As a veteran of double-digit Disney cruises as a couple with no children, I consider myself an "expert" in the best onboard activities for adults. Often, I am asked which one is my all-time favorite, and I'd have to answer: "THE SURIAL BATH!!!" This experience, now known as the rasul, is some of the best fun that a couple can have on board the ship.
What, you might ask, is a surial bath? Basically, it is one of the best bargains offered by the spa. It can be a G rated experience, or you can bring it up to X...it's all up to you. The facilities can hold up to three people, but by its nature, this experience is more geared for two. Technically it could be done by family members if you are just interested in a relaxing steam bath experience, but it is more geared to being shared by romantic partners.
First, you undress in the locker rooms and don robes that are provided by the spa (you can be nude underneath or wear a swimsuit). Then, an attendant escorts you to your own private "playground." This private area is actually two rooms...a shower/sitting area and a large steam room. The attendant shows you various bowls and bottles on a table, which include one or more types of mud that are supposed to be applied to specific parts of the body (although it is a lot more fun to use them as body paints), salt or a tube of exfoliant, and aromatherapy products such as massage oils, lotions, and gels. Shampoo and conditioner will also be provided, either with the products or in a dispenser in the shower.
The attendant will then leave you for the next hour, and as she put it the first time we experienced this, "Make your own fun!" Depending on just how much fun you want to get into, you may want to bring some extra towels from the locker room. Towels will be provided in the room, but the tile floor is hard so it's always nice to have some extra cushioning just in case you are going for the full X rating.
Technically, you are supposed to apply the mud as directed, then let it soak in as you lounge in the steam room, and finish off by washing off with the aromatherapy products. But somehow I don't think that things usually happen this way. Realistically, you can pretty much do whatever you want (wink, wink). I suggest having a mud fight and hitting up your partner for a massage with the wonderfully soothing oils.
You have an hour, and just in case you don't have a water/steamproof watch, the attendant will knock on the door with a "ten minute warning" as your session draws to a close. You don't have to open the door; simply knock back to acknowledge that you heard the signal. In all the times we have done this, we have always had complete privacy. However, I have seen message board reports of attendants walking in...perhaps that happens if you get a voyaristic attendant. We have never had any problem with this.
Some people have reported problems with getting the steam to start. The start button can be finicky, so if it doesn't kick on the first time, hold in the button for several seconds. You may need to do this a couple of times to get things steamy. Once the steam starts billowing in, be careful because it can be quite hot on your feet. In the steam area, there are three alcoves with hoses and showers to sit in. The shower water is usually warm, but the hose water is cool. I have very low blood pressure (not a medical condition; normal for me), so I am most comfortable when I run a continual stream of water on me while enjoying the steam. The room can get extremely warm.
Interestingly enough, people seem to either love or hate this treatment. I've seen many reports on the internet, and there's seldom any middle ground. I think it all depends on the type of people you and your partner are. Are you adventurous? Does the idea of a mudfight sound appealing or yucky? Do you like steam rooms, or do they bore you? Are you into trying spa products, or do you hate being oily and full of lotion? Does an hour alone with your partner in a hot, steamy room sound really neat or like 60 minutes of tedium? Consider these questions carefully before booking this treatment.
I think that the rasul/surial is especially good for honeymooners and for people with kids who rarely can escape for a little private time. Hubby and I don't have children, so that isn't a problem for us, but we just think it's really neat. We don't even have a usual plan. Sometimes our experience gets the full X rating, and other times it's just a relaxing G-rated romp. We have lots of fun either way.
This treatment has gotten quite a reputation on the internet, so appointments can fill up quickly. If you are interested, it's best to get to the spa about 15 minutes before appointments start being taken on embarkation day. The spa is located on Deck 9, as far forward as you can get on the ship.
Have fun, and keep it clean (not!!!)
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