A Traveler’s Tale: Sea Cloud, England and France

We were fortunate enough to travel with Nancy Celick on a springtime cruise around Southern England and France.  She shares her favorite moments and highlights with us below, in our first Traveler’s Tale feature!

On May 24, My sister and I set sail on the Sea Cloud, a 360 foot sailing vessel built in 1931 for E.F. Hutton and his wife, cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.  With approximately 60 guests and 60 crew, we were well-served.  This was a garden and grand estates tour, and we were fortunate to have two excellent lecturers on board, Patrick Bowe and Lord Crathorne.

Paddy is a landscape designer and garden historian.  He was so knowledgeable and patient.  How many times did he respond enthusiastically to our, “And what is this plant?”

James, Lord Crathorne, is in the House of Lords, one of 92 hereditary peers.  He is also the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, whose duty is to uphold the dignity of the Crown.  As he said, “It is an unpaid position but I get to wear a smart uniform and hob-nob with the royals.”  He spoke graciously of the Queen, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles, which was nice to hear.

Speaking of the royals, we stayed at the Goring Hotel in London, which is where Kate stayed the night before the wedding in April.  The staff was terribly proud, and we felt as well-cared for as princesses.  We were met on arrival and ushered into a lounge for tea.  Very civilized.

We boarded the ship in Portsmouth and sailed primarily along the southern coast of England stopping at the Island of Guernsey, Dartmouth, Falmouth, Portland, Newhaven,  and my favorite, the Isles of Scilly.  I will never forget the Abbey Gardens on the island of Tresco, one of the 5 inhabited island of Scilly, about 30 miles from Land’s End.  Only 150 people on the island, and the Gulf Stream and tall tree windbreaks allow Mediterrean plants to flourish.  I will go there again.

By the way, the food and wine on the ship was excellent.  As we embarked, we received champagne and caviar.  Dinner included foie gras, sorbet, veal, celery root purée and asparagus.  The wine was Nero d’Avola.  Chocolate something for dessert followed by chocolate candies followed by chocolate on our pillows.  My kind of place.

The ship has ten original cabins and more added when it because a cruise ship.  Ours was amazingly spacious and beautifully decorated.  One night all the original cabins were open for a tour.  Here is my sister, Cindy, in Lady Merriweather Post’s suite.  Devine Decadence.

We disembarked in Honfleur, France and knew immediately we were in France.  Incredible pastries as we window-shopped and took a tour of this quaint port.  More delicious food and sightseeing ensued on the way to Giverney, and later in Paris, which was well Paris.  Magnifique.

One final note, I celebrated my 60th birthday (ugh) on the ship and the passengers and crew participated in the party!  Is it any wonder I’m doing Jenny Craig the rest of the month?


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