What price pampering

By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva

A hundred years ago. Well maybe 20 I got regular massages on cruise ships for $8 to $25.  Not any more.

The price for pampering has sky rocketed.  We’re talking $300 and up a rub or facial in some cases.

While I have no real basis for this I suspect the fees have risen as a result of all those onboard spending credits being doled out.

Are on board spending credits inflating treatment prices

After all when a cruise line gives you spending money it’s designed to be used for purchases on the ship.  Since you can’t take it with you so you might as well spend it on spa treatments (or booze, wine, tours etc.). But we’re talking spas here.

I highly recommend spending quality time at the ship’s spa. It can really help ramp up your vacation and reduce any stress you brought on board.

I love getting massages on sea days while the ship’s movement increases the bliss of talented hands manipulating my aches and pains. However, you will find special discounts offered on port days. So if you are not going ashore you might want to book accordingly. You can book on line, too, once you have your confirmation number.

Pampering at sea feels so good

 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 spas is the Canyon Ranch found on Regent Seven Seas fleet of luxury ships.  Prices are steep but worth the splurge or use of your on board credit.

Endless options

You could virtually spend hours at the spa. Treatment choices are nearly endless. From facials that make you glow. Foot treatments that let you wear sandals confidently. Scrubs that make your body look better in a bikini. Massages that reduce aches, pains and stress. And there’s even Botox and other medical services on some ships.

Here’s a a sample services menu from  Regent Seven Seas (prices could change)

Aromatherapy massage runs  $175 for 50 minutes and $245  for 80 minutes. I love them. What they bill as an ‘awakening massage costs $175 for 50 minutes. The Canyon Ranch rub is $170 for 50 minutes and $235 for 80.

For the face

There’s a nice skincare menu with names such as Seaweed Sugar Glow, Age-defying Restorative facial and more than run around $170. A comprehensive 80 minute facial costs $310. Here’s another I love, the Ageless Oxygen Boost Facial. It’s 50 minutes of bliss for $245 and leaves you skin looking youthful.

More of my favorite spas

Another  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 keeps  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.

Other top spas

I’ve also enjoyed exceptional spa services on Crystal Cruises Serenity and Symphony. I had some of the best facials and massages on those ships. Princess Cruises spa treatments are also top-notch. I still dream about a few deep tissue massages I had on Grand Princess.

Steep prices

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 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 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 therapist (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.

Are spa treatments worth it

You bet they are. If you’ve got the spending money or a big budget go for it. Having salubrious treatments on a cruise just enhances the relaxation.




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