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If you associate cruising with midnight buffets and successive cocktails by the pool, you’re probably not alone. Indeed, for some travelers, the decadence of cruising is a selling point. For others, it’s a reason to avoid cruises altogether.
But as the profitable wellness tourism niche continues to grow, many cruise lines are starting to point to their bike fleets and gluten-free menu items in an attempt to win over wellness travelers.
Perhaps no major cruise line has heeded the wellness call as convincingly as MSC Cruises, which is launching its Wellness Experience next April, beginning with cruises sailing on MSC Divina and MSC Armonia. The program is powered by Technogym, a fitness equipment and solutions company.
The nearly fleetwide program will cater to those who have never cruised, as well as to existing health-conscious guests who love MSC’s current wellness offerings, such as Aqua Cycling at sea and designated healthful menu options.
Only about 3 percent of passengers will be able to participate in the program, which is available to book now. On MSC Divina, that means 50 staterooms (100 guests) are available for wellness cruisers.
“This allows MSC to keep the experience exclusive and really personalized for the guests participating,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises.
Guests are able to customize their experience by completing the Aspiration Finder questionnaire. Based on the cruiser’s wellness goals and fitness level, he or she is matched with a program geared toward seeking mind-body balance; having fun; getting in shape; becoming stronger; improving sport performance; or being active.
Once onboard, all wellness cruisers will meet with a medical doctor for a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram and a lipid panel, and all will have an appointment with an MSC Master Trainer, who will conduct a body-scale analyzer test.
Wellness guests will continue to find inspiration and guidance via the MSC version of Technogym’s “mywellness” app. The app helps cruisers monitor their customized regiment by tracking movement, recommending a daily movement goal and offering fitness class schedules. As part of the tech-forward program, wellness guests will be also able to track their training while using Technogym equipment via a Technogym key on MSC’s existing fleet or via smartphone on MSC’s new ships.
Additional workout options include new fitness classes. Expect barre, tai chi, yoga, Pilates, spinning and core and bodyweight training — all clearly coded in order to help guests meet fitness goals.
The fit focus onboard is complemented by active shore excursions. Depending on the length of the cruise, one to three excursions could be included. Options range from participating in a snorkel/kayak/running triathlon in Cozumel, Mexico, to hiking up Mount Floyen in Norway.
Onboard and offshore activities will bring together guests on similar wellness paths, adding a helpful social aspect to sustaining fitness and diet ambitions. Wellness guests will also be placed in adjacent upper-deck staterooms specifically chosen for having a layout suitable for in-room workouts.
Other stateroom amenities include a wellness themed minibar with sports drinks, a television channel featuring Technogym wellness programming, a workout mat, a Technogym Wellness Bag, a towel and MSC sports gear, which can be laundered daily at no additional charge.
For healthful refueling, Technogym’s nutrition experts worked with MSC to create balanced meal options, and these will be clearly labeled on menus. There will also be a special room-service breakfast menu and new protein and energy drinks on offer at MSC Aurea Spa, where participants can choose treatments to soothe worked-out muscles — or to just relax.