Increasingly, spa and fitness facilities are gaining prominence on cruise ships. Some vacationers simply don’t want to break their fitness routines, and so they appreciate it when they find extensive gym facilities — and classes — on today’s modern ships. Others seek restoration and rejuvenation in ship spas while cruising.
During my June 2013 voyage on the new Royal Princess, I enjoyed both activities. I visited the Lotus Spa for a Thai Coconut Poultice Massage ($155 for 50 minutes) and the Lotus Spa Fitness Center, where I worked out each day for about 45 minutes. Burning calories gave me justification for another ice cream each time I passed Gelato, situated in the atrium on deck 5 on Princess Cruises’ newest vessel.
I loved the new Expresso interactive bicycles, which combine interactive experiences with vigorous workouts. You race on what feels like real terrain, pedaling up and down hills, steering and changing gears — and racing against others (fortunately, you can regulate their speeds so that you always come out a winner).
After 45 minutes, I stepped off the bike and mopped up the pool of sweat I had left on the floor beneath the bike. The Expresso bikes had shown me a fun way to burn a lot of calories.
On alternate days, I lifted weights and used the weight-training machines. I was pleased to see dumbbells ranging up to 100 pounds each. Ships and hotels normally have dumbbells up to 50 pounds, if that. The heaviest dumbbells were beyond my abilities, but I did see a few bulked-up guys pushing a total of 200 pounds. It is good to have something to aspire to, although I think my clock is ticking in the wrong direction to get as strong as these young guys.
The fitness center also has treadmills, regular recumbent and upright bicycles as well as ellipticals. There’s an aerobics studio with spinning, yoga, pilates, TRX and more, all classes offered for a charge.
On Royal Princess, the fitness center was moved from its traditional space upfront and high to aft and starboard on deck 16, between Sports Central one deck above and Horizon Court one deck below. I don’t mind the fitness center move from forward to aft, but some told me they miss the expansive sea views and wide open space.
The new fitness center location still provides sea views, but the facility did seem a bit smaller than on other Princess ships and may become packed on sea days.
If the fitness center does become crowded, there is a whole upper deck of activities for the fitness minded, including an outdoor exercise circuit and jogging track at Sports Central — and basketball, volleyball and tennis at Center Court.
There’s also table tennis, laser shooting range, putting green, bocce ball, croquet area and indoor golf driving range.
The Lotus Spa was expanded and moved to deck 5. It doesn’t boast the great sea views that other Princess spas have, but as ship architects pointed out, those who are face down on a massage table don’t have time to appreciate the sea views. If they do, they can head up to The Sanctuary, where two Lotus Spa Cabanas offer commanding sea views.
The Lotus Spa cabanas feature comfortable resting/living areas with large flat-panel televisions and plush chairs, treatment areas with two massage tables and those aforementioned ocean views, looking out over the front of the ship. Packages range from $320 to $3,000, the latter being the “Royal Indulgence” package for four people. It includes a full day of pampering with massages, gourmet food and drinks.
If the thought of parting with big bucks causes your wallet to wiggle, head back down to deck 5 for services and treatments that begin at $15 (a nail fix at the salon) and top off at around $399 for the “Royal Experience,” a 75-minute session where a pair of massage therapists perform their magic.
New for Princess: the private Couples Villas and The Enclave, a thermal suite where passengers can decompress in the Hammam (a Turkish-style steam room), the Caldarium (an herbal steam room), the Laconium (a dry heat sauna) and the line’s first-ever hydro-therapy pool. The Enclave also features heated stone beds and a couple of waterbeds for relaxation.
You’ll find that it is not difficult to “Escape Completely” in the Lotus Spa.
For more information about the Lotus Spa & Fitness facilities on Royal Princess, check out our photo slideshow. Afterward, you may want to read some of our other articles about Royal Princess. For your convenience, links to those posts are provided below.
Situated on deck 5, forward, the Lotus Spa and its attractive treatment rooms. Princess moved the spa down and forward, rationalizing that people did not need windows when they were "face down" on a massage table. Typically, ship spas occupy prime real estate up front and with commanding views of the sea. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
The Enclave, Princess' largest-ever thermal suite, features a hydro-therapy pool, heated stone beds, water beds and much more. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Designed for couples, with spa packages ranging from around US$400 and up. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
The Sanctuary features two Lotus Spa Cabanas, featuring living areas and couples' treatment rooms. Packages range from around $300 to $3,000. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Princess moved the fitness center aft on Royal Princess, but still with sea views for the enjoyment of those working out on the vast array of cardio machines. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Bodybuilders rejoice! Rare to see on ships: dumbbells ranging up to 100 pounds each. With two benches and a variety of other body-building equipment, Royal Princess will likely satisfy most muscle-builders. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Nelo, a fitness instructor from Brazil, demonstrates TRX training. He and his colleagues offer classes as well as custom programmers for those wanting to tone their bodies. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Soccer (or as it is known in much of the world, football), basketball and more at Sports Central. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
The inside lane is for walkers, the outer lane for runners. Seven times around makes a mile. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
Play Ping-Pong at Sports Central. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle
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