NCL Mandara Spa- don't waste your money!

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Fitness, Spa & Sports Cruises
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#1
7 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
I just completed a Cruise to Alaska on the NCL Spirit 2 days ago. I booked a hot stone massage for myself and my husband. Massage was mediocre at best. Never touched my feet or my left hand and spent only a few minutes on my neck. Tip is automatic so it was $172 for what was billed as a 50 minute massage. However, the first 5 minutes are spent on a "consultation" basically reviewing the questions you answered on your intake form. A lot of time is wasted during the massage fiddling with the stones and then there is 5 minutes at the end allowing you to just rest and relax while the masseuse leaves the room and on her return she spends another 5 minutes hawking their line of massage oils and herbal remedies. I felt fine when I went in the massage but 15 minutes after it was over I got a cramp in my neck which still has not completely resolved. After a few hours of this I went back to the spa and complained to the manager who did not seem to concerned that I was not happy with my treatment. She then spent a few minutes applying "soothing gel" to my neck while I sat in one of the hair styling chairs. The gel is a topical lidocaine and peppermint mixture which did help a little but my neck still hurt for the remainder of the cruise and my experience with the spa put a real damper on my day. Any other respectable spa with professional therapists would have taken me into a treatment room and worked on my neck and or offered me a discount or an additional treatment. My impression was that they really did not know what they were doing. I did not see any professional licensure posted anywhereI heard 4 other women on the cruise complaining about the poor quality of their treatments as well. One woman that complained about her lousy foot massage was told that sometimes the therapist that was trained in a particular treatment was not always the one available for an appointment.
- Save your money! You can get a longer and much better massage for half the price in what ever city you live in.
#2
Fife Scotland
2,464 Posts
Joined May 2000
Sorry to hear your hot stone therapy was a dissapointment. When i had mine it was first class. As have all the treatments I have had at a Mandara spa.

You don't usually get an intense massage with this therapy as the stones would fall off.
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Elaine

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#3
Pacific Northwest/CA
23 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
THANK YOU SO MUCH for that review....I had planned to do the exact same thing and now I WILL "save my money". Forget it, I'll go swim with the dolphins for that kind of money.

I would NOT have been amused to repeat your experience. Thanks again. :O)
#4
sunny so. cal.
185 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I gotta say (but didn't quite know where to put it) that my spa experience on NCLA's Pride of Hawaii was less than impressive as well. (Not sure if it's the same spa vendor or not).

I was warned to skip the spa stuff on cruise ships in general, particularly NCL... and perhaps opt for a day spa or hotel spa in port. I'm thinking that's not a half bad idea, now.

I felt as though the facilities were okay...but nothing to write home (or cruise critic) about. Very plain, very utilitarian in my opinion. The staff was ALL about getting people in and OUT quickly, and not particularly skilled. There was little encouragement to actually USE the spa facilities at all. I sort of toured them on my own when my treatment was done - until I was hunted down by my therapist to sign for my charges. I was spared the hard sell on products (my companions, were not), but I still feel like I sort of wasted $175.

Sorry to hear you had a unsatisfying experience too.
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#5
Munich & Boone
1,400 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
I can only say I had great experiences! Had many massages and facials on different NCL ships. Yes there were some, where I had better before, but as well on my last cruise on the Pearl the best treatments I have ever received. It is totally up to the Therapist and I tell them up front not to do the sales call, since i use better products then they have in the spa anyhow.
#6
Grass Valley, CA
408 Posts
Joined May 2007
Hey sneakerstud,
So glad to hear you received some good treatments on the Pearl. I will be on the ship in Sept.. We plan to use the spa daily. We are both massage therapists in Maui, and definately take time for our bodies where ever we go.
Was wondering if you had anymore info at all on the spa. Weekly spa pass, specials, recommended therapists?
#7
6 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I have a question regarding using the spa facilities. If I don't book a massage or treatment, can I still visit the spa for the sauna, etc or is there a fee for that?

We're sailing on the NCL Star in August and was hoping to spend some time in the spa to relax but not necessarily to get a massage.

Thanks!
Hilda
#8
2,010 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Hilda,
As I understand it, you can purchase a spa pass to use the special hot tub/sauna/rain shower facilities. I've heard it's $15/day, or a full cruise pass for $50-$90, depending on the length of your cruise. I definitely plan do tuse it at least one day, maybe two.
#10
Connecticut
2 Posts
Joined Dec 2013
Sad to say we have to agree with most posters that the Spas on NCL ships have been over-priced with amateurish care. Too much time upfront asking personal questions. Wife was especially mortified when (during the form review in the couples massage) the masseuse asked if she was concerned about her weight. This was a set up to sell wildly overpriced and non-effective products like cellulite cream - hardly what you want to set the mood for a romantic couples massage!

Lots of wasted time fiddling with stones and equiptment.

It was all about hustle, overcharging and under - delivering. We have had similar experiences on the Breakawy, Pearl and other NCL cruises, so now we have massages at home or in port.

Don't waste your money.
#12
Portland, OR
2,446 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by Miked1016
Sad to say we have to agree with most posters that the Spas on NCL ships have been over-priced with amateurish care. Too much time upfront asking personal questions. Wife was especially mortified when (during the form review in the couples massage) the masseuse asked if she was concerned about her weight. This was a set up to sell wildly overpriced and non-effective products like cellulite cream - hardly what you want to set the mood for a romantic couples massage!

Lots of wasted time fiddling with stones and equiptment.

It was all about hustle, overcharging and under - delivering. We have had similar experiences on the Breakawy, Pearl and other NCL cruises, so now we have massages at home or in port.

Don't waste your money.
I would mention that there's a big difference between "spa services" (i.e. massages, facials, etc.) and a "spa pass" that affords access to the thermal suite. The thermal suites on most NCL ships are excellent and don't require any interaction with spa staff except to check in and out. I have found them to be a really good value if you like to have access to sauna, steam, heated ceramic loungers, a thalassotherapy pool, etc. And since a limited number of passes are sold each cruise, generally the thermal suite is free of crowds.
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John aka "Cruiser Bruiser"
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#13
Idaho
33 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
Originally posted by Cruiser Bruiser
I would mention that there's a big difference between "spa services" (i.e. massages, facials, etc.) and a "spa pass" that affords access to the thermal suite. The thermal suites on most NCL ships are excellent and don't require any interaction with spa staff except to check in and out. I have found them to be a really good value if you like to have access to sauna, steam, heated ceramic loungers, a thalassotherapy pool, etc. And since a limited number of passes are sold each cruise, generally the thermal suite is free of crowds.
This is what my husband and I are planning to do. Just being able to sauna daily and all that sounds so relaxing. This is our first cruise, and I am hoping we can buy the pass when we board the ship.
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