To wash away last year’s stress and anxiety, luxury travelers are heading back to the high seas for a much-needed getaway. Increasingly, they’re also looking for therapeutic indulgences — a soothing massage or facial, a wellness activity, acupuncture or a medi-spa treatment.
Fortunately, pampering cruise ship spas await — many on the newest luxury cruise ships setting sail this year. Other spas are on the drawing board for razzle-dazzle new ships launching in 2022 or 2023, and other ships have redesigned or enhanced spas. Here’s a sampling of luxury cruise ship spas that await.
What's On Offer
With its next new ship, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Grandeur, on the horizon for a late 2023 debut, Regent Seven Seas Cruises last month also restarted cruise operations with the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer. The ship is now repositioning to PortMiami and will operate a season of Caribbean voyages between mid-November 2021 and March 2022.
An enclave of tranquility aboard Seven Seas Explorer is the Serene Spa & Wellness space, which offers treatments originating from the hundreds of destinations to which the cruise line sails. Guests have such restorative and body nourishing options as an Elemis facial, massage, manicure, pedicure, other restorative treatments, as well as a luxury Kerastase salon service. Plus, guests can experience the wellness aspect in culinary and shore excursion choices too.
For the ultimate in pampering, we’d recommend the full body “Regent Massage,” which involves a mixture of rosemary, sea funnel and Mediterranean sea buckhorn being worked into areas of body tension to soothe and detoxify muscles. The experience is enhanced by warm, eucalyptus-infused paraffin mitts and boots which nourish and hydrate the guest’s hands and feet.
One blissful treatment we also like is the 50-minute “Calming Rose Facial,” which is designed to comfort sensitive skin with a natural blend of rose absolute to hydrate the dermis. Rose extracts are used to smooth fine lines and a warm rose balm is massaged onto the guest’s hands and arms (think “pure relaxation”) and the result is smooth skin that’s soft as a rose petal.
Seven Seas Explorer also has a jogging track and robust fitness center. Guests who are 16 and older can enter the fitness center and use its spinning bikes, weights, treadmills, Technogym Strength Machines and work-out mats. One-on-one training can be arranged too.
At the Silver Moon Spa, guests can unwind in the thermal areas with a glass of champagne or signature snacks enriched with such ingredients as caviar and truffles.
The new 596-passenger Silver Moon, Silversea Cruises’ newest vessel, is now sailing the ocean blue and has a redesigned spa and fitness center with a large thermal area, relaxation area and gym. But Luxury Travel Advisor is highly anticipating the launch of the ultra-luxury line’s next new vessel, Silver Dawn, setting sail in spring 2022, as that sister vessel will offer a pioneering new wellness program called Otium.
Drawing from the line’s Italian heritage, “otium” in Roman culture and lifestyle was the opposite of “negotium” (the nonexistence of pleasure). In contrast, “otium” was a period of time that Romans devoted to leisure — bathing, conversing, theorizing, drinking, eating and relaxing.
So, diverging from many cruise ship existing wellness programs, Otium encourages balanced indulgence, pampering, and pleasure over sacrifice and delayed gratification. The view is that wellness should be a natural, enjoyable part of the day; that living well and being well are not mutually exclusive; and that wellness need not be a solitary, silent experience, but rather a social pursuit that is best enjoyed with others.
The Otium Spa Experience will begin with Silversea’s redesign of the spa and a highly selective treatment menu, designed by wellness experts for optimum relaxation. Beyond the massages and other pampering treatments, guests will unwind and socialize in the spa’s thermal areas with a glass of champagne or signature snacks enriched with such ingredients as caviar and truffles.
Crystal’s newest ship, the expeditionary 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor is a robust explorer that began Antarctica cruises in November 2021. It carries 18 Zodiacs, 14 sea kayaks and a two-guest (plus the pilot) submersible. Led by a team of veteran guides and naturalist experts, cruisers can head out for wildlife and marine life viewing, Zodiac landings ashore, kayaking adventures and much more.
But when travelers return to the ship or simply need a day’s relaxation, the full-service Crystal Life Salon & Spa and state-of-the-art Fitness Center offers relaxation and pampering. How about a 75-minute Hot Mineral Body Boost,” in which guests lie on the line’s famed “Amber and Quartz Crystal” bed? Heated minerals warm and relax the body, soothing Amber balm is applied and a restorative facial massage completes the treatment.
A 50-minute “Coconut Poultice Massage,” a 50-minute “Elemis High Performance Skin Energizer,” or for tired legs after a long hike ashore, the 40-minute “Ionithermie Revitalizing Leg Therapy” are among dozens of other options. Cruisers can also arrange for acupuncture, medi-spa treatments or personal training or attend pure-form yoga or pilates sessions.
Seabourn soon will have two new PC6 Polar Class expedition ships in the water — Seabourn Venture, slated for a March 2022 delivery, and Seabourn Pursuit, scheduled for a February 2023 delivery. Each will carry two custom-built submarines, 24 Zodiacs, kayaks, and a 26-person expedition team to engage guests throughout each voyage.
But the beauty of an ultra-luxury ship is that there is plenty of attention paid to relaxation and pampering too. Occupying a space all its own on Deck 7, Seabourn Venture’s 3,700-square-foot Spa & Wellness space been designed by Adam D. Tihany, as has the ship’s yoga and fitness areas, which offer floor-to-ceiling sea views. The spa’s sauna will also offer floor-to-ceiling windows, a new design amenity for Seabourn and unique to its expedition ships
Sleek and serene, the Spa & Wellness space will reflect the concept of a contemporary “floating forest,” with such details as a textured tree-inspired art mural, light wood-and-bronze material palette, live wood features and natural stone flooring. Design-wise, “branches of the floating forest” will spread into four tranquil treatment rooms, each with neutral, textured wall coverings, light wood, and bronze accents.
Cruisers can select from massages for face and body, plus detox, cleansing and wrap services. Within the spa, a fitness center will offer cardio and strength equipment as well as a fitness director to offer assessments and train guests in fitness regimes.
Seabourn’s guests also can enhance their physical, social, environmental and spiritual wellbeing through the line’s onboard Mindful Living Program: Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil. Led by a Mindful Living Coach, the program will offer a holistic mind-and-body approach to wellbeing. Luxury Travel Advisor would suggest guests participate in the complimentary yoga and guided meditation sessions, as well as attend seminars on such topics as nutrition, integrative medicine, pain management and creative aging.
The Pool Deck on Oceania Cruises’ new 1,200-passenger Vista will offer modern, beach club cabanas.
Viking’s ninth oceangoing ship, the new, 930-passenger Viking Saturn will join the Viking fleet in early 2023 and sail new itineraries in Scandinavian and Nordic countries. The line’s ships offer modern Scandinavian design and similar spaces from ship to ship; guests essentially know what to expect and like it that way. Luxury Travel Advisor particularly likes the Viking oceangoing ships for their serene Wintergarden, an elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood. It’s perfect for relaxing with a good book or indulging in afternoon tea service.
In keeping with Viking’s Nordic heritage, LivNordic Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a snow grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Pool-wise, in addition to the Main Pool with its retractable roof (permitting any-season swimming) the ship will offer Viking’s glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim and take in sea or destination views.
Now under construction by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, Oceania Cruises’ new 1,200-passenger Vista will begin cruising with guests aboard in 2023. In addition to fielding such signature spaces as the Grand Staircase, Grand Dining Room and Grand Lounge, this upscale ship will offer relaxation and water play areas too. Its Pool Deck is expected to be a tranquil oasis for luxury guests, as they can opt to relax in a modern, beach club cabana.
When it’s time for a relaxing spa treatment, the new Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center will offer tranquil treatment areas. This area also includes work-out and personal training spaces, a salon and barbershop. Plus, a spa terrace will offer sweeping sea views.
Azamara’s four boutique ships including the 702-passenger Azamara Pursuit setting sail in 2022 all offer a full-service Sanctum Spa. Cruisers can book an oceanfront massage, get a quick manicure before hitting the town to explore, enhance their “look” with teeth whitening or barber services, or even book an acupuncture treatment.
This spa also offers state-of-the-art skincare services and restorative facials for both men and women. As for massages, cruisers have their pick of hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage, Swedish massage and other exotic massage treatments from around the world. We’d suggest trying the “Elemis Aroma Seaweed Massage,” or for body sculpting, a lime-and-ginger salt glow.
At the Sanctum Terrace, a private spa deck, guests also can sit in a bubbling saltwater bath with powerful water jets that massage the body — and at the same time, soak in the great views. Beyond the spa, Azamara offer complimentary onboard fitness and nutrition classes. Optional one-on-one personal training is available.
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s 298-passenger Evrima, begins sailing in May 2022 and is expected to be an enclave of floating luxury, much like a private yachting experience with added perks. For example, within the ship’s Ritz-Carlton Spa, guests can enjoy a rejuvenating spa treatment with ESPA products in one of five private, ocean-view treatment rooms. In addition, the vessel has a full-service beauty lounge, gentleman’s grooming salon, sauna and steam room. Quiet zones will allow guests to disconnect from the world and connect with themselves.
Concluding a $250 million “Star Plus Initiative” renovation project, Windstar Cruises has taken delivery of its third all-suite Star Plus Class ship, Star Pride, the last of three sister vessels that have emerged “stretched” and transformed. Each ship’s capacity was increased to 312 passengers, 50 new suites were added; and all accommodations have new bathrooms. Star Pride will remain in Italy until it resumes sailing in the Mediterranean in April 2022.
The updated Star Pride offers more of what Windstar’s repeat guests told the line they desired. For example, guests can dine at two new venues — Star Grill by Steven Raichlen and a new specialty restaurant, Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso. Best of all, for spa fans, the ship now has an expanded and redesigned World Spa by Windstar.
We’d suggest for a glacial mud body wrap or perhaps a basalt stone massage. Those who want to work out in the gym can use new and improved Technogym equipment. Another plus is that Star Pride has a newly expanded sundeck with a new pool and whirlpool.
The first new ship in 20 years for upscale Sea Cloud Cruises, the 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit, is now sailing. Combining five-star comfort, the feel of a private yacht and traditional seamanship, this three-masted, fully rigged sailing vessel (also motorized) is a modern interpretation of the line’s 90-year-old Sea Cloud flagship. The vessel’s spa has two treatment rooms, a steam bath, Finnish sauna, hairdressing salon and a large outdoor area, and there’s also a fitness center.
SeaDream Yacht Club offers a luxury, Thai-certified SeaDream Spa and Salon on its two yachting vessels, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. Thai-certified therapists provide such spa favorites as Sisley Paris treatments, radiant facials, detoxifying treatments, a soothing aroma massage and “Traditional Thai Massage” for men, women, and couples. Hair and nail services are also offered, and some spa treatments can be arranged in the ship’s open-air private massage area, if weather permits.
Crystal Cruises offers the full-service Crystal Life Salon & Spa, above.
In September, Ponant launched its first high polar exploration vessel, the 245-passenger Le Commandant Charcot, notable as it’s the cruise industry’s first luxury hybrid electric polar ship; that means it can cut through a greater thickness of ice and can reach rarely visited places like Peter I Island, 300 miles off the Antarctica coast. The 123-cabin Polar Class PC2 ship also will operate on a mix of eco-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electric battery power.
The ship’s 4,600-square-foot Wellness Lounge called Nuan, located on Deck 9, is home to the Spa Biologique Recherche with three massage and beauty cubicles (including one double cubicle with a sea view), a nail salon and two lounges with sea views where guests can wait or relax after a session.
Other spaces include a hair salon, sauna, a snow room, plus the gym, which has a sea view where guests can wait or relax after a treatment. In addition, there’s a heated indoor swimming pool with a glass roof and counter-current swimming; a sunroom with large external-facing windows; and a Detox bar with sofas and armchairs.
New to the cruise industry is luxe-adventure Atlas Ocean Voyages. The first of five planned expedition ships, the 196-passenger World Navigator launched this year; it’s sailing in Antarctica this winter season. The ship’s 947-square-foot SeaSpa by L’Occitane offers two treatment rooms, a Serenity Room (capacity for eight) and an infrared sauna.
Luxury travelers can opt for 25 minutes of “Shea Ultra-Softening Hand Care,” or go full-in for a 60-minute or 90-minute “Deep Tissue Intense Relief” body massage. Four kinds of face care treatments are available, as is a 25-minute “Aromachologie Foot Relief” treatment, a 20-minute “Mind Relaxing Massage,” and much more.
The spa reception on Regent's Seven Seas Explorer.
During 2019, just before the pandemic began, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises launched Hanseatic Inspiration, designated as the line’s bilingual expedition ship with both English and German as official languages. On Deck 8, the 2,530-square-foot Ocean Spa offers treatment rooms with a nature-focused design; a Finnish sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor area; plus, a steam sauna, hydrotherapy shower and ice fountain.
In addition, guests can also enjoy massage and cosmetic treatments in light-filled rooms with a sea view. The focus of the entire ship is “Inspired by Nature,” so sustainable products by Vinoble, Hyapur, John Masters Organics and Nailberry are exclusively used in spa treatments. Hanseatic Inspiration also has a spacious fitness area adjacent to the spa with its own floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and its own outdoor area too.
Many other classic, boutique and expedition ships also offer luxurious spa experiences including Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and the “new luxury” Celebrity Cruises. For example, Celebrity offers a Spa with 120 treatments, a SEA Thermal Suite with eight distinct spaces for guests to navigate a path to wellness, plus F45 fitness classes and Peloton cycling.