Cruises offer a deluge of opportunities to overindulge, but cruise lines also increasingly cater to passengers who want to disembark in better shape than when they boarded. This means more than expanding gym space or updating exercise equipment. New programs to maintain (or even improve) health and wellness for mind as well as body are multiplying.
While buffet-and-booze cruises with Broadway-style shows and high-tech amusements are just the ticket for many holiday passengers, others seek more healthful alternatives. The “goop at Sea” cruise epitomizes this trend, as Gwyneth Paltrow brings her own health and wellness brand, goop, to a Barcelona-based Mediterranean voyage. The inaugural cruise — originally scheduled to depart in August but postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic — will sail aboard Celebrity Cruises’ new 2,910-passenger ship, Celebrity Apex. Talks and workshops will center on the wellness of mind, body and soul. Goop’s own staff will tailor healthful meals, and passengers can meet with trailblazing healers.
Likewise, Crystal Cruises’ massive 71-day sailing aboard Crystal Symphony from Athens to Auckland, departing Oct. 11, 2021, features a “Mind, Body & Spirit” theme. Experts on tai chi, yoga and Pilates will be on hand; the spa will utilize principles of feng shui to achieve stress reduction and rejuvenation; and passengers can employ weighted vests and walking poles for a “Walk-on-Water” on the 360-degree Promenade Deck. Meanwhile, Silversea Cruises also turned its spa and fitness facilities toward holistic and ancient wellness practices by adding programs in acupuncture and fat-burning nutrition. And Lindblad Expeditions now offers a wellness program on all its National Geographic ships with the philosophy that nature is revitalizing and the wilderness is its tonic. Certified Wellness Specialists lead morning stretching and exercise programs, aerobic shore walks and individualized spa and massage treatments.
Oceania Cruises makes wellness a major focus on its cruises worldwide, both on board and on shore. Its Wellness Discovery Tours feature some 50 shore excursion options, from mineral baths in Rome and reflexology on a rice barge to meditation with a monk and traditional dance therapy. Passengers can also practice beach yoga and tai chi or partake of Chinese traditional medicine remedies. All of Oceania’s ships serve gourmet “Vitality Cuisine” in the Grand Dining Room and raw juices and smoothies at Waves Grill. The cruise line also moved beyond lobster and caviar with plant-based health-and-wellness treats including “cheese burgers,” “ice cream” and “crème brûlée.”
Since 2016 Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine combining physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being, has presided over the wellness and spa programs of Seabourn Cruises. Each of Seabourn’s ships has a Mindful Living Coach certified in yoga and meditation to conduct seminars and classes. The new spa treatments (an Earth Grounding Massage and a Restorative Salt Stone Massage) flow from a similar mind-body perspective. Seabourn’s two annual “Voyages to Wellness” cruises, one in Arabia, the other in the South Pacific, are often led by Dr. Weil himself. The cruises offer daily morning meditations, yoga exercises and stretch and Pilates classes, as well as seminars on managing stress, anxiety and chronic pain; heart health; diet and nutrition; hypnosis; aging; vitality; laughter; and sleep.
Nearly every major cruise line now offers its own menu of wellness programs, including New Age spa treatments, alternative health workshops, mind-body exercise sessions, plant-based dining options and special shore excursions. The newest luxury at sea, it seems, is self- improvement rather than self-indulgence.
TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO DREAM
Experts concur a good night’s sleep is key to health and wellness, especially on a cruise where the setting is new, the pace of life is unpredictable and the bed is unfamiliar, perhaps even uncomfortable.
To ensure sufficient shut-eye at sea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises goes the extra league. Exclusively for guests of the Regal Suite on the Seven Seas Splendor, the new “Restorative Sleep Ritual” should eliminate the need to count sheep (or dolphins). This wellness program begins with the Serene Spa & Wellness “Around the World Massage,” fusing a Swedish rubdown with treatments employ- ing bamboo stalks, heated volcanic rocks, coconut poultices, Moroccan argan oils and mind-soothing scents from India and Egypt.
The centerpiece of the ritual is a milk bath. Described as “transcendent” and “nourishing,” the milk bath is steeped in vitamins, amino acids and herbs designed to soften and rejuvenate the skin.
All that remains is a bed every bit as comforting as the spa treatment and milk bath, and Regent Seven Seas’ answer is a $200,000 Vividus bed, handcrafted in Sweden by certified bed artisans over a nine-week period, its many luxuriant layers handstitched together to create a zero-gravity, floating platform completely detached from all earthly cares.
With its “Restorative Sleep Ritual,” Regent Seven Seas believes it can deliver the “most natural, deeply relaxing sleep in the world.” Or, at least, at sea.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.