Dispatch, QM2: Where are the spa patrons?

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Travel Weekly's Donna Tunney is aboard the Queen Mary 2 for a transatlantic cruise. Her third dispatch follows. Click to read her first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth dispatches.

Pools and hot tubs dot the outdoor decks aboard the Queen Mary 2, and if the weather on the high seas of the North Atlantic cooperates, passengers will use these facilities morning, noon and night.

Indoors, there’s a welcoming sanctuary open to any guest who’s willing to put out more cash.

The 2,600-passenger Queen Mary 2 is the only Cunard ship that features Canyon Ranch SpaClub, a spacious, two-level health and fitness area modeled on the prestigious Canyon Ranch facilities in Arizona, Massachusetts and Florida.

The purchase of any spa treatment enables a passenger to use all of the SpaClub programs for one day. Without a spa booking, a day pass into the club costs $40. Multiday packages are a good value; a five-day pass costs $95, six days $105.

I’d have guessed that a lot of transatlantic passengers, if they knew about this offer, would be willing to plunk down $100 or so to enjoy this excellent space during most or all of the sea days, particularly when fog and wind keep people inside.

So I was surprised to find the SpaClub all but empty when I visited three times this week.

It can’t be for lack of offerings. The spa has 18 treatment rooms and more than two dozen treatments — a 50-minute massage costs $138 ($200 for 80 minutes) and a detoxification body treatment costs $261 for 100 minutes.

These are not inexpensive propositions, which is why the spa pass is such a great deal. Agents would be doing their clients a favor if they make the spa pass option known to them.

The pass also enables participation in classes for yoga, Pilates and other disciplines. (All passengers have free use of the gym, located adjacent to the spa.)

Inside the SpaClub, ceramic-tiled changing areas offer lockers, robes and water sandals, and entry into the Aqua Therapy Pool area. It’s a large whirlpool — it could easily accommodate two dozen people. It has an attractive fountain and is surrounded by comfortable lounge chairs. A smaller, wheelchair-accessible Jacuzzi sits in a corner of the room.

A pretty alcove is home to a sauna, along with an aromatic steam room, where the steam is infused with plant essences. An herbal sauna is offered, too, as are sensory showers and reflexology basins for tired feet.

I’ve been trying out several of these options; one is better than the next, and there’s been no one around competing for the facilities.

The same’s been true for the spa lounge, where passholders can relax with a cold drink or a hot herbal tea. A large and quiet sitting area looks out onto Deck 7, and there are no obstructions to the water view. I was the only passenger using this area of the SpaClub.

I asked one of the staff: Is it always this quiet here?

"Some days are more busy than others, and it depends on the time of day, too," he said.

Guess I’ve been hitting it just right — it feels like a private spa.

Meanwhile, passengers were excited about where they were headed. At midnight on Thursday, the Queen Mary 2 was set to cruise over the site where the Titanic sank.

An announcement about it from the bridge had everyone talking — I heard some people planning Titanic parties.

The officer was quick to point out that with modern technology, the bridge crew knows that the nearest iceberg to the ship was 350 miles north of our present course.

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