When Marella Cruises announced its partnership with upmarket land-based spa Champneys, it became the first cruise line to feature the brand on one of its ships.
The link-up, which debuted on Marella Explorer in 2018 and followed on sister ship Marella Explorer 2 in 2019, allows cruise passengers to enjoy some of the same luxurious treatments and amenities found at Champneys' locations ashore.
But nothing, short of seeing the spa firsthand, can convey the sheer magnitude of the space and what it offers to passengers.
The onboard spa on the Explorer ships was retrofitted to better reflect the Champneys experience, featuring a full treatment menu of facials, acupuncture, massages and other body treatments, such as wraps; as well as hair and nail services for men and women and a fitness centre with a variety of cardio machines, weights and personalised classes.
In terms of size, the Champneys Spas are the largest in the fleet, boasting 13 treatment rooms, including two for couples. The latter feature ensuite saunas, hot tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and even a balcony overlooking the bridge.
The Thermal Suites are up there with the best at sea. On Explorer there's a central shower area with different types of showers (rain showers etc.), two steam rooms -- one dark, one salt, a herbal sauna, two hammam rooms, a rasul room, a dunk bucket room with ice and a relaxation room bathed in blue light, as well as plenty of warm tiled seating, including basins for foot bathing.
Right across the corridor is the piece de resistance -- a vast sauna with floor to ceiling windows. Next door are an open-air Persian garden relaxation room (a Champneys addition) with swinging basket chairs and another relaxation room, with loungers, waters and teas.
The centrepiece in Explorer 2's Thermal Suite is the gorgeous ocean-view infinity pool with sunken built-in loungers and a Jacuzzi feature. There are also two relaxation rooms, with one dimly lit with waterbeds, while the other has ocean views.
Marella is also one of only a few lines to offer at-sea athletic taping, cupping and food intolerance testing. Explorer 2 also offers teeth whitening, with a 25-minute session for £89 and a 45-minute session for £139.
On Explorer, the spa also has a small outpost in Deck 7's shopping area, offering express treatments. These abridged versions of standard services -- such as a 15-minute nail file and polish for £10 or a 30-minute eyelash extension session for £39 -- cost less and take less time to complete.
Most of the 55-minute treatments on Explorer start at £75 and will include a lava shell massage and a Thai massage. The signature £99 Marella massage comes in at 80 minutes. The couples rooms cost £389 for the day (which includes four treatments) or £249 for a half day. In addition to listings from the menu below, passengers can opt to spend time in the spa's thermal and relaxation area.
On Explorer 2, most of the 50-minute treatments start at £80, including Champneys and Clarins facials and body treatments.
On both ships, the one-time use cost is £10 per person following a treatment or £15 without one. Cruise-long passes are available for £77 per person; they're good for the entire week.
Editor's Note: This spa menu is a sample take from Marella Explorer. Offerings and prices are subject to change at any time.
Champneys can be found on Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2.
Updated October 10, 2019