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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY

Caribbean Yachting Adventure

Monday—Sint Maarten

Beachfront—Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Did you think I spelled that incorrectly? Our scheduled port was to be Marigot, Saint Martin, the principal town on the French "side" of the island. Unfortunately, wind and high seas conspired against SeaDream II and tendering ashore there proved to be dangerous. Captain Erik Anderssen informed us of his decision to move to Philipsburg where we could safely dock on the Dutch "side" in Sint Maarten.

After breakfast we anchored in the Philipsburg harbor awaiting line handlers to dock and were chagrined by a downpour. Thankfully, it was a brief Caribbean shower and the sun was shining by the time we set out for Front Street to browse the shops and discover a new beachfront "mall" complex, complete with beach bar and loungers on a pristine sandy beach.

Topside Restaurant Buffet

Back aboard SeaDream II we savored an enjoyable lunch al fresco in the Topside Restaurant, selecting salads from the buffet and entrees from the grill. Waiters are on hand to carry our plates from the buffet to a table with a view and take our main course orders. Complimentary wines are poured freely and dessert selections from the buffet are tantalizing.

He said: It's nap time.

She said: A Sun Bed is the ideal spot to relax and read.

Pairs of Sun Beds and Dream Beds on Deck 6 are semi-screened for privacy.

The Captain's Welcoming Reception & Dinner
Captain Anderssen hosted his reception in the Main Salon and introduced his officers and staff while guests nibbled on caviar and canapés and waiters circulated with champagne. Making dreams come true, our cruise is served by 92 staff members representing 20 nationalities, outnumbering 71 passengers from six nations.

He said: The entire staffs seems to know our name.

She said: That's a hallmark of SeaDream's personalized service.

The one similarity between our yacht and a traditional cruise ship was the menu for the Captain's Dinner... Escargots "Bourguignonne" and Grilled Lobster Tail.

He said: I keep a list of wines we enjoy on my computer and appreciate the consideration of our sommelier who saves the labels for me.

She said: Our dinner was so delicious... for dessert I prefer something light and every evening I can order sorbet.

SeaDream II's itinerary lists port arrivals and departures simply as 'morning' and 'evening' and Captain Anderssen has flexibility in regard to actual times. This proved most welcome to a large family on our cruise whose luggage was delayed. They were quite relieved that we remained in Sint Maarten until 10pm to await it's delivery from the airport.


At least 100 passengers wait to reboard Serenade of the Seas & Norwegian Dawn

Even though SeaDream II is docked alongside Norwegian Sky, there is no line to re-enter the quay. SIZE matters.

As we docked in Antigua, we noted not one large cruise ship (as in Sint Maarten), but THREE. Proving that size matters, lines stretched for blocks at the pier where Serenade of the Seas and Norwegian Dawn were docked. On the other hand, SeaDream II guests encountered no queue even though we were docked alongside Norwegian Sky.

Antigua's neighboring island Montserrat suffered nature's devastation when 3300 foot Soufrierre Hills Volcano erupted in 1995. Molten lava flowed down the mountainside at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, destroying everything in its path. Still active, the mountain spews ash and mud, continuing to make much of  the formerly lush island uninhabitable.

Mel looked forward to the helicopter tour offered by SeaDream II to see Montserrat from the air. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to lack of participation. With three large ships in port, it wasn't possible to book the tour independently. Fortunately, the SeaDream activities staff managed to negotiate spots on a helicopter for guests who were anxious to take the tour. Mel was elated and set off for the flight while I claimed a shaded Dream Bed (and promptly nodded off).

Mel and the other guests from SeaDream II who viewed Montserrat returned elated by their adventure, yet saddened by what they saw.

Montserrat, devastated when 3300 foot Soufrierre Hills Volcano erupted in 1995.

That they were able to take the tour was entirely due to the diligence of SeaDream II's staff.

He said: It was the opportunity of a lifetime.

She said: I didn't think Mel's mood would improve after being unable to make a phone call to check his office messages during the morning in Antigua. It was impossible because of the toll-free number to AT&T. Thank you, SeaDream!

While our three cruise ship neighbors sailed in late-afternoon, we remained docked until 10pm. A gorgeous sunset set the mood for 'Starlight Dinner,' elegantly served outside in the Topside Restaurant.

She said: Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Cruise Line Profile - SeaDream Yacht Club

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Photographs: © M. D. Coffman

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