Have your private, personal boat party — without having to fuss over the small things. ANDREA SEIFERT shows how
There is something about a sea voyage that lends itself to a celebration. Cruising the water on a luxury yacht is a true escape, and a welcome hiatus from the drudgery of everyday life on land.
So what better way to celebrate my husband’s impending 40th than with an intimate gathering of close family and friends on the water? The occasion needed to be marked with a show-stopping celebratory event, and a tailor-made journey on the sea with luxury yacht charterers Aqua Voyage seemed the perfect solution. With a myriad of options and destinations available, an overnight stay was eschewed in favour of a day trip on a sleek Sunseeker to Riau island in Indonesia. This would allow a full day of Saturday fun without cutting into busy schedules for an entire weekend.
Being a devoted epicurean, the adventure began with the most important aspect of the party – the menu. A consultation with the Aqua Voyage Executive Chef revealed that the culinary aspect of the event could be entirely tailored to personal preference; whether it be full onboard catering by a specific restaurant, or a bespoke menu prepared by Executive Chef Stacey Teo. As this was a day to spoil my better half, we devised a menu with a mixture of his favourite dishes from all around town and a few new surprises thrown in by Chef Stacey.
We set sail for Riau Island early in the morning, slightly bleary-eyed. Butlers were on hand to serve up decadent, buttery pain au chocolate and croissants from the Joel Robuchon bakery, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and espressos. Departing from Singapore, the scene was set with a pre-programmed iPod on the stereo system playing soft bossa nova tunes, and mimosas swiftly followed the coffees to get the party going.
The cerulean waters and white sands of Riau island beckoned, and a lazy morning of swimming in the sunshine soon came to an end as the boat docked a lazy dozen or so meters from the beach, just in time for a luxe picnic lunch. There’s nothing better than an assortment of zesty salads in the tropics, and we started with a salad of handpicked crab, avocado, citrus fruits and toasted sunflower seeds from the newly opened restaurant, The Black Swan. This was accompanied by Chef Stacey’s Wild Diver Scallops with Orange Jam, Almonds and Micro-Cress Salad with Egg Dressing. Creamy, indulgent burrata and vine ripened tomatoes followed alongside home-made duck rillete and crusty baguette. The grand finale was my very own famously gooey brownies.
Nothing defines a tropical getaway like a pampering spa treatment. This was a day for sybarite excesses and pleasure, so two therapists from our favourite spa in town were recruited to come onboard and pamper us with aromatherapy oil massages and foot reflexology to ease any work week tensions. A few guests then retreated to the luxurious mastersuite complete with fine Egyptian cotton linen and fluffy duvets for a heavenly post treatment snooze. Given my husband’s provenance, Afternoon Tea at Sea was a given and served in delicate bone china cups with a selection of refreshing herbal Gryphon iced and hot tea, scones with jam and clotted cream, and an assortment of Indonesian tidbits as a tribute to the location.
Expertly timed fireworks alongside the brilliant scarlet sunset brought the day to a dramatic and triumphant close. Our favourite mixologist from a premium cocktail bar in Singapore had been drafted as a surprise to prepare hubby’s signature drink and arrived onboard to act as our very own flair bartender, dazzling us of gravity defying bottle juggling and glass pouring set to music. The final culmination of the perfect day was a round of our Aqua Voyage cocktails to toast the birthday boy with, and a unanimous group decision, to celebrate many more birthdays on sea.