Enjoy each and every moment of your cruise with the help of a luxurious cruise ship spa.

It’s common for holidaymakers to discover that the relaxation they seek is far from immediate. Minds set in thinking mode, natural wonders, exotic cultures and delicate arpeggios of taste often pass by with little recognition as problematic work clients, overbearing bosses, cantankerous children and financial, social and practical pressures whir inside heads with seemingly unstoppable force. It can often take a week or more of cruising before these mental wheels stop spinning, while for some they never really stop at all.

But if you really want to fast track your way to relaxation and get the best out of each and every holiday moment, cruise ship spas have the answer.

Even practitioners of modern psychology now tout the age-old Eastern philosophy that the mind-body link is inescapable: negative thoughts have negative physical manifestations and vice-versa. But sooth the body and the mind will soon follow, and many spas on cruise ships are incredibly adept at this.

Spa Types

There are two different approaches to cruise ship spas.

The traditional approach is to position a spa in the vicinity of a salon and fitness centre, at which passengers can enjoy a number of treatments and relax. While often of a high calibre, these spas are for those for whom the spa experience is simply one of the many things they will enjoy on their cruise.

‘Destination spas’, on the other hand, provide a completely immersive experience. Passengers sometimes have the option to stay in spa cabins positioned within the spa itself, while special spa restaurants provide healthy food to further enhance your wellbeing. Passengers opting for these packages also receive a number of spa benefits and wellbeing treats and could, should they so choose, never need to leave the spa for the duration of the voyage.


Cruise ship spas offer a plethora of treatments to get you out of your head, enjoying your body’s natural flow of energies and consequently appreciating every moment of your cruise. Ayurvedic rituals at Costa Cruise’s Samsara Spa, for example, employ ancient Indian massage and oil treatments that specifically target parts of the body to induce deep-relaxation, integrate brain functioning and increase awareness.

But different spas employ different techniques and it is worth seeking out the treatments with which you are most comfortable. Thai massage, with its focus on stretching-like movements that generate flexibility and wellbeing, is perhaps more your style. Or maybe a Swedish massage would be better. Spas also provide foot reflexology, facials, various body-scrubs and wraps, hot stone treatments, mudpacks, Reiki, acupuncture and more. And better still, jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas, multi-headed spa showers and relaxation zones are also available – there is literally a world of relaxation to discover.

Only the best

While most cruise lines have a spa on board, there are some that are truly exceptional.

Costa Cruises’ Samsara Spa

Costa Cruises was the first to introduce the completely immersive ‘destination spa’ experience. Passengers opting for this package receive all the aforementioned perks of a ‘destination spa’ experience with a welcome ritual including two treatments, two fitness classes and a personal consultation. They also get three meals a day in Ristorante Samsara and unlimited access to the thalassotherapy pool (a spa bath enriched with Dead Sea salts).

The spa and spa cabins feature Asian-inspired design elements (rice paper walls, bonsais etc.) and the variety of treatments, including the Ayurvedic therapies mentioned above, are provided with a level of professionalism and charm that immediately puts you at ease.

Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa

The Aqua Spa, found on all of Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ships, also provides the ‘destination spa’ experience. The AquaSpa Café and speciality restaurant, Blu, provide culinary health-giving goodness and spa cabins are filled with numerous spa facilities and amenities – multi-headed spa showers to name but one.

Detox wraps and body therapies are provided in the spa along with more cosmetic treatments, like facial therapies to reduce wrinkles, tooth whitening, brow sculpting and eyelash enhancements. But it is the professionally delivered acupuncture, aroma stone therapy, bamboo massage, Thai and Swedish massages, available to all passengers, that really makes these spas shine.

Cunard’s Canyon Ranch SpaClub

Affiliated with the world-renowned Canyon Ranch, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 has some of the best health and wellbeing therapists in the world, and their treatments seemingly cover the whole spectrum of mind-body calming techniques. Visitors can experience body treatments (like the Blue Algae Body Glo), five types of acupuncture (including laser acupuncture), Thai massage, Shiatsu, Ashiatsu, reflexology, Thai reflexology, Ayurvedic massage, aromatherapy… and that’s only half of it!

The Aqua Therapy Centre is also particularly impressive, featuring a deluge waterfall, air tub and body massage jet benches, neck fountains, a Thermal Suite with herbal and Finnish saunas and a thalassotherapy pool.

The SpaClub also provides numerous salon and fitness services, like yoga and tai chi classes, and ‘healthy living experts’ help with lifestyle changes.

Worth Considering

Royal Caribbean’s Vitality@Sea, Seabourn‘s The Spa at Seabourn, Crystal Cruises‘ Crystal Spa and Salon, and Norwegian Pearl’s South Pacific Spa also have a lot to offer.

So do yourself a favour: choose a cruise on a ship with a quality spa and take the direct path to holiday relaxation.