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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY

Caribbean Yachting Adventure


SeaDream II Shore Tender

I'm not usually a morning person and often skip breakfast, preferring coffee and juice. But I can't pass up the fluffy cheese omelettes in the Topsider Restaurant.

No lines and no waiting... when we decided to go ashore, Mel and I were the only passengers on SeaDream II's very special shore tender. As luxurious as our yacht, the padded seat cushions are covered in the navy blue striped fabric featured on Dream Beds and Top of the Yacht chairs and banquettes. Grab rails and trim are varnished teak. Running continuously, we were reminded once again of the superior service afforded to SeaDream guests.

Luck was with us (timing really IS everything!) and we arranged for a taxi tour with Edith, a charming and informative guide.

He said: Female drivers nearly always are the best guides. The roads here are pretty good as well.

She said: Edith is a gem! But this road is Nevis' version of a highway—wait until we go off on a secondary road.

Botanical Garden Rainforest Conservatory—Nevis

For several hours Edith proudly showed us her island, stopping to point out the volcanic hot springs, the Deputy Governor's home, the Golden Rock Hotel (built on the site of a defunct sugar plantation), Nisbet Plantation Resort, and the impressive Four Seasons property. 

However, the highlight of the day was The Botanical Garden in Montpelier Estates. Privately owned, it is an astonishingly beautiful and tranquil bit of tropical heaven featuring a wide variety of plants. Cacti and succulents grow alongside bamboo and native plantings. The rainforest conservatory is a jungle environment with riotous plants and majestic statuary. Just outside, vines drip from arbors leading to a lush orchid terrace and rose garden. Tucked amidst the tropical harvest garden rows are whimsical statues of monkeys and fountains dot the manicured lawns.

Back aboard SeaDream II we didn't speak to anyone who visited The Botanical Garden and that was really a shame. Our private guide provided a truly unique experience.

Chef's Dinner
Chef de Cuisine Robert van Rijsbergen pulled out all stops to create "Menu Degustation"—a gourmet seven-course meal of dishes he personally selected for their variety and flavors. Portioned in sizes that did not overwhelm, we enjoyed every course and even managed a few chocolate truffles with coffee. 

The "Menu Degustation"...

  • L'Oeuf Poule au Caviar "Surprise"
  • Terrine of Foie Gras
  • Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Lobster & Tarragon
  • Lime Sorbet with Lemon Vodka
  • Roasted Saddle of Veal with Caramelized Belgian Endive
  • Delice au Cassis with Blackcurrant Sauce

To work off our meal, "Disco Night" was offered in the Main Salon. Not being disco fans, we brought a favorite CD to The Top of the Yacht Bar and danced in the moonlight. 

Thursday—St. Barts

Côte d’Azur-inspired villas hug the mountainsides in St. Barts

Although Gustavia, St. Barts is one of my favorite Caribbean cities, Mel had not been there. Hoping for the same success we experienced in Nevis, we again searched for a taxi driver/guide. As it happened, a couple from Mediterranean Shipping Cruises' Lirica had the same idea and we agreed to share a taxi. While he didn't have Edith's personality, our driver gave us a satisfying tour and made frequent stops for photo opportunities, pointing out celebrities villas and other sites of interest.

Back in Gustavia, Mel decided we should have lunch since all the shops were closing for the long mid-day meal break... 

She said: I hope you don't die of sticker shock over the menu prices.

As we discussed the merits of various restaurants, several fellow SeaDream II passengers passed by and advised us they were going back to the ship for lunch. They stopped earlier for libations—the tab for five rum drinks and a soft drink was $80.

He said: Hold the tender, we'll come back ashore after lunch when the stores reopen.

Sweet Dreams aboard SeaDream II

With a soft breeze blowing and the lights of Gustavia as a backdrop, we enjoyed another "Starlight Dinner" at the Topside Restaurant. Instead of joining other guests, we requested one of the booths for two tucked into alcoves a few steps below the main dining area on either side of the ship. Candlelight gleaming off polished silver, Jumbo Prawns, French Style Onion Soup, Fillet of Mahi Mahi, Crème Brûlée...

What more surprises can the SeaDream II staff come up with? Back in our stateroom we encountered another delight. With a personal note wishing us sweet dreams, delicate rose petals surrounded a soft sculpture of kissing swans created by our stewardess.

For once, we said nothing. We were speechless.

Cruise Line Profile - SeaDream Yacht Club

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Photographs: © M. D. Coffman

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