In today's health-focused world, many vacationers aren't willing to disrupt their diet and fitness routines for a week of fun. In response to passenger demands, cruise lines are expanding their health and wellness offerings, providing travelers with nutritious food options, unique fitness opportunities, soothing relaxation areas and more. Below, U.S. News highlights five health and wellness trends in cruising today.
Healthy Onboard Dining Options
Cruise ship dining is often associated with 24-hour pizza stations and soft serve ice cream machines. But in recent years, many cruise lines have started offering lighter and more nutritious options to keep health-conscious passengers fueled throughout their trips. For example, the Eden Café aboard the brand-new Celebrity Edge promises healthy options throughout the day, including egg white and spinach paninis, a build-your-own salad station and lentil quinoa bowls with antibiotic-free chicken, brown rice, tomato, sofrito, kale and spinach. All Celebrity ships also boast the Spa Café, where you can indulge in a variety of fresh juices, nutritious smoothies and flavorful salads.
Meanwhile, on Silversea Cruises voyages, you can dine at The Grill: a hot rocks venue where you'll cook your own meat, fish and vegetables on a heated lava stone. This cooking method does not require the use of any oils or fats, making it a healthier alternative to grilling on a stovetop (and paleo- and ketogenic-diet-friendly). If you have any dietary restrictions, alert your cruise line ahead of time so the staff can properly accommodate you.
[Read: The 2019 Best Cruise Lines.]
Regardless of which cruise line or ship you choose, you should be able to find a gym or an outdoor jogging track on board. But if you're looking for something more interactive, consider signing up for a few fitness classes during your voyage. Carnival Cruise Line offers fee-based yoga, Pilates and spin classes, as well as boot camps for those looking for a more rigorous workout. In contrast, Seabourn Cruise Line includes the cost of such classes in the cruise fare; some of the line's ships also offer tai chi and a Kinesis system that uses a tridimensional pulley system to improve balance, flexibility and strength.
Several lines, including Holland America Line, give passengers the option to sign up for personal training courses for one-on-one attention, while Celebrity's "Revive" program features a number of fitness classes ranging from yoga to body-sculpting boot camp (a nominal fee applies to select activities). A popular class in the "Revive" program is Tour de Cycle, which offers a heart-pumping indoor cycling workout that supports Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation in the fight against cancer.
Upgraded Spas and Relaxation Areas
If soothing the mind is more your speed, consider spending some time in your ship's spa or relaxation areas. Viking Ocean Cruises' Nordic-inspired spa is perhaps the most unique; it features whirlpools, a sauna and a snow grotto, where a snow machine releases flurries into the air to stimulate the circulatory system. If you're looking for a more traditional (or less chilly) setup, consider Carnival's Cloud 9 Spa. At this facility, you can indulge in facials, hot stone massages and body wraps, as well as rejuvenating dips in the Thalassotherapy pool (available on some ships). The line's Serenity Adult Only Retreat, equipped with private pools and lounge chairs, also offers some peace and quiet away from younger groups. Celebrity's Persian Garden is another great place to ease your mind and body – it features aquatherapy services in the form of aromatic steam rooms and tropical rain showers to provide relief from muscle and joint pain, remove toxins from the body and promote a deep state of relaxation.
Wellness Seminars and Enrichment Activities
Perhaps you're looking to pick up some health and wellness tips that you can put into action after your cruise. If so, you're in luck: Many cruise lines feature a number of seminars and hands-on enrichment activities that will send you home with valuable information. Crystal Cruises offers seminars on the following topics to kick your health plans into high gear: slimming and nutrition, back and joint care, Pilates and weight loss detoxification. Passengers can also opt for a Health & Fitness or Mind, Body & Spirit "Experiences of Discovery" themed cruise (available on select Crystal sailings). These special voyages aim to rejuvenate passengers by hosting wellness classes and discussions on nutrition and diet with top industry professionals.
If healthy cooking is your main focus, consider a Seabourn cruise to go "Shopping With the Chef" in various ports. This free excursion allows passengers to forage local food markets around the world alongside one of the ship's chefs. Similarly, Viking's Kitchen Table culinary lessons teach guests healthy recipes using hand-picked ingredients from local markets. The best part of this program? Every time you recreate the recipes at home, you’ll be reminded of your fabulous vacation.
[Read: Best Cruise Lines for the Money.]
Spa- and Health-Themed Accommodations
More and more ships are introducing spa-specific staterooms for those seeking the ultimate wellness experience from the comfort of their own cabins. These rooms are typically located in close proximity to the ships' spas, and some even offer complimentary access to select spa facilities. Carnival's Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms feature soothing, neutral color schemes and include access to free fitness classes and priority spa reservations, while Costa Cruises' Samsara Cabins and Suites provide tea kettles, purifying shower filters and aromatherapy diffusers. Holland America Spa Staterooms and Suites offer in-room yoga mats and iPod docking stations for those who'd like to stretch out in the privacy of their rooms, while Norwegian Cruise Line's Spa Staterooms come equipped with waterfall showers and in-suite hot tubs. Those staying in Penthouse Spa Suites on Seabourn cruises will also be impressed: Each passenger receives access to an exclusive concierge, a wellness bag containing workout gear and a separate in-suite minifridge specifically for water, juice and healthy snacks.
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