When you think about going on a cruise, what images come to mind? If you’re like most, you may envision sun-filled skies, gentle waves, relaxing pools, endless buffets of decadent dishes, plus pants that are too tight and a scale that reads at least 10 pounds heavier by the time you return home. But what if you could enjoy all the best features of a cruise vacation while simultaneously getting a jumpstart on a healthier lifestyle? With Holistic Holiday at Sea, you actually can.
Sandy Pukel, Holistic Holiday at Sea’s founder and president, spoke with RewardExpert about the life mission that inspired his unique cruises and what makes a Holistic Holiday at Sea vacation special.
If You Don’t Have Your Health, You Don’t Have Anything
For almost 40 years, Pukel has been organizing and presenting educational seminars through his nonprofit foundation known as A Taste of Health. “We started with seminars in resort-style hotels all over the country,” he recalled. “My feeling was that no one would mind learning in a beautiful setting, especially if they could study during the day and have fun at night. That’s my whole concept of being healthy and happy.”
It’s a concept he has always felt strongly about. “I’ve been put on this planet to turn people on to living a healthy life,” he continued. “I want everybody to have a good time and, ultimately, if you’re not healthy, you’re not happy. I don’t care how much money you have. I don’t care how educated you are. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.”
In 2004, he decided to take the idea behind A Taste of Health and transfer it to a cruise format that would allow guests to enjoy beautiful and exotic places, delicious food, and the comradery of others who were also interested in learning about diet, nutrition, alternative health practices and living a healthier lifestyle.
A Great Place to Meet Likeminded People
“We started out with 420 passengers on our first cruise,” Pukel said. “Now we have between 1,700 and 1,800 every time. Our cruises are probably the largest events of this kind in the world.”
Typical Holistic Holiday at Sea passengers are eager to take responsibility for their health regardless of their age. “We have younger people who want to be preventative and older people who want to learn how to take better care of themselves,” he continued.
Many of the company’s passengers are single as well. “If you’re into an alternative health lifestyle and you’re a single woman or a single man, why wouldn’t you go on a vacation like this where you’ll find other people who are like you?” he asked. “We’ve actually been called the ‘Love Boat’ because so many marriages have happened between people who met on our cruises. Lots of babies have been born as well. I’m like the grandfather of these kids that have come out of this whole thing,” he said with a chuckle.
While all Holistic Holiday at Sea cruises have been in the Caribbean so far, Pukel is currently in negotiations with a number of cruise lines to expand to two or three trips a year. “We want to take our passengers to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and Europe,” he said. “The world is our playground, so to speak, and we want everybody to have access to it everywhere.”
Education, Events and Delicious Vegan Dishes
The education passengers have access to is the number one reason Pukel thinks everyone who cares about their health should consider a Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. “We bring on the dream team of educators in natural and holistic health,” he explained.
Classes are held from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with five different classes to choose from each hour. The list of featured presenters on each cruise is impressive, and class topics include everything from the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, nutrition and cooking to exercise, mindfulness, and integrative and mind-body medicine. Medical professionals can even earn CME credits while on the cruise.
But Holistic Holiday at Sea isn’t just about learning. Pukel also wants his passengers to have loads of fun. “Every night we have parties,” he said. “We have pizza parties and ice cream socials. We have organic wine parties and singles parties. We also have shore excursions.”
He also emphasized the food as something that makes his cruises special. “We bring 20 chefs on board along with all of the ingredients needed to do all the cooking,” he said. “In the course of one week, we prepare 33,000 meals from scratch.” Every meal—from breakfast to dinner—is five courses of 100 percent vegan whole food. “People really love it. They can sit down and relax, and don’t have to worry about doing the dishes or cooking,” he concluded.
To learn more about the next Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise, visit their site.