It has actually taken me weeks to process all of the awesomeness that occurred on the Girlfriends Getaway Cruise, a brainchild of Oprah Magazine and Holland America Line. I mean I met OPRAH Y’all and even though I have a photo to prove it I still hardly believe it myself. While meeting Oprah was definitely a highlight there were a ton of epic moments I am so excited to share with you.
I Met OPRAH!!! + Everything You Wanted to Know About the Girls’ Getaway Cruise
*This post was in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine.
The Girlfriends Getaway Cruise Experience
So, I should probably backtrack a bit first. Oprah Magazine and Holland America Line partnered last year and they had these amazing Oprah-themed cruise itineraries called Adventure of Your Life Cruises. If you have been following along you might remember I took my best friend Harmony on an Alaskan Cruise last fall (you can read all about it here).
Well, the Girls’ Getaway spurred off that trip with the exception that this cruise wasn’t just Oprah-themed, Oprah + Gayle were actually cruising with the guests. As you can imagine tickets sold out in record time and I just happened to be lucky enough to score one.
So, what was it like onboard?
Well as you can imagine the energy-levels were crazy high as all the guests checked in at the port. There were groups of friends, mothers & daughters, sisters, couples, and a bunch of us OMAGInsiders onboard. It was honestly so fun just to hear everyone tell their stories about how Oprah had changed or touched their lives while I waited in line to check in.
From this photo taken by my fellow OMAGInsider Amy Boyle, I think Gayle may have been just as excited!
Not only were Oprah & Gayle going to be onboard but we were also sailing on Holland America Line’s brand NEW Ship the Nieuw Statendam. The ship that Oprah Winfrey would be christening as she was the ship’s chosen Godmother. Isn’t she a beautiful ship?
As you walked around the stunning new decks you ran into Oprah inspired activities everywhere. There was also some amazing Oprah merchandise including some of her favorite things items from over the year. And, you were surrounded by like-minded kind & loving people everywhere you turned.
I think that’s what makes a cruise like this so special. It’s a group of people who all align with the same values. So you see yourself in each other. It’s really beautiful energy and I hope they continue to put out more itineraries like this.
A Conversation with Oprah
One of the biggest questions I get is how much do cruisers get to see Oprah herself. Truth is probably only once, but once will be enough. Having the opportunity to be in the same room with that woman and hear her speak her truth is so incredibly powerful. It shakes you to your core.
I say once because cruisers have the opportunity to book their seat for one of Oprah’s appearances on board. It’s like the Golden Ticket and you want to book it as fast as you can.
Some of us were lucky enough to also see Oprah when she surprised everyone onboard by replacing O, The Oprah Magazine books editor, Leigh Haber, in the O’s Reading Room onboard to interview Tara Westover, author of Educated: A Memoir.
Oprah actually turned the set into a SuperSoul stage and I believe they recorded that interview onboard. Which brings me to my next point. Oprah is onboard and so you never know when you might bump into her walking down a hall, or at the gym, or walking out of a restaurant. It’s pretty exciting!
Modeling Adam Glassman’s Talbots Collection in his Love That! Show Onboard
O’s Emmy Award-winning Creative Director Adam Glassman taught cruisers how to travel in style and he had some awesome tips. I listened onstage as he patiently answered tons of questions from the audience. He is so personable.
I was onstage as part of my OMAGInsiders duties. We were serving as models for the awesome O, The Oprah Magazine + Talbots collaboration benefitting Dress for Success. The line is casual, chic, super comfy, and 30% of the collections net proceeds go directly to Dress for Success. I seriously wanted to buy every piece. Especially, that maxi dress… it has pockets!!
Did you know that Dress for Success has helped raise millions of dollars and has given over 100,000 women the gift of Confidence, Hope & Style? And, now you can help simply by purchasing an item from Adam’s collection. It’s a total win/win!
But, hurry the collection is only available through March 31st. You can find it in your local Talbot’s store & online. Talbot’s also will be accepting clothing & accessories donations for Dress for Success in stores from Feb. 28- March 3.
O Beauty Talk with Brian Underwood
I could listen to O Beauty Director Brian Underwood talk beauty all day long. The man is so well educated around all things beauty. Has incredible insight and a heart of gold.
On the Girls” Getaway Cruise the audience learned all about tricks to the perfect high pony, the easiest most effective daily skincare routine, we chatted about different surgical procedures and more.
Half Moon Cay- HAL Cruises Private Bahamian Island
Now that we have gotten through some of the awesomeness occurring on the ship let’s get to the paradise that is Half Moon Cay- Holland America Line’s Award Winning Private Island in the Bahamas.
We took a tender boat over and stepped on the shore of a tropical paradise. There are strips of beaches with plenty of seating. Tons of trails if you feel like taking a hike. Of course, if you want to relax with a cocktail there are plenty of places to grab one of those including a fun Shipwreck known as Captain Morgan’s Bar my personal fav.
You definitely will want to make sure you get in the water. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s pretty warm so even if you are usually a bit wimpy about cold water you’ll be diving in here.
Don’t forget to take a few pics too, you won’t want to forget all the amazing fun you’ll be having.
The Most EPIC Horseback Adventure EVER!!!
I am a horse lover- have been for years. I have owned horses and riden horses for years and my Horseback Excursion at Half Moon Cay was the most INCREDIBLE horseback ride I have ever taken. We rode the horses waist deep in the ocean- IT WAS AMAZING!!!!
My friend Sarah originally booked the excursion and when Tabitha heard about it she raced to sign up and when I heard she was signing up I raced over to join in on the fun. Funny story we got to the excursions booth and there were two tickets left for the Horseback Adventure at the time we wanted to go BUT we hadn’t brought close-toed shoes.
So we raced over to the market and found the first shoes we could find for a decent price. They were the ugliest water shoes but they would have to do because we were set on getting onto those horses. It all worked out with a few seconds to spare. Before we knew it, out of breath, we hopped into a shuttle and were off to the stables.
When we arrived Gayle King and her daughter were just finishing up their ride. The women on the shuttle went to bombard her while I stayed back to watch from afar. I was so impressed by how calm Gayle was with the excited crowd. She calmly told everyone not to stress and began obliging them with selfies and answering their questions. I can’t imagine what that would be like, but I know to those women it meant so much that she took the time to be there with them.
Oh, and check out this view from the staging area for horseback- unreal, right?
My Fellow OMAGInsiders Sisters
When I applied to be an OMAGInsider I never anticipated gaining so many amazing new sisters. These women are more than friends or co-workers, they are like family and it was so special to be onboard the Girls’ Getaway Cruise with so many of them.
What I love so much about this group is how incredibly diverse our backgrounds and specialties are. It makes our conversation so interesting. I feel like I learn so much just by being around this amazing group of women.
We dined together, danced the nights away at the B.B. Kings Blues Club together, and Taura even tried to get us to sing together- some of us (me included) were a bit too shy for that one.
Taura (in the awesome lime lace pjs) is an amazing Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Black Reel nominee for her incredible songwriting capabilities. It’s an honor to know her she is just the most beautiful soul inside & out.
The Slumber Party may have been one of my favorite events. I don’t know why more parties don’t involve pjs. They just make everything better.
Christening the Nieuw Statendam
One of the biggest honors I had was being invited to attend the Christening of the Nieuw Statendam. Did you know that cruise ships have a longstanding tradition of being sponsored by a civilian- usually a woman (aka Godmother).
They are selected to bring good luck and protection to the vessel. And, Oprah Winfrey was the honoree for Holland America Line’s new ship the Nieuw Statendam.
Not only was I invited to attend the ceremony but I was also one of the 6 OMAGInsiders that also earned the opportunity to meet Oprah herself at the VIP Christening Ceremony.
It was pretty incredible to be in such an intimate space with Oprah. To hear her speak candidly with friends and witness her receive a well-deserved award for all her incredible philanthropy work from Holland America Line. Including a handsome check for her Leadership Academy for Girls school.
She mentioned how she gets awarded by different groups all the time and she has to pick and choose which ones to accept and that this one was an award she felt she deserved. She’s worked so hard on building that school and spreading inclusiveness and kindness throughout the world. I’m sure we would all agree with that!
Of course, my favorite moment had to be getting to take a photo with Oprah. She has a funny thing she asks everyone to do that takes a photo with her, but it totally works. You say “Yay” as they take the picture. I believe she learned the trick from Adam Glassman. Check out the results below and let me know what you think. Will you be saying “Yay” in your next photo??
Next up was the actual Christening Ceremony. It was incredible to watch videos of the ship being built and hear from the many team members it takes to get a ship like this up and running. It’s truly a work of art. And, Holland America Line did such an amazing job of painting that picture.
Then the time came for Oprah to ceremonially announce the ships name and push the lever. It was pretty exciting!!
I have to give a shout out to the Oprah Magazine staff who were all on board with us. They did such an amazing job with this collaboration. It was truly an incredible experience for all onboard and I hope to see more itineraries like it in the future.
I found a few other friends in the audience. Celebrity Hairstylist Mia Santiago and Celebrity Make-Up Artist Joseph Carillo both of whom are responsible for my awesome makeover on the Alaska Cruise. I seriously love these two so much. They are incredible humans, who are so amazingly thoughtful and kind. I just love watching both of their careers taking off. They are so deserving.
And, that was it! The cruise was such a wonderful whirlwind it was so hard to say our goodbyes and disembark. I am forever grateful for such an O-mazing experience.
Some Fun Surprises
A few random fun things that happened onboard were we got to meet Jillian Harris who had brought her mom along. I have been a huge fan of hers after stumbling across her website and Instagram when I was trying to find inspiration for our pool. She is just the sweetest and now I am even more in love with her stuff.
We also received fun surprises each night including a really cool journal, a beach bag, makeup bag & more!! They’ll serve as great reminders of all the fun we had. Each night we also received a little card at turn down that had an Oprah quote on them. I kept them all bc duh Oprah is amazing!!