New expedition ships are popping up; wellness programs are the new norm; and the open seas are inviting adventurous clients to charge up their adrenaline.
Used to be that most clients would sit on their sea-gazing balcony staring out at the surrounding ocean and they’d reach meditative bliss. Boy, how times have changed—reaching Nirvana while sailing the high seas or rivers of the world now means training with an Olympic ski champion or waking up extra early for yoga on the deck. Sure, today’s travelers want some time on their balcony contemplating life, but being able to take their active lifestyle with them while on vacation is just as—if not more—important to them.
“Being active and healthy while traveling is something that is personally so important to me,” says Kristin Karst, executive v.p. and co-owner of AmaWaterways, in a press release statement, “and as a company, AmaWaterways has been embracing active travel for more than a decade. We believe guests are looking to take steps to ensure that their vacation time is an extension of their wellness-oriented lifestyle.”
Beyond the onboard bikes passengers can hop on to cycle over to the next riverside town, AmaWaterways recently introduced a wellness program on board AmaLyra’s Paris & Normandy sailings. The program features four to six classes daily, including morning stretches, jogging, yoga, cardio and core strengthening, and circuit training. Complementing the activities, the program also features discussion groups with a focus on healthy eating and relaxation techniques. And when passengers sit down to dine, they can choose from gluten-free, low-sodium or vegetarian menu options; as Karst notes, “cuisine is such a major part of river cruising, and sacrificing a few calories doesn’t need to mean sacrificing taste.”
AmaWaterways is set to spread the wellness factor by introducing the program on board additional ships in 2018; and in 2019, when the line introduces its new ship, AmaMagna, guests will be able to pursue their wellness goals on the ship’s retractable watersports platform and expanded fitness and spa facilities.
For its part, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Wellness excursion and spa pairings program will have passengers ditching their tai chi class at the neighborhood park for a more hypnotizing session in a 19th century palace in France. This is just one of the many options available as part of the line’s holistic wellness program, and although initially launched for 2017 only, Jason Montague, the cruise line’s president and CEO, said in a press release statement that “the response to the program announcement has been so great that we’ve decided also to offer it in 2018.”
Seven Seas Voyager guests can choose from 11 Seven Seas Wellness excursions, ranging from the aforementioned tai chi to yoga, hydrothermal therapy and aromatherapy, as well as hiking. There’s Vinyasa yoga in Monte Carlo, a Nordic morning walk in Palma de Mallorca, and even a laughter therapy session in Palamos, Spain. And the cherry on top of the active excursion is that guests get to choose one of five rejuvenating and included treatments by Canyon RanchSpaClub, including the wickedly named Tangle Me Up Organic Body Wrap.
The program is offered on 7- to 10-night Med itineraries on board the Seven Seas Voyager through Sept. 28, 2017, as well as select 2018 sailings. There is a supplemental charge of $299 per guest per wellness experience and spa service pairing.
For a high-intensity workout, point your clients to Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Europa 2 sailings, and specifically those with Olympic ski champion Maria Hofl-Riesch on board. Whether it’s sailing in the Seychelles or in the middle of the Atlantic, the ship will be offering the BE.YOU. training program developed exclusively for the ship by the 3-time Olympic champ. Guests will get an analysis of individual physical performance, allowing guests to take on a physical challenge that is suited for them. Throughout the cruise, there will be group training sessions provided by Hofl-Riesch and her trainers.
In 2017, Hofl-Riesch will be on board the Oct. 15, 13-day sailing from Lisbon to New York; and in 2018, she’ll be getting the passengers fit on the March 12, 15-day sailing from Bali to Bangkok. On all other cruises guests can experience the BE.YOU. program through intro courses.
New Adventures on the Water
With hearts pumping and endorphins kicking after a fitness class, clients will be energized to explore the destinations they visit, especially when it’s an itinerary jam-packed with high-powered activities. Take UnCruise Adventures’ new Rivers of Adventure itinerary that sails along the Columbia and Snake rivers. The S.S. Legacy will have eight departures for this itinerary that sail between Portland, Oregon and Lewiston, Idaho from mid-August to October 2018. River exploration means a jet boat ride into Hells Canyon, Deschutes River white-water rafting, hiking, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking and skiff tours. According to UnCruise Adventures’ CEO, Captain Dan Blanchard, the Columbia & Snake river system is an outdoor enthusiasts’ mecca.
Hiking, Zodiac tours, snorkeling, wildlife viewing and swimming are on the menu in the Galapagos, and now there are more ways for your clients to get in on the action in this natural playground. Where once they offered only one—Celebrity Xpedition—now Celebrity Cruises offers three intimate ships with the addition of Celebrity Xperience and Celebrity Xploration. The latter is ideal for a small group—perhaps a multigenerational booking—as it’s a 16-guest catamaran with eight rooms. On offer across the Galapagos-focused fleet are itineraries that last anywhere from 10 to 16 nights, and on the cruise line’s new Galapagos-dedicated website (celebritycruises.com/galapagos) you can check out itineraries that run through June 2019 and are already bookable.
Pump Up the Exploration Factor
With clients wanting to explore further and further afield, it’s no surprise that expedition ships are gaining in popularity. Next June, for example, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will debut the National Geographic Venture, sister ship to National Geographic Quest, which launched last month. The 100-guest, 50-cabin Venture will be outfitted with 24 sea kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling equipment, and Zodiacs, all so guests can immerse themselves in the great outdoors. On its first sailing, the ship will explore the Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia on a 14-day expedition cruise that also includes a day in the San Juan Islands and the Gulf Islands before heading north.
Hurtigruten, meanwhile, is looking to July 2018 for the debut of its 530-passenger Roald Amundsen, showcasing the very latest in innovative environmentally friendly technology. The innovations on this ship and its sister ship, Fridtjof Nansen, which will debut in 2019, will allow for it to sail silently along the ice edge in Antarctica as it explores the destination on the 19-day Discover Antarctica, Patagonia and the Chilean Fjords-Southbound, during which guests will be able to go hiking, kayaking and get up-close with wildlife.
Scenic’s “discovery yacht,” the Scenic Eclipse, will soon be on your menu of options for well-heeled and adventurous clients. The mega-yacht will feature such “fun” amenities as helicopters, submarines, Zodiacs, kayaks and scuba gear, and will accommodate 228 passengers, although that goes down to 200 when sailing in Antarctica. Speaking of the latter, the yacht will sail the world, including to remote regions such as Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, the fjords of Norway and Chile, Svalbard in the Arctic Circle, and the Viking trail that traverses across Scotland, Iceland and Greenland to Atlantic Canada. Its inaugural voyage is set for Aug. 31, 2018 departing from Athens.
The following year, in 2019, Crystal Cruises will debut the first of its three newbuild expedition polar class mega-yachts, which will also be outfitted with submarines, helicopters, and remote-operated vehicles. The ships will cruise in the Arctic; then follow the route of migrating whales along the coast of the Americas and Europe to Antarctica during winter.
Celebrity Cruises: celebrity.com
Crystal Cruises: crystalcruises.com
Regent Seven Seas Cruises: rssc.com
Scenic Cruises: scenicusa.com
UnCruise Adventures: uncruise.com