Wellness on the waves: best wellness and self-care cruises

Looking for a yoga-themed cruise or a wellness retreat on the waves? These are our picks for the best wellness and self-care cruises featuring acupuncture, lifestyle seminars, ayurvedic cuisine, wellness excursions, onboard saunas and spas, and more.

Wellness is buoyant and has taken to the high seas. The traditional yoga class and massage in the spa is old hat – that ship sailed long ago. Today, think acupuncture, lifestyle seminars, ayurvedic cuisine, a zero-gravity massage, and a personal trainer to guide you to fitness, while fat and muscle diagnostics help achieve health goals. From partnerships with wellness pioneers and alternative medicine advocates, the traditional boundaries of wellness have broadened and embarked on voyages out at sea. Wellness on the waves steer towards self-discovery and self-care, with ground-breaking treatments, navigating towards wellness expeditions and experiences onboard and ashore.

Swan Hellenic partners with Dr Deepak Chopra for wellbeing voyages

Swan Hellenic has crafted a series of cultural expedition cruises with a well-being twist.

Inspired by the healing properties of the sea, the cruise line has linked up with Dr Deepak Chopra to create a series of ‘Explore & Restore’ well-being voyages, designed to foster self-discovery and cultural immersion.

There are 6 cultural expedition journeys in 2024, featuring five to nine days of cruise and wellness. All Swan Hellenic ships have a Chopra-certified meditation and yoga teacher offering private and group sessions daily.

During this transformative journey, according to Swan Hellenic’s CEO Andrea Sito, wellness and exploration seamlessly merge, igniting a unique path that invites travellers to embark on a voyage where self-care and discovery coexist.

‘Explore & Restore’ pairs inward journeys with outward experiences and include Ayurvedic culinary offerings, daily meditation, yoga and breathwork classes, and expert-led workshops designed to unveil the passengers’ authentic selves and their path to purpose – all while discovering the captivating places.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises brings ground-breaking treatments onboard

The Seven Seas Grandeur has transformed its Serene Spa & Wellness offering with a revamped treatment menu.

Ground-breaking treatments harness the power of a pioneering amber and quartz crystal bed. Guests seeking complete rejuvenation can book a Hot Mineral Body Boost. The Poultice-Powered Muscle Release works away sore, aching muscles with an invigorating treatment that targets tension areas with vibrational energy. The Zero Gravity Wellness Massage is the next generation of innovative wellness. It produces a zero-gravity effect as the body is suspended on an advanced treatment table that allows for ergonomic workflows and a seamless series of sophisticated techniques.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Sun-Splashed Shores voyage continue the wellness broad theme ashore. Visit an authentic Mayan village by strolling along a canopied jungle path through an area full of medicinal plants and herbs, followed by a Mayan shaman preparing traditional medicines and explaining their uses.

Seabourn teams up with Dr Andrew Weil to integrate mind and body at sea

Seabourn Cruises has partnered with Dr Andrew Weil, a visionary pioneer in integrative medicine, whose ground-breaking research and bestselling books combine physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being.

Seabourn’s ‘Spa & Wellness’ with Dr. Andrew Weil is led by a Mindful Living Coach (a certified yoga and meditation practitioner) who can inspire and educate guests that enhance wellbeing and the connection between mind, body, environment and wellness.  Yoga classes focus on physical issues such as back and joint pain, headaches and body alignment.

The Spa at Seabourn offers a wide spectrum of massages, facials and beauty treatments, blending traditional practices from around the world with the most up-to-date techniques. An ocean-view gym features state-of-the art equipment (where fitness directors may create guests’ ideal regime); a Motion Studio offers complimentary yoga, tai chi and meditation, Crystal Sound Bath, TRX and Stretch classes; while a full-service multi-sex salon complements the spa offerings.

Princess Cruises’ new double decker spa

The Lotus Spa® on Sun Princess® is the first spa of its fleet to stand two storeys tall!

New features include a salt room and an aromatic steam room, as well as reimagined favourites like the Enclave and hydro pool, while the wide range of treatments on board have increased.

This new next generation cruise ship, The Sun Princess, features adult-only retreat The Sanctuary, ideal for soaking up relaxation in an exclusive outdoor spa-inspired area with double loungers. Sip on a signature beverage, or work the knots out with an al fresco massage.

Viking Cruises Adopt Nordic Wellness Traditions

Wellness gets a Scandi twist, blending with long-proven Nordic health traditions on Viking Cruises.  

Encompassing the lifestyle and design of the region, the LivNordic Spa and Fitness Centre offers highly customisable treatments including the Swedish Mindful Massage, the Swedish Deep Tissue Massages, the Nordic Organic Facial and advanced non-invasive facelift HydraFacial.   

In keeping with Viking’s heritage, the Nordic Spa offers a thermal suite featuring a Sauna and Snow Grotto, as well as a warm hydrotherapy pool. A key feature is the Nordic Bathing Ritual: a group evening event on board which involves a spa therapist leading a short meditation followed by body brushing, steam room, snow grotto using lavender scented snowballs, and birch branching for detoxing, finishing with massage.

Connectivity to nature, a healthy lifestyle, beauty, and sound mindfulness are characteristics of the Nordic people.

Scandinavian wellness continues in the destinations too. Unwind in the hot waters of Lake Urridavatn during a rejuvenating visit to the Vök Baths. The soothing waters of Mývatn Nature Baths contain a blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal microorganisms that are beneficial to skin and spirit alike.

Oceania Cruises: Bio-tech treatments and Chinese Medicine

A holistic approach to wellbeing is at the heart of the new Aquamar Spa +Vitality Center on board Oceania Cruises. Enjoy programmes to enhance health on board and excursions to destinations that reveal timeless wellness practices.

Aquamar encourages a lifestyle of health and longevity, using ancient practices of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. There’s also Biotec facial treatments and comprehensive muscle and fat diagnosis to help to achieve wellness goals during and after your voyage.

Star Clippers heralds slow travel

Sail by the wind with nostalgia at the helm. With yoga on board and the timeless setting, slow travel is the essence of travel under the sails.

Over the last couple of years, Star Clippers offers guests free daily yoga and meditation on selected Yoga-themed sailings. With spectacular settings as a background, yoga classes take place in the open air, on Star Clippers’ ships’ teak decks, below thousands of square feet of billowing sails. Enjoy ultimate relaxation for body and soul, enhanced by the fresh sea air.

Qualified yoga teachers guide daily sessions of Astanga yoga, also known as power yoga, in the cool morning air, with a second session just before sunset, including meditation. Lectures on the philosophy of yoga and advice for practice at home are also included.

Sustainable Cruising to Wellness

The perception of cruising has changed course and venturing into new realms of meaning. Cruises now offer spirit-awakening experiences which play a pivotal role in propelling us towards a more just, sustainable and enriching experience, leading to healing and profound connections with the natural world and ourselves – encounters that resonate long after the journey.

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Jane Wilson

Founder & editor of the Wellness Traveller

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