Today, anyone who has the desire to take a cruise can find something that suits their tastes and price range. From mammoth "floating cities" with all the bells and whistles, medium-sized vessels in all price ranges and very small ships, usually costing a little more but including more in the cruise fare, there is something for everyone. But for most of cruising history, an ocean voyage was the exclusive domain of the very wealthy. Most evenings were formal. As the cruise industry has evolved, there is an increasingly casual ambiance about the experience. This has carried over to the interaction between passenger and crew members. Particularly on the very small ships, friendships are made between passengers and crew that carry over year to year.
For the past few years, I have taken Sea Dream Yacht Club's Sea Dream 2 out of St. Thomas in early December. On my first voyage, I noticed a waiter, Werner Roy, who stood out from his peers. He was considerably older, and unlike many of the other waiters, he was Caucasian. Much of Sea Dream's crew is Asian. He struck me as very formal, and I, incorrectly, took this as a lack of warmth. As time passed, our group sat in his station and we began to talk with Werner. He turned out to be our favorite, and on our last cruise in December, 2012, we had the Matre reserve a front table with Werner for the entire cruise. The more I learned about his extensive history at sea, the more I understood his demeanor was a reflection of his years aboard the premier luxury liners of their day. He is doting, yet reserved and unobtrusive. His bearing is formal and respectful. The more I drew him out, the more I wanted to hear his story. He agreed to be interviewed for this piece, and seemed happy to do so.
Werner Roy comes from the Black Forest region of Germany, which is bordered by France to the West and Switzerland to the South. He attended Hotel school in Switzerland, and upon graduation, went on to work at prestigious hotels in England, Switzerland and Paris. But he was feeling the ocean beckoning him, and his first contract at sea was on a freighter. He suggested trying a freighter cruise as a passenger would be a rewarding experience, and I'm looking into doing that.
Wonderful swimming at Caneel Bay
Shell Beach a short walk from the pier. Very nice
Been there a million times and had no interest in shopping. We decided to stay onboard and had a lovely day.
Among our favorite islands. Visited friends on the staff of the Bitter End yacht Club. Beautiful day.