Becky Wiggins selects the coolest ocean and river ship retreats and their signature treatments so you know where to go for the the best pampering at sea.
From an array of luscious treatments to hair and beauty salons to hydrotherapy pools, heated loungers and snow grottos, cruise ship spas offer the ultimate in at-sea pampering. Find out what the best cruise ship spas are in our round-up of the top 10.
Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn seamlessly blends pampering with wellbeing and mindfulness in luxurious surroundings with their holistic spa experience. Starting in the Serene Suite – a modern-day Turkish bath with a range of heat experiences and monsoon showers – guests are encouraged to enhance the ritual with a custom-made body polish, specially prepared by the onboard mixologist. There’s an emphasis on feeling cocooned and pampered, and the cruise line’s partnership with Dr Andrew Weil has created the first mindful living programme at sea, including meditation, yoga and acupuncture treatments.
Signature treatment: The sublime Elemis Thousand Flower Detox Wrap with massage helps stimulate detoxification and restore equilibrium with a green tea seed oil massage, followed by the vitamin-packed Thousand Flower Earth Wrap. The final touch is a mineral-rich, invigorating green tea balm.
0344 338 8615; seabourn.com
Launching this August, Emerald Waterways’ hotly anticipated new Star-Ship, Emerald Harmony, which will sail on the Mekong River, offers a range of luscious spa treatments in the beautifully appointed Sen Spa, taking its influence from ancient healing rituals and fusing authentic Asian style with contemporary design. The spa is adjacent to the resort-style pool area, so guests will have the unique opportunity to relax by the pool after their treatments while observing the fascinating daily life along the Mekong as the ship sails by.
Signature treatment: The luxurious Harmony Rejuvenation Treatment is holistic heaven, combining body massage with a scrub and indulgent facial treatment. The treatment commences with a relaxing foot bath and scrub, followed by a tension-releasing body massage and ending with a facial mask.
0808 301 1781; emeraldwaterways.co.uk
After the success of their partnership with luxury spa brand Champneys on board Marella Explorer, Marella Cruises have once again chosen to showcase a stunning Champneys Health Spa on board adults-only ship, Marella Explorer 2. Think Champagne-coloured marble, crushed velvet day beds with piles of inviting cushions, chic staff clad in black uniforms, and plenty of lush green foliage. Guests can expect premium facials, body wraps and beauty treatments in luxurious surroundings, or laze post-treatment on the ocean view infinity loungers. There’s also a high-end beauty salon, thermal suite and a well-equipped gym.
Signature treatment: The Marella Massage is a top-to-toe spa treatment using rhythmic, wave-like movements designed to mimic the rise and fall of the ocean to leave skin glowing. The pampering treatment focuses on scalp, face and body and is intensely relaxing. After your treatment, float out in your fluffy Champneys bathrobe for a snooze by the beautiful infinity pool.
Guests on board Celebrity Cruises’ new Celebrity Edge and Edge-class ships can lose themselves in the huge, ultra-modern space of The Spa, designed by Kelly Hoppen MBE. Inspired by the sea, earth and air, curved edges and living plant walls give an organic feel to the cocoon-like surrounds, and there’s an emphasis on harmony with nature. Relax in the rainfall water therapy room inside the SEA Thermal Suite or meditate with aromatherapy crystals in a steam room at the Crystalarium. Twenty-three luxurious treatment rooms offer guests serene surroundings to indulge in their choice of 124 different treatments, many never before found at sea.
Signature treatment: The calming Ocean Spa Wave Massage starts with a therapeutic warm wrap of nutrient-rich sea plants and marine algae, releasing stress and tension while nestled on a water-filled cushion personalised with a choice of colour therapy options. Then a deep cleansing mask, combining seaweed with a special blend of aromatherapy essential oils, decongests and stimulates the body’s system as a scalp and foot massage soothes and relaxes.
0800 441 4057; celebritycruises.co.uk
Recreating the high-end feel of a Canyon Ranch, the spas on board Oceania Cruises’ recently renovated ships feature a holistic approach to healthy living, offering complimentary fitness classes, nutrition and lifestyle consultations, light and healthy Canyon Ranch Spa Cuisine and an array of healing therapies, all within a classically elegant environment.
Signature treatment: The spa offers a range of pampering rituals, including Detoxifying, which speeds up the removal of toxins and invigorates the skin with a natural scrub made of coffee, olive stones and fresh lemon. The heavenly scented Euphoria ritual starts with an antioxidant sage face compress and relaxing aromatherapy scalp massage before the application of a warm botanical body masque. This luxurious ritual concludes with a soothing herbal massage, leaving the skin nourished and the body and mind relaxed.
0345 505 1920; oceaniacruises.com
Holland America Line’s stunning Pinnacle-class ships Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam redefine the spa experience with the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. The elegant retreat offers nurturing spa rituals within a rarefied atmosphere of cream leather and pale wood, pampering the skin with facial treatments and nurturing the body with massage techniques from around the world. Inside the Greenhouse Retreat, guests can pick from a range of therapeutic sauna and steam grottos, take a dip in the hydrotherapy pool or relax on heated loungers.
Signature treatment: Lonithermie, a revolutionary therapy using algae rich in mineral extracts and essential oils combined with electrical stimuli, promises to detoxify the body and reduce the appearance of cellulite, offering substantial inch loss (between 1-8 inches) in one session.
0344 338 8605; hollandamerica.co.uk
For a truly authentic spa experience, look no further than the LivNordic Spa & Wellness Centre on board Viking Ocean Cruises. Created with natural materials in Viking’s signature Scandi minimalist style, treatments are based on organic ingredients like herbs, citrus and berries. Guests can relax in the tranquil atmosphere of the Thermal Suite, complete with contemporary pool area, sauna, snow grotto and relaxing heated beds, and there’s also a well-equipped gym, salon and shop selling beautiful organic products. As you’d expect, there’s a vast choice of massage treatments, with the option of mindful (gentle), detox or deep tissue massages, all using traditional Swedish massage techniques.
Signature treatment: The Nordic Bathing Ritual guides guests through a detoxifying and relaxing spa session, moving from the heat of the sauna to the ice-cold snow room and back. There’s invigorating body brushing with soaked birch twigs, a cold drench, a face scrub, mask and finally a relaxing massage.
0208 8780 8700; vikingcruises.co.uk
Inside the soothing sanctuary of Silversea’s blissful Zagara Beauty Spas you’ll find sweeping sea views, muted colour palettes and a huge choice of treatments to relax, revive and restore. Guests can opt for a high-tech Elemis facial using state-of-the-art Biotec machines to combat age spots, wrinkles, pigmentation and more, or a range of deeply relaxing and indulgent herbal body treatments and even traditional Chinese medicine.
Signature treatment: Silversea’s Marketing Director Erin Johnson recommends the Nourishing Coconut Poultice Massage: a body treatment using deliciously scented, warm coconut compresses to relax the body while nourishing and moisturising the skin. The treatment includes traditional massage techniques created to de-stress the muscles and calm the mind, leaving you feeling refreshed and your skin glowing.
0207 340 0700; silversea.com
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship Norwegian Bliss offers guests a touch of luxury in the sophisticated (and generously sized) Mandara Spa. Take a journey of relaxation in the elegant Thermal Suite, with a range of whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas and tropical showers, and don’t miss the dramatic, softly lit salt room, designed to mimic the salt caves of Europe, where the fresh ocean-scented air is known to strengthen the immune system and improve breathing and relaxation. Therapy options include an impressive menu of massage and facial treatments using high-end products like Elemis and La Therapie and includes a decent choice of facials and body treatments for men.
Signature treatment: The intensely cleansing salt scrub harnesses the power of halotherapy (salt therapy) in this invigorating body polishing treatment, releasing toxins and revitalising the whole body. Choose from the heavenly scented Frangipani Monoi Salt Scrub or zingy Lime and Ginger Salt Glow, then relax on one of the heated loungers with a view of the ocean.
0333 336 1472; ncl.com
The gorgeous Lotus Spa on board Princess Cruises ships offers an impressive array of more than 50 different health and beauty treatments including detoxifying ocean wraps and aroma stone therapy massages, as well as the Retreat pool, sauna and steam room. Guests on board Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess can relax in The Enclave: a luxurious thermal suite complete with hydro-therapy pool with a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets. Relax on heated stone beds or soothing water beds, and enjoy steam treatments infused with herbal aromas in The Hammam. Princess Cruises also offer an exclusive adults-only area, The Sanctuary, where your ‘Serenity Stewards’ look after your every whim, and spa services are available just a few steps away in your very own private open-air cabana.
Signature treatment: We recommend the decadent chocolate body indulgence: harnessing the antioxidant properties of chocolate, beginning with a gentle chocolate polish before the application of a chocolate mousse body mask, and ending with the ultimate in relaxation – a full body massage with chocolate massage oil, leaving you completely relaxed and smelling delicious.
0800 640 5598; princess.com
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