MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO, the great ocean liners, including the original Queen Mary and the ill-fated Titanic, provided space for passengers to exercise. These fitness centers of yesteryear, usually situated in rooms without so much as a porthole for views, were equipped with the iron weights and intricate wooden exercise machines of the time. Passengers worked out on rowing machines and static bicycles in full Edwardian dress, from suits and ties to dresses and hats.
For most of the 20th century, cruise ship fitness centers remained little more than windowless galleries of exercise and weight-lifting equipment. In the 21st century, however, as an increasing number of cruise passengers strive to stay shipshape, cruise lines transform fitness centers to keep up with swank land-based health clubs and workout emporiums.
Today’s biggest cruise ships offer unprecedented space and options for passengers who work out while sailing. Norwegian Cruise Line’s new 2,934-passenger Norwegian Escape elevated the fitness center to the top deck where passengers can tackle the largest rope course at sea with more than three stories of activities; ride “sky rails” which function like small zip lines; and walk “the plank,” a narrow beam jutting over one side of the ship. Norwegian’s larger vessels also sport rock-climbing walls and 24-hour gyms festooned with all the latest bells, whistles and punching bags.
Not to be outflanked, Royal Caribbean International installed SeaPlex, a high-tech indoor sports complex, on its 4,180-passenger, state-of-the-art mega-ships, Anthem of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. SeaPlex is replete with a basketball court, roller skating rink, bumper car arena and circus school.
Smaller, mid-sized, all-inclusive luxury lines followed suit. Crystal Cruises now features wraparound promenades for a “walk on water” workout that employs cotton vests with pockets for weights. Viking Ocean Cruises provides dedicated running tracks that are shaded, wide and long, with as few as four laps to the mile. Oceania Cruises conducts more than two dozen fitness classes led by professional instructors, ranging from Pilates and yoga at sunrise to walk-a-mile hikes and Kinesis wall exercises. Windstar Cruises placed a fitness center enclosed in glass on its top decks, with more than 20 workout stations and a fluid rower that operates with built-in water resistance.
Even very small ships are expanding workout options by running special fitness cruises. Amadeus River Cruises’ 168-passenger MS Amadeus Silver III sails the Rhine Nov. 7–12 this year with gym visits in port and special classes hosted on board by two celebrity instructors. And UnCruise Adventures’ 84-passenger Safari Endeavor explores the Sea of Cortes March 21–28, 2020, with its own special team of fitness experts overseeing strength training and yoga, both on deck and on the beach.
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.
Custom order your Volvo through the Overseas Delivery Program and receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and a personalized delivery at the Volvo Factory Delivery Experience in Gothenburg, Sweden. Your experience begins in Sweden with insurance and registration included, enabling you to drive your new Volvo throughout Scandinavia and Europe. Create the adventure of a lifetime with the program named Best Overseas Delivery four years running, and return home with the ultimate souvenir.