September 15, 2017

PAMPERING and RESTORING – Holland America Spa Cruise

PAMPERING and RESTORING – Holland America Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

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.

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

Cloud art at its finest ☁️☁️☁️

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.

PAMPERING and RESTORING – Holland America Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

A healthy inside starts from the outside 💙 💙 💙

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?

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport 📖

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.

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos!

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.

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

Nothing says ‘RELAX’ like having clay goop all over your face! 😂😂😂

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!

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

SPA (noun): A place of relaxation, rest and tranquility ☀️

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.

PAMPERING, INDULGING and RESTORING – A Spa Cruise. Anna Johnston -

We have nothing to lose and a whole world to see. Never stop exploring 🌏

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?


shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Hotly Spiced - October 16, 2017 Reply

I love Holland America cruise ships. I had a holiday on the Oosterdam and spent many hours in that spa area. I loved the thermal beds – so therapeutic lying on the warm bed and looking out to the ocean. Just stunning. Glad you had a good time xx

Jem @ Lost in Utensils - October 2, 2017 Reply

I’m so jealous Anna. I need a pampering day now! This has been a catalyst for me. I need to get to it…

    Anna - October 3, 2017 Reply

    Get on that pamper day stat lovely Jem! Nothing more restorative than a little love for thyself. xx

Mei - September 26, 2017 Reply

I’m not really a cruise nor a spa person, but this sounds like a very nice way to pamper yourself! Maybe I should try that one day, but I’d ask for an hour long back massage instead of facial stuff (I don’t even really use cream! haha…), and perhaps a max of 3 days cruise would be enough for me.

    Anna - September 26, 2017 Reply

    Haha… start small and see if its something that you enjoy. We just knew we’d get so much out of the time out, much of it was forced offline time too. It was very healing. 🙂

The Globe Trotter - September 26, 2017 Reply

A month-long spa cruise! That sounds so indulgent and a lot of fun! I have never done anything like that. The longest cruise we have been on is 5-6 days.

Debra Schroeder - September 25, 2017 Reply

I love cruises and love the idea of spa cruise. I’d spend all day in the spa. Just wish those treatments on board weren’t so pricey.

    Anna - September 25, 2017 Reply

    They are great for many, many reasons … we especially love the fact you dont need to pack up your luggage, you just wake up in a new place. 🙂 I agree re the price of the spa treatments, but, YOLO!

Tim UrbanDuniya - September 22, 2017 Reply

Month long cruise!?!?! That’s insane! Looks like you had a great time… I don’t know if I might get cabin fever after a while… I’ve never been on a cruise, so I guess I’d need to to try it 🙂

    Anna - September 23, 2017 Reply

    We found it the perfect way to travel, no need to pack everything up every time you go to a new place, you just wake up in a new country. 🙂 Plus… daily spa happenings. YEAS!

Jenna - September 20, 2017 Reply

We haven’t been on a cruise yet, but lately I’ve been thinking about taking one with the intent of just going and relaxing so it’s great to read about your experience doing just that! All the spa treatments sound amazing and it sounds like it was the perfect way to relax and reset. And even better that you got a great deal on it! Sounds like some wonderful memories! 🙂

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    It was a great experience and we were very lucky to have such a great lot of spa therapists who just made us feel awesome, a lovely memory.

Johann - September 20, 2017 Reply

Been reading a lot about cruises lately. This one seems like a perfect holiday to chill, relax and get back into the groove. A lot of pampering. Good take someone special and treat them with this. 🙂

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yep, chill we did. And, couldn’t agree more, the perfect gift to your fellow traveller who likes a bit of pampering.

Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie - September 20, 2017 Reply

I seriously had to read that phrase over a few times…month long cruise! That is totally indulgent and sounds like well-deserved. I think I would have been a mushy noodle by the time all was said and done after all those spa treatments. What a great way to pamper yourself and rejuvenate!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    It REALLY was indulgent, absolutely and I shudder to think how bored we would have been if it was just a regular normal everyday spa. We’ve since found out all cruise spas are not born equal and believe we were tremendously lucky to be on that ship at that time.

Sandy N Vyjay - September 20, 2017 Reply

The Holland America Spa Cruise sounds like a real indulgence for the senses. What a way to rejuvenate in the luxury of the spa and also enjoy thee experience of a cruise. It is indeed a two in one experience.

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    It really was indulgent that’s for sure. We arrived worn out and left feeling wonderful for all the pampering.

Holly - September 20, 2017 Reply

I have never heard of a spa cruise, but it sounds and looks heavenly. I would love to go on one!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    It wasn’t actually just a spa cruise, but we made it one by spending so much time in the Spa which was incredibly well set up too. Not all ships have such luxurious Spa areas, but this one was like a Roman Baths and pamper house all in one.

Elisa - September 20, 2017 Reply

Oooohhh yeahhhh, you are looking very good after all those spa treatments! I never thought about a “pussy cat”treatments trip before but I may change my mind after reading this post!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes, we certainly pushed things to the limit some days, it was great.

Claudia - September 20, 2017 Reply

I like your phrasing, finding ‘calm in the chaos’. It certainly looks like that cruise out of Sydney performed well on that score. I’d love to visit Tasmania and New Zealand, as well as some of those South Pacific Islands nearby. You enjoyed a great cruise itinerary.

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes, I too would love to visit more of Tasmania, although not via cruise, I’d love to spend a month there as it’s an amazing part of Australia. The itinerary we had was just perfect, just the right amount of days at sea and port.

Karla - September 20, 2017 Reply

These are things that I would love to do when on a cruise. I haven’t been in one but I want to. I like that there are a lot of activities while on board and since it’s a place to relax— of course— a pamper session is a much.

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Ship life is sort of like being shut off from the world and your forced to rest, relax and get offline (to a great extent as the WIFI is pretty horrible at sea), it’s perfect to wind down and possibly a great way to travel if you don’t like packing and only like spending a short time at each stop.

Suruchi - September 20, 2017 Reply

I have never been to any cruise and it was always on our bucket list. But after reading your experience, our urge to experience it has increased.The idea of taking mom is really nice and feel I should really plan it.

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    That’s probably the best thing as a memory for me with this cruise, the time spent just with Momma, it was so great to have so much time one on one with her and just have fun together. Thoroughly recommend you take your Mom.

Ollie - September 20, 2017 Reply

A long time ago I thought that this is one og the things I will never do. But now, to be honest, after some time I think I should start concider it! 🙂

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Cruising is a “something to do” for sure, but if your more into exploring new places and getting off the beaten track, then cruising isn’t for everyone.

Claire - September 19, 2017 Reply

I’ve always wanted to give a cruise a go but I had never thought about combining a cruise and a spa day. What a fantastic idea! I would definitely want to get the pass so I could have unlimited access to the spa

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes, cruising is great for rest and relaxation and a Spa Pass is probably the most economical way to do it.

Drew - September 19, 2017 Reply

Nothing better than some spa time to truly unwind. I tend to get on a spa kick when I’m on holiday. I rarely do it when I’m at home, but on holiday, I go crazy. I went to two different Mandarin Oriental properties last month and got spa treatments at both. In fact yesterday, I spent the day walking around Hong Kong and treated myself to a 60 minute foot massage to soothe my aching feet! Looks like you didn’t hold back on the Holland America cruise either!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    That would be heavenly having a 60 minute food massage after a day doing a walking sight seeing adventure, great idea.

Kiyoko - September 19, 2017 Reply

I’ve never really been to a salon or spa, but I’m glad you guys were able to enjoy it to the fullest. I’m sure it must have been so nice to just let go and embrace the “spa life” on the cruise. I’m sure those big windows in the ship provided some great views outside. What a way to relax!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Cruising makes me slow down, so I have to be absolutely overtired and exhausted to consider cruising, luckily that cruise the spa was my main focus to unwind from a huge year.

Jen Joslin - September 19, 2017 Reply

Oh my goodness, this sounds like the most relaxing and decadent cruise ever!! Spa treatments, dips in the hydrotherapy pools, and 5 star meals every day? What more could you ask for!? I would love to treat my mom to an experience like this one day!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes Jen, having my Momma there with me was the best! The sort of dream come true we all have when we are little girls saying “one day Momma I’m going to take you on a huge trip and pamper you” haahaa!!! It lived up to our expectations.

Divyakshi Gupta - September 19, 2017 Reply

Never gone on a cruise, but this seems just so luxurious! What a perfect way to unwind and relax! 🙂 I could do with a writing holiday like this. Rejuvenate, write, pamper myself and write some more! 🙂 The spa options are amazing! Once in a while, such holidays are a must with momma dearest! 🙂

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes, we (Momma and I) did a huge amount of writing on that cruise too. Keeping a journal of the journey was a great thing to read back years later too.

Guy Crotty - September 19, 2017 Reply

Wow, you guys really took pampering to a new level hey. Month long open pass to the spa!! Awesome! I have to say that taking a big cruise has never really appealed to us but after doing an ‘expedition’ cruise to the Antarctic last year and another in the Galapagos potentially we could be persuaded. Your photos of that spa definitely add encouragement!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    I don’t think I’d ever do another cruise with so much time at sea EXCEPT to the Antartic, that is so on my bucket list and would bring me back to my cruise loving real quick.

Megan Jerrard - September 19, 2017 Reply

A month long Holland America spa cruise sounds incredible! What an amazing mother / daughter trip – definitely a way to pamper yourself and re-discover your energy. I’ve taken a couple of cruises before, but never incorporated them with the spa packages – I think I might need to, sounds like a great experience!

    Anna - September 20, 2017 Reply

    Yes, indeed. After that first cruise, I now check Spa Packages on offer when considering sea travel for sure. And, yes, it was a great Mother/Daughter experience.

Karla - September 19, 2017 Reply

I have never been on a cruise but I’ve been wanting to. it seems like something I could fall in love with to just like you. Perfect way to mix travel and relaxation .

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    It sure was a perfect fit for us at the time too Karla. Just what we needed.

Ryan - September 19, 2017 Reply

I haven’t been on a cruise in a long time and this article totally changed my mindset on Luxury Cruise Lines. My GF would love that unlimited access to the spa. Thanks for all the info!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Your absolutely welcome Ryan, hopefully you have a great experience like we did.

Red Nomad OZ (Marion Halliday) - September 19, 2017 Reply

I’ve been on two cruises – but on the most recent one I was only 10 years old!! I’ve often wondered what it’d be like to go as an adult – after reading your post I’m thinking the whole cruise experience is TOTALLY wasted on children!! A month seems like a long time to be at sea – but I guess not when pampering, eating and light exercise become your daily norm 😀

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Absolutely! Cruising is not my first choice of travel but at the time, desperately needing downtime, it was just perfect. I absolutely agree with you to do with children on cruises, couldn’t think of anything worse bringing kids onboard and imagine they’d be bored witless in no time.

Tami - September 19, 2017 Reply

I haven’t done anything like this yet. Every trip we take is crammed full from morning until evening with things to do and see. But from the looks of this post, I really should take some time to unwind at some point!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Yes, taking “me time” has a lot of rewards (so I found), until this cruise I doubt if I’d ever really stopped and fed the inner me like that as I’m sure laying around in front of TV absolutely exhausted for a day doesn’t count.

J Harvey - September 19, 2017 Reply

It’s so important to make time for one’s self every so often. I def feel the burn out sometime and that’s when I decide to take some me-time. Seems like the cruise was just the ticket you needed to relaxation. I always love a good all-inclusive!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more. We sometimes don’t stop to look after ourselves enough.

Rocio - September 19, 2017 Reply

your experience sounds really great!!!! have been in sydney and I love SPA so i guess that I missed something fun!! thanks for your sharing!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for your comment Rocio. Glad to hear you like Spa’s and I hope you can get to one and enjoy some serious pampering too.

Vanessa - September 19, 2017 Reply

The mineral pools sound phenomenal. I’m a bit obsessed with having hot baths but you rarely see good bathtubs in hotels – this takes it up to a whole new level of luxury.

I just did a spa wellness weekend here (on land!) and I can say first hand that it’s the best way to travel!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Oh yes, the warm mineral seawater pool was our favorite too. We were expecting a spa that maybe held half a dozen people so you can imagine how amazed we were when we saw it was something like a Roman pool for many. It was sort of fun to find yourself swaying around a bit with the roll of the ship or laying back in a weird sort of bench cradle. Ahh, just writing about it makes me want to jump in again.

Nick Wheatley - September 18, 2017 Reply

Wow, that looks like a month of pure luxury! I have been on a couple shorter cruises – up to Alaska and to Bermuda but nothing on this level. The unlimited spa package seems like a smart investment! There is something so relaxing about the hardest decision you make each day being which restaurant to eat your luxurious dinner in. Glad you had the opportunity to rest and recharge!

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    Thanks Nick and yes, we did indeed have all the time to rest and recharged. It was a little embarrassing when we got home and came back to our home and find we had to make our beds and cook and clean our dishes again. Spoilt rotten we were.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - September 18, 2017 Reply

I am so not a fan of cruise ships. They ‘vomit’ people out to do tourist things all over. And the people don’t seem to much care about the environment. That being said, I can imagine how important they are for local tradesmen. Thanks for sharing your time on board.

    Anna - September 19, 2017 Reply

    I think one of the reasons I didn’t write about this cruise when we got home was simply we really treated the time away to rest, relax and rejuvenate. I did line up to do another cruise a year or so later only to be quite dissapointed, actually I really didn’t like it at all as a mode of travel or enjoy the spa area. Guess we were just lucky and struck gold when we needed it most. Thanks for your comment Tandy.

Kate - September 18, 2017 Reply

I’ve never been on a cruise and while it looks like luxury and fun, I think I would get seriously stir crazy from having to be in one place for so long. I think I would have to pick one that had stops every single day or else I would be feeling the walls around me in no time!

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Yeah, we found cruising to be a really luxurious experience, and especially loved that we didn’t have to pack up our stuff every other day and we’d get to wake up in a new destination/country. So we got to explore new places and then head in for a spa treatment to relax, the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. We LOVED it! 🙂

Indrani - September 18, 2017 Reply

I have always wanted to take some time out like this but too busy with daily chores. But I have promised myself some special moments some day soon. Both of you look so happy. I miss my mom. 🙂

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    I really, really, really hope you make the time to do something special like this Indrani, it was incredible and so very rewarding for us both, and I bet would be wonderfully healing for you. 🙂

Elaine J Masters - September 18, 2017 Reply

Sounds like a wonderful time for you both. A month of pampering at sea plus island hopping?! Wow.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    It was indeed an incredible way to spend a month, they are memories of time with Momma Bear I will cherish for ever. 🙂 SUCH FUN!

Lydia Smith - September 18, 2017 Reply

You couldn’t have done any better. Sure yiur sskin feels great and appreciative to you. I’d also try the idea of treating myself to a spa luxury when life seems to throw balls to me. It sounds like a perfect escape plan

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    I totally agree Lydia, we had a really amazing time and left the cruise feeling like new woman! 🙂 Hope you find the time to spoil yourself one of these days soon, pretty sure you wont regret it.

Theresa - September 18, 2017 Reply

This is timely! My mom and I are going on a cruise next week. I think I will encourage her to try the spa with me, it’s not something I ever really think about on a cruise as I’m usually with my hubby and he is not a spa person.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    YEASSS…. do encourage your Momma Bear to spa it up while on your cruise Theresa, we absolutely loved it and felt incredible and like new woman at the end of it. Plus…. memories made with your Mom = BEST!

Fiona Maclean - September 18, 2017 Reply

What an amazing cruise experience. That spa looks quite fantastic. I’v tried a cruise, but the spa wasn’t anything like as comprehensive

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Yes, I am told that the Oosterdam does have one of the best spas on a cruise ship, we’ve been on others and they were nothing like this one. 🙂

carla - September 18, 2017 Reply

I would love to experience the same on one of my me-time! Sounds like you had a great time!

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    You should Carla, we got a lot out of the experience and still a few years down the track have such wonderful and healing memories of the cruise. 🙂

carrie - September 18, 2017 Reply

Wow going back to your normal life must’ve been quite the shock after a month of daily spa treatments! Sounds like a great way to regroup, and what an excellent idea to do it with your mom and get some quality time together.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Hahaaha… YES, it was. But our mindsets were healthy again, we felt inspired and ready to do life again, so we quickly got over the holiday hangover and got back into things. Plus… all those treatments had us looking the goods, so being lazy bones and staying at home wasnt an option. 🙂

Dinh-Long - September 18, 2017 Reply

Never had a cruise like this… but hey unlimited access to SPA, who cannot say yes? I never spent that much time trying to heal my body and mind; I usually try to keep myself at least 20 full minutes a day focusing fully on me (usually listening to music or just thinking and looking at the landscape).

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Absolutely Dinh-Long, a month of hanging out in a spa was incredible!
    Fantastic, I love that you make time for you. Its so important. 🙂 Since that cruise, we to also try to dedicate time for us, and music and beach scape often feature.

Liz - September 18, 2017 Reply

A month long spa cruise??? What fun!!! All that pampering would be easy to get used to 🙂 And island hopping sounds pretty sweet, too.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Oh we took to it like a couple of fat ducks to water, Liz. Haha! 🙂

Lucy - Travel Textbook - September 17, 2017 Reply

I’ve never been on a cruise before but this post is opening my eyes 🙂 Hopefully one day!

Lucy x

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    A cruise is something I can totally recommend doing at least once in your life, we sure loved our experience. We also throughly enjoyed that we didnt have to pack up our stuff to go to the next destination, arriving at a new port every other day was wonderful. 🙂

Christina - September 17, 2017 Reply

I’ve been thinking about doing a Holland America cruise for awhile. It looks like a nice getaway where you can relax and chill out in the spa and pool. Sounds like a lovely way to catch some mother/daughter bonding time.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Do your research before committing to a Holland America cruise Christina, I believe they are now owned by another liner which is very different than what HAL are known for. But.. I can attest to the amazingness of a cruise, we came back throughly relaxed and ready to do the year. 🙂

Tom - September 17, 2017 Reply

We’ve never been on a proper Cruise ship before and somehow it was never that appealing for me either, but the way you told about your trip, I can absolutely understand why it could be so fantastic to do something like that. As you can’t leave the ship once it’s on the open water, you HAVE to take time for yourself and I bet this really helps on focusing to relax 😀

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Yeah, cruising isnt for everyone, thats for sure. But we certainly loved it, not just because of all the spa treatments, but not having to pack up to go to the next destination was fantastic too. We loved waking up at a new place every other morning. 🙂

HHLifestyleTravel - September 17, 2017 Reply

Yep, I totally relate to be ‘stuffed’ – totally out of energy and needing a pamper holiday (that was me a month ago before 2 weeks chilling in France)! I’ve never been on a cruise, but this totally feels like a great way to slow down and recuperate after a tough period – and to share that with your Maw is really special!

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Chilling in France… how freakin AMAZING! 🙂
    Yep, pretty special month with my Momma Bear, memories I am so blessed to have.

Muryan - September 17, 2017 Reply

One month on a cruise with a spa package… sounds heavenly. I agree with you, a little self-indulgence goes a long way, and doing it with your mum makes it more special! You both look so relaxed and happy in the last photo. 🙂

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    It was amazing, relaxing and absolutely heavenly. We had the best time, and all the special memories we made too. Best way to do a holiday I say! 🙂

Natasha Haley - September 17, 2017 Reply

The tour sounds amazing, sailing around so many pretty places. I would really enjoy lazing in the pool and watching the islands slip by. I love that you and your Mum got each other the passes as gifts, what a treat!

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Yes, spoiling each other with spa treatments really was one of our best ideas ever! 🙂 Hope you get to experience some of that lazy sailing by the pool with islands in the background some time soon, def one of the best ways to totally relax and get back to YOU!

Sreekar - September 17, 2017 Reply

A spa cruise you say! Where do I sign up! That seems incredibly relaxing. What more do you need than a spa with a drink at hand atop a ship gently undulating across the waves! Pure bliss!

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Haha… get on it Sreekar, if you are anything like us, you’ll LOVE it! 🙂

Daniela - September 17, 2017 Reply

A full month on a cruise ship including unlimited spa treatment? Wow, that sounds a bit decadent indeed :-). Don’t think I could do that, even at age 47, I’m still an old-fashioned backpacker and a hostel with pool and hammocks is a luxury for me.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Looking back, it sure was decadent! Your not wrong there. Nothing wrong with backpacking either, love all types of travel.

Kayley - September 17, 2017 Reply

Wow, that sounds incredible! You guys put some serious thought into getting completely relaxed. After traveling for the pat 8 months (on a budget and often backpacking or camping) I am so ready for something like this to end off our travels!

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Travelling for 8 months straight does sound tiring, I bet your looking forward to home, but what an awesome experience huh.

Maxine - September 17, 2017 Reply

This looks so perfect! That spa pool with a view looks so great. Sounds like a great first time cruise! 🙂

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    It really was awesome Maxine, we were so lucky to have enjoyed the cruise and got exactly everything we wanted out of it. Not sure I’d do it again, but it was amazing for all it was.

Andi - September 17, 2017 Reply

I love cruises because they do force you to slow down, especially on sea days. My favorite cruise was in the Tahitian Islands, they are so small and remote, that even on days when we visited “ports” it was low stress and revitalizing.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more Andi. Cruising really does make you stop and slow down. It’s sort of funny that while cruising we’d often think of port days as being way too tiring. I think we were just a wee bit delicate then.

Julien Mordret - September 17, 2017 Reply

As my trips typically involves a lot of backpacing, trekking and some other adventures, this whole cruise thing is totally unknown to me. That said, I have to admit that seeing the good time you had, I wouldn’t mind trying a cruise with my girlfriend haha! I am just wondering, do you ever feel bored on the ship?

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Hey Julien. I’m not sure if this particular cruise was just a first time luck thing, or we were so exhausted we just wanted to relax and “be”. But, with this cruise. NOoooo! Didn’t get bored at all. We did line up a year ago to do another cruise with Holland America and found we did get sick of ship life and couldn’t wait till we docked to explore day trips and excursions. So, guess it’s just a matter of personal choice.

Brianna - September 17, 2017 Reply

You had me a spa cruise! A month sailing through the South Pacific being pampered sounds divine.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Heavenly huh Brianna, we sure felt incredibly special to be able to have experienced a month cruising and spa-in it up. 🙂

Aleah | SolitaryWanderer - September 17, 2017 Reply

I didn’t know spa cruises were a thing! I’ve never been on a cruise, and never wanted to go on one, but I would totally take this one if given a chance. I love love love spas and massages, and combined with a cruise, it seems the perfect time to destress from all the traveling that I do. Hope I can find one like that.

    Anna - September 18, 2017 Reply

    Not sure this cruise was a spa cruise as such, but we totally made it a spa cruise. The facilities on the Oosterdam were amazing in the spa, so that really helped to make the experience as wonderful and memorable as it was. 🙂
    All the YES to massages, riiiiight? Hope you can find a spa cruise to do soon.

Val Wheatley - September 17, 2017 Reply

You took a month long cruise?!? That’s a serious commitment! Did you ever get bored and/or just want to be back home? But that does sound pretty freaking amazing – I’d love to pamper myself like that every day for a month. Sounds like you two deserved it! Adding this to my list of future dream adventures! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Hey Val. Yep, we sure did do a month long cruise!!!! At the time we were so exhausted and worn out that it was just perfect. I guess it depends on just what you want out of a cruise, if you just want to relax and pamper it up in the spa and get away from your world for a bit, it’s THE business.

Anne Slater-Brooks - September 17, 2017 Reply

I have done a couple of retreats in India. Bizarre how in the West we live such exhausting lives that we have to spend money to relax. Sometimes it seems worth the cost just for a decent sleep. I will warn you though a detox retreat is nothing like as luxurious and is pretty mentally exhausting, although by the end I felt as though I had been reborn, had shed pounds, a ton of mental toxins and a load of pain.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Hi Anne! I have a retreat on my bucket list, I’ve heard they are pretty intense but life changing and an excellent way to put a stop to some bad habits and form new healthy ones. And Yes to your thoughts on living in the West life is just too busy and scheduled and relied way too much on spending money to rest, this is why I chose to move from my busy city lifestyle and move to a more relaxed part of the world. Best thing I ever did.

Marcus and Mel - September 16, 2017 Reply

Although we fancy the idea of a cruise we are both concerned about getting seasick. Neither of us are good on boats and I was sick on a boat simulator! The pampering sounds really relaxing, we have to look for the calmest waters to try our first cruise.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Luckily, we didn’t experience any sea sickness. In fact, we found the gently rolling of the ship was restful – like being rocked off to sleep each night. By the end of this particular cruise we found we loved it best in rocky seas, so we loved the lurching and rolling. Don’t go on a cruise if you get seasick, that’s my advice. We saw lots of people having a hard time and I’m sure they were regretting their decision to cruise, no one likes getting sick on holidays.

Siddhartha Joshi - September 16, 2017 Reply

This sounds neat! Cruise with spa is certainly the way to go for making cruises even more fun! I am with Gary a bit on cruise trips which can make one sick, but the short one I did last year was fine…plus if I do feel a bit unwell, the perfect place to relax would be a spa 🙂

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    We sure found that too. Relaxing was what this particular cruise was ALL about, so it was a really fun experience to be pampered.

Linda - September 16, 2017 Reply

What a way to experience your first cruise. Spa pampering, Christmas, New Year, island hopping… Holland America sounds like they know what they’re doing.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Yes, indeed. We loved this cruise so much – we were saddened to learn about 18 months later when we lined up to cruise through Sth East Asia that the cruise line had been sold to Carnival, a much more budget orientated cruise, so we were quite dissapointed how much in the way of friendliness of staff and service had changed. I wouldn’t cruise with this liner again, sadly.

Danijela WorldGlimpses - September 16, 2017 Reply

It really sounds like fun. That spa area got me go back and read your lines again, would definitely enjoy that! 😀
Love that “cloud art” as well, I’m one of those people who constantly gazes at the sky! Having said that, would have to add that I’d probably enjoy the view from the deck the most. 🙂

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Ahh yes, I hear you there Danijela. Love nothing better than finding a great spot in the shade on the beach and watching the clouds play with cloud art.

Mandy - September 16, 2017 Reply

Absolute heaven Anna! I haven’t enjoyed any pampering for years now! Let alone aboard a gorgeous liner!
Have a beautiful and happy weekend sweet.
🙂 Mandy xo

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Hello dear Mandy, I hope your world is wonderful too. Ahh yes, it was a wonderful time and a great memory.

Rhonda Albom - September 16, 2017 Reply

We have been looking at different cruises lately and there was one that was sold out except for a ‘spa package’. However, since we only want cruises with the least amount of sea days possible and to spend every moment in port off the ship, it doesn’t seem like a good deal for us.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    You know Rhonda, I tend to agree with you. It was one of those times in life where our family was just put through the wringer a bit too much and we needed some serious down time. I wouldn’t do another spa cruise unless for some horrible reason, I needed to get away and rest and recover either. Exploring new countries and ports are the best part of cruising, no packing bags and catching flights – in that way cruising is wonderful.

Alyson - September 16, 2017 Reply

No, actually. I really, really don’t enjoy all that stuff! I normally donate all the spa treatments we get to my husband, he’s a 5 star boy and laps it up. But I’m glad you and your mum had a great time and it looks lovely. We’ve been on a few cruises but never once ventured into the spas.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    I have a great friend who is just like you Alyson. She hates being massaged and tizzing up (as she calls it). Good thing you’ve got a hubby who loves a good pamper, no reason to he should miss out huh!

Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella - September 16, 2017 Reply

Wow you really know how to spa! I love your spa itinerary. I’m going for a massage tomorrow and will channel you both 😀

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Feel free to channel us Lorraine – I’d almost forgotten about this intense spa month we did until I saw the big old black & white colors of the liner visiting last week. Spas are the business for some serious R&R. Enjoy your massage.

Sue Slaght - September 16, 2017 Reply

Anna this sounds like such a healing month. no I have never done anything like it but I love the idea. What an incredible experience to have with your Mom! Loved your description of feeling like a pussy cat having reached a petting allowance. Thanks for you very enthusiastic comment to my Mom’s first post on our blog. I’m so happy she agreed to be a contributor.

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    Heya Sue. Your absolutely welcome – I loved reading how you encouraged your Mom to contribute (wish my Momma would too!!) Yes, indeed, it did take weeks, but I can still remember that last massage session I had with the therapist at the spa on that cruise, I felt so fidjity and relized I’d reached my pampering allowance.

Mabel Kwong - September 15, 2017 Reply

What a lovely throwback memory to the time you got to cruise around on the Holland American Spa cruise. It did look like you had a good time swimming around on the boat – and of course seeing the sights wherever the ship took you 🙂

Not a huge fan of being on a boat or a cruise as being on water or even in it is not my thing 😀 But when I do want to get away to heal myself inside and outside, I do two things: for a few days I’d take a trip to a quiet somewhere where I may or may not know and lose myself in the hills and under the big, big sky. Then I’d come home and relax by myself at home cooking and reading and losing myself in my own thoughts once again. Big hugs to you, Miss Anna x

    Anna - September 17, 2017 Reply

    I do like your idea of recharging the batteries Miss Mabel, I would only really recommend a month long spa cruise to anyone if they were as run down and needed a good old fashioned prescription for some salt air. I’ve always fancied that sort of prescription to be the most healing of all to just get away, new sights and sounds and as much fresh air and sunshine as you can drink in to find a new lease of life. My Momma is just like you, it’s people and heavy schedules that tends to wear her down and she loves nothing more than just being quiet at home, gardening, walking, out in nature and doing some cooking. Me? Well, I love being out and about with people I think, and over the last year I’ve realized just how much I love being on the ocean. Love it. Big hugs to you to my Lovely, have a wonderful week.

Gary Lum - September 15, 2017 Reply

The whole notion of cruising seems so attractive especially the sunshine, the warmth and the restaurants. That said, in my line of work, I regularly see reports of significant amounts of illness associated with cruise ships. So much so that amongst colleagues, I refer to cruise ships as buckets of vomit, faeces and spit acknowledging the most common illnesses are contagious viral gastroenteritis and respiratory infections.
I envy people who can enjoy a trouble-free, infection-free and motion sickness-free cruise. Knowing my luck, I’d be infected and suffer from motion sickness.
Another great post Anna.

    Anna - September 15, 2017 Reply

    I hear you there Gary. This particular cruise we literally sailed through it without any troubles, but we lined up again to take a 2 week cruise just last year and Mum was sick the second week and I got sick when I got home, so it does turn you off cruising. Never been sea sick though, so that’s something. I tend to think of plane travel in much the same way you describe (so elegantly!!!) cruising.

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