Chasing Summer At Sea

[trip style = cruising + spa]

Who: Trip Styler What: A repositioning cruise aboard the NCL Pearl  When: Last week Where: Vancouver to LA with stops in Astoria, WA {cancelled due to treacherous seas} and San Francisco, CA Why: Fall mini break How:

Sailing from Vancouver to LA I had one goal: chase summer in the direction it's migrating: South.

We were off to a good start. Passing by Vancouver Island, I opened my balcony door to a rush of lukewarm air and was taken by this dramatic sunset with the flare of fall's hottest colours---nougat, camel, purple and charcoal {according to the Fall 2011 Pantone Colour Report}. As we crept southward between 4 and 40km off the Pacific Coast, aside from a picture perfect day in San Francisco, the weather didn’t usher in an extended summer as hoped.

Thank goodness I stumbled upon the ship's spa the first day at sea and found out about the one-week pass to the thermal baths, sauna, steam room and heated ergonomic loungers. When I learned there were only a limited amount of passes sold---120 for a 3,000-passenger ship---I became a regular seeking serenity now. The spa was my poolside; all that was missing were the mojitos. I'd have to settle for apples and chilled water. {Trip Styler Tip :: Whether you're at a resort, all-inclusive or on a cruise, it's imperative to do a self-directed or staff-led tour on the first day of your arrival. Don't make the same mistake as I have in the past, discovering the resort's hidden gems on day three of a four-day trip. You could miss opportunities like the spa pass!}

I’ve never sat in an over-water sauna---at sea nonetheless---until this cruise. Unless I discover a glass-ceilinged sauna that sits at the base of the Grand Canyon or suspended from the top of the Eiffel Tower, nothing will compare. Its dry, woodsy heat mimicked the mid-day heat of the Arizona desert, and when I wanted a break there was a 14-degree Celsius cold plunge pool that I only braved up to my ankles.

As a form of indoor tanning, I lay on a heated, green and blue mosaic-tiled lounger that fit the contours of my back as if it were made for me by a tailor. The gentle heat was so soothing that between snoozing, magazines were the only reading material my eyes could focus on with big pictures and minimal words. To wake up after the heat-induced power tanning session on the lounger, I took a dip in the body-temperature water therapy pool with enough jets to power a 747 and yet another horizontal, contoured relaxation area that sent bubbles upward massaging the legs, back and neck.

After spending the better part of my at-sea days heating up, cooling down and lounging Finnish-style in the spa, it was the last day of the cruise. Ironically, the sun had just made an appearance, glistening off the peaks of the gently wavy sea. Chasing summer {mostly} accomplished, thanks to the spa and the San Francisco sun.

Related A Steal At Sea Fashion Friday :: Buoy Oh Buoy Sailing In The Whitsundays Travel Trends :: Larger Than Life At Sea Travel Trappings :: Cruising Essentials Royal Caribbean + DreamWorks = Smart Cruisin’ with the Fam

[photos by @tripstyler]