I am not and have never been one who desires a "spa treatment." Manicures, pedicures, full-body massages, facials, being rubbed with weird-smelling oils—the very thought makes me shudder. Granted, I can't really say I don't like the experience, because I've never tried it. On the other hand, I've never tried running into a burning building, either, but I think I can safely say I'd rather pass on that experience.

It seems to be generally true that cruise ships and resorts include spa facilities. I've always avoided them as enthusiastically as I avoid the casinos, bars, and smoking areas.

And then came our Viking Ocean cruise.

What's the difference? This spa had a dry sauna, a steam room, a cold room (with "snow"), a cold-water bucket shower, and ... a cold plunge—a small, shallow pool of a temperature that reminded me of the Pacific Ocean off the cost of Washington. And, unlike all the other spa services, these didn't involve an additional charge.

All were interesting, but I soon settled into a routine I loved: time in the steam room, followed by (much less) time in the cold plunge, then back to the steam, then the cold, etc. On the first day, the experience took a lot out of me—just two in-and-out dips left me completely exhausted.

But also exhilarated. With each day, each dip, the cold became less of a shock, and I was able to stay in the water longer. If I'd been able to swim it would have been easier, but the tank was even smaller than a typical hot tub.

I'm totally amazed at how good it made me feel.

I was told that the steam room was 113 degrees, and the cold plunge 52 degrees. (If those seem like weird numbers, consider that they were originally given in Celsius.) It occurred to me that I could duplicate the experience at home with a hot shower and our pool, which has been known to get into the low 50's in the winter. So there's no need to go to a spa for it. Whether or not I will actually do it at home remains to be seen.

But from now on, if I'm on a cruise or at a resort with spa facilities, I won't automatically avoid them like the plague.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 6:12 am | Edit
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As someone who's always felt the same way, I'm intrigued. But having given up cruises . . .

Posted by Grace Kone on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 10:10 am

I'd never seen this before. It was on a Viking Ocean cruise, which was amazing. They also had free (that is, included in the base price) laundry facilities on every floor, which was a big plus.

Posted by SursumCorda on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 11:10 am
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