Introduction to Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America:
On January 30th I set sail on Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise with Holland America. I have always been a big fan of Oprah Winfrey. Like many others I watched her show year after year. I tried several times to see it live and even applied to be on The Sound of Music episode. A few years ago, I was able to attend an event at Oprah’s The Life You Want Tour in Atlanta. But sadly, I missed the main event.
Therefore, when I saw Oprah & Gayle’s announcement about the Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America, I booked it immediately. O, The Oprah Magazine has partnered with Holland America for themed cruises. The cruises have activities and events based on the magazine content. My girlfriends and I set sail on a 3-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas on Holland America’s new ship-Nieuw Statendam. I know my readers and followers have been wondering what it is like to cruise with Oprah. So, here is my epic recap.
Day #1: All Aboard, Sail O-Way Party:
After being excited for 6 months about Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise it was finally here. After we boarded the ship we headed to the buffet. As mentioned in my blog post “20 Awesome Cruise Tips for First-Timer’s”, the rooms are usually not ready until late afternoon. Once I arrived at my cabin, I was pleased. The cabins on Nieuw Statendam are spacious and modern. We arrived to find a copy of O Magazine and a welcome packet. The gifts continued throughout the cruise. I was excited to get back to my cabin each night to see the latest gift. We received a T-shirt while boarding the ship, inspirational cards with quotes from Oprah, a branded O, The Oprah Magazine and Holland America beach bag and letters for a year of gratitude (my favorite).
A girls’ getaway can’t happen without your girlfriends. I am fortunate to have friends who love to travel as much as I do. Once I heard about Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise, I sent messages to my closest girlfriends and posted it in my travel groups. Over 10 people booked it immediately. I was excited for everyone to connect so I arranged a fun meet & greet on the ship. We wore blog branded T-shirts designed specifically for this cruise. We were not the only ones. I was impressed by the creativity of the Oprah & Gayle T-shirts on the ship.
One of my favorite parts of cruising is the sail away party. But in this case, it was the “Sail O-Way Party”. Get it? 🙂 Gayle King and O, The Oprah Magazine editors attended the Sail O-Way party. Teams competed in a trivia game. The theme was “who knows Oprah best?” Oprah gave the answers by video which was pretty cool. There was so much excitement in the air. Food and drinks were being passed around and strangers were soon becoming friends.
Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam had multiple stores including the “O Shop”. There were Holland America, O, The Oprah Magazine and Girls’ Getaway branded items. Since a pajama party was happening on the last night of the cruise, the Oprah pajamas were a popular item. It was mayhem initially. (lol) You could also shop for things from the O List, the Favorite Things list and see a preview of O, The Oprah Magazine new collection at Talbots. After dinner we headed over to a dance performance called Humanity. On the way we passed by the open-aired B.B. King’s nightclub. I knew we would be spending a lot of time there.
Day #1 O, The Oprah Magazine & Nieuw Statendem ship events included:
Open House in The Greenhouse Spa & Salon, Art Reception with sparkling wine, Sail O-Way Party, Meet the Editors in the O Shop, Singles & Solo Travelers Meetup, The StepONE Dance Company’s HUMANITY. Every night there was live entertainment along the “Music Walk”. The music walk included the Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Rolling Stone Rock Room. Around 12.30am the party continued every night with Dance Hits from DJ Reggie. You could also try your luck in the Casino.
Day #2: Half Moon Cay, A Conversation with Oprah:
We had an early start on Day #2 of Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America. We docked in the Bahamas for a fun filled day on Half Moon Cay. It is a beautiful island. Imagine sunny skies, soft white sand and the clear blue Caribbean Sea. I was in heaven. Several of my friends enjoyed the early morning meditation and yoga by Tracee Stanley. This was followed by a high-energy workout by international fitness evangelist Angela Davis.
A group of us took the tram tour around the island. We made stops at the Stingray Adventure and a beach with horse stables. “Horseback Riding by Land & Sea” was one of the many excursions offered on Half Moon Cay. Other excursions included the Eco Lagoon Kayak Adventure and Snorkel by Boat.
After our tour, we attended “Meet the Editors on the Island”. I waited in line to meet O, The Oprah Magazine Editor in Chief Lucy Kaylin and Editor at Large Gayle King. They were both welcoming and friendly. Gayle King spoke to me by name to ask my opinion on why this trip was so amazing. Fan girl moment!
A full tropical island BBQ buffet was available on the island. But I treated myself to grilled lobster for only $20 and it was well worth it. Look out for the “Lobster Shack” if you visit Half Moon Cay. We spent the rest of the day relaxing on the beach (and trying to take Instagram worthy photos lol)
Oprah’s Girls Getaway Cruise on Holland America included “O’s Reading Room”. Last year I picked the novel “Educated” by Tara Westover as a book club read after seeing it on President Obama’s 2018 reading list. Therefore, I was very excited when I saw this event on the itinerary. It is a suspenseful, interesting and disturbing memoir. Oprah surprised the audience by moderating the discussion with Tara Westover. It was filmed as one of “Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations” so be on the lookout for it on OWN.
After a brief intermission, it was the moment we had all been waiting for “A Conversation with Oprah”. There were several sessions during the cruise giving everyone an opportunity to attend. Oprah spoke to us for almost 2 hours. She discussed everything from her childhood and family to her role in The Color Purple to her phenomenal TV show. She shared so much wisdom and advice that it deserves its own blog post-stay tuned. I loved when Gayle joined her on stage, and they discussed their friendship. Oprah said, “Everyone needs a friend like Gayle”. Do you have a “Gayle”? I am so blessed because I have a few.
My friends and I decided to do an all-white night for Day #2. A lot of cruise lines have an all-white party so it’s a good idea to bring an all-white outfit. After dinner we hung out in Billboard on Board. The dueling pianists were excellent. We then took the party to B.B. King’s nightclub. The band was one of the best I have ever heard. We partied and danced into the early morning.
Day #2 O, The Oprah Magazine & Nieuw Statendem ship events included:
Just Breathe with Tracee Stanley and Angela Davis, Meet the Editors on the Island, O’s Reading Room with Tara Westover, A Conversation with Oprah, Netflix Comedy Star Anjelah Johnson, Dance to the Hits with DJ Reggie. The Greenhouse Spa & Salon had a bamboo massage special and fitness classes. Classes included indoor cycling, Pilates, TRX and total body conditioning. There was also Afternoon Tea. I am sad I missed this, but I was sunbathing on Half Moon Cay 🙂
Day #3: Day at Sea, Cocktail Party, Pajama Party
Day #3 of Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America was spent sailing the Caribbean Sea. I love days at sea on a cruise ship. You are able to relax and spend time exploring the ship. Other options include going to the gym, the spa, shopping and browsing the art gallery.
After a very delicious and plentiful breakfast buffet, a friend and I attended “On Deck for a Cause”. Have you ever done a 5K on a ship? We really enjoyed taking laps around Nieuw Statendam to raise money for cancer research. Holland America Line has raised over 6 million dollars with proceeds distributed to several global cancer societies.
After our 5K we spent the day lounging around both pools and doing a self-guided tour of this beautiful ship. We enjoyed burgers from “Dive In” and sweet treats from the gelato shop onboard. Several of my friends attended O, The Oprah Magazine Events including a Collection for Talbots fashion show and a beauty talk with O’s Beauty Director Brian Underwood.
That evening we dressed up in our cocktail attire. After drinks in the Ocean Bar, we headed to the dining room for our steak and lobster dinner (yum).
One of my favorite events on Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America was O’s Pajama Party. It was so much fun. Oprah made an appearance at the pajama party and gave out tequila shots, but sadly I missed it. You can watch the video on her Instagram page. Once again, my friends and I danced into the early morning to the band and DJ Reggie in B.B. King’s Blues Club. This time in our pajamas lol
Day #3 O, The Oprah Magazine & Nieuw Statendam ship events included:
Just Breathe with Tracee Stanley, O’s Reading Room with Tara Westover, A Conversation with Oprah, On Deck for a Cause, Love That style presentation featuring Talbots, Shop with Adam Glassman, Beauty Talk & Shop with Brian Underwood, O’s Pajama Party, Poolside Movie-A Wrinkle in Time, Dance to the Hits with DJ Reggie. In addition, the ArtLink Galleries had an art walk, a watercolor workshop and an art enrichment series-The Influence of Women in Art.
About our ship:Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam:
This was my first cruise on Holland America, and I loved the ship. It is the second ship of the Pinnacle class on Holland America. Oprah Winfrey is actually the Godmother of this new ship. Nieuw Statendam has 12 decks and holds 2,650 passengers. It has standard interior, ocean view and balcony cabins as well as suites. A friend stayed in a “Neptune Suite” and raved about it.
After being on megaships last year, I enjoyed the size of Nieuw Statendam. It was easy to navigate. The décor was sleek, modern and sophisticated. I found the cabins to be very spacious. The bathrooms were well stocked and had Elemis products.
The ship offered a lot of dining options with several specialty restaurants and fine dining. You could choose between Italian, French, Asian and sushi. I found the food at the buffets and in the main dining rooms to be plentiful and delicious. The bartenders were not skimpy with the cocktails which I have found to be the case on other cruise lines. The artwork around the ship was interesting and really added a nice touch to the overall décor. I wish I had had more time to spend on the top deck. The cabanas with a private hot tub and butler service looked heavenly.
As you can tell from this recap, Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America was an epic trip. O, The Oprah Magazine packed a lot of great events and activities into a 3-day cruise itinerary. I not only enjoyed spending quality time with my girlfriends, but I met wonderful women from all over the world. Everyone was there to have a good time. The positive energy was palpable.
Although I did not get to have my “Oprah moment”, I am happy that others did. I was not expecting Oprah or Gayle to be around the ship. However, to my surprise they attended all the major events, socialized with cruisers in the gym, the restaurants and even partied with the crowd in B.B. King’s Blues Club.
It was an unforgettable experience. I can only hope that Oprah decides to do this again. O, The Oprah Magazine has a partnership with Holland America and there is a current giveaway for a Caribbean cruise. Enter the “Sail O-Way” sweepstakes. But, be aware Oprah will not be on the ship.
Head over to my Instagram page to check out my highlight reel from Oprah’s Girls’ Getaway Cruise on Holland America. It includes fun video clips from the cruise.
Dr. Nadeen White is a "Blogger by Day, Physician by Night". She is an award-winning travel blogger, Amazon bestselling author and speaker. The Sophisticated Life Blog covers affordable luxury travel, culinary travel and wine. Her domestic and international travel guides gets people to the destinations of their dreams. So, if you are living the sophisticated life or desire to do so, this is the blog for you!