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October 12, 2010

Oceania Cruises and Canyon Ranch SpaClub: A Perfect Fit

As Blogger-at-Large for Oceania Cruises, I was recently charged with the enviable task of exploring the Canyon Ranch SpaClub onboard Regatta. After doing extensive research (it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it), I found that the Canyon Ranch SpaClub and the Oceania Cruises lifestyle were a perfect fit. The Canyon Ranch philosophy supports an active lifestyle, healthy living and natural serenity in perfect balance. And an Oceania Cruise is all about exploring exciting destinations, eating well, and relaxing in a casual, comfortable environment.  The two are a match made in heaven!

MarianaSpa Manager Mariana provides a warm welcome.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers a host of fabulous services, from fitness classes and wellness consults, to facials and massages, to delicious spa cuisine. The benefits of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub extend beyond the spa itself and actually complement the Oceania Cruises’ lifestyle and
Changing Room enhance your onboard experience.  Services are designed to rejuvenate, revitalize, restore, and of course, relax.  As “relax” is my favorite “R” of all, I thought I would first try the Canyon Stone Massage.

You’ll want to arrive early to any spa appointment, so as to take full advantage of the spa amenities. Upon arrival you are given a locker in which a fluffy Oceania Cruises robe and spa slippers await you, so wear whatever is comfortable to your appointment and then slip into your robe in the comfort of the single-sex changing rooms. It was recommended that I first spend several minutes in the steam room and then take a warm shower in order to get the most benefit from my massage. I admit I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to steam rooms, but Canyon Ranch is known for their thermal environments, and I wanted to do my due diligence, so I ventured in. Breathing deep and soaking in the penetrating steam, I found myself quite relaxed, and after a warm shower, my muscles were primed and ready for their treatment. Nearby was a quiet room where I sat and sipped cucumber water while awaiting the arrival of my therapist.

IrnesMy therapist introduced himself as Irnes and showed me to the Orchid Room where I was to have my massage.  He excused himself while I got situated under the sheet on the massage table. No matter how modern or hip I may consider myself, I find that traditional modesty always comes into play during a visit to the spa, and I was relieved to find that my privacy was always respected, and I was draped with a sheet for the entire treatment. (Therapists of either gender are also available.)

The treatment room was dimly lit and soothing music was quietly playing in the background. At this point, I was already so relaxed that I could hardly imagine what more the massage could do for me. Little did I know…

Irnes first inquired about any areas of focus or concern I might have and then asked if I preferred aromatic oil or unscented. I have sensitive skin, so I felt obligated to select the unscented, but Irnes quickly inquired, “Are you sure?” He waved the aromatic oil briefly under my nose, and the pleasant, soothing scent of lavendar led me to throw caution to the wind and try the aromatic oil. For others with sensitive skin, you will of course want to address your personal concerns, but you’ll be happy to know that none of the spa services I tried caused the least irritation to my skin. Quite the contrary, I found that every spa treatment left my skin revitalized with a healthy glow.

Stones and ScrubThe source of my comfort and relaxation

It was time to begin. This being my first stone massage, I was a bit leery about the temperature of the stones, and Irnes let me know that the stones would feel very hot at first, but that this would allow for the full benefit of treatment. I trusted his skills and training, so I put myself in his capable hands. At first touch the stones were indeed quite hot, but as they moved across my back, I could feel the heat penetrating my muscles, gently relieving the tension. It seemed almost as if the stones were absorbing the stress from my muscles and leaving behind a deep state of relaxation.

Tools of the TradeOther tools of the trade - aromatic oils and warm towels.

Irnes rested a few of the heated stones on a towel along my lower back – good for the lumbar, he said – and also placed a stone in each of my upturned hands. Later he put very small stones between each of my toes, all of which combined with the full body massage led to a state of blissfully relaxed wooziness. The entire treatment lasted eighty lovely minutes, with gentle attention given to back and neck, arms and legs, hands and feet, scalp and face. It was everything one would expect from a massage PLUS the deeply penetrating warmth from the weight and radiant heat of the stones. Even the tensest of muscles were no match for the curative effects of the Canyon Stone Massage. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

A warning to those with big dinner plans for their evening: You may be tempted to indulge that sense of relaxation back in your stateroom by crawling between the cool, comfortable sheets of your Tranquility Bed.  A little nap after an afternoon spa treatment can be lovely – just be sure you don’t sleep through dinner!

 

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Wow!

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