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Cruise News: Cruise Your Way to a Healthier You

Plus: The flavor of the movies and a new Italian wine-pairing menu

Most cruise lines have ways to help passengers stay active at sea. Nearly all ships provide fitness centers, group classes, personal trainers, and recreational facilities. Some even offer basketball and tennis courts, ropes courses, ice skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, and surfing simulators. And practically every line offers healthy menu options. 

But now MSC Cruises is taking seagoing wellness to another level. The fast-growing European line recently announced their new Wellness Experience, a comprehensive package that will be available next year on all of its ships—including two that will be based in Miami

Developed in consulation with Technogym, a supplier of cardio and strength equipment, the program is highly customizable. Travelers who participate will complete a pre-cruise questionnaire to help MSC understand their motivations and goals—whether they want to look and feel better, improve their sports performance, or improve their overall health and happiness—and the results are used to create personalized "aspiration maps."

Once onboard, guests get a consultation with a Technogym-certified trainer and see a doctor for a blood pressure reading, electrocardiogram, and a lipid panel. This assessment and the aspiration map are then used by MSC staff to customize a program with the classes, diet, and excursions that will best fit with each traveler's goals.

Wellness Experience participants will get free Internet access to the MSC version of Technogym's mywellness app, which tracks their movement and gives them daily fitness targets. It also includes information on their personalized training program and fitness class schedules and uses GPS and smartphone accelerometer functions to measure their movement during both indoor training and outdoor activities.

Group fitness classes are designed around Technogym’s ARKE equipment for core and bodyweight training. Options include a tai chi, Pilates, yoga, spinning, Bella Barre, and Hula Fit. The program also includes exclusive shore activities that enable participants to see the sights while staying active. These include jogging around ancient Olympia, Greece; biking through Copenhagen; hiking up Mount Fløyen in Bergen, Norway; participating in a fun "triathlon" (kayaking, running, snorkeling) in Cozumel, Mexico; and doing Zumba on the beach in Rio de Janeiro.

The Wellness Experience emphasizes nutrition, too. The line has developed special menu options like quinoa salad with shrimp and cauliflower couscous with feta and avocado, and the ships’ buffets will have special wellness corners with dishes designed to help participants reach their aspiration goals. There are even stateroom amenities like a mini-bar stocked with sports drinks and healthy snacks and a free laundry service for workout gear. 

The Wellness Experience will be available starting in April 2017. It's currently open for booking on the new MSC Seaside. Prices for the cruise plus the wellness elements start at $929.  

Also in Cruise News

Dinner and a movie—with a twist

This spring Celebrity Cruises will bring its new experience, "A Taste of Film," to two more of its ships, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium. (The program debuted on Celebrity Infinity in December.) "A Taste of Film" presents movies that evoke a specific cultural, culinary, or destination experience and pairs them with foods that bring the scenes to life. The first film is "The Hundred-Foot Journey," which tells the story of a feud between a traditional, Michelin-starred French restaurant and a new competitor opened by a recently relocated Indian family. The movie starts in India, so attendees will begin their meal with Indian-inspired dishes such as crispy shrimp with tamarind or beef filet Bombay with mango pickle. Then, when the setting transitions to France, they will be served dishes like truffled mushroom risotto, sea scallops with glazed leeks and port wine jus, and Valrhona chocolate cake with vanilla chantilly. 

A new menu for vinophiles

Disney Cruise Line recently introduced a new wine-pairing menu, the "Esperienza del Vino" in Palo, its adults-only Italian specialty restaurant. The meal begins with savory coppa (thinly sliced cured pork neck) on fava beans, garnished with pecorino cheese and celery, paired with a Venetian Bellini of sparkling Prosecco, white peaches, and a hint of raspberry. The pasta course is gnocchi with nutty cep mushroom sauce paired with a dry but flowery Elena Walch Gewurztraminer from South Tyrol. This is followed by poached white asparagus with smoked anchovies, quail egg, and truffle oil with Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, a rich sparkling wine, and then a fish course of sea bass with spinach and buckwheat with La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi Black Label, a crisp, acidic white with undertones of almond and lime. The fifth course is beef strip loin seared and roasted with rosemary paired with Antinori Tignanello Marchesi, a potent Tuscan red with notes of spice, fruit, oak, licorice, and rosemary. The menu is capped with creamy mascarpone mousse, accompanied by a soft Alexander Platinum Grappa. The wine-pairing experience is $59.

Anne Kalosh doesn't count the cruises she’s taken, though there have been hundreds—including five years as a shipboard newspaper editor, sailing the world. She loves the experiences sea travel offers. Her byline has appeared in many major publications, and she's on top of the latest cruise developments as the long-time U.S. editor for Seatrade-Cruise.com and Seatrade Cruise Review.