A Vacation Within A Vacation: Costa’s Samsara Spa Experience

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MIAMI, FL, Aug. 5 – For many spa-going travelers, top spa retreats in mountain locales and countryside villas have made way for a new type of spa experience – cruising the Mediterranean aboard the Costa Serena and Costa Concordia. Both ships boast the award-winning Samsara Spa, a 23,000 square-foot wellness haven featuring Ayurvedic treatments and European-style spa amenities. Exclusive accommodations with direct access to the spa come complete with spa packages and privileges to a private wellness restaurant, creating a “vacation within a vacation” for travelers cruising the ships’ Mediterranean routes.

Costa—The First to Offer Exclusive Spa Cabins at Sea
Costa pioneered this innovative spa concept just two years ago when the Costa Concordia became the first cruise ship in the world to boast the exclusive spa accommodation and restaurant concept. The Italian cruise line followed suit in 2007 with the introduction of the Costa Serena, which as a sister ship to the Costa Concordia, also boasts the Samsara Spa. Guests who choose spa accommodations receive a host of luxurious amenities including flat screen televisions, a special set of Elemis bath accessories and a “Welcome Ritual,” all included in the cruise price.

The “Welcome Ritual” features unlimited access to the spa and its European-style amenities including a thalassotherapy pool, rock sauna, steam baths, hot and cold thermal baths, ocean-view solariums, relaxation lounges, and a tepidarium. Guests who reserve these accommodations will also receive two complimentary spa treatments, two complimentary fitness and wellness classes, a personalized wellness consultation with a spa expert, two sun-lamp sessions in the solarium and an invitation to a special Japanese spa tea ceremony. In addition, guests who reserve exclusive Samsara Spa accommodations will have access to wellness cuisine in the Ristorante Samsara. This specialty restaurant features spa-friendly cuisine in an intimate atmosphere.

“The Samsara Spa experience is not only unique because of the direct-access accommodations and innovative features it offers, but also in the fact that it’s a veritable ‘vacation within a vacation’ for guests, the likes of which many spa aficionados haven’t experienced before,” said Maurice M. Zarmati, President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines—North America. “Samsara spa guests can slip in and out of their realm when they please and either enjoy the sanctuary of their surroundings or revel in the excitement of the authentic Italian warmth and sophisticated European style of sailing with Costa, all while hopping from port to port in the Mediterranean.”

The 23,000 square-foot Samsara Spa, one of the largest at sea, also features an ocean-view fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, an expansive fitness studio for wellness and meditation classes, and a full service beauty salon. The Costa Serena features a Samsara Spa with 99 accommodations (87 cabins and 12 suites) while the Costa Concordia boasts 67 (55 cabins and 12 suites.) Both provide a veritable extension of the experience at all times with direct access to the spa via elevator and stairs.

Ayurvedic Treatments Inspired by Ancient Eastern Philosophies
Elements of the spa’s invigorating treatments and stunning design are inspired by the meaning of “Samsara,” which is associated with the path to spiritual enlightenment, bliss and balancing of life energies. The Samsara Spa features numerous treatments composed of aromatic herbs, essential oils, exotic plants and Ayurvedic essences. Ayurvedic-inspired treatments include Shirodhara, a treatment where a flow of warm oil is directed onto the third eye (forehead) to induce the alpha state of deep relaxation, integrate brain function and create brain wave coherence. This is followed by luxurious Eastern massage techniques on the scalp, which focus on meridian lines and the crown chakra, bringing harmony and well-being to the body. The popular Shiorobhyanga Massage focuses on releasing tension through the Marma points on the hands, back and feet. Beginning with Shirodhara, a warm stream of oil soothes the third eye, calms the mind and enhances awareness. Warm oil is then slowly drizzled on hands, forearms, feet and back which are then treated to an invigorating massage, releasing blocked energy, stress and tension through Marma points.

The Costa Serena was inaugurated in May 2007 while her sister ship, the Costa Concordia, was inaugurated in July 2006. The 114,500-ton ships feature a double occupancy of 3,000 each. Both ships were built for year-round Mediterranean cruising with features including a retractable cover extending over two pool decks and the expansive Samsara Spa. They also each feature a Grand Prix race car driving simulator, the most accurate representation of Formula One racing available. Two new ships will offer the Samsara Spa product when they come into service in June 2009 – the 92,700-ton Costa Luminosa and the 114,500-ton Costa Pacifica.

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe’s number one cruise line. For reservations or more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) GO-COSTA or visit www.costacruises.com