Normally massages at cruise ship spas cost well over $100. After booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas I found one on their website for $89. Once I went to book it I discovered that price was for boarding day only. Any other time during the cruise it cost more, with the highest price on sea days – when people would most want to schedule. Of course once they add on their auto-gratuity it’s always more then the advertised price.
Boarding day finally came. I took the spa tour and noticed their lowest price at $119 not counting the auto-gratuity, so booking pre-cruise was definitely a savings. They mentioned adding a free 25 minutes for massages booked and taken that day and said I could switch to one of those if I wanted, but any with that offering were priced well above the Swedish one so I kept what I already had.
After checking in I was sent to the relaxation room and barely had time to fill out their required form before being called back for the massage. Relaxation room is cruise ship speak for spa waiting room, though they do want people there to be quiet so others can relax.
Xandreia the masseuse explained that Swedish is a gentle massage, not deep tissue, for which I was happy because I like a massage that feels good rather than one that seems like torture. She asked if there was anywhere in particular bothering me or if I had any allergies. I said I didn’t think an allergy to tobacco smoke would matter since there would not be any in the room and she said she was allergic to it too. The ship had just set sail for Australia where it will spend their summer (our winter) so I said she’ll like it there because when it sails out of Australia there is no indoor smoking allowed per Australian laws. This ship already had no indoor smoking, but I had to avoid a lot of areas on the outside decks because of all the smoking there.
She started each new body section with some sort of lotion or massage oil which was usually warm, though once hot – comfortably, not unpleasantly, and once cold. After working one area for a bit she’d cover that back up and move on to the next area, releasing tension from the muscles as she went.
Afterword she left the room for a time while I got dressed and came back with a cup of water for me, and a receipt to sign. An auto-gratuity never seems like a real tip so I added one on before signing. She did a good job.
I’ve heard people on other lines complain that after a massage the feeling of relaxation is ruined by an attempt to sell them products, but that did not happen to me at all.