Luxury Cruises That Focus on Wellness


Cruising is associated with buffets and days of inactivity but a new breed of luxury ship is taking care of your mind, body and spirit. By Natasha Dragun.

Discovering the Rhine 

From the Dutch city of Amsterdam to Wiesbaden in Germany, Avalon Waterways’ Active Discovery on the Rhine (8 to 15 July) is dedicated to developing good habits – along one of Europe’s most scenic rivers. Heading south on the Rhine, Avalon Felicity takes you to 11 ports, including Düsseldorf and Boppard near the World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge. Wherever you stop, you’ll have a roster of active pursuits at your disposal. Borrow a bike and explore cobblestoned streets or lace up your running shoes and traverse the countryside. Last year the cruise company announced the introduction across the fleet of Avalon Fresh, a collection of wholesome and nutritious menu items with reduced calorie counts.

All aboard for Alaska

Numerous studies have shown the positive impact on your mental health of being in the wilderness – and there’s no place as wild as Alaska. UnCruise Adventures makes the most of the American state’s dramatic scenery on its seven-night Glacier Bay fitness and yoga experience aboard Safari Endeavour. The round trip from Juneau (departing 2 September) takes you through Glacier Bay National Park, a 1.3-million-hectare biosphere reserve that’s home to humpback whales, brown bears and puffins. See the landscape up close on kayaking and paddleboarding tours or stay on dry land for sunrise yoga and walking meditations. Between ports, wellness experts host presentations on mindfulness and fitness and small-group workshops on nutrition.

America ahoy 

The calming hues of the Caribbean Sea are the backdrop for Crystal Cruises’ 14-day Colonial Charms sojourn. Departing New York on 25 October, luxe cruise ship Crystal Symphony hops between blissful island ports such as Ocho Rios in Jamaica and Bimini in the Bahamas, making a maiden call at the Florida city of Cape Canaveral before docking in Fort Lauderdale. On at-sea days, take advantage of the roster of activities that are part of the cruise line’s themed Mind, Body & Spirit journeys. In addition to daily yoga, Pilates and chi-energising classes, you can borrow weighted vests to up the intensity of walkathons with the sports director. A new addition to the ship is the Fitness Garden, where alfresco exercise equipment is strategically placed to resemble sculptures when not in use. The wellness offering is rounded out by seminars on diet and nutrition, as well as access to healthy smoothies and green juices.

Mediterranean moments

The Seven Seas Wellness program from Regent Seven Seas is as informative as it is innovative. Offered on sailings around the Mediterranean, the schedule of land tours includes meditation in Corfu and yoga in Sicily. Book the 10-night Tutti Italia journey from Rome to Venice (departing 1 June) on Seven Seas Voyager and you can add a Roman bathing session in the Italian city of Sorrento, with the thermal springs, mineral baths and saunas said to improve everything from blood pressure to mood. The ship is also home to one of the most forward-thinking health facilities on the high seas, Canyon Ranch SpaClub, where you can book rejuvenating rituals or personal training classes in the fitness centre.

Asian Expedition

Silversea’s 14-day Bali-to-Phuket cruise (departing 9 September) lets you combine the thrill of exploration with a holistic approach to rejuvenation. On upscale expedition ship Silver Discoverer, you’ll sail north-west from Bali, stopping at Anak Krakatoa, Padang and Banda Aceh before reaching Thailand. Snorkel between islets, trek to Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java, and stroll through the Sumatran jungle, where endangered orangutans live. On board, continue your fitness journey with the activities included in Silversea’s wellness program, including yoga, Pilates and aquarobics, as well as workouts designed by Technogym. Healthy dining options are also available and crew members can organise nutritional consultations or spa treatments such as a seaweed body wrap.

Enchanting Danube 

Boutique river-cruise company Uniworld realised early that not every onboard meal needs to be laden with kilojoules and was a pioneer in introducing its Travelling Lite menu of vegetarian and low-kilojoule dishes. You can look forward to those on the 10-day Enchanting Danube & Prague itinerary (departing 17 June), which cruises Europe’s second-longest river from Budapest to Passau, Germany, with a side-trip to Prague. There are plenty of stops, including Vienna and Bratislava, where you’ll have the chance to stretch your legs on biking and hiking excursions (pick up your Nordic walking poles before you disembark). Between ports, make the most of SS Maria Theresa’s wellness coach and fitness classes, including yoga and the Five Tibetan Rites exercises that stretch every muscle.

African odyssey

Departing from the South African city of Cape Town on 21 February 2019, Seabourn’s South Africa & the Skeleton Coast journey takes you on an epic 12-day return trip around the Cape of Good Hope. The cruise line recently teamed up with Dr Andrew Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine, to roll out a health and wellbeing strategy that extends to the company’s enrichment program. Between ports – including Mossel Bay in South Africa and Lüderitz in Namibia – you can join yoga and meditation sessions aboard Seabourn Sojourn, plus attend seminars on topics such as happiness and healing or mindful meditation. You can also organise one-on-one consultations. Make the most of the spa with hot-stone massages and treatments that involve bamboo.

SEE ALSO: 10 of the Best River Cruises to Book Right Now

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