A Week in Paradise

A yacht charter story around Antigua  |  By Alexia Howard, age 16 

Calm bays, soft pink sand, turquoise water and an incredible Chef make for a perfect vacation in the Caribbean island of Antigua.

This year for spring break, we were able to go to the beautiful island of Antigua. We had never been before and it was totally worth the long trip from Denver. Antigua is pronounced (An-tee-ga), which we learned from the locals. It is part of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. We arrived to bright sunshine and 80 degree weather and it stayed that way every day. Once aboard the Lady J, the fabulous crew treated my sister and me to the best Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris while my Mom and Dad had Key Lime Coladas. Chef James also had out little spoons of lobster or—as I said—little bites of heaven! The yacht was docked in the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, which was really nice. There was a gym that my parents used and tennis courts that I got to play on. You could also paddle board and kayak in the bay as it was so calm. 


That afternoon we walked around a bit and discovered a nice restaurant overlooking the water. You can also walk 15 minutes to get to a pretty beach. If you walked another direction for 10 minutes, you would end up in another marina but first you walk through an old stone gateway. We learned it was a preserved historical site, which was very cool. Back on the boat, our first dinner was a ceviche starter followed by yummy sea bass stacked on vegetables. I don’t love fish but this was delicious. My parents do love fish and they were raving about it. Of course, my favorite was the chocolate molten cake dessert that had warm chocolate oozing out of it when I cut into it. Delicious!


After a wonderful night’s sleep, we awoke to home-made peanut butter and chocolate muffins, a favorite of mine. A one-hour smooth trip took us to a secluded bay where we were able to get out the kayaks and paddle boards. The water was so clear and turquoise blue. Next adventure... we hopped on the jet skis to explore the various bays. My Mom and I like to go slow and see the sites while my Dad and sister like to see how fast they can go. The crew also got out a new toy called the catapult or blob. Basically you sit on one end while someone else jumps on the other end so you go flying into the water. The biggest challenge is getting on to it. But we had so much fun trying as our parents sat on the trampoline laughing at us.


Another awesome meal we had was a Greek themed lunch. Chef James made a Greek salad, grilled octopus, feta with herbs, homemade pita bread, homemade hummus, and tzatziki. It was so good. He makes all of his own bread every day and it is all wonderful. For dinner one night he made sushi and sashimi with seaweed salad and soba noodles that we all loved. It was better than any sushi restaurant we go to at home. The next day, we got to go to another beach and bay. The sand is like powdered sugar so we played paddle ball on the beach and took long walks. One of my favorite things is going on the wing. It is an inflatable toy that you lay on and then are whipped around by someone driving the tender. Jared, the first mate, loved to drive us over big waves but we held on most of the time!


My favorite day was the last day. We went to another bay but had our own private beach. The crew set up a volleyball net and we had a beach barbecue. It was so fun playing volleyball and then being able to walk right to lunch complete with grilled lobster, scallops, and ribs, plus grilled vegetables that everyone devoured. They even dragged the water trampoline to the beach so we could lay out there after lunch.


We were also able to snorkel, which was amazing. We saw so many different colored fish. That night we even ended our trip with our tradition on Friday, pizza and a movie. However, we didn’t have to order in as Chef James made us 4 different kinds of homemade pizza. I wish we could bring him home with us! I would definitely recommend Antigua. It is a beautiful island with soft sand beaches, clear blue water, and fun places to use all of the toys on the Lady J.


There are also lots of hikes around the island plus zip lining and horseback riding. We were having so much fun doing all of the activities on and off the boat we didn’t do any of those but for those interested the island offers a lot of different things to do. Bon Voyage!

Luxury dining on Lady J wows judges at the Antigua Charter Show

Lady J is very proud to have, once again, won the 16th Annual Charter Chef Competition at the Antigua Charter Show, which included two great competitions under one format: The Culinary Contest and the Tablescaping Contest.

Lady J’s Chef Ben Dineen won the Concours de Chef contest while Chief Stewardess Danielle Pia Jones placed 2nd in the Tablescaping competition in the middle category 126-159 ft yachts. Lady J is a 142’ Palmer Johnson Motoryacht.

Charter Yacht Chefs were asked to select a country of their choice, and prepare a 3-course traditional Christmas luncheon with a Caribbean twist in the use of ingredients and overall presentation.

Chef Ben’s menu was Irish-themed and included:

Christmas Menu

The Irish, Montserrat Connection


  • Terrine of Ham Hock, Confit Turkey & Foie Gras
  • Pineapple Marmalada, Cranberry Jelly, Sage Brioche

Main Course

  • Tenderloin of Wild Venison in Burnt Hay
  • Spiced Plantain Puree, Callaloo, Beetroot, Shallot Tatin 


  • Traditional Plum Pudding
  • Poached Pear
  • Local Rum Egg Nog Ice Cream

Five judges tasted the chefs unique creations and evaluated each one upon criteria that included:

  • Originality and Creativity
  • Presentation
  • Taste and Flavor
  • Country theme with Caribbean twist
  • Execution Craft / Technique
  • Overall impression

The award-winning menu was served onboard Lady J’s main formal dining salon, which was beautifully decorated by Chief Stewardess Danielle Pia Jones, her unique and creative style earned her 2nd Place in the Tablescaping Competition.

The judging criteria for Tablescaping included:

  • Originality and Creativity
  • Suitability of table styling to match the Chef’s country of choice with a Caribbean flair
  • Design and decoration featuring a sponsored bottle of champagne

Luxury dining onboard a private yacht charter is unparalleled and Lady J’s Chef is prepared to make your culinary experience onboard absolutely unforgettable. The crew are very excited with their Antigua success and looking forward to a busy winter charter season with many Christmas menus coming up!

The 2015 Councours de Chefs was sponsored by:

Laurent Perrier - Bacchus Wines - Le Gout du Vin - Boat Int Media Group - Showboats - Dockwalk - Charterfleet.com - Liat Quikpak Express - National Marine Supplies