Have you ever had a perfect day? A day when the temperature is in the low eighties, a gentle breeze is blowing, a few puffy clouds race across the sapphire sky? And your family and several close friends share it with you? This is what ten of us cruisers experienced on the third day of a spring break cruise on Celebrity's Century.
I got the idea several months prior to our departure on the Century. With the help of a very talented travel agent, I had put together a group to cruise together. Since many of us had visited St. Thomas a number of times, I tried to think of something that would be a new experience. I had the idea of spending a day on a sailboat, cruising through that gorgeous turquoise water, and stopping at white crescent-shaped coves of brilliant white sand and coral reefs. Well, that's exactly what we had that wonderful day.
Pure luck led me to discover a Morgan 60 called the Courvoisier. The captain, Terry Dye and his companion/helper were absolutely delightful. We arranged to meet at 9:00 am at Red Hook, under the flagpole. Ten of us very lucky "sailors" grabbed a taxi to Red Hook. Minutes after arriving, we saw a dinghy heading our way across the water. Captain Terry, a weathered-looking, suntanned shaggy blond, greeted us cheerfully, and headed over to a small store to pick up loaves of freshly baked bread. He then helped us into the dinghy (it took two short trips to get us all onboard) and we headed toward the gorgeous sailboat. We immediately took off our shoes and t-shirts to feel the sun and breeze on our wintered skin.
There was lots of deck space for sunning, comfy couches for sitting, and accomodations for six people below deck. The Courvoisier had a large master stateroom and bath, two smaller rooms with bunks that shared a bath, crew's quarters, and a kitchen/eating/lounging area. The boat was well-equipped with stereo system, color TV, VHS video recorder and camera, air-conditioning, snorkel gear (we all had our own), Windsurfer, 13 foot dinghy with 15 hp outboard, movie,book,and tape libraries, fishing tackle and hammock.
It took us a couple of heavenly hours to sail to our destination, which was Hawksnest Bay. If any of you remember the movie "The Four Seasons" starring Alan Alda and Carol Burnett, you will remember the "summer" scene which took place on a sailboat. This is where that scene was filmed. It is absolutely gorgeous! Once we anchored, we went swimming and snorkelling and just had a ball. Captain Dye and his assistant, Linda, made us a delicious lunch of fruit, chicken salad, and fresh bread. We also had all we wanted to drink, including pop and a wonderful punch. You could have the punch with or without rum!
We laughed and joked and ate and drank. Captain Dye had wonderful stories to share. Then we went back in the water. Finally, about 2:00, we had to set sail again. We had more punch, many of us took turns sailing the boat, listened to music, and lounged in the sun.
We sailed all the way back to where the Century was docked. In fact, we sailed real close so we could snap lots of pictures. The Captain was very careful to get us back to our ship on time. The whole day was just exquisite. We were bubbling over with excitement and contentment as the group met for dinner and we shared our day with the unfortunate members of our group who had spent their day in St. Thomas elsewhere. We would all do it again in a flash! But could another day be quite so perfect? Of course, Captain Terry and Linda told us we were the most fun group they'd ever had for a day sail. They must tell all their clients that!
A last point - we each paid $80 dollars for the day. Every one of us said that we would have paid twice that! Just think of what you pay for some of the cruise lines' shore excursions!
Dr. Carla Rogers is a former medical school professor and holds her PhD in anatomy. She is the author of "How to Get Into the Right Medical School", part of a whole family of avid cruisers, and is known for the excellent advice she gives to other cruisers.
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