Granted, we love any kind of spa. But give us a spa on a luxury cruise ship, and we’re in heaven. (Hey, who wouldn’t be?)
And we must say the Lotus Spa aboard the beautiful, brand-new, cruise ship Ruby Princess did not disappoint. (The ship launched in November 2008, and we cruised Valentine’s Week 2009).
(Also, please check out Fletcher’s report on his Temazcal, or sweat lodge excursion on this cruise).
First, the Ruby Princess Asian-influenced Lotus Spa features a favorite spot that we first discovered on its sister ship, the Diamond Princess: the thermal suite. This special area features sauna, steam rooms and a communal relaxation area with wonderful, curved and heated stone beds. Once you stretch out here after a steam or workout in the fitness room, it’s siesta time.
The suite also features a scented steam room, and light-therapy cold shower, with colorful ocean-blue tiles, located off to the side of the communal stone beds, so all your relaxation choices are just steps from each other.
Next, during our second sea day, I got to sample a Hot Stone massage featuring the penetrating heat of volcanic stones combined with traditional massage and warm oil.
Insider Tip: Pre-book your spa appointments before you leave on your cruise. Most cruise lines, like Princess Cruises, will allow you to do so online. Keep in mind that sea days are the busiest when it comes to spa services, so it’s especially helpful to book your appointments online well ahead of the pack. And don’t worry, you can usually change your selection once you’re on board but at least you have reserved one of those precious sea-day slots.
Among the other spa treatments, you can choose are La Thérapie HydraLift Facial; Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction, Cellutox Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap; Musclease Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap. That last one features a heated seaweed mask of a warming blend of Pine and Rosemary essential oils applied to your body before you are cocooned in a foil wrap to ease arthritis, fatigue and muscle spasms.
Also, Ruby Princess offers a fabulous adults-only relaxing space called The Sanctuary, just one deck up from the spa and all the way forward, so you have privacy in a quieter part of teh ship. This is the perfect spot for reading and napping, enjoying massage in a private cabana, specialized butler service to arrange your cushiony lounge chairs or provide you snacks and drinks from a special menu.
For my stone massage, I have to say my therapist, Zuzanna Skorikova from Slovakia was one of the most observant I’ve ever had. Within the first 10 minutes, she first ascertained that my calves were tight. Of course, she had no way of knowing that the day before I’d had my first Segway experience in port at Cozumel, and yes, you maneuver this personal travel device using your feet and legs (leaning forward to move in that direction; backward for the same).
Second, she said, “With your flat feet, you need arch supports so your calves aren’t so tight.” Again, she was on target as I already use a custom support in my sneakers.
Third — and this came as a surprise — she said I had varicose veins on my right leg and suggested cool showers from the knees down to improve circulation.
But her most immediate reaction came when she touched my neck and shoulders, “Oh my gosh,” she exclaimed. “I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been living with.” Ah, yes, the life of a writer, which means hours upon hours at the computer.
At her suggestion, I made a second Lotus spa appointment: this time with the acupuncturist on board.