This past December, my wife and I were fortunate enough to partake in the Salaam Cruise experience. My wife and I were both extremely excited about our halal vacation getaway. What made the getaway even more appealing was the fact that two prominent American da’ee were also joining the vacation. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and Hafidh Wisam Sharieff both joined approximately 150 Muslim brothers and sisters for Salaam Cruise 2012. Salaam Cruise was a 4-day, 3-night cruise on Royal Caribbean International departing from Port Canaveral, Florida and visiting the Bahamas. Our cruise ship was a beautiful ship named the “Monarch of the Seas.”
We were initially hoping that Salaam Cruise would overtake the entire ship, but unfortunately the lack of response by the Muslim community forced us to share the ship with others. With that being said, alcohol and gambling were present on our ship and we weren’t in a 100% halal environment. Moreover, not all food available on the ship was indeed zabihah halal. However, just the fact that we were all traveling as a group everywhere we went made for an amazing show of dawah to our fellow neighbors on the ship. One of the highlights of the adventure was when one of our fellow travelers decided to take his shahada (testimony of faith) on the ship one day. Throughout the course of the cruise, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and Hafidh Wisam Sharieff would share Islamic gems and reminders to keep our morale and emaan high.
Salaam Cruise definitely had its share of its halal fun, halal food, and some beautiful brotherhood/sisterhood. In addition to daily Islamic lectures by the shaykhs, there was also plenty of time to enjoy the scene. The Salaam Cruise team organized for our group to go to an island in the Bahamas known as the Blue Lagoon in the city of Nassau. At Blue Lagoon, we were able to have a separate area of swimming for our sisters. Sorry, no pictures from there!
Halal food was arranged and served, including BBQ Chicken and Burgers!
Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and Hafidh Wisam Sharieff definitely seemed to have enjoyed their cruise. On Day 2 in the Bahamas, our ship stopped at Coco Bay, an island owned by Royal Caribbean International. While there, both Shaykh Yasir and Hafidh Wisam took to the waters for some fun!
Brother Wisam eventually tired himself out and needed to get some rest!
One of the highlights of the cruise was being able to interact with the shaykhs on a more personal level, and seeing them in their everyday lives, interacting with everyone else as regular people. Dinner together every night in a formal setting was phenomenal, where we would be served a proper four-course meal. We would be seated with the same people at our table every night. By the end of the cruise, our table felt very close with each other. Another wonderful advantage of traveling with Salaam Cruise was the opportunity to partake in congregational prayers regularly. The Salaam Cruise team had a room reserved for us where we would meet and pray (though the direction of our prayers did keep changing while on the seas!). Nadoona Fitness held classes in the mornings for sisters who wanted to get into shape, while Sameer’s Eats would host breakfast for those who preferred to indulge themselves! One of my personal favorite aspects of the cruise was the beautiful scenery on-board the ship. It was breath-taking. You could see stars upon stars at night as there were no city lights to obstruct your view. My wife and I even identified Jupiter with our binoculars! We were especially impressed with the Salaam Cruise team. Their hard-work and effort was evident with how much they would go out of their way to help each and everyone of us. Alhamdulillah for an amazing experience with Salaam Cruise! Where are we going in 2013?