Cruising has always fueled the imagination with dreams of far-flung destinations, and 2020’s unimaginable pause in cruising has amplified those dreams tenfold. It is very likely that we took this indulgent mode of travel for granted … but never again. Only when it was taken away from us could we fully appreciate the privilege of high-seas travel.
Destinations can play an important part in our cruise decisions, but I realized long ago that sometimes just getting away from it all, with nowhere in sight, is just as appealing. For those with a propensity to seek total relaxation, these extended types of cruises are an easy sell. That said, I like to think of myself as a spry, young-at-heart, 40-year-old cruise aficionado. (I like to think that, but reality bites with the fact that my mid-life era passed some 20 years ago.) I’m not one to buy into the idea that I’m supposed to sail quietly into the golden years with cruise selections that reflect a sedentary lifestyle. So then what could I possibly be thinking in choosing two transatlantic cruises with a majority of the days spent at sea?
Today’s Holland America Line has taken on the challenge of implementing a peppy, more buoyant appeal while upholding its hallmark reputation of first-class cruising, ideal for a transatlantic voyage. And if you’re looking for a dose of pure luxury complemented by an all-inclusive upscale experience, coming home from Europe with Crystal Cruises is a very astute choice. Encouraged by recommendations from like-minded friends about their experience aboard Holland America’s Koningsdam, I figure a two-week slow boat journey would fill the prescription for an invigorating springtime reboot. This wouldn’t be my first rodeo with multiple days at sea. I would board in Ft. Lauderdale, aim for Rome, and disembark a New Me.
The black-hulled beauty had earned stellar acclaim since its debut in 2016, and as first impressions go, I am immediately impressed by this energetically charged vessel with a rhythmic pulse. This cruise would provide the perfect opportunity to start a procrastinated fitness regimen, one easily put off by lame excuses at home. Taking the reins on day one, the New Me saddles up on a high-tech elliptical in the ship’s exceptionally well-equipped gym. Earbuds in and new sneakers on, I’m out of the chute on a calorie-burning quest to offset the cruise’s inevitable adult beverage and culinary intake.
Furthering the path towards physical rejuvenation, the extravagant Greenhouse Spa & Salon provides essential physical tweaks with an inviting menu of new agespa therapies. Armed with the latest technologies, a staff of 27 amazingly trained technicians tend to the task of toning, sculpting, and pampering well-worn bodies.
The industry leader in onboard spas, One Spa World has gone far beyond fundamental massage and hair care with treatments that promote transformational wellness, affording a much-needed reset on the tendency to neglect life’s nagging issues. Aromatherapy, seaweed wraps, detox regimens, and educational seminars on every type of health issue encourage good intentions. If it’s the physical aesthetics that could use a touch-up, there is something for every parcel of the body with teeth whitening, cellulite busting technology, and enhanced facial treatments.
The spa’s centerpiece hydro pool is a bubbling masterstroke of mineral enriched renewal, and the adjacent Thermal Suite beckons with steam rooms, infrared saunas, rain showers, and heated lounge chairs fulfilling the promise of total indulgence. Exotic cruise destinations come and go but this hot spot is one that is with you every day of the cruise.
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