As ships get larger, they compete not just on food and service, but increasingly on the variety and scale of activities and amenities they offer to passengers. Virtually every modern ship above a certain size has a spa these days, but the latest and greatest venue in the on-board spa scene comes from Costa.
Launched in July 2006 in Rome, Costa's new flagship Concordia makes history with the introduction of its 20,500 square foot Samsara Spa, the largest spa at sea. Extending over two decks and entirely overlooking the sea, it offers a full menu of treatments, a state-of-the-art fitness center, exclusive spa accommodations, and a specialty restaurant.
"Samsara" is a Sanskrit word meaning "the continual spiritual search for nirvana," and all the therapies and treatments offered are based on age-old techniques and ancient oriental rituals.
|Tridosha Sanctuary||Golden Sun Garden|
The decor of the spa is as grand as its size, with mosaic-tiled statues throughout, waterfalls, and inlaid wooden floors edged in delicate tiles. A spiral staircase leads between the decks.
Spa Innovations Within the spa are several areas never before offered on a ship. The Temple of Peace is a sumptuous relaxation and meditation lounge complete with beds, couch seating and large floor cushions for meditation. The Tridosha Sanctuary, based on the concept of the original Turkish Baths, has grottos and chambers that release a variety of dry heat, steam and mists into the air with aromatherapy-filled vapors; it also features a heated ceramic lounge. The Thalassotherapy Bath is a bubbling pool heated to body temperature. The Golden Sun Garden gives guests a way to tan without venturing outside, with comfortable chaise lounges and heated sun lamps. And the Japanese Tea House serves revitalizing herbal Ayurvedic blends of tea.
In addition, the spa complex offers a gym with state-of-the art Technogym equipment and expert personal trainers giving fitness lessons in aerobics, spinning, yoga, Pilates, and music therapy.
|Temple of Peace||Masaage Room|
Treatments offered at the spa include a variety of massages, facial cleansing and nourishing therapies. Passengers will also find a complete beauty salon and a barber shop.
All face and body treatments begin with the Shanti Foot Cleansing Ritual, a procedure that is said to "wash away the past and bring one into the blissful reverie of the present moment."
Spa Accommodations The Concordia's Samsara Spa is also the first spa at sea that passengers can actually live in. The ship has 55 cabins and 12 suites located right inside the center, with direct access to the spa. Guests who book these accommodations will have exclusive perks, including a flat screen television and a special set of elegant Elemis bath amenities. Also included with the cabin is a "Welcome Ritual" along with two complimentary fitness classes, a personalized "wellness consultation" with a spa expert, two treatments, two sun-lamp sessions in the solarium, an invitation to a special spa tea ceremony, and complimentary access to the signature Ristorante Samsara, featuring cuisine from renowned chef and founder of Italian molecular cuisine, Ettore Bocchia.
For those who don't book cabins or suites in the spa, a one-day pass is 35 euros (about $45); it provides unlimited use of the Thalassotherapy Pool, Tridosha Sanctuary, Winter Garden, Golden Sun Garden, Temple of Peace, shower and changing areas. A length-of-cruise pass is 199 euro ($255); it gives unlimited daily use of all facilities.
Prices for treatments vary. A 50-minute facial is 108 euros ($138); massages range from 62 euros ($79) for a Swedish Massage to 150 euros ($192) for a 50-minute "Four Hands" massage. Manicures are 21 euros ($27), pedicures 34 euros ($43).
The costs of products such as facial creams, lotions, bath salts, and massaging oils, are also priced in Euros -- which makes them quite expensive for the average passenger and priced much higher than on other cruise ships. Expect to be asked if you care to purchase a full bottle of everything they use on you.
For the rest of the 2006 summer season, CostaConcordia will offer seven-day Mediterranean cruises, calling at Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Tunis, Malta, Palermo, and Civitavecchia.