Imagine yourself on a luxurious cruise in the middle of the ocean, where your sole responsibility is to amp up the #selfcare. In this scenario, you are vacationing on a wellness cruise, which centers entirely around enhancing the overall health (physical, mental and emotional) of its guests. Compared to a cruise you are used to taking, a wellness cruise essentially couples the concepts of vacation, health and wellness and rolls it into one.
“Most cruises have a spa on board … but wellness cruises take it to the next level,” says Caleb Backe, C.P.T., a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “Once you set sail, you are completely transported to the ultimate wellness experience.”
Benefits of a Wellness Cruise
An ideal candidate for a wellness cruise, according to Robert Herbst, C.P.T., weight-loss coach and powerlifter, is someone who wants to go to a spa for a wellness vacation, but wants the added benefits of being at sea and traveling to different places for different activities. And, the food and beverages are geared toward a well-balanced diet. “Let’s face it: It’s hard for most of us eat healthy on our own accord, and sometimes we just need a little help,” says Backe. “A wellness cruise provides you with only healthy meals throughout the entire cruise, making it significantly easier to reach your weight-loss and health goals.”
Food aside, all the perks center around improving your overall health. One particular benefit is the inclusion of healthful educational experiences including workshops and lectures (by well-trained and licensed professionals) on wellness cruises. This is not only helpful in terms of increasing your motivation to exercise and partake in such healthful experiences, but also serves as a means to educate you on wellness techniques that can serve you well for the rest of your life. And, whereas these professionals might normally charge significant amounts of money, including the workshops in the total wellness cruise package makes it more worth their money, says Backe.
But you do not have to rely on the classes to reach your inner zen — it allows you to connect with nature on a different level, instead of your typical yoga retreat. “Instead of being stuck in the same woods for a week, cruises [dock at] different ports and islands where one can engage in different healthful activities such as hiking, snorkeling, or sampling local cuisine and culture,” says Herbst. “The change of scenery and mental stimulation is good for the mind and spirit.” The ocean also helps.
Some wellness cruises even have an “unplugged” policy, requesting, or sometimes even making it mandatory, that you leave your technological devices as well as your internet connection (e-mail, texts, social media) at home — or at least limiting it to your room. Taking a break and disconnecting from the outside world can have an immense impact on your mental and emotional wellness. “Every vacation should provide you with much-needed rest, but sometimes the vacation is more stressful than your week at work,” describes Backe. “A wellness cruise will provide with plenty of rest and allows you to escape from your day-to-day life and just do whatever makes you happiest.”
Taking a break and disconnecting from the outside world can have an immense impact on your mental and emotional wellness.
How to Pick a Wellness Cruise
Perhaps the toughest part of finding a wellness cruise is choosing which one is right for you. There are a myriad of different options available, the main ones being a yoga cruise, vegetarian or vegan cruise and one focused solely on holistic health. “If you live and breathe yoga, a regular cruise that only offers a few classes a week won’t cut it, but a yoga cruise is completely [centered] around yoga,” says Backe. “Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the exercise, yoga is a great way to get in great shape, while also rejuvenating the mind, so it may be worth picking up the activity and including it into your regimen.”
Not sure what you want from your wellness cruise? One centered around holistic health may be the one for you. “These types of cruises combine entertainment, fitness, relaxing activities, healthy eating, as well as workshops, lectures, and private consultations that teach passengers how to live a healthy lifestyle,” explains Backe.
You can expect a standard, week-long cruise will cost you on average between $700 and $3,000 — not including airfare and port charges, according to Herbst, and if you do any shore excursions, that will also cost money. “Certain beverages may also cost you more, like wine or mixed drinks, and some cruises will also charge for bottles of water and soda,” he adds.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
If you have made the decision to have a full-service spa and wellness experience at sea, the first step is knowing what cruise line might be for you. Luckily, there is no shortage of options available leaving from a shoreline near you, however there are some cruise lines that are being deemed a cut above the rest. Here are some of the top contenders and what kind of experience they offer.
In partnership with Exhale Spa, which has 20 locations in major cities including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston, Lindblad Expeditions offers four-night “Exploration, Transformation, Mindfulness” voyages. The main goal of the cruise is to kick stress to the curb and includes a bevy of mindfulness activities such as morning power yoga on the deck, guided afternoon hikes, kayaking and snorkeling outings, as well as a boot camp on the beach.
Aboard Celebrity Cruises, you can take advantage of their impressive “Mindful Dreams” wellness program in partnership with luxury spa Canyon Ranch, which includes a selection of spa treatments, a curated set of instructional classes on mindful sleep, a guided diet detox and more. They also launched a set of Wellness Rituals excursions focused on overall health and wellness in exotic locations such as Costa Rica.
If you are already part of the WW world, why not hop on a cruise that helps you stay on track. On board you can expect nothing short of SmartPoints friendly meals and snacks, inspiring health and fitness workshops and classes, as well as entertaining shore excursions and a wide selection of docked activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, ziplining, biking and more.
World-renowned wellness experts, like Andrew Weil, M.D., will join you on your voyage while aboard a Seabourn Wellness Cruise. Take place in daily morning meditation and wellness travel experiences once you dock at port. Ready to book? Check out the 19-Day Route to Ancient Wellness cruise, which departs from Athens and ends in Dubai.
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