Luxury Ocean Lines Beckon Travelers With Spa Treatments & Wellness Perks

New wellness and spa programs, pampering treatments, onboard spa facility refurbishments and new ships are on tap this year for luxury and upper premium cruise lines. What’s new and trendy? How can luxury travelers pamper themselves onboard and ashore?

Holistic wellbeing is at the heart of Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new “Seven Seas Wellness” program, debuting this summer on Seven Seas Voyager. All the ship’s seven- to 10-night Mediterranean sailings from late May through September (except the July 25 voyage) will introduce a “paired” collection of more than 10 enticing wellness-themed excursions and five newly created spa treatments at the onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub, itself newly refreshed during Seven Seas Voyager’s 2016 drydock.

Those new onboard spa treatments include the “World of Relief Body Buff,” “Tangle Me Up Wrap,” “Ocean Scrub,” “Sole Rejuvenation” and “Vitamin Infusion Facial.” Ashore in Marseille, cruisers can take the new wellness excursion for Tai Chi in the Pharo Palace’s garden courtyard. In Sorrento, Italy, while on the wellness excursion in Sorrento, Italy, they can bask in hydrothermal pools at the Stufe di Nerone Baths and tour the burning Phlegreaen Fields. Travelers who’ve selected the new wellness excursion in Venice will tour the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo to learn about Venetian perfume making and create their own perfume to take home.

Onboard, Regent Seven Seas is expanding Seven Seas Voyager’s Pool Grill breakfast bar to include such new healthy choices as low-fat yogurt, homemade museli, nuts, exotic fresh sliced fruits and smoothies. At dinner, as always, guests can choose Canyon Ranch Balanced Selection appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Suites were also updated in the drydock. Deck 11’s Master Suite (category MS) has 1,403 square feet of space plus plenty of outdoor space on two adjacent balconies. The Deck 7 MS category has only slightly smaller interior space, a bit different lay-out and a large balcony. Up to six guests can spread out in a living room, dining space, two bedrooms with a European king-sized bed and two and one-half marble bathrooms. Creature comforts? It comes with a one-night, pre-cruise hotel package, a full bar set-up, one in-suite caviar service, a guaranteed reservation nightly in the specialty restaurant of the guest’s choice and a complimentary cocktail party for eight, among other perks.

Viking Ocean Cruises’Viking Sky just launched and sister Viking Sun sets sail this fall; both have the LivNordic Spa, which couples Scandinavian design with holistic wellness. Guests can choose from three different Swedish massages (Stille, Ren or Dybde – Swedish words meaning “mindful,” “detox” or “deep tissue”) or perhaps a Nordic pure light body slim, Nordic facial or Hydrafacial. Guests choosing the pure light body slim can specialize further – opting for an upper arms, stomach or thighs focus. We’d suggest upgrading too by adding a detox body scrub, detox massage or foot massage.

We love that guests don’t have to arrange a spa treatment to gain access to the thermal and relaxation area during regular operating hours. So try the Nordic bathing regimen. Start with relaxation in the sauna, then a dip in the cold pool, a warm-up back in the sauna and entry into the refreshing Snow Grotto where snowflakes descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Just repeat as often as desired.

Top digs on Viking’s 930-passenger ocean ships are the 757-square-foot Explorer Suites. Guests in those suites receive priority spa treatment reservations, early embarkation, priority stateroom access during embarkation day, three guaranteed priority reservations at each specialty restaurant, priority shore excursion reservations, complimentary WiFi and more.

Earlier this year, Seabourn and The Onboard Spa by Steiner, introduced “Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil,” a new holistic spa and wellness program on the new Seabourn Encore. The“mindful living” program debuts on Seabourn Odyssey this month and on Seabourn Sojourn later this year. In 2018, it will roll out on Seabourn Quest and the new Seabourn Ovation, launching in spring 2018.

What specifically does it entail? Dr. Weil, a leader and pioneer in integrative medicine, will sail on a different Seabourn ship each year; he’ll deliver a 60-minute lecture for guests and also offer smaller informal group discussions. A separate team of wellness experts will make regular visits to “Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil” facilities throughout the Seabourn fleet. And on each sailing where the program is in place, the Wellness Coach, a certified yoga and meditation practitioner, will lead complimentary classes and gatherings focused on a holistic approach to mind and body.

During “Mindful Meditation,” guests will learn about positive affirmations and mantras to reflect on throughout the day, also a focus of the program’s daily restorative yoga classes. Guess can choose from a variety of yoga options. One yoga class addresses healing for back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment; another focuses on enhancing creativity, mental focus and happiness. Classes will span a seven-day period with a new theme daily.

“Mind and Body” seminars will empower guests with ideas and practices to enhance wellbeing. For example, one seminar deals with “anti-inflammatory foods,” adapted from Dr. Weil’s nutritional guidance, while another focuses on health aging, adapted from his research. Guests can also set up individual, one-on-one wellness sessions on select topics. Seabourn already has many existing spa treatments -- body massages, facials, fitness and beauty regimens – that fit with the holistic approach. We’d suggest the “Thai Poultice Massage” with such aromatic steamed herbs as camphor, kaffir lime, prai, turmeric and lemon grass.

Seabourn Encore has two 1,550-square-foot Grand Wintergarden Suites on Deck 8. Passengers in these two-bedroom suites can expect large windows, dining for six, two and one half baths, a convertible sofa bed, spacious closets and three flat-screen TVs. Best design perk? We love the suite’s relaxation space – a glass-enclosed solarium with tub and day bed.

A new muse is now sailing the world’s oceans -- the 596-passenger, all-suite Silver Muse. Silversea Cruises’ newest ultra-luxury vessel offers the “Zagara Beauty Spa,” a sanctuary of wellbeing, leisure and comfort. Its facilities and treatments are a journey through the five senses – lulling the soul with curated music, invigorating the mind with “art in motion,” and capturing a mood with aromatherapy. Refreshments are designed to calm and hydrate.

In the spa’s “Mood Room,” passengers can personalize music, videos, lights and choose from infused treatment oils and teas. When it comes to treatments, we’d suggest trying two that haven’t been offered on Silversea previously – an “Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath Healing Treatment” and an “Elemis Thousand Flower Detox Wrap.” Silver Muse also has a barber shop offering exclusive men’s facial and shaving services and a fitness center with Technogym equipment and free weights.

Silver Muse sails a summer Mediterranean season before sailing to Port Everglades, the Caribbean and South America later this year. Culinary aficionados will love its eight restaurants, none a main dining room. La Dame is the Relais & Chateaux venue, Kaisekifeatures night-time teppanyaki and daytime sushi and sashimi, while Indochine specializes in Asian fusion cuisine. Silver Note serves tapas-style dishes and jazz and blues during dinner, while seafood and steaks are Atlantide’s specialty. The indoor-outdoor buffet restaurant, La Terrazza, transforms nightly into an Italian restaurant. For fun? Head for Hot Rocks, the outdoor, pool-deck restaurant where guests grill their own seafood or meat. Spaccanapoli is a new open-air pizzeria.

Cozy spot? We’d grab a good book, admire the artwork and savor a latte at the new Arts Café on Deck 8. It beckons with rotating art exhibitions and a library with volumes curated by London-based bookshop Heywood Hill. Plus, you can order coffee, cocktails, daytime snacks and deli fare.

Top Silver Muse digs are the Owner's Suites, with 947 to 1,055 square feet of space for one bedroom and 1,281 to 1,389 square feet for two bedrooms. The Balsorano Owner’s Suite reflects the taste and Italian traditions of Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the line’s chairman. What’s special? This suite contains a specially curated selection of Lefebvre’s personal items including books, sculptures, works of art and family photographs.

So guests will discover a chesterfield chair and ottoman as well as another chair from Lefebvre’s former family residence in Rome. On the bookshelf are Lefebvre’s favorite titles including “The Great Navigators of the Eighteenth Century” by Jules Verne and “The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean” by David Abulafia. The Balsorano Suite also is stocked with vintage ports selected by Lefebvre.

Crystal Cruises’Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are home to Canyon Ranch SpaClub; the design reflects Feng Shui principles with a Zen rock garden, water fountains and furnishings placed according to Chinese traditions. On Crystal Serenity, we’d suggest both individuals or a couple consider having an “Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap” in the dry-float bed suite, as its sensory bed mimics the feeling of weightlessness.

Both Crystal ocean ships will enter drydock this year. Major accommodations changes will lower the total passenger count from 922 guests to 848 guests on Crystal Symphony and from 1,070 to 980 on Crystal Serenity. Approximately 40 Seabreeze Penthouse and Penthouse Suites (totally new classes of suites) will replace some existing accommodations; they’ll be similar in size to the existing Penthouse suites but feature a new design.

Also after the drydocks, Crystal will unveil unlimited, free Internet across both ships and revamped open seat dining. The Crystal Dining Room will be rebranded as Waterside. Lido Café will transform into The Marketplace and serve casual food including daytime tapas and ceviche. At night, one Lido section will become Churrascaria, a Brazilian concept.

And Crystal is planning even more changes. Tastes will become Silk and serve a casual breakfast, lunch and family-style dinner with many favorite Chinese dishes. Silk Road will be replaced by a new Nobu creation, Umi Uma, which is “seahorse” in Japanese (referring to Crystal’s logo symbol).

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ 500-passenger Europa 2, designed for English speakers, sports a robust spa and fitness center with eight treatment rooms, a whirlpool, relaxation area, ice fountain, Kneipp Pool, Thalasso area and sauna enclave (herbal sauna, bio sauna, Finnish sauna and steam bath), outdoor deck relaxation area, plus fitness facilities. Guests can enjoy everything from Lomi lomi and Abhyanga massages to shiatsu and hot stone wellness treatments. Our suggestion for couples? Reserve the private, personal SPA, a space you can have all to yourself with a sauna, whirlpool, massage tables and relaxation facilities.

Appealing to fitness enthusiasts is the BE.YOU. fitness program developed exclusively for Europa 2 by three-time Olympic ski champion Maria Hofl-Riesch of Germany. She’ll be on four upcoming cruises to train alongside guests, including an eight-day cruise from Abu Dhabi to Dubai on May 14, 2018.

Europa 2 is also getting a drydock refreshment this September, and the spa will be redesigned to better utilize the space, an electric fireplace will be added and there will be more areas to relax and unwind. The drydock will also upgrade the ship’s satellite systems with more bandwidth. Herrenzimmer, the gin tasting lounge, will be renamed Collins in honor of a favorite gin cocktail, Tom Collins, and the Jazz Club will become Club 2.

Oceania Cruises is now introducing a new tour series, Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch, on Riviera and Marina this month. These wellness focused excursions will initially be offered in France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Luxury guests can create their own wellness getaway when coupling the new tours with onboard spa treatments, healthy meal choices by Canyon Ranch and a Culinary Center cooking class inspired by Canyon Ranch menus.

For example, guests visiting Taormina, Sicily for the day can start with a Canyon Ranch healthy breakfast option – perhaps an egg-white omelet with seasonal vegetables and cheese – in the Grand Dining Room. That can be followed by a Taormina wellness tour that includes a yoga class. Back on board, the guest can head for the spa for a “Canyon Stone Massage” or detoxifying “Seaweed Leaf Wrap.” When it’s time for dinner, Canyon Ranch selections in the dining room could include the steamed Maine lobster atop Castilla-La Mancha saffron rice.

In Civitavecchia, Italy, guests can head out for a relaxing afternoon at the Thermal Baths of the Popes, while in Monte Carlo, the wellness tour will take cruisers to the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort for a vinyasa (“flow”) yoga class. In Corfu, Greece, guests can take the new “Greek Gods of Wellness” tour to Ambelonas, an artisanal organic goods company and wine estate, followed by a meditation and yoga session and plant-based lunch. And in Palamos, Spain, “the Life of Laughter” tour includes a laughter session (to create stress-reducing endorphins) at an elegantly restored farmhouse-hotel.

The 690-passsenger Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey recently received a major drydock refurbishment. Among the enhancements, Azamara Club Cruises completely remodeled the spa. Now called The Sanctum Spa, it has a more open floor plan plus new carpeting, wall coverings, windows and redesigned doors. It also has a nail bar and pedicure area; dedicated stations for barber services, teeth whitening and hair services; an acupuncture clinic; and Medi-spa. Select spa services also are provided on a private outdoor deck.

Why not opt for a multi-faceted spa package? The 200-minute “Ritual of Extravagance” package includes an Elemis tri-enzyme facial, Elemis exotic lime and ginger salt glow with half body massage, an exotic milk-and-honey manicure; and an exotic milk and honey pedicure. Another package, “Wellness Ritual” for 220 minutes includes an “Elemis Muscle-ease, AromaSpa Ocean Wrap” with full body massage, plus two acupuncture sessions of the guest’s choice.

Azamara’s Club Spa Suites offer both standard and suite guest amenities plus a $200 spa credit per suite, one “Nights in Private Places” outing, a spacious glass-enclosed soaking tub in their suite, daily delivery of healthy afternoon snacks, use of Frette plush robes and slippers and in-room spa

In addition, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2, sizably updated last year, has a new VOYA facial exclusive to the ship. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub treatment mixes seaweed and botanical ingredients to stimulate collagen, which tightens the skin and creates a radiant glow. So whether guests desire soothing treatments or wellness activities, oceangoing spas have much new to offer this year. – Susan J. Young

Small-Ship Spas at Sea

• SeaDream Yacht Club, which offers the only Thai-certified spa at sea, has soothing Asian treatments. We’d try the traditional Thai massage coupled with soothing Thai herbal compresses from Thailand’s Royal Project.

• On Le Boreal and L’Austral, small-ship luxury line Ponant has a “Balneotherapy” area where guests can indulge in an aromatherapy bath with re-mineralizing salts. Guests choose whether to create a serenity, relaxation or energy mood.

• For rejuvenation, travelers sailing on Windstar Cruises in tropical Tahiti can savor fresh exotic fruits and schedule a pampering mango sea salt scrub in the line’s onboard Wind Spa.

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