Love Food – Charter Ocean Vibes! Moreover, vacationing on a crewed charter yacht is like staying in a floating hotel where the porthole view changes daily. Likewise, and especially aboard the 74-foot Sunreef, Ocean Vibes, dining aboard is like eating in a different five-star restaurant every night. No wonder. Chef Neen Reynolds, an Ohio, USA native, learned from-scratch cooking with high-quality ingredients from her mother. Since then, the authentic flavors in her dishes come from travels around the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and six years living in the Caribbean. Neen’s professional food service training and fine art education mean the food is everything to her. Now, add two other vital ingredients. First Stewardess Britnie Frizzle’s terrific often-themed table settings. Secondly, Captain Sergio Gomez’s knack for watersports helps guests work up an appetite. The result is a recipe for a fantastic culinary adventure on Ocean Vibes.
“Dining is a huge element of a charter,” says Neen. “A guest can expect to consume six courses a day. That equals 42 courses throughout the charter, plus readily available snacks. I could simply follow the preference sheet and make sure everyone is fed. That isn’t good enough for me. I must be proud of myself. I take every opportunity to excite our guests, to nourish and comfort them. Also, to create lasting bonds and memories. Food can be so much; I can’t let it just be a little.”
Neen’s cuisine begins with a seasonal sample menu full of flexible cuisine. Then, she takes note of all guest preferences and the availability of local produce and proteins and applies this to her menu, making all necessary adjustments. Since she makes everything from scratch, she can easily adjust to fit any dietary or preference needs. Often, she creates unique new dishes for guests.
“For each dish, I’m thinking about what my guests need. Will they be dehydrated? Did they have a particularly large meal previously? Have they been traveling all day? Do they need some comfort food? It isn’t enough for a dish to be good; it has to be served at the appropriate time. Flexibility in my menu and the ability to transform ingredients are key to success. After all, food is everything,” Neen says.
Avocado toast is a classic on Neen’s breakfast menu. She gives it a twist. For example, starting with Caribbean green-skinned avocado. Toppings can include a soft-boiled duck egg wrapped in either smoked salmon or prosciutto with a sprinkle of flaky smoked salt. Watermelon radish adds crunch, and Tobiko (flying fish roe) adds umami. VI-grown greens add color. A side of local passionfruit completes the meal.
For lunch, there’s Neen’s signature Sushi Burger. The dish starts with a sushi rice bun tinted purple with butterfly pea flowers and flash fried. Next is a sushi-grade tuna ‘patty’ seasoned with wasabi, green onion, and ponzu. Toppings feature seaweed ‘lettuce,’ home pickled cucumber and radish, and wasabi microgreens. Nori aioli for dipping and edamame ‘fries’ on the side.
Snacks range from simple to substantial depending on guests’ activities. Light hydration bites might be just-picked coconut and mint wrapped with spiral-cut cucumber and dressed with coconut oil, lime juice, and charcoal salt. Suppose Captain Sergio, a South American native and Dive Master, has had guests out wakeboarding or tubing with Ocean Vibes’ powerful dinghy, riding underwater scooters, paddleboarding, or scuba diving charter. In that case, Neen serves a heartier snack. Think Baked Brie. Phyllo-wrapped brie wheel layered with figs, fig-jam, toasted walnuts, honey, and thyme, baked to flaky, gooey perfection.
Dinner might start with papaya gazpacho. Local proteins like Mahi Mahi, snapper, tuna, lobster, or whelks star as entrées. Creole Mahi Mahi is a guest favorite. It’s bought fresh from island fishermen, topped with Creole sauce, wrapped in plantain leaves, and baked. Desserts are just as creative. Take smoked corn vanilla ice cream. It’s perfect to pair with Neen’s red chili brownies, brûléed berries, or upside-down banana cake.
Highlighting the ‘food is everything‘ vibe is themed cuisine nights. Ocean Vibes, with its 35-foot beam, is wonderfully spacious. A total capacity of 8 guests can dine in comfort in the salon or alfresco on the deck. One favorite is Crab Boils. The dining table is covered with newspaper, topped with an arsenal of crab tools, seasoned butter, lemon, and shell bowls, and big platters of perfectly cooked crab legs.
“We have a lot of fun with theme nights. Britnie goes the extra mile with decor, and I pair the menu to the theme. Guests are invited to bring attire for these evenings and/or have fun with what we supply on board. We have lots of fun with photos! Britnie is a professional photographer,” says Neen.
Long gone are the outward-bound chartering days when the menu featured hard-tack biscuits and spam. Today, food is everything when on a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands crewed charter on Ocean Vibes. Ocean Vibes, with Chef Neen, Captain Sergio, and Stew Britnie, proves this by offering a charter yacht vacation that’s perfect for foodies afloat.
Explore a sample U.S. Virgin Islands Sailing Itinerary that you can experience on Love Food – Charter Ocean Vibes.
Best Vacay ever!! The boat, the crew, the view, the food…absolutely incredible…truly an awesome experience and a trip of a lifetime, can’t wait to do it again!The TN Birthday Crew, John & Elesha Reid
Wow! What an amazing trip. Every detail was wonderful. We enjoyed all the food and the way we were served! It was one of our best trips! Such a dream! The captain and our crews were fabulous!
What a magical week!! Hard to know where to even begin. The crew of the Valhalla created the perfect environment for my proposal to fiancé! Sergio picked out the prefect beach for us at sunset. Britnie captured the moment, both candid and staged, with beautiful photographs, and Chef Neen cooked up a feast of crab. We will never forget the experience : The crew of Valhalla feels like family.Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Best trip ever!! We want to adopt the crew and take them home with us! Everything was amazing! Love Robyn and Justin
Thank you for creating such an amazing vacation for our family! Each of you are spectacular at your trade and together you are the best trio on the seas! So relaxed, authentic, creative, fun, warm and kind all the time. We feel so lucky to have spent 5 days aboard the Valhalla and leave with relaxed, happy memories, and a few more lbs. Thanks to Neens’ incredible culinary skills. We wish each of you all the best and hope our paths cross again!