Here's a tip: Amp up your cruise vacation with a splurge at the spa on board (almost all midsize and large ships have them). While treatment prices have soared on ships — where most of the facilities are operated by one company called Steiner — many cruise lines and travel companies like Cruiseable offer onboard spending credits, so why not use it to pamper yourself?
During any cruise I usually get at least one facial, one or two massages and, of course, a mani/pedi. If you’re a guy reading this, men do spas, too. My first mate Richard gets at least one facial and a rub on board at my insistence, but he’s always grateful afterward.
One of my favorite spots for a spa is on Seabourn Sojourn. On a recent Sojourn sailing, my spa experience went like this: “I knew I wanted to be in this business since I was 12 years old,“ Jodie Lasker, manager of the Spa at Seabourn, told me. The soft-spoken native of Melbourne, Australia, has worked in other shipboard spas such as the Lotus on Princess Cruises and the spa on Oceania's Insignia. Nearly every spa afloat is operated by the omnipresent Steiner of Miami, and the company moves its personnel between the various ships.
“I hope to stay on the Sojourn because I really love it,” Jodie said. Spa business has been brisk on this voyage — not a surprise since there’s been little to see for six days except the wide expanse of the North Atlantic. It will be another three days before the first port stop in Funchal, Madeira. It’s kept Jodie and her staff busy. But she still had time to take me on a tour of what Seabourn claims is the largest spa on any small luxury liner.
The stunning facility features men’s and women’s locker rooms with saunas, showers, robes, slippers and Elemis toiletries, available to all passengers. However, an upstairs Thermal Suite Lounge is restricted to guests who book treatments or pay a $300 fee per couple to reserve it. Those who feel it’s worth the charge get to sit in the coed steam, detox in a heated “cleansing chamber,” wade around in the Kneipp therapy pool and relax in cushy chaises.
Back down a spiral staircase sits the stylish salon, which specializes in hair and nails, complete with well-designed rooms for treatments such as facials, massages, wraps and assorted indulgences.
Pricing varies widely, but a shipboard credit helps
The cost is somewhat pricey for today’s spas at sea, though prices vary widely, depending on the cruise line. Facials run as high as $325 for what’s described as a 75-minute “Seabourn 24 Karat Gold.” Less expensive options range from $129 for a 50-minute “Elemis Urban Cleanse for Men Facial,” to $149 for a 50-minute “SkinCeuticals Regenerating Facial.”
Massages run the gamut from $132 for 50 minutes of Swedish movements to $213 for Thai style or Aromatherapy. A “Bamboo Elemis” rub proved divine for 50 blissful minutes, with a price tag of $169. For a full menu of services, go to www.seabourn.com and look for “spa.”
The gorgeous salon, equipped with sexy, stylized equipment, doles out every grooming option for hair, body (waxing) and nails. Women who can’t survive without a good Shellac nail polish will be pleased to know it’s available as the “No Chip 14 Day manicure” for $49, a real deal, especially when applied by Lene Herselman.
The young South African woman goes above and beyond adding touches like a hand massage with Elemis Frangipani and lavender oils, along with some acrylic doctoring of broken nails, at no extra charge.
The Spa at Seabourn epitomizes quality time for self-indulgence, especially when one finds themselves with all the extra time of long, leisurely, laid-back days on this blissfully relaxing Seabourn voyage.
Every ship in Seabourn’s fleet — Sojourn, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Quest and the upcoming Seabourn Encore — has a spa operated by Steiner with estheticians who have contracts for certain amounts of time. So don't get too attached to a particular esthetician (the odds are long that you'll spot her again), but do indulge in a spa treatment if you'd like to get refreshed and rejuvenated during your cruise vacation.
In our series Wellness & Fitness
- 7 ways to keep fit on your next cruise
- 10 cruise lines for fitness buffs
- Cruise tips for slimmer sailings
- Top spas at luxury cruise lines
- Lotus Spa: Try a massage with bamboo, hot stones — or chocolate
- 12 reasons a cruise is a healthy vacation choice
- Seabourn amps up its wellness & fitness offerings
- Getting sick on a cruise ship