Welcome to the Next Wave of Healthy Travel: Wellness Cruises

Photo: Stocksy/Taylor Kampa
Imagine it's the height of summer, and you're somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. You've just spent an enchanting day in Greece, and now you're headed to your next bucket-list destination.

As the ship upon which you're floating makes its way through idyllic waters, however, you're not drinking a sugary blended cocktail and eating old buffet shrimp below deck. Instead, you're in the middle of a spin class, after which you're planning to grab a green juice and hit the seawater pool for a few laps. Later, you might partake in a yoga class—it'll be good to stretch your muscles because you'll be biking and hiking at the next port. If this sounds like a dream vacay, welcome to the next wave of healthy travel—wellness cruises.

But a new fleet of "floating gyms" is about to take this trend to the next level by turning ocean liners into full-time wellness retreats on water.

As interest in fitness-oriented vacations increases, existing cruise lines have rolled out sporadic wellness programming in recent years. For example, Lindblad Expeditions has partnered with Exhale Spa to create limited-run wellbeing retreats at sea while Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Cunard, and Celebrity Cruises have all teamed up with Canyon Ranch to offer health-centric activities at sea and on land.

But a new fleet of "floating gyms" is about to take this trend to the next level by turning ocean liners into full-time wellness retreats on water. The ships in question belong to Blue World Voyages, which is set to launch its debut fleet in the spring of 2019 and bills itself as the first cruise line dedicated entirely to an active lifestyle.

The company's relatively small ships—to carry just 350 passengers—will boast the largest fitness and spa decks on the seven seas, with week-long jaunts costing around $3,500 (minus port charges and airfare). Onboard, guests will be able to participate in Gaiam-designed yoga sessions, spin classes, and TRX workouts, indulge in spa treatments, and dine on healthy meals made from locally-sourced ingredients collected at port. Once docked, runs, bikes, and hikes of varying difficultly levels will be offered, as will sunrise and sunset yoga classes set in postcard-worthy locations and expert-supervised excursions for surfers, divers, and more. Cruises specific to one sport—running, biking, golf, and yoga/meditation—are also on the docket. (The runners' cruise will actually drop anchor for a marathon.)

Health-oriented ships could be in a position to woo cruise virgins as people increasingly resist the idea of ditching their otherwise-healthy lifestyles while on vacation and travelers look for transformative, rather than canned, experiences. (Biking to a hidden waterfall somewhere off-the-beaten path in Europe? Check!) Plus, seeing as how the worst part of long-distance traveling is all the sitting in planes, trains, and automobiles, the obvious appeal of passing time between destinations sweating rather than stewing in recirculated air might just be enough to keep this trend afloat.

Register here to learn more about Blue World Voyages and score a $150 credit you can use on board your next luxe cruise experience.

Can't wait for this ship to sail? Book these affordable wellness vacays now or peep this list of the healthiest destinations in the U.S. for a last-minute getaway.

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