A Washington to Venice flight launched our first cruise aboard Oceania Cruises last fall.
An amazing value, shipboard spas by Canyon Ranch complement the entire fleet of Oceania Cruises. When their new ship – Oceania Riviera – debuts this spring, Canyon Ranch SpaClub® will celebrate with two special cruises offering high-energy wellness and vitality programs.
Identical to sister ship Oceania Marina which debuted in 2011, the Oceania Riviera combines European style with American vitality. Both ships are spacious, mid-size (capacity just 1,250 passengers), enriched by the Canyon Ranch SpaClub – from dining to bodywork, staying well, and looking your best.
Getting to the ship is simple: airfare is included in the cost of your cruise accommodation. And with current offerings, two persons share flights and cruise for the same price.
Planning starts with a concierge call; George at Oceania Cruises headquarters in Miami provided details and helped me through the online booking process. While an experienced travel agent can expedite reservations (i.e. upgrade on airline), there are personal choices that will enhance your trip. Such as:
– Adding a few days prior to sailing at the port of embarkation. We had to be in Venice, Italy, for the cruise departure last September; Oceania Cruises offers pre- and post-cruise hotel packages but diversion from the program was expertly handled by George.
– Staying on the Concierge Deck with 24/7 use of a comfortable lounge, free snacks and coffee/tea, gets you free access to the spa and fitness center.
– Pre-booking spa treatments and salon services.
– Pre-booking dinner club reservations at no additional cost.
The adventure began at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. one of 22 U.S. and Canadian gateways from which Oceania Cruises issues economy class air tickets. Our Air France flight to Venice via Paris had tight connections, dashing through Security checkpoints, but we arrived on schedule. Then a water taxi from airport to hotel; exhilarating and expensive. Gliding to the door of Hotel Boscolo Venezia (more on our stay later) was a very Venetian experience. After a recuperative treatment in the hotel’s garden spa, we used their complimentary speedboat to reach St. Mark’s Square and dinner at Harry’s Bar.
Boarding the cruise ship in Venice is another matter. Water taxi to the pier cost $150; public water bus (called vaporetto) to the cruise ship terminal has limited stops, takes you far from the ship. Opting for a private water taxi, we stepped ashore while our luggage went directly to the ship. Early boarding is another perk for Concierge Deck passengers, so we checked in, had photo taken for key card, and enjoyed an expansive buffet lunch before unpacking. Staying aboard ship, we used a complimentary shuttle bus to the vaporetto terminal, cruised the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge, walked to Teatro La Fenice, the glamorous, historic opera house in the center of Venice, for a performance of “La Traviata” followed by pizza.
Shipshape at Sea
High atop the ship, Canyon Ranch SpaClub is an oasis of calm and comfort: Lounges, open-air deck with whirlpool, cabana chaises, 10 treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling window; couples’ suites for side-by-side services. Trainers personalize workouts with Kinesis and TechnoGym equipment, studio sessions of yoga, spinning, Pilates, aerobic step and Bosu® ball classes. Set your own pace with a fitness pass ($99) or pay per class. The daily facility fee ($25) is waived with spa services, and for passengers on Concierge Deck and top suites.
Steps from a seawater swimming pool, running track, and deck sports, the SpaClub’s exercise equipment comes with panoramic seaviews, TV screens,. Guided walks and stretches are free, but a personal trainer is a good investment to keep you on track.
Staffed by 17 therapists and estheticians, SpaClub reflects standards at Canyon Ranch resorts. The range of services includes facials with the Canyon Ranch line, medical-grade Environ, or holistic Sjal products. Massage can be gentle Swedish style, seriously Thai, or deep-tissue relief. An acupuncturist treats back, neck, and shoulder pain. A window-walled salon cares for hair and nails.
Aboard the Marina last September on a 12-day cruise from Venice to Istanbul, we loved the feeling of a classic ocean liner – spacious yet never crowded – and gracious service by an attentive, international crew. Itineraries for all Oceania Cruises are port-intensive, so we were in new places every day. Which is great for spagoers who want to work out or schedule treatments while most passengers are ashore.
Canyon Ranch’s Sea Coordinator Amanda Pelletier personalizes scheduling reservations prior to your cruise. Call or email to make reservations. The number is 702-414-3600 ext 85230 or toll-free 866-860-4662; email email@example.com. Contact her at least 7 days before the cruise departs – up to 60 days before your sailing date. A full menu of services and treatments is online at the Oceania Cruises website or www.canyonranch.com and then click on SpaClub
In addition to the convenience of pre-booking, you can avoid the spa access charge. Passengers in some categories of cabins get free access; others pay daily or weekly fee. But with spa services, you enjoy complimentary access to the private spa deck as well as the fitness center, lounges, and saunas.
Dining options include the Canyon Ranch Healthy Living menu served in the Grand Dining Room, vegetarian selections, kosher and special diets. Supper clubs offer Italian, French, Asian and steak specialties (no extra charge). Or cook lunch at the Bon Appétit culinary center (fee). Wine lovers have a glass-walled aerie on Deck 14: La Reserve offers a seven-course wine-pairing dinner for a $75 wine charge. But the tapas bar is a bargain, open most afternoons for wine and food pairings at $15 per person. And room service is free, including mineral water and soft drinks.
Even the fare at the poolside grill was fit for a king: salads, lobster medallions, and Black Angus filet mignon on deck all afternoon. Temptations abound: ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, and smoothies made to order; Also hot dogs and burgers. All free.
Staterooms are like studio apartments or hotel suites: Walnut paneling, supple fabrics, plush furnishings, queen-size bed, full bath and shower, teak veranda. Concierge deck’s lounge adds reservation service, refreshments, Internet. Larger staterooms feature exercise equipment, whirlpool, furniture by Ralph Lauren Home and interior designer Dakota Jackson, and complimentary access to SpaClub.
Oceania Cruises now features Canyon Ranch SpaClub aboard its entire fleet, sailing from ports in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Many of the extra charges on other ships are included in the Oceania Cruises offer: two-for-one fares and your airline ticket from 22 U.S. and Canadian gateways to embarkation.
The glow lingered months after we returned home.
Vitality & Wellness Cruises – summer/fall specials in 2012
In addition to healthy eating and fitness tips, gain insights on enhancing mental wellness to live life to the fullest. Spinning, yoga and Pilates classes are also offered at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and gourmet Canyon Ranch spa cuisine is available.
Regatta “Pearls of the Aegean” – August 8, 2012; 10 days, Venice-Athens
Riviera “Accent on Italy” – October 24, 2012; 10 days, Rome-Venice