The past few days have seen a couple of new spa related announcements from Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, who regularly battle it out for the affordable-luxury crown.
Celebrity Cruises really stepped up the game when they launched the Solstice class ships, boasting one of the best equipped spas at sea, the AquaSpa, along with the very popular Lawn Club and AquaSpa Cafe. P&O Cruises, sister line to Princess Cruises also boast a pretty impressive set-up with The Retreat — an open air spa-terrace area — so we should expect something pretty big when Princess Cruises launch the Royal Princess.
And it already looks like we won't be disappointed. Royal Princess is not only set to boast the largest spa in the fleet, but will also benefit from a new and very prominent location. Most ships (for all cruise lines not just Princess) located their spa somewhere toward the rear of the ship, usually in some corner on deck 17. Though they usually have great facilities and welcoming staff, you can't but think help these cash cows are somewhat of an after thought — apart from the aforementioned AquaSpa and The Retreat.
Princess seems to have gone for a completely different approach and have located the spa off the new, much improved, social hub that is The Atrium. The new Lotus Spa will boast pride of place alongside the other main dining and entertainment facilities and help Princess' vision to turn their new and much larger Atrium into the heart beat of the ship for everyone onboard.
Paul Ludlow, Princess Cruises' UK Director, said: "The opportunity for total relaxation is one of the key reasons to cruise with Princess. So naturally, our signature spa is a popular place for passengers to escape from any stress and tension. With the new Lotus Spa aboard Royal Princess, we’re excited to give our passengers the ultimate place to unwind."
The Lotus Spa will also be the largest in the Princess fleet and will boast some new and some improved facilities from the other ships. The highlight of the new spa's facilities is the Enclave.
The Enclave is the largest thermal suite in Princess fleet, with the dramatic hydro-therapy pool (a Princess first) as the centre piece. The Hammam— a Turkish-style steam room — will offer clay, mud & salt treatments. The Caldarium — a Roman-style steam chamber — offers an infusion of herbal aromas. The Laconium is a dry chamber, designed to help purification and detox and the Sensory Showers offer a choice of Tropical Rain, Cold Mist, Rain Shower or Siberian Shower experience in a dynamic mood set environment.
Other facilities include the Scrub & Shine Bar, where guests can get recommendations from a mixologist for the perfect scrubs to complement their treatments. The bar offers a selection of salt and sugar scrubs to choose from, which can be spiced up by adding a mixture of herbs. There is also the usual selection of treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge and the Lotus Spa Salon, to round off the full pampering experience.
Royal Princess' Lotus Spa is definitely shaping up to be a contender in the battle of the seabourne spas, but only time will tell if the central location, away from the gym and outdoor pools will be a winner. I for one will look forward to checking it out when the ship sails in June '13.
There is no doubt Celebrity Cruises would have been anticipating that Princess Cruises would up their game with the Royal Princess. Offering some of the best spas at sea they would have anticipated plans to take them on, and they have fought back, but not how you would expect.
The AquaSpa, the AquaSpa staterooms & suites, the AquaSpa Cafe and the Lawn Club are already great at what they offer, and will continue to be among the best facilities at sea, so Celebrity Cruises has come up with something a little different and a lot more exclusive for their forthcoming ship, the Celebrity Reflection.
Celebrity Cruises has announced plans for a signature shower, only available in the Reflection Suite, which will extend over the ships edge! The all-glass, über luxury shower will offer guests incredible sea views while showering in privacy — offering the most decadent of showing experiences at sea.
So, the battle of the spas keeps on going. But who will prevail? Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and P&O Cruises definitely seem to be the front runners for the time being and the new Lotus Spa on Royal Princess looks like it will be a hit to me. The Reflection Suite's shower onboard Celebrity's newest ship is pretty awesome, but will definitely appeal to a certain type of cruiser!
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