Traveller: Compass + Twine
Room: Junior Suite
Address: Sea Cloud Cruises is based in Hamburg, Germany. We joined them on a cruise around the southern Caribbean, sailing from Barbados to Curaçao and stopping at Bequia, Union Island, Grenada and Bonaire along the way.
Date: February 2017
Best for: With luxury at every turn, Sea Cloud II is a five-star resort on the high seas. Sailors and seasoned cruisers will appreciate the immaculate attention to detail. Anyone who has been hesitant to embark on a cruise will be pleasantly pleased and in awe of the luxurious, intimate Sea Cloud experience.
Pulling away from the port in Barbados, the stunning Sea Cloud II set out on a seven-night sail through the southern Caribbean. Stopping at off-the-beaten-path islands, like Bequia, Union Island and Bonaire, Sea Cloud affords guests the opportunity to explore sleepy towns and pristine beaches, while also learning about the history and culture of each destination on thought-out tours. The crew aboard Sea Cloud II takes care of every single detail and are experts in both sailing and hospitality.
The Signature factor
The ship speaks for herself. With five decks, 23 sails and accommodations for up to 100 guests plus crew, Sea Cloud II is a sight to behold. Each time we stopped at a port, tourists flocked to take photos and no matter how many times we stepped back on board, the sense of awe and enchantment never left us.
The ship was built in 2001 and is owned by Sea Cloud Cruises. Though the company is based in Hamburg, Germany, the ship sails around the world. A stunning ship, you need not even visit an exotic destination to be impressed. Sea Cloud II is a work of art all on her own, with every inch of sailboat, from the carpet in the hallway to the primer used on the deck thoughtfully considered and beautifully put into place.
The majestic windjammer strikes you even from afar. Grand masts stand tall and a red carpet lines the ramp as you board. Stepping aboard Sea Cloud II, we immediately noticed the attention to detail. From the well-polished nautical décor to the care the crew took to ensure all guests had a top-notch experience, no detail was overlooked.
The Junior Suite, located on the third deck, had a king bed as well as a sitting area complete with a cosy faux-fireplace. A spacious mahogany-trimmed closet provided ample storage for our belongings, and the marble-adorned bathroom was surprisingly grand. Our view was through a wall of windows (as opposed to portholes), looking out onto the deck with the ocean, allowing us to wake up to the sunrise each morning.
The owners’ suites are by far the most luxurious, featuring a king-size bed, living area and larger bathroom space.
On my plate
Chef Mike, formerly the executive chef for Lufthansa, and his team truly outdid themselves at each meal. We were shocked at how much thought, planning and preparation must have gone into making meals at sea so outstanding. From the six-course tasting menu and wine pairing for the Captain’s Dinner, to the casual outdoor barbecue on the beach, the culinary experience aboard Sea Cloud II was world-class. From fresh-caught tuna ceviche and cold lemongrass soup to cucumber-dill salad and Thai shrimp stew, the choices were endless and every bite delectable.
The idea of a spa aboard a luxury vessel seems luxurious in and of itself. While Sea Cloud II’s spa understandably consisted of one massage room, it’s the masseuse that really steals the show. Guests are able to book appointments any day with the concierge and receive a truly relaxing and effective treatment, while the rhythmic rock of the ocean works to lull you into slumber.
The Lido Deck, the top deck, is the place to be, so you can enjoy the fresh sea air, search for dolphins below and watch the massive sails flow in the wind. Tables, chairs and sun loungers can be found throughout the deck space, and a full bar is available for morning coffee or an evening glass of Chardonnay. The ship also includes a library, where guests are welcome to help themselves to books, games and use the computer for sending email. Wi-Fi is available for purchase and accessible most places on the Lido Deck, though it can be a bit spotty while out in open waters.
The concierge team on board Sea Cloud II goes above and beyond to ensure you are enjoying your time and have everything you need. From requesting a specific menu (perhaps you don’t care for red meat), to arranging a private dinner table, they are at your beck and call. When the ship arrives at a port, the team ensures guests are able to enjoy the planned island excursion should they wish, or else they can explore on their own or just relax on a beautiful beach. If they choose to stay on board, a number of crew do as well to tend to their needs there as well.
It’s very difficult to find fault with the Sea Cloud II experience, due to the quality of the vessel and crew. Our only wish was that the Wi-Fi access extended throughout the whole ship, and the process of purchasing Internet credit was more streamlined. While it is certainly nice and refreshing to put your phone down every now and then, sometimes you do need easy access to the Internet for work or communication purposes.
by Lindsay Ridenour of Compass + Twine
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the storytellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay!