Dec. 8, 2003 — If you had taken a leisurely walk on the waterfront in Frederiksted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this Monday you would have been treated to a rare sight: a cruise ship in Frederiksted.
Puzzled islanders squinted their eyes to get a good look at the name emblazoned on the side of the large yacht parked in a space usually occupied by adventurous children diving into the crystal clear water, fisherman lazily baiting their lines or lovers strolling hand in hand.
A quirk of fate brought the Sea Dream II to the port of Frederiksted. According to Activities Director Robert Van Gent, the tugboat that used to tow the yacht into its usual berth in Gallows Bay had mechanical problems, and the yacht was diverted to Frederiksted.
The Sea Dream II is a five-star, ultra-luxury mega-yacht that caters to a very discerning clientele. The vessel utilizes a new concept in sailing, combining the amenities of a cruise ship with the intimacy of a private yacht.
More than 340 feet long, with a berth of 47 feet, this luxury yacht has a guest capacity of 110 and is staffed by 89 crewmembers trained to cater to their guests' every need. "The Sea Dream has been rated No. 2 in the world by Berlitz, the world-renowned publisher of travel guides," said Van Gent. The ship features an Asian Spa, special wellness menus and daily massages, a piano lounge and movies. "Most guests just want to relax," Van Gent said.
The luxury suites on board are made for relaxation. The yacht club staterooms measure 195 square feet, 16 of which can be converted to double staterooms measuring nearly 400 feet. There is also an owner's suite of 450 square feet. The price to live for two weeks in the lap of luxury? That starts at $7,000 per person.
And what effect did the arrival of the mega-luxury yacht have on businesses in Frederiksted? "It was like they weren't even here," said a store clerk at Millennium Shops. "I had a few people walk in the store and I had two sales," she said.
Unise Tranberg, owner of Pier 69 restaurant and a member of the Frederiksted Economic Development Association, expressed the same sentiments. "We don't have the variety of shops in Frederiksted to entice the cruise ship passengers," Tranberg said. She is hopeful, however, that the planned waterfront revitalization project will energize the town. "Once construction starts you will see activity in Frederiksted, and once the project is finished, businesses will again be attracted to Frederiksted," she said.
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