Anchor in the Land of Yachts

The Euro-splendour of Gustavia, St. Barths. Photo © 2019 Aaron Saunders

St. Barths; Friday, January 18, 2019

As far as I’m concerned, this eight-day voyage from Antigua to Barbados aboard Sea
Cloud Cruises’ Sea Cloud
the perfect combination of time spent in port, and time spent underway.

Aboard Sea Cloud,
that means setting sail at every possible opportunity – which is just what
happened this morning at 0900. No matter how many times I see this ritual
performed, it never fails to impress. Crewmembers scurry up the falls attached
to the masts and begin unfurling the sails. Lines are coiled carefully on the
deck, waiting for the commands to be given. Everything is done by hand, save
for the electric winches mounted to the decks. Lines are coiled around these,
which help take some of the manual labor out of making them taut.

Before our arrival in Gustavia, St. Barths this afternoon, guests onboard Sea Cloud were treated to a morning of
interesting and relaxing diversions. Breakfast buffet was served once again in
the Restaurant, followed by a bridge tour conducted first in German, then in
English half-an-hour later. A lecture on the History of the Caribbean was given
in both languages, and a lunch buffet was served at 1230.

Gustavia: a yachtsman’s paradise. Photo © 2019 Aaron Saunders

Of course, this is a ‘make-your-own-fun’ kind of
cruise. For me, that meant reading, writing and conversing with my fellow
guests – none of which gets old or even remotely boring. Of course, Sea Cloud isn’t for everyone. For those
who want a quiet, reflective cruise experience in the Caribbean, however, it is
the icing on the cake.

This afternoon we dropped anchor off Gustavia and
joined a cavalcade of private luxury yachts, each more glamorous than the last.
Two other sail-cruise ships also joined us at anchor today: Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf and Star
Clipper’s Star Flyer
.  Both
feature sails; both are very different from Sea
. Although modern, Star Flyer
does come close to equaling Sea Cloud in
terms of grace, but she can’t replicate the history packed within this hull.

This is my first time to Gustavia. I have to admit, it
may not be my kind of place. Sophisticated and very French, it is also
extraordinarily expensive. The town harbour is packed with mega-yachts, and the
average shopping experience is limited mainly to high-end brands like Bvlgari,
Cartier, Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Entering one clothing store on the opposite
end of the harbour, I found a ceramic mug with an anchor and the word,
“Gustavia” that went for €79. A street map of Gustavia was €13. At another
store, ballcaps pushed €40.

A beer at a local pub went for almost €8, but the
grocery store down the street had Red Stripes from Jamaica for €1.50 a bottle.

Add to that the fact that it was really hot outside
and I was missing my home-away-from-home, and it doesn’t take much to suppose
that I went back to the Sea Cloud and
felt immediately better.

Movin’ on up: Cabin No. 4, one of Sea Cloud’s gorgeous original staterooms from the 1930’s. Photo © 2019 Aaron Saunders

When I returned to the ship however, I was met with
welcome news: Cabin No. 4 was now
repaired and

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