Tere Moana… a Caribbean style cruise to the Old Year’s Night Bash!!!
Tere Moana… a Caribbean style cruise to the Old Year’s Night Bash!!!
After a bumpy flight we touched down at Princess Juliana airport at 1:30 PM in the afternoon. When they opened the doors of the plane and we walked down the steps to the tarmac the bright warm Caribbean sunshine and fresh ocean breeze welcomed us to St. Martin.
Once through customs we collected our bags and rented a cab for $100 to take us to Philipsburg for lunch, shopping and then later to the port to catch the ship. Boarding didn’t start until 3 PM and the ship didn’t leave until much later, so we found time to enjoy St. Martin. We savored locally caught Grouper at the Barefoot Terrace restaurant on the beach. We also found a cafe with free wifi near the Blue Witch Bar. Alina shopped for sunglasses and Tom found a Swatch watch and bargained with the shop owner until he got a great price.
We could see the ships in port and they were the Carnival Valor, the Wind Surf, and one of the fabulous Seabourne yachts. Could any of them be in our future? Hmmm…
After that it was on to the port in Marigot. We were supposed to catch the ship at Galisbay pier but the swells were too high so we were directed back to the main pier in town and took a Zodiac out to the ship. The adventure begins!
Our first impression of the ship was that she looks like the Paul Gauguin. In fact Tom said that many of the features are similar. She’s very fresh. The colors of the Grand Salon are lovely, all of the bars gleam, and there are lots of orchids scenting the air.
The staterooms are all very roomy with a restful decor, and the closets are HUGE! The staterooms with a balcony are similar in size to the other cabins and the balcony is large enough to hold a chair and stool combo as well as a table and two chairs.
We were greeted with one of the special packages you can order ahead that includes Verve Cliquot champagne & Godiva chocolates. It doesn’t come standard in the room but if a passenger is celebrating a special occasion we definitely recommend it.
The outer decks of the ship are also spacious and well thought out with a nice sized pool. The most popular place may be the hot tub which at night can have multi-color lights that flash to the music if requested. The cushioned sun-beds at the back of the ship are large and comfy and our favorite place to gaze at the stars.
The food on the ship is truly gourmet. Our first meal included a local fish that was cooked to perfection and a lovely wine that paired nicely with the delicate flavor. The service is stellar and after the first day everyone on the staff was calling us by name. Wow! And let us say that if you like cocktails, this is the ship for you. You’ll love being able to order a Grey Goose Martini and not sign a little slip of paper. You’ll also love that bottled water is available everywhere.
I also need to rhapsodize a moment about the shower. Best shower experience on a ship yet! First of all the bath products are yummy scented L’Occitane, and second of all the shower is a tube that closes off to the rest of the bathroom so you can splash in the water all you like and the rest of the room doesn’t get soaked. Brilliant! Also the water pressure and temperature stayed constant the whole time. Bliss.
Almost all of the passengers onboard have journeyed on the Paul Gauguin and loved it so much they booked on this new ship trusting they would have a similar experience. The feeling of the ship is relaxed elegance and like “Cheers” it’s a place where everybody knows your name.
Tortola was our first stop. We had a meeting in the morning with Tina the Hotel Director, Manuel the Cruise Concierge, and Elizabeth the port agent for the B.V.I. They were all very helpful and we discussed how we could plan clothes-free excursions for our charter. While the first three islands are all not nudist friendly, there are options to stop at deserted islands as well. The Captain joined the meeting and said he would be happy to show us these areas.
We got off the ship and found free Wi-Fi at Pusser’s bar at the wharf and Facetimed with loved ones.
Alina and I also enjoyed an afternoon at Longbay Beach. It’s a lovely, quiet resort on the north side of the island and we loved it. The surf was really high and Pelicans were diving for fish. The stress of plane travel experienced the day before melted away.
The following morning before we arrived in Virgin Gorda, we joined the Captain on the bridge at 7AM for a view of several beaches he thought might be appropriate for our guests, but none were really nice and all would require a water landing in a Zodiac which can be problematic for guests with trick knees or bad backs. We held out hope that the BBQ lunch at Prickly Pear beach might be the place, but ships are so close by that it doesn’t seem possible. The lunch was delicious however, with fresh grilled Mahi Mahi and roasted vegetables to name a few scrumptious items.
We highly recommend a visit to the Baths while you’re in Virgin Gorda, which means Fat Virgin. If you love to climb on rocks, walk between boulders to get to the beach, and snorkel this is the place for you. We identified the islands owned by Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson and the owner of Google respectively. We can give you a map if you ask us nicely. 🙂
For those of you who loved the Carnival towel animals on the Big Nude Boat…
we found this little visitor at turn-down!
Our stop in Jost Van Dyke was even more fun and turned out to be a revelation when we found out it’s the place to be in the Caribbean for New Year’s Eve!
Our day started with a wonderful snorkeling excursion on the Ocean Girlz catamaran to Norman Island, also known as Treasure Island. Our guides said it was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel. The location was originally supposed to be Sandy Spit but had to be altered because of high swells, but we couldn’t imagine a prettier place to explore. We made two stops with the last one being the Pirate’s Bight and the water was warm, the fish abundant, and the rum punch delicious. On the way back we were treated to a view of the Star Clipper with her sails up leaving Great Harbor.
In the afternoon the ship had Zodiaks running back and forth to the beach. Originally we were to be taken to White Bay beach which has the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, but because of high swells they took us to nearby Great Harbor beach and for $5 per person we could take a taxi over to White Bay.
While at Great Harbor we had the chance to enjoy the quiet secluded beach and visit Foxy’s, our world famous destination for New Year’s Eve.
The B.V.I. magazine says that Foxy’s is legendary for the Old Year’s Night bash, billed as one of the top five New Year’s Eve parties on the planet. We are so excited that we are going to be able to join all of the festivities with the rest of the yachts in the Caribbean and have spoken to the Captain about extending our stay into the wee hours of the morning. It’s going to be quite a party!
Foxy’s is a quintessential beach bar with two levels right on the beach, with live music and lots of famous visitors joining the celebration. On New Year’s Eve they usually offer a live concert in “The Outback” and once the artists are announced for this year’s concert Bare Necessities will be purchasing tickets in advance for all of our guests. People are also welcome to wander to several different bars on the beach as well as cab over to White Bay.
The drinks at Foxy’s on New Year’s average about $10 – 15 and we highly recommend “The Painkiller” because we have it on good authority that it does just that. 🙂
When we arrived in St. Kitt’s the following morning we met with the Tour Operator Liz and the Port Agent Ricky. We discussed arriving later on New Year’s day in St. Kitt’s and arranging an afternoon shore excursion on a catamaran to a place called Lover’s Beach on nearby Nevis island for our charter. Ricky said it used to be known as a nude beach so there may be a chance we can use it as such because it’s secluded.
There were two large ships in port, two Seabourne yachts and the greek yacht Maltese Falcon. We had lunch in town with Tom and then took a taxi to the Marriott resort because they were supposed to have a good beach. The resort was HUGE and the beach was nice. We shopped a bit at the large port facility and then came back to the ship to enjoy listening and dancing to a wonderful Steel Drum band that we are requesting for our cruise as well.
Les Saintes was our next port and proved to be another quiet, secluded harbor but with the addition of a lovely stretch of waterfront shops with local artists, semi-precious stone jewelry as well as locally made jewelry, and several clothing stores including a store that designs and produces it’s own Madras inspired pieces right on the island.
Taxis to the possibly nude Crawen beach were not available, contrary to what we were told in the morning meeting with Clarice the tour operator and Gerard the port agent. Instead the choices were scooters or electric bicycles. Alina and I love life too much to attempt a scooter so we opted for the bikes but found the shop closed for lunch for two hours. At that point we had little choice but to walk to one of the textile beaches, Plage Pompierre. It turned out to be gorgeous. The walk was 25 minutes up and down hills in the heat but worth it for calm water, great snorkeling and shady trees. For our cruise however, we’re working on a catamaran or bus to Crawen.
Our next stop was St. Bartholemew and it’s obvious why it’s a passenger favorite. The food is French and marvelous. The shopping is a mix of well known designers and small boutiques. We discovered really creative black pearl necklaces made by a local woman using South Sea pearls and soft kangaroo leather that wrap around the neck and drape in front. However, everyone has been telling us to wait for Tahiti to buy black pearls so we chose to do just that.
Nudity is illegal in St. Bart’s but on several beaches the officials look the other way. Governor’s Beach is nude on the right hand side, but we wanted to visit Saline Beach which they say is the true nudist beach on the island. However, we had meetings on the ship that morning and it didn’t leave us much time to get there and back before the last Zodiac. Instead, we had lunch at a lovely open air French restaurant called Le Carre. After a delicious Arugula salad and Mahi Mahi sliders, Alina and I window shopped on the way to Shell Beach which was an easy 10 minute walk from the waterfront and okay to enjoy topless.
LOVED Shell Beach! The water was so calm I floated like a cork with little or no effort. Alina was in heaven investigating the millions of shells that make up the beach. There were beach chairs with umbrellas available to rent from the restaurant on the beach, but I created shade with a pareo, rocks and a broken branch. The chance to be topless was so wonderful! I’m so glad we are planning more options for nude beaches for our cruise.
For the return flight in St. Marten, we encourage passengers to get to the airport early because it seems to take a long time to get through the ticket line, customs, and security. Once through security there is a lounge available on the upper level that is free for those traveling in Business Class or $20 per person. It’s quiet, has comfortable leather chairs, includes free wifi, hors d’oeuvres, and a drink.
We wanted to make special note of the staff onboard the Tere Moana especially Tina the Hotel Director from Germany, the Cruise Concierge Manuel from Italy, and our Captain Mathieu Le Brun from France. We also want to send a shout-out to Chris and Vishal the bartenders from Mauritius, and Upta the Maitre D’ from Goa, India. In the staff talent show we were entertained by Alexander the piano player from the Phillipines, Gede from Bali, Allan and Arnold the singing brothers also from the Phillipines (Allan’s rendition of “What Kind of Fool am I” brought down the house!), and “Julio Iglesias” the singing ship’s fitter who blew us away with his growly sounding voice while singing wonderful songs by Elvis, Tom Jones and others. Wow!
The Tere Moana is a freshly refurbished, more intimate version of the Paul Gauguin, and will be going to one of the top five New Year’s Eve destinations on the planet. Who could want more?!
Hope to see you there…
Kat, Alina, and Tom
This article was humorous: http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/jvd_foxys_bar_restaurant.html
From the B.V.I. Magazine: