Wellness Cruising Connection
Launched in December, the STATENDAM is sheer magic on the high seas. She is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America’s fleet and the enchanting sister to the ms KONINGSDAM. There’s legendary art and architecture, opulent interiors throughout and sizzling, grand, light-filled open spaces.
At any given moment on board there’s numerous enticing activities shipside…everything from culinary demonstrations to acupuncture, cha-cha dancing lessons, or Texas Hold ‘Em in the casino. For this Travel Columnist the cruise offers old world charm, royal service and amenities fit for kings and queens. It’s no wonder they have a high repeat rate. The new music walk includes the Rolling Stone Rock Room, the Classical Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and of course a double piano bar. The innovative entertainment in the round World Stage showcases high tech lighting and super shows.
A romantic tapestry of original art, antiquities from across the epics, wrap-around decks oozing with teak and brass, snug alcoves and spacious, luxurious staterooms create the canvas for this divine vessel. If you have young ones you’ll be delighted with The Loft and Club Hal, where kids adventures abound. The signature of excellence and casual spontaneity imbibe the high-octane nightlife from Broadway reviews to silky jazz, or the alluring classics. After a strenuous day trekking or touring, a veritable pirates’ treasure chest of treatments await you at The Greenhouse Spa. I cherished the thermal treatments and organic facials for rejuvenation and renewal.
Imagine pristine verdant beaches; centuries-old antiquities, and exotic, mysterious ports of call steeped in history, culture and romantic tales galore. Awaken to a rainbow parfait sunrise guaranteeing vibrant memory insurance for years to come. Rose-hued sunsets meet azure waters, and the day promises a cornucopia of shore excursions you’ll long cherish.
But the STATENDAM features even more unique onboard services. Oprah Winfrey is the ship’s Godmother, a time-honored maritime tradition that is thought to bring good luck and protection. There’s also a partnership with O MAGAZINE, which facilitates personal growth and a wellness connection. When it comes to gastronomy and restaurants, this cruise is a kaleidoscope of variety and options. To name just a few, there’s the Pinnacle Grill, the Canaletto, the Tamarind, Naomi Sushi and Rudi’s Sel de Mer Seafood Brasserie Restaurant. But there are also cooking classes and culinary demonstrations with the America’s Test Kitchen, a signature gastronomy innovation. I indulged in the chocolate mousse and loved the gazpacho.
Part of the partnership with Oprah and O MAGAZINEalso includes a newly enhanced focus on wellness and personal growth. This type of healthy onboard cruising includes optional presentations and lectures on enrichment programs, along with diet and lifestyle coaching. There are also guided meditation sessions.
Some of my favorites were the Tai Chi classes, yoga and stretch classes, all specially crafted for the overall wellness connection. While all enticing signature Holland America activities can be fun and challenging, the STATENDAM’s new perspective means a cruise toward wellness and healthy living. De-stressing and rejuvenating has never been this energizing! I definitely feel more relaxed and healthy already, and have garnered new tips to stay fit and focused.
This particular cruise stops in the following ports of call: Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Half Moon Cay and Cozumel, Mexico …all of them delightful. But a couple of my favorites from my travel diary follow:
Day one in the Cayman Islands signals the start of another experience in paradise: there is a breathtaking sunrise, the wind whistles through silver thatch palms and a flock of Grand Cayman parrots alight on a mango tree. Wild banana orchids with white and purple petals flutter from a perch on a massive mahogany tree. Baby-blue iguanas scuttle into the underbrush ready for anything. The rich marine life, sugar-soft white beaches and azure water of the Cayman Islands have attracted tourists from around the world. But Mother Nature has blessed the three islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) with the greatest gift of all: Variety. A boat excursion to Stingray City is a must and snorkeling at nearby reefs showcases robust starfish and other sea life.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Named for the lush verdant flora and fauna and the eight rivers, Ocho Rios is graced by stunning vistas, rolling hills, emerald rainforests and majestic pristine beaches. This vacation mecca of Jamaica’s “Garden Parrish” of St. Ann also has the famous Dunn’s River Falls, delighting all ecotourism devotees. There are scintillating options and attractions for passive or high octane thrills. For adventure-seekers there are zip-lines and chairlifts soaring above the treetop canopy. For a more low key tour, some travelers enjoy visiting nearby Firefly, Noel Coward’s estate and a dejavu step back in time tour you will long treasure. There is a rich tapestry of choices complimented by the warm hospitality of the Jamaican people.
Cutting edge wellness, health, fitness and luxurious adventure are the hallmarks of the STATENDAM. I’m already planning my next nautical great escape to happiness and fun.
From the cuisine to the music, tours and hospitality, this is a multisensory extravaganza with abundant wellness connections to enhance your soul.