It’s a whirlwind tour of the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America Line’s newest and biggest ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam. Ship2ShoreTV host Lynn Elmhirst is joined by special guest, designer Karen Sealy. In addition to a her successful design business and TV career, Karen is an avid traveler who hails from the Caribbean, so rum, sailing, and the island good life are in her blood! A perfect special guest for this episode of Ship2ShoreTV!
The Nieuw Amsterdam is a Dutch ship, named after the original (Dutch) name of New York City (check your history books to brush up on how the Dutch were there first, and all the Dutch connections – Haarlem anyone? – still on the island of Manhattan). The Dutch/New York connection repeats in the décor, including its 2-million dollar art collection that include a reproduction of the NYC skyline as the chandelier in the elegant atrium, an art installation of a real NYC yellow cab in the kids club, and a portrait of the Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix by ultimate NYC artist Andy Warhol.
NYC comes to life one evening every cruise when an alternative restaurant is transformed into iconic NYC restaurant Le Cirque, with its art, china, silverware and painstaking reproduction of its famous menu, a night on the town in New York – at sea!
Our itinerary features three islands with very different characters. St. Maarten is the smallest place in the world divided between two nations, French and Dutch. Our ship arrives in Dutch Phillipsburg with its magnificent crescent beach, boardwalk and pastel-hued duty-free boutiques. But its real claim to fame is a bizarre, spring-break-type stunt on Maho beach at the end of the airport runway: tourists from all over the island congregate to stand in the blast of jets taking off and landing.
On the French side we visit a charming harbour-front market, and spend the afternoon at Loterie Farm, a Robinson Crusoe-meets-South Beach style resort with treetop obstacle courses, a stylish treetop tapas lounge, and private cabanas around a spring-fed natural pool. The French know how to ‘rough it’!
In Puerto Rico we visit the picturesque Old Town, and with rum-loving Karen aboard, how couldn’t we? take a trip to the capital of rum, the Bacardi factory tour, meeting the latest Bacardi to head this global family business, and learning how to mix the trifecta of classic rum cocktails. There’s even a design angle Karen is quick to point out, the bat-wing pavilion the height of mid-century modern style.
And we wrap up our tour on Holland America Line’s private island, Half Moon Cay, where the only visitors are our fellow guests from the ship. We do have some privacy, too – in the private Grand Cabana that reminds us how it feels to be a Hollywood star or a telecom billionaire, with a seaside dance lesson from the ship’s entertainers.