8 Cruise Ship Lines Where Wellness is the Wave of the Future

Written by Jane Wilson
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Cruising is no longer your grandparents’ pastime and the perception of a vacation at sea is changing course, with great food and top-notch amenities on board. But it’s wellness travel on the high seas that’s really making new waves in the travel industry, pushing beyond just basic spa treatments. In fact, that ship has sailed and major cruise brands are leading the way when it comes to healing and connections with destinations and ourselves.

From partnerships with Deepak Chopra, a highly respected alternative medicine advocate and Dr Andrew Weil, a visionary pioneer in integrative medicine, the traditional boundaries of wellness have expanded. All this on the swell of the Global Wellness Tourism Market valued at $814.6 billion last year and expected to reach $1,592.6 billion by 2030, and the Global Cruise Market valued at $7.67 billion in 2022 and expected to grow 11.5 percent until 2030.

Our writer, The Wellness Traveller, shines the spotlight on eight cruise lines navigating wellness expeditions and experiences on the high seas. Welcome aboard!

 

Cruise wellness

Explore and Restore programmes aboard Swan Hellenic cruises include Deepak Chopra-certified yoga and meditation instructors

 

 

1. Swan Hellenic Partners with Dr Deepak Chopra 

Together with Dr Deepak Chopra, Swan Hellenic have crafted a series of cultural expedition cruises with a well-being twist. Inspired by the healing properties of the sea, Chopra and Swan Hellenic have united to create a series of ‘Explore & Restore’ well-being voyages, designed to foster self-discovery and cultural immersion. Swan Hellenic, the pioneer of cultural expedition cruising, attracts adventurous minds across the generations seeking in-depth exploration of the Arctic, Antarctic and the Rest of the World. There are 6 cultural expedition journeys in 2024, featuring five to nine days of cruise and wellness.

All Swan Hellenic ships have a Chopra-certified meditation and yoga teacher offering private and group sessions daily. According to Chopra, “Healing programmes like ‘Explore & Restore’, offer a unique opportunity for individuals to nourish their well-being while forging a meaningful connection with the universe. These spirit-awakening experiences play a pivotal role in propelling us towards a more just, sustainable, peaceful, healthy, and joyful world”.

During this transformative journey, according to Swan Hellenic’s CEO, Andrea Sito, wellness and exploration seamlessly merge, igniting a unique path that invites travellers to embark on a voyage where self-care and discovery coexist. “This collaboration mirrors our commitment to delivering authentic luxury and intimate, remote experiences with well-being at the forefront”.

Exceeding the traditional boundaries of wellness tourism, ‘Explore & Restore’ pairs inward journeys with outward experiences and include Ayurvedic culinary offerings, daily meditation, yoga and breath work classes, and expert-led workshops designed to unveil the passengers’ authentic selves and their path to purpose – all while discovering captivating destinations.

 

Cruise Ship Wellness

Upgrade your well-being game aboard the modern Regent Seven Seas Grandeur (photo by James Arnold)

2.Regent Seven Seas Cruises Brings Ground-Breaking Treatments onboard 

The Seven Seas Grandeur embarks on enhanced luxury at sea with the transformed Serene Spa & Wellness offering an indulgent and revamped treatment menu. Ground-breaking treatments harness the power of a pioneering amber and quartz crystal bed. Guests seeking complete rejuvenation can book a Hot Mineral Body Boost.

The Poultice-Powered Muscle Release works away sore, aching muscles with an invigorating treatment that targets tension areas with vibrational energy.  The Zero Gravity Wellness Massage is the next generation of innovative wellness. It produces a zero-gravity effect as the body is suspended on an advanced treatment table that allows for ergonomic workflows and a seamless series of sophisticated techniques.

The Seven Seas Grandeur takes modern luxury cruising to new aesthetic heights with a multi-sensory experience that helps guests relax. Treatment rooms are rich and inviting, while the relaxation room offers a sense of privacy and enchantment, as though guests are inside a topiary maze. Outside, three whirlpools and a lounge area provide contemplative and calming views of the fresh sea air.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Sun-Splashed Shores voyage continue the wellness broad theme ashore with visits to an authentic Mayan village to stroll through a canopied jungle path through an area full of medicinal plants and herbs followed by a Mayan shaman preparing traditional medicines and explaining their uses. From exploring the crystal clear waters of Costa Maya, Mexico and witnessing the natural beauty of the scenic Mexican coastline to interacting with dolphins in Roatan, Honduras, guests having a front-row seat to the beauty of untamed nature.

 

Cruise Ship Wellness

The Spa at Seabourn offers traditional treatments along with a first-of-its-kind programme in partnership with integrative medicine pioneer Dr Andrew Weil 

3.Seabourn Teams With Dr Andrew Weil 

Seabourn Cruises has partnered with Dr Andrew Weil, a visionary pioneer in integrative medicine, whose ground-breaking research and bestselling books combine physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. Seabourn’s ‘Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil is the first programme of its kind at sea, led by a Mindful Living Coach (a certified yoga and meditation practitioner) who can inspire and educate guests through complimentary classes, and ‘Mind and Body’ seminars designed to empower guests with ideas and practices that enhance wellbeing and the connection between mind, body, environment and wellness. Yoga classes focus on physical issues such as back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment.

The Spa at Seabourn offers a wide spectrum of massages, facials and beauty treatments, blending traditional practices from around the world with the most up-to-date techniques. An ocean-view gym features state-of-the art equipment (where fitness directors may create guests’ ideal regime), a Motion Studio offers complimentary yoga, tai chi and meditation, Crystal Sound Bath, TRX and Stretch classes, while a full-service multi-sex salon complements the spa offerings.

All ships feature intimate deck spaces, featuring pools and jacuzzis, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation also feature a handsome ‘Retreat’ area on deck, complete with bespoke Spa Cabanas, available by reservation.  The Retreat is located around a whirlpool where up to 28 guests can relax on loungers, (as well as enjoying complimentary premium champagne). Spa Penthouse Suites offer complimentary access to the Serene Area, in-suite spa amenities and concierge, and feature a spa shower, second fridge filled with juices and healthy snacks, L’Occitane fragrance diffusion and speciality spa products.

 

 4.Princess Cruises’ New Double-Decker Spa

The Lotus Spa® on Sun Princess® is the first spa of its fleet to stand two storeys tall!  Also new are a salt room and an aromatic steam room, as well reimagined favourites such as the Enclave and hydro-pool, while the wide range of treatments on board have increased.

This next generation cruise ship  also boasts The Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat and exclusive outdoor spa-inspired area with double loungers. Sip on a signature beverage, soak up relaxation, or work out the knots with an al fresco massage.

Wellness cruise

Soak away worries in the two-storey Lotus Spa® on Sun Princess® 

5.Viking Cruises Adopt Nordic Wellness Traditions

Wellness takes a Scandi twist, blending with long-proven Nordic health traditions on Viking Cruises. Encompassing the lifestyle and design of the region, the LivNordic Spa and Fitness Centre reinvents the traditional spa experience by infusing its amenities, aesthetic design and treatments with the Scandinavian heritage. The LivNordic Spa menu offers highly customisable treatments including the Swedish Mindful Massage, the Swedish Deep Tissue Massages, the Nordic Organic Facial and advanced non-invasive facelift Hydrafacial.

In keeping with Viking’s heritage, the Nordic Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind with a thermal suite that features a Sauna and Snow Grotto, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. An onboard badestamp, a traditional wooden-sided hot tub, is perfect for relaxing after a day of exploration. The Nordic Bathing Ritual is a group evening event on board which involves a spa therapist leading a short meditation followed by body brushing, steam room, snow grotto using lavender scented snowballs, birch branching for detox and finishing with massage. Connectivity to nature, a healthy lifestyle, beauty, and sound mindfulness are characteristics of the Nordic people. The LivNordic Spa pursues holistic wellbeing by drawing on the rich resource that Nordic culture–traditional and contemporary.

Scandinavian wellness continues in the destinations too. Unwind in the hot waters of Lake Urridavatn during a rejuvenating visit to the Vök Baths Centuries ago, the residents who lived around the lake discovered that certain spots—known as vöks, or ice-free holes—refused to ice over during the Arctic winters due to underground geothermal activity. The soothing waters of Mývatn Nature Baths contain a blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal microorganisms that are beneficial to skin and spirit alike. Here guests can take a dip amid clouds of steam in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 8,200 feet, experience a steam bath with natural geothermal steam rising through vents in the floor, or simply relax in the alkaline bathing lagoon.

There’s also a visit to Forest Lagoon Geothermal Spa, wellness nature walks and mountain hikes off the beaten track.

Cruise Ship Wellness

Aquamar Spa & Vitality Center encourages a lifestyle of health and longevity aboard Oceana Cruises (Photo by Nick Tortajada)

6.Oceania Cruises –Bio-tech Treatments and Chinese Medicine

An holistic approach to well-being is at the very heart of the new Aquamar Spa +Vitality Center on board Oceania Cruises, which offers a wide array of programs, services and experiences designed to enhance health on board.

From complimentary fitness classes and plant-based menus on board to excursions in worldwide destinations that reveal timeless wellness practices, Aquamar encourages a lifestyle of health and longevity. The Center offers acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, ancient practices that support wellness and longevity as well as Biotec facial treatments and comprehensive muscle and fat diagnosis available to help determine how to achieve your wellness goals during and after your voyage.

With 11 treatment rooms on Vista, the signature treatment is the Ocean Spa Wave Massage, which involves a therapeutic warm wrap of nutrient-rich plants and marine algae that envelopes the body, helping to release stresses and tension while nestled on a heated water-filled cushion. The deep-cleansing seaweed mask combined with potent aromatherapy essential oils decongests and stimulates the body’s system as a scalp and foot massage soothes and relaxes.

The experience is customized with a choice of colour therapy that illuminates the water cushions for optimum results. The Spa Vitality area offers two large hot tubs, a thalassotherapy pool & heated lounge beds while the  fitness center has the highest quality of Technogym equipment.

 

Cruise Ship Wellness

Sailing is the ultimate Slow Travel experience and Star Clippers has been at it for more than 30 years

7.Star Clippers Heralds Slow Travel

Sail by the wind with nostalgia at the helm. With yoga on board and the timeless setting, slow travel is the essence of travel under the sails. Over the last couple of years, Star Clippers has offered guests free daily yoga and meditation on selected Yoga-themed sailings.

With spectacular settings as a background, yoga classes take place on Star Clippers’ ships’ teak decks under thousands of square feet of billowing sails, providing the ultimate relaxation for body and soul, enhanced by the fresh sea air.

Qualified yoga teachers guide daily sessions of Astanga yoga, also known as power yoga, in the cool morning air, with a second session just before sunset, including meditation. Lectures on the philosophy of yoga and advice for practice at home are also included.

 

8.Learn the Ropes and Feel Freedom with Venture Sail

We spend most of our life on land yet the Earth is two-thirds water. Venture Sail offers the opportunity to cast off, take the plunge and discover the life-changing freedom of a holiday under sail.

This Cornish company offers over 400 adventures to an array of destinations on unusual boats, run by passionate crews. This is hands on, new experiences and relaxing activities on deck. Its new catamaran, Agave offers a sailing wellness holiday exploring the Maddalena archipelago off the coast of Sardinia.

The voyages are focused on well-being with a professional wellness guide onboard. Guests are able to take part in beach yoga, meditation, breath work (fundamental to those wild swimming), swimming and snorkelling, and freshly prepared organic meals prepared by a nutritionist.

 

***

BeSeeingYou In: On the ocean waves  

Good To Know: Book your onboard treatments as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. They’re popular!

WOW! Factor: New ships, new facilities, new designs, new partnerships on the high seas—-WOW!

Tip: Cruise itineraries are busy so reserve time for your own wellness voyage.

 

 

 

Author Bio: The Wellness Traveller specialises in researched and curated wellness travel around the world. Read more wellness stories at BeSeeingYou

 

Jane Wilson

Jane is a travel journalist who specialises in wellness travel, an area which has moved beyond the spa and yoga mat and is firmly on-trend. Think slow travel, rituals, retreats, indigenous therapies and destination medi-spas for the ultimate make-over for mind, body & soul. Whatever the reason, Jane considers travel as an investment in health and wellbeing.

As a regular contributor to BeSeeingYou, you will always discover that healthy twist laced into her articles. Jane writes for a range of UK magazines as well her own online media The Wellness Traveller.co.uk

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