Whether it's your mother, stepmother or a granny, we all have a special lady in our life who has shaped the people we are and have always been there for us, through thick and thin, to pick us up, dust us down and set us back on our way. Mother's Day is a time to show them how much they mean to us and there is no greater gift than the gift of time and time spent together. Why not make it a time to get away on holiday together to make it extra special?

Although our travel options to celebrate events are restricted during the current crisis and our priority now has to be keeping our family, friends and ourselves safe, we all know that it won't always be the case. There will come a time when we can all, once again, get off on well-deserved holidays to the places we have always loved, as well as those new and exciting destinations that we look forward to exploring.

If you are staying at home right now, then cheer yourself up by planning a treat for you and your mother - or another special person in your life - for Mother's Day next year to give you both something to look forward to. Planning a holiday 12 months or so ahead will also give you time to organise a getaway that really is out of the ordinary - and to save up for it!

Two RCI staff members share their treasured memories of taking time out to take their mothers off to enjoy great adventures together. Read on for some inspiration to bring to your holiday planning.

Mother and son

Alex Brinnand and his mum, the very glamourous 50-year-old Amanda, both lead busy lives. Alex heads up RCI's social media marketing team, while his mum, Amanda, is the manager of a fostering agency. "I know Mum has a challenging job," says Alex, "and I am so proud of her and the work she does to change the lives of so many children for the better. I owe her everything; my drive for work and 'can do' attitude. She has always been very inspiring and my role model, which is why I believe that she deserves to have some fun. Taking her away on a holiday was my way of showing my appreciation for all she has done for me."

Alex's birthday and Mother's Day fell on the same day and so the holiday he booked in Cyprus was a joint treat, indeed, something of a double-mum treat, as Alex took his grandmother, Heather, on holiday with them too.

Alex and his mum, Amanda, enjoy some special mother and son time at a beach bar in Paphos, Cyprus. Alex couldn't leave his nan out of his Mother's Day holiday treat and she is pictured here watching the sun go down at the chillout bar and restaurant, Oniro By The Sea, where delicious dishes and cooling cocktails are served with cave views and lashings of seafront ambience.

Cyprus was the destination Alex chose because his mother had never visited the island before, and it had long been on her wish list after it came highly recommended to her by friends and family who had.

"We're both so busy that we don't get the chance to dedicate real quality time for each other, with no distractions - just the time and space to enjoy each other's company. Mum has always been the first person I turn to and I have always enjoyed her company; she's a great person. Nan prefers to relax and spend time enjoying the accommodation on holiday, so we were able to divide our time between relaxing with Nan, and lots of fun mother and son adventures. I was the designated driver for our trip, giving Mum a chance to have complete rest and enjoy a few drinks along the way."

It seems Amanda had earned her rest, as Alex confessed that she had done much research, reading up and planning a fabulous itinerary for their visit to Cyprus to make sure they got the most from the time they had to spend there. "Credit to Mum - it was the most amazing holiday, thanks to her planning, tips and top spots and places to visit," said Alex.

Amanda and Alex were surprised and impressed by the scale of the wreck of the old freighter, Edro III, which sits on the beach below the clifftop chillout restaurant and bar, Oniro By The Sea.

Standouts of the Paphos experience for Alex were the "wonderfully decorated Oniro By The Sea" and "the huge shipwreck, moored off the cliffs."

"The restaurant was so good we dined there twice. It was elegant, and yet beachy; had a wonderful outdoor ambience, but with a modern twist. The food was, of course, excellent," Alex explains. "While on the water theme, we hired a boat to explore the lagoons off the island's northern shores. It is just a 45-minute drive to get from the north to the south of Cyprus. I was entrusted to be 'Captain' and we got a couple of hours extra out on the boat, free of charge! There were lots of coves to navigate and the water was just so blue; it was amazing. I donned my snorkel for a little underwater adventure, while my mum and nan sunned themselves on the boat. Then it was time to toast the trip by opening up the bubbly - well Prosecco - on the boat. It was something I never pictured us doing and a wonderful way to spend the afternoon."

A Mother's Day and joint birthday treat gave rise to so many lasting holiday memories for Alex, his mother and nan, who appreciated having the time away from home and work to dedicate to enjoying each other's company.

Concluding, Alex says: "We still talk about that holiday. Those memories will stick with us and, looking back, we all realise what a special time that was. Mum is a twin and her sister lives in Florida! We visit often, living like locals and getting to spend time with my aunty, as well as Mum. We have always liked to plan our holidays, with half activities and half relaxation. Mum is such a savvy planner, she always knows the best places to go which makes the most of our holidays and exploring is very much our thing.

"My working at RCI, a holiday exchange company, has inspired my mum and nan. Mum now goes off on holiday every three months to places I have recommended. My New Year's resolution in 2018 was to visit a new country each month, and so I have many recommendations - Spain, Finland, the US, Italy - Rome and Croatia, to name a few of them. My nan is now off to Málaga, in the Costa del Sol. It has a friendly vibe - it's sunny, relaxed and is a beautiful city with great views. The view from the top of the mountain, looking down on the city and across the bay, is breathtaking and is a wonderfully peaceful place to go. I have been three times to Málaga, so it must be good! Nan will love it, I know.

"Mum has been to Barcelona and it's now top of my list to go, while I have told Mum she should visit Dubrovnik, Istria and Pula. We love swapping travel ideas and inspiration now it has become a great family tradition!"

Mother and daughter

Lisa Theanne describes her relationship with her lovely mum, Jan, as "really close; we are best friends."

Lisa heads up E-Commerce & Content Marketing at RCI's UK headquarters and has had a lifelong passion for travel, having done a lot of it with her mum, Jan. Lisa says: "I've had many holidays with my mum. She has been on her own now for around 25 years, so we have formed a close bond. One of our most memorable holidays was a special treat for my mum, as it was in celebration of her 70th birthday. I booked a cruise to Ireland for the two of us, as a surprise... I'd been giving Mum a few clues as to our birthday celebration destination but tried to put her off the scent by talking about the dress code being semi-casual, so no need to pack dressy clothes. I think it's fair to say she was a little apprehensive, however, I knew she'd love it, as Mum is a big cruise fan, having recently been on one to Russia with one of her friends.

"I did manage to keep it a secret until the day before. Then I read the cruise itinerary and discovered, much to my own surprise, that it was no ordinary cruise. It was a theatre-themed cruise, with stage and London shows featuring in, not just the entertainment, but the ship's décor and throughout the cruise. Not only did I then have to tell her what we were doing, I had to dash about to pull our costumes together!

"Mum is very young at heart, and with two young grandchildren to look after, she keeps very active, so I knew we would both have so much fun on this holiday."

Onboard their Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, the lively 'Stages' cruise put the theatre-loving pair through their paces!

Lisa and her lovely mum, Jan, take centre stage on a glitzy theatre-themed 'Stages' cruise to Ireland, which Lisa booked as a treat for them both.

The first outfits Lisa got together for her and Mum were dungarees as worn by the lead character, Donna, in the ABBA musical, Mamma Mia! But Jan was having none of that! She wanted to go for a far more glamourous look, as Lisa explained: "I had to pull something far more glitzy out of the bag, so I rushed out to buy the feather boas to pack, and the night before our cruise I was rushing around looking for our sparkly sequinned dresses."

Lisa and Jan checked into their cruise in Southampton, and from there they were bound for Dublin. However, stormy weather saw a change of course, and the pair ended up disembarking in Cobh instead, the last port of call for the Titanic! Undeterred, Lisa and Jan let their fabulous holiday begin.

"It was a gorgeous place; Mum and I were very impressed with Cobh," said Lisa. "A standout for us was visiting the Blarney Castle and kissing the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that performing this act endows the 'kisser' with the gift of the gab, but Mum and I already have that in plentiful supply! Actually, the kissing of the Blarney Stone is quite scary. You have to lean backwards, over quite a steep drop and, to be honest, I was rather more scared than Mum! It was such a gap, I was convinced I was going to fall through, but I did it."

Storms at sea forced the cruise ship to detour to Cobh, instead of Dublin, the intended port of call. However, Lisa and Jan were delighted with their surprise destination, which gave them the opportunity to kiss the famed Blarney Stone - quite a scary experience for Lisa, but one which Jan took in her stride!

At sea, there were lots of activities to fill the time, from movies on deck to the spa, which the girls had to themselves while most of their fellow passengers were at a show or a talk about theatre. Then the restaurants were a whole other story, with a huge choice of delicious eating options which cruises are so well-known and loved for, that Lisa and Jan enjoyed tremendously.

For Lisa and Jan, there were some special nights onboard the ship to experience, as Lisa tells us: "The Beauty and the Beast theme night was really theatrical, we loved it, especially as Mum and I chose to get our feather boas and sequins out for this evening, even wearing feathers in our hair. We were pleased with our choice of attire, as the feathers were more in keeping with the theatrical ambience onboard than our dungarees would have been! It was definitely a time for sparkling dresses.

"Mum's favourite cruise performance was Alfie Boe, but there was a host of stars, including Sheridan Smith, Collabro, Avenue Q, and Joe Pasquale, who made us laugh so much. There was always so much to keep us busy at sea in the evenings."

The theatrical focus onboard extended to on-deck activities and glitzy evenings. Lisa and Jan were able to dress up and party in style.

Looking back on the cruise holiday, Lisa says: "It was really good to have some time with Mum, particularly as I have children which means I rarely get to spend quality time with Mum. It was the perfect holiday, we loved our destination, and we were so well entertained on the ship. It was one of the best holidays and one we shall both remember."

If you're an RCI member and are looking for new holiday adventure and fresh places to explore, then head over to the RCI Resort Directory and book your next getaway. Click the button below to search for your home-from-home accommodation.

Don't forget that you can always check your personalised RCI Account online - or look out for your monthly RCI Account Statement mailings - to be sure that you don't waste any of your trading power or points, and are getting away on all the fabulous holidays throughout the year that you deserve.

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