As the modern traveller begins to change, cruise lines have followed suit and began to broaden their offering. No longer are cruises just for one age bracket, but with different companies adding new features from technology to entertainment, there is something for everyone.
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One of the latest upgrades to make its way into several cruise lines is the introduction of luxury spa accommodation.
This may make you envision bubbling jacuzzi at the foot of your bed, or your own personal mud bath.
However, that isn’t quite the case, though they do certainly promise elevated relaxation for your trip.
Kerry Spencer, Editor of Cruise Critic spoke to Express.co.uk to explain exactly why this new form of stateroom is on offer and how much travellers will need to stretch the budget to bag one.
She explained: “Spa cabins generally include special in-cabin amenities, such as specialist toiletries; closer proximity to the onboard spa and VIP privileges within the spa itself.
“In addition, some lines also offer additional perks such as free speciality dining or free beverage packages.”
If you’re someone who frequents the spa on a regular basis throughout your holiday, they could well be worth the extra cost.
“Spa cabins are typically near the ship’s spa since easy access is one of the perks of choosing a spa cabin,” says Kerry.
“They range from inside cabins to suites, and are often the same layout as standard cabins in their class, but with added amenities and a higher price tag.”
Several big-name cruise lines are now offering this pamper-filled package to guests, including MSC, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Norwegian and Seabourn, though the perks for each cruise line vary.
For example, Royal Caribbean transformed rooms on its Radiance, Voyager, Freedom, Oasis, Quantum and Quantum Ultra Class at the end of 2019 in a bid to provide customers with a one-of-a-kind stay.
The new spa stateroom is described by the cruise holiday provider as “your private retreat for relaxing and recharging”.
The spa Stateroom will include a range of “calming in-room amenities” including specialist, down-feather bedding and “upgraded toiletries”.
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Passengers staying in a spa room will also benefit from 50 percent off one spa treatment, priority spa reservations, a welcome basket of fresh fruit and daily coffee and tea deliveries.
These rooms will be available for journeys beginning in 2021.
Kerry says they will provide “passengers with priority boarding and a relaxing retreat complete with several exclusive perks, such as a welcome gift of fresh fruit in their cabins and a nightly selection of refreshments including bottled water, tea and coffee; plush bedding; upgraded toiletries; slippers and a robe; and a balcony with cushioned furniture.”
Meanwhile, Celebrity Cruises already offer their specialist “AquaClass” cabins.
“Of the ones currently found on major cruise lines, Celebrity’s AquaClass spa cabins offer the most included perks, such as upgraded bathroom amenities, specialist bedding, exclusive access to speciality restaurant Blu, as well as the spa concierge, unlimited access to the AquaSpa Relaxation room, the Persian Garden or SEA thermal suite,” Kerry continues.
Furthermore, some boast unique features you might not expect.
“Costa Cruises’ Samsara Spa cabins, for example, have direct access to the Samsara Spa via a glass elevator surrounded by a waterfall,” adds Kerry.
“Seabourn’s penthouse spa suites are also located directly above the Spa and have direct access to and from the spa via a spiral staircase located in the spa’s lobby.
“In the evening, Seabourn spa penthouse passengers can also choose a calming fragrance from a selection of four by L’Occitane to be diffused throughout the suite.”
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However, with the added experience unsurprisingly comes an added price tag, and that varies depending on who you cruise with.
Kerry says: “The cost of a spa cabin varies significantly based on the cruise line, ship and itinerary. The general guideline is that a spa cabin will cost more than a regular cabin in a specific category, but not as much as the next category up.
“A spa oceanview stateroom, for example, will cost more than a regular oceanview, but not as much as a balcony cabin.”
If you do want to enhance your cruise experience, then they may be worth the cost.
It largely comes down to how much you plan on using the spa.
“A spa cabin can certainly enhance your holiday experience if you are going on a cruise for some all-out pampering, and plan on spending a lot of time in the spa,” says Kerry.
“The perks you can enjoy include free thermal suite access, free fitness classes and great discounts on and priority access to spa treatments.
“If all you want are just a few onboard spa days, then the additional cost of a special spa cabin will probably not be worth paying a premium for.”
For passengers hoping to book spa treatments, they should do so quickly. If treatments become fully booked guests could miss out on their favourite experience, even if they’ve paid the extra cost.
“Don’t forget to book spa treatments in advance – ideally, as soon as you book, but definitely before you get onboard – since they can get booked up quickly, and can be more expensive onboard,” warns Kerry.
On the flip side, it is vital customers do their research as they may be disappointed.
Kerry explains: “When it comes to specialist spa accommodations, cruise line offerings vary significantly, so it is worth doing your homework to see if you are really going to gain from the upgrade.
“Work out how much time you also really want to spend in the spa, especially if you are on a port-intensive cruise or are excited about experiencing all the other onboard activities and entertainment programmes on offer.
“You don’t want to be beholden to your spa if it means missing out on other activities or being unsociable with new friends.”
Ultimately, holidaymakers should consider the purpose of their trip before purchasing spa accommodation.
“If you want your onboard experience to be all about pampering, then a spa cabin might be the perfect way to ensure you get the VIP treatment you deserve,” concludes Kerry.
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