Everything You Need to Know About Wellness Cruises

In 2019, healthy travel was all the rage. More than ever before, people are looking to book vacations that aren’t just about leisure and relaxation, but that also incorporate fitness of the mind and body. Yoga retreats are a prime example of this trend, but there’s a new type of vacation that’s really taken off in the last year: wellness cruises.

Cruising has grown to be one of the most popular types of vacations for families and couples alike. People of all ages are booking cruises around the world, from Alaska to the Mediterranean. But rather than indulging in endless shrimp at the buffet or high-calorie cocktails by the pool, travellers are looking for an alternative — a healthy alternative. This is where wellness cruises come in. On such a cruise, your day might begin with a sunrise yoga class on the starboard deck, followed by a protein-packed smoothie for breakfast. From there, you might choose to relax beside the seawater pool with a book in hand or get a hot stone massage at the full-service spa before participating in a mid-afternoon spin class. You’ll pick up a vegan power bowl for lunch, and then in the evening, you’ll enjoy a gourmet meal made with local ingredients sourced from yesterday’s port. All of this will prepare you for the kite-surfing session you plan to do at tomorrow’s port. If this sounds like your idea of heaven, then a wellness cruise might be for you.

To meet the demand of this growing industry, new health and wellness-focused amenities have cropped up on existing cruise lines — and these go well beyond fully equipped gyms. For example, Oceania Cruises and Celebrity Cruises have both teamed up with Canyon Ranch to offer “wellness tours” in the Mediterranean and Latin America. These itineraries incorporate excursions like rainforest yoga in Costa Rica and offer on-board amenities such as free pilates classes and top-notch spa pairings. Meanwhile, Seabourn recently partnered with Dr. Andrew Weil to introduce a mindful living program where world-renowned health and wellness experts offer workshops and events on board, and Silversea Cruises unveiled a new type of voyage dubbed “Wellness Expeditions,” that features techno gyms, complimentary spa treatments, and nutrition counselling.

In addition to these existing lines that have made health-centric changes in the last two years, a brand-new cruise line has popped up. Blue World Voyage is slated to become the world’s first-ever active lifestyle cruise line. According to John Richards, CEO of Blue World Voyages, each ship will offer golf and soccer simulators, an entire Spa Deck with indoor and outdoor pools and a solarium, swimmers’ treadmills, and a limited number of Bali beds where select guests can sleep under the stars and have access to a private butler. When it comes to shore excursions, itineraries will be port specific. What’s unique about Blue World is that the smaller size of the fleet will allow vessels to dock at remote harbours and off-the-beaten path locations, providing passengers with a truly one-of-a-kind travel experience.

No matter which of these cruises strike your fancy, it’s clear that the number of on-board and off-shore excursions and amenities are becoming increasingly health-conscious. Raw juice bars, vegan cuisine, exercise facilities for CrossFit, yoga, cycling, meditation, seminars from leading health professionals, personal trainers, full-service spas, and active adventures involving kayaking, hiking, and diving can all be expected. There are even cruises devoted entirely to specific sports, such as golf, running, and yoga.

This new wave of travel is an attempt to woo cruising newcomers who may have previously found cruises incompatible with their active lifestyle, as well as veterans who might be looking for a new experience that combines leisure and convenience with health and wellness. We can’t wait to see how this new form of travel takes off in the years to come.


Images via Blue World Voyages

Emily Southey
Emily Southey is a freelance writer from Vancouver. Currently based in Toronto, it was during her time studying History and English at McGill and University College London that she became interested in writing. When she's not working, you can typically find her in a museum, baking cupcakes, watching Disney musicals, or Instagramming her new favourite coffee spot.