Subtle joy of green cruising

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Evan's daughter, Rhiannon, at the Seven Sister's Waterfall in Grenada. (photo submitted)

Sailing aboard the largest fully rigged sailing ship in the world is a cruise I would describe in one word…subtle.

Climbing the mast. (photo submitted)

I have been many places in my life and time, and I am usually disappointed by fanfare. You won’t get that on a cruise aboard the Royal Clipper, and that’s what makes it perfect for artistic types, from 35 to 91 years old.

My seven-day journey from Barbados to the Grenadines was the tropical highlight of a lifetime, accentuated by the unfurling of 42 sails in the wind as you found yourself swiftly and noiselessly being carried port to port like a character in a “Captain and Commander” novel. The same ship sails the Mediterranean and the pacific coast of Costa Rica.

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Loved: Listening to the groan of the sails instead of engines, the fabulous menu, the soft adventure, and the mix of British, Canadian, American and German passengers.

Note: For the very things I loved, it took a day or two to lay back and realize that I wasn’t on the “megaship of the seas.” Be willing to leave anyone under age 20 at home. My daughter had a good experience, but she was the only teenager.

Favorite port of call: Grenada, considered the most beautiful harbor in the Caribbean. We hiked to the Seven Sisters Waterfall, a rite of passage. Martinique, which is like a mini-Paris, with great deals on French designer chic.

St. Lucia, and the iconic mountains of Les Deux Pitons, from the sea. St Vincent’s is waterfall heaven, and little known Bequia is laid back, but famous for it’s miniature boat building.

It was a goal of mine to end up at Thomas’ Boat Builders, where the most exquisite miniatures of sailing ships are hand-crafted before your eyes, as they have been for royalty since the 18th century. With prices ranging from about $25-$4,500, I settled on a coconut boat, and cannot be more proud of my souvenir.

Another goal was obtaining a freshly-grilled Caribbean lobster. I bartered with a local fisherman, and got a good price. It was snapping itself silly, when he asked, “do you want me to cook this now, or do you want to take it home as a pet?”

Star Clippers hired a three-star rated Michelin chef, which is a great merit in the world of cuisine. All the dishes and flavors are organically derived, with no “sour cream and onion” added! I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I enjoyed the most remarkable chocolate cake, which was almost savory, with no icing, and had just the right balance of sweet and chocolate.

It is something to be said for the Caribbean, that everyone should take a green cruise like this one, or ANY type cruise, and see the reefs for themselves.

The coral reefs of Tobago Cays Nature Reserve, another port of call, were the healthiest I saw during the trip, but it’s no mystery that many reefs are turning “gray.”

There was an active marine biologist aboard, and she explained the reason is not so much pollution, as it is sediment. It’s a cause and effect of storms that wash mud onto the coral, clogging a sensitive photosynthetic system can’t survive it. But you can watch dolphins swim alongside this ship, and you can climb the mast if you want to! That beats that rock wall on the megaships by a mile.

And finally, the captain was very popular in a subtle sort of way. Subtle, there’s that word again.

For information on this cruise, call your travel agent or contact with your travel story.

About Lucianne Evans

An accomplished jazz singer who sings under the name Lucianne Evans, developed the business idea for Jazz Music Travel, took a two year Travel and Tourism course study with the legendary Ben Streets at Blue Ridge Community College, and recently embarked on her own journey to bring more and more people to the experience of travel.

She performed her first professional gig at the age of 17 in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Jazz and R & B became an interest early in her career. She studied music at Carnegie-Mellon University and mentored with members of the group, Oregon at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. By age 24 she had rave reviews for a performance at the International Festival du Jazz de Montreal, appeared on French TV and radio, and in night clubs in New York and Montreal as a solo performer and lead vocalist. Several of her recordings have received acclaim, her pop song “Dear Lonely One” - a BMI Workshop award winner and her CD, Flamingo—Blue Chip status as “Top Vocal CD’s of 2002” in the Jazz Education Journal, by Dr. Herb Wong, on a short list with Diana Krall and Bobby McFerrin. It was also the #2 download in Belgium for six months. Moving to Asheville to follow a spouse, she has proved herself as a powerhouse vocalist among both “blue collar” and “white shoe” society. Performances include WNC Jazz Society, the Jazz Society of Far Western NC, Hilton Head Jazz Society, and a successful tour of California including Carmel, where The Jazz and Blues Company featured her on KRML, the original station of Clint Eastwood's “Play Misty For Me.”

Jazz Music Travel specializes in selling status and security for cruises that visit land-based jazz festivals each year in places like Anguilla, Barbados, Martinique, Riviera Maya, Bermuda and more. Imagine arriving aboard a yacht and experiencing world class performances from artists such as Herbie Hancock, Esmerelda Spaulding, Lynne Ariale, Dianne Reeves; all in the spirit of legacies like Hank Jones and Nina Simone. Sit back and re-connect with songs that are part of your life as these towns burst into life to the strains of trumpets, sax and drums.

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