#1 in a series of Unique Saunas
We took a cruise in January. Early on our first day on the ship I checked out the saunas in the spa area. There were two spa areas, one regular and one a fancy setup, called a thermal package.
The thermal grotto package included use of an elegant (ceramic tiled) sauna, two different aromatic steam rooms (one had aromatic vapors, but only 10 minutes' steam was recommended) and “rainforest” style showers.
The thermal grotto included tiled lounges that were heated. (Comfy, yes, but maybe hard to cool down there.) The package included a private sanctuary pool for paying spa guests.
After I heard the dollar figure on the thermal package, I became less entranced. But the facilities were lovely. At the beginning of the two-week cruise, unlimited visits to the thermal grottoes went for $179 per person; the price dropped to $119 after a week.
When I arrived, a trio of Japanese women told me the traditional wood one “wasn’t that hot, but the steam room was much nicer.” For them, but not for me — I was on a reporting mission.
Both were available within the women's locker room area (men also had their own). Everything in the regular steam room was tiled, and a lot steamier.
The traditional sauna was commodious, at 10 feet by 10 feet perhaps, with three tiers of wooden benches. It would have been hard to add water to the rocks, though I didn’t see the sign prohibiting it. A drinking fountain was some distance away but there were no cups or dippers or easy ways to carry water. I didn't think to bring a water bottle.
As the only sauna-taker, I stretched out on the top bench, first checking the temp (77°C) and the humidity (10%). Then I flipped the sand timer and enjoyed a 30-minute relaxation. Ahhh, life is good.
There were plenty of regular showers nearby, but still it was hard to cool down. (Sorta like the one at Grandpa Ivar’s when we had to get dressed too soon to allow the next partakers their turn.) Another time I would come prepared to take a dip in one of the swimming pools (which were on a deck below).