Soak Up the Serenity Aboard The Best Cruise Ship Spas

The best cruise spas have a knack for bolstering your physical and mental wellness while on holiday.

Photo by: Alex Bertha
A woman relaxes in an infinity pool
Photo by: Alex Bertha

2min read

Published 15 April 2024


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The best cruise spas have a knack for bolstering your physical and mental wellness while on holiday.


Whether you've got tired muscles from a day spent exploring, tired skin after one too many hours in the sun, or a tired brain ready to embrace a much-needed holiday, visiting a cruise ship spa is never a bad idea.  

Beckoning you in with the promise of bougie thermal suites fit with saunas, hot tubs, massages and more, the spa and salon services are the ultimate Zen retreat amidst the hustle and bustle of your ocean liner or mega ship.  

Not all massages are created equal. There is definitely a difference between your everyday spa, and the multi-sensory experience cruise companies that have gone above and beyond to offer you. Liners topping the cruise ship spa ratings boast everything from multi-level spas with dozens of treatment rooms, to cold plunge pools, a snow grotto and even medi-spa treatments like Botox and teeth whitening. 

Keen to know more? You've come to the right place. Pop your feet up, grab a glass of herbal tea and check out our run-down of the best spas currently conquering the seven seas.

A woman lies face down with massage stones placed on her back

Photo by Engin Akyurt

A woman lies face down with massage stones placed on her back

Photo by Engin Akyurt

A woman lies face down with massage stones placed on her back

Photo by Engin Akyurt

What to expect aboard cruise ship spas and adults-only areas

Whether you're on a 5-star liner or family-friendly mega ship, rest assured that most cruises will offer some form of spa and adults-only retreat.  

When it comes to picking your spa treatment, you'll find everything from a hot stone massage and steam baths, to Himalayan sea salt scrubs, body wraps, facials, manicures, pedicures and more.  

Beyond specific treatments, many cruise ships also come fitted with thermal suits that play home to a range of pools, saunas, steam rooms, lounge chairs and outdoor cabanas.  

If in doubt, have a squiz online at what each spa offers, and the cruise line's philosophy around relaxation. It will help you understand exactly what to expect when you step aboard. 

How much do spa treatments cost onboard?

Pricing will differ between cruise lines and packages, however it's expected that most onboard spa treatments (such as massage, hair salon and facials) will incur a small additional fee. Some cruise lines do offer complimentary access to thermal suites, while others may require you to purchase a pass.  

Chat with your agent or check online to confirm before you depart.  

Top tip: Book your spa treatments online before your cruise starts to ensure you don't miss out.

Top 10 best cruise ship spas in 2024 and 2025

Celebrity Cruises: The Spa & SEA Therman Suite

If you're craving a spa experience that mimics the level of luxury you'll find on land, look no further than the SEA Thermal Suite found on Celebrity Cruises Edge Class ships.  

While each ship may differ slightly, expect facilities like solariums, whirlpools and an infrared sauna room set against the backdrop of floor-to-ceiling windows and water shows. Those sailing on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Epic will instead enjoy the Persian Garden Thermal Suite, which includes hot and cold rooms and a Turkish hammam.  

Guests can ask the spa concierge for advice on what to book from the robust menu of treatments. Think massages that incorporate a zero gravity bed, Botox, skincare regimes, body wraps, scrubs, acupuncture and more. Don't forget the hair, makeup and nail salon, and fully stocked gym. 

For those really keen to supersize their relaxation, we recommend booking an AquaClass spa cabin. These luxe lodgings come fitted with Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop products, multiheaded spa showers, upgraded linens and room service, pillow menus and an aromatherapy diffuser. Add in complimentary use of the spa's relaxation room, sauna and steam room complex, and you've got a one-way ticket to bliss.

Feet in a bubbling spa bath

Photo by Ze Zorzan

Feet in a bubbling spa bath

Photo by Ze Zorzan

Feet in a bubbling spa bath

Photo by Ze Zorzan

Holland America Line

Book a multi-level spa experience aboard Holland America's Pinnacle-class ships. The fleet's biggest and most luxurious offering boasts 17 treatment rooms, saunas, an aromatic steam room, horizontal rain showers and a bubbling hydrotherapy seawater pool. Don't forget to finish off your treatment by lazing on a heated tile lounger!  

For skin care fanatics, rest assured that Holland America's spas are all supported by Elemis products, so your pores are in safe hands.  

If you're keen to level up that post holiday glow, why not get your hair done at the full-service salon, or even dabble in a little something extra at the medi-spa?

Cunard

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 ship is synonymous with luxury, so it's no surprise that the onboard spa is a cut above the rest.  

Mareel Wellness and Beauty Spa boasts all your regulars, plus a few Cunard specialties. Keep your eyes peeled for the Ocean Odyssey treatments, which incorporate seaweed and marine salts in facials and massages. The aromatherapy body exfoliation is also a guaranteed good time, leaving your skin buffed and smelling better than ever.  

Mareel Spa also features a nail and hair salon, gym, wide range of fitness classes and a huge Aqua Therapy Centre that boasts a Finnish sauna, thalassotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, sensory showers and a reflexology basin.  

Silversea 

If you're after an all-encompassing spa experience, book your next cruise onboard Silversea's Silver Dawn. Here, you'll find the Otium Spa and Wellness Concept.  

Inspired by the Romans with a focus on holistic indulgence, all guests can enjoy access to a steam room and sauna with personalised scrub and loofah. While relaxing in the thermal suite, be sure to take advantage of the complimentary champagne and nibbles.  

Prefer the comfort of your own suite? Otium will send out a butler with sunscreen and drinks in warmer climates, or a cosy blanket and hot chocolate in the winter. Enjoy these while they draw you a bath with your choice of scent, mood lighting and music, before leaving you to soak in unbridled bliss.

Viking Ocean Cruises

Inspired by Nordic traditions which balance out hot and cold therapies to help stimulate circulation, all Viking Ocean cruise ships come fitted with a LivNordic Spa operated by the Stockholm-based Raison d'Etre. 

These serene spas feature everything from a thalassotherapy pool and hot tubs, to Norwegian-style bucket showers, steamy saunas and a snow grotto (meant to mimic rolling in the snow after sweating it out in the sauna).  

LivNordic's spa treatment menu boasts everything from specialised facials and Swedish massage, to a dedicated salon space offering haircuts, styling, manicures and pedicures. The best bit? Unlike many other cruise lines, Norwegian's thermal suite areas are complimentary for all passengers.

A man receives a shoulder massage

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi

A man receives a shoulder massage

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi

A man receives a shoulder massage

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi

MSC Cruises

Enjoy a slice of island life with MSC cruises Aurea Spa - the only Balinese-style spa at sea. At Aurea Spa, treatment options range from facials and body treatments to massages with options like Balinese, Thai, hot stone and Himalayn sea salt. You can also go for a buff, polish and shine at the onboard salons and gym. 

MSC's newer Seaside EVO-class ships are also home to a huge thermal suite. Here, you can take relaxation to the next level, with the suits boasting:

  • chromotherapy shower circuits 
  • saunas 
  • hot tub  
  • aromatherapy rain showers 
  • arctic showers 
  • Himalayan salt rooms 
  • snow rooms  
  • relaxation areas 
  • steam rooms 
  • Finnish saunas 
  • hydrotherapy pool 
  • whirlpools 
  • steams baths

If you're travelling on the EVO-class ships, we recommend booking Aurea class to enjoy complimentary access to the thermal suite.

Virgin Voyages

The newest kid on the block has pulled out the big guns in relaxation, with Virgin Voyages Redemption Spa serving as a haven from the upbeat energy pulsing through the rest of the ship.  

Operating under the motto "detox then retox", Redemption Spa offers a wide range of modern spa and beauty treatments with brow bars, lash extensions, rainbow hair tints, beach braids and more. Grab a mani-pedi by the pool, or mark the occasion with a tattoo from Squid Ink tattoo parlour (the first of its kind at sea).  

No cruise is complete without the infamous thermal suite. Virgin Voyages' comes fit with a mud room, hot and cold therapies, steamy sauna, pool and heated loungers.

A couple in bathrobes share a drink inside a cruise ship
A couple in bathrobes share a drink inside a cruise ship
A couple in bathrobes share a drink inside a cruise ship

Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas' Serene Spa is known for luxury and relaxation. Fit with marble flooring, Swarovski crystal sculptures and infinity-edge pools at the back of some ships, guests are welcome to indulge in a range of treatments inspired by global wellness practices. 

We recommend combining these cutting edge treatments with the complimentary Aquavana Hydrothermal Experience. Here you can step in and out of experiential showers employing varying pressures and temperatures, marinate in aromatic steam rooms and encourage circulation by switching between a cold room and infrared saunas.  

Depending on your itinerary, you can even participate in luxury shore wellness tours like soaking in the thermal bathes of the Popes in Viterbo, or joining a meditation class in the Mediterranean Islands. 
 

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises' entire fleet is fitted with the Lotus Spa services and body treatments like hot stones, soothing massages, detoxifying ocean wraps, manicures, pedicures and more.  

Beyond Lotus Spa's extensive menu, a fan-favourite onboard is the scrub and shine bar in the Enclave where cruisers can order a tailored body scrub from the mixologists. Sunburn and cracked heels from all that time in flips flops? Not anymore! 

Norwegian Cruise Line 

With more than 50 different specialty treatments offered onboard, Norwegian's Mandara Spa is considered to be one of the most innovative and accommodating at sea.  

Enjoy some well-earned me time and take your pick from spa and salon services that include blissful body wraps, skin polishes, warm milk baths, frangipani and coconut wraps, heated seaweed foil wraps and even a "four hands massage". Double the hands = double the relaxation.  

Beyond the Mandara Spa services, different Norwegian ships will offer unique wellness experiences. For example, Norwegian Epic has a soothing whirlpool, while Norwegian Breakaway, Getaway and Prima boast dedicated halotherapy treatments, aka a salt room to mimic the salt caves in Eastern Europe. 

A cruise ship sails beside a rainbow
A cruise ship sails beside a rainbow
A cruise ship sails beside a rainbow

Notable Mentions for your next cruise vacation

P&O - Elemis at Sea

Modelled on the Elemis international day spas, P&O cruise ships feature a comprehensive Elemis menu, medi-spa, traditional Chinese medicine treatments, fitness centre and beauty bar. 

Seabourn 

Boasting a mindful living program curated by integrative medicine expert, Dr Andrew Weil, Seabourn guests can enjoy yoga, guided meditations, "earth grounding" massages, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine consultations, crystal sound baths and access to the fitness centre.

Ready to conquer the ocean from the comfort of a massage table? 

Check out our cruising packages online, or chat with your local Flight Centre Travel Expert to suss out the best itinerary (and spa menu) for your next holiday.

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