I WAS DEPARTING ON A mother-daughter cruise to the Caribbean on board Seabourn Odyssey just as the results of our annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards were revealed internally. As I scrolled through the findings, two categories in particular stuck out to me: Best Cruise Line Dining and Best Cruise Line Spas. The winner? Seabourn Cruise Line. My appetite for a luxurious cruise and the chance for one-on-one time with my mom had already been whetted; it certainly was more so, now.
Seabourn’s spa and wellness program features a first-of-itskind partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil, a pioneer in integrative medicine. The offered treatments and curriculum seek to deliver an advanced level of mind and body balance that allows guests to achieve a true level of relaxation.
As part of the program with Dr. Weil, a Mindful Living Coach position was established. The coach is a certified yoga and meditation practitioner who works closely with guests throughout the journey through different complimentary classes and gatherings. I would get to know our ship’s Mindful Living Coach well during a unique, holistic treatment that embodied the essence of the program.
Immediately upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by every member of the Seabourn Odyssey family, among them hotel manager Zoran Jacimovic who, while telling us about the myriad offerings on board, mentioned the spa’s unique Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath Healing Treatment. I was intrigued, particularly as he described the various reactions he, his staff and other guests have had after experiencing the Mindful Living treatment. It incorporates the Crystal Singing Sound Bowls, used to unblock energy centers and bring about a stress-free state.
As we acquainted ourselves with the ship, my mom (not a spa-goer, so it took some convincing) and I stopped by the spa to schedule treatments. My curiosity piqued, I booked both the sound treatment and a facial for Friday afternoon, the day before our departure. My mom opted to also enjoy a facial.
Throughout the week as we chatted with the Seabourn team, whenever I mentioned the Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath Healing Treatment, I was met with excited looks and a recount of that particular person’s experience with the treatment and a request to return and tell them about mine. Needless to say, my anticipation for my spa visit built to epic proportions over the course of the week.
It’s difficult to wrap your head around exactly how the treatment will proceed when you first hear of it. I was told sound bowls would be placed at three points on my body, and someone would “play” them. I was imagining bowls of varying sizes placed directly on me, and I assumed, as with most spa treatments, some sort of touch would be involved. In reality, the Mindful Living Coach never touched me, nor did the bowls, yet it was one of the most freeing spa experiences I’ve had.
The treatment’s description in the spa menu begins, “Nothing can prepare you for the healing power of sound as it resonates through your body.” And nothing could be closer to the truth. Shove aside expectations, forget your prior experiences, open your mind — that would be my advice as you head into the Amethyst Crystal Sound Bath Healing Treatment.
After a brief consultation with the Mindful Living Coach, I settled onto the Amethyst Bio-Mat on the massage table. The mat uses infrared light and crystals to heat the body. The Crystal Sound Bowls were situated around me, one between my splayed knees, one on the ground parallel to my abdomen and one parallel to my head.
According to the spa, studies prove the Bio-Mat’s infrared light and negative ions reduce stress by 78 percent while promoting relaxation, aiding sleep, easing pain and ridding toxins. And I reiterate, no one lays a hand on you; it’s the power of sound and sound alone that lulls one into a meditative state.
Throughout the week I’d heard of people crying, people snoring, each individual’s relaxation manifesting in its own way. For me, I felt like I was floating. Yes, I was on a boat, but it wasn’t that sort of sensation; rather, I felt like I was floating above myself, like the sound lifted me up. I suffer from chronic sinus issues and, interestingly, I felt the reverberations of the sound most strongly in my face and head, the areas regularly affected by the sinus pressure. Before I knew it, the 50 minutes expired and the strong melodies filling the room dropped to a quiet whisper.
I followed my out-of-body experience with an indulgent facial, enjoying therapeutic benefits of a different kind. Afterward, I regrouped with my mom in the locker room, her skin aglow from her own treatment. The entire week had bonded us in a new way, offering a chance for true connection amid life’s hectic schedules, and now, post treatment with the end of our trip in sight, we found just the right level of balance and relaxation to ease us back to reality.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Southwest Airlines is adding new flights to, from and within Hawai’i, beginning mid-January 2020. The airline will add a new daily service between Sacramento International Airport and Honolulu (HON), plus new non-stop flights between Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC) and both Kauai (LIH) and the Island of Hawai’i (KOA).
The Luxury Collection welcomes its eighth property in China with the opening of Na Lotus Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nanning. The property is situated in the capital of the Guangxi Province, in a high-rise landmark building in the business district.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.