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Demo of Zuiderdam's Greenhouse Spa new facial machine delivering five advanced technologies

Holland America cruise line's Greenhouse Spa & Salon, long known for its Elemis product line, has a new beauty tool for cruisers. The Elemis Biotec facial machine provides five different, customized approaches to maximize skin care. Spa Director Kadina Williams was kind enough to give me a demo on our recent, 18-night "Viking Passage" cruise from Copenhagen to New York via Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada on board the nearly 2,000-passenger MS Zuiderdam.

The machine has been in use on Zuiderdam the past two and a-half months, according to aesthetician Shainene, who was specifically trained for these facials. "When you work with the machine, it’s always going to work in the deepest layers of the skin," she notes, explaining these five approaches:

  1. Oxygen infusion provides powerful bursts of concentrated, 100% pure oxygen to help with fine lines and wrinkles;

  2. Galvanic current uses negative and positive polarity to push products deep into the skin; a set of small, matching double rollers are used, and it's very popular;

  3. Micro-current firms and tones, providing a lifting effect;

  4. Ultrasonic delivers 27,000 vibrations per second to "lift all that debris, pollution, congestion in the skin;”

  5. And, as demonstrated on me in the video, there's also LED therapy using red and blue light. "For pigmentation concerns, we would use blue light to calm the skin," says Shainene. Red light stimulates collagen production while blue also helps reduce inflammation and redness, which I have due to sensitivity and some rosacea.

Relaxing? Most definitely. I asked about clients' reactions to a machine v. human touch, and Shay, as she's known on-board, said both approaches are available or in combination; it's up to the client. "They love it because of instant results," she said of the Biotec machine. The anti-aging facial has been most popular. Before any facial, though, the provider will assess the skin and the guest's expectations.

In addition to two pools on the ship — one that's covered — The Greenhouse Spa provides access, for a fee, to a warm, welcoming hydrotherapy pool using sea water. A separate spa area houses heated ceramic slab loungers perfect for a post-massage snooze. And a wide range of massage modalities are available including couple's massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Tui Na and traditional swedish. Hair and nail services were popular our voyage due to three formal nights. The fitness center is well-equipped, and classes include Yoga, spinning on stationary bikes and more.

Ladies Pamper Party

I also participated in the Greenhouse Spa's complimentary Ladies Pamper Party, where participants try out Elemis products - facial cleanser, mask, eye cream and moisturizer, mineral makeup and, best of all, a quick neck/shoulder massage — always welcomed. (Photo at right shows my mask.)

For my spa day, I opted for the 20-20-20 special, three treatments over 60 minutes for $119. My provider, Kimberly, did a beautiful job with a 20-minute hot-stone neck, shoulders and back massage - needed because of computer work (yes, reporting on cruising and spas is work, though fabulous work), then delivered a great foot massage (working on my plantar fasciitis issue); and lastly, a hydrating facial, this time with her hands v. the Biotec. I love sea days, which means more time to spa, and this journey had a whopping seven of them. Bliss? Absolutely.


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