Spa aficionado or newbie? Either way, the rules for cruise ship spas are a little different than those you’ll find when getting a massage or other treatment on land.
Check out our guide to cruise ship spas and the top things you should know before you go.
Yes, you can get a better price if you book a package of treatments during your cruise vacation. Cruise ships offer tours of the spa and fitness center on the first couple of days of your sailing. Head over to chat with the staff and ask for the price list and any specials that they will be running during your cruise. You can typically get a discount on a package of treatments that significantly brings down the overall price if you were to buy them separately.
Celebrity Cruises’ Canyon Ranch Spa, for example, often features its “10 20 30” promotion that discounts 10 percent off the first treatment, 20 percent off the second and 30 percent off the third.
Of course, these types of deals work best if you were planning for a spa splurge, like getting a massage, a facial and a body treatment. So, you can book them as a package deal and get a cheaper price.
Monitor Your Spending
The tip is included already when you get your bill to sign after your treatment. It’s generally about 18 percent added to your bill, and you’ll see the amount listed if you look carefully at the slip you are asked to sign by the therapist after your session.
I’m letting you know this because some cruisers (me) have been known to double tip, making for an awkward conversation at the spa services desk when you want to get the amount adjusted.
Also, be wary that the therapists are told to recommend products to you that you will “need” to keep you looking and feeling your best. If you know that you will not be interested in buying any ointments, lotions or creams, make that clear ahead of your treatment to save yourself from the hard sell at the end.
Thermal Suite Life
The spa and fitness areas usually have a thermal suite or at least a locker room with a steam room or sauna. The newest big cruise ships go all out with their thermal suites. These are huge spaces with hot tubs, heated ceramic loungers, salt therapy, steam rooms, snow rooms, saunas and thalassotherapy pools.
They charge a cruise-long or daily admission fee, and you have to book early to ensure that you can get time in the suite. Some ships also may include time in the suites if you are also in for a massage or other treatment.
Worth mentioning: Viking Ocean Cruises includes unlimited use of their amazing LivNordic Spa facility as part of your cruise fare.
Also, make sure to wander into the locker room available at the fitness center, even if you don’t plan to use the gym for a workout. You just might find that there is a steam room or sauna available for passenger use at no extra charge.
Not Just Massages
The spa offers much more than massages. The therapists offer hair and nail treatments, facials, wraps, teeth whitening and shaving and hair-styling services, too. You can even try medi-spa sessions such as the Ionithermie, Botox and cellulite-reduction treatments.
Snagging a Deal
The spas feature the best prices for their treatments when your cruise ship is in port. This is done as an enticement to get a little more business when passengers are more likely to be ashore on their excursions and tours. So, if you have been to a particular port a few times and would rather treat yourself to a spa day during your vacation, this would be the time to do it.
Be sure to book the treatment for a time when the ship is actually docked. The discounts are in effect for the time that the ship is not sailing and not simply on every “port day.” So, once it’s anchors aweigh after 4 p.m., for example, your 5 p.m. massage will cost the regular amount.
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