Today is Cruise Ship Day in Airlie Beach, which means Market day! Rows and rows of locals from near and far pitch their tents and sell their wares for the hundreds of ship dwelling tourists who get to spend a day wandering our markets and shops and sampling some good old fashioned North Queensland hospitality.
Normally, this is just another week living in the Whitsundays. We are, after all, a tourist hub and it’s not an unfamiliar sight to see a great big cruise ship anchored out on the horizon as I venture out on an early morning walk with Little Chef. But this morning I recognized the familiar black and white cruise ship and spent the entire beach walk reliving a month long Holland America spa cruise I went on with Queen Suebah. Such decadence and fun we had and thought I’d share some memories with y’all.
No joke! By the time we reached Sydney Harbour and found our way through a maze of people all boarding ships due to depart from Circular Quay that day, we were exhausted. We had lost our sense of humour completely; maybe we were even just a little bit delirious with lack of sleep to add to the cocktail as well. It had been an epic year for our family, our jobs and relationships and the fancy foot work we had to do to get leave from work, left us both more than just a little bit grumpy.
You know that feeling you get when life keeps throwing you curve balls & the only option you have is keep ploughing through? Well, to coin an Aussie phrase…. We were stuffed!! It was time for some serious “me time”.
Being first time cruise gals at the time, we’d chosen waters close to home because we wanted to stay with summer and Holland America cruise line were doing their maiden voyages in our local waters at the time and we’d somehow bagged a great deal, we would be spending Christmas and New Year at sea!
We sailed across the Tasman Sea, then around New Zealand; then up through the delicious sun drenched South Pacific islands to Vanuatu before returning slowly back to Sydney – island hopping all the way. Surely that was time enough to drink in the sunshine, detox from the year just gone, sleep, eat and restore enough to find merriment again, right?
This cruise was all about pampering ourselves, and without knowing much about ship life, (and on a whim), we bought an open pass for each other as gifts in The Spa and Salon on-board, (somehow that felt less extravagant!); it gave us unlimited access to the Spa area, which consisted of a delectable Thermal Mineral Pool, Steam and Dry Saunas and Ceramic Heat Beds that overlooked the amazing vista through wall to wall windows. We’d added in a choice of half a dozen spa treatments to our gift to each other. This mother and daughter team may have looked (and felt) exhausted boarding, but we were sure going to pamper it up before we were finished and return home new women.
Neither of us had ever spent much time in the land of indulgent Spas and Salons before, but this trip, we became converts. Like zombies on a mission to return to the land of the living, we started and finished each day in the heated seawater and mineral enriched hydrotherapy pool or were petted and pampered into a near coma of relaxation somewhere in the salon.
Decadence knew no limits for us for on that month long cruise, we fed our skin with revitalizing body scrubs and indulged in just about anything our therapists suggested until we felt like pussy cats that had reached the maximum petting allowance. I know right, it was a tough job!
Best of all, our taste buds had completely returned and we had fallen into step with ship life, dressing for dinner at gorgeous 5 star restaurants each evening and taking in a show afterwards. By the time we’d reached New Zealand, our energy had returned enough to add in daily walks around the wonderful teak decks each day and by the last week on board I’d even entered a charity Fun Run. There were so many benefits to just stopping and giving ourselves time to recover and regroup, and for me, a beautiful memory to share with my Momma Bear.
So, tell me dear reader, have you ever taken time out to completely indulge in healing your body, mind and spirit when life wears you down?