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Most of us have been there – we go on holiday and we let our health regime go on one too. Our cheat day turns into a cheat week, and before you know it, you have more than a fridge magnet for a souvenir.
While many people revitalise themselves by doing absolutely nothing on holiday, some cruise lines now cater to the health conscious by providing facilities and programmes that leave you sharper and fitter than when you arrived.
We asked modern luxury cruise line Celebrity Cruises what a sample itinerary might look like on locally-based ship, Celebrity Solstice – a stylish ship ideal for travellers who not only want to relax, but also want to improve their body and mind on their journey.
Day 1 – Boarding
First things first – you are going to need to book in for a massage to leave behind the tension built up from day to day life. Most cruise ships will have somewhere where guests can get a massage but look out for ships with a Canyon Ranch Spa, which is a recognised brand across the globe for its treatments. You can start with a full body treatment with ingredients such as arctic cloudberries, yuzu mimosa sea algae, warming gingergrass and orange blossoms. Then complete the session with a Canyon Stone massage which uses heated smooth basalt stone to relieve pressure points.
For those who literally want to come back a new person there is also a range of non-surgical treatments such as Botox and Juvederm gel fillers to lift the cheeks and smooth lines, giving you a youthful exuberance your family and friends will envy on your return.
Day 2 – At Sea
It’s time to get moving.
If you don’t mind an early start it is worth getting up for the sunrise and a jog (or a stroll!) around the running track on the top deck of the Celebrity Solstice. Looking at the surrounding ocean with the sun on the waves, feeling the cool sea air combined with endorphins is the best way to start a day. Every 5 laps on the track is a kilometre – see how many you can clock up by the end of the trip.
The fitness centre on board Solstice features a variety of cardio and core training equipment, including stationary bicycles, rowing machines, treadmills, and free weights. If you’re not sure what to do, then taking a fitness class is highly recommended. There’s Pilates and yoga on offer for a range of levels. If that gets you feeling pumped, then you might as well take advantage of the gym’s Bodystat® Composition Analysis during which PT’s will give you a personal session to achieve your goals, whether they are cardiovascular fitness or body sculpting.
Day 3 – At Sea
Solstice class ships also have a lot of opportunities to play sport, largely thanks to their half acre of real grass lawn on the top deck, unique to Celebrity Cruises. There you’ll find all the equipment you need to play boules, bocce, and baggo, all pairing leisurely amounts of exercise with enormous amounts of socialising!
The main difference between bocce and boules is that bocce balls do not have a weighted bias. Meanwhile baggo, lesser known in this part of the world, is a game where contestants throw a bean bag at wooden platform with a hole in it. It’s three points for getting the bag through the hole and one point for landing on the platform. At different times the lawn is also set up for croquet which is great fun if you’ve never tried it.
On most cruises there’s also a pool volleyball game held between the guests and the officers who jump in wearing uniform. They claim to be unbeatable, so ship souvenirs are up for grabs for anyone who can prove them wrong. This is always a crowd favourite.
Day 4 – Arrive in Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
After a leisurely day by the beach in the South Pacific, it’s time to get moving. If gyms and sports haven’t so far inspired you, we know this will. Celebrity’s “Let’s Dance” programmes include lessons for salsa, jive, ballroom, and even hip hop! They also teach international style cha cha cha including the basic step, New York step, and the underarm turn. The waltz lessons include basic box, turning box, hesitation step, and a promenade step. The instructors are often from the onboard theatre’s cast and really know their stuff.
Tonight – it’s time to try out everything you learned on the dancefloor in one of the most novel ways possible – the silent disco. Everyone at the disco is given a pair of earphones playing different music on three different channels, which guests can switch between at will. There’s something for everyone, 60’s rock and roll, to the latest pop beats. Take the earphones off and you’ll be met with a crowd of swaying bodies in a silent room, save for the odd crooner deciding to sing along to the music. The event is extremely popular and has been known to spill onto two decks with everyone from 9 to 90 getting into it.
Day 5 – Arrive in Mystery Island, Vanuatu
If you’re going to indulge in the devil’s drink on your cruise holiday, then you might as well learn something from it in a food and wine pairing work shop or a mixology tutorial. One intriguing experience is the ‘Blendtique’ winemaking experience where guests blend their own wine from a few basic varietals. Celebrity Cruises has 23 sommeliers plus one Cellar Master on each Solstice Class ship. Each Celebrity Cruises ship has a 10,000+ bottle wine cellar carrying over 400 labels of wine, meaning the sommeliers have to know their stuff. Celebrity Cruises has a rare wine collection including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1898, Heidsieck Monopole Champagne 1907, Chateau Latour 1929, Chateau Margaux 1929, Chateau Petrus 1978 and Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.
Day 6 – Arrive in Lifou, Loyalty Islands
With all the memories you are going to be making on shore, you ought to take advantage of the digital camera seminars in the iLounge on Deck 6 which is equipped with MacBook Pros and iMacs that make it easy to work with digital photos. There are GoPro seminars that teach passengers how to use the action camera while demonstrating all its capabilities, as well as portrait-taking classes with a digital camera led by the private studio photographer. Certified Apple experts also cover everything from photo-editing using Apple apps to movie-making on Mac computers and iPads.
Day 7 – Arrive in Noumea, New Caledonia
Keeping the ball rolling you can then check out the ship’s own extensive collection of art in the gallery. Few people have attended a live art auction, so now’s your chance to check out this high-energy and entertaining experience. At the auction, you will have a chance to view featured artwork from the onboard collection while sipping complimentary champagne.
Day 8 – At Sea
Something you definitely didn’t expect to learn about on your cruise holiday is glass blowing, but Celebrity Cruises has launched the Hot Glass Show, by Corning Museum of Glass, with live demonstrations and an explanation on how it works. At the end of each cruise, the creations are auctioned off to provide funds for a glass blowing scholarship that keeps the traditional craft alive.
Day 9 – At Sea
To expand the mind even further, Celebrity Cruises have organised their Beyond the Podium lecture series in conjunction with Smithsonian Journeys. Expert speakers present on a range of topics on the culture and history of destinations in your itinerary. For example in the South Pacific region, lecture titles include Australian Culture & History, Of Ships and Shipping, New Mai! Welcome to New Zealand. The cruise line employs 500 speakers annually.
Day 10 – Disembark
Your cruise holiday has come to an end but by no means is the journey over. You’re taking away with you all the new sights, skills, and sensations you’ve experienced. Taking the time to temporarily leave the stress of daily life behind and just focus on you could be just the ticket to get shipshape, mentally and physically, this summer.
Last minute Luxury Celebrity Cruises has special fares from NZD$ $1,899 per person twin share for a Balcony Stateroom for a 9-night cruise onboard Celebrity Solstice departing Sydney on 21 March 2018, calling to Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Lifou and Noumea. See celebritycruises.co.nz for details.