Holland America’s Greenhouse Spa

Westerdam Greenhouse Spa

Westerdam cruise ship

Holland America Westerdam

A Piece of Paradise at Sea

Often on boarding day regardless of which cruiseline or ship you sail with, the spa has open tours for anyone wishing to see inside.  I almost always take the tour, but have very rarely actually signed up for anything.  While it all looks wonderful – and for the most part no doubt is – everything comes with a price, and not usually a small one.

They do have some good deals offered on first-day specials.  The first time I cruised on the Westerdam I did try out an aromatherapy pod thing that didn’t cost too much.  It was quite nice, but I don’t think it is there now as I did not see that offered this trip.

Sometimes they entice people into spa tours with sample hot rock massages.  This cruise used neck massages for people gathering in the chairs they had set out to wait for the next tour of the Westerdam’s Greenhouse Spa.

ceramic tile heated spa chairs

It’s worth taking the spa tour just to try these cozy heated chairs.

I’ve always eyed the hydrotherapy pool and the ceramic chairs that look like they should be hard and dreadful, but actually feel warm and so comfy you could sleep there when you try them out.  Both features are part of the thermal suite package, which on the Westerdam also included sauna and steam room.

Normally I cruise with my husband, and for the two of us it’s always more than we’re willing to spend, so I just eye it longingly and enjoy the sample few minutes on the ceramic chair.  When the tour guide offered a first day special for two on the full cruise pass to the thermal suite my sister piped up with interest.  Intrigued, my aunt and I joined in with I-will-if-you-will.  When they offered an even better deal for 3 we couldn’t resist.  Finally I’d get to try that out!  Split between the budgets of 3 households the cost was not too bad.

Westerdam Spa dry float bed

the dry float bed – so comfortable

On this tour they asked for a volunteer to lay on the dry float bed.  Always eager to try any spa treatment offered for free, I volunteered before anyone else even had a chance to think about it.  My reward was to revel in the soft warmth while they gave their spiel about treatments available there, which I paid no attention to whatsoever and just enjoyed my few minutes of free bliss.

couples can have massages together on the Westerdam

couples massage room

One of the rooms held two tables where they offer a couples massage.

They must have really loved my sister at that spa, she also signed up for a special that included 20 minutes each of a whole bunch of different things for a price that normally includes just 3.  She thought she’d get 5 of them, but she got them all.  She came late to dinner with some sort of oil in her hair since they’d given her a hair treatment she wasn’t expecting and her appointment ran longer than she thought.

Lucky for her she looked like she just got out of the shower and had wet hair, though if anyone had touched it they’d have known that wasn’t the case.  She had to let it sit for sometime before washing it out, and once she did she said it made her hair very nice and soft and she’d like to have whatever it was they’d put in it.  Unlike my own very thin baby fine hair, hers is thick, course, and plentiful.  I sometimes kid that she got all the hair and left none for me since she was born first.

spa treatment room on Holland America Westerdam

one of the many spa treatment rooms

She enjoyed her spa treatments very much and probably would have gone back for more if she had a bigger budget.

The thermal suite didn’t open until the tours finished, so we had to wait for evening to give it a try that first day.  We relaxed on the ceramic tile chairs soaking up the heat.  The room has an entire wall of windows so there’s always a view to enjoy, but the chairs felt so cozy and relaxing I tended to shut my eyes for the most part whenever sitting in one, which we did every day of the cruise.

On our first visit to the pool we walked down the stairway into the pool to to find  the big bubbly ring in the center already occupied so we walked along to where we could see people sitting along the far wall, thinking they had hot-tub like jets there.  Just past the center of the pool we ran into underwater metal bars.   That whole end had a sort of bench shaped similarly to the ceramic tile chairs made from a series of bars under the water.  Once we knew they were there, we climbed up on them to relax in the bubbly mineral water coming from a series of jets, finding the corners to have the most water jets.

The jets run about 15 minutes, which is the length of time people are supposed to stay in the pool.  Often people did not get in just as they started, and many do stay longer, so someone always gets up to push the restart button unless a new person enters at just the right time to catch it on their way in.

hydrotherapy mineral pool is part of the thermal package

we dubbed the spot inside the ring nearest the right shower pole “major whitewater” due to the intense current there

When the people in the center ring left we decided to give it a try.  Depending on where you stand in the ring, the current ran from mild to where it would push you right out of there if you didn’t hold onto the middle rail provided for that purpose.  We dubbed the one spot in the ring with the most intense current “major whitewater,” which became our code name for going to the spa.

Later in the cruise we tried out the steam room, which had a nice eucalyptus smell that probably cleared many a sinus as people sat in the fragrant steam.  It seemed to burst out on some sort of timer, clouding the small room until you could not see the person across from you, then clearing somewhat before the next burst.

I never did venture into the dry sauna, but since I did visit at least the hydrotherapy pool and the warm ceramic tile chairs daily I definitely got my money’s worth.  Total passes sold each cruise are limited to keep the area from becoming too overcrowded.  We really only saw it crowded once, and that was when we had the same idea as everyone else – go right in after an early afternoon all-aboard on a port day.  That was our first venture into the steam room, so the crowd caused us to try something new until our usual things had space.  In doing so we found a new thing to enjoy and used that room again another time.

If you’ve ever wondered about trying the thermal suite, I totally recommend it.  It’s like your own little Paradise Island right on the ship.  Other treatments the spa offers include massages, acupuncture, and tooth whitening among many other options.

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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10 Responses to Holland America’s Greenhouse Spa

  1. Let me get this straight: those curvy chairs in the first photo that you insist are so comfy are made out of mounted and grouted glass or ceramic tile?!? Really?!?

    • Yes, those chairs are made out of a ceramic tile. It must be the shape of them, and also the fact that they are heated that makes them so comfortable. I think they said they were designed by a chiropractor, but I could be wrong about that.

  2. Spas are definitely relaxing. You could push yourself in the ropes course or at the gym and then go relax in the spa 🙂 There used to be a sauna in the apartment building we lived in in the city, and we’d go in there every weekend. My skin was awesome during that time!

    • This particular ship did not have a ropes course. That’s not a Holland America thing. It was the Carnival Breeze that had the ropes. They did also have a spa, but I didn’t buy the spa pass on the Breeze. The Westerdam does have a nice gym though. It also has a deck where you can walk all the way around the ship on the outside under the lifeboats.

  3. Chris says:

    How did you get that picture on the top? Was it taken from Mt. Roberts?

  4. Arthur Downing says:

    It seems like that whole package would be especially nice if you were on a long ocean cruise with lots of time to check out all the stuff on the ship.

  5. John Devlin says:

    we are looking to get this pass for our 21 day trans atlantic, what was the cost for two of you quoted

    • We had 3 people on it for a 7 day cruise and the total was somewhere between $200 and $300, so split 3 ways it wasn’t too bad for something we used every day. They gave us a bit less on the per person cost with three than the two person deal they were offering. I imagine it would cost more total, but probably less daily compared to the amount of days for a 21 day cruise. You get the best deal if you take the spa tour on boarding day because they offer specials if you book during the tour and the thermal package was one of the specials they had so we booked that during the tour. Another option is to book a spa cabin because the thermal suite is included with those.

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