I booked a Massage at a Royal Caribbean Spa and this is what I thought of it
I tried the Royal Caribbean Spa when I cruised to Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico this summer aboard their Navigator of the Seas ship. It was one of the first vacations we took with our Great Resort Vacations membership, and I booked a 160 dollar massage at their Vitality Spa! Was it worth it?
Since I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, I wanted to try out the Royal Caribbean spa on the cruise ship and see what I thought about it. I’ve never been to the spa onboard a cruise ship so I truly didn’t know what to expect, and honestly I was pleasantly surprised. What most people want to know about the spa on the cruise ship is, was it truly worth it?
Royal Caribbean Spa Prices
I became a massage therapist because I truly love to get and give massages. So Yes, I’ve tried a lot of different spas and been fortunate enough to be able to form an opinion on if a spa is actually good or not! I love being able to take a few hours from my day and just relax and let all the stress from my day melt away.
Royal Caribbean prices at their Vitality Spa on the ship are often more expensive than you might find at your local massage therapy spa chain and are more inline with a more luxury spa. I did think that what I paid was quite fair for how good my massage was!
In fact, I have paid more at other spas and not enjoyed the experience quite as much. My $50 minute massage was $160 and had an automatic gratuity of 18%. Plus I did leave an additional tip for my therapist because I truly thought she did an amazing job.
What Makes One Massage Better than Another
So the real question here becomes what makes one massage better than another massage? Is there really a difference in the training for a luxury massage versus a chain massage or what you learn in massage therapy school?
The answer is surprisingly YES. The training is actually different for giving luxury spa massages and the therapists have completely different goals than a therapist would doing a regular standard massage. On a traditional massage you are working, usually, towards more specific health goals.
Health goals would generally be things like helping sciatic pain, easing frozen shoulder, treating athletes that have overworked their muscles in the gym, or more medical issues. Once you step into a luxury spa your goals are completely different for the most part.
When I worked in the Westgate Resort in Park City, which is one of the the world’s top ski destinations, I learned all of the techniques used in luxury spas, for example lymphatic dry brushing before a massage. (they actually did this at the Royal Caribbean Spa on the cruise ship).
The goal while in the luxury resorts for the guest is to allow the guest to deeply relax. Which means not using deep pressure, not “beating you up”, making sure that the therapists don’t spend your hour talking with you, using more relaxing spa draping, and using higher quality oils in the massage.
The Royal Caribbean Spa Exceeded my Expectations
The Royal Caribbean Spa treatments made it such a nice experience. I was surprised that they were so professional and felt that the technique that the therapist had was actually better than any that I’ve had in the States. She was able to help me fully relax while also focusing on the areas that I wanted her to spend time on. I don’t know what is worse than going into a massage and asking them to spend time on your lower back and they barley touch that area the entire time.
I was a little worried that the room was small and that my therapist might have a hard time moving around to do the actual massage, but it was not the case at all. She was easily able to move around and perform the entire massage without any trouble. I would have liked to experience more of the Royal Caribbean Spa services and probably will on my next cruise!
Why I always Book My Massages Early in the Day
The other thing that I did was to make sure that I got the first appointment of the morning, which was 8 am. I woke up early and watched the sunrise out off of my balcony, it was absolutely breathtaking. Afterward I headed to breakfast and then to Vitality spa for my treatment. It started with filing out a bit of paper work in their waiting room, which was relaxing and quiet, then I met by therapist and she took me back to the spa room.
It was the day that we were doing our shore excursion to Catalina Island, and I wanted to make sure that I was relaxed and ready to enjoy my day. The main reason that I like to book my massages as early in the day as possible is because then your massage therapist is well rested and ready to start the day. Massage therapy is extremely hard on the body of the therapist which is why I don’t work in a spa full-time. I always felt like I gave my best massage to whoever came in first though.
If you are able to wake up early when you are on your cruise I highly recommend getting your massage first thing before you begin drinking or partying during the day.