As you can imagine from the first part of the 2014 Holistic Holiday at Sea review, we were pretty pleased with our vegan holiday at sea.
But just when we thought things could not get much better, the organizers of the cruise managed to exceed our expectations yet again.
Surprise! Time to be pampered…
Sometimes it’s the little things that can really upgrade your experience; so you can imagine our delight on coming back to our cabin each day from a lecture or dinner to find little gifts waiting for us on our bed – vegan soaps, magazines, energy bars, juices, seaweed salad mix, scrubs, coupons, various samples and even a book, were all waiting for us as gifts at one point or another, during our holiday at sea.
The surprises didn’t end there; throughout the week of the cruise, the organizers threw joyous parties, each with its own theme – from the energetic welcome party with on-the-house cocktails all around, to the vegan pizza party, the “milk” and cookies party, vegan ice cream party, singles mix party and the vegan sushi farewell party – the organizers had us covered, with generous refreshments, and phenomenal attention to details.
Check out the video and image below for a taste of the first night’s welcome party!
Stepping off the boat: dream destinations
The fun continued as we docked. Part of the reason this vegan cruise is such an extraordinary experience is that, in addition to the program mentioned earlier, you also get to travel and explore beautiful sunny islands on your way.
Our first stop was Philipsburg in the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten. We were very excited, after two and a half days at sea, to see this beautiful island. Yes, it was very touristy, but gorgeous nonetheless, with BEAUTIFUL white sand and crystal blue clear water, just like you expect a dreamy holiday beach to be. The beach area was filled with little shops offering fantastic, duty-free bargains, and the seaside had ample restaurants and bars where you could sit and relax.
In laid-back San-Juan, Puerto Rico, we enjoyed exploring the old and new parts of the city and took our time wandering the streets, soaking up the views, colors and tropical atmosphere around us.
The last stop scheduled was Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas but as we were about to dock we found the island under a tropical storm, with no end to the rain in sight, and so the boat had to keep sailing. To be honest, with so many great lectures on-board, Scott and I were debating whether to go explore or stay on-board that day anyway, so we can’t say we were too disappointed, but more relived that the decision was made for us.
Abundance and purity: the vegan food on the holistic cruise
Now here is another way this vegan cruise managed to surprise us.
Being the ethical vegans that we are, we are used to making big steps to impress the non-vegans around us with rich, creamy, generously portioned, highly seasoned (and yes, delicious) foods; and this is also the way we got used to eating ourselves, with, admittedly, very little care about the effect it has on us and our bodies.
The food on the cruise challenged us. It had little resemblance to the food we were used to having at home, as most of it was macrobiotic, oil-free, unprocessed, well-balanced, low on salt, high in nutrients, and did not make use of refined ingredients like sugar (which really blew our minds considering how they managed to produce to-die-for desserts every dinner and lunch).
Although we didn’t see it in the first two days on-board, the food was exactly what we needed to “restart” our bodies on a healthier track (they were not kidding when the named the cruise Holistic Holiday at Sea); and at around the same time this realization dawned on us, we also discovered the self-service, vegan buffet available at every breakfast and lunch, which offered all the foods that were on offer at the vegan on-board restaurants, but in an unlimited style. The vegan buffet (which we loved!) really allowed us the choice of our favorite foods and dishes, and at the same time we were still challenging ourselves to eat in a balanced, healthy-sized way.
A few weeks after the cruise, I am craving the foods we had there, and wishing I could eat like that every day! The food aspect was a huge wakeup call for me, and I am truly grateful for the “restart” button I was able to press while I was there.
But was it all really vegan? And what about the good news you were going to tell us about?
Well, you will find out all that and more in the third and final part of the 2014 vegan cruise review – coming soon!