At Sea and On Land, A Classic Paradise
Moskito Island, BVI; Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Once again, my morning aboard Sea Cloud Cruises’ Sea Cloud began as it did yesterday: with a sumptuous breakfast in the main lounge, followed by a cup of coffee out on the gorgeous teak-lined promenade deck.
After a quick stop at Spanish Town in the British Virgin Islands to drop off guests taking an excursion to Virgin Gorda, Sea Cloud got underway again and sailed through a brief but intense early-morning rain storm. I’d seen the line of clouds coming towards the vessel and took that as the cue to go down to my stately Cabin 10 to change books. No sooner had I arrived in the room than I could hear the rain pounding down on the deck and see what looked like a veritable North Atlantic storm through my dual porthole windows.
On the subject of that: you truly don’t need a balcony, or even a picture window, to enjoy a cruise. On a ship like Sea Cloud, having porthole windows in the cabins on the main deck only adds to the romance of being onboard. It is worth noting, however, that cabins on the upper decks mostly have full-sized picture windows.
The rain passed within ten minutes and I went back up on deck to watch our final anchorage off Moskito Island. Moskito Island is owned by Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson, who also owns and makes his home on nearby Necker Island.
We wouldn’t be graced with a visit from the Virgin impresario today, but we were treated to an altogether special experience: a beach day on secluded Moskito Island.
I’ve been on a lot of cruises, and I’ve seen a lot of “beach days” on my itineraries over the years. Nothing, however, has been quite so charming and relaxing as this. I got a bit worried when I saw SeaDream Yacht Club’s Sea Dream II anchored with us. I pictured a beach crowded with two ships (albeit small ships) worth of people.
But over on the beach, it was just the fortysomething guests from the Sea Cloud, invited to a sumptuous beach barbecue in the heart of paradise.
With a steady breeze blowing to keep things cool, guests were offered complimentary beer, wines and rum punch, along with liberal amounts of water. The buffet feast included sausages, salads, seafood, and everything in-between, plus dessert, all carted over from the ship by the vessel’s talented galley staff.
I’ve taken a lot of Caribbean cruises. A Caribbean cruise on a big ship is a party-hard, heavy-drinking affair. There’s loud music. Bob Marley plays on repeat. You’ll hear One Love a lot more than one time.
Here, there is nothing. No loud music, no Bob Marley, no boozy guests. Well, okay, pleasantly-boozy guests. People here get drunk in the way that Ernest Hemingway famously wrote people go bankrupt: slowly, then suddenly. Even the music played at a reasonable volume on the beach was limited to modern contemporary hits, like Panic! At the Disco’s High Hopes.
When you strip away all the steel drum music and loud pool games and other diversions, you’re left with Sea Cloud: a quiet, reflective vessel with a quiet approach to the Caribbean. It’s not for everyone, obviously, but it is wonderfully refreshing.
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