Cruise lines are making waves with their fitness facilities, spas and wellness programs that rival land-based resorts.
Agents who haven’t kept tabs on the latest onboard amenities may be missing a lucrative boat. Here’s a look at what’s new.
Working out onboard
Various lines have traditionally claimed bragging rights to the largest or most elaborate workout space at sea.
But the stakes are markedly higher now. Cruise lines are forming partnerships with high-profile land-based fitness companies.
That means guests can not only maintain their exercise routines on board, they can try out the latest fitness trends sweeping the country.
Prime examples include the FlyWheel Studios on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ newest ships. The line has recreated the popular New York City-based indoor cycling studios on the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.
The FlyWheel experience provides a frenetic 45-minute workout on tailor-made bikes arranged stadium-style. A certified “choreographer” conducts the class while an in-house DJ provides the motivational soundtrack.
FlyWheel bikes provide an upper-body workout and are designed to inspire competition. Participants can see their progress splashed across a big-screen display called a “Torqueboards.”
If guests are interested in more heart-pumping action, Norwegian Getaway also features Nexersys interactive fight training modules. They provide interval training against an avatar.
And the new “Norwegian Fight Klub” combines Nexersys training with a cardio boxing class utilizing heavy bags.
Fitness classes are a mainstay of cruising, primarily to ease guilty consciences about those midnight dessert buffets. But today’s classes at sea can keep even the most devoted fitness buff happy.
From Zumba to spinning, cruise lines haven’t missed a beat. And more often than not, they’re also introducing new fitness regimens guests can ask for at home.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises both offer body sculpting boot camp-type classes. Participants receive customized workout programs to follow back home.
The lines have also introduced TRX classes. Developed by the Navy Seals, the TRX program uses a proprietary suspension training bodyweight.
MSC Divina offers Aqua Cycling, the fitness craze that takes spinning to new heights—or depths. Classes take place in the ship’s infinity pool.
Pilates and yoga
Devotees of Pilates and yoga will find plenty of options on cruise ships today.
Norwegian Getaway features new low-impact “Pure-Form Pilates” that uses weighted balls. A group class, “Chi Ball Yoga,” combines yoga, tai chi and meditation that promote well-being for body and mind.
Crystal Serenity offers yoga reformer classes and yoga classes for men only. And guests on Disney Cruise Line can take part in sunrise yoga at Castaway Cay, the line’s private island. For extra fitness points, they can forego the line’s famous beach barbecue buffet in favor of a walk or bike ride around the 1,000-acre island.
The spa experience
Cruise line spas continue to evolve their product, with recent trends emphasizing health, wellness and healing.
The Enclave aboard Royal Princess, for example, features a hydro-therapy pool, cascading rain shower, therapeutic air jets and humidity zones.
A new hammam, or Turkish-style steam bath, offers a warm marble slab for therapeutic massages using clay, mud or salt. And the Roman-inspired Caldarium light steam chamber provides herbal-infused treatments.
Guests on the MSC Divina can enjoy Turkish baths and saunas in the Aurea Spa.
They can also experience halotherapy, or salt therapy on a new Himalayan salt crystal bed. Guests lie on heated salt crystals and breathe the salt-infused air said to alleviate anxiety and decongest the lungs, among other things.
The Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway also offer a salt room as well as treatments from the popular bliss spa.
Retreats at sea
Princess Cruises was an early adopter to the “cruise ship as wellness refuge” philosophy.
In 2006 it introduced The Sanctuary, a canopied outdoor area of rock gardens and topiary designed for quiet relaxation. Guests relax on lounge chairs or daybeds while Serenity Stewards offer healthy drinks and music players with peaceful music.
The concept has proven extremely successful. Royal Princess, the line’s newest ship, features a Sanctuary that is 20 % larger than the rest of the fleet and includes spa treatment cabanas.
Cruise lines traditionally do a good job catering to guests’ health or dietary restrictions at meal time. Now lines are taking wellness cuisine to a new level.
The MSC Divina introduced its “Five Colors of Well-Being” spa menu. Guests can choose spa treatments, nutritious drinks and healthy menu items from the Wellness Corner of the buffet based on five areas of wellness. They include: blue/violet for cleansing, green for relaxation, red for anti-aging, white for purity, and yellow/orange for beautiful skin.