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Wellness Centres on Costa Crociere Cruises: Body, Space, and Representation from an Anthropological and Linguistic perspective


Many tourist services are connected to the care of the body. The tourist industry proposes different vacation opportunities where the body is the main focus of the experience. This kind of tourism implies specific services that show a particular universe of representation and particular languages. In this context, cruise tourism is an interesting case to analyze because a part of its services gives a central role to the body which, on-board, organizes and is organized within dedicated spaces and times. Cruise ships provide spaces for the wellness of the passengers such as swimming pools, gyms, spas or beauty centres. The analysis proposed in this work is based, on one hand, on a recent anthropological fieldwork on a Costa Crociere cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. On cruises people use a limited space, the ship, in different ways. This use also reflects a particular conception of the body, built through an interaction of different systems of representation. So, the ship can become a space for social aggregation or separation. On the other hand, this study considers different textual advertisements from the Costa Web site where the company presents specific services for the body to future passengers1. This paper analyzes them using a joint approach: both semiotic and linguistic. Through texts and pictures Costa Crociere creates a “synthesis” of the wellness spaces which prefigures the behaviour of the passengers on the cruise. More particularly, in order to analyze advertisements, a cognitive linguistics approach is suitable to show the authors’ linguistic choices and the paratextual elements used to promote the cruise.