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Cruise Ship Spas

Ahhhhh... "Hot Rocks" & "Cool Gel"

by Linda Coffman

Mandara Spa on board Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow

Enter the sanctuary of the Mandara Spa  on board Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow

Hmmm... "Hot Rocks"? Is that a Stone Age ritual practiced by the Flintstones? "Cool Gel"? Possibly a fab new jazz combo? No and no. And not even close. Those are two of my favorite spa rituals.

Before my last cruise I was advised by a friend, "You must try a Hot Lava Rock Massage."

Rocks? Lava rocks?!? HOT lava rocks? Like the ones in the outdoor grill at home? I was a bit skeptical, envisioning being roasted like a chicken and pummeled with something hard and rough. However, I dutifully made an appointment and was delighted with the outcome. What incredible sensations! Covered in cocoa butter, I was massaged and stroked with smooth, steamed lava rocks. I felt like I was floatingenveloped by a wonderful feeling of warmth and well being. It was just the reaction my therapist expected from the freshly scrubbed hot stones, which are placed in the moonlight each night to renew their healing properties. That may sound like a charming myth, but I'm a believer. I left the Mandara Spa on board Silver Shadow in a state of total relaxation, total harmony, and complete bliss. All my cares, plus the aches and pains of air travel, melted behind me.

Unwind & Relax

With all the usual pampering and service in luxurious surroundings, simply being on a cruise can be a stress-reducing experience. Add to that the menu of spa and salon services at your fingertips and you have a recipe for total sensory pleasure.

Hair style by Steiner Salon

Steiner creates a unique "look" for the Cruise Diva

Some spa offerings sound good enough to eat. A Milk and Honey Hydrotherapy Bath and a Javanese Honey Steam Wrap incorporating cinnamon, ginger, coffee, sea salt and honey are just two items on the Mandara Spa menu and The Greenhouse Spa offers a Coconut Rub & Milk Ritual Wrap or Float. Not quite as exotic sounding, other treatments and services are nonetheless therapeutic for the body and soul. Steiner Leisure operates sea-going spas and salons (including Mandara and The Greenhouse spas) on over 100 cruise ships worldwide.

In addition to facials, manicures, pedicures, massages and sensual body treatments, the trademarks of Steiner Leisure are salon services and products for hair and skin. Founded in 1901 by Henry Steiner of London, the single salon prospered when his son joined the business in 1926 and was granted a Royal Warrant as hairdresser to Her Majesty Queen Mary in 1937. A glittering list of royal clients followed and in 1956 Steiner won its first cruise ship contract to operate the salon on board the Andes and ships of the Cunard Line. By the mid-1990's, Steiner Leisure began taking an active role in creating shipboard spas offering a wide variety of wellness therapies and beauty programs for women and men.

Spa Tips

  • Salon appointments for formal nights fill up quickly; book yours as soon as possible
  • Arrive on time or a few minutes early for appointments
  • Prior to your appointment, shower off any sunscreen lotions or oils
  • Towels, robes, and slippers are usually provided for your use, but you may wish to wear your own pool or shower "flip-flops"
  • Attend the "spa orientation"—you may win a door prize or be selected for a demonstration (such as a mini-facial)
  • Watch for "port day specials"—packages of discounted spa services
  • Don't feel pressured to purchase any of the products used during your treatment—just say no
  • Check your charge slip before adding gratuities; some shipboard spas automatically add them in (however, you may adjust the amount)

Other Facilities

While spa and salon services are extras that come with a price tag, you can still indulge yourself in the complimentary or low-cost facilities that are available on most ships. Saunas, steam rooms, therapy pools, and thermal chambers are relaxing alternatives to expensive body wraps and massages.

And about that "cool gel" I mentioned above... it's Elemis Instant Refreshing Gela powerful combination of soothing extracts of Arnica, Birch and Witch Hazel, with cooling Camphor and Menthol. Simply rub it in where you hurt. In addition to relieving sore muscles, it does wonders for swollen ankles. When applied to the temples, it clears sinus congestion and eases headache pain. If I can afford only one product, Refreshing Gel is it!

Steiner Leisure Full service spas are established on over 100 cruise ships

Mandara Spas at Sea Featured on Silversea Cruises & Norwegian Cruise Line

Time to Spa Replenish your products to "spa" at home

Cruise Ship Fitness Centers — Will you be "buff" or "buffet" at the end of your cruise? Maintaining an exercise regimen at sea is no sweat.

Romance at Sea Enhance your cruise vacation with these hints from Cruise Diva

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