‘Life-changing’ cruise will set you back $9k
TICKETS for Australia's first-ever vegan wellness retreat cruise to the Pacific Islands are now on sale - though the prices may make your eyes water.
The nine-day cruise will sail to beautiful popular holiday destinations such as New Caledonia's Noumea and Isle of Pines, as well as Vanuatu's famous Mystery Island and Lifou of the Loyalty Island on the 5-star Celebrity Solstice, winner of Australia's best cruise ship in 2015.
Prices for the cruising event start at $3444 for an interior twin-share room per person, with a single deluxe balcony room costing up to $8839 per person. For those eager to join in on the holistic ocean health retreat, payment plans are available.
"It's absolutely a fair price," Paige Renshaw, the managing director of The Wholefoods Connection, told news.com.au.
"Some health retreats I've looked at have a starting price of anywhere between $4-5000 for a week.
"This is a nine-day retreat on a luxury cruise liner to beautiful destinations."
Ms Renshaw says the "life-changing" cruise is all about reconnecting with self, recharging energy, and learning how to live your best life with a plant-based lifestyle, while escaping the stresses of daily life.
"It's about transforming your health, happiness and life while enjoying one of the most beautiful parts of the planet," Ms Renshaw said.
"This is the first part of the voyage to optimal health."
The price includes nine days worth of accommodation on the Celebrity Solstice, complete with activities and entertainment the ship already offers for its 2800 total guests (250 of which will be a part of The Wholefoods Connection event), as well as separate gourmet vegan meals, private presentations with world-renowned health experts, cooking demonstrations and fitness classes - like yoga, meditation and Pilates - every day. There will also be vegan Aussie BBQs, social meet and greets, documentary viewings, as well as a holistic gift pack on arrival.
Ms Renshaw believes plant-based meals - as well as catering for gluten-free, raw vegans and those sensitive to onion and garlic, as well as those who avoid oil - will be a huge draw card.
"I've worked very hard to ensure we have our own designated vegan menu, which a lot of cruise ships don't have."
"Not having to worry about what you're going to have to eat other than lettuce and tomato for nine days is something people are very much looking for."
Ms Renshaw said all - even those who don't follow a plant-based or vegan diet - are welcome.
"Health is what I am really about," she said.
"It's more than just a vegan cruise, it's a health and wellness retreat, in an environment where you can relax, unwind, sample food and look after your health and wellbeing."
"Even if participants don't go vegan, if their health as improved, I think that's great."
After battling her own cocktail of health problems for decades, Ms Renshaw, now 47 years old, says she feels far better than she did 20 years ago after adopting a wholefoods plant-based diet and that's exactly what she's trying to showcase with the upcoming cruise event, an idea that was born more than two years ago.
"About five years ago, I hit rock bottom," she said. "I was on a rollercoaster of health issues."
"I battled with depression, chronic fatigue, weight fluctuation and endometriosis.
"I was always looking for answers outside of myself, but decided it was time to take my health back into my own hands and listen to my body.
"So I know how powerful the lifestyle is, and I want everyone to embrace and experience that.
"And yes, I do want people to stop consuming animals."
Ms Renshaw birthed the idea of the cruise event in 2016, and has only now brought that dream to life.
"This is my contribution to the change I want in the world: to the benefit of health, to the benefit of the planet, and to the benefit of the animals," she said.
Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world - and for good reason. Animal agriculture is responsible for 51 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions; more than the entire world's transport combined, and emissions are only expected to increase. It's also a leading use of water consumption, and cause of extinction, pollution, and habitat destruction. Processed meats are also a cause of cancer and one serving of processed meat per day also increases risk of diabetes by 51 per cent.
Ms Renshaw says because of this, similar vegan cruises around the world have been very popular. She expects this event to do the same, with tickets already selling fast.
"My hope for the future is to be able to take more and more people on their own voyage to optimal health ... one cruise at a time," she said.
"I'm very excited from where we can go from here."
The cruise departs from Sydney on October 20.