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Copyright © 1995-2003 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Western Caribbean "Sunshine Sojourns"~

At Sea

Everyone participates in the action during dinner in Don Vito's Trattoria

Days on board Radisson Diamond take on an easy rhythm, as natural as the ship herself, at one with the sea and soothing to her passengers. 

No one lifts an eyebrow if you doze off in a comfortable chair, but for more active guests, the daily program lists appealing diversions to keep everyone busy.

Games, demonstrations, lectures... food and relaxation. A stress management lecture drew quite a few participants, but most of us in attendance agreed that the only thing we needed to manage our 'stress' for the rest of the day was a good book and a comfortable lounge chair. I also found the Diamond's tiny steam room and sauna were soothing retreats.

As the sun began to set we joined "An Evening to Remember at Don Vito's." The creation of Hotel Director Fabrizio Caviglione, the informal Grill restaurant is transformed every night into a casual, festive trattoria where guests join in the singing and taste the wines, food, and spirit of Italy. Our sampler menu included perfectly tender fried calamari and risotto which rivaled that served in the finest Italian restaurants. By the time we were served our grilled veal entree, I had to look out the window to be sure we were still at sea and not entering Venice's Grand Canal. Luigi, the charming and handsome host of Don Vito's, pulls it all together with panache and it's a not-to-be-missed dining event on board Radisson Diamond.

Grand Cayman

Following our sea day, we eagerly tendered ashore to Grand Cayman on a slightly overcast morning. The weather was ideal as we set off with our group and tour guide for the Wetlands Kayak Safari. I must admit that was the first time I held a paddle in my hands and I wondered what I'd gotten myself into as we cast off. Red mangroves lining the shore proved to offer a fascinating look into the eco-system of the island and the rowing wasn't terribly strenuous. After our guide explained the delicate balance between the sea grass, mangroves, and aquatic life we set off to explore the coastline with nothing to disturb the tranquility except the dip and slurp of paddles.

Our final objective was a swim and snorkel platform anchored in the sheltered lagoon near a coral head teeming with colorful tropical fish. Refreshments were served to help sustain us for the trip back to the beach—water and a "power bar"—nothing like a guide with a sense of humor. All the equipment on the tour was first-rate and our small group managed to keep pace and still smile and joke about our "exertions." I knew the Diamond's steam room would loosen up my sore shoulders, or perhaps a visit to the spa for a massage would be in order. Unfortunately, the authorities in Grand Cayman frown upon the use of the ship's water sports marina and motorized toys, which Captain Broomhall likes to utilize as much as possible. Alas, while the water was certainly calm enough, we were unable to enjoy it.

However, as we tendered back to our vessel, we received a real treat before boarding—a look beneath our ship. It was quite a sight... take a look as we entered the cool expansive tunnel between her twin hulls for an up close tour of the Radisson Diamond's SWATH design (click for a photo tour). It's not often that passengers are able to sail under their vessels!

What could be more enchanting than a table for two in the Grand Dining Room with a crimson sunset glowing on the horizon? The beautiful setting and exquisite presentation are meaningless if food isn't prepared properly and we certainly haven't had to worry about that. The Radisson Diamond's cuisine is inspired and, best of all, lives up to its promise.

Small ships are not generally noted for lavish entertainment, but the Radisson Diamond hums with music all day and into the wee hours of the night. A fast-paced "Footloose" show by the ship's production company, followed by dancing to good old time rock 'n roll ended our day on an upbeat tempo. 

Next -> An uncommon "overnight" in Cozumel

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