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Greenhouse Spa: Zuiderdam’s New Facial Machine Delivers Advanced Technologies

Holland America Line’s Greenhouse Spa & Salon, long known for its Elemis product line, has a new beauty tool for cruisers. The Elemis Biotec facial machine provides five different, customized approaches to maximize skin care. Spa Director Kadina Williams was kind enough to give me a demo on our recent, 18-night “Viking Passage” cruise from Copenhagen to New York via Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Canada onboard the nearly 2,000-passenger Zuiderdam.

The machine has been in use on Zuiderdam nearly three months, according to aesthetician Shainene, who was specifically trained for these facials. “When you work with the machine, it’s always going to work in the deepest layers of the skin,” she notes, explaining these five approaches:

1. Oxygen infusion provides powerful bursts of concentrated, 100% pure oxygen to help with fine lines and wrinkles;
2. Galvanic current uses negative and positive polarity to push products deep into the skin; a set of small, matching double rollers are used, and it’s very popular;
3. Micro-current firms and tones, providing a lifting effect;
4. Ultrasonic delivers 27,000 vibrations per second to “lift all that debris, pollution, congestion in the skin;”
5. And there’s also LED therapy using red and blue light. “For pigmentation concerns, we would use blue light to calm the skin,” says Shainene. Red light stimulates collagen production while blue also helps reduce inflammation and redness, which I have due to sensitivity and some rosacea.

Kathy getting the Elemis Biotec facial.

Relaxing? Most definitely. I asked about clients’ reactions to a machine vs. human touch, and Shay, as she’s known on-board, said both approaches are available or in combination; it’s up to the client. “They love it because of instant results,” she said of the Biotec machine. The anti-aging facial has been most popular. Before any facial, though, the provider will assess the skin and the guest’s expectations.

In addition to two pools on the ship — one that’s covered — The Greenhouse Spa provides access, for a fee, to a warm, welcoming hydrotherapy pool using sea water. A separate spa area houses heated ceramic slab loungers perfect for a post-massage snooze. And a wide range of massage modalities are available including couple’s massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Tui Na and traditional Swedish. Hair and nail services were popular our voyage due to three formal nights. The fitness center is well-equipped, and classes include Yoga, spinning on stationary bikes and more.

I also participated in the Greenhouse Spa’s complimentary Ladies Pamper Party, where participants try out Elemis products – facial cleanser, mask, eye cream and moisturizer, mineral makeup and, best of all, a quick neck/shoulder massage — always welcomed.

For my spa day, I opted for the 20-20-20 special, three treatments over 60 minutes for $119. My provider, Kimberly, did a beautiful job with a 20-minute hot-stone neck, shoulders and back massage – needed because of computer work (yes, reporting on cruising and spas is work, though fabulous work); she then delivered a great foot massage (working on my plantar fasciitis issue) and lastly, a hydrating facial, this time with her hands vs. the Biotec. I love sea days, which means more time to spa, and this journey had a whopping seven of them. Bliss? Absolutely.

Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher of Raleigh, NC, are award-winning freelance travel writers and photographers specializing in cruising, spas and luxury destinations. This sailing was their 72nd cruise, and with the addition of Greenland and Iceland, they’ve now reported on 76 countries and each continent. They’ve written often about Holland America, including the Koningsdam and Nieuw Amsterdam most recently. Their travel writing also inspires their other venture,, where they put any couple in their own personalized romance novel.

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