Wellness, health and fitness classes are prolific throughout the U.S. Chances are you have a regular regimen at home that helps you to stay in shape and nurture your spirit. And you don't have to give it up, even when sailing the ocean blue. Cruise lines now offer many wellness programs, spinning, free weights, Pilates, jogging tracks and basketball courts, and yes, even yoga classes.
At least seven lines, including Costa Cruise Lines (www.costacruise.com), Holland America (www.hollandamerica.com) and Carnival Cruise Lines (www.carnival.com), offer yoga-themed cruises and most cruise lines offer yoga classes, either within their fitness facilities and outside on top decks. Azamara Cruises (www.azamaracruises.com), for instance, offers soothing sunset yoga classes, while Princess Cruises (www.princess.com) has new yoga offerings for kids and teens ages three to 17.
Did you know that if typically you have 20 people—as few as 10 cabins total—you're considered a group and can receive perks for the size of your party? A few lines even allow fewer people traveling together to qualify for group rates—perhaps 10 guests in five cabins.
Group perks might include, depending on the line, a free cocktail party, free group photo, picnic lunch ashore, soda package or opportunities to hold your yoga classes poolside or in a private room. The bigger the group, the more perks.
Setting Up a Yoga Cruise
Talk with your travel agent about setting up a yoga-themed group cruise. Tell your fellow yoga aficionados about your desire to organize a group cruise focused around yoga. Talk with a local yoga instructor about coming along to teach classes or perhaps a new technique. Ask this person to also recommend the program to others.
Once you've selected a cruise line and itinerary, serve as the key point of contact for your group. Set up a specific regimen onboard based on the group's interests. Set a few specific times on sea days for the group to meet and practice. Create a few mixers, such as a welcome-aboard cocktail party or a sunrise walk. But don't fill every moment; let your fellow cruisers have plenty of free time.
Theme the cruise—perhaps something like "Yoga Lovers Unite" or "Piedmont Yoga Club Cruise" or "Smith Family Yoga Enthusiasts." Include the theme plus the date and ship on promotional items including T-shirts. These attention-getters will create questions and potentially more yoga group cruisers. Distribute flyers to relatives and friends, or at yoga clubs and at fitness facilities with yoga classes. Hand them out at related area businesses such as day spas, if appropriate.
Your travel agent will work with the individual cruise line in setting up a program that fits your group's desires and needs. For example, on a recent fitness cruise, Royal Caribbean International (www.royalcaribbean.com) assisted a fitness group in creating and hosting private classes not just in the fitness center, but also poolside and on Labadee, the line's private island on Hispaniola.