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.
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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.