Just Back From an Adventure of Your Life Cruise

What’s it like to take a Holland America Line Adventure of Your Life Cruise to Alaska with O, The Oprah Magazine?

Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey in Glacier Bay

Photo: George Burns

O was everywhere during the inaugural Holland America Line Share the Adventure Cruise, which sailed to Alaska from Seattle on the ms Eurodam.

There was “Oh, this ship is beautiful.” “Oh, Gayle King is soooo nice.” And “OMG, Glacier Bay is amazing!”

And, of course, the cries for Oprah Winfrey rang out from the top deck as the media mogul, author, philanthropist and one of the world’s most famous figures boarded the ship in Juneau for the first collaborative cruise from Holland America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford (another O!) welcomed guests and a group of visionaries—including motivational and fitness guru Angela Davis; CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King, also an editor-at-large for O; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout; and O editor-in-chief Lucy Kaylin—for a week of special talks and activities between stops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia.

Ashford described the Adventure of Your Life Cruises, which will be offered four more times this year and next, as a major partnership between two brands with similar values about how to live your best life.

“Holland America, Oprah and the magazine support adventure, exploration and self-betterment,” he said. “We also know that travel changes and transforms you.”

During “A Conversation with Oprah” before a packed house, Oprah echoed Ashford’s sentiment for her self-proclaimed Year of Adventure.

“We are in the business of trying to expand the way people see themselves and their lives, and that’s what travel does,” Oprah said. “I want it to be more than just a trip. I want it to be the start of something big.”

King later joined Oprah on stage for a chat between best friends and the audience. In answer to an audience question asking her how to lose that last 17 pounds on Weight Watchers, Oprah quipped, “You got to get off this ship!”

The week on and off the ms Eurodam was inspirational. In port, guests took helicopter rides to the Mendenhall Glacier, danced with Tlingit tribe members, gorged themselves at salmon bakes, learned about totem poles at Saxman Village, and marveled at the efforts of Sitka’s Raptor Training Center to treat and return wounded eagles to the sky.

Aboard ms Eurodam, guests packed the Observation Lounge for views of Glacier Bay; a park ranger narrated the daylong navigation, pointing out the occasional eagle sitting atop an iceberg.

Morning meditation with yoga instructor Sara Ivanhoe

Photo: George Burns

Other highlights included the first O’s Reading Room event which featured a discussion with Strout about her new book, Anything Is Possible; morning meditation with yoga instructor Sara Ivanhoe; a behind-the-scenes look at O, The Oprah Magazine with Kaylin and King; fashion tips with O creative director Adam Glassman; and a fashion show featuring attire from Chico’s. (The entire cruise was a fashion show, with many Chico’s Insiders wearing the clothing chain’s comfortable and fashionable dresses, tops and sportswear and perusing its section in the gift shop for more. I was right in there with them.)

Three members of the SuperSoul 100 from Oprah’s OWN network entertained and encouraged guests—Davis with her evangelist-style fitness approach (best line of the week: “Stop cheating on your future with your past.”); momastery.com founder and author Glennon Doyle Melton with her insights on life; and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter India.Arie’s performance of “I Am Not My Hair” and other hits.

And oh how I laughed at comedian Rita Rudner, prissing across the stage in a sequined gown and her signature smirk and reminding us why she’s lasted for decades. (Remember: She has the longest-running comedy act in Vegas.)

But this journey, which provided the inspiration I sought, will stand out from my 125 other cruise experiences for another important reason: In this unusually enthusiastic, diverse and young group of guests, I could see the next generation of cruisers getting the appeal of traveling by sea.

The writer was a guest of the cruise line.

ms Eurodam sailing into Seattle

Photo: George Burns

The experts at AAA can help you book a sailing with Holland America Line. Call 877-396-7159 to talk to a AAA Travel Counselor, or browse the options online.

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Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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