The cruise-ship spa is a magical place where you enter as a frazzled mess and leave as a serenely smiling god or goddess of the seas. But it’s not without its social pitfalls, and our guide to cruise spa etiquette will help you stay on-message during your massage.

Keep Your Towel On

Heat does strange things to people. It can cause you to hallucinate. It can cause you to faint. And – in a sauna or steam room at least – it can cause you to drop your towel and display all to your horrified fellow guests. You may be totally body confident or looking to re-connect with your inner self, but nobody – and we mean nobody – wants to see that.

Woman enjoying a nap during a head massage in a spa

It’s Not Good to Talk
This may seem obvious, but talking during a body treatment is not conducive to relaxation. Sure, it may seem like a nice idea to fill your massage therapist in on your cruise experience so far, but ultimately, you’re just cheating yourself out of a chance to unwind. More importantly, your fellow spa-goers next door do not want to hear about your holiday exploits. Inside voice, people.

Feel Free to Nap 

‘Ah, this is the life,’ you think to yourself, as the therapist’s magic hands get to work. You haven’t felt this relaxed in ages. In fact you could even drift off to sleep… And that’s fine. Dozing off in a treatment room during a massage is not among the spa-going no-nos. It happens – a lot – and your therapist really won’t mind. Some may even take it as a compliment.

Don Paper Pants

There’s no greater ignominy in this world than being forced to don paper pants before settling down for your massage – but they are a necessary evil to protect your own undergarments. And although to look at them you’d think there’s no way they could possibly cover your rump (correct), try to aim for a crescent rather than a full moon. Your therapist will thank you.

Have a Shower Before

We can’t imagine any WOC readers being so thoughtless, but anyone who turns up for their spa treatment wet from the pool will find that the massage oils aren’t as effective and the whole experience is thoroughly disheartening. Mainly for the therapist, who is almost certainly not being paid enough to deal with this.