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Caviar, champagne and rich trimmings ... this is the closest I’ll get to the life of Roman Abramovic

There have to be reasons why just a few cruise lines can claim to be the best.

Standing knee deep in the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean, champagne in one hand and a blini piled high with caviar in the other, is one of them.

And it is luxuries like this that puts Seabourn Legend - along with three more cruisers from the Yachts of Seabourn fleet - into the world’s top ten best ships in the cruising bible, the Bertlitz Cruise Guide.

Caviar in the Surf on Seabourn Legend

Legend comes in at number six in the 2011 edition, published on October 4, using an internationally accepted rating system that examines 400 separate items based on personal cruises.

In a year when we have seen the arrival of gargantuan ships carrying up to 6,000 guests, Berlitz has decreed that ‘small is beautiful’. And at 10,000 tons, and with a compliment of just 200 guests, Seabourn Legend lays claim to both.

Life on a Yachts of Seabourn cruise is a succession of moments to remember, whichever of the five ships in the fleet you decide upon.

Caviar in the Surf celebration is one such moment. Having been whisked from our ‘yacht’ to the pristine sands of the exotically named Prickly Pear Island in Virgin Gorda, guests gather for an occasion renowned in cruising’s elite circles.

The caviar arrives from the ship by dinghy and the head chef masterminds operations as the treat of all treats is laid out on a surf board and guests are invited to wade into the waters and savour the moment. Even the captain replaces his neat white uniform with blue shorts to join in.

Seabourn Legend of The Yachts of Seabourn

And once back on the beach, awaiting you is a 100ft-long beach buffet offering literally everything under the sun (be sure to take a sunhat, total block and flip flops. The sand is scorching)..

Not that such pampering comes cheaply. Seven days will set you back a minimum of £1,999 for a seven night French Riviera cruise - including flights - but at least once on board you know the only thing you have to put your hand in your pocket for is shore excursions such as horseback beach safaris, submarine voyages to explore the marine life and snorkelling to name a few.

Caviar in the Surf is, however, considered part of the all-inclusive experience. As is the fine wine and cocktails, replenished without you having to worry about an escalating bar bill. (One disappointment was there was no cocktail menu in the bars. Another was that the bars seemed to close randomly).

Even the wine and champagne in the fridge of your sumptuous stateroom is included. So too are those dreaded gratuities, unless you feel someone has earned a little something extra for their trouble.

And through it all Seabourn Legend makes you feel as though you are on your own private yacht - probably the closest you will get to the edges of a Roman Abramovich lifestyle - as she glides from one glorious Caribbean island to the next, most of them off the beaten track.

Eating is always a pleasure, and you can chose to be intimate or sociable in the open-seating, dine-when-you-like Restaurant. And with so few on board, invitations to join an officer’s table come thick and fast.

St Barths Bucket RegattaBut trying to reserve a table for the romantic, under-the-stars restaurant “2” was frustrating. It had to be made 24 hours in advance and because there was such demand, some passengers were frequently disappointed. However, once you made it, the result was fabulous.

The cruise set sail from St Thomas - lunch at Gladys’s Cafe in Charlotte Amalie is a must before you set sail - bound for a succession of memorable stopping spots, including the tiny island of Marigot in St Martin, Virgin Gorda - all of it a designated National Park - Grand Turk, largest of the Turk and Caicos islands, and finally uber-chic St Barthelemy - the tiny laid-back Leeward Islands playground of the rich and famous.

Many of its inhabitants who descend from settlers from Brittany, Normandy and Sweden now service the small inns, cafes, restaurants and boutiques housed in old Swedish colonial and French Creole buildings, and the atmosphere of Gustavia’s main thoroughfare is the Caribbean at its best.

Our visit coincided with the annual Bucket Regatta and, anchored several hundred yards off shore, we found ourselves surrounded by some of the largest racing yachts afloat as the richest-of-the-rich raced their £60million prize possessions against each other, all for fun.

It was magnificent to see such a display as the vessels came within touching distance of the bow of the Seabourn Legend, but as we watched the crews of 24 able-bodied seamen and women working flat out to catch the trade winds off the Atlantic Ocean, I don’t think there was one person on our yacht who would have traded places.

Once you get on a yacht of Seabourn, you simply don’t want to get off.

Well, maybe for the caviar and champagne in the surf.

The Berlitz Top Ten

(Ratings out of a possible 2,000 points)

Europa (1,853 points)
SeaDream II (1,788 points, pictured)
Seabourn Odyssey (1,787)
Seabourn Sojourn (1,787)
SeaDream I (1,786)
Seabourn Legend (1,774)
Silver Spirit (1,772)
Seabourn Spirit (1,770)
Seabourn Pride (1,769)
Silver Whisper (1,753)
Silver Shadow (1,750)

Caviar In Surf on Seabourn cruise

 

  • More holiday news from The Yachts of Seabourn

  • Posted on 22nd October 2010 at 01:35 am in Cruise News | Cruise Lines | The Yachts of Seabourn |

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