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  • Writer's pictureRachel

Sutton Referral Cruise 2019


Recently, Jake and I were cruising the open ocean from our little balcony room on the Celebrity Equinox. So many times, we have said we didn’t think we would enjoy a cruise. Boy were we wrong. We enjoyed it so much that we’re considering going again next year.

Bringing the kids would be fun too! They had a Kid's Club onboard that we were told was fabulous and was fully staffed to entertain children of all ages.

This time they stayed over at Nana and Papa’s and received the royal treatment, I'm sure!

Celebrity Equinox


We had the red-eye experience from Vernon to Vancouver, Vancouver to Toronto, Toronto to Miami. Overall, we thought this was a good way to go so that we didn’t have to book a hotel anywhere and just get the commute over with. Sleeping was fitful on the plane, but the excitement of our upcoming vacation was enough to calm our nerves.

Somehow, we wandered aimlessly out of security in Vancouver only to have to turn around and go back through again.

The only thing I forgot to bring on the trip were my Birkenstocks 😢, but I had overpacked so much that there were other options (haha).

The journey felt much longer on the way home and we had confirmed our seats in front of the emergency row, which DO NOT recline (See the "L" on your ticket? That means LESS DESIRABLE SEATING). Needless to say, we were sardines.

Being a rusty traveler is pretty hilarious. Lots of opportunity to breathe through frustrations and feel grateful for the experience.


As many of you know, we eat a plant-based whole foods diet. One of the concerns I always have is that there may not be the type of food available that I am willing to eat. We are so far along on this journey that just saying, “screw it”, and reverting back to a standard American diet for the week is not an option. The Oceanview Café (buffet) had lots of variety for us and we were quite happy eating there for all of our meals. We did sit at the fine dining, Silhouette Restaurant, twice as to socialize and have a meal with the other Realtors. They had a vegan menu, which I appreciated, but the customization at the buffet was much better for us.

Usually, Jake would bring a plate of fruit and orange juice back to our room first thing in the morning. After our workout we would grab a smoothie or juice and a bowl of oatmeal. At lunch we would load up at the salad bar and then peruse the other dishes to add to our plates. All of the offerings were labelled quite well with stickers depicting whether they had meat, dairy, gluten and/or sugar in them. If we got hungry while the buffet was closed there was a pasta station that had noodles, plain tomato sauce and veggies that they would grill up for you. That got us through until dinner a handful of times.

Also, the Aquaspa Café had freshly made smoothies, juices, and other generally healthier snacks which we hit up every day as well.

Jake sampled some of the seafood and had a taste of some meat dishes here and there.

Overall, we felt really good at the end of the trip with minimal bloating and no constipation. Not having to prepare food for over a week was such a nice break and we really were so impressed with the service overall.

On the way there I had packed a bunch of homemade snacks for the journey (some of the leftovers got thrown in the trash because you weren't allowed to bring outside food onto the ship). 😭

For the travel back we had to make it work with airport food, and purchased smoothies, veggie wraps, salads, bars, veggie samosas, dried mango, popcorn chips etc.

Café Al Bacio

One hidden cost that you have to factor in to your budget is the drink packages. I'm a non-drinker, and Jake has a drink occasionally. We opted for the Premium Non-Alcoholic Drink Package which was $18US per day. This allowed Jake to have as many espressos as his little heart desired, and me a constant supply of fresh pressed juice, coconut water, tea, and virgin pina coladas. 😉

Fitness Centre/Spa/Amenities:

The ship had an awesome fitness center and most mornings we would wander down and do a little workout. There were some additional classes you could pay extra for and I tried a yoga class the day before we left.

One of the options provided us with a significant onboard credit which I used at their fabulous Canyon Ranch Spa. The first treatment I received was a deep tissue/Thai massage from a woman named Dee. It was amazing. She put my limbs in all sorts of different positions and found every tight spot in my body. She was a pro. I also had a Vitamin-infused facial from Charlene which made my skin feel like a million bucks.

(See my Instagram post on skin picking @homesokanagan)

The ship had an indoor and outdoor pool with hot tubs all around. Jake loves swimming but didn’t end up doing any of that on the boat. His dream would be to have a diving board off the ship that you could jump into the ocean and swim around at the port stops. How realistic that is, who knows, but he didn’t really get his swimming fantasies fulfilled (I think he’s expecting something out of the movies).

Hollywood Hot Glass - glassblowing

There was so much to do on the cruise that you would never get bored. We didn’t stray far from our regular routine and were back in our room getting ready for bed around 10 o'clock. Therefore, we didn’t really experience the “night life” but we’re sure it was not lacking. Overall, it felt like the age demographic on the ship was more mature, which suited us perfectly. The dress code was casual. Two of the evenings were considered “evening chic”, but not to worry, you don’t need to pack an evening gown for the trip. Men can get away with nice shirts and slacks, and the ladies a dress/blouse/pants/skirt.

Real Estate:

Rick Taron and his beautiful wife Shari

Jennifer Morrison from Sutton Group Professional Realty in Halifax, Nova Scotia did a great job organizing the cruise. If you're a Sutton agent and are interested in being a part of this cruise please contact her with any questions (902)209-6500.

She arranged for Rick Taron to come as our guest speaker. He prepared presentations for each day while we were at sea. We think it would be awesome if the Sutton Referral Cruise got huge because it’s an amazing vacation that you can write-off, as well as hang out with like-minded individuals who understand your line of work.

Not to mention the perks of having a referral sent your way if you happen to make lasting connections and put the time and effort into networking.

Port Stops:

Kim Parley and Laura Lindstrom-Parley

Our first stop was in Key West, Florida. We roamed around with Laura and Kim Parley until we found some bicycles to rent and go for a cruise.

Jake and I jumped into the ocean and sipped on a fresh coconut bought from a vendor nearby the beach. We stopped for a snack at a local restaurant and fulfilled the craving I’d been having for fresh oysters (No, not plant-based!). Having been clean eaters for so long we could really feel the stimulation from the oysters. They were fresh and incredible. Jake found a new sun hat to replace the one we bought for him at Whole Foods in Vegas years ago.


Mother/Son team Suzanne and Craig O'Toole

The next stop was Grand Cayman which was by far our favorite stop. Jake has clients who are building a vacation home there and they graciously picked us up with our new friends Suzanne and Craig O’Toole.

We went on a little tour around the island and stopped at their place for a bit. Our iPhone charger somehow managed to sit in a pool of water in our room, so luckily, they had an Apple store there where we went to buy a replacement. The cruise ship actually had an iLounge but they were sold out of chargers on the first day.

7-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Jake wishes we could have spent a little more time at 7-Mile Beach because it had the crystal blue waters and white sand you would imagine seeing on a Caribbean vacation. We booked a tour to Stingray Island through Captain Marvin’s and travelled by boat to a picturesque sandbar. As we approached you could see the looming dark shadows underwater of the stingrays swimming around. The boat made two stops and we were able to get off and feed the stingrays if we wanted to. They felt very interesting, almost like rough velvet. Jake held his squid underwater and a large stingray came by and suctioned it from his hand. It ended up sucking the skin between his thumb and pointer finger and left quite a hickey. After a stingray grabbed some food from me, I started getting a little nervous. It seemed like they kept swimming towards my feet, which would cause me to flap around in the water panicking.

The next stop took us to an area where we could snorkel for a bit and we got some fun underwater shots with the camera that Jake’s clients lent to us.


Port #3 was Cozumel, Mexico....

Once we left the ship, we caught a taxi to Palancar Beach. If you paid $10 you could use a beach lounger, their WIFI and facilities. Laura and Kim came to meet us via scooters, and we chilled out in the sun and swam for a while.

The cab cost about $20 US one way, and we ordered some chips and guacamole to snack on while we hung around.


The last stop was Costa Maya, Mexico. We hadn’t planned an excursion here and the cruise port was a crazy maze of shops and people. Finally, we figured out how to leave and took a taxi to the downtown beach area.

Overall, we were tired and not really feeling it, so we walked up and down the beach, bought a coconut to drink and headed back to the ship.


The funny thing about Real Estate is that it always seems to get busy just as you are going out of town. Jake was able to work quite easily from the ship and even secured a great offer AND back-up offer on one of our listings.

One thing that I did notice upon returning home was that my body still felt like it was at sea for a couple of days. I googled it, and apparently 'mal de debarquement syndrome' is quite common. After a few long hikes in Kal Park it seemed to go away.

Coming home to our little sweeties, Iris and Jade, was the icing on the cake!




If you are in need of superior Real Estate services in the Chilliwack area:

Laura Lindstrom-Parley/Kim Parley

Sutton Showplace Realty, Chilliwack BC


If you are in need of superior Real Estate services in London, Ontario:

Suzanne O'Toole

Craig O'Toole

Sutton Group - Select Realty Inc., Brokerage


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