Wellness on the Waves
Cruises that feed mind, body and soul are plentiful
Special to 318 Forum
Wellness travel is a hot topic these days. What is it? The Wellness Tourism Association says it’s travel allowing one to maintain, enhance or kickstart a healthy lifestyle while supporting or increasing one’s sense of wellbeing. The definition encompasses any type of tourism where wellness is the primary purpose of a trip. But the cruise industry is taking wellness travel to a whole new level.
While many wellness options focus on staying fit and keeping the calories down, cruise ships of all shapes and sizes offer a variety of activities to benefit mind, body and soul. What may be surprising, though, is just how creative some lines are getting when it comes to wellness onboard.
Kick Start an Active Lifestyle
To be sure, there are no shortage of onboard fitness and spa programs. You’ll find them on every ocean cruise line from Carnival to Oceania and every river cruise line from Viking to Scenic.
Royal Caribbean’s VitalitySM Fitness Center© boasts a menu of popular training classes including yoga, Pilates, spinning, sculpting and more. Trained instructors make it easy for anyone to start a new fitness routine or keep a current routine on track while having a great time.
River cruise lines Scenic, Avalon and Emerald Waterways, all offer active excursions ranging from hikes to noteworthy landmarks, to bicycle tours spanning two ports of call. Most wouldn’t consider cycling between Durnstein and Melk, Austria, on their own. But accompanied by a guide – and knowing the ship won’t leave without you – these active cycling and hiking experiences are quite popular.
And nothing has taken off like expedition cruises. By definition they are active and destination-rich. From hiking and history lessons in Arctic Svalbard to local explorations in the South Pacific and beyond, expedition cruises are intrinsically wellness-based.
Stay Curious and Be Mindful
Curiosity and mindfulness have long been considered important wellness activities. And expedition and river ships lead the way here, offering everything from onboard guest speakers to enrichment classes. Themed cruises abound, from ones celebrating history, classical music, wine appreciation and other interests. On the big-ship front, Cunard Line offers some of the most engaging speakers afloat. You might hear from a famous author, former politician, historian or an authority in entertainment, music or art.
And there is a distinct focus on mindfulness onboard cruise ships. On a Scenic river cruise, you’ll not only find instructorled yoga, you’ll discover a three-station Salt Lounge, handcrafted from salt bricks. The humidity and temperaturecontrolled salt lounge replicates a microclimate similar to a natural salt mine, a unique experience offering a non-invasive way to relax and re-energize.
Eat Well and Sustainably
River ships have long featured cuisine as a way to be more mindful of places and cultures. Nearly every line offers authentic culinary experiences in almost every major European city. Some offer special “home-hosted visits” pairing a handful of travellers with a local resident, for snacks, drinks and conversation about local life.
On the ocean, Silversea Cruises is introducing a new Sea and Land Taste program, offering authentic cuisines and experiences, onboard and ashore. These expertly curated experiences might take you to a local hole-inthe-wall for breakfast or to a premium restaurant that is making inroads in enriching the traditional culture and making it accessible for generations to come.
Oceania Cruises has introduced an entirely new plant-based menu, something that will please cruisers looking to watch their weight and eat healthy.
The many wellness options available aboard ships big and small add extra value for those looking to make the most of their vacation and still remain healthy in mind, body and soul.
Wellness tours and cruises are available through Expedia ® CruiseShipCenters ® in Broadmoor at 5725 Youree Drive in Shreveport.