Holland America Cruise Lines: San Diego to Vancouver

Jennifer Bourn and Melissa Lema

I just returned from the most fabulous, relaxing, fun vacation, and shhhhh, it wasn’t with my family!

After spending the weekend speaking at WordCamp Orange County, I headed to San Diego to spend some extra time with the Lema family before Melissa Lema and I left on a Holland America cruise, traveling from San Diego to Vancouver, Canada with a pit stop in Victoria, British Columbia.

Chris Lema, my husband Brian, and I all work in the WordPress space and met through the WordPress community. It’s no secret that Chris and I quickly became BFFs and can often be found hanging out together at events — he’s like the older brother I never had. But what most people don’t realize is that my friendship with Melissa is equally as strong and our kids get along too! We’re truly blessed to have their entire family in our lives.

From beach houses and concerts to luxury resorts in Cabo San Lucas and a seven-day Disney cruise, our families enjoy vacationing together. But Melissa and I are both big book enthusiasts and our families sometimes complain about us ignoring them when we read. Honestly, I can’t help it. Once I get sucked into a story, I can’t stop. I NEED to know what happens!

Well, while together over New Year’s Eve, Melissa and I started joking about how great it would be to go on a vacation where we just read books all day and before we knew it, Chris booked the two of us on a four-day cruise.

This cruise was everything I didn’t know I needed.

We’re on the go constantly and very busy, and our family vacations are jam-packed with hiking, kayaking, roadside attractions, and physical exertion. We have a blast and see some amazing sights but I didn’t realize just how much I needed unscheduled downtime until this cruise began.

The Right Travel Buddy

I’ve done girls trips that were full of drama, weekend getaways with friends that were stressful, and joint vacations that made me second guess my decision making. This trip had none of that.

Melissa was the best travel buddy!

We shared a cabin (and bathroom) and spent all day every day together, and I enjoyed every minute. It was low key, relaxing, and fun… and we slept in every day!

The Right Type Of Cruise

Our Holland America Cruise traveled from San Diego to Vancouver with just one quick stop in Victoria on a Friday afternoon — just enough time for high tea at the Empress Hotel! That meant most of the cruise was spent at sea on the ship, which was fine by us…

Every day Melissa and I slept in, ate delicious meals, went to cooking classes, and enjoyed afternoon tea. We saw live music performances and a comedy show, drank wine and cocktails, chatted up the dueling pianos performers, and danced into the night to a fabulous, soulful blues band.

We also read A LOT. We read in the crow’s nest with hot tea and coffee, in quiet corners of the ship tucked into cozy couches, in our cabin, and even in a couple bars while enjoying a glass of wine!

I read three books all for fun — no business reading on this vacation!

Time For Downtime

While our trip was short, it was perfect. It was just enough time to truly relax, unwind, and escape from the daily grind. Having almost no access to WiFi, even with a paid plan, also helped. We had just enough service to stay in touch with our families and check in with our kids but not enough to let social media (or our kid drama) steal our attention.

I can honestly say this is one of my favorite trips ever.

There is something to be said for scheduling downtime, taking a vacation that has no agenda and not a single to-do, and just letting things unfold naturally. We did whatever we were in the mood for at the moment with no attachments or expectations and it was simple, easy, and really fun.

Not only did I get to spend quality time with a great friend and fellow mom, I got to rest my soul and read some good books! I also came home with new recipes from those cooking classes 😉

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