Spa Cruise Review Aboard the Monarch of the Seas

RCI's Monarch of the Seas


On the occasion of our bi-annual cruise, we found ourselves aboard the Royal Caribbean International (RCI) cruise ship, Monarch of the Seas (MOS).

Though we went expressly for the spa at sea experience, we can unequivocally state the entire cruise was enjoyable. In this mini review we will give some details on the cruise itself but are mainly concerned with the Steiner spa facility, the hair and beauty salon, and the full service gym, all on deck 9.

The MOS is considered rather small by today’s standards, only 73,941 tons (as opposed to RCI's Freedom of the Seas at 160,000 tons and currently the largest passenger liner in the world), but that doesn’t limit her variety and punch.

If you are not on a land or sea excursion, then you are most likely on board ship at one of its many bars/lounges, or perhaps in one of two pools/Jacuzzis. Plus there is the thirty foot rock wall, the basketball court, the casino, and even a Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Parlor. There is a world of things to do!

And when you are worn...Its Time to Spa!


The spa aboard the MOS is managed by Steiner of London. The previous link will take you to Steiner Beauty products. We can highly recommend the Elemis Devils Mint Body Scrub and the Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath. We purchased both and used while on board. The mint is refreshing and the milk, though still heavenly in the shower, is best used in a bath.

Without exception the spa was well designed, considering the limitations of shipboard design. There were numerous therapy rooms, including a couple’s room, and treatment specific rooms. We did not notice any rushing on the part of the staff or any problems booking. We do recommend that you make reservations ahead of time and that you have an idea of what you want before you want it. The treatment rooms can be booked-out if you wait to the last minute. One strategy is to book for a period just after you get back from a land excursion. It’s a marvelous time to rejuvenate and while everyone scrambles to get an appointment, you will be "in like flint" and feeling great!

One added benefit to the ship board spa is the gentle rock of the ship while one receives a massage. If the massage was not enough, it further encourages napping! For the therapist, however, it presents some difficulty. In order to maintain the intensity of the massage, they must brace themselves against the table and whatever other available fixture. This has the effect of prematurely tiring the therapist. Though I didn't notice any degradation in her service (a credit to her professionalism), I did notice she was weary after my 90 minute session. It was excellent.


We found the staff to be young, friendly, and eager to please. As one might expect, they represented a diverse ethnic and racial background, as could be expected from a cruise line. Our particular therapist (Marienka by name) was from South Africa. She was engaging and obviously well trained in her profession. There has been some undeserved speculation that the cruise lines do not employ qualified therapists, ostensibly to cut cost. We believe this is totally untrue and state for whatever record that the entire staff demonstrated professionalism and expertise at all times. Their skill and application thereof was uniformly excellent.

-The treatments

While at sea, the Monarch Spa offers daily specials. While your vacation will be different, we'll give you an idea of what those specials will be like, based upon what was available on our cruise.

For $89 we were afforded the opportunity to combine any of the below treatments:

25 minute massage25 minute European Mini Facial25 minute Peppermint Scrub (lord, was this refreshing!)25 minute Reflexology

or, if you prefer, for $109 you could have a Hot Stone massage combined with any one of the above.

In the salon there were also daily specials available:

Three of the below treatments could be had for $79 orfive for $99 orall for $129

European Mini-FacialLuxurious Scalp, Neck & Shoulder MassageConditioning Hair TreatmentsEye TreatmentMoisturizing Hand MassageFoot & ankle MassageSunglow Makeover

Some of the more extraordinary treatments are listed below. We didn’t have time to sample all, but the treatments we received were top class and we'd have every one of them over again.

La Therapie Hydralift Facial: This highly effective skin treatment concentrates on limiting the signs of age around the eyes, lips, and neck.

Elemis Aromapure Facial: This is a hands on rejuvenating facial using Elemis Essential Oils, Absolutes, and nourishing face masks.

Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction Program: This firming and toning treatment is the only therapy available that helps to detoxify the body, reduce the appearance of cellulite and offer a single inch loss in a single session.

Elemis Spa Ocean Wrap: This is a detoxifying wrap that cleanses you from the inside out. Whether you aim is the reduction of cellulite or loosening your muscles from the stress of the day, this treatment will leave you feeling like a new person.

Elemis Aroma Stone Therapy: This is an ancient Polynesian tradition that must be experienced first hand to be understood. Using volcanic basalt stones, an already relaxing massage is transformed into an ecstasy of heat in motion. Placed on key energy points of your body, this style of massage is at once invigorating and relaxing. It will transport you to a place you have never been!

Elemis Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow: The best description for this treatment is an indulging and sublime body polish from your neck to your toes. Using warm oil, it is massaged into your skin, removing any hint of dryness. It will leave you speechless.

Elemis Frangipani Conditioning Hair and Scalp Ritual: Pass up this heavenly experience at your own risk! Warm Monoi oil is pored into your hair and then a heavenly scalp massage is used to work it in. Indulge. You are worth it!

Elemis Exotic Hand Ritual with Manicure: Not just a manicure! Using Exotic Lime and Ginger Salt Glow, your whole hand is rejuvenated and hydrated. Your hands and skin will feel milky smooth.

Elemis Sole Delight Foot Treatment and Pedicure: Using warm aromatherapy oils combined with the pure decadence of milk, you will end up feeling like you are walking on air.


Our four day cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line out of Los Angeles California was heavenly. The Baja Mexico Cruise visited San Diego, Catalina Island, and Ensenada, Mexico. We feel it is the perfect cruise for first timers and anyone who is pressed for time or ready cash. If you book in advance, a junior suite or deluxe cabin can be had for as little as $339.

If there was one luxury that is a necessity, it’s a balcony. We can't begin to emphasize enough the sheer joy of taking morning coffee on your own balcony as you watch the ocean sliding by. Its one of the most peaceful feelings you'll ever experience. Granted, you wont be spending much time in your cabin considering the huge number of activities available, but everybody has that segment of their morning where they need to wake up and the balcony is the best place for it. And though it shouldn't need to be said, its one of the most romantic places aboard ship!

Best Resorts and Spas will be including recommendations of ship board spas periodically. We hope you derived some useful information as we strive to illuminate one of the most unique venues...the ship borne spa.