Prickly Pear Cay & Virgin Gorda, BVIs

Prickly Pear Cay & Virgin Gorda, BVIs

Are you on a cruise or planning a cruise that stops at Prickly Pear Cay in Virgin Gorda? That means you’re likely sailing on Seabourn and you’re in for a big treat!

I was there recently aboard the 200 guest Seabourn Spirit and here’s what I did.  Prior to arriving at PPC the ship anchors nearby and disembarks guests who have signed up for either of 2 shore excursions — one of the Baths and the other a catamaran snorkel trip.

I did the Baths 11 years ago when I visited Virgin Gorda aboard Seabourn Pride so this time around I did the catamaran trip.  It was a leisurely 3 hour tour (yes, I had to laugh when the captain said that) with the first hour going to the snorkeling spot, an hour snorkeling and then another hour to meet the ship in Gorda Sound/Prickly Pear Cay.  The cat was nice enough and spacious enough so we could spread out and soak up the sun. I’ve been snorkeling in Hawaii many times and this was different.  The water was clearer than Hawaii and the reef seemed to be in better condition than most spots I’ve been to in Hawaii.  But, at least in this spot, the fish were less varied. For a water lover, this was the perfect trip.

Seabourn Spirit Prickly Pear Cay in Virgin Gorda BVI
Seabourn Spirit Prickly Pear Cay in Virgin Gorda BVI

[FYI, the Baths excursion works the same way but you get there via a land vehicle and the tour of the island is quite dramatic. The boulders strewn along the beach are quite unique and well worth the visit.]

If you take the above excursions, by the time you get back to your ship she has moved to Gorda Sound. Or if you didn’t take the excursions you’ve been there for a couple of hours.  Guests are brought via tender to Prickly Pear Cay for a blow out beach party. It’s the highlight of the cruise – a great place to swim, to ‘banana boat’ it, sun, eat, drink and all around be merry. The ship’s restaurant is moved to the beach and the spread with lobster, chicken and  lots of rum is a blast.  And not just for the younger folks, it’s not difficult for anybody as long as you can negotiate the tenders.

Also see my reports on Cruz Bay, St. John and Frederiksted, St. Croix. [coming]

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

Seabourn at Prickly Pear Cay in Virgin Gorda
Seabourn Spirit at Prickly Pear Cay in Virgin Gorda

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.   

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube

[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn

Read my review of Silver Cloud

Read my review of Oceania’s Marina

Read all luxury cruise ship reviews with photos

Advertisements

St. Croix & Frederiksted

Are you on a cruise or planning a cruise that stops at Frederiksted in St. Croix? Unlike neighboring St. John there’s a large pier here which can accommodate the larger ships.

I was there recently aboard the 200 guest Seabourn Spirit and here’s what I did.  The ship offered several island tour excursions but I decided to go more low key.

Fort Frederik Museum | This is an awesome fort, built in 1760 by King Frederik of Denmark. It’s 10 steps from the end of the pier and since we were the only ship in port the place was empty.  Besides the great view of the water and our ship, and the fun of the old canons guarding the place, the exhibits inside offer a very sobering history of the slave trade.  I think this spot is a must see, especially for kids to learn about this history.

Seabourn Spirit in St. Croix
Seabourn Spirit in St. Croix

After  the fort I walked around the downtown, which is slightly nicer than most of the downtowns in the Caribbean, but still is quite economically depressed.  There’s a nice coffee shop (Polly’s) and nearby gift shop, a few other very small businesses. I picked up a small bottle of Cruzan rum which I packed in my (checked) suitcase!

Also see my report on Cruz Bay, St. John and Prickly Pear Cay. [coming]

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.   

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube

[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn

Read my review of Silver Cloud

Read my review of Oceania’s Marina

Read all luxury cruise ship reviews with photos

St. John and Cruz Bay

Are you on a cruise or planning a cruise that stops at Cruz Bay in St. John? If you are, you’re likely on a small ship with Seabourn, Silversea, Regent Seven Seas or SeaDream…

I was there recently aboard Seabourn Spirit and here’s what I did.  The ship offered several island tour excursions but my friends and I decided to go more low-key.  First of all, we had to take a tender from the ship to the small port. It’s a tiny port with barely room enough for a large yacht, let alone a 10,000 ton ship.  Anyway, tenders are fun especially if you love being on the water like I do.

Caneel Bay

We took a taxi  to the Caneel Bay resort, about 10 minutes away.  Once there we enjoyed ourselves on their comfortable outdoor chairs and couches as we had drinks while watching the slow beach life. They even have wi-fi if you need to check the Market.

After drinks we had a nice leisurely buffet lunch which offered a large salad selection as well as fruit, hot dishes (such as Caribbean grilled chicken and mac & cheese) and hamburgers. And of course a large dessert collection. The 7 of us were quite happy. There was also an a la carte restaurant. Both with a sea view.

Caneel Bay
One of the many beaches at Caneel Bay. St John, USVI

[FYI, the resort has a program whereby you can use ALL the resort facilities including all 7 beaches, kayaks, etc if you book it in advance. Called Caneel for a Day, it’s under $100 and includes lunch — a very good value in my opinion.]

We were also able to get a drive around the property and checked out their championship tennis courts (top ranked in the Caribbean), on-site donkeys, and rooms.  The hotel was built in the late 50s by Lawrence Rockefeller as a Rock Resort and has their signature, eco-atmosphere and earthiness.

My friends took a taxi back to Cruz Bay while I hiked back — about  40 minutes, including a stop at Honeymoon Beach

Also see my report on Fredericksted, St. Croix and Prickley Pear Cay. [coming soon]

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.   

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube

[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn

Read my review of Silver Cloud

Read my review of Oceania’s Marina

Read all luxury cruise ship reviews with photos

Seabourn Spirit Review | Looking Good at 23

“Josh, what’s the best cruise line? Seabourn Silversea, Regent or Crystal?” I get asked this ALL the time!  Of course, ‘best’ is subjective.  And in the cruise business it also depends on the staff of any particular ship at a certain point in time — people come and people go.  And they live together for months on end. So the dynamics are a bit different that at any luxury hotel.

Once I explain or remind my clients and prospective clients of the main differences between the ships (i.e. size and onboard activities), I simply offer my personal experiences as a past guest and former cruise line (Seabourn) employee, and let them choose among those features & services which are most important to them.

In the last year, I’ve taken two one-week Caribbean cruises — one on Silversea’s Silver Cloud in February 2011 and then just recently (February 2012) on Seabourn Spirit. In 2010 I also spent the night aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit while docked in L.A. and 2 nights aboard Seabourn Sojourn while cruising to nowhere off the coast of south Florida.

To me, the entire onboard experience is important, but I give a heavier weight to the restaurant and bar — quality of the food and drink and the service levels of the staff.  In the last four cruise experiences I just referenced, Seabourn wins this area hands down and it’s not even close. I found Seabourn Spirit’s food consistently superior and I like to consider myself somewhat of a San Francisco foodie. Service levels were as good as it gets with pleasant, friendly, relaxed and very personalized attention.  There was one mix-up where another table got our dinner and we waited around a bit too long for the correction but nobody’s perfect.   And from almost the minute I first embarked, most staff called me by name.

You may have heard of Seabourn’s famous Beach Party at Prickley Pear Cay, Virgin Gorda, BVIs. It’s definitely a highlight of the cruise and will covered in a future post.

seabourn-spirit-caribbean-cruise
Seabourn Spirit docked in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Fredericksted, February 2012

On some other miscellaneous aspects of the cruise, i.e. pool attendants, purser’s office, Internet connectivity, I felt that the ship didn’t make the mark. They could have been sharper. But the shore excursions manager was always around and helpful. And the ship’s tenders need an overhaul.

Housekeeping was excellent which proves that one really does not need a butler on a cruise. [a marketing gimmick if you ask me.] These ‘stewardesses’ as they are called are quite capable of doing just about anything. The only thing they couldn’t do was repair some of the furniture which this 23+ year old ship could have used.

Seabourn Spirit is one of the line’s original three ships (the other two are Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend.)  She’s 10,000 gross registered tons (GRT) and carries about 208 guests.  Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Quest are the newest three and are 32GRT and carry 450 guests. The crew to guest ratio is approximately 4 crew to every 5 guests.

 

For photos from my recent cruise on Seabourn Spirit, click here.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.   

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube
[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn
Read my review of Silver Cloud
Read my review of Oceania’s Marina
Read all luxury cruise ship reviews with photos

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10

Josh is Hosting Voyager Club Again! Seabourn Spirit 03 Feb 2012

I had such a fun time this past February, I’m doing it again! Escape the cold and snow of the Winter and join Virtuoso’s Voyager Club for a 5 star week on my old favorite ship – Seabourn Spirit. I know her backwards and forwards, and would love you to join me. Pricing starts at about $2,800 and includes Voyager Club benefits. [details at bottom of this post]……….. Josh

virtuosomemberlogo_thumb.jpg

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida To Charlotte Amalie,

Company Seabourn Cruise Line
Ship Seabourn Spirit
Cruise Dates Feb 3-10, 2012
Begin/End Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Length 8 days
Summary
Day Date Location Arrive Depart
1 Fri, Feb 3, 2012 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 5:00 PM
2 Sat, Feb 4, 2012 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
3 Sun, Feb 5, 2012 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
4 Mon, Feb 6, 2012 San Juan, Puerto Rico 9:00 AM 11:00 PM
5 Tue, Feb 7, 2012 Cruz Bay, St. John 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
6 Wed, Feb 8, 2012 Fredricksted (St. Croix) 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
7 Thu, Feb 9, 2012 Prickly Pear Island 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
8 Fri, Feb 10, 2012 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas 7:00 AM
What’s Included
  • Accommodations aboard ship
  • Onboard meals
  • Beverages, including select wines, champagnes and spirits, beer, soft drinks, bottled water
  • Onboard Staff Gratuities
  • Entertainment and onboard programs

Terms & Conditions

  • All fares are US$ per person, double occupancy, unless otherwise specified. Cruise itinerary and pricing are subject to change and availability.
  • Savings apply to select stateroom categories and could decrease or be closed for specific categories or entire voyages without prior notice.
  • Savings not applicable to port charges or taxes.
  • Select promotional offers including American Express cardholder benefits may not be combinable with Virtuoso amenities.
  • The Virtuoso shore event, shore excursion, or shipboard credit is non-transferable and non-refundable.
  • Virtuoso amenity option must be selected at least 45-days prior to sailing date and may not be changed. Within 45-days prior to sailing options may not be changed.
  • Virtuoso events and amenities are capacity controlled, subject to change without notice and may be withdrawn at any time. The Virtuoso host will provide final event program details onboard to guests who have opted for the main Voyager Club event.
  • Other restrictions and limitations may apply.

Voyager Club Events

Exclusives & Options <Choice of one option:Option 1:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • Traditional Shared Virtuoso Voyager Club Shore Experience

or

Option 2:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • $175 Per person credit towards the purchase of a custom On Site shore excursion or other Virtuoso Preferred Product

or

Option 3:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • $150 Per Person Shipboard Credit
Onboard Hosts Yours Truly, Josh FriedmanCall Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club. Read my luxury cruise ship reviews and photos

josh friedman luxury travel at casto
in san francisco’s financial district
415.248.5079 | joshfriedmantravel.com
a virtuoso member agency

yelp! Twitter Facebook Flickr You Tube[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Virtuoso Voyager Club Shore Experience
Event details to be announced.