Cruise lines have tried hard to shed their image as venues for sedentary vacations where overindulgence rules. Royal Caribbean has climbing walls and Carnival has a fitness cruise. But only Costa Cruises has passengers sleeping in the spa.

Costas newest ship, the Costa Concordia, will debut in July, and the line boasted that it is the largest spa at sea. The 20,500-square-foot Samsara Spa will extend over two decks and incorporate 55 cabins and 12 suites for passengers who want to immerse themselves in the Samsara Spa ambience, according to Costa officials.

You have good treatments, enjoy life and lose pounds, which everyone is looking at these days, said Costa Cruises CEO Pier Luigi Foschi.

Guests staying in spa cabins will receive two fitness classes; a wellness consultation with a spa expert; two spa treatments; two sunlamp sessions; and unlimited access to the spa and thalassotherapy pool, a saltwater-and-minerals mixture best known as a cellulite treatment.

The cabins within the spa will have flat-screen televisions and a set of Samsara bath accessories. Guests will be able to walk in bathrobes from their rooms to the spa via a staircase or private elevator, where they can head directly to the treatment areas or work out in the fitness center.

In addition, these guests will have exclusive access to spa-friendly cuisine created by Ettore Bocchia at Ristorante Samsara. As executive chef at Italys five-star Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni on Lake Como, Bocchia is known for healthy molecular cooking. He shook up the gastronomic establishment when he made ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Foschi would not divulge what will be on Costas spa menu, but he promised it would be tasty.

You dont want people demoralized because they cant eat, he said with a laugh. Its a complete food experience. 

Costa said spa treatments would be inspired by the meaning of Samsara, the path to spiritual enlightenment, bliss and balancing of life energies. The spa menu will include Ayurvedic treatments, including sea salt exfoliation, body glow, massage and reflexology.

While Foschi was not as exuberant about the Samsara Spa as he was the Concordias Formula One race car simulator, he said the spa enables Costa to penetrate a market beyond the traditional cruise passenger.

There is a high demand in Europe for this type of experience, which is normally on the shore side, he said. Offering that product within the overall cruise product is a win situation.  

His comments were echoed by Joe Ewart, vice president of sales and marketing for Cruises Inc.

There is quite likely a core of spa aficionados who would enjoy the atmosphere, he said. If one looks at similar programs shore-side, such as at Canyon Ranch and other upscale spas, the guests are totally immersed in the spa environment.

Foschi said he already knows people will want such accommodations.

They tell us because they buy it, he said. Its selling well.

To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].

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