It must be hard for cruise lines to outdo each other with their spa offerings, when the majority of ship spas are operated by just one company, Steiner Leisure. Case in point: Two recent announcements about the expanded spa offerings on Celebrity and Princess‘ next new ships sounded eerily similar.
You wouldn’t think a Turkish Hammam, body scrub bar, aromatic steam room and sensory showers are common ship amenities, but both Celebrity Reflection (debuting October 2012) and Royal Princess (June 2013) will be rocking them in their onboard spas. They’re part of expanded thermal suites, where cruise passengers can sweat out all those toxins they picked up at the buffet … for a nominal fee of course.
So is anything setting these two spas apart? Let’s take a look.
Cold Room: Celebrity Reflection’s AquaSpa will sport a Cold Room, where the line says passengers can “chill out” (groan) in a room with seats, walls and floor cooled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit. The low temps are intended to “tighten pores that were opened and cleansed previously in the infrared sauna and aromatic steam room,” says a release from Celebrity. Personally, we think Princess was wise to take a pass on this one. If we wanted to pay money to freeze our booties, we’d take an Alaska cruise in September.
Hydro-therapy Pool: The centerpiece of Royal Princess’ Lotus Spa will be a hydro-therapy pool with a rain shower and “therapeutic air jets.” Soaking in a tub sounds much more pleasant than chillaxing (groan again) in a Cold Room, but we’re not sure we entirely get the concept. How exactly do air jets rejuvenate us after a hard night of eating and drinking and dancing onboard (are these like the bubble-makers in hot tubs)? And who is brave enough to luxuriate in a shower under the gaze of other spa-goers? Perhaps Celebrity made the right choice in sticking with more private sensory showers. They are private, right?
We won’t get into why Princess chose Roman names for their thermal suite rooms (Caldarium and Laconium are likely part of Harry Potter charms) or what exactly happens during Couples Night at Celebrity’s spa, when multiple couples are welcomed to the Persian Garden for what the line is calling an “intimate evening” (whatever happens at the AquaSpa, stays at the AquaSpa). However, having sat at this computer all day long, we can say that a good shvitz in anyone’s thermal suite sounds pretty good right now — whether it’s one of a kind or not.
Who’s got the best spa in the biz? Here are our editors’ picks.
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