Cruise Ship Spas Are Changing: Less Push, More Luxe

Lisa enjoyed a manicure and pedicure on Princess Cruises Ruby Princess recently.  The service was performed well, the price was fair and the atmosphere of the spa area on the ship was pleasant.  Who could ask for more?  Interestingly, it was something spa personnel did not do that was a highlight of the spa experience, if not of the entire voyage.

“They never asked me to buy anything,” a puzzled Lisa told me afterwards.  Quite contrary to the norm when an otherwise lovely spa experience is ruined by a hard sell of products used during the treatment or ancillary products that would be nice to have.   I hate that and have all but sworn off cruise ship spas on most lines because of it.  I go, I look, I report about them from time to time but that’s about it.

Good job Princess Cruises.  I wonder if other lines are starting to take a look at how their outsourced spa operations are actually doing. Celebrity Cruises apparently is.

Choosing not to renew their arrangement with Steiner Leisure, long time spa operator for many cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises chose Canyon Ranch to take over. Since April, Canyon Ranch has been greeted with open arms on Celebrity ships.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at Sea facilities will be on board 10 state-of-the-art Celebrity ships, creating the largest and most comprehensive SpaClub at Sea offering, and debut exclusive SpaClub services and treatments.

The move looks to be a logical one for Celebrity Cruises, already offering “AquaClass” accommodations, which infuse the stateroom experience with additional spa-like elements as well as a host of other extras.

In the past, major ocean cruise lines had an exercise area and a spa, two separate entities.  In recent years, those separate areas have been moving closer together as cruise travelers look for healthy lifestyle alternatives.  This changing of the guard on spa operators at Celebrity is the perfect time to usher in new, exciting wellness features as opposed to just a changing of the guard.

We believe that cruise travelers give cruise lines a very wide berth when it comes to what they do with the spa.  Some travelers don’t care at all about it while others craft their travel around the spa as the single most important element of their vacation.   As long as they’re not  pushy about products, we’re good with whatever they want to do. It’s that knowing that no matter how luxuriously relaxing a treatment or procedure is at a cruise ship spa, the hard sell will end it that spoils what they do.

If Canyon Ranch sounds familiar, you might be a fan of Cunard Line.  Cunard was the first to feature Canyon Ranch in their spa on Queen Mary 2.  See more about that partnership in this video:


Flickr Photo  by Porto Bay Trade