A Look at the


by Richard H. Wagner
 The spa complex on Queen Mary 2 is 20,000 square feet and
covers portions of two decks.  However, size is not its only
distinction.  The complex is operated by Canyon Ranch, the
prestigious American resort.  

 Canyon Ranch was founded in 1979 by Mel and Enid
Zuckerman.  They have been quoted as saying:  “the Canyon
Ranch experience focus[es] on pursuing optimal health - -
learning how to feel your best every day.  We encourage people
to become active, informed participants in their health care,
because wellness is largely based on everyday lifestyle choices
about nutrition, stress management, preventive care and staying

 Canyon Ranch operates two resorts, the original one in Tucson
Arizona and one in Lenox, Massachusetts.  They are known for
providing top quality spa services in luxury venues.  Indeed,
Canyon Ranch is the only 10-time winner of the Condé Nast
Traveler best spa award.  Thus, their claim that they operate “the
world’s greatest health resort,” is not just promotional puffery.   

 In addition to the resorts, Canyon Ranch operates what it calls
“SpaClubs” at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the Gaylord
Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida, and
onboard Queen Mary 2.  “We are giving you just a taste of what
you would experience in Tucson or the Lenox property,” explains
Nicole Clark who is Director of the SpaClub on QM2.

 The Canyon Ranch operation on QM2 is made up of several
components.  Its centerpiece is the spa itself, which is made up of
treatment rooms and services, the Aqua Therapy Centre, and the
Relaxation Lounge.
  A wide variety of massages, acupuncture, chiropractic
treatments, thermal therapies and other treatments are offered in
the softly lit and restful treatment rooms on Deck 7.*  There are
even rooms for couples who want to share a treatment experience.

Canyon Ranch ensures that the treatment experience that the
guests receive onboard is a Canyon Ranch experience.  First, the
onboard massage therapist trainer “goes to [the SpaClub in] Las
Vegas on a regular basis to make sure her techniques are updated
and that she is providing the same techniques and training to the
staff onboard.”  In addition, when hiring, “we want people that
are already very well-trained from the technical side and who are
also able to embrace our philosophy.  Within two contracts, they
will go through Canyon Ranch at Tucson and what we call our life
enhancement program.  It is a week long program that they get to
experience as a guest.”

  The Aqua Therapy Centre features a large indoor pool with
fountains, a waterfall and underwater jets that massage the body.  
Areas of the pool are quite shallow so that one can just sit or
stretch out and relax as the water passes by.  Next to the pool is a
large whirlpool.

Immediately adjacent to the pool are steam rooms, a sauna,
reflexology basins, and sensory showers featuring six water jets
and an overhead spray.  One of the steam rooms is aromatic while
the other uses herbal scents to enhance the experience.  All of the
Aqua Therapy facilities are unisex.

After a treatment or after indulging in the Aqua Therapy Centre,
guests can adjourn to the Relaxation Lounge.  This room has floor
to ceiling windows and looks out at the sea.  It is on the same
level as QM2’s outdoor promenade but the windows have been
treated so that guests in the Relaxation Lounge can see their
fellow passengers walking or jogging by but they cannot see in.  
Guests can lay back in their soft bathrobes on the lounges and
listen to the gentle music while enjoying a glass of fruit juice or
ice water.

“When you are enjoying a service, a massage or a facial, the
Aqua Therapy is complimentary.  So, they can enjoy the
experience the whole day.  They can go out to lunch, they can
come back and use the Aqua Therapy in the afternoon, they can sit
in the Relaxation Lounge and really not just experience a 50
minute service but experience a whole day.”

Also on Deck 7 just forward of the spa is the Fitness Center.  
Here, one can find treadmills, cardiovascular machines, weight
machines, and free weights.  In addition, the Canyon Ranch fitness
instructors give classes and personal training.  “At the land-based
properties, they will have about 100 classes per day ranging from
everything from samba dancing to spinning to what have you - -
they have such a variety which we can’t offer on here, we just
wouldn’t have the manpower to do it.  We offer six to eight
classes a day, offering a variety for guests.”  Classes include such
things as Pilates, yoga, free weights training and classes that are
designed for “people who aren’t as capable. We offer ‘Sit and Be
Fit’ - - different exercises that you can do in a chair.  It gets tough
to sign up for the fitness classes.  We hold the numbers to a
certain level so that everyone can enjoy and the classes aren’t so

 There is also a food component to the Canyon Ranch operation
on QM2.  The menus in the main dining room, the Britannia
Restaurant, have a section headlined “Canyon Ranch Spa
Selections”.  This section contains an appetizer, entrée and
dessert recommendation.  Following each recommendation are the
number of calories, the grams of fat, and the grams of fiber
contained in that dish.   “Our chefs from Tucson have created the
menus that you have in Britannia.  They do the recipes and every
year we have the chefs from onboard the ship go to Tucson. They
[learn] what ingredients they must and must not use.  They get a
taste of Canyon Ranch so they understand our philosophy a little
bit more, what we are trying to achieve with the food aspect of it.”

 Yet another component of the Canyon Ranch operation on QM2
is the Canyon Ranch lecture series.  Unlike ships where the spa-
related lecture is a talk by one of the spa staff that ends with a
pitch for a product or service sold by the spa, the Canyon Ranch
lectures are informative talks on health and wellness topics by
experts brought onto the ship just to lecture.

 “The lecturers differ from nutritionists to doctors to behavioral
therapists, so again offering you another component of what you
would experience on land.  Normally, the lecturers are lecturers
who work on a contract basis to Canyon Ranch so they are not
necessarily Canyon Ranch employees.  They’ll be regular
lecturers at Tucson, Lenox or Gaylord Palms.  We try and have a
good variety so that we are not having the same type of lecturer on
each cruise.  If you were staying for three voyages, you would see
three different lecturers onboard.  They do three lecturers
throughout a cruise.  They have three topics that they talk about,
usually intertwining each lecture into the other.  For instance, we
have a nutritionist coming on tomorrow who does lecturing at the
Tucson property and she is a nutritionist from ‘The Biggest Loser’
in the States.  So, she is a well-known TV celebrity as well.”

 The final component of the Canyon Ranch operation is the salon
located on Deck 8.  Looking out over the forward part of the ship,
guests have a spectacular view while having their hair cut,
receiving a manicure or pedicure, or having their make-up done
by the salon’s make-up artists.  There are services for both men
and women.

In general, more women than men use the spa facilities.  
However, the gender percentage differs by nationality. “We
always notice that with our American clients we will get a 60/40
split to women.  With our English clients it is probably 80 to 20.”

 Overall use of the spa facilities also differs by nationality.  
“Definitely, our American clients are more spa savvy. The
English are generally a little more conservative although that is
definitely changing.”

“The first two days are usually fairly booked on a cruise. With
our short voyages like we did last week for five days, we could
get up to 250 pre-reservations.  If you go onto the Cunard website,
there is a direct link that you can use to pre-reserve services.  
They are confirmed when you come onboard but we take the
requests and we book as we can.”

“We will have something in the cabin when guests embark to
make sure that guests come down on embarkation day to reserve
because hair services. Especially because we have three formal
evenings on a transatlantic, we book up quite quickly, quite

“Port days are definitely quieter time.  But we find even with our
voyages like the Mediterranean or even our Caribbean season,
you still get a number of people who will go ashore for a certain
number of hours and wander up [to the spa] in the afternoon or
guests that have just come for the ship [and who do not go
ashore].  They enjoy the quiet time of the ship when everybody
else is ashore.  We will normally have promotions in the
afternoon.  We find our port days still get quite busy - - especially
in that later part of the afternoon.”
There are more photos of the interior
of QM2 in the QM2 Photo Tour and

The spa has two steam rooms.  Above is
the Aroma Steam Room and below is the
Herbal Steam Room.
Included in The Canyon Ranch SpaClub is The Aqua Therapy Centre,
which features a handsome pool with jets of massaging water.
The Reflexology Basins relax tired legs and feet.
Above and below: Treatment rooms.
The Relxation Lounge looks across the outdoor promenade to
the sea.
The Fitness Center.
The Salon.
Cruise ship photo essay - - Cunard - - Queen Mary 2 - - Canyon Ranch Spa