Thursday, November 13, 2008

Report on the World

Columbus may have discovered America, but I have discovered THE WORLD. As soon as you step on the gangplank and you
are greeted by Dennis, who has been with the line since its inception, you know that you have entered a different sphere, a planet
where everything is gentle and soft. Each and every member of the staff/the crew is there for you - service with a smile - and what
smiles! There are 250 employees no matter how many residents/guests are sailing. On our cruise we were about 125. Speaking
to the son of one of the residents, he told us that he tries to sail as often as possible (his parents own a 3-bedroom apartment on board)
and the maximum guests on board that he has experienced have been around 350.

Pauline and I each had a Studio Apartment, with clean lines, built for the ultimate efficiency. There is a sitting area and a desk
and a delightful balcony. One architectural/designer special feature that I have never experienced on any other vessel was a big picture
window in the bathroom that looks into the cabin area and on to the balcony and on to the sea. So one can shower, or while putting
makeup on, look out and watch the seas, the skies with varying colours especially at sunset. Or you can draw the shades closed
electrically when in Port.

We did a site of the 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. And the one thing they all have in common is, when you walk in the front door
you enter into amazing brightness. Yes, the sun was shining when we were doing our site, but with the miles of deck space
these larger apartments have, I cannot envision any one of them ever being dark. Each bedroom has its own bathroom. The
Master has a separate tub and shower. Top designers, i.e. Nina Campbell, Hirsch Bedner, JP Molyneux and TMT Design have
been the decorators and of course each individual owner has put his/her stamp on their own residence. When renting, one can
request the preferred type of decor. From delightful modern, to English country, to Italianette, lots of choices. These larger
apartments have a great kitchen with very well hidden washer and dryer.

Dining is pure delight. Four diningrooms and a deli. Food delicious and lovely service. Activities on board abound. There is a great
tennis court. The golfers find putting greens, chipping areas, a simulator, and driving range. The Sports and Golf Director
is available for lessons and happy to arrange private golf trips to the best golf courses all over the world. Same can be done
for the tennis player. There is a gym, a beautiful outdoor pool and indoor pool as well. The Banyan Tree Spa is divine. I
had the best massage I have ever had. The spa has a jacuzzi, steam baths and saunas. There are no "shows" but each night
at cocktail hour and after dinner, there is a variety of piano and violin music, jazz, a wonderful singer, and, when in Port you do
get excellent local talent to perform as well. The library is great with excellent variety of books and DVDs. Library has a lovely
seating area. Pauline and I were most fortunate to have attended a cocktail party where their guest Chef, Serge Bottelli (who manages
La Coquille Restaurant and oversees the cuisine at Tuckers Point Club in Bermuda, where he made the most amazing hors d'oeuvres
(accompanied by lovely champagne of course) Serge has been profiled on Discovery Channel's "Great Chefs of the World".
Serge also gave a cooking demonstration where we got to sample all the delicious dishes (accompanied by wine of course). He
was charming and very funny. The World always arranges to have such special features on board.

Those on board have the choice of full privacy in their own apartment, or they have friends over for dinner, get together around the
pool, make reservations in one of the restaurants to dine together, etc., just like one would do on land. One can see the existing
camaraderie amongst the owners. And we found they were very open to meet the new "faces". We had great chats with them
and enjoyed listening to the stories of their various sailings. Most spend 4 months and more on board. It is only The World that
will spend 2, 3, 4 days and more, depending on destination, at Port. Side trips can be taken knowing your floating home is waiting for you when
you return - back to the "other" WORLD.

Luisa McGrath
Travel Exchange - A Virtuoso Agency
2 Sconset Square
Westport, Ct. 06880

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