What to do during all these sea days? For me, it’s the spa

Spa entrance

Aboard the Queen Mary 2 – Seven days at sea. What do you do with seven days at sea during a transatlantic cruise?

I can definitely tell you that the No. 1 activity is reading. Everyone is carrying a book, Ipad, Kindle, Nook, magazine or something with them to read. These readers are everywhere and in every corner.

Probably, the No. 2 activity is napping.

For others, it might be the lectures and for others the treadmills. But, for me, it’s the spa.

Ahhh, the spa.

As I have already said a couple of times, the weather this week is cold and chilly which limited the amount of time spent on deck. But the way I see it, it is just an excuse to spend more time in the spa.

Mandy Meth, Canyon Ranch spa director

The Canyon Ranch Spa Club aboard the Queen Mary 2 is the largest spa afloat, according to spa director Mandy Meth. Ms. Meth, who began as a massage therapist on the QM2 when it launched eight years ago, has worked her way up to her post and knows her product thoroughly.

The multi-deck spa consists of a hair and nail salon and skin treatment rooms on Deck 8 and the massage rooms, Aqua Therapy center, lounge area (with floor to ceiling windows) and fitness center on Deck 7. And a small shop, of course.

I first experienced the spa on Tuesday when I took advantage of a promotion to have a facial at a slightly discounted price (if you are willing to book early or late). The facial was wonderful, of course, but the Aqua Therapy area was a revelation. I think I could have spent the entire morning there. It consists of a large massage pool with numerous water features, a hot tub, an aromatic steam room (so soothing!), two saunas, two reflexology basins, two mist showers and an ice fountain.

Admission to this oasis on board is regulated through spa passes. Those booking a massage, facial or personal training session have spa privileges for the entire day. Otherwise, a one-day pass costs $40, three days is $75, five days is $95 and the entire week is $105.

(In the middle of writing this, I just popped off to the nearby grill to have afternoon tea…a very civilized Devonshire tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Can you see that the five days at sea thus far have me relaxed?)

The large fitness center is operated by the spa but is complimentary to everyone (except that you do not have access to the changing rooms.) There are two personal trainers on staff who conduct an extensive program of fitness classes (seven a day), including Pilates, yoga, Fitball, stretching and indoor cycling, which are given in a room Deck 1. Participants must sign up the day before and some classes charge a fee.

Spa shop

But that isn’t all…there are also a chiropractor and an acupuncturist on the spa team and they seem to be busy with treatments. Where do they find their patients? “Both of them give lectures early in the week and many people become interested that way,” Mandy explains.

What is missing here – the Botox and Restalyn injections that are becoming so common on other lines – is quite intentional. “The Canyon Ranch philosophy is all about being natural, organic and healthy. We do not offer sun tanning beds or these injections. They just do not fit with what we do.”

A wide range of treatments are offered, including authentic Thai massage. The therapist performs these massages on a futon with the client fully clothed in loose garments. “Many passengers are not familiar with this as they are used to the more hands-on approach of traditional massages. However, those that know Thai massage really appreciate it.”

When trained therapists are available, the spa also offers authentic Ayurveda treatments and ashiatsu massages (done with the therapist’s bare feet). A number of couples massages are also on the spa menu.

I returned to the spa this morning, this time for a massage and again took advantage of the Aqua Therapy area…many people there looked like there were settled in for a couple of hours.

Tomorrow is our last full day aboard and it is my intention to head over to the spa early for one more session in the pools and saunas. It is a wonderful way to start the day,

June 21, 2012


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