Happy 2017! Can’t believe it came this fast. So much has happened in the last year. I’ll devote another post to a full update on all of that, but for this one I want to share about one of the last significantly healing things I did in 2016. I got to work with Sionnie and Celebrity Cruises again. And this time, we went to the Caribbean!
I didn’t blog about my first cruise with Celebrity (which was also my first cruise ever). The one where my dear friend Sionnie and I went to Europe only 2 weeks after the accident. As you can imagine, that trip was extremely difficult, and profoundly beautiful. The Celebrity team graciously gave me the option of backing out of the contract I had originally signed with Kappel, but Sionnie said she would come with me and we decided that completing the job would be the best way to begin my own healing journey, and honor the dream Kappel and I had of going to Europe to tell an adventure story we believed in. (You can see the video we made here.)
Fast forward 6 months to Sionnie and I boarding a Celebrity ship again. Location: Cartagena, Colombia.
By now, I’m used to the fact that the Celebrity team consists of absolute angels. They feel like old friends the second you meet them. So we had a built in family for our second ocean journey, this time aboard Equinox.
It was so strange that the last time I was on a ship like that, I was right in the middle of the hardest thing I’ve ever walked through in my life. It was pretty amazing to be in that place again, this time with 6 months of healing behind me. It was beautiful to have Sionnie there, to “check in” and talk about all that had changed. So many wonderful things. I felt like a different person. I had access to so many brand new treasures…deeper joy, rest, freedom, hope. They had become daily realities instead of hazy anticipations. It was such an affirming realization.
Colombia was marvelous. It was like a cross between the colorful plaster buildings of Tulum and the flowery overgrown balconies of New Orleans. Absolutely stunning. And then we set sail for Panama!
Ship life is lovely. Even though this was only my 2nd cruise ever, we’d developed a few routines. A morning cortado and a gluten free coconut macaron at Cafe al Bacio, a reading/napping session in the actual grass (for real, there’s grass) outside The Lawn Club on the upper deck, lunch at Oceanview Cafe, hammock lounging by the Solarium Pool, dinner at one of the many AMAZING fine dining eateries on board, with menus expertly crafted by my friend and extraordinarily talented Chef Cornelius Gallagher (Luminae, Tuscan Grille, Sushi on Five, Blu and Murano to name a few…), and FINALLY, our favorite part…dancing and karaoke-ing at Sky Lounge, Martini Bar or Quasar. We live for the dance parties.
Panama was bustling. We ported in Colón and wandered for a few hours in the heat. I loved it. There was so much going on! The marketplace was absolutely packed. Street after street full of carts, bins, spices, vegetables, buying, selling, so much noise, an organized chaos of culture that I wanted to marinate in and just LEARN. Every few steps there were locals warning us to hide our cameras, and I tried. But I had to snag a few shots.
Next was Costa Rica. We took a bus to the rainforest…and we zip lined. THAT was pure magic. In the misty treetops gliding over a lush bed of green, imagining getting sneezed on by a Brachiosaurus (ya feel me?). Oh, and I saw a sloth up close. I’d text Kristin Bell if I had her number.
Last was Cozumel. Mexico is so near and dear to my heart, I enjoyed every minute I got to stare at that wild sunset kissing the ocean.
The end of our adventure was bittersweet. We drove up to Cancun, said goodbye to all our new friends and flew home.
The idea of cruising had always been sort of lost on me. I love exploring too much to be “stuck inside a resort” for an entire trip. But that’s not what Celebrity is about. They want you to explore. They’re passionate about it. They want to give you a place to rest and unpack your things so you can see that great big world AND have a spot to come home to while you do it. I love that. They take really great care of everyone that sets foot on their ships. They took care of me while I was going through the hardest season of my life and I hope we continue to work together as this journey unfolds.
If anyone is interested in a trip like this one, Equinox is now doing the Caribbean year-round for an “Endless Summer”. They have sailings departing from both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale!
This post was sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, but all stories and opinions shared are 100% my own!