Notes For Travel Watch:
Seawind Cruise Line
Seawind Cruise Line is offering a new itinerary on its vintage vessel the
"Seawind Crown." It sails round-trip every Sunday from Aruba to Curacao,
Caracas, Venezuela, Barbados and St. Lucia.
Built in 1961, this ship attracts veteran cruisers and an
incredible variety of nationalities. German, Portuguese, Spanish and English are all
routinely spoken over the public address system. This is an older, smaller ship that is
reminiscent of cruise ships as they used to be.
The "Seawind Crown's" first port of call is Curacao. This
tropical island offers some of the best shopping in the Caribbean. It's a very
cosmopolitan island that thrives on its banking, oil refining and shops.
The island's Trolley Train provides a mini-tour of the residential
historic area, the famous Jewish Synagogue and the colorful waterfront that is one of the
most photographed in the world. Here you will see the charming Dutch architecture and
floating pontoon bridge.
Caracas, Venezuela, with its 1,500 miles of Caribbean coastline, is a port
that not too many cruise ships are offering.
The adventurous SCUBA diver can be happy exploring the sunken
ships. I rented a jeep and went exploring on one of my visits to Caracas; the beaches and
waterfalls are memorable.
Those who like to shop can find great buys on 18-karat gold jewelry and
take a tour to the glass factory that sells beautiful glass at factory prices. I'd
recommend buying a glass bead necklace, if you're lucky enough to arrive on a day when
they have them in stock. If this interests you, check prices at your home jeweler before
you go -- I found the factory salesmen to be negotiable about their prices.
The third port is the beautiful island of Barbados. We were there the day
before President and Mrs. Clinton, and Madeline Albright arrived -- May 8 -- and the
people of Barbados were excited and busy dusting off the red carpet.
My favorite places on this island are Harrison's Cave and the
island drive that takes you through small villages and sugar cane fields.
This cave has an electrically powered tram that transports you comfortably
through the beautifully lit cave.
The Atlantis submarine tour offered on this island is awesome and if you
can fit that and the cave in your day, it's worth the hustle. The beaches are wonderful
and if you're a snorkeler you will love the crystal clear water.
The last port on the "Seawind Southseas" tour is the
ruggedly scenic island of St. Lucia. The 2,400-foot-high peaks of the twin Pitons, banana
plantations, and Marigot Bay combine to create a gorgeous tropical island. The ship offers
a "Cruise To the Volcano" tour on a catamaran that sails down the west coast of
St. Lucia, past hidden coves and quaint fishing villages.
If you prefer, there is also a 20-minute helicopter ride that flies over
the rain forest. Anyway you choose to see it, St. Lucia is a special island.
The "Seawind Crown" went into dry dock this in 1997 to be
outfitted to meet the "Save Our Lives At Sea" (SOLAS) guidelines. This meant a
complete overhaul of all the safety-at-sea systems.
One-week cruises on this ship for the above itinerary start at $1,000 per
person, double occupancy, cruise only. (Editor's note: Prices and tour details may
have changed by now.)
There are packages available that allow you to stay an extra week --
European plan -- in either St. Lucia or Aruba.
I did have a chance to check out La Cabanna resort in Aruba, one
of the three hotels offered on this plan, and it looked great. You can ask your travel
agent for more information about these special packages.
The "Seawind Crown" is a very casual ship geared to
those who would enjoy the Caribbean South Seas tour, a different experience, and a