi Dome, a Japanese-style sauna. And we tried the Rainfall Water Therapy Room in the SEA Thermal Suite for ourselves. The experience started with a hot, heavenly downpour, then transition­ed to an icy-cold shower before ending in a waterfall-like cascade of warm, soothing water. Each of these themed relaxation rooms—there are eight in all—were conceived by awardwinni­ng British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, and decorated in a calming palette of natural wood and marble that seemed to promote a sense of peace. At the end of our circuit, we rested on contoured, heated-tile loungers while looking at panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. And then we held hands and enjoyed the silence. celebrityc­; nine-day itinerarie­s from $2,950.

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