Oprah’s cruising – and you’re invited

Courtesy Hearst.

There’s a whole lotta Oprah going on at Holland America Line. 

You heard that right. Holland America has partnered with O, The Oprah Magazine, to make the magazine come alive for hundreds of Oprah-loving passengers. 

On Jan. 30, the cruise line — which is undergoing $300 Million in brand enhancements — will debut a three-day Girls’ Getaway Cruise on its newest ship, the Nieuw Statendam. Winfrey herself — who has been chosen to be the godmother of the ship — will embark on the inaugural Nieuw Statendam cruise, where she will be joined by Gayle King, the magazine’s editor-at-large.

All kinds of special events and presentations will be held on the ship, which is under construction at Fincantieri-Merghera Shipyard in Italy.

Did I mention it sold out within minutes?  Don’t fret. There are even more luxury cruises in store for the next two years (though Winfrey herself will not be joining those.)

The Oprah-themed cruises actually began last year with voyages to the Caribbean and Alaska. They have proven to be enormously successful and were co-branded with merchandisers such as Roberto Coin, Chico’s and Land’s End. The Aug. 11 cruise heads to Alaska while the seven-day Oct. 28 venture  features seven days in the Caribbean. The cruises will be extended through 2019,  with the focus on the power of travel for connection and personal growth.

“I was lucky enough to be on the Holland America Oprah Cruise to the Caribbean in March,” says Kim Kett Johnson, a New Hampshire businesswoman. “I had always wanted to go on a cruise and when my friends insisted I go with them on an Oprah-themed cruise, I really wanted to be there. The cruise itself was amazing, accommodations, food, and the overall atmosphere on the ship. The Oprah-themed events that were offered throughout the cruise were perfect.”

Kett Johnson also says that she tried to buy one of the Oprah-themed sweaters in the gift shop — as it would have made her feel “hugged by Oprah.”  But alas like most Oprah things, it sold out before Kett Johnson had a chance to make her purchase.

The idea for the cruise partnership came about in 2016 when one of HAL’s marketing executives met with Jayne Jamison, senior vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine.  The two discussed how transformational travel can be, brainstorming to develop a special joint program between the cruise line and the magazine. “Oprah has done it all,” Jamison says. “She’s an actress, author and philanthropist and we thought, ‘Why not make her the ship’s godmother?’ 

“We found something that Oprah actually hadn’t done before,” she adds with an enthusiastic laugh.

The cruise line is equally enthusiastic. Says Orlando Ashford, HAL’s president : “We are so excited to have Oprah set sail with us again for the Girls’ Getaway Cruise in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine, and we’re deeply honored that Oprah will serve as godmother of the Nieuw Statendam.”

On the official debut cruise, some 2,600 passengers will enjoy a wealth of Oprah events. They’re all women, “with the exception of 200 brave men who are coming,” quips Jamison. Editorial staff from O, The Oprah Magazine will be hosting some of the special events, including editor-in-chief Lucy Kaylin, creative director Adam Glassman, beauty director Brian Underwood and book editor Leigh Haber. 

There will also be a Girls’ Getaway stopover for one day at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s idyllic private island in the Bahamas.

O’s Reading Room will showcase authors featured in the O Book Club, hosting presentations and book signings onboard. The ship’s retail shops will also be chock-a-block with Oprah merchandise from brands “with mass appeal,” Jamison says. “We are known for curating the latest and best in all price points.”

The ship’s turndown service will feature Oprah quotes printed on cards that are placed on all beds.  But without question, one of the greatest advantages of the Oprah-themed cruise is the opportunity to meet and befriend other women who share Oprah’s energy and inspirational spirit.

Knowing the popularity of Oprah and her magazine, these upcoming sailings will most likely sell out as did the debut cruise on the Nieuw Statendam.  Says Jamison, “Once Oprah posted about the Girls’ Getaway cruise, it sold out. That was it.”

Bon voyage, Oprah lovers.

For more, visit hollandamerica.com/OprahMag or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL.

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