Spa Experiences with a Difference

scenic cruises salt room spa experience
Scenic Diamond‘s Salt Therapy Room

Ocean cruising is famed for its luxury spa facilities – with the recent upsurge in popularity of personal health and wellbeing routines, wellness facilities on board have become a more central concern for cruise lines. So what about river and expedition cruising? You’d be forgiven for thinking that spa facilities were given less precedence aboard these vessels, with space constraints on river cruise ships, and a different focus on expedition cruise ships – but the following onboard spa experiences prove this wrong.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours – Salt therapy lounge

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, the luxury sister of Emerald Waterways, offers an upscale river cruise experience across the globe, complete with butler service in each cabin. With a focus on space on board, Scenic calls its vessels Space-Ships.

Featured on board the 75-cabin Scenic Diamond and Sapphire, as part of the spa and wellness areas on the Jewel Deck, is a Salt Therapy room. Crafted by hand from salt bricks, this humidity and temperature-controlled wellbeing facility is intended to bring about the same renewing and refreshing feeling you may experience from standing on a beach. The Salt Therapy room has the same micro-climate as a natural salt mine, and features calming music and mood lighting to encourage relaxation. Guests are able to use the lounge as a complimentary part of their cruise – and are recommended to spend up to 45 minutes in there, relaxing on inclined lounging chairs, separated by curtains for privacy. Scenic say the negatively charged salt ions promote healing, improve skin conditions, and help with respiration.

Ponant – sauna with a view

French cruise line Ponant brought luxury to expedition cruising with their vessel Le Laperouse. Carrying only 184 passengers, the ship features the Blue Eye – an underwater lounge with two windows to the sea, for cruisers to view the wildlife.

The sauna with a view on board Ponant Le Laperouse

The ship also features a spa equipped with massage cabins, a Turkish bath, and a large range of treatments, in association with spa and wellness brand SOTHYS. One particular point of note is the sauna. Simply designed with smooth wood interior, the sauna features a window to the sea shaped as an irregular oval, allowing light to flood the room. Located on the highest deck of the ship, deck 7, the facilities also offer expansive views over the scenery, with Cruise Critic highlighting that the sauna is ‘larger and prettier than you’d expect on a ship of this size’.

A-ROSA ship in front of Durnstein

A-ROSA Cruises – the largest spas on the rivers

German river cruise line A-ROSA Cruises operates 12 vessels, with sailings along the Rhine, Danube and Rhone rivers. Claiming to feature the large spas on the rivers on board their ships, A-ROSA’s wellness facilities bring more than just size. The philosophy of the SPA-ROSA focuses on the flow of energy, inviting the cruiser on a ‘journey into the body and soul’. Treatments and facilities on board include a sauna, body and face peeling, footbaths, and personal treatment packages, and come with a bottle of champagne, fruit platter and a fruit cocktail. All treatments use local products and active ingredients from the German Wadden Sea tidelands, aiding the sustainable drive of the A-ROSA brand.


River and expedition cruises clearly have a lot to offer in the way of wellness facilities – from innovations you won’t find elsewhere, to an all-encompassing focus on the health of the cruiser.

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