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Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY

Caribbean Yachting Adventures

Saturday—Arrival in St. Thomas, USVI

According to Mel, timing is everything and ours was impeccable. We managed a first class upgrade on our Atlanta to St. Thomas flight and the moment we emerged from the terminal after claiming our luggage, a taxi with room for two more passengers awaited. 

Holiday Inn courtyard

Life is good, but was about to get better during our pre-cruise day in St. Thomas. After a swift check-in at the conveniently located Holiday Inn in Charlotte Amalie and assignment to a room overlooking the picturesque harbor, we set out to do some shopping at K-Mart near the West Indian Company Dock at Havensight. Why shop there when we were steps away from downtown where all the duty-free stores are located?

He said: K-Mart has the best prices on liquor. Let's walk.

She said: We can't... it will take an hour on foot!

As luck would have it, while we were discussing the merits of a healthy hike versus riding, we were approached by Leonard Rabsatt, whose open-air taxi was parked steps away. Leonard drove us to our destination, waited, and returned us to the hotel. All in less time than it would have taken to walk! Plus, we arranged to have him take us to Crown Bay Marina where we would embark on SeaDream II on Sunday afternoon.

Just down Veterans Drive from the Holiday Inn we discovered The Greenhouse Restaurant for dinner. After mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders appetizers, a dinner of grilled Mahi Mahi and plantains, plus "happy hour" 2-for-1 drinks (4:30 until 7pm), we were ready to call it a day.

HINT: Fly to your embarkation port city a day early whenever possible. Most flights to St. Thomas arrive in the late afternoon, leaving little time to spare in case of delays and no time for lost luggage to catch up before sailing time.

Sunday—Embarkation in St. Thomas, USVI

Having a "cool one" at Hook Line & Sinker in Frenchtown

We arranged a late (1:30pm) check-out at the Holiday Inn, but still had time to kill. The ideal spot to wait was beneath an umbrella in the hotel's courtyard. A call to Leonard (340-727-1864 or 642-7279) and we were on our way shortly after 2pm. It was still a bit early and boarding hadn't begun, however, we were able to drop off luggage. Leonard took us to nearby Frenchtown, so named because the French fishermen from St. Barth's used to sail in to sell their catch at the wharf. We stopped for a cool drink at Hook Line & Sinker, where locals and the yachting set rub shoulders over great food.

Leonard Rabsatt delivers us to 
Crown Bay Marina

Back at Crown Bay Marina, we were again delighted by the sight of our SeaDream yacht and promptly began the boarding process pierside. Without question, it was the most leisurely check-in we've ever experienced. No line... in just moments were were up the gangway and on board being greeted by officers and staff. First, though, everyone must extend their hands to receive a dollop of waterless disinfectant cleanser. As a measure of anti-Norovirus prevention, we became accustomed to this most appreciated procedure every time we returned to the yacht from ashore.

In the Main Salon on Deck 3, stewards were on hand to offer a flute of champagne and canapés. My first order of business was to locate our stateroom on Deck 4 and unpack, a task made more pleasant while sipping champagne!


Yacht Club Stateroom

At 195 square feet, SeaDream II's Yacht Club staterooms initially seem compact, particularly when cluttered with suitcases. However, they are cleverly laid out with abundant storage space in six generous drawers, a bank of floor-to-ceiling shelves, and a double closet with shoe racks. Once unpacked, our two 26" suitcases slid easily under the bed in the compartment designed for them. There is even a huge drawer under the sofa with ample room to stow our smaller carry-ons.

Convenience was obviously taken into consideration in the design of SeaDream staterooms. A dressing table at the foot of the bed features shelves on either side and a lighted mirror. A curtain separates the bed beneath the picture window at the far end of the stateroom and the sitting area. Ah... the sitting area! A comfy sofa and cocktail table to one side and state-of-the-art entertainment center housed in wood cabinetry on the opposite wall. We brought a few CDs to enjoy in our stateroom and the sound system was marvelous.

Commodore Club Stateroom

Completing the inspection of our quarters, we were a bit taken aback by the size of the bathroom, but this is, after all, a yacht! Nevertheless, the bath is marble-lined, contains adequate shelves, and storage beneath the sink vanity. The shower is to die for—enclosed in glass, with multiple jets, it is large enough for two.

He said: Water conservation is important at sea.

She said: Later! I've unpacked and I'm thirsty...

For even more luxe and space, choose a 390 square foot Commodore Club Stateroom with two bathrooms, two closets, and double the storage space.

HINT: Designed for use by wheelchair bound guests, Yacht Club stateroom 215 has a bit of additional space and a huge bathroom. While it can be reserved by any guest, they must be prepared to give it up if it is needed for a mobility impaired passenger.

None of the staterooms on SeaDream II have balconies, so we headed outside to The Top of the Yacht Bar where some of our fellow passengers had already made their way. Over complimentary drinks, we made introductions and toasted our good fortune to be sailing together as St. Thomas faded from sight.

He said: I'm starving.

She said: Dinner is open seating, beginning at 7:30pm.

After Dark
We quickly learned that one of the most important daily events took place before dinner when guests gathered either in the Main Salon or poolside for cocktails and a review of the next day's activities. Following our Activities Director's intro to SeaDream II, we headed to dinner.

He said: Do I have to wear my blazer to the dining room?

She said: Not unless you want to. Look around at cocktails... only a few male passengers are wearing jacket, so it's your choice.

HINT: The daily program states, "Dress Code this evening is 'Yacht Casual' after 6:30. Dinner in the Dining Salon: Jacket or Blazer preferred, no tie required."

Ah, what a meal... I was torn between the Chilled Melon & Parma Ham and Hot & Tangy Prawn and Fruit Salad. Taking a cue from our charming French waiter, I chose the melon and ham, but later heard the prawns were very tasty. Cream of celery soup with nutmeg preceded my Mignon of Beef Tenderloin, "blue" rare and tender enough to cut with a fork. Mel selected Yellowfin Tuna and we shared our entrées. Both were beautifully presented and perfectly prepared. With the exception of soups and some appetizers and salads, all dishes are cooked à la minute and we were asked if we'd like the Grand Marnier Soufflé dessert when we placed our order. Yes, I did and it was sinfully delicious. Decadent Petits Fours and Chocolate Truffles accompanied cappuccino.

He said: The perfect spot for an after-dinner cigar and cordial is The Top of the Yacht Bar.

She said: The restriction on smoking in staterooms and indoor spaces creates a pleasant atmosphere. Order me a Cosmopolitan with extra cranberry juice.

Back to the index: SEADREAM II Yachting Adventure

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Photographs: © M. D. Coffman

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