Balanese Massage

We all know there’s something serenely calming about the ocean. It’s the rhythm of the waves, the way the whole big blue skin seems to be breathing, the movement perpetual but never really going anywhere. It’s very Zen. And then there’s the sheer enormity of it, the vast expanse of sea so improbably and incomprehensibly large that staring at it seems to turn off the part of your brain that worries about bills and drama and allows you to simply be.

People don’t even really go to the ocean to swim. They go to the ocean to lay on the sand and look at the ocean, which, when you think about it, is pretty weird, and even weirder in that the desire to do so seems to be pretty universal.

So let’s just be honest about why you go to the beach. You go to relax. But things always get messed up because there’s some kid next to you who can’t help but spray sand everywhere while he makes a sand castle, or there’s a family who brought a stereo and are listening to Bon Jovi, or the parking is a nightmare. There are all sorts of problems that can come up when you just want to find a quiet spot to look at the thing that covers 70% of the earth’s surface.

It shouldn’t be that hard. So just admit, yes, I’m going to the beach to relax by the ocean. And then commit yourself to it by spending sometime on a Spa, actually ON the ocean. Not on some beach somewhere, but a spa that sails about the Mediterranean, and soon will be sailing around the Caribbean as well. Book a stay in one of the Samsara Spa Cabins on board the Costa Luminosa from Costa Cruises.


The Samsara Spa is not just a great cruise ship spa, it’s a great spa. The treatment options can be a bit overwhelming. There are ten massage therapies, eight wraps, three Ayurvedic rituals, and seven additional fitness services. You’d have to take a pretty long cruise to try them all, or be some sort of perpetual stowaway, which is something I hear they frown upon.


The signature therapies are pretty amazing. There’s the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed massage, which is a blend of aroma therapy, a heated seaweed mask with essential oils wrapped around your body, and a massage. There’s the Thai Herbal Poultice Massage, which is herbal poultices applied to pressure points, followed by a blend of western and eastern massage techniques and acupressure processes that open up your muscles and trigger points like nothing else. There’s the Bamboo Massage, which is, as you’d expect, bamboo pieces in different lengths and covered in oil used to give you a massage as firm or as gentle as you’d like. There’s the Shirobhyanga Massage, an Ayurvedic therapy that uses slowly drizzled warm oil and targeted massage to open and release energy through the Marma points. There’s also the Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction Program, which is a firming and toning detox session that, as its name suggests, reduces cellulite.


There’s so many more, including one of my favorites, the Balinese Massage, which is just the masseuse’s hands delivering western and eastern massage, pressure point therapy, and bit of yoga and stretching that when completed, give you the feeling that your joints are no longer connected to each other, which believe it or not, is an amazing feeling.


Although the therapies at the Samsara Spa are world class, part of what makes it great is that if you have a Spa Cabin, which you will want for the wonderful deck and views, you can walk out of your cabin, turn left, and you’re at the Spa.


And not just the front entrance, but a back entrance where you can walk into any number of relaxing treatment rooms without having to check in or make an appointment. You can walk into the Spa with the organic cotton robes and slippers provided in your room and hop right into the thalassotherapy pool, which is basically a hot tub with a variety of jets, some above the pool itself that allow you to massage your neck and head, as well as a sloping plane of metal cylinders that allow you to effectively lay down in the hot tub.

Then there’s the Tridosha sanctuary, which is a series of large rooms that include a rock sauna, a Turkish bath, a laconium, and a tepidarium, all with large windows overlooking the ocean. There’s even a room just for relaxing with beds that look like they were from some romance novel. All of this and the Spa includes fitness classes, a body composition analysis, and access to the Samsara Restaurant, a quiet, intimate restaurant exclusively for Samsara Spa guests that is set apart from the rest of the ships dining options.


The best part of any of this might be when I returned to my cabin, fully relaxed, my muscles loose, my mind calm, the tension back home the kind of memory you know happened but can’t quite recall.  I would take a step onto my deck, and watch the endless white caps pass by, knowing that somewhere somebody was trying to relax while looking at a similar view but couldn’t because of some combination of errant Frisbees and crying babies. Or because I was practicing for the under 6 feet tall dunk competition. I wanted to tell them about the Samsara Spa onboard the Costa Luminosa.


My Western Mediterranean cruise aboard the Costa Luminosa was provided in collaboration with Costa Cruises and Newman PR. All opinions expressed above are my own.