Oprah cruise to alaska

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This Weekend, Oprah Will Become The Godmother of a Cruise Ship

Oprah Winfrey is known for a great many things, from her SuperSoul Sunday TV show and podcast to her hand-selected reads for her book club. Now, the TV icon, film actress, philanthropist, and founder and editorial director of O, The Oprah Magazine is about to take on another role: as a cruise ship godmother.

Since last summer, Winfrey has brought her own touch to the high seas, creating a series of personal growth-oriented cruises in partnership with Holland America Line, known for its strong leisure itineraries around Alaska and the Caribbean. Right now, in fact, Winfrey and BFF Gayle King—and a whole bunch of fans—are currently on a three-day Girls’ Getaway cruise in the Bahamas on the 2,666-passenger Nieuw Statendam, the newest ship from Holland America.

Courtesy O The Oprah Magazine

When Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway cruise was announced, it sold out in minutes: guests onboard are spending a day on the beach at Half Moon Cay, in the Bahamas, as well as enjoying live conversations with Winfrey on board, before returning to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday (February 2)—just in time for the media mogul (and Gayle, of course) to join the dedication ceremony and officially christen the ship. (Which you can watch live at 2 p.m. EST from Holland America’s website, or on the cruise line’s Facebook page.) More importantly, though: you, too, can sail the Oprah way.

Winfrey took her first cruise with Holland America when she announced the partnership in 2017, on a sailing to Alaska; since then, she’s helped create a series of aptly named Adventure of Your Life Cruises for the line. Also as part of the partnership, Winfrey tweaked programming across the company’s 16 ships, so even if you’re not on one of her specialty sailings, you can enjoy the Oprah experience with Holland America. On sea days, for example, there’s morning meditation and movement sessions by the pool, during which you can think about your daily intentions. If you’re hanging out in your stateroom, you can watch videos on style and beauty by O’s Creative Director Adam Glassman and Beauty Director Brian Underwood. Looking for something to read? Just borrow a copy of an Oprah’s Book Club Selection at the Guest Services desk, then join a group discussion in O’s Reading Room. (The current book is An American Marriage, a novel by award-winning author Tayari Jones.) Even at the onboard shop you might pick up one of Oprah’s Favorite Things—including clothes by Chico’s and Talbots.

From where we sit, it’s fair to say that if Oprah likes cruising, you will, too.

After its christening, Nieuw Statendam will spend the winter in the Caribbean, sailing from Fort Lauderdale, and then heading to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean for the summer and fall. For more information about Holland America and its itineraries, head here.

Holland America Line Launches All-Oprah Cruises

There’s a whole lotta Oprah going on at Holland America Line.

Now you can sail with Oprah and her magazine team, on Holland America, in a brilliant example of a… marketing partnership

O, The Oprah Magazine

And not surprisingly, the Oprah-themed cruise scheduled for next January 30, 2019 is already sold out.

You heard that right. Holland America has partnered with O, The Oprah Magazine, to make the magazine come alive for hundreds of Oprah-loving passengers. Next January 30, 2019, the premium cruise line — which is currently undergoing $300 Million in brand enhancements — will debut a special three-day Girls’ Getaway Cruise on its newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam. Ms. Winfrey herself — who has been chosen to be the Godmother of the ship, a very high honor — will embark on the inaugural HAL cruise, and will be joined by the magazine’s Editor-At-Large, Gayle King.

Oprah and O Editor-At-Large Gayle King will debut HAL’s Nieuw Statendam

O, The Oprah Magazine

Oprah’s picture will hang in the ship for its life with Holland America Line, honoring her as its Godmother. Naming a ship’s Godmother is a 4,000-year-old maritime tradition believed to bring good luck to the ship and all who sail on it, so this certainly is an exciting new title to add to Oprah’s many others.

Rendering of Holland America’s newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam

O, The Oprah Magazine

All kinds of Oprah special events and presentations will be held on the new ship, which is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Merghera Shipyard in Italy.

The idea for the cruise partnership came about in 2016 when one of HAL’s marketing executives met with Jayne Jamison, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine. The two discussed how transformational travel can be, and they brainstormed to develop a special joint program between the cruise line and the magazine. In an exclusive interview for Forbes.com, Ms. Jamison told me, “Oprah has done it all. She’s an actress, author, and philanthropist and we thought, ‘Why not make her the ship’s Godmother?’ We found something that Oprah actually hadn’t done before,” Ms. Jamison said with an enthusiastic laugh.

On the debut cruise next year, a wealth of wonderful Oprah events and presentations will be given to the 2600 passengers — all women, “with the exception of 200 brave men who are coming,” quipped Ms Jamison. Editorial staff from O, The Oprah Magazine will be on board hosting some of the special events; these individuals include Editor-in-Chief Lucy Kaylin, Creative Director Adam Glassman, Beauty Director Brian Underwood, and Book Editor Leigh Haber.

Some of the Girls’ Getaway cruise events will include “A Conversation with Oprah,” in which she will share highlights of her career, as well as “Love That! Style Session with Adam Glassman” and “O’s Reading Room,” in which authors of books featured in the O Book Club will offer presentations and book-signings onboard. The ship’s retail shops will also be chock-a-block with great Oprah merchandise from special brands “with mass appeal,” says Ms. Jamison. “We are known for curating the latest and best in all price points.”

The ship’s turndown service will feature Oprah quotes printed on cards that are placed on all beds. But without question, one of the greatest advantages of the Oprah-themed cruise is not just the opportunity to see Ms. Winfrey in person, but, to also meet other like-minded women who share Oprah’s energy and inspirational spirit, and to make meaningful friendships.

Oprah is official Godmother of HAL’s Nieuw Statendam — and you’re invited

O, The Oprah Magazine

The Oprah-themed cruises — without in-person appearances from Ms. Winfrey — were initially started in 2017 to the Caribbean and Alaska, featuring unforgettable moments inspired by content in the magazine. They have proven to be enormously successful, and were co-branded with deluxe merchandisers such as Roberto Coin, Chico’s and Land’s End.

This August 11, 2018, will feature an Alaska itinerary, and on October 28, there will be a seven-day Caribbean sailing.

For example, here are some highlights for the upcoming Oprah cruise in August:

Brian Underwood, Beauty Director, will host O Beautiful on the Main Stage, offering tips and beauty advice, and doing before/after makeovers with cruisers; he will also host two Beauty Talk segments in The O Shop, talk-show style segments focused on product that guests can find in the store, with how-tos, tutorials, and Q&A;

Corrie Pikul, Health Editor, and Cathryne Keller, Food and Wellness Editor, will host Let’s Eat and offer ways to eat smarter and improve our energy through super foods;

Leigh Haber, Books Editor, will host an O Reading Room discussion with American author Laura Lippmann on her New York Times bestselling book, Sunburn;

Amy Macklin, Executive Editor, joins Brian, Corrie, Cathryne and Leigh for The Making of O, a behind the scenes look at how the magazine gets put together each month;

Dr. Shefali Tsabary, clinical psychologist, speaker, and author, named to the SuperSoul 100 by Oprah, will help guests let go of their traditional ways of thinking to become who they truly are;

and Sara Auster, renowned sound therapist, will lead Just Breathe, offering mindful meditation through sound bath therapy.

Knowing the popularity of Oprah and her magazine, these upcoming sailings will most likely sell out just as did the three-day debut cruise on the Nieuw Statendam. Says Ms. Jamison, “Once Oprah posted about the Girls’ Getaway cruise, it sold out. That was it.”

For 2019, the magazine is also producing video content that will appear on all of the ships in the HAL fleet. For example, Adam Glassman, Creative Director, will provide packing tips for booked guests who will be traveling on HAL cruises that year. When guests are on board, they will see videos of Adam in their stateroom and outside the Shops, offering advice on the essential pieces that every woman should have in her closet.

Here’s what I have to say about it all — O, that’s good!

Investor Relations

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine Set Sail on Three-Day Girls’ Cruise Jan. 30, 2019, with Oprah Winfrey Aboard Nieuw Statendam

Oprah named godmother of new vessel and will officially dedicate the ship in a private ceremony at a later date

Seattle, Wash., June 13, 2018 — Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine announced today a three-day Girls’ Getaway cruise on Holland America Line’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, Jan. 30, 2019. Oprah Winfrey will embark on the cruise, joined by O, The Oprah Magazine Editor-at-Large Gayle King and other members of the magazine’s editorial staff, who will host special presentations and events on board the ship, currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. Winfrey will serve as godmother of Nieuw Statendam, with an official dedication by Winfrey to take place in a private ceremony at a later date to be announced.
“We are so excited to have Oprah set sail with us again for the Girls’ Getaway cruise in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine, and we’re deeply honored that Oprah will serve as godmother of Nieuw Statendam,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The time-honored maritime tradition of choosing a godmother for a new vessel dates back more than 4,000 years and is revered as important in bringing good luck and protection to the ship and all who sail on board, so it’s perfectly fitting that the Girls’ Getaway cruise will take place on Nieuw Statendam. We anticipate the energy and inspirational spirit will be unlike any other cruise experience there is — and life-changing for many.”
The Girls’ Getaway cruise sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and spends a day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s idyllic private island in the Bahamas. The Girls’ Getaway cruise celebrates the power of friendship and will feature exclusive onboard experiences that honor and pay tribute to the special bond between women.
As a highlight, guests will have the opportunity to attend one of three live “Conversations with Oprah.” Additionally, editorial staff from O, The Oprah Magazine will be on board hosting special events, including Editor-in-Chief Lucy Kaylin, Creative Director Adam Glassman, Beauty Director Brian Underwood and Books Editor Leigh Haber.
“The partnership with Holland America Line has been a dream come true,” said Jayne Jamison, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine. “Our teams have worked seamlessly together to create unforgettable moments inspired by content in the magazine for the January 2019 sailing that reflect our core values and goals of helping people expand their horizons and live their best life.”
Activities and Events on the Girls’ Getaway Cruise
A Conversation with Oprah: Winfrey will share highlights of her career, inspirational stories of the amazing women she has met over the years, and the desire for this cruise to be the start of something meaningful for those on board. King will join Winfrey on stage for a candid and entertaining chat that shows the deep bond between these two best friends.
Love That! Style Session with Adam Glassman: Glassman will host a style presentation revealing his tips, tricks and secrets for essential pieces that everyone needs in their wardrobe. Following his talk, Glassman will join guests in the onboard dedicated O Shop to offer shopping advice.
O’s Reading Room with Leigh Haber: Guests will have the opportunity to read the latest onboard book club selection (to be announced) and then join Haber for an intriguing discussion with the author. O’s Reading Room was introduced on Holland America Line ships in 2017, and due to its overwhelming popularity, is now available on all ships in the fleet.
Just Breathe: Led by a guest instructor to be announced, participants set their intentions for the day and are encouraged to become present with themselves and those around them through meditation and movement. On the at-sea day, Just Breathe will be held around the serene Lido Pool area, and the experience moves to the beach during the call at private island Half Moon Cay.
Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine Partnership
Building on the success of the exclusive partnership started in 2017, Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine have extended their agreement through 2019 to unite the soul-stirring power of travel with O’s deep commitment to connection and personal growth. Two remaining Adventure of Your Life Cruises with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine also will feature members of the magazine’s editorial team, along with special guest speakers: Aug. 11, 2018, on a seven-day Alaska itinerary and Oct. 28, 2018, on a seven-day Caribbean sailing.
On Holland America Line cruises sailing in North America, guests can take part in a variety of engaging activities developed with the magazine’s editors including meditation, exercise, healthy eating and more. O’s Reading Room is available on all cruises worldwide.
For more information on O, The Oprah Magazine cruises please visit hollandamerica.com/OprahMag. To book your cruise, contact a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos are available at https://www.cruiseimagelibrary.com/c/fbbsran3.
Find Holland America Line on Twitter, Facebook and the Holland America Blog. Access all social media outlets via the home page at hollandamerica.com.
About O, The Oprah Magazine
O, The Oprah Magazine (oprah.com/omagazine) encourages confident, intelligent women to reach for their dreams, express their individual style and make wise choices, guided by the values of one of the most charismatic women in the world, O editorial director Oprah Winfrey. With an emphasis on personal growth, the magazine inspires, addressing every aspect of a woman’s life — the material, the intellectual and the emotional — and deeply connects with more than 14 million consumers every month (source: 2018 comScore Multi-Platform //GfK MRI Media Fusion (03-18/F17). From the moment it launched, O, The Oprah Magazine carved out a unique position in the marketplace and created an entirely new category in women’s magazines, delivering the Live Your Best Life message through thoughtful, ever-evolving content and the trusted advice provided by well-known experts. Throughout the years, O, The Oprah Magazine has been recognized with the publishing industry’s highest honor, winning multiple American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) awards. Follow O, The Oprah Magazine on Twitter at @O_Magazine and Instagram at @OprahMagazine.
O, The Oprah Magazine is a co-venture between Harpo Print, LLC and Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst, one of the nation’s largest diversified media, information and services companies. Hearst attracts more readers of monthly magazines than any other publisher. Hearst Magazines’ print and digital assets reach 139 million readers and site visitors each month–more than two-thirds of all women and nearly three-quarters of millennial women in the country (source: 2017 comScore Multi-Platform/MRI 01-18/F17). With 25 titles in the U.S, the company publishes close to 300 editions and 200 websites around the world.
About Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress. For 25 years Oprah was host of the award-winning talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. As chairman and CEO, she guides her cable network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, is founder of O, The Oprah Magazine and oversees Harpo films. Oprah starred in HBO Films’ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and most recently portrayed Mrs. Which in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time film adaptation from director Ava DuVernay. In 2013 Winfrey was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. At the 2018 Golden Globes she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.
Oprah’s cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life, debuted at number one on The New York Times best-seller list, as did her most recent book The Wisdom of Sundays, featuring today’s most admired thought leaders who have appeared on OWN’s Emmy Award-winning talk series Super Soul Sunday. The podcast version of these interviews, “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations,” are also available on Apple Podcasts and where podcasts are available.
About Holland America Line
Holland America Line’s fleet of 14 ships offers more than 500 cruises to more than 400 ports in 98 countries, territories or dependencies around the world. From shorter getaways to 113-day itineraries, the company’s cruises visit all seven continents, with highlights including Antarctica explorations, South America circumnavigations, Cuba cruises and exotic Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages; four annual Grand Voyages; and popular sailings to the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada & New England, Bermuda, Europe and the Panama Canal. The line welcomed Koningsdam in 2016 and has a second Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam, to be delivered in December 2018. A third Pinnacle-class ship is due for delivery in 2021.
The company is undergoing $300 million in brand enhancements to secure its position as the leader in premium cruising. Fleetwide, the ships feature innovative initiatives and a diverse range of enriching experiences focused on destination immersion and personalized travel. Guests can expand their knowledge through an exclusive partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine; during an America’s Test Kitchen show; at Explorations Café presented by The New York Times; and by taking a Digital Workshop powered by Windows. Outstanding entertainment fills each evening at venues including Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club. The dining experience can be savored at a variety of restaurants with menus that feature selections from Holland America Line’s esteemed Culinary Council, comprising world-famous chefs who design dishes exclusively for our guests.

###

Media Contacts:
Holland America Line:
Sally Andrews
Vice President, Public Relations

800-637-5029 or 206-626-9890
O, The Oprah Magazine:
Randi Friedman
Executive Director PR, Hearst Magazines

212-649-2578

First Oprah took an Alaska cruise. Now Martha Stewart will design activities for Caribbean sailings

Call it the battle of the cruise ship mavens. Holland America has Oprah Winfrey. Now MSC Cruises is partnering with home and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to design new excursions.

In the ongoing marketing war to win the hearts and wallets of American cruisers, Holland America took a big step forward in 2017 when it lined up media mogul Winfrey and her O magazine employees and friends to sail to Alaska and design activities for the line.

Oprah Winfrey, right, and Gayle King appeared on a Holland America cruise to Alaska in 2017. (George Burns Photography)

New cruise lines will explore Mexican waters, islands and towns “

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In addition, they took off on a Girls Getaway trip to the Bahamas last January.

MSC just announced its partnership with Stewart, 77, who will help the Swiss-based line plan “culinary and discovery experiences” on board and ashore. The program will begin June 1.

Martha Stewart will design itineraries for MSC Cruises, including activities such as horseback riding in the ocean. (Douglas Friedman)

Shore excursions, celebration gift packages and holiday dinner menus and recipes will get the Stewart treatment. The excursions will take place initially at multiple destinations across the Caribbean and include activities that Stewart enjoys, such as culinary classes and tastings, horseback riding in the ocean, hikes on the coast and visits to craft markets.

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Excursions will range from $115 to $199 per adult.

Cruisers will be able to buy gifts, including a personalized letter from Stewart, for $10 to $89, as a surprise package for delivery to staterooms to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. In addition, Stewart is creating menus for Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve that reflect her cooking.

Excursions will be available at all destinations visited on itineraries served by MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia, including San Juan, Puerto Rico; Nassau, Bahamas; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Roatán Island, Honduras.

Beginning in November, additional excursions will be available at destinations visited by MSC Divina and MSC Meraviglia while sailing the Caribbean. There will also be an excursion to MSC Cruises’ new private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, which will welcome its first guests in November.

MSC is the world’s largest privately owned cruise company. It primarily serves Europe, South America, the Arab Emirates and South Africa, and is seeking to build a clientele in North America.

Info: MSC Cruises

@latimestravel

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Oprah’s Amazing Holland America Alaska Cruise Experience

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What could be better than a Holland America Alaska Cruise? A Holland America Alaska Cruise + OPRAH… and you guys its happening this year and YOU can book your spot onboard RIGHT NOW!! Plus, you can join me!! That’s right I found out last week that I was chosen as one of the O Mag Insiders (#OMAGinsiders) who gets the chance to experience this incredible cruise courtesy of O, The Oprah Magazine this coming August and I cannot wait!!! Learn more about this incredible once in a lifetime experience offered on the Holland America Alaska Cruise below. *They are also sailing to the Caribbean too! Want more info on cruising? Don’t forget to check out our cruise tips here.

So, first things first you are probably wondering what in the world an Oprah cruise is right? Well the geniuses at O, The Oprah Magazine partnered with Holland America Line to celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure. This exciting initiative paired the extraordinary wonder and beauty of travel with the soulful, inspiring content we have grown to love from O, The Oprah Magazine. You can expect transformative O-inspired activities onboard such as daily morning yoga, special wellness and healthy eating options, travel style advice, Q&A with O, The Oprah Magazine editors and special appearances by thought leaders from The SuperSoul 100 list just to name a few. Below I will detail out some of the experiences onboard that I am looking forward to trying as well as the Holland America Alaska Cruise Itinerary and information on how you can book your spot onboard.

O-Inspired Activities

Here are the activities listed on the Holland America Line website. I am really looking forward to starting my day with some relaxing yoga, doesn’t that sound incredible?? I also love the wellness and healthy eating tips. I can always use more of those.

Just Breathe

Start the day with meaningful meditations and daily intentions and experience the health benefits of movement, all inspired by O, The Oprah Magazine‘s dedication to living your best life. Yoga mats will be supplied.

Love That!

What’s the latest expert fashion advice for travelers? Learn the essential pieces every woman needs for travel at a presentation curated by Emmy Award-winner and O‘s Creative Director, Adam Glassman, exclusively for Holland America Line. Lively, fun and informative, this presentation features insider’s tips and a selection of clothing brands and trends.

O’s Reading Room

We’re reading Anything Is Possible by Pulitzer Prize-winning and The New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout. Come share your insights, discover new authors and make new friends. The time and location for this special O-themed event will vary by ship.

Let’s Eat

Indulge your passion for food without guilt and learn a lifetime of healthy habits inspired by O, The Oprah Magazine‘s focus on wellness. It’s all about good eating habits and getting the guidance and tips you need to feel great.

Itinerary

The 7-day Alaskan Explorer Cruise will depart Aug. 11th, 2018 at 4 pm from Seattle, Washington. Check out the INCREDIBLE ports.

Day 1- At Sea

Day 2- Juneau, Alaska, US

Day 3- Glacier Bay

Day 4- Sitka, Alaska, US

Day 5- Ketchikan, Alaska, US

Day 6- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Day 7- Disembark (and let’s be honest probably cry) 7 am Seattle, Washington, US

How to Book

You can visit Holland America Line here to learn more about stateroom options and pricing or to go ahead and book that trip of YOUR life right here.

Don’t Feel Like Alaska?

There are also two Caribbean O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life cruises available in 2018 as well. A 7-day Tropical Caribbean departing March 3rd, 2018, and a 7-day Eastern Caribbean departing October 28th, 2018. You can learn more about these itineraries here.

Would you like to take a transformative cruise like this one? Let me know in the comments below.

*Disclosure- I am a part of the O, The Oprah Magazine #OMAGinsiders and through that partnership, they are sending me and a guest on the August Holland America Alaska Cruise.

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(1 p.m. EDT) — Do daily yoga sessions, fashion advice seminars and Q&As with O, The Oprah Magazine editors sound like your kind of cruise? If so, you’ve still got plenty of opportunities to join in on the fun we’re having this week onboard Holland America’s Eurodam in Alaska, for the inaugural “Adventure of Your Life” cruise in Alaska.

Holland America will host four more of these cruises, as well as offer a few of the activities onboard regular sailings (full details below).

Starting with embarkation in Seattle, it was apparent this partnership between Holland America and O, The Oprah Magazine is going to succeed in a big way. An unusually high number of first-time cruisers are here (as revealed in polls taken by the line’s president, Orlando Ashford, and Oprah Winfrey herself) — which has intermingled demographics and brought a new, vibrant energy to the typically laidback line.

The energy onboard and ashore has been palpable day and night — even Ashford can feel it: “We are deeply honored that O, The Oprah Magazine chose Holland America Line as its first cruise line partner to further our shared believe that travel and wellness have the power to open minds, build connections, and inspire humanity.”

Here are five highlights that will inspire you to grab your best friend(s) and book an Oprah cruise.

1. The Chance to Chat with O, The Oprah Magazine Editors

Lively Q&As and presentations with editors Gayle King and Lucy Kaylin, as well as the magazine’s creative director Adam Glassman, gave us an opportunity to learn about various topics, including style advice. Winfrey, who was onboard for two nights, hosted two of her own “Conversations with Oprah Winfrey” seminars.

“I’m so excited to continue 2017 as my Year of Adventure with a bold, new place I’ve never been before: Alaska,” said Winfrey, during the ship’s visit to iconic Glacier Bay (she also raved about lunch at Juneau’s Twisted Fish). Glassman reportedly took advantage of Winfrey’s first trip to the Last Frontier to scout glaciers for a magazine cover shot with her. (Note: Winfrey is not scheduled to appear on future cruises, though you shouldn’t rule out a surprise visit.)

2. A Variety of Wellness Activities

From daily “Just Breathe” meditation and yoga sessions to a short workout and motivational session with fitness evangelist Angela Davis, one of Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 group of influencers, opportunities to rejuvenate abound on this cruise. We were also treated to a healthy eating presentation by “Impatient Foodie” cookbook writer and website founder Elettra Wiedmann (daughter of Isabella Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman’s granddaughter).

Future Oprah cruises also will include a wellness component. On the next one, which takes place on Koningsdam this November, passengers will be joined by Tim Storey, author, speaker and life coach, and Dr. Shefali, clinical psychologist, speaker and author. All will include daily meditations and healthy eating seminars.

3. An Onboard Book Club

This cruise marks the kickoff of “O’s Reading Room,” an onboard book club that will be featured on all Adventure of Your Life cruises. We’re onboard with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout, best known for “Olive Kitterage,” reading up on her latest release, “Anything is Possible.” Outside the book club, we also enjoyed a presentation from author and activist Glennon Doyle Melton (another SuperSoul 100 member).

4. Gifts from Oprah

Every passenger on the cruise received commemorative nightly motivational Oprah-quote cards, t-shirts, journals, visors, tote bags celebrating Holland America’s 70th year in Alaska, cell phone-friendly fleece gloves, “O’s Little Book of Happiness” from the editors of the magazine, and more. There was even a very popular pop-up O Shop featuring Oprah-branded options, women’s clothing from Chico’s, and more, as well as a trunk show from jewelry brand Roberto Coin.

5. Other Themed Events

Each Adventure of Your Life cruise will be unique in its own way. Some of the themed add-ons for the inaugural sailing have included a concert with Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter India.Arie, another SuperSoul 100 member; and a comedy show from one-liner icon Rita Rudner.

As for where you can experience an O, The Oprah Magazine adventure, here’s a breakdown of the next four cruises:

  • 11-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Koningsdam, departing November 29, 2017
  • Seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam, departing March 3, 2018
  • Seven-night Alaska cruise on Eurodam, departing August 11, 2018
  • Seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Koningsdam, departing October 28, 2018

Can’t make those dates, or prefer only a taste of the action? More than 300 Holland America cruises in North America — from August 2017 through 2018 — will offer engaging activities developed with the magazine’s editors, including daily meditations, healthy eating and fashion workshops and O’s Reading Room book club. Just don’t expect a surprise appearance from Oprah.

–By Cele & Lynn Seldon, Cruise Critic contributors

Oprah Winfrey © O, The Oprah Magazine

Oprah Winfrey will embark on her first Alaska cruise this summer as part of a new partnership with Holland America Line.

“I’m so excited to continue 2017 as my Year of Adventure with another bold, new place I’ve never been before – Alaska,” said Oprah.

The cruise marks the launch of a new collaboration between Holland America and O, The Oprah Magazine to offer guests activities that bring the magazine to life, including meditation, tai chi, healthy cooking demonstrations, an onboard book club and more. Editor at large Gayle King and other guests will join the American talkshow host on the inaugural seven-night O, The Oprah Magazine Share the Adventure cruise from Seattle to Alaska in July.

“We are deeply honored that O, The Oprah Magazine chose Holland America Line as its first cruise line partner to further our shared belief that travel and wellness have the power to open minds, build connections and inspire shared humanity,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

“Our commitment to providing authentic experiences for our guests is at the forefront of all we do, and this collaboration is going to empower our guests in a whole new way with thought-provoking and enriching activities and content developed together with the experts at O, The Oprah Magazine.”

As well as the Seattle to Alaska cruise, O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life cruises will include an 11-Day Southern Caribbean Wayfarer roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on MS Koningsdam in November, an Eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale on MS Nieuw Amsterdam in March and a seven-day Western Caribbean on MS Nieuw Amsterdam in October.

For more information, visit hollandamerica.com/OprahMag.

On Site: Oprah Winfrey Christens Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam

Surrounded by friends, family, adoring fans and a host of maritime executives, media superstar Oprah Winfrey enthusiastically named the newest Holland America Line ship, Nieuw Statendam, at a well-orchestrated event inside the ship’s World Stage on Saturday.

Proudly proclaiming, “I’m the godmother” after pushing a button that sent the champagne bottle crashing against the ship’s side – breaking it, Winfrey clearly relished the moment. Confetti sprayed across the front of the theater, while participants clapped and cheered.

Fresh from a three-day Girlfriends Getaway cruise sponsored by O, The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey spoke prior to the christening about how she loved sailing on the ship with consumers and fans who’d come together for self-improvement activities and bonding.

Noting that “I’ve had the most blessed life of anyone I know,” Winfrey clearly relished the Girlfriends Getaway experience, which brought together more than 2,000 women (and, yes, a few dozen men). Participants ranged in age from six to 93.

The ceremony itself focused on how it’s simple human nature to want to connect with others across the globe, and how cruising can facilitate that. Orlando Ashford, Holland America’s president, emphasized that Nieuw Statendam is his line’s “highest aspiration for connection and understanding in our world.”

He also showed slides of all the previous “Statendams” – the newest is the sixth such named ship. But this isn’t your great grandfather’s cruise ship, for sure.

The new ship’s World Stage facilities and features shined during the ceremony as the audience watched an intriguing video presented on a moving semi-circular wall of video screens. A live orchestra played as well.

Most poignantly, a diverse group of crew members talked about how the ship can deliver the world and connect people, and also their own experiences at sea and what the cruising lifestyle does for them personally. Speakers ranged from Dee Dewi, a dining crew member from Bali, Indonesia, to Diana Mihalache, the ship’s environmental officer, who hails from Romania and to the ship’s Captain Sybe de Boer from the Netherlands.

An extension of that diverse crew? It was the important representation of travel agents who sell the product, a succinct speech ably handled by Drew Daly, general manager of network engagement and performance, CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. He talked about taking a trip to Alaska, and how selling travel morphed into a strong desire to create close, personal and connected experiences for clients.

Winfrey acknowledged that she had her initial doubts about taking a cruise, but it’s turned out to be “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” She also opened the door to doing another cruise – imploring Orlando Ashford, the line’s president, to tell her when they’d do another one.

Guests then exited the theater, explored the ship, attended a live concert by the Lincoln Center Stage musicians and a gala dinner in the main dining room. Afterward, guests sang along with the singers and dueling pianos at Billboard Onboard, or headed to the outside deck for the Rolling Stone Rock Room band, which belted out rock standards.

For a look at all new ship features, check out our opinion story with other slides from a Nieuw Statendam sailing in early December in Europe.

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Holland America Line Previews New Cruise with Oprah Winfrey in 2019

Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine announced a three-day Girls’ Getaway cruise on Holland America Line’s newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, on January 30, 2019. Oprah Winfrey will embark on the cruise, joined by O, The Oprah Magazine Editor-at-Large Gayle King and other members of the magazine’s editorial staff, who will host special presentations and events on board the ship, currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. Winfrey will serve as godmother of Nieuw Statendam, with an official dedication by Winfrey to take place in a private ceremony at a later date to be announced.

The Girls’ Getaway cruise sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and spends a day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in the Bahamas. According to Holland America Line, The Girls’ Getaway cruise celebrates the power of friendship and will have onboard experiences that honor and pay tribute to the bond between women.

Guests will have the opportunity to attend one of three live “Conversations with Oprah.” Additionally, editorial staff from O, The Oprah Magazine will be on board hosting special events, including Editor-in-Chief Lucy Kaylin, Creative Director Adam Glassman, Beauty Director Brian Underwood and Books Editor Leigh Haber.

Activities and Events on the Girls’ Getaway Cruise:

A Conversation with Oprah: According to Holland America Line, Winfrey will share highlights of her career, inspirational stories of the women she has met over the years, and the desire for this cruise to be the start of something meaningful for those on board. Then, King will join Winfrey on stage for a candid discussion.

Love That! Style Session with Adam Glassman: Glassman will host a style presentation revealing his tips, tricks, and secrets for essential pieces that everyone needs in their wardrobe. Following his talk, Glassman will join guests in the onboard dedicated O Shop to offer shopping advice.

O’s Reading Room with Leigh Haber: Guests will have the opportunity to read the latest onboard book club selection (to be announced) and then join Haber for a discussion with the author. O’s Reading Room was introduced on Holland America Line in 2017 and is now available on all ships in the fleet.

Just Breathe: Led by a guest instructor to be announced, participants set their intentions for the day and are encouraged to become present with themselves and those around them through meditation and movement, says Holland America Line. On the at-sea day, Just Breathe will be held around the Lido Pool area, and the experience moves to the beach during the call at private island Half Moon Cay.

Building on the partnership started in 2017, Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine have extended their agreement through 2019. Two remaining Adventure of Your Life Cruises with Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine also will include members of the magazine’s editorial team, along with special guest speakers: August 11, 2018, on a seven-day Alaska itinerary and October 28, 2018, on a seven-day Caribbean sailing.

For more information, visit www.hollandamerica.com.

Holland America Line Details Upcoming Ship, Nieuw Statendam

Holland America Line Launches O’s Reading Room Fleetwide

Holland America Adds Guests to Oprah Caribbean Cruise

Holland America Line Celebrates 145 Years of Service

When life at home gets crazy, a girls’ getaway is the cure! And what’s better than a cruise, where all the planning, cooking and cleaning is done for you?

My husband knows this and sent me on a fabulous girls’ getaway cruise with a dear friend. You know the kind of friend who you can spill your guts to uncensored, knowing you’ll be loved 100% no matter what you say?

She had a really tough year, too, and her hubby is awesome like mine. So, he agreed to our getaway and a cruise for two was planned and booked in record time!

We chose Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas 4 night cruise to the Bahamas. The departure port, Port Canaveral (Orlando) is a one-day drive from home, so cost effective. And four nights allowed us enough time to truly unwind — any shorter and we definitely wouldn’t have been ready to go home! But, it was long enough to miss the hubby and kids, at least a little bit.

Why Enchantment of the Seas

Enchantment of the Seas was a great choice for our cruise. The ship is large enough to have plenty to do, but not so huge we couldn’t do it all! We challenged our trivia skills, ate to our hearts’ content, relaxed pool side, danced till we couldn’t dance anymore, and so much more. Of course, in real girls’ getaway fashion, we talked, laughed, cried and laughed even more!

The cruise took us to two ports: Nassau, The Bahamas and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island. Both days greeted us with perfect sunshine, temperatures in the low 80s and calm seas.

In Nassau, we lounged the day away at the Hilton British Colonial Resort, which is located near the port. That port stop happened to be the perfect place to celebrate my friend’s birthday with cake — served by the singing chef!

At the private island, we found lounge chairs near the shore and relaxed to the sound of gentle waves lapping on the shore. We brought inflatable pool noodles to float in the calm waters. We drank fruity concoctions out of adorable pails. And, we enjoyed snorkeling in the shallow waters — so cool to see sting rays, nurse sharks and other sea creatures up close!

Book your Royal Caribbean Getaway!

I am not sure when I’ll get to go again, but I look forward to experiencing Royal Caribbean’s all-new Perfect Day at CocoCay! The water park alone looks like so much fun — and I don’t mean just for kids! And, I’ve long wanted to go “zorbing” — not sure if I’ll chicken out, but I sure hope to give it a try in the next year or two!

Driving home after the cruise, we knew this would not be the last girlfriend cruise we took together!

How to plan the best girls’ getaways

Short cruises, like our 4 day cruise from Florida, are ideal for girlfriend getaways. The planning is largely done for you since dining, lodging and the majority of entertainment are included. It’s almost an all-inclusive getaway for girlfriends! At the same time, those who want to shop or drink can easily do so.

Tips for planning the best girlfriend cruise getaway

  1. Select a cruise port that’s in easy driving distance to keep costs down. We chose Port Canaveral, about 10 hours from home, and booked a hotel the night before the cruise to keep the stress down. If you live on the west coast, consider 3 days cruises from San Francisco or 4 day cruises from Long Beach. Not flying, we kept costs down (which means we will probably go again sooner rather than later).
  2. Look for cheap weekend cruise and weekend cruise deals online to save. Last minute cruises, especially in the shoulder season, are a great way to save on a getaway.
  3. In the alternative, if someone in the group has cruised before, have them book the cruise. Included perks, like cabin upgrades and expedited check in, are great budget stretchers.
  4. Make sure each member of the group attaches their own credit card to their cruise account. I know someone who cruised with girlfriends, and one of them constantly “forgot” her key. She bummed free drinks off of the other people in the group and didn’t pay her gratuities. It’s one thing if you have a group member who can’t afford to travel and others want to chip in. It’s entirely NOT COOL to be a freeloader when you don’t need to be!
  5. Share all the costs of travel. My friend has a really comfortable SUV and loves to drive. So, I paid half our gas costs, half the hotel and bought dinner on the drive down. Just because someone offers to drive doesn’t mean they should get stuck with the fuel costs!
  6. Choose a cruise long enough to relax. This is important, whether you’re planning a girls cruise or couples’ escape. Short cruises are cheap, but they’re over before you get a chance to catch your breath. When you book 4 day cruises, it allows enough time to turn off the brain and reset. Beyond that, it also lets everyone get a chance to do something they really want to do.
  7. Don’t think you have to be together all the time. No matter how close you are, you and your friends might not all want to do the same things. I love challenging myself on the rock wall. My friend did not share my enthusiasm. So, on a sea day, she took a much desired afternoon nap (her youngest is only two), and I hit the rock wall. Literally, but that’s a story for another day!
  8. Plan shore excursions with everyone’s interests in mind. I’m adventurous. I’ve been to Nassau many times and am very comfortable exploring the island on my own. My friend is more cautious. We took that into account and planned a shore excursion that met both our needs. It’s the art of compromise, so I recommend each person share what they like to do and how much they are willing to spend. Don’t book the $300 high adventure excursion if someone in the group is not comfortable with the activity or the price. But…
  9. If traveling in a large group, like a bachelorette cruise or a reunion cruise, choose a couple of shore excursions and let people pick which one they want to do. It’s okay not to be together 100% of the time!

Book your girlfriend getaway cruise with these handy links!

Ready to book that getaway cruise? Here are links to each cruise line to make it easy!

  • Carnival Cruise Line Getaways — the best value at sea.
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines — modern luxury, fewer kids.
  • Disney Cruise Line — for the princess in all of us.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line — relaxed cruising and great shows.
  • Royal Caribbean — for the adventurer in us all.

What if a cruise won’t work for everyone

Cruises are one of the best girls getaways because of how easy they are to plan. But, not everyone wants to cruise. All-inclusive resorts are another easy option, but they can be pricey, so consider whether everyone in the group can afford an all-inclusive. The same tips apply, though.

Beyond short cruises and all-inclusives, any place can be a great getaway for friends. Here are some of my favorites:

  • St. Simon’s Island, Georgia,
  • Charlottesville, Virginia,
  • Hocking Hills Area, Ohio,
  • Annapolis, Maryland,
  • Savannah, Georgia.

What’s your favorite girls’ getaway destination? Leave a comment below!

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Looking for a unique getaway with the girls? Skip the resort retreat and pack your suitcase for a Carnival Cruise – just don’t forget your swimsuit!

After flying in to Los Angeles from Vancouver, Canada we were ready to trade in our rainboots for bathing suits and a long weekend of fun in the sun on Carnival’s 3 day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico! We boarded the Carnival Imagination at Long Beach and set out to sea for a few days of relaxing, adventuring, and wine tasting.

It may be fall, but that doesn’t mean summer is over! LA was having a major heat wave when we visited, so we got to spend our time out at sea in 100 degree weather. Bring on the pina coladas!

Whether we were relaxing at the spa or sipping pina coladas poolside with a good book, there was plenty of time to relax in the sunshine on the Carnival Imagination.

We loved the adults-only section with sunny, yellow umbrellas at the front of the ship, it was the perfect place to lay out in the sunshine and enjoy the view as we sailed into the sunset.

Things to Do in Ensenada

When we arrived in Ensenada, there were a lot of excursions to choose from, like horseback riding and wine tasting! We started off exploring the town of Ensenada, because we will jump at any chance to enjoy fish tacos, margaritas, and churros.

We found the best ceviche at a local food truck and loved wandering the knick-knack shops looking for unique Mexican items to bring home.

If you’re looking for hip Mexico, there is a cool plaza that is home to a local coffee shop, a vegan bakery, and there’s even a tasting room for the oldest winery in Baja.

You can also wander through Ensenada until you get to Hussong’s Cantina, which claims to have invented the margarita!

Our tip: make sure that you change your money from USD to pesos if you want to explore some of the more local shops or food carts.

Wine Tasting in Valle de Guadalupe

Did you know that Mexico has a wine country, and that it’s only about 30 minutes from Ensenada? It’s super close to San Diego too, and we love visiting Valle de Guadalupe any chance we get!

You’re given about 8 hours on the cruise to explore Ensenada, which is a lot of time but you also have to prioritize what you want to do! We definitely recommend heading to Mexico’s wine country, whether you book a wine tasting excursion with Carnival (hello, convenience) or do it yourself via a personal driver.

If you are doing a self-guided tour, make sure that you pay your driver to wait for you while you’re at the wineries, otherwise you might not get another ride. But don’t stress, drivers in Mexico are super cheap (one time we rode for 8+ hours and paid about $100 US for the entire trip).

Summer is definitely the time to visit wine country, but there’s still a lot to see in the off season too! We always love a visit to Encuentro Guadalupe, the tasting room is part of an “eco-hotel” that has modern yurt-like rooms nestled along a hill, overlooking the rolling greenery of the valley. Not pictured? The infinity pool behind it all. We love the bright and modern tasting room, and the view is stellar. There’s a variety of wines available, so grab a bottle with friends and enjoy the Mexican sunshine in Valle de Guadalupe!

Girls Trip

Overall, we had such a fun trip on the cruise! We seriously enjoyed lounging on the sundeck with a good book, so make sure you visit the cruise library! We picked up some awesome books to read, for free, and left some that we had finished.

There’s also a spa on the ship, so you can indulge in a mani/pedi or a massage, which is the perfect activity for your day at sea. We also loved our nights on the cruise, we decided to go for dinner every night and loved getting to know our servers and enjoy yummy food and wine. We were surprised at how amazing the shows were too! They were definitely a highlight of the cruise for us.

Honestly, we can’t say enough about soaking in the warm sunshine on a cruise ship! The cruise is super affordable, starting at around $220 per person, which includes all your meals and dining in the restaurant. We also opted for the Cheers beverage package, which gives you unlimited booze for a fixed price. Hard to not have a good time with pina coladas by the pool, right?

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.

Cruise with Oprah & O Magazine on the Ultimate Girls’ Getaway

June 14, 2018 UPDATE – the Oprah cruise is officially *** SOLD OUT *** and there are no cabins available to book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Join Oprah and O, The Oprah Magazine Editor at Large Gayle King along with other special guests for the ultimate 3-day Girls’ Getaway on Holland America Line’s beautiful, new ship: Nieuw Statendam.

The Girls’ Getaway cruise sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and spends a day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s idyllic private island in the Bahamas. The Girls’ Getaway cruise celebrates the power of friendship and will feature exclusive onboard experiences that honor and pay tribute to the special bond between women.

Departing January 30, 2019, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, this 3-day Bahamas cruise includes a special appearance by Oprah, O-themed events and a relaxing day ashore at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island. We’ve crafted an O-mazing schedule of events to energize and inspire you.

As a highlight, guests will have the opportunity to attend one of three live “Conversations with Oprah.” Additionally, editorial staff from O, The Oprah Magazine will be on board hosting special events, including Editor-in-Chief Lucy Kaylin, Creative Director Adam Glassman, Beauty Director Brian Underwood and Books Editor Leigh Haber.

Activities and Events on the Girls’ Getaway Cruise

A Conversation with Oprah: Winfrey will share highlights of her career, inspirational stories of the amazing women she has met over the years, and the desire for this cruise to be the start of something meaningful for those on board. King will join Winfrey on stage for a candid and entertaining chat that shows the deep bond between these two best friends.

Love That! Style Session with Adam Glassman: Glassman will host a style presentation revealing his tips, tricks and secrets for essential pieces that everyone needs in their wardrobe. Following his talk, Glassman will join guests in the onboard dedicated O Shop to offer shopping advice.

O’s Reading Room with Leigh Haber: Guests will have the opportunity to read the latest onboard book club selection (to be announced) and then join Haber for an intriguingdiscussion with the author. O’s Reading Room was introduced on Holland America Line shipsin 2017, and due to its overwhelming popularity, is now available on all ships in the fleet.

Just Breathe: Led by a guest instructor to be announced, participants set their intentions for the day and are encouraged to become present with themselves and those around them through meditation and movement. On the at-sea day, Just Breathe will be held around the serene Lido Pool area, and the experience moves to the beach during the call at private island Half Moon Cay.

Itinerary:

January 30, 2019: Embark Fort Lauderdale, Florida
January 31, 2019: Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
February 1, 2019: At sea
February 2, 2019: Disembark Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Cost:
Verandah cabins (VS, V, VA, VB, VC, VD categories)
213–379 sq. ft. including verandah.

Filled with light from floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a private verandah, these staterooms include a sitting area, two lower beds convertible to one queen-size bed—our signature Mariner’s Dream™ bed with plush Euro-Top mattresses, and bath tub with premium massage showerheads.

Verandah Cabin

Price listed below are in Canadian Dollars, per person depending on cabin category as listed above.
Double occupancy = $1103.70 – $1181.70 CAD
Single occupancy = $2207.40 – $2363.40 CAD
Third/Fourth person rate = $713.70 CAD per person
Taxes/Fees & Port Charges = $123.50 per person

Deposit of $325 CAD per person required to secure your reservation.
Final payment is due November 15, 2018.

On November 16, 2018, all registered guests will receive instructions to register for one of three complimentary sessions with Oprah in the World Stage where she will share her insights on how to help you live your best life as well as stories from her life.

June 14, 2018 UPDATE: The cruise is SOLD OUT and no longer available for booking.

Contact me if you are interested in booking a spot on this cruise! The cruise is sold out online but I do have some cabins reserved so you can still book a spot as long as there is availability.

If you are ready to book, then submit your passenger information here and we will be in touch to confirm your spot!

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Destiny brought me to Oprah Winfrey. At least, I hoped it would.

I got the plum assignment to cover the O, The Oprah Magazine Girls’ Getaway cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Bahamas and back. Winfrey, the self-made billionaire and media mogul, would be on board to christen Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam ship as its godmother. Her BFF, Gayle King, a CBS “This Morning” anchor and the magazine’s editor-at-large, would be there, too, for a three-day festival for the mind, body and soul.

I was like many of the 2,700 women — and 60 men — on board hoping for an “Oprah moment,” when I would cross paths, exchange words and maybe even hugs with Winfrey. I had been dreaming of this since my early 20s, when she became my secret mentor, favorite aunt and guardian angel through her daytime talk show. Nearly every major decision in my life came with an internal question of: “What would Oprah do?”

This first-ever Girls’ Getaway cruise sold out the day it was announced last June. It’s a continuation of the relationship the magazine started with Holland America Line in 2017, with a Share the Adventure Cruise to Alaska featuring Winfrey, King and a host of empowering personalities including Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter India.Arie. Last year, there were four more themed O Mag-inspired cruises. But this was different: It was a celebration of the power of girlfriends.

Over the next few days, the experience of being on this cruise ship became more than a chance encounter with Winfrey and King. It was like Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, her inspirational series of conversations with spiritual thinkers, magnified a thousand times and set on a beautiful ship surrounded by warm blue water.

We all were too high on Winfrey’s positivity (some called this the “O” effect) to whine about feeling too old, too fat, too unworthy. Every woman, regardless of age or occupation, was cruising because they were inspired by Winfrey, moved by her friendship with King and hoped that a little of their sisterhood magic would rub off for a lifetime.

“I keep hearing from so many women. ‘It’s the happiest cruise in the world,’” King said as she pulled out a tiny pad with notes from her conversations with women on the ship. “The one I love most is from Pat Smith of Houston. She said, ‘The world needs to be like the Oprah cruise. It’s a sisterhood on water.’ I love that. It’s like love with no color.”

Sailing away

Stepping onto the lido deck of the Nieuw Statendam for the “Sail O Way” party immediately proved King’s point.

Women of all stripes — including young girls with their mothers, grandmothers or aunts — crowded around the pool, without any salty attitudes about the close confines. Some wore matching T-shirts, with sayings such as “She’s my Oprah” and “She’s my Gayle.” There was even a man wearing a shirt that read, “I’m her Gayle,” with an arrow pointing to his wife standing beside him.

As the ship pushed away from port, we all cheered when King and Nischelle Turner of “Entertainment Tonight” emerged to do a quick on-camera interview. An Oprah trivia game followed, during which several passengers participated on teams with O Magazine editors. Each team had to correctly guess facts about Winfrey. Prizes included Winfrey’s favorite things, such as Truff Truffle-Infused Hot Sauce.

By morning, we had arrived at Half Moon Cay, also known as Little San Salvador, a private island with a 2-mile-long stretch of pristine white-sand beach in the Bahamas owned by Holland America Line.

We started with meditation and yoga on the beach led by Tracee Stanley, who guided some 500 of us into a blissful, meditative state. Next, fitness expert and motivational coach Angela Davis led us in a high-energy, empowering workout that had women jumping up and down in the water like children. Davis, a SoulCycle Master instructor, was part of Winfrey’s “The Life You Want Weekend” that toured the U.S. in 2014.

While some of the women stayed on the beach and soaked up the sun, others participated in island activities including horse-back riding, which King did, snorkeling, bike riding and hiking. I joined the hour-long hike around the island with a Bahamian guide who narrated our group through the history of the area from slavery to present day.

On the hike, I met Katharine McWeeny of Spring, who was with her “Gayle” — girlfriend Cheryl Corbett of Friendswood. “I just want to see my friend have fun. She would just die if she met Oprah,” McWeeny said. “I think we underestimate the value of having a good friend. No matter where I’ve been in my life, she is always there.”

Back on the ship, I took in presentations by O Magazine’s creative director Adam Glassman, who debuted the magazine’s fourth fashion collaboration with Talbots; beauty tips by beauty editor Brian Underwood; and a live conversation between books editor Leigh Haber and author Tara Westover about her best-selling memoir, “Educated.”

The nightly marquee event was “A Conversation With Oprah.” This is what I imagined “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which ran from 1986 through 2011, would have been like. The theater was filled to capacity, and Winfrey, onstage in a stunning red caftan, talked about her life from her childhood in Mississippi to her young adulthood starting out in the media industry. She shared how her friendship with King has defined her life and empowered her to believe she could do anything.

Like everyone there, I was on the edge of Winfrey’s every word, waiting for a nugget of her wisdom to hit me over the head and change my life.

“You are here for something bigger than you. If you are thinking of just you, you are thinking too small,” she said.

Ah, there it was.

Budding friendship

I later talked with King and learned she and Winfrey met in their early 20s. They worked at the same TV station, when Winfrey, an anchor, was making only $22,000.

“We were both young, single, black females,” King said. “It’s a snowstorm story. I needed a place. I couldn’t drive home that night, and she offered me a place to stay, to stay with her. … But that night we discovered that we have a lot of things in common. We ended up talking that night like we were 13 years old, where we just stayed up just talking. And we’ve been bonded ever since then.”

Their relationship, ultimately, is why so many girlfriends came on the trip. Surprisingly, King revealed that Winfrey is the introvert who is just fine at home with her dog, a good book and her favorite truffle oil, and King is the outgoing one.

“People think you need a lot of friends; you really don’t. You really only need one, at least one person that you count on, whom you can trust and who you know won’t betray you. You don’t even have to be famous for that,” King said.

O Magazine publisher Jayne Jamison shared the same sentiment. There were 10 in her group, including her husband, daughter, stepdaughter and her best friend from kindergarten.

“Women want to celebrate their lives, and this a great way to do that,” she said. “Like any friendship, Oprah and Gayle have incredible mutual respect for each other, and they know each other so well. I feel the same about my best friend from kindergarten; besides the fact we are both 6 feet tall, she knows all my quirks, and I don’t have to explain myself.”

Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, came with his wife and 29 of her friends and family members. He was fascinated by it all. “There are tables of women who I assume are friends, then I walk up and find out that they met yesterday. That’s special because everyone here as a common language and a common energy.”

‘Yay!’ moments

Every time I sat down at a table to rest or just take it all in, I met strangers who talked over tropical drinks about their lives and love for Winfrey and King. Take the two sisters, Sharon Chidley of Florida and Susan Maxim of Massachusetts, who were celebrating their birthdays. The women recently had been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic disorder that deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities.

“The worst thing isn’t that you have this disease, it’s that your best friend has it, too,” Chidley said of her sister. “Everyone is here for the same reason. We are trying to live in the moment. I have a progressive illness. Tomorrow will be worse than today, but I’m embracing today.”

During the three-day trip, everyone seemed to have an Oprah sighting. Some guests spotted Winfrey on the treadmill in the fitness center, others caught her as she got off the elevator. Some even sipped tequila with her at the pajama party, during which Winfrey herself handed out shots.

My first sighting was at the Statendam’s Pinnacle Grill restaurant. I had just finished a mound of delicious Alaska king crab legs when she entered the room like a goddess, radiant with perfectly coiffed hair, delicate curls framing her familiar face, just to say hello. There were legions of us, women eating dinner, talking girl talk. So I did what any dignified professional woman would do: I threw my arms in the air, did a happy dance and screamed like a child.

Winfrey looked back at me, smiled and did the same dance. She snapped selfies with women who were close enough to her to inhale her air of positivity. Then we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her since it was her 65th birthday, after all.

I was there with my longtime girlfriend, Rita, whose husband unexpectedly died after a routine surgery in early 2018. She was able to get close enough to Winfrey to tell her of husband’s death and that she was honored to be on the trip. Winfrey hugged my friend, held her face in her hands and whispered, “Your husband is right here with you.”

Later, I received a sign that put me a step closer to actually meeting Winfrey: a note in my cabin inviting me to a VIP event, at which I could be photographed with her.

At the reception, it took less than two minutes for me move into place by Winfrey and pose. She commented that she loved my kimono by Houston brand A Leap of Style. Then she said everyone looks better in photos when you say, “Yay!”

So, I said “Yay!” with Oprah Winfrey.

As the trip drew to a close, reality started to creep in. How could I leave this bubble of bliss, kindness and sisterly love to return to the real world? I didn’t have the answer, but Winfrey, as always, said it perfectly:

“Everybody gathered, made friends, was friendly with and connected to people whom they didn’t know but left with people’s phone numbers and information because they felt they met themselves on some level. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Neither had I.

twitter.com/joysewing

Here’s What It’s Really Like to Take a Cruise with Oprah Winfrey, from a Writer Who Lived It!

Oprah Winfrey walks into a bar. In her pajamas. And gives everyone a free shot of tequila.

No, you are not dreaming. You are on the Oprah Magazine Girls’ Getaway cruise.

And yes, you are living your best life.

The three-night, four-day cruise, which set sail from Ft. Lauderdale and sailed to the Caribbean, was the most recent entry in the ongoing partnership between Holland America and O, The Oprah Magazine. For about $750 per person (more for a suite, less for an inside cabin), guests aboard the brand-new Nieuw Statendam ship were treated to an experience that can best be described as deep-diving into the pages of O.

Image zoom George Burns/Holland America Line

Naturally, there is much to love about cruising with Oprah, so let’s break it down into a few of our favorite things, shall we?

1. Oprah. This cannot be overstated: Oprah is with you. On the boat. This is not the case with every Holland/O cruise — but for the Bahamas cruise she didn’t miss a moment. Even better, she roamed the ship like any other sunglasses-wearing passenger, which added an element of surreal surprise. Working out in the gym before breakfast? Oprah might just be on the treadmill next to yours. Savoring a steak dinner in one of the ship’s restaurants? Oprah just might appear to blow out candles on her 65th birthday cake. Listening to live music at the bar? Oprah might stroll in AND GIVE EVERYONE TEQUILA SHOTS.

2. Half Moon Cay. The private island where the Nieuw Statentam anchored for daytime excursions featured everything a tropical escape could need: glass-bottom boats, snorkeling, white sand beaches, blue skies and rum runners. Also, Gayle King on horseback!

Image zoom Gayle King at Half Moon Cay. George Burns/Holland America Line

3. The O Shop. This pop-up shop features curated products from the O List, custom pajamas (what else would you wear to drink tequila with Oprah?) and items from O, The Oprah Magazine’s new Talbots collection. In other words: all the favorite things.

Image zoom The O Shop. George Burns/Holland America Line

4. Book Club. Billed as “O’s Reading Room,” the conversation with Tara Westover — author of the best-selling memoir Educated — was akin to joining Oprah’s book club in person. O Magazine books editor Leigh Haber had been scheduled to interview Westover, but in a surprise switch, Oprah herself did the honors. Turns out, she’s a pretty good interviewer.

Image zoom and Educated author Tara Westover. George Burns/Holland America Line

5. The Feelings. You know Oprah. You know her story. But you have never felt Oprah like this. During “A Conversation with Oprah,” the guru unspools her journey from a poor, brilliant child growing up in rural Mississippi to budding journalist to insecure actress to billionaire master of the universe. She shared what she has learned along the way, including advice on life, love and loss. There were hundreds of acolytes in the audience, and oceans of tears. I’m not a fan of the public ugly cry — in front of Oprah, no less! — but we were all in it together. And it was okay.

“The call isn’t something outside of you, ever,” Oprah told the “conversation” audience aboard the ship. “Everybody has it, and you have until the last breath to fulfill it. To contribute to this amazing planet we live on. What an incredibly amazing thing that you get to be you.”

Related note: If the call ever comes to take a cruise with Oprah, answer.