Insider's Guide to Spas
Oceania Cruises

My Spa Experience

Spa Treatments at Sea

Debbi K. Kickham

I recently sailed for 28 days on the Oceania Insignia, where visiting the Canyon Ranch SpaClub—and taking advantage of all of its amenities—was a great pleasure that offered oceans of health benefits, fun, and an incomparable way to de-stress.

The added bonus of sailing on Oceania is that the line also offers a wealth of Canyon Ranch spa cuisine, which is something I always lust after. I love being able to eat lowfat, delicious foods that I can enjoy without any guilt. The Canyon Ranch cuisine is available on all menus. For example, the gourmet vegan breakfast includes chocolate-cherry muffins; lunch of gazpacho with lasagna; and dinner of stir-fried veggies in coconut milk and lemongrass. Eat these delights, and you can take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary.

Upstairs on the ninth deck, you’ll find the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, with its array of amenities (steam room, thalassotherapy pool, and private sun deck) and terrific treatments. And let me say this about the Canyon Ranch SpaClub aromatherapy massage: I was transformed. Oh yes, into Sponge Deb. I absorbed every stroke, caress, every oil-infused effleurage by my Polish masseuse, Monika, and it was one of the best massages of my life. I’m writing this article and still thinking about it. I definitely felt the love.

Let me say this about the Canyon Ranch SpaClub aromatherapy massage: I was transformed.

Why? For 80 minutes, my tired and daily-worked-out body was lovingly, gently, kindly, stroked with a peppermint oil, in a series of rhythmic movements like a dance on my body. It started on my back and shoulders, worked its way down to my legs, then I turned over and it was spa-sensation time for my face, scalp, legs, and arms. It was an incredible massage, and one that should definitely be scheduled late in the day so that you can return to your stateroom afterwards and take a nap. (And let me say this about Oceania’s decadent Tranquility Bed: it wowed my weary body.)

Monika studied in Poland (which is the land of first-class salons and health spas, especially in Zakopane), and she kept telling me  how delighted she was to hear me repeatedly tell her how terrific the massage felt. No heavy pounding here. I wanted a light touch, a rubdown with a velvet glove, and that’s exactly what I got.

On another day, I visited the spa for an Environ facial from esthetician, Georgia, who hails from the UK. It started with a makeup remover from the results-oriented Environ line (which is not typically offered on cruise ships, so this was a treat). Environ was created by Dr. Des Fernandes of South Africa, a world-renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon. More than 25 years ago, he  realized that the cosmetics of the future had to contain adequate amounts of Vitamin A, C, and other antioxidants.

Georgia applied a main cleanser “to create a fresh canvas for the skin.”  After that, she applied a pre-cleansing oil with a clay mask and a gel that is a natural exfoliator containing alpha-hydroxy acids. “They eat at the dead skin cells like Pac-Man,” Georgia told me. She performed a few extractions, and a massage of the gel to slough off excess dead skin cells, before applying a toner with lactic acid to moisturize the skin.

Next, mainly around my eye area, she did micro-needling, a form of collagen stimulation therapy, which creates tiny pinpricks and naturally sends receptors through the skin cells to make the skin create more collagen and elastin. The intention is to make your skin naturally heal, producing more collagen and elastin on the surface layer. This prepares the skin for deeper penetration of serums. Who doesn’t love that? At that point, I looked and felt 10 years younger.

Georgia applied three different serums, then massaged body oil into my face and neck. This was followed by a special collagen mask that was applied in sections to even out skin tone and reduce redness and irritation. Then came for me, the best part: the scalp massage. When was the last time someone caressed your head? In my humble opinion, scalp massages are an underrated treatment that are sure to make you melt.

Of note: If you book your stateroom on a Concierge Level or Suite, you can even enjoy free unlimited access to the beautifully appointed Canyon Ranch private Spa Terrace.

And here’s something else. Oceania has just launched an exclusive new shore excursion series called “Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch.” It’s a winner. Ashore, in Cadiz, I visited an apiary that makes beauty products with its honey. Sweet!









Debbi K. Kickham

Debbi K. Kickham

Debbi K. Kickham is a former editor of Robb Report magazine and the author of the bestseller, “The Globetrotter's Get-Gorgeous Guide.”