SAUNTER INTO A PAMPERING SPA ON ONE of the many cruise ships sailing the world's oceans these days and you'll see an increasing number of male spa-goers signing up for facials and massages. "The dilemma used to be making men aware that our spa wasn't just for women," says Juanita Wolfaardt, manager of the Crystal Spa on Crystal Cruises's 940-passenger Crystal Symphony. Now, she says, male demand for services is strong, and Crystal, in partnership with Elemis, has developed the new Time for Men spa services program.
This male-centric program includes a Frangipani Hair Conditioning ($62, 25 minutes) and Skin IQ Facial ($152, 50 minutes), as well as an Aroma Stone Therapy massage ($213, 75 minutes) that combines traditional massage with penetrating heat from volcanic basalt stones placed on key energy points of the body. All treatments are designed to emphasize rejuvenation, stress relief, and grooming techniques unique to a man's particular needs. Most notable are the new shave services, which are more like mini-massages than a traditional shave. The Deep Cleanse Grooming Treatment with Shave ($79, 55 minutes) includes a soothing face and scalp massage and a deep-pore cleansing mask, while the Pro-Collagen Grooming Treatment with Shave ($85, 55 minutes) incorporates an anti-aging mini-facial and luxurious face, scalp, hand, and arm massages.
Greenhouse Spas and Salons, which feature Time Out for Men services, are found aboard Holland America ships, including the MS Zuiderdam
According to Wolfaardt, research from the International Spa Association (ISPA) shows that 36 percent of spa travelers are male. "Our clients are used to spending time to feel and look good," she says. "Most go to spas at home on a regular basis, and they look forward to either maintaining their regimen or experiencing new treatments." Crystal, like most cruise lines, had a unisex spa environment, but the treatments were mainly geared toward women. After adding Time for Men, the cruise line experienced a 20 percent jump in male spa visits. Now, says Wolfaardt, "the biggest challenge is having sufficient staff and treatment rooms to keep up with the growing demand."
Greenhouse Spas and Salons, which feature Time Out for Men services, are found aboard Holland America ships, including the MS Prinsendam
Operated by Steiner Leisure, Crystal Spa is designed around the principles of feng shui, the Asian art of placement to evoke health, prosperity, and happiness. While most of Crystal's spa patrons, both male and female, are aged 50 or older, Wolfaardt says younger travelers are more frequently patronizing the spa, most often on holidays and during the summer. Whatever their age or sex, "our customers come for relaxation, exotic treatments, pampering, and a feeling of total well-being," she notes. "Additionally, hair and nail appointments are very important."
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: A male client enjoys a massage at Crystal Cruises's Crystal Spa & Salon; the exterior of a Crystal Symphony ship; the Crystal Spa & Salon on a Crystal Serenity ship
This year, Holland America Line also introduced a new male-specific spa program, entitled Time Out for Men. Currently, it's available in the Greenhouse Spa and Salon on the 1,258-passenger Maasdam and 1,918-passenger Noordam and will be expanded to other ships as they return from normal drydock maintenance upgrades. Three different shave treatments are offered, and Paul Goodwin, Holland America's vice president of onboard revenue with direct responsibility for spa services, says that "in this day and age, having a shave done by someone else with massage elements is not as common as in the past, so it's a new experience for a lot of men."
The lobby of the Carita Spa aboard a Regent Seven Seas ship
Holland America's Shave of All Shaves ($85, 60 minutes) tops the list of most popular shave packages. Cruise passengers enjoy a professional shave, skin treatment, and scalp, facial, hand, and arm massages. From Goodwin's perspective, the increase in male interest in spa treatments at sea has been astronomical. "It really used to be zero, and we didn't offer men's services in any realistic manner," explains Goodwin. "So any growth, if I was talking percentages, would be off the chart."
The Canyon Ranch SpaClub therapy pool aboard the Queen Mary 2
Staff on both Holland America ships were trained in all barbering and male massage services over a two-week period and then tested to assure quality. But Holland America doesn't push one treatment over another, according to Goodwin. It's a matter of customer choice. Cruise guests learn about the options in onboard television programming and from a daily newsletter. And when women book their own treatments, the spa employees also encourage them to talk to their significant other about Time Out for Men.
A Lotus Spa treatment room aboard Princess Cruises's Caribbean Princess ship
Elsewhere at sea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises's Carita Spa has multiple For Him Only services that include a Deep Cleaning Fitness Facial ($110, 50 minutes), 25- to 80-minute sports massages ranging from $60 to $160, and the pampering Royal Hands and Feet ($95, 55 minutes) treatment, which offers male guests an exfoliation, a nail and cuticle ritual, a nail trim, and a semi-reflex and stretch massage for hands and feet. With its 20,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 boasts several services targeted at men, including a Men's Fitness Facial ($129, 50 minutes) that includes cleansing, toning, steaming, exfoliation, extractions, relaxing facial massage, mask, and even a paraffin application to the hands. And nine Princess Cruises ships offer a male Pro-Collagen Grooming Treatment with Shave ($85, 55 minutes) that includes a deep cleansing exfoliation, a double-close shave, an anti-aging mini-facial, and a scalp, hand, and arm massage.
An AquaSpa treatment room aboard Celebrity Cruises's Millennium ship
Men aside, most cruise lines say both sexes patronize their onboard spas, even those without male-specific services. "Celebrity Cruises has seen a growing percentage of male guests enjoying our AquaSpa services, although the spas have always been open to them, of course," says Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Elizabeth Jakeway. According to her, the most popular male treatments are massages, stone therapies, facials, including an exotic Japanese silk booster treatment, manicures, pedicures, immersion in the thalassotherapy pools, and the Rasul ($83 for two, 50 minutes), a couples' mud therapy treatment. Celebrity's Century now also boasts Celebrity's first barbershop, complete with a 42-inch LCD TV.
"Men now make up more than thirty percent of our spa services, and this has been increasing annually," says Erling Frydenberg, Silversea Cruises's chief operations officer. "We are actively looking at new services and products specifically for the male market and are even considering a barber station and other male grooming concepts to be included in future shipboard spa renovations."