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China's Popular Getaway is the Wellness Cruise
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China's Popular Getaway is the Wellness Cruise

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 11 April 2018
Asian cruise operators are adding fitness classes and spa treatments to their on-board offerings, as Chinese guests seek ways to improve their wellbeing while at sea.

The Chinese preoccupation with health has been driving a huge wellness boom in the country of late, especially among the wealthy. According to a recent survey by the Hurun Report and the Shenzhen Catic Wellness Group, high-net-worth individuals are spending roughly a quarter of their monthly budget on services related to wellness, including exercise classes, health foods and medical care. It’s little wonder, then, that Asia’s cruise companies are adding similar amenities aboard vessels in a bid to entice their largest market (Chinese consumers make up 68 percent of cruise passengers within the continent).

The Genting Dream—a ginormous 18-deck cruise liner carrying 2,000 crew members and 3,400 passengers—boasts “the most comprehensive Beauty and Wellness centre at sea.” Its 4,000m2 spa offers western, Asian and medi spa treatments including reflexology, Himalayan salt stone massage, and high-tech facials. The vessel also has an expansive gym and fitness studio where guests can take yoga and Pilates classes.

Asian cruise companies are introducing wellness amenities
Asian cruise companies are introducing wellness amenities | © Anthony Metcalfe / Unsplash

Beyond all the wellness amenities and offerings, the nature of the cruise itself actually appears to have quite profound benefits. One study from the University of China found that cruise passengers experienced an increase in satisfaction and emotional wellbeing that remained for up to six months after disembarking.

The reasons for this were threefold: the environment of maximum relaxation (everything on-board is organized and taken care of, so passengers can focus on chilling), the opportunity for bonding (being aboard a ship in close proximity to others day after day facilitates new friendships), and the potential for a greater number of cultural encounters (incorporating multiple stops in one trip, possibly across several different countries, allows passengers to access more experiences than a regular vacation would).