CLIA: Cruise Ships Redefine Luxury Spa Experience

If there are any travelers left who still believe that a shipboard spa is a cramped exercise space and a steam room – which was the case a generation ago – a major surprise is in store because today’s shipboard spas represent a brand new world of cruising, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) points out.

CLIA says increasingly travelers interest is in wellness – bringing the body, mind and spirit into harmony through healthy living. For many, this means lifestyle change rather than simply a diet, massage and beauty treatment, and what better opportunity to change a lifestyle than on a cruise, CLIA asks.

The member lines of CLIA have responded to, and even helped define today’s lifestyle trends with a new generation of shipboard spas and fitness centers, CLIA says.

These combine that much appreciated indulgence and personalized attention with spa treatments inspired by the world’s diverse cultures as well as the latest technology and medical advances. Included are innovative health and fitness programs, healthy dining, and, in some cases, even luxurious spa accommodations creating a true destination spa at sea.

CLIA is also offering a useful sampling of the spas vacationers can expect to find on CLIA member cruise ships today:

Spa and wellness represent one of the pillars of the Azamara cruise experience, with a new “wellness” activity track in development and to be announced shortly. In the meantime, guests on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest can enjoy world class spas featuring excusive Elemis treatments, with onboard therapists and aestheticians. Choices range from aroma stone therapy and body sculpting to an exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow and a tri-enzyme resurfacing facial. In-suite spa treatments and couples’ “Journey for Two” treatments are other options.

Carnival’s new 21,000 square foot Cloud 9 Spa spans the forward portion of two full decks, with large picture windows offering panoramic views, and 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites accessible by a private elevator and offering immediate access to spa facilities. Among the spa’s features are a thalassotherapy pool covered by a glass dome; an elaborate Thermal Suite with four climate-controlled rooms; 17 private treatment rooms, including two VIP couples facilities; and a full gymnasium. In addition to health conscious menus, guests in spa staterooms receive priority appointments, unlimited access to the spa and other amenities.

Celebrity’s AquaSpa is a total experience, featuring a new category of stateroom accommodations called AquaClass as well as the Mediterranean-influenced “clean cuisine” specialty restaurant, Blu, and a full range of AquaSpa by Elemis treatments and services in the two-story spa. The veranda staterooms offer unlimited access to the spa, the Persian Garden aromatherapy room and the Relaxation Room as well as exclusive access to the spa restaurant. AquaClass guests also enjoy many additional in-stateroom amenities such as five-jet shower systems, Swedish isotonic and hypo-allergenic pillows and more.

Extending over two decks, Costa’s Samsara Spa offers exclusive spa cabins and suites featuring unlimited, direct access to spa facilities, a special set of Elemis bath accessories and a “Welcome Ritual” that includes complimentary fitness or meditation classes, a personalized wellness consultation, two spa treatments, two sessions in the solarium and an invitation to a special spa tea ceremony. The spa features a thalasso therapy bath, rock sauna, Turkish bath, a Tepidarium thermal bath, a fitness center, VIP treatment suites and wellness classes. Ristorante Samsara offers spa-friendly wellness cuisine.

The Crystal Spa and Salon is the first Feng Shui-inspired spa at sea and features luxurious amenities, state of the art sauna and steam room facilities, a private sun deck and Elemis spa products. There is also a “dry-float” bed suite, with an innovative sensory bed to create a sense of weightlessness, and a fitness center with recently introduced Kinesis resistance training equipment and “Tour de Spin” indoor cycling classes. Crystal guests are treated to a selection of spa treatment “ceremonies” as well as acupuncture and treatments designed especially for men as well as women.

Cunard Line guests aboard the Queen Mary 2 can look forward to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub featuring a “high-touch” rather than a “high-tech” spa experience. Reflecting a current trend in guests’ interest in a back-to-basics approach to health and wellness, Canyon Ranch focuses on highly customized attention, including lectures and workshops by healthy living experts. Queen Victoria features the Cunard Royal Spa & Fitness Centre, with a Thermal Suite that includes saunas, steam rooms, a meditation room, showers and relaxation area. Guests also enjoy a private 745-gallon hydrotherapy pool.

Holland America’s Greenhouse Spa & Salon features a Thermal Suite, hydrotherapy pool, a heated ceramic lounge reminiscent of an opulent Turkish bath, private treatment rooms, including those for couples, and a fitness center for classes and exercise. Among the treatment options are a variety of massage therapies inspired by an exotic blend of cultures, including Hawaiian Lomi Lomi and Chinese Tui Na, and the latest exotic skin, body, hair and nail treatments. In addition to new spa staterooms, HAL has also introduced three “wellbeing” packages featuring a variety of treatments and other amenities.

MSC’s Aurea Spa blends the magic of Balinese massage with the tradition of therapeutic waters inherited from the ancient Romans. For guests in the MSC Yacht Club, a “ship within a ship” concept on MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, there are 99 suite accommodations, a private elevator access to the spa, priority reservations for a full menu of treatments and 24-hour butler service. Options include in-room reflexology, Balinese, cranial or four-handed massage, candlelight Balinese Massage and the Balneo Cabin Aromatic Hydrotherapy in a private chamber for two with musical-chromo therapy.

One of the newest and largest ships in the CLIA fleet, Norwegian Epic features a 31,000 square foot Mandara Spa and fitness center, with 24 treatment rooms, two private couple’s villas, two exotic steam Rasui rooms, a DIY Scrub Experience, Hydrotherapy Courtyard & Thermal Suite, and a full-service salon and barber shop. In another first for Norwegian, there are also 39 spa suites, deluxe balcony and balcony staterooms which are accessed by private key-card and which offer complimentary access to spa facilities. Eight suites feature an in-room whirlpool. The spa offers more than 50 treatments for men and women.

Oceania’s fleet – Regatta, Insignia, Nautica, and the newest, Marina (which debuts in January 2011) – all feature spas, beauty and wellness facilities by Canyon Ranch. In addition, they also feature Canyon Ranch’s nutritious, gourmet “Spa Cuisine,” available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Certified fitness instructors conduct daily group and private fitness, yoga and tai chi classes and, on select voyages, Canyon Ranch Healthy Living experts offer on-board presentations and workshops addressing lifestyle change, healthy living, stress management and other topics.

With services tailored to the needs of each individual guest and designed as a luxurious refuge from everyday stresses, Paul Gauguin Cruises’ Deep Nature Spa utilizes the benefits of deep-sea water and minerals extracted from the Pacific Ocean at a depth of more than 3,000 feet in all of its signature treatments. Inspired by the South Pacific where the Paul Gauguin cruises, these treatments include Monoi massages by Hei Poa, a Polynesian tradition; oriental massages, volcanic stone massage and water treatments like the Tahitian Wave, replicating the back and forth motion of the ocean tides.

Princess Cruises’ Asian-influenced Lotus Spa offers a full range of body and facial treatments, relaxing steam and sauna facilities, a salon featuring hair and nail services and extensive fitness spaces with the latest exercise machines and group classes. Blending ancient therapies and rituals with the most contemporary Western technologies, these treatments include an Absolute Spa Ritual including deep tissue muscle massage and a pro-collagen marine facial; couples massages, Oxydermy facials, and an Aroma Spa Seaweed massage. Princess also offers a selection of treatments especially for teens.

The two largest cruise ships in the world – Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas (the latter arriving in late 2010) – cater to guests with the Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center offering a menu of distinctive treatments and innovative fitness options. There is also a two-deck, semi-enclosed Solarium in the ships’ bow designed with seating on “islands” surrounded by burbling water, swimming pools and whirlpools. Created to be the crown jewel of RCI’s Vitality wellness program, the spa, including a teen-focused “Y-spa, is Asian-influenced and offers a complete range of treatments and services, including a Vitality Enrichment Lounge.

Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator all offer the popular Canyon Ranch SpaClub experience, a state-of-the-art spa, wellness and fitness facility, plus a full-service luxury beauty salon. The Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers appealing spa amenities such as massage, body and skin care treatments as well as a gymnasium and weight room with cardio and weight training equipment, a juice bar, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and thalasso therapy, sauna and steam rooms.

Each of the new “Yachts of Seabourn” – Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest – offers a sanctuary of health and fitness known as The Spa at Seabourn. Spanning two decks, the facility is the largest spa on any ultra-luxury cruise ship. Seabourn has an exclusive partnership with SkinCeuticals that results in a choice of treatments such as SkinCeuticals Regenerating Facials and the spa also offers Thai massage and a Kinesis Wall, a new three dimensional movement program. The new Seabourn Sojourn also features a Kneipp pool, offering holistic water therapy treatments designed to increase blood flow.

Adopting a holistic approach to health and beauty, SeaDream’s shipboard Asian Spa and Wellness Centers draw on ancient Eastern philosophy, knowledge and techniques to encourage a lifestyle of harmony between mind and body. With eight spa therapists per yacht, guests may choose from a wide selection of massages, wraps and scrubs, including Japanese Shiatsu, Javanese Lulur (a spice and yogurt scrub), Balinese Salt Glow, Cucumber-Aloe Wrap and a Papaya Body Polish. In addition to an optional spa cuisine program that supplements the yachts’ dining experience, SeaDream offers Wellness Day programs, the ultimate in pampering.

Guests entering The Spa on Silversea’s new Silver Spirit will discover a welcome retreat from today’s hectic lifestyles. The largest facility in the Silversea fleet will feature a beauty salon, fitness center, nine spa treatment rooms, two sauna rooms and two steam rooms. Of special note is the debut of a ceramic-tiled Thermal Suite, an exclusive spa area furnished with heated lounge chairs. With its connecting private Hammam, or Turkish bath, it serves as the setting for the Private Hammam Experience, one of several new treatments to be offered on the ship. An outdoor relaxation area with bar service is also featured.

Earlier this year, Windstar formed a partnership with The OnboardSpa Company to provide certified organic O SPA London products and services to the spa, beauty salon and fitness centers on the company’s fleet of ships. Drawing on ancient practices from cultures around the world, the O SPA experience features a multi-sensorial, exotic journey of rejuvenation and relaxation, with all ingredients from organic, sustainable sources. Windstar also recently began offering new poolside spa treatments which include reflexology, foot and ankle massage, Swedish and Aromaveda Shirodosha massage.

For more information about these and other spa offerings, contact the member lines of CLIA by visiting


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