By John Roberts
Wellness. It's a nice-sounding word that tries to encapsulate our goals for feeling and looking good and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. To me, it simply means eating the right foods and getting enough exercise and activity to keep us feeling good and living our best lives possible.
These habits are important for all aspects of life, work, play and travel.
The global "wellness tourism" industry continues to grow, with the Global Wellness Institute reporting revenues of $563 billion in wellness tourism in 2015, up 14 percent from 2013. The growth rate for wellness tourism was double the rate for overall tourism revenue in general.
So, it's apparent that more and more of us are taking our health and fitness to heart. Cruise lines are listening to our demands for the types of experiences we want to have when we join them for our voyages. Every year, more ships are adding cool wellness programming for cruisers to enjoy.
Here are five onboard fitness- and wellness-based experiences that you are going to love.
AmaWaterways Wellness Program
AmaWaterways ships have long been equipped with a sun deck walking track, whirlpools, well-equipped fitness centers, 25 bikes and culinary offerings that cater to all dietary choices, with menus that feature healthy choices.
The line ramped up its wellness profile, though, with a new onboard wellness experience with a fitness instructor who leads four to six classes daily, including morning stretches, jogging, yoga, cardio and core strengthening and circuit training. Also, discussion sessions focus on healthy eating and relaxation techniques.
AmaWaterways started its program as a trial, bringing instructor and sports scientist Selena Wank onboard AmaLyra, in 2017, for sailings in France. In the 2018, the Wellness Program expands to seven ships, and it will be available on all AmaWaterways ships in 2019, says AmaWaterways President Rudi Schreiner.
MSC Cruises Wellness Experience
The Wellness Experience was designed in collaboration with noted equipment manufacturer TechnoGym. The program came to MSC Cruises' ships in 2017, and passengers can immerse themselves in fitness, healthy eating and exclusive excursions from start to finish during their cruise. The MSC Wellness Experience is crafted to meet each passenger's desires and goals while enjoying the Mediterranean-style cruise.
Using a pre-cruise questionnaire, followed by an onboard one-on-one consultation with a master trainer, trained by Technogym, your cruise is customized with shore excursions, gym classes and healthy food options. On shore, you might go jogging around Ancient Olympia, take a bike tour of Copenhagen, hike up Mount Floyen in Norway, participate in a fun triathlon in Cozumel (kayaking, running and snorkeling), or take a beach training session in Rio de Janeiro.
Onboard, special group fitness classes keep you moving. Choose Tai Chi, spinning, Pilates, yoga and other sessions.
For food, the buffet features a dedicated "Wellness Corner" with a choice of dishes designed to match your pre-cruise goals. The main restaurant offers healthy menu options to make it simple to select the right choice. There also is a wellness room-service breakfast menu. The MSC Aurea Spa bar offers a range of protein and energy drinks as well as an array of other wellness beverages.
Seabourn Spa and Wellness Cruises
Noted wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil leads specific Seabourn Spa and Wellness themed sailings on this luxury cruise line.
All Seabourn ships and cruises feature a Wellness Guide, who leads complimentary meditation and yoga classes. The Seabourn Spa and Wellness program was designed in a partnership with Dr. Weil and the cruise line's spa company Steiner Leisure.
Much of the program is based on meditation and restorative yoga and body alignment therapies. Also integral to the wellness program are the Mind and Body seminars designed to educate cruisers on philosophies and practices that improve wellness. The presentations aim to provide ideas and practices that enhance well-being and increase the awareness of the connections between mind, body, environment and wellness.
Regent Seven Seas Wellness Program
The program debuted in 2017 and gives passengers custom-crafted spa and shore excursion experiences while sailing in the scenic Mediterranean on the luxury ship Regent Seven Seas Voyager.
The Seven Seas Wellness experience combines refreshing, low-impact activities in 10 Mediterranean destinations with one of five revitalizing treatments in the ship's onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub.
Onshore, you get to try fun activities like Tai Chi in Marseille, France, or yoga on a seaside perch in Taormina, Sicily. Back onboard, you can select from these five spa treatments: body scrub, body buff with sea salts and essential oils, vitamin-infusion facial, massage with foot scrub, and organic body wrap.
Oceania Cruises Wellness Tours
Along with offering a large selection of included wellness programming, such as yoga, stretch, spinning, strength training and boot camp classes onboard, Oceania Cruises features a portfolio of Wellness Tours.
Oceania offers more than four dozen excursions that focus on traditional experiences in exotic locations. You can try things like reflexology on a rice barge in Bangkok, a garden walk, meditation and tea ceremony in Buenos Aires, the Chinese exercise of Qigong in a rainforest in Cairns, rejuvenating mud bath in Cartagena, and numerous other practices, such as yoga, chanting, meditation and dance therapy.
Do these programs appeal to you and what you want out of a cruise vacation? Or do you prefer to do your own thing when keeping up with your fitness regimen while traveling? Let us know in the comments.