While all cruise experiences aim to be pretty relaxing, ensure your at-sea voyage is maximum Zen by taking a trip to your ship’s spa. Most modern ships offer state-of-the-art spa facilities, equipped with thermal suites and saunas, and a crazy big array of wellness treatments. When it comes to pampering yourself on holiday, there’s nothing quite like it.

If your idea of a relaxing getaway is of the cucumber-on-the-eyes variety, we’ve got a special treat. Here, we give you the best spa cruises around, as well as expert tips on where to sail and how to make the most of your spa experience.

Best onboard spas

Canyon Ranch SpaClub

Cruise line: Cunard
Available on: Queen Mary 2

Canyon Ranch is one of the best spas on a cruise ship, and lucky for you, it’s not confined to just one cruise line. Canyon Ranch is currently operating on four lines, with varying treatments available across each. Here you’ll have your pick of body treatments with seaweed wraps and salt scrubs, detox rituals and massages, Finnish saunas and aromatic steam rooms. There’s also the spa’s signature Persian Garden, which combines steam and varying temperatures and water pressure to create an incredibly relaxing effect. If Canyon Ranch is onboard, you can rest assured you’re on one of the top cruises for relaxation and spa experiences.

Lotus Spa

Cruise line: Princess Cruises
Available on: All Princess Cruises ships

Decked in neutral tones with Eastern hints, the Lotus Spa is a place of serenity – often coupled with Princess Cruises’ exclusive adults-only area known as The Sanctuary. There’s a full-service salon available at the Lotus Spa, not to mention a sauna and steam room, massage treatments, facials, acupuncture and teeth whitening services.

Oasis Spa

Cruise line: P&O Cruises
Available on (varying services): Britannia, Arcadia, Aurora, Azura, Adonia, Oriana, Oceania and Ventura

The Oasis Spa is all about pampering, and provides a range of wellness services and rooms to prove it. There’s an assortment of special grooming treatments for women and men, plus something for couples too. You can take things easy with massages, facials and hot stone therapies or scale it up a notch with wrinkle treatments at the Medi-Spa. If you’re sailing onboard AzuraVentura or Britannia, book a spa package and you’ll save money on individual treatments.

Best destinations for spa lovers

Iceland

Where most spas have to create their own hot tubs, Iceland has them built right into the ground. We’re talking about natural hot springs, of which Iceland has many, making it one of the best cruise destinations for spa days. Hot springs are bodies of water that are heated naturally, usually by volcanic activity underground. Here you can expect full-blown pool-like facilities that are a toasty counterpart to Iceland’s frosty weather.

Best cruises to Iceland
Iceland is a huge cruising destination, especially during the winter and spring when the Northern Lights are in full blaze. Reykjavik is the island’s top cruising port, in part because that’s where most things are in the country. Most major cruise lines visit Iceland, including Cruise & Maritime VoyagesP&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, usually coupling it with other Scandinavian countries.

Bali

Bali is not only famous for its wellness treatments, but also the incredible scenery in which they’re provided. Dense jungle, trickling rainfall and bright blue pools are practically synonymous with tropical wellness, and in Bali, that comes standard. There are tonnes of wellness retreats scattered across this little island, but for cruise pit-stop purposes, massages on the beach will do just as well.

Best cruises to Bali
Bali might once have seemed like a far-flung destination, but cruises have made sure to close the gap. Cunard offers a number of cruises that stop in Bali, from two-week long voyages from Sydney to journeys that take up a whopping third of the year. Venturing from New York to New York, itineraries hit Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Italy and the United Arab Emirates along the way.

Morocco

Morocco might have become immortalised with its vibrant souks and busy atmosphere, but its quieter side was made for spas. Moroccans invented argan oil, after all. On a Moroccan spa retreat, you can expect everything from yoga on the beach to hammam and massage treatments, all in a supremely exotic and colourful setting.

Best cruises to Morocco
Casablanca is a well-known stop on the cruise rounds, and some excursions even take you up into vibrant Marrakech or pause in Agadir. Marella Cruises and P&O Cruises all venture here, typically coupling voyages with other warm weather ports like those in Portugal and Spain.

Expert tips

  • You don’t necessarily have to use your cruise ship’s spa facilities to soak up these onboard oases’ peaceful vibes. Some lines offer spa passes that you can purchase, which allow for unlimited use of thermal suites and saunas. Treatments still come at an additional price, however.
  • If you’re dying to try your ship’s spa but don’t want to pay full price, it’s a little cruise secret that spas generally run specials on port days. While everyone debarks, you can head to the spa for the same premium service for less – just make sure to book in advance, as these specials always run the risk of selling out.
  • Getting Botox or teeth whitening treatments on your cruise might sound a little crazy, but these services are often staggeringly cheaper on a cruise ship than at home – as in, close to half the price. If these procedures are something you’ve always wanted to try, it’s worth a second thought on your next cruise.
  • There are a number of lines that take at-sea pampering one step further with special spa cabins. These will often feature spa quality bath products, scrubs and aromatherapy, and even free trips to your ship’s spa. You’ll want to check what cruise lines offer what when you’re doing your research to see which will give you the full pampering experience.

Once you’re onboard, all that’s left is to kick back and relax.

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