P&O Offers Free Spa Products in Cabins

March 14, 2008

P&O cruisers will find a surprise bonus when they enter their staterooms this summer. Starting July 2008, complimentary packs of European skincare treatments from West Sussex, England-based Temple Spa will be provided to all passengers in all cabins in the U.K. line's fleet.

In-cabin spa packs are the latest in a long list of onboard spa trends, which includes teeth whitening, spa cuisine and thalassotherapy pools. Spa cabins on Costa Cruises' newer ships, for example, feature spa-quality bathroom products -- but those products are also used and available for sale in the onboard spa facility, which is not the case here. While Temple Spa products will be available exclusively onboard P&O ships, it's important to note that P&O's actual spa facilities will remain under the operation of the Harding Brothers Spa Division of The OnboardSpa Company (Harding also operates shipboard spas for cruise lines including Ocean Village, Saga Holidays and Island Cruises.)

These packs are actually more similar in concept to the in-cabin amenity kits we've seen on, say, Carnival ships, stocked with Reach flossers, Crest toothpaste, etc. (read: product placement). However, these freebies are much nicer -- Temple Spa skincare sells in upscale stores and boutiques, such as Harrods, one of London's most famous department stores. Products range from massage oils and body lotions to face creams and candles, and are made with natural botanicals and essential oils. Temple Spa claims that its rejuvenating products are made with ingredients found in the Mediterranean.

The free Temple Spa packs are not just for women, either. Spa product packs will be unisex, and special kid-friendly "Spa Out" packs will also be available for the younger set (though according to Temple Spa's Web site, absolutely all of its products are anti-aging -- so your 12-year-old will no longer have to worry about pesky crow’s feet and frown lines). Considering a cabin upgrade? Suites will be outfitted with the largest supply of free spa stuff -- over £150 worth of full-size Temple Spa merchandise.

Although we're not inclined to complain about free stuff, we're wary of features designed to suck extra cash from cruisers' wallets. Such product placement gives us the impression that we're just one more purchase away from achieving total wellness -- once our starter pack of Temple Spa products runs out and we find ourselves at the counter in Harrods, that is.

--by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant