We have cruised on the Odyssey’s sister ships, the Quest and the Sojourn, previously but this was our first cruise on the Odyssey. We hoped that this cruise would live up to our earlier ones and it most certainly did!
The 14 day cruise was called Exotic Caribbean in Depth and what appealed to us was that it started and finished in Barbados rather than the 2 day sail down from Miami that is sometimes necessary for Caribbean cruises.
The ship accommodates a maximum of 450 passengers and the service was fantastic. It is amazing how the crew remember names. They have a better memory than I do! On the first day the Restaurant Manager said ‘Welcome Back’ and called us by name both then and every time he saw us after that. The service is wonderful and particularly in the restaurant we were looked after so well and they seemed to anticipate what we needed before we asked!
We enjoyed all our meals on board, usually eating outside at the Colonnade, which is the buffet restaurant, for breakfast and lunch and then being served dinner in the main dining room. Sometimes we ate in the Colonnade in the evening which then became a served restaurant. It was wonderful enjoying a delicious meal outside in the barmy evening under the stars. On another day we had Chef’s Dinner with many small beautifully decorated courses. It took quite a while to eat all those courses but actually the amount of food was quite small as all portion sizes are small fortunately. Dress code isn’t too formal on Seabourn which we really like and great news they have now stopped all smoking in rooms and on balconies.
We loved the ship, the wonderful crew, our comfortable suite with its balcony and the delicious food but it was the itinerary that made the cruise really stunning. Waking up to a new beautiful place every day or eating breakfast overlooking another gorgeous Caribbean island when we arrived was just fantastic.
Our first day was wonderful! We were at Mayreau in the Grenadines. It is a tiny island with a lovely beach where Seabourn did their ‘caviar in the surf’ event. This is where all the passengers have a barbecue on the beach with champagne and caviar served in the sea. It was amazing how they managed to tender across so much food to make a wonderful barbecue, together with every drink you could imagine. Sunbeds were all laid out along the beach and after the barbecue, various water sports were organised.
We had a few tours. On our second day we were in Dominica which is part of the Commonwealth with quite a British influence. Our tour took us up in to the mountains through beautiful rain forest vegetation to the Morne Trois Pitons National Park where we walked uphill to the Emerald Lake, passing various waterfalls and dense rain forest. Very beautiful. Quite a strenuous walk even though the tour had been called only ‘moderate’.
On the third day we were just putting the anchor down off Deshaises in Guadeloupe when we woke up. A very French feel to this island! Early breakfast and got the tender across. This was where Death in Paradise is filmed but there is nothing about it in the small town here. We decided to walk to the nearest beach which took about one hour and a quarter, quite hilly at one point. Very lovely huge beach where lots of the scenes from Death in Paradise are filmed (we think!).
Next we visited the French island of St Barts which was beautiful as always with its celebrity yachts and smart restaurants and shops. We walked to Shell Beach as we have before and swam in the beautiful clear water.
In Jost van Dyke, at Great Harbour, one of the British Virgin Islands, we saw our first rain. Such a shame as we tendered across to the most beautiful beach but by the time we arrived the heavens opened and it absolutely poured with rain so swimming was abandoned and we went back to the ship and went in the hot tub instead!
The beach barbecue at Carambala Beach was absolutely stunning. The sun beds were arranged all along the beach which was gorgeous white sand. The sea was lovely, warm and clear for swimming. We relaxed on our sun beds with a glass of champagne until the barbecue was ready. There was lobster, tuna steaks, beef steak, chicken and ribs with all the salads, breads, desserts etc. Really fantastic considering everything has to be brought over from the ship.
We had a lovely day at another port of call, Anguilla. We had decided to try and find St Mary’s Church which was featured on the programme called An Island Parish that we had watched on BBC2. We tendered directly on to the most beautiful white sand beach and set off in the direction of the main town where the church was. However we walked for about half an hour and weren’t really getting anywhere and a taxi went past and asked if we wanted a lift, how fortunate! We accepted this and just as well as it was an extremely long walk to the main town which is called The Valley. We did go to the Church but didn’t see any characters from the TV show!
I think our favourite port was Terre-de-Haut in Iles des Saintes which was so beautiful. We walked all the way to Napoleon’s fort which was a very long stiff climb up round bends to the top. Fantastic beautiful views all the way so it was definitely worth it. Then we walked all the way down and decided to go to a beach on the way. That again was quite a long walk although not that far from the ship. It was a truly stunning sheltered cove with warm water and goats and chickens wandering about on the beach! The water was calm and lovely. We stayed in the sea quite a long time, swimming and snorkelling, and it was wonderfully refreshing after such a very long walk. Think this was our most idyllic port although they have all been stunning.
In St Lucia, a much bigger island, we had decided to do a tour which was a good decision as there were lots of people at the port trying to sell us taxi rides etc which we don’t find at the small islands. We went to a Rastafarian gentleman’s garden which was in a beautiful spot which he said he wanted to share with others as he had been given a scholarship for his education and it was his turn to give back. He gave us tasters of coconut and showed us round the garden and then we walked down through the rain forest to the waterfall. The gorgeous vegetation was lovely. It was strange though because the information about the tour said there was a weight limit and we would have to be strapped into vehicles with automatic compulsory lap belts so we assumed it was something dangerous but it was just a normal minibus!
Bequia in the Grenadines was again stunning. Another beautiful small island. We tendered in after breakfast and walked along the front to Princess Margaret Beach. It was quite a tricky walk, partly on the rocks and partly on a new boardwalk but it was worth it. The beach was beautiful and we went swimming and snorkelling.
Our last night finished with an epicurean event on deck with lots of booths set out on the pool deck with the most fantastic display of foods and drinks.
A most fantastic cruise with beautiful Caribbean ports, together with delicious foods and drinks and wonderful service. I seem to have over-used the words beautiful and fantastic in this review because that described the whole experience and we have so many wonderful memories. Highly recommended!