Chic Ship Spas

Regent Suite onboard Seven Seas Explorer will have its own master bathroom “spa retreat” with a treatment area, full sauna, ceramic-heated relaxation loungers and multi-jet shower.
Regent Suite onboard Seven Seas Explorer will have its own master bathroom “spa retreat” with a treatment area, full sauna, ceramic-heated relaxation loungers and multi-jet shower.

Luxury cruise lines offer pampering spas, over-the-top treatments and in-suite spa services. But the onboard spa experience will evolve to a higher level in late 2016 when Regent Seven Seas Cruises launches its newest class of ship, Seven Seas Explorer. Of note, the ship’s 3,875-square-foot, two-bedroom Regent Suite on Deck 14’s bow will have its own master bathroom “spa retreat” with a treatment area, full sauna, ceramic-heated relaxation loungers and multi-jet shower.

Regent says it will provide unlimited complimentary spa treatments by Canyon Ranch SpaClub in this personal retreat. What’s nifty is that the suite’s hot tub will be enclosed by glass, so guests can enjoy an al fresco experience even if it’s cool or windy.

We’re told the Regent Suite’s interior — with marble, exotic woods and handcrafted furnishings — likely will resemble a Park Avenue apartment. “Wow” elements? Guests can sip cocktails at a black marble bar; they’ll also have their own Steinway Arabesque piano to while away the hours. We can’t wait to see the glass-enclosed Vista Garden, which will divide the large wraparound veranda. Chic!

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Seadream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I and SeaDream II have the only Thai Spa Association member spa at sea.
Seadream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I and SeaDream II have the only Thai Spa Association member spa at sea.

Nice Touch: The suite’s living area has a media center with a large ultra-HD, flat-screen TV; the master bedroom has a separate sitting area with a sofa and a flat-screen TV of its own. The second bedroom will also have a sitting area and private bath.

Also new on the horizon, Oceania Cruises’ 684-passenger ship, Sirena, a former R-class ship and sister to Nautica, Insignia and Regatta, is slated to enter service in late April 2016, after extensive bow-to-stern renovations. The update will create the spaces Oceania’s guests have come to expect, including the specialty restaurants Toscana and Polo Grill, as well as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill Terrace Cafe. On Deck 9, Sirena will also have a spacious Canyon Ranch SpaClub with a Spa Terrace, the line’s outdoor relaxation area with a spa tub.

Want unlimited access to that lovely Spa Terrace? Just book the 1,000-square-foot Owner’s Suite  as that’s an included perk. While Sirena will have six such suites, we’d opt for No. 7114 or No. 7119 as they have suites above and below them, so they offer very good potential for a quiet stay. All Owner’s Suite spaces have a newly renovated bathroom with oversized shower, private teak veranda, two flat-screen TVs and a laptop computer and iPad for personal use.

What’s nifty is that the new Sirena will give Oceania more flexibility in itinerary development. For summer and fall 2016, the line plans 90 new itineraries, 50 of those are extended journeys. Oceania also will call at 20 new ports, among them locales providing access to beaches of Gaeta in Italy, the Golfito rainforest in Costa Rica and La Paz, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez.

SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-passenger SeaDream I and SeaDream II each have a SeaDream Spa offering 35-plus treatments. As the only Thai Spa Association member spa at sea, this facility employs eight therapists for 112 guests, a high ratio. Recommended? We suggest the treatment SeaDream’s guests have picked as their favorite — the “Asian Blend” treatment, a combination massage using Thai, Shiatsu and deep-tissue massage techniques complemented by massage oil and herbal balm.

Crystal’s Spa & Salon is the first feng shui-inspired spa at sea.
Crystal’s Spa & Salon is the first feng shui-inspired spa at sea.

For spacious accommodations, the Owner’s Suite, No. 315, is 447 square feet and has a living and dining area, guest bathroom and a master bedroom suite that includes bathroom with massage shower and a separate soaking tub. We love that the large bathroom window allows guests to watch the world float by from the comfort of the tub.

Now through fall, SeaDream’s two vessels will sail the Mediterranean and northern Europe. New this year are wine-focused Mediterranean cruises. Also new is that during winter 2015-2016, SeaDream will head to the Caribbean, but instead of positioning both ships in and around the British Virgin Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands, SeaDream will position one vessel there and move the other to the Grenadines and French West Indies.

Earlier this year, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) entered into an agreement with Genting Hong Kong (GHK), under which Crystal Cruises will be acquired by GHK sometime this quarter. The deal is likely to mean a new ship for Crystal. Until then, what top accommodations should cruisers consider? On Crystal Serenity, we’d go for the CP category accommodations, the 1,345-square-foot “Crystal Penthouse with Verandah” suites. Guests will spread out in a spacious living room, dining area with ocean views, guest bathroom with shower, den with full-size sleeper sofa, large bedroom and master bath, plus a private veranda. If the CP accommodations are sold out, the 538-square-foot Penthouse Suites (PS) with veranda are also a good option, but highly popular, so travelers should plan well in advance.

When it’s time to relax, the Crystal’s Spa & Salon, the first feng shui-inspired spa at sea, makes a soothing retreat with a Zen-like aura and furnishings placed according to Chinese principles. Don’t miss the dry-float bed suite with a sensory bed that creates a feeling of weightlessness. The ultimate splurge? We recommend the “Ceremony of Paradise,” a 170-minute spa treatment regimen that features Elemis’ exotic coconut rub and milk ritual, a pro-collagen marine facial and deep-tissue muscle massage.

Looking farther out to 2018, one 97-day “World Cruise” itinerary for Crystal (one of four it’s offering) covers many exotic beach destinations, including Hawaii, French Polynesia and Fiji, so it should be particularly relaxing. It’s certainly unusual. Guests will sail on January 23 from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia, on Crystal Serenity and then in Sydney, Australia, board and sail on Crystal Symphony for the remainder of the World Cruise, ending in Miami. Beyond the exotic isles mentioned above, it visits many New Zealand ports, Easter Island (on Easter) and the Panama Canal.

On Silversea Cruises, Silver Spirit is the line’s newest ship and we’d recommend either Owner’s Suite No. 844 or No. 845, with 1,292 to 1,668 square feet of well-lit space with a large teak veranda. Centrally located, these suites have a living room with large sitting area, separate dining area, guest powder room and either one or two bedrooms. Each bedroom has its own TV, walk-in closet and marble bathroom. In the two-bedroom configuration, which uses the adjacent Vista Suite, there is also a second sitting area. Features to assure a restful night’s sleep include a pillow menu, Pratesi bed linens and ultra-luxury mattresses, which can be switched by the butler from firm to soft, based on the guest’s preference.

Owner’s Suites onboard Silver Spirit have a living room with large sitting area, separate dining area, guest powder room and either one or two bedrooms.
Owner’s Suites onboard Silver Spirit have a living room with large sitting area, separate dining area, guest powder room and either one or two bedrooms.

One treatment we’d recommend at Silver Spirit’s full-service spa is the 50- or 75-minute “Elemis Aroma Stone Therapy.” Basalt stones are bathed in warm water, covered with Asian oils and positioned on energy points of the body; that’s combined with traditional massage techniques. If guests have an appointment for a facial or massage, why not come early and relax in the Thermal Suite? Or book a private exfoliation in the Hamman Chamber.

Two upcoming Silver Spirit voyages offer combination wine- and culinary-themed cruises — the 15-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale on November 9 and the 21-day Brazil-focused sailing from Barbados to Buenos Aires departing January 25. So these cruises have plenty of sea days for spa time, but guests also can expect “L’École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux” cooking school at sea, wine tastings, lectures by Silversea wine ambassador Lawrence d’Almeida and other themed activities.

Seabourn Cruise Line’s newest ship, the all-balcony, 604-guest Seabourn Encore, will launch in 2016. Designed by hospitality design icon Adam Tihany, the new ship will be an updated version of the line’s Odyssey-class vessels with one additional deck and new expanded public areas. Seabourn Encore will sail to the Middle East, India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand from December 2016 to April 2017, then spend summer 2017 in the eastern Mediterranean.

Sister ship, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018. Until the new ships launch, cruisers can still have pampering luxury on Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn or Seabourn Quest. We’re partial to the Owner’s Suite with a living room area, private veranda, dining space for four, a separate bedroom and bath, guest bath and more. For easy spa access, we also like the four Penthouse Spa Suites, which have replaced the former Spa Villa spaces atop the spa. They were just added to Seabourn Sojourn, so now all three vessels have these. The Penthouse Spa Suites have at least 516 square feet of interior space, plus a 172-square-foot veranda. Amenities include flavored water and fruit juices; mixed nuts, dried fruits and healthy snacks; L’Occitance fragrances; a soothing spa background soundtrack; Molton Brown spa products; and a bath sponge menu. Guests can simply descend one deck down a spiral staircase to the spa, at which they receive spa concierge services and unlimited, complimentary Serene Area access. For a combination treatment, we like Seabourn’s three-hour “Sweet Surrender” spa package, consisting of an Elemis Absolute Spa ritual (facial and massage), a bathing ritual and one-hour relaxation.

The new 930-passenger Viking Star, the first oceangoing vessel of Viking Cruises, launched this spring. Its 14 Explorer Suites have 757 square feet of interior space, plus verandas from 167 square feet to 490 square feet. One nice perk is that Explorer Suite guests may make priority dining reservations 90 days in advance of sailing for the main restaurant; that’s 10 days before priority bookings for the next suite class. Also 90 days out, they can book three guaranteed dining reservations per cruise at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant and also at the Chef’s Table.

When it’s time to relax, travelers will find a spa that offers all the usual treatments, but the twist is that it also incorporates the holistic wellness philosophy of Nordic culture. Within the so called “Snow Grotto,” the first at sea, the human body’s circulation will be stimulated as snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Then guests can head for the sauna and a much warmer experience.

In addition, Azamara Club Cruises, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Cunard Line are among other upper premium or luxury oceangoing lines that offer pampering spas. In fact, Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 flagship has a 20,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Increasingly, when it comes to spa services, the sea beckons. 

New Pampering Ships

Ponant launched its sleek new Le Lyrial in April. With 122 staterooms and suites, the vessel was outfitted in contemporary decor by French interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel; it’s decor is bathed in blue, gray-blue and turquoise hues. In partnership with French beauty brand Sothys, Le Lyrial’s onboard spa has treatments for the face and body including nourishing rice milk or sculpting gold treatment. Top digs? The Owner’s Suite boasts 581 square feet of interior space and a 129-square-foot private balcony.

Windstar Cruises expands from four to six ships this spring as it adds two former Seabourn ships, the 212-passenger Star Pride and Star Breeze, each with an $8.5 million update. The ships’ Wind Spa sports a salon, fitness center, steam room and multiple treatment rooms. We’d suggest couples ask about having a couple’s massage on the open deck; it depends on ship locale.

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