April 28, 2009

Cruise vacations: Shape shares reviews of 5 cruise packages where you can have a great time – and also stay fit.

Which one is just right for you?

1) Cruise vacations for holistic-health fans

From treating back pain to perfecting your golf swing, this 10-day cruise includes a smorgasbord of wellness lectures and workout demonstrations in a luxe environment.

Ports of call Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua

Get fit Take a mat-based Pilates class (sign up early; the room holds 30 people) or splurge on a private Reformer session. Fitness walkers will want to try Crystal's exclusive Walk-on-Water program that uses a weighted vest (adding up to 16 pounds) to boost the calorie burn of your stroll. Do it on your own or with a group on the 0.2-mile Promenade Deck, which completely encircles the boat.

Pamper yourself The Crystal Spa is decorated with rock gardens and soothing water fountains to inspire that Zen nothing-can-stress-you-out feeling. Slip into a robe and try an Ionithermie Algae Wrap ($132) -- after you've been covered with algae-infused natural clay, you rest for an hour and then follow up with a cooling body lotion. The Aroma Spa Ocean Float with half-body massage ($176) is performed on a dry-float bed that's similar to a waterbed.

Ready to book one of your cruise vacations? Here's more info to get you started!

From $2,950; departs Miami (crystalcruises.com).

[header = More cruise reviews from Shape: check out these terrific cruise packages!]

Health-food lovers and workaholics alike: if you're looking for great cruise vacations, check out the cruise packages recommended by Shape.

2) Cruise packages for health-food lovers

Sure, you'll have access to 50-plus workshops about vegan and macrobiotic cooking, shiatsu massage, meditation and preventing cancer and heartdisease on this seven-day getaway, but many guests sign up solely for the cuisine.

Ports of call San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; La Romana, Dominican Republic; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

Get fit In addition to morning yoga and Pilates classes (some of which are held outdoors), Larry Krug, a triathlete and personal trainer from Miami, teaches 90-minute run/walk and ab-sculpting workouts on most days. He also provides free fitness assessments and training sessions.

Pamper yourself Some guest lecturers offer personalized treatments in their specialty, such as Shiatsu massage ($115) or Reiki, a technique in which a practitioner uses his or her hands to gently move energy around your body ($250 for 90 minutes). Or you can start your day with a lesson in what's called Do-in, the Eastern art of self-massage. The ship's Saturnia spa offers a variety of massages, manicures, pedicures and body treatments.

Ready to book one of your cruise vacations? Here's what you need to know!

From $1,175; the Costa Magica departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (www.atasteofhealth.org).

3) Cruise packages for workaholics

If you've been feeling like something's missing in your life lately, or you think you might want to make a lifestyle change, this may be the cruise for you.

Ports of call Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas; and St. Maarten

Get fit In addition to other group workouts like aerobics, try Christina Leon's Colorgized Yoga classes (held in the ship's disco), where the exercise room is infused with a variety of colored lights designed to evoke specific moods. In keeping with the mind-body theme, sample a NIA (neuromuscular integrative action) class, a blend of martial arts, dance, yoga and tai chi.

Pamper yourself Relax in the Valor's steam room and sauna or visit the onboard spa for a full-body massage (from $109) or Aroma Stone Therapy ($175). Discoverweal's experts are also available for one-on-one sessions inmeditation or reflexology (an Eastern healing art that uses pressure-point stimulation) for $300-$350 per hour.

Time to book one of your cruise vacations? Shape shares the info that you need.

From $886; the Carnival Valor departs the port of Miami (www.discoverweal.com).

[header = Cruise reviews of cruise vacations for active explorers and exercise fans.]

Shape provides cruise reviews about packages for active explorers and exercise devotees. Time to book another of your cruise vacations!

4) Cruise packages for active explorers

Instead of shopping and visiting museums on this seven-day getaway (although you're free to do that as well), opt for a fitness-oriented tour of each port of call.

Ports of call Stockholm and Visby, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Copenhagen, Denmark

Get fit You can also take aerobics, Pilates, yoga and stretching classes in the fitness center. Did you notice some extra huffing and puffing on the land outings? Back on the ship, sign up for a fitness assessment and one-on-one workout with a personal trainer

Pamper yourself Although one half-hour massage is included in the rate, the spa -- operated by Carita of Paris, which runs similarly posh outposts all over Europe -- offers dozens of other treatments. Try the 75-minute Renovateur Satin Skin ($135), which includes a sunflower-seed exfoliation followed by a massage that you can opt to have done outside.

Details about these cruise vacations that you need to know to get started

From $3,298; departs Copenhagen; reverse route sails from Stockholm.

5) Cruise packages for exercise devotees

We know you take Shape to read on many vacations, but this time you can leave it at home. The entire weeklong cruise is about bringing the Shape philosophy to life.

Ports of call Key West, Fla.; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize

Get fit Some of the workouts include Reggae Cardio, Yoga, Strength Training 101, Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), tai chi, qi gong and Power Ball (Pilates with lightweight gel balls). Well-known aerobics instructor Garth Sommerville teaches Jamaican/Caribbean Cardio Dance with live drumming on deck -- always a huge draw -- and Shape assistant fitness editor and certified personal trainer Teri Hanson leads Pilates and yoga classes.

Pamper yourself The 13,300-square-foot Polynesian-style Spa Carnival offers an indulgent menu of treatments like couples-only massage ($242) and the Elemis Exotic Lime & Ginger Salt Glow exfoliating treatment with a deep-tissue, half-body massage ($141).

It's time to book one of these terrific cruise vacations!

From $679; the Carnival Glory departs Port Canaveral, Fla.