6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Seadream II: Antigua - Antigua, March 31 - April 6, 2018. Anyway because of Hurricane Irma’s destruction of St. Maarten Seadream had moved their hub to St. Johns, Antigua for the whole season. A wierd choice because Antigua has no ... Read More
Seadream II: Antigua - Antigua, March 31 - April 6, 2018. Anyway because of Hurricane Irma’s destruction of St. Maarten Seadream had moved their hub to St. Johns, Antigua for the whole season. A wierd choice because Antigua has no Cruise Terminal - in fact no facilities whatsoever. We came in on an Island hopper from St Maarten during the morning, took a taxi to St. Johns and was actually dropped off at the top of the pedestrian street leading down to the pier. No Seadream staff. No sign. A minuscle public office (when we finally found it) served as combined customs and immigration. Still no Seadream staff. By questioning the local person at the office we found out where the boat was parked: 300 meters of south-facing boardwalk with no shadow but a lot of stairs from where we were. No Seadream staff. No Porters. Plenty of luggage. We hauled our 60 kilos over to the boat and happily but sweaty climed the gangway. On the otherwise empty deck finally we found a Seadream Officer. Without any greating he promptly denied us access. By then it was almost 1 pm. but apparently we were an hour too early. Could we please sit in the shadow somewhere? No. Get off the ship and return later. What about our luggage standing on the pier? Just leave it there! And from then it went downhill: Only 30 passengers of which 12 were invited agents. Inconsistent service. Arrogant Middle Managers. The “port” at Virgin Gorda (Leverick Bay) was completely destroyed by Irma. Not one building was left standing. Yet they insisted in tendering in the few braves that wanted to. For what? Instead they could be anchoring up at a nice beach somewhere in the neigborhood. After all that should be their strenght: Small size and few passengers equals flexibility. Not so on Seadream. In fact the only change in the itineray was to not go to White Beach, Joost Van Dyke which happens to be one of the most spectacular beaches on the Planet. Instead they went to a dark-grey uninviting beach on another island. Why? Because the shack they use for the beach BBQ on White Bay Beach had not been rebuilt yet and they wanted to show the agents what a beach BBQ was. Apparently there was a shack on Dark Grey Beach where they could feed the flock of agents (with severely burnt feet). Out of six dinners three were good. Dishes had to be sent out at the other three. Compared to the other 6* lines the cabins are small and uncomfortable. The bathroom is so small that I had to sit side-ways on the loo. The sink is barely above my knee caps. (I am 6,3). To take a shower was an acrobatic exercise. Since 1999 we have cruised upwards of 400 days always on small or medium sized 6* lines. The six days on board Seadream were the most expensive per diem - and the poorest value. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The ship is a yacht -there were 110 people and 95 staff. This was a special cruise and we were two of fourteen of the Domaine Carneros wine group, hosted by founder Eileen Crane. This cruise exceeded every normal expectation and ... Read More
The ship is a yacht -there were 110 people and 95 staff. This was a special cruise and we were two of fourteen of the Domaine Carneros wine group, hosted by founder Eileen Crane. This cruise exceeded every normal expectation and exceeded even Crystal or Seabourn, which are both excellent, more formal, and newer ships and amenities. The yacht has six decks with suites on two-through five, is lovely, casual and everything is easy to get to. There are multiple eating areas, dining, gym, spa and all the normal amenities, including a casino. The cabins are small suites, more than adequate and plenty of room for personals brought on the yacht. There are larger suites, but our suite was centrally located on Deck 4. the bedding and comforters are exceptional. Dining was amazing in the dining areas, with a buffet for both breakfast and lunch and ordering the main breakfast/lunch off the menu for both. Choices always nclude both gluten free (many for all courses) and vegan. For each meal there is a ‘Chef’s Selection’ for all courses, and multiple alternatives and other choices. The food is prepared to order and there was not one meal that was not prepared to perfection. This is a more casual atmosphere without formal nights or ‘dress up.’ During the day, shorts, causal attire was perfect. At night, no jeans, but yacht casual, summer dress, pants and top, and for men slacks and a collared shirt. The service was impeccable and the staff knew each of us by name from day one and addressed us by name. We were part of the wine group and we had a Winemakers Dinner that was exquisite with champagnes and wines paired with each course. There was a minimum charge on this but it was a token compared to the quality of champagnes and wines that were served-each in their appropriate glass. This group also had special champagne and food hosted by Eileen Crane at no additional cost and some wine tastings. The first night we were each provided Sea Dream pj’s with our name embroidered on the top. There was an impromptu pj party on the only night it rained. On the top deck you can sleep under the stars in beautifully done beds and those had to come in due to rain and others joined then in the piano bar for the pj party. Each night we had appetizers and either champagne or wine before dinner—done beautifully. We cannot say enough about the staff-Severin and Garrett were amazing bartenders and went above and beyond. They represented the best of Sea Dream. The sommelier Frank was more than knowlegable and attended to every wish and desire -like everyone else with a smile. The Tai massage therapists were excellent and the cabin staff were consistently fast, efficient and helpful. The spa is on our deck 4 and I utilized the sauna, steam and shower first thing often. The caviar splash and Bar-B-Q was an amazing excursion with everything necessary brought out to the beach. Some of the other excusrsions were not was well organized and were done by island people rather than the Sea Dream staff. There is a pool and jacuzzi but one highlight was the availability of jet skis, snorkeling off the yacht, weather permitting daily. For those who scuba dive-that is available too. Fresh made popcorn for watching movies from the extensive DVD library. Excursions without cost are available and you can join the staff for bike-rides or hikes. We cruised at night and docked daily at a different island. The smaller sizer of the yacht allowed us to dock where bigger ships cannot. This was not your normal Caribbean cruise. All the ports were lovely destinations. I will mention that going throiugh customs in Barbados is a long process—waiting in line to have a visa stamped. All the planes arrive at the same time-and it took 2 hours. We learned later for $60 they will expedite the process. :( We stayed at the Barbados Hilton Resort the night before the cruise-some stayed in more expensive places-but our room, the amenities and beach were lovely and we would have loved to stay there again. The week was truly glorious. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I love small cruise ships. We prefer a “country club casual” dress code; great food and service; and an intimate vessel that makes it easy to meet new and interesting fellow travelers. We’ve cruised on Windstar and ... Read More
My wife and I love small cruise ships. We prefer a “country club casual” dress code; great food and service; and an intimate vessel that makes it easy to meet new and interesting fellow travelers. We’ve cruised on Windstar and several other small-ship ocean cruise lines many times, as well as on river cruises in Europe, the U.S., and the Amazon. I’ve been intrigued by SeaDream for several years, and this year we finally took the plunge on a 7-day Caribbean winter-getaway cruise from Barbados to St. Thomas. We’re glad we did! Embarkation: Getting to - and on – a ship at the beginning of a voyage is often one of the most stressful, frustrating parts of a cruise. Embarkation on SeaDream was easy and seamless. We arrived portside about an hour before boarding was to start. SeaDream had port agents there to take our luggage and free us to wander Bridgetown unencumbered at our leisure. At the designated 2:00 pm time, we caught the shuttle to the ship, were welcomed aboard with champagne and a lovely buffet, and quickly and efficiently went through the registration process. It couldn’t have been easier. Disembarkation was just as easy, albeit a little sadder. The Ship: SeaDream is a tiny, all-inclusive, boutique cruise line, consisting of two, thirty-year-old ships, (cleverly named SeaDream I and SeaDream II). These identical, very well-maintained ships each carry about 110 passengers and 96 crew members. The ship has a small pool and hot tub, plenty of lounge chairs and lots of shaded nooks and crannies to curl up with a good book. There are several bars around the ship, with convivial bartenders eager to keep passengers well-lubricated. SeaDream has a very loyal clientele. Half or more of the passengers had sailed on SeaDream before; often many times. One couple had spent 311 days on SeaDream ships. It doesn’t get much more loyal than that. Dining: The food on SeaDream II was superb! (Thank you, Alastair!!) There was always a seafood dish on the menu, plus a variety of entres. I don’t eat tofu, but there also appeared to be plenty of tasty options for non-carnivores. The main dining room on Deck 2 is lovely, but most evenings (weather permitting) dinner was alfresco at the Topside Restaurant on Decks 5 and 6. Pre-dinner cocktails were served in the lounge or poolside, and always included a wonderful assortment of hors d’oeuvres. Cabins: The cabins on SeaDream are adequate in size ( 195 sq. ft.), nicely appointed and well layed out, but there are no verandas. The bathroom is quite small. You actually have to sit side-saddle to use the throne. The shower, however, is decent-sized, and water pressure is good. On-Board Activities: There are no Broadway shows, water slides or midnight buffets on SeaDream II. During the day, the sports platform is out for swimming, sunning and enjoying an assortment of water toys (both motorized and non-motorized). The two jet-skis were great fun, (however, after riding in choppy water I quickly learned how my dog must have felt when I had him neutered). The piano bar on Deck 4 was a fun place to be after 9:30 pm. Fred is a marvelous piano player and loved to accompany us in ad hoc karaoke. Across from the piano is a tiny “casino” consisting of a single blackjack table at which Alexandra is always “feeling very generous”. Bartender Severin happily and efficiently kept us all well lubricated. SeaDream did a great job helping my wife celebrate her birthday. At dinner they served her a beautiful - and tasty - personalized cake, and everyone, of course, sang “Happy Birthday”. On a ship this size, (we had only 88 passengers on board), most everyone already knew her and came up afterwards to wish her a happy day. And when we returned to our cabin, we found it festively decorated with balloons and towel animals. We were very pleased. The Crew: The SeaDream staff came from all over the world: Phillipines, Thailand, South Africa, Hungary, Croatia, Norway, etc., etc. They were all outstanding. They were fun, funny, efficient and attentive, and knew our names by the second day. I worry about naming a few names because so many wonderful crew members will be left out. But among the folks who made this voyage so memorable are Nikola the maitre d’, Frank the sommelier, Eugene, Fernando and Alfie in the dining room and Tonya, the masseuse. On a somewhat negative note, we wish there had been more opportunity to mingle and talk with the Captain and senior crew. We first saw the Captain at the reception Sunday night, and then again when we disembarked a week later. But never in between. On a small ship like this, we’d prefer that the Captain not be invisible. Other Activities and Issues: SeaDream’s much-touted “Caviar and Champagne Splash” and beach party easily lived up to the hype. It was a hoot!!! Everyone – passengers and crew alike – was eating and drinking and smiling and laughing. Where else can you wade into surf to be served caviar and champagne from a surfboard? The setting was perfect. A beautiful stretch of beach with plenty of chairs, a wonderful buffet and a well-stocked bar. With fewer than 100 passengers, the beach was never crowded. You could lay out in the sun, or in the shade of a palm tree, and relax and enjoy. It was a wonderful day SeaDream provides each passenger personalized pajamas with names embroidered in the shirt. We understood that the pajamas were “one size fits all”. That works for me, but my wife is less than 100 pounds soaking wet. Three months before the cruise, I asked SeaDream if they could provide my wife pajamas in an XS. No dice! Her lovely, personalized pajamas were Extra Large and useless to her. We threw them in the trash. What a waste. SeaDream’s much-touted “Sleeping under the stars in a Balinese Bed” was very disappointing. We took the advice from SeaDream reviews and were among the very first passengers to board the ship. We immediately reserved the most secluded and private of the Balinese beds (on the bow of Deck 6) for my wife’s birthday later in the week. When that day arrived, there was no communication from SeaDream reminding us or providing guidance on how best to take advantage of the experience. We also discovered that the only way to get to that Balinese bed was to traipse through a crowd of passengers in the Topside Bar. The above-mentioned pajama issue was also an obstacle to enjoying the Balinese bed. As a result of all this, we visited our Balinese bed after dinner, sat under the stars for an hour or so, and then returned to our cabin to go to bed. It should have been more fun and memorable than that. As is the case with most cruise lines, excursions booked through SeaDream are expensive and a bit of a crap shoot. We took only one excursion all week, a disappointing Catamaran and Snorkeling adventure. The sailing part was scenic and enjoyable, (it was a lovely, spacious boat), but the snorkeling was a waste of time. For the even more-expensive ($159 pp) “Tropical Eco-Adventure by Zodiac”, we fortunately never got off the wait list. Friends who took this excursion said it was awful. Instead, that day, we visited the amazing Deshaies, Guadelupe, Botanical Garden. A beautiful place well worth three hours of our time.!! We could have taken the SeaDream excursion to the Gardens for $79 per person. Instead, we took the tender into town and looked for a cab. By pure luck, we discovered there was a free shuttle to the nearby gardens. Perfect!! We paid our $16 pp admission and had a great time, while saving a total of about $125 in the process. Afterwards, the concierge on SeaDream claimed to know nothing about the free shuttle. A word of warning to those prone to sea-sickness. This is a small, older ship configured with less-than-state-of-the-art stabilization. A couple of times we sailed all night in choppy waters, and the SeaDream II was rocking and rolling a lot. We found it soothing and relaxing; but some motion-sensitive passengers may not. I don’t want to overstate the negatives on this cruise. For the most part, they are little nit-picking things that could easily be fixed or simply ignored. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and a marvelous relaxing week. I expect that we will be back on board a SeaDream cruise again in the not too far distant future. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise was everything I was hoping for and more ! We don't like crowds nor need constant entertainment. If that is what you are looking for this is not the cruise for you. If you are looking for that moment you know you are home ... Read More
This cruise was everything I was hoping for and more ! We don't like crowds nor need constant entertainment. If that is what you are looking for this is not the cruise for you. If you are looking for that moment you know you are home and you exhale. This is the place for you. From the moment you step on the ship to the very last step the day you leave the Seadream crew out do themselves. The food was amazing, the staff are always friendly and move with a sense of pride. They truly love their jobs and it shows. They think of everything. From a cool cloth for when you get back from a day at shore to someone coming around to clean your sunglasses. They even had a velvet lined box of reading glasses in case you forgot yours at dinner ! Those are just a few highlights. Each and every day was a pleasure to be there. You never had a drink that wasn't full but they seemed to know when to be there and when to be invisible. An art in itself. We didn't want to leave. Hence why we book 2 more trips in the near future to head back to what we now call home :) BTY - We got engage on this trip and WOW, again Seadream went above and beyond to make that experience so memorable. Thanks Seadream ! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first cruise. Friends recommended the SeaDream cruises as intimate with excellent service and food. What we did not want: A massive ship where we were one of a zillion people and mediocre food & service. We have chartered ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Friends recommended the SeaDream cruises as intimate with excellent service and food. What we did not want: A massive ship where we were one of a zillion people and mediocre food & service. We have chartered private yachts in the past and like the first class experience. Embarkation and disembarkation were simple and pleasant. From the minute you arrive to the moment you depart in your airport transport, you experience the excellent service. Staff was outstanding, 91 passengers/ 95 staff on our cruise. Not only did they know your name but at one stop on the beginning of our cruise, I needed a hat and due to port rules, they couldn't sell me one, a staff member insisted I borrow hers! Additionally, you can really feel how proud the staff is to work on the ship. Many have been on the ship for over 10 years. Food: Overall the food was stellar. They had options for everyone -- including a raw, vegan menu every evening. The pre-dinner cocktail hour was nice but it's one area I felt it fell down on food. The options just weren't as elegant as the food served at the meals. The caviar celebration was nice but I didn't care for the caviar. Each day a soup was offered at lunch; it would have been great to have a cold soup option on such a warm weather cruise. The dining room was very nice and when feasible, we dined on the deck outside. There were night where it was simply too windy though. Wine selection was good. We generally purchased a bottle for dinner as the dinner selections (one white, one red) were not my taste (I'm picky). I didn't feel the markup was extravagant. One night we had a $90 bottle and another we had a $30 rose that was quite nice. In room dining - See menu pics, pretty much says it all. For a non kid-friendly cruise, I was left wondering where the adult food was. Movie night was fun although a bit difficult to hear sound. Wish service had been better / existed. After the popcorn was distributed, we never saw the staff again -- I would have liked a glass of wine but didn't want to step away from the movie to find an open bar. Spa was excellent. We went nearly every day. They are flexible and it was easy to change our appointment times, day of. We made our appointments shortly after we arranged our land excursions and they made sure we didn't have conflicts. Land adventures were great. The adventures offered were a selection of the ones listed on the website. Prior to the cruise, I asked which ones were actually going to happen and they directed me to the website. Once on board, it made more sense as they change things depending on circumstances. For instance, there were 2 Pompeii tours on the site - same tour, just different starting point. When we arrived on the boat, they only offered one -- the better one as it was a 20 minute drive to the site instead of a 2 hour drive the other tour required. Port timing - typical of cruise ships probably but some were too short for our preference. Still, it was a nice "taste" of all of the stops. Stabilizers. An asst captain (I think) told us the ship had stabilizers but they didn't seem to work that well. It wasn't unbearable but the ship definitely rocked. I could see it being difficult if you are prone to seasickness There is a gym but the hours aren't great if you'd like to start early with a work out or go after dinner. Casino is a single blackjack table. I'm not a gambler but found this fun as it was another opportunity to get to know fellow cruise members and be social. See below for cabin information My husband, who was even more apprehensive about taking a cruise, is already talking about the next SeaDream cruise we should take. I can't wait! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, excursions and the outstanding service and cuisine, and the excellent reputation of its staff. The fare includes all food and beverage (alcoholic or non) and tips. The only additional expenses on ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, excursions and the outstanding service and cuisine, and the excellent reputation of its staff. The fare includes all food and beverage (alcoholic or non) and tips. The only additional expenses on board are excursions, boutique merchandise, premium wines/spirit, or avail of their spa services (massage/beauty salon). The embarkation was excellent as there were no crowds with only 112 guests on board. No lines to speak of. When you board the ship, you are greeted by the captain and the staff and a glass of champagne, escorted to the lounge for some more drinks and refreshments, to sit and relax. Registration is by party, and a staff will escort you to the concierge area where you are handed your sea pass. No lines to stand in. After this is all done, a cabin stewardess will escort you to your room where your luggage would most probably be waiting for you by the door. She will then go through the room amenities and give you the day's schedule. You can unpack and then go have a tour of the ship or book your excursions or have a drink and hang out at the pool. This cruise is not for everyone - It seems to be designed for the active travelers - young or old. There are no kids clubs, photographers or staff constantly selling you things. Entertainment is minimal - a guitarist and pianist, a 1 table casino, library, an 18 hole golf simulator, and an extensive collection of DVD that you can watch in your cabin. The concierge would even make pop corn and bring it to your room. Excursions are beach, bike, hike, snorkel or scuba diving, or you can get off the ship and do your own excursion arrangements ashore. Usually there are 2 ports per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As several ports do no have docks, you have to be tendered in using one or two of the lifeboats, or by zodiak if you are going straight to the beach. Dining is usually on the Deck 5 and 6 and is open air, except for a couple of nights when both open air and the formal dining room on deck 2 is open. Food is excellent with extensive vegan options. The chef will make adjustments according to your requests, or would prepare a specific dish that you request if you give them a days notice. Only a few dishes are prepared in advance as most are cooked to order. Meals consist of breakfast, lunch, afternoon cocktails and dinner. You can also order from the room service menu any time day or night. Special occassions like birthdays or anniversaries are noted ahead of time and you will probably get serenaded by the staff or a staff member, with a cake and card signed by the captain. They will decorate your room with balloons and another special note from your cabin stewardess. The staff is always on the constant lookout for anything to satisfy your requests, and most of the time would anticipate it without waiting for you to ask for it. They call each guest by name - it might take a day or so, but they go through the guest list with pictures. The attire is informal until 6:30 pm where they recommend you get into a casual getup (proper shoes and long pants for the gents, no shorts/bathing attire for the ladies) however several guests seem to prefer to dress up a little (Dress for the ladies, jackets for the gents) as this is the start of the cocktails leading into dinner but you wouldn't be out of place in a polo/golf or hawaiian shirt. The on board atmosphere is more like a family get together as the staff always keeps you engaged, not because it is their job but because they truly care. A large majority of the passengers are repeat cruisers and are quite proud to share their onboard experiences with you. Disembarkation was a little sad as you are leaving newly found friends, but a lot of them have already made plans for the next cruise, and if you have as well, chances are you might see the same faces - guests and staff - welcome you back on board. There was no rush to get off the ship except for those that have a flight to catch, and with only 112 guest, there was no line to speak of. Going through immigrations was smooth and the taxi line was waiting outside. We were off the ship and at the airport in 20 minutes. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
SeaDream is niche and one's response will depend on how one visualizes a 5-star experience. There's nothing wrong with it, but a lot of what we've come to associate with luxury resorts requires bigness, like walk-in closets, ... Read More
SeaDream is niche and one's response will depend on how one visualizes a 5-star experience. There's nothing wrong with it, but a lot of what we've come to associate with luxury resorts requires bigness, like walk-in closets, big bathrooms, lots of choices in restaurants and entertainment, structured programs. So, gut check time -- if your lux ideal requires big, then SeaDream isn't for you. Things like the wine list and the pool are going to be great but not big. Onboard shopping is very limited. This isn't a floating Bellagio -- you'll feel the boat move . . . a lot. I'd also say SeaDream isn't "plush" -- sheets, towels, furniture, fixtures are all very comfortable and up to date, but not over-the-top or to-die-for. On the other hand, you'll love SeaDream (as we did) if your definition of luxury corresponds to what SeaDream brings to the table. The food is phenomenal (really) in creativity, presentation, execution, you name it. In this respect, smallness had no negative effect on choices -- the menu always had lots of choices, even for breakfast. These are 300' yachts, not cruise ships, which makes them both charming and convenient. There is wooden trim as well as doors and hatches that need to be latched. Literally nothing on the ship is more than a 2 minute walk from anything else -- I could go back to our room to retrieve a forgotten item and be back at the pool or topside restaurant in less than a minute. (Incidentally, wind and water make for good white noise -- we barely heard a thing from outside the room, even from the piano bar only 30' away on Deck 4 or the topside bar directly overhead). Mostly, however, SeaDream delivers its kind of 5-star luxury through relationships -- both among guests and between guests and crew. (The latter may be more commonly known as "service," but it's still about personal relationships.) SeaDream is famous for its social atmosphere and its service, and I won't belabor the point other than to say it's real and it's all it's cracked up to be, and to add a few observations: 1. Social doesn't mean frat house and doesn't mean an absence of privacy. We're still talking about 40-80 year old adults, mostly in their 50s and 60s, of differing temperaments. You can be social if and when you want to be. I considered us fairly social and yet we still ate breakfast alone almost every morning, lunch alone most days, and dinner alone twice. 2. If you're in the mood and the moons align for a party, there are unforgettable, fun experiences that can only happen within the kind of socially intimate groups you'll find on SeaDream. The high-enthusiam (if not high-quality) singalongs to George's piano don't work with a group of strangers. Same for the no-particular-occasion dance party at the Top of the Yacht that roared until 1:30 am until we took pity on Gareth and Domo and let them go to bed. It was self-DJ'd, meaning a bunch of 40, 50 and 60 year olds took turns plugging in their iPods to play fun, middle-age people dance music. That can only happen among people who already know and like one another and you're pretty sure they'll have extra Advil to share in the morning. 3. Maybe unwittingly, SeaDream has taken the social science breakthrough of our time (relationships, not stuff, makes us happy) and applied it to luxury cruises. It's your relationship with the staff (a/k/a service) and your relationship with the other guests. The result is a sense of contentment and security that you'll pay good money for, also known as luxury. Who knew. Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a special shout-out to some of the staff. The waiters and bartenders work very hard, and I want to especially thank some for making our trip very special: Domo, Gareth, Grenold, O'Neill, Bartosz. Thanks, guys. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We'd been with Sea Dream Yacht Club twice before and enjoyed it very much. This trip was our LAST on Sea Dream. We had booked back-to-back cruises for 2018 on board which we have now cancelled. Our stateroom was OK...it was one ... Read More
We'd been with Sea Dream Yacht Club twice before and enjoyed it very much. This trip was our LAST on Sea Dream. We had booked back-to-back cruises for 2018 on board which we have now cancelled. Our stateroom was OK...it was one of the ones that can be converted into a suite. The layout was set up for combining cabins...not for being an individual room. The first week we had one chef and then the second week his contract was up so another chef came on board. The food the second week was a little better. The food, for the most part, was good. The bread was at best fair. We stopped at islands were terrific European bakeries, but bread was not one of the things the ship bought locally...they baked on board...but not well. Beef was always good...steaks and prime rib exceptional. The problem I had was with the casino. Stella both "managed" and dealt at the single blackjack table they had. She had some strange unwritten rules...if she made a mistake and exposed a card that shouldn't be played she never burned the card...she just made it the next card out...so if it was a six and the next card out came to a player they got the six...no choice. She claimed "I never burn cards". The "casino" is opposite the piano bar in a very small area. The passengers are given a microphone to sing along with the pianist...bad idea. Most of the guests were drunk or getting their quickly and they sang like...well...lets just say it was load and there were words involved but it was a far cry from singing. I usually wore ear plugs in the casino when I played. They use European rules...they only look under aces...not 10's so you can have a lot of money on the table from splits and double downs and the dealer can turn over a blackjack.. That adds about 5% to the house. You also have to play 2 hands if you are the only one at the table and you can't play more than 2 hands. So if you are alone you are locked into the shoe...you can't change the fall of the cards by playing an extra hand or staying out of a hand. I lost most nights. On the last night I finally raised my bet to the table maximum which is $50 as I was winning and I was trying to get even. I got back about 1/4th of my two weeks losses and then Stella, the iron fisted manager/dealer from Serbia, shut the table down. She told me it was because I got into a confrontation with other guests. I was the only player and was quite tired of the load screeching coming from the piano bar. I went outside the casino and said, "Can you people please sing a little louder?" I then returned to the table. Stella "took a break" for twenty minutes and when she came back she closed the table 50 minutes early. The second in command came up and claimed that we were in "American waters" which was a lie. The table was closed because I was winning for a change. I've played a lot of blackjack in a lot of places over the years. This casino was terrible. If you play there consider it a contribution to Sea Dreams Yacht Club...not gambling. By the way, the seats at the table were set so close to the table that you could hardly sit down. There are too many other small ship cruise lines that offer not only better blackjack rules, but a much better experience. My wife and I will not travel with Sea Dreams again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This ... Read More
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This cruise, from embarkation in Nice until the final port of Monaco, was stunning on many levels: My wife and I loved the yacht-like experience from the first moment on board (around 15:00), which began with a poolside buffet to tie us over until dinner. Any crew member we had contact with demonstrated an outstanding service mentality; not demure or fake-friendly but truly engaging and baffling in their capability to anticipate passenger's wishes. Both F&B service and -quality was excellent, and staying with the standard level of wines (included in fare) proved to be completely sufficient, thanks to a great sommelier (Ferenç) who enjoyed wine-talk. However I can imagine that passengers in need of constant entertainment and stimulation will be much happier on a large ship, surrounded by 4,500 of their best new friends. We on the other hand are already plotting when and where we will able to catch a ride on this ship or its sister. Highly recommended! Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I am a veteran of many cruises, from Atlantic crossings on the old Italian Line, to the Home Line, to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, including the Oasis of the Sea. I have brought my children and grandchildren on cruise vacations. I ... Read More
I am a veteran of many cruises, from Atlantic crossings on the old Italian Line, to the Home Line, to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, including the Oasis of the Sea. I have brought my children and grandchildren on cruise vacations. I have traveled with groups and with just my wife. We enjoy cruising. This was the first time on a small ship for my wife and me. We traveled with a group of 23 from our Wine Making School. The experience was quite a difference from the larger ships. Mostly good but with a few drawbacks. We embarked from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The embarking process was unbelievably simple. We dropped off our luggage about 2 hours prior to boarding time. When we returned, we found no long lines and endless forms to consume an hour or more. Upon presentation of our boarding documents and passports we were ushered into the Grand Salon Lounge for a cocktail party. As we talked and met people, we were called, several families at a time, into the "registration room"/Concierge area, where a friendly staff quickly processed our information, took our photos for sea passes, and had us escorted to our staterooms by a stewardess with our baggage. Painless! The cabins were first class. They were large, modern and comfortable. As an "all-inclusive," the room bar was available and well stocked. The mandatory Life Boat drill was handled quickly and efficiently. Taking a little time to become familiar with the ship, we were very pleased with the obvious luxury of the appointments and the pride the crew and staff took in maintaining everything and providing excellent service. The various restaurants were easily reached and all attractive. The cuisine was 5 star all the way. The variety was excellent and the quality of food and presentation was excellent. No chaotic buffet lines here. Even when you selected your own food from the available buffet, a waiter would take the plate from you and escort you to your seat. It became obvious early on that service was a prime goal. By the second day, the crew knew the passengers by name, and addressed you as you entered their areas. We sat at the pool one day and ordered drinks. The second day the waiter appeared with our drinks without even asking. Enrico, the pianist at the piano bar was excellent. He played a wide variety of music with true virtuosity. Being a pretty decent pianist myself I could appreciate his talent. Plus he is an excellent singer. Zoltan, the chief bartender also worked the piano bar and was the friendliest, most attentive bartender you could ask for. The ship has a complement of mountain bikes, wave runners, snorkel equipment and other land and sea toys that are available for passenger use at no additional charge. The crew numbers 95 while the passengers are 112 if full. That's almost 1:1 attention. So where are the drawbacks? I do miss the entertainment and shows available on larger ships. The "casino" consisted of 1 blackjack table and dealer, Lori. She was also a friendly person but some slot machines would have been appreciated. Lori and Enrico doubled as the water sports people during the day. Everyone had multiple duties. The port experiences were a bit disappointing. We went to Anguilla, St. Barts, Nevis and St. Kitts, Tortola, Norman Island, White bay, Jost van Dyke. Most of the landings were away from where the larger ships docked and all were by tender. Several stops occurred while the shopping areas were closed as they only open when the large ships are in. All three of the land excursions we attempted to book were cancelled because we did not have the minimum number for participation. The luncheon provided at our last stop was phenomenal. The Concierge should stop making referrals to the Four Seasons in Nevis as they wanted $500 just to use beach lounges and their pool for the day. Right down the beach was Sunshine's who only charged $5 per lounge for the day. So would I do it again. YES - It all depends on what you are looking for. I would not take my adult children, ages 39, 37 and 30 because there would not be enough action for them. Likewise my 4 grandchildren would be bored. But for adults looking for a restful break, this was ideal. Is it better than the large ships or not as good? Neither. They both serve different purposes. The disembarkation process was also the easiest I have ever experienced. The customs inspectors came right on board. There were no long lines and we were cleared and exited the ship as simply as we boarded. It was a "Sea Dream" experience. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We boarded the SeaDream II yacht/cruise ship around 2pm. After a greeting by the captain, we were directed to a lounge with hors d'oeurves and flowing champagne. We waited there while our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. We ... Read More
We boarded the SeaDream II yacht/cruise ship around 2pm. After a greeting by the captain, we were directed to a lounge with hors d'oeurves and flowing champagne. We waited there while our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. We met a few people there: a couple from Dallas, a couple from Toronto, and a mother/daughter traveling from New Jersey. Everyone was friendly and inviting. We then got our room keys, and were led to our room to unpack. The room was very small, 185 square feet. No rooms had balconies as this is a large yacht/small cruise ship. We had one large window. Though small, the room was adequate and what was there was very nice. The shower was especially nice and big enough (I am 6'3"). It had 3 sprayers and Bvlgari soaps and lotions. The room can equipped with soft linens and a tv which showed 2 or 3 different popular movies each Day in a loop along with CNN World and ship channels. All food and drink was included in the price of the cruise. The ship had a small pool and a hot tub. It had Balinese beds spread throughout the different decks for sunbathing and stargazing. Some people chose to 'sleep under the Stars'. We did not. There was an outside bar on the top deck which featured a guitar player in the evenings after dinner. There was also a piano bar with a pianist/lounge singer, karaoke, and a single black jack table. The food was remarkable. Even the 24 hour menu was delicious. Breakfast and lunch were served either on the deck or in your room. The Belgian pancakes were really good. Dinner was served anytime between 7:30 and 9:30pm each night. Two nights it was served in the formal dining room. The other 5 nights, dinner was served outside on the deck while the ship was anchored off the coast of a different Caribbean island. The dinner menu changes each evening. There was always a 5 course chef's recommended meal, but there were also 5 course vegan meals, and other alternative meal choices. We intermingled choices from different menus each night, and if something was outstanding, you could always have seconds or thirds. Of course dinner was always accompanied by paired wines or your choice of wine or cocktail. We only ate alone once. We shared dinner with at least one other couple most of the time, and when we did, we often ordered bottles of wine from the Somelier's extensive list. These were extra. Nearly every evening, there was some sort of pre-dinner cocktail hour. There was a captain's greeting, a fashion show around the pool with fresh sushi, and others we missed. The best part of the cruise was the people. On other cruises, we met people in passing. On this ship, we really got to know several different couples and crew. We spent a lot of time with a fireman/contractor and his travel sales wife from Long Island, NY; with an orthopedic surgeon and his pediatrician wife from Chicago; with a business owner and his wife from Toronto, and we enjoyed the company of many others from London, Norway, Sweden, and the USA. We especially enjoyed the Cruise Director, Pieter, from South Africa and our main waiter, Ponce, from Puerto Rico. Pieter is a bunch of fun. He led many shore expeditions, both day and night. He led hikes around islands, toured thru St. Barts, and even took a group of us to a Burlesque show one evening. We would have never done that on our own, but the experience turned out to be one we will never forget. These were not places the big cruise ships go. Of the different islands we visited, we enjoyed St. Barts and Jost Van Dyke the most. A day and a half was not long enough on the French island of St. Barts. We spent the day exploring the world class shopping and dining. We didn't get a chance to see the beaches or other renowned hotels, restaurants and bars. We are already ready to go back. Jost Van Dyke is a tiny island with an amazing beach. It is known for its beach and beach bars. The painkiller rum drink was invented at the Soggy Dollar bar there. The ship hosted a beach barbecue on the final day there. Waiters waded into the ocean in their full uniforms to serve drinks and caviar to waiting guests. It was the perfect beach experience. Other stops were to St. John, Anguilla, Tortola, Norman Island, and Virgin Gorda. We hiked Norman island. We went to the Baths at Virgin Gorda, which is a beach with huge boulders that the ocean flows and around. They are more like caves than Baths. We shopped and picked up a painting by a local artist in St. John's. We went to a white sand beach on Anguilla called Shoal beach. We were only in Tortola for one morning. We just visited the main harbor, did some shopping, and looked at the yachts in the Harbor. We went back aboard the ship for lunch and sunbathing on the top deck, enjoying the views of Tortola from our Balinese sun bed. Overall, it was a great trip. There was only one child on the ship and it was the most well behaved Swedish boy. Some people were there for two or three weeks. I don't know if my liver could handle that. So much alcohol... Many guests put a refundable deposit down for another trip within the next two years. That guarantees an extra 10% off. This experience will be tough to follow for sure. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, ... Read More
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, as everything was organised through SeaDream leaving Ross and myself to just thoroughly enjoy the whole ceremony, we were so impressed with the crew who did everything they could to ensure it all went smoothly for us, thank you again to everyone involved, love you all.... Back to the rest of our holiday I must say service was excellent in every aspect through the whole 2 weeks. We especially loved being in the Piano Bar every evening where Sammy on keyboard nicely urged passengers to take up the microphone for karaoke, lots of fun and a few of us danced the night away while Chief Barman Zoltan expertly served drinks with his quick wit and ever-ready cheeky smile.... all the crew had an amazing knack of of remembering all the guests names as well as their preferred drinks etc. Every meal was a 5 star dining experience and the chef was only too happy to cook up a favorite meal for you even if it wasn't on the menu. The shore excursions were terrific, I especially loved the ATV tours, first one for us was a tour staying mostly on the roads with scenic pit-stops, where we were able to take some awesome photos. In the second week we did another ATV shore excursion, this time it was off-road but still easy to manage and lots of fun.... the activities on-board were brilliant. I loved the jet ski and banana boat rides while Ross' passion was the little sailboat.... Our 'yachting not cruising' holiday was an exciting and memorable experience and we can't wait for 2016 doing the Mediterranean and Atlantic Crossing on SeaDream I.... Thank you to everyone on SeaDream II for leaving us with some amazing holiday memories.... Cheers Sandy Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We stayed in the lowest-price cabin on board, and that was over $20,000 with airfare. This review is written with that in mind; this was not a $4,000 Princess cruise and my expectations, and this review, are calibrated accordingly. I ... Read More
We stayed in the lowest-price cabin on board, and that was over $20,000 with airfare. This review is written with that in mind; this was not a $4,000 Princess cruise and my expectations, and this review, are calibrated accordingly. I should point out that even though the fare and port fees were over $18,000, this was the cheapest cabin on board. First, let's get out in the open the main reason for the poor overall rating. For years we had wanted to visit Saba. As an aside, we had once missed the opportunity to dine at The Beach House at the southern tip of St. Kitts (we drove all the way there only to find they had closed unexpectedly) and we once attempted to climb to the top of Mount Nevis only to be stymied by No Trespassing signs, learning later that having a guide is a must to complete that climb. So we were thrilled to find a luxury cruise--ahem, I mean "yacht"--that was going to stop at all three of those places, plus visits to Montserrat and St. Barts, both our to-visit list. Expensive? You bet--but worth it to us to visit so many places on our bucket list all in one shot. Or so we thought. Shortly after we boarded the Seadream II, we were handed a new itinerary announcing we'd be skipping Saba entirely. Seems that the seas had been too rough over the past several weeks, so they rearranged the ports of call. St. Kitts was out, too. We were devastated. But hold on, surely I'm not expressing sour grapes over a decision made for the safety of the ship? Ah, but here's the thing: to be absolutely certain that nothing kept us from keeping a $20,000 appointment, we flew into our departure port (St. Martin) four days early. We had plenty of time to visit Saba for a day or two, there are air and ship ferries daily from St. Martin and St. Marteen to Saba, and we could have easily taken one: all it needed was an email, and we were of course checking messages several times a day. Seadream management simply did not bother. I should add that at least we still got on the boat; our traveling companions almost weren't so lucky. They had missed a connection and did not know if they were going to make it to St. Martin in time, and almost changed their flight to meet the Seadream the next day in St. Barts. Good thing they didn't, because St. Barts was moved--without announcement--from the first day (Sunday) to the fifth day. They were told that was in order to visit while the shops were open, but that explanation does not stand up to close examination: the shops were closed on Sunday back when the itinerary was first announced. They almost lost five-sevenths of their entire trip, and that they did not was due to sheer luck and not to any foresight or effort on Seadream's part. The courtesy of a simple email would have prevented this near-catastrophe. Nor was this the only failing on the part of the captain and company management to communicate important issues to the guests. We left Anguilla (added at the last moment) Sunday and ran into fairly heavy seas, with the result that a number of passengers (myself included) got seasick. I later discovered that the Concierge stocks Dramamine, but that's not mentioned in the cabin literature and wasn't part of the departure briefing (which consists almost entirely of sales pitches for shore excursions--more about those later in the Port descriptions--and future sailings). The ship made a high-speed run for Montserrat, which made the heaving unbearable. Seeing as how the Seadream lacks stabilizers, there were a lot of toilets flushing that night. Around 2AM, the ship suddenly became quiet and steady, and we arrived at Montserrat later that morning without further incident. But here's the thing: in the stairway is a computer screen showing the ship's progress and the times at which Seadream arrived and departed. Upon checking the display, I noticed that we HAD in fact stopped at St. Kitts (which had been scratched from the itinerary, along with our hopes of visiting The Beach House) after all, no doubt to shelter from the punishing waves. The real irony of this came on the last day at Nevis, when we were docked within sight--almost within swimming distance, in fact--of The Beach House on neighboring St. Kitts. Two nights later, the captain came on the public address to announce that we would be running into heavy seas again. "If you are sensitive," he said, "you will be feeling it." Thanks for the warning, captain; but why did you wait until we were actually pulling up anchor to tell the passengers, instead of giving them some advance notice so they could take medicine to combat the symptoms (it takes an hour or two for Dramamine to take effect). Hint: get your physician to prescribe a Scopolamine patch, several passengers had them and swore by them. Speaking of physicians, the ship's doctor was worse than useless--on boarding, my companion informed him that she had a sinus infection and had lost her Amoxicillin; he promised to provide some tablets, and then was never seen nor heard from again for the remainder of the trip. The medical office is open a total of two hours a day, one before lunch and one after. What exactly does the doctor get paid for? We were very interested in the "massage on the beach" offered on the final day as part of the beach splash party. But nowhere could we find where they were set up, and we left somewhat saddened-and tenser--without a massage. Back on board, we were told that they had decided to move it from the beach to the back of the hotel located there. But once again, they did not bother to communicate this to the passengers. Finally, because of the way in which the itinerary was rearranged, we spent two full days traveling back and forth between the northern and central Antilles instead of hitting them in order. The consequence of this was while we gained a stop at Anguilla, we actually lost three ports. None of this was explained. So in short, communications to the passengers from the bridge, and from Seadream management, were terrible. Just a few words would have made the voyage so much more enjoyable. This, then, is the major beef we had: poor and thoughtless communications from ship management largely negating the otherwise excellent service from the line staff. For most cruises most of this would never have come up, but the true measure of any service organization is not how it handles things when they go right but how they communicate when things go wrong; and Seadream falls far short of the mark here. For a $2,000 cruise this lack of communications would be annoying; for $20,000 it is unforgivable.And with that...on to the rest of the review. From this point on, I will provide some comparisons with Seven Seas, a roughly equivalent top-drawer luxury cruise line; specifically, the Navigator, with around 450 passengers compared to Seadream's 110. Seven Seas provides at least SOME free Internet, one hour if I recall correctly; l enough for you to get some emails and in particular to arrange, confirm, and if necessary rearrange travel. Seadream charges you for every second; not what I'd expect if I was a guest on someone's private yacht, and I certainly would not have expected to be nickled-and-dimed on a $20,000 to $60,000 cruise. That was just insulting. Exercise room was well equipped and appointed, at least as large and as modern as the considerably larger Seven Seas Navigator. It is combined with the spa area, which my companion found excellent. The best food on Seven Seas outshines the best food on the Seadream. Having said that, there's a very big caveat: the best on Seven Seas, or any other line I have been on, means their premier select restaurant; and you'll be lucky to eat there once during your cruise. Seadream does not have any exclusive eatery; instead, their "ordinary" is extraordinary. Chef Thomasz was brilliant and amazing, even making small batches of exquisite cultural specialties for the various nationalities (my companion and several other passengers were Polish, so some nights we had perogies or galumpki--not on the menu, simply upon request...and sometimes, without even requesting. The wait staff was flawless, but the food runners consistently made mistakes - bacon not Canadian bacon, mixing up who got what dish. Not a problem but surprising for such a high-end presentation. Special commendations to Sommelier Pablo, with whom I often disagreed with his choices of wine and was patient, flexible, and eager to please. I learned a lot about wine form him, and I daresay he learned a few things from me as well. He would catch me at lunch to go over his dinner choices, never said no, and in a few times convinced me that his choice was the better one--and he was usually (but not always) right. I don't want an expert to say yes to everything I say, I want to get the benefit of their knowledge--I am very grateful for the experience with Pablo. I read several reviewers who claimed that everyone (and in one review, re-stressed: but EVERYBODY) knows your name. That's a bit of hyperbole. However, most of the customer-facing staff that you see every day does: concierge, maitre-d'hotel, stewardess (Rayn was fantastic, by the way), wait staff, bartenders, activities director all had it by the third day. Oddly, most of them never did learn my companion's name and would just defer to me. Anyway, this intimate knowledge of passengers, while perhaps not as uiversal as advertised, is unheard of on the other cruises I've taken, and even on Seven Seas most of the staff, even bar staff, had at best a rudimentary command of English. Speaking of odd, the reason why they ask you what name you go by as part of registration isn't because that's the name they will call you; it's rather the name that will be printed on your complementary pajamas. A nice touch, to be sure, but only available in medium, large, and extra-large so if you are big like me or particularly petite, somewhat embarrassing. We did not get to sleep outdoors on the Balinese beds--too windy, and the night we had one scheduled (the big one in the bow!) was the night I got seasick. But they sure looked comfy. The water toys platform is a great gimmick, I do wish they'd have them available more hours (since we were always ashore doing things) but it was a great differentiation from Seven Seas. See the Deck Plans section for my comments on the cabin. My final comparison to Seven Seas: on all other cruises I've been on, whether luxury boats or giant mass-market megaships, most excursions are free. As I'll explain further in my port descriptions, none of the excursions on Seadream--at least, not on my particular voyage--were included, and they were nothing you could not have made better arrangements on your own, or frankly in both of our cases, being on our own for free. In St. Barts, we boarded a snorkeling catamaran that took us right back out to the Seadream (we could have kayaked for three minutes and done the same excursion on our own); at Nevis, not only did our hiking tour cover the exact same ground as we had done on our own five years ago (i.e. there was no need to have a "guide" along at all), and not only did the guide's contribution consist of showing us pictures in a book, but the trail was washed out and we turned around well before reaching the top--a fact that was withheld from us until we reached the turnaround. In short, don't book Seadream for the excursions! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Just got back from Transatlantic crossing, had high expectations given what we had heard from others that had cruised with Seadream many times. Food was outstanding, service was great, boat is in dire need of repair - and not just ... Read More
Just got back from Transatlantic crossing, had high expectations given what we had heard from others that had cruised with Seadream many times. Food was outstanding, service was great, boat is in dire need of repair - and not just cosmetic - but real repairs and perhaps better onboard management. For some reason, they decided to make a/c repairs on a crossing (go figure) and couldn't get it fixed for the entire trip. So as it got warmer on the crossing, we got hotter and hotter. Management never said a word or admitted that there was a problem. This is supposed to be a 5 star line, I would give it about 2 stars at the most. When we returned, after several emails, they offered us a 25% reduction off the lowest rate. Although a good deal if you're confident they can fix everything, an expensive cruise of this nature - why would I risk more $$$ to take a cruise and be taken care of this way. Makes no sense. We will not cruise with Seadream again.... Disappointed easy going travelers...... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We sailed from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Venice, Italy. It was a wonderful itinerary and we really appreciated the late stays in port. The captain even extended our stay in a couple of ports which was great. The staff were, without exception, ... Read More
We sailed from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Venice, Italy. It was a wonderful itinerary and we really appreciated the late stays in port. The captain even extended our stay in a couple of ports which was great. The staff were, without exception, incredible. For instance, one day we were going into port at the same time as the Maitre d'. He asked what we had planned, when we told him we wanted to go to a beach, he recommended we take a local shuttle service to a small island off the coast. He then walked us through town to where the shuttle left and helped us buy tickets for the shuttle boat. Other staff equally went the extra mile to ensure that our trip was memorable. We were generally happy with our fellow passengers as well. We were two couples, travelling together, in our 40s and 50s. The other passengers ranged in age from their 20s through 70s. Most were probably in their 40s and 50s. Not as pretentious as some other luxury lines. Generally fun loving and well-traveled. There was one partial charter group of about 30 family members. The first couple of days, they were fairly loud and inconsiderate of other guests. According to the staff, on the cruise the previous week, there was another partial charter group who were far worse. Management should do a better job ensuring the large groups don't impact the other passengers. The ship itself is in poor shape. We were prepared for smaller cabins with no balconies. We were not prepared for the subpar physical appearance of the ship. The cabins were extremely worn. Wood work was scuffed and faded, carpets stained, and there was a musty odor throughout much of the ship. We had issues with the air conditioning in the cabin. The maintenance guys tried to repair it, but on some nights the room would get very hot. One night, the dining room was also uncomfortably hot. We felt sorry for the waiters coming in and out of the kitchen soaked in sweat. The food and wine was another issue. Seadream advertises the best cuisine at sea, prepared "a la minute." The food was consistently under-seasoned, unimaginative, and often arrived cold. Fresh fruit and vegetables were limited. For instance, one night, the only salad offered was Caesar. The salad was over dressed, soggy and bland. Another night, the appetizer of shrimp coated crab claws turned out be deep fried. They arrived cold, soggy, and with a sauce that was plain ketchup. Also, the wine poured at dinner was often undrinkable. One night we did purchase a bottle from the reserve list, but they offered very few options under $100. Also, free premium liquors are advertised, but there is a $10 up charge for Grey Goose (among others). The prices for decent wine and true premium liquors felt like nickel and diming. There have been some well publicized management changes at SeaDream over the past couple of years. Clearly, these issues at the top are showing in the condition of the ships and the quality of the food and wine. The product they are currently offering does not merit the price being charged. We will not sail SeaDream again until serious changes are made.   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
The tag line is half right- it's not cruising. It's sitting in an industrial port swatting flies, Hoping they fix the air conditioning and wondering how things went so terribly, terribly wrong. The staff of this boat is ... Read More
The tag line is half right- it's not cruising. It's sitting in an industrial port swatting flies, Hoping they fix the air conditioning and wondering how things went so terribly, terribly wrong. The staff of this boat is fantastic- great, attentive and personal service. Food is ok. Ship shows some signs of wear and mechanical maintenance is of concern given 36 hour air conditioning outage. Makes you worry if the plumbing may be next. spa is lovely and services were good. The real issue, though,is that the cruise is so falsely advertised. Water toys and swimming off the boat? About four hours of 1 day. Pulling up to pristine secluded beaches where there are no other ships? One day...sort of. Knowledge of ports? Non-existent. When we asked, the staff said "we've never been here before so we don't know." Other infamous quotes included: "we think you can find a town if you go that way." Excursions were grim- a rubber factory? A rice museum? And staying on the boat was not much fun. Very hot and lots of competition for seats I'm the shade. There was a disastrous snorkeling trip where money was refunded. The outdoor beds under the stars? Lovely but adjacent to the bar so not really desirable. Yoga classes on the beach? Never happened. Spa treatments outside on the deck? Sorry, maintenance painting going on back there (really? On Christmas cruise?) The library? Year old magazines obviously left by former cruisers and light novels only. We had hoped for information on the history and culture of the area. There was an almanac from 2002 which indicated the collection does not get a lot of attention. Christmas decorations looked dated. We tried to take a bike ashore but had flat tire; this happened to a number of folks. These issues are not related to the staff on the boat, they did their best with an increasingly disgruntled Group. This is an executive level issue- this route was very poorly planned and executed. We paid for a suite which was small but we knew that. The problem is that we paid double what we usually pay for the Owners Suite on Seaborn because we thought it would be a very serene experience Wih lots of beach and swim off the boat time. Have let CEO know we are feeling very cheated but no word yet. Very, very disappointed and dissatisfied with this experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
My Wife and I just completed our fourth pre-Christmas Sea Dream 2 cruise from December2-9 2012. As always, it was wonderful to return to Sea Dream and reconnect with our friends on the crew. While we usually sail out of St. Thomas, this ... Read More
My Wife and I just completed our fourth pre-Christmas Sea Dream 2 cruise from December2-9 2012. As always, it was wonderful to return to Sea Dream and reconnect with our friends on the crew. While we usually sail out of St. Thomas, this cruise originated from San Juan. Susie and I got to the pier two hours before embarkation, gave the check-in people our bags and went out to find some a good Latin lunch. Upon returning from lunch, we took seats in the terminal and watched the passengers arrive. To our surprise, the ship wound up having 88 passengers, 50 of whom were gay males. We live in New York City and have cruised with gay friends. I should have been cooler about it. Truth is that it bothered me at first. I'm not proud of this, but I'll be honest. It occurred to me that Sea Dream should have let passengers know this was the case, simply out of courtesy. But my initial reaction did not last long. The gay guys were really a lot of fun and much more interesting than most of their hetero counterparts on the ship. We all agreed that this cruise had been one of the best we've taken on Sea Dream. I learned something, too. We made a lot of new friends who happened to be gay, and I would travel with them again in a heartbeat. They were interesting, unfailingly polite and often very funny. We had a good time. I could see from attitude and expression that not all the hetero couples were quite as thrilled, but c'est la vie. If you don't give people a chance, you'll never know whether you like them or not. We had the pleasure of dining with Captain Torbjorn Lund one evening. We have cruised over 100 times and had many invitations to join the Captain for Dinner, and we usually decline. We want to be our usual asinine selves and not make polite small talk. But having had a chance to get to know Captain Lund on previous sailings, we all decided to join him. We had a great Dinner, a lot of laughs and will be doing it again. Captain Lund is a very nice guy, funny and easy to talk to. Thanks to Zoltan, Shawn, Werner, Louie, Arla, Om, Abby, Jasper, June, Jessy, Elena, Chela and too many other people to name for making another memorable voyage possible. Thanks to George for his fine performances in the Piano Bar and the fun we had singing. We're sorry to have missed Ae, Rey and Sonja who were on vacation. Next year, we will have to make new plans for our pre-Christmas cruise. Sea Dream 2 will be sailing in Asia. I know this will be exciting for many of the Asian crew members, as they will be closer to home. But we have seen Asia and at our age, we will not be doing any 20 hour flights. So we will miss you all next December. Sea Dream 1 will be doing a Costa Rica itinerary, but we've seen that part of the world numerous times. We love the BVI at that time of year. But I want to tell all the Sea Dream 2 crew that Sue and I will be thinking of you next Christmas and hoping we will get to sail together again in the future. You are a very special bunch of people and we will miss you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2012
Was I and my partner actually on the same voyage as bnb521 ? Most of his experiences certainly do not accord with our own but to be fair he refers (twice) to fun loving fellow passengers and the great crew. Yes that is so very true; SD ... Read More
Was I and my partner actually on the same voyage as bnb521 ? Most of his experiences certainly do not accord with our own but to be fair he refers (twice) to fun loving fellow passengers and the great crew. Yes that is so very true; SD always attracts friendly fellow passengers and as for the crew, well words, cannot do justice, they are just magnificent. But as for the rest of his critique, he is............... Well let me just offer this gentle rebuttal of his main points: It is a 102 passenger classic vessel, referred to as "YACHT", it is not competing with the larger vessels. It has no need to, it is an elegant, friendly vessel preferred by those discerning guests who want personal service, the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people (or not) and who certainly don't want "entertaining" that is why it is also referred to as "CLUB" (the mere mention of a "knobbly knees contest" would send my partner hyerventilating !). Would a larger vessel even make it up to Iquitos ? I think not. Trust me the room sizes and facilities are more than adequate. Plus, where can you eat outside (including most evenings) ? For those from cooler climes, this is heaven. Furthermore the size of the rooms and the facilities as well as the public areas are clearly displayed on all the companies particulars. Would it not have been reasonable to check this before booking "an expensive cruise" (his words, not mine).? What part of YACHT CLUB does he not understand ? The weather during the trip was wonderful, if a little humid for the crew (especially those serving to passengers eating outside in the evenings). So if (as claimed) the sommelier filled the glass ever so slightly then maybe it's because he had a lot of ground to cover and wished to keep everybody lubricated. He is one of the hardest working of the crew, hugely liked and respected and a great joke teller (when he has the time). I am most particular about my wine and I thought the regular wines were fine but the evening dinners deserved greater wines. They had a great range, were fairly priced and the sommelier offered some great advice and were served perfectly (if they were not I would impose Sharia law punishment on the offending infidel ! You know what that means but an example would have at least been made). The Amazon was the inaugural sailing for SD, and the Captain took this responsibility very seriously (as always). He was doing 6 hour shifts shared with his Chief Officer for the duration of the voyage. Very demanding, I think you would agree. I too regret that we did not see the Captain as often as we would like but it was clear his priority was to the safety of the passengers and actually navigating the river. Would he preferred to see the Captain schmoozing with lovely ladies, drink in hand whilst passing rocky outcrops so that he could wave to a friend of a friend ? Or would he prefer the Captain to be exercising the greatest attention and personal responsibility whilst we had a gay old time (dont go there, it is an old English expression, not used as much these days ..) The Captain is then criticised for addressing problems with the passengers (always the same few) ! What ? I view this as further testimony to his concern for the passengers and his sense of overall responsibility and not "dodging the issue"; he should be commended not criticised. I do suggest that if his duties could have been shared more (by incorporating an additional senior driver or whatever the second in command is called) then more periodic attendances at drinks before dinner explaining the navigation etc.. may have allayed concerns for the few. Please remember it was an inaugural voyage, most of us were excited by this adventure and had factored this in. The dismissive comment that the food was "passable" is an astounding comment to make. The food is consistently to a very high standard but on the Amazon voyage it was exceptional in every department. We were fortunate to have an assembly of some of the best cooks in the world on board. The chef is a particularly friendly and accessible guy, accommodating food allergies, preferences, fads, etc.. ; if there was something you particularly liked, he would make it ! But the real treat is to try food you would not normally order. With the kind of experience and taste the waiting crew have, I simply let them order my meals (provided I have one soup and one desert): I was never disappointed and constantly amazed by the culinary skill of these giants. My partner and I eat out a lot and are fortunate to eat in some amazing places. SD kitchen is consistently very good as are the serving staff, eating outside or in the beautiful dining-room. On this point, my fellow passenger is hopelessly wrong. SD kitchen is remarkable and the experience of eating on SD is magnificent. I cannot comment on his remarks concerning activities other than to advise that we were satisfied. Concerning announcements: I detest intrusive announcements especially into cabins. SD have got this bang on with their view of being un-obtrusive. We were also mostly well informed, if there was something we wanted to know, we simply asked; no big hardship, in fact it was a way of inter-acting with fellow passengers. I loved the comment about a track for the morning walk. Again I say it's a yacht not a large impersonal ship taking thousands of passengers. The walk lasts 20 minutes, sit somewhere else or join in. Get those endorphins going, they say it helps with your mood (may a couple of hours a day to start with ?). I also loved that he implied he was bored by the Amazon citing only seeing  " birds-trees-water" etc. Well you tend to get a lot of water around vessels ! They move better when they are on water ! Again he cites "trees", what part of rainFOREST is he missing ? What did he expect to see "the Sydney opera house, the hanging gardens of Babylon, herds of wildebeest sweeping  majestically ..... (a famous excerpt from "Fawlty Towers"; a room with a view. Go see it on YouTube. ). Well, happy sailing to you all whoever you prefer to sail with (or not). Finally I would add that my partner and I would not have done this trip except with SD, with this Captain and with his crew and I dare say a large number of our fellow passengers are likely to have felt the same (75% of whom were repeaters; yes we are just "suckers for punishment". Bring it on.........I love you SD, SD crew and every inch of your beautiful classic yacht, cant wait to see you again soon even though Go...an has awful wobbly needs ! Dont look darling !) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I was eagerly waiting a cruise with Seadream for many years. I decided to do a Caribbean itinerary as test before sailing them on a longer European tour. I have sailed with several higher end lines such as Silversea, Regent and Seaborn. ... Read More
I was eagerly waiting a cruise with Seadream for many years. I decided to do a Caribbean itinerary as test before sailing them on a longer European tour. I have sailed with several higher end lines such as Silversea, Regent and Seaborn. For the Caribbean, however, I decided that this ship would be a perfect way to enjoy the first rate service and food but have greater access to the water/swimming directly from the ship's marina. I was hoping to avoid reliance on daily excursions to swim or enjoy the sea and avoid visits to ports where the main activity is to herd tourists into knick knack shops. I wanted to get away from cruise crowds into mindless eating followed by mindless shopping. On most accounts, Seadream lived up to the reviews. However, in many other ways they fell very short. In the end, I did not leave Seadream 2 wanting to book with them again. I'll begin by going over where Seadream lived up to it's marketing and then go over the things that were a real disappointments on my trip. Cabins: Yes I knew they didn't have balconies. I wouldn't have cared if the other issues on the ship had not taken place, but more on that later. Most of the other reviews on this site are spot on about the cabins. My cabin was 307, deck 3. I liked this deck due to its proximity to the pool area, concierge and generally quiet location. Cabins are extremely well appointed. There are hooks to hang things, nooks and drawers in every spot and they will store your monster suitcase so you don't have to. Climate control was excellent. I like to sleep in the arctic freeze and sure enough, no problem. Bathrooms are tiny and you have to ride sidesaddle on the throne, however the shower is spacious with good water pressure and lots of it. The bath works where it counts. Beds were fairly small (we had twin config) but very comfortable. Gorgeous linens and it appears they fixed the squeaky beds from previous reviews. Housekeeping was perfect. Tip: there is only one 110 outlet at the desk. If you have a computer or phone bring an extension cord or strip. If you have European 2 prong adapters bring those for additional outlets. Overall, rooms are somewhat in need of a facelift (our carpets had stains and looked a bit rough, but in general they were very practical and comfortable.Food: The food and food service personnel on Seadream were the best part of the ship. Many of the guests preferred the dinning on the outside decks, however I can tell you the main salon on deck 2 was one of the most beautiful dining rooms I have ever seen; at sea or otherwise, and the food there matched the beauty of the room. For the most, dining times are very structured with limited in room service so if you want anything decent to eat other than a sandwich, you have to get dressed and go to one of the restaurant areas (face people you would rather escape) and sit and "dine." (note: there are limited food offerings poolside after lunch service ends at 2pm. From 2pm to 6:30pm, I only noticed a small case of tea sandwiches (which were usually stale) Pringles potato chips or warm veggies and dip. It's a long wait to cocktail hour from 12:30 to 6:30. Caviar splash was everything advertized and more. There is simply something very cool about stepping out of a zodiac in waist deep water on a pink powder beach and a guy is standing there waist deep as well handing over a glass of champagne. Now for the hard/ sad part of the Seadream experience that compelled me to publish this review. Marina: The waters of the Caribbean are some of the bluest, warmest waters to swim and enjoy.Forget that on this ship. Due to safety issues, they only allow swimming when the "toys" (eg jet skis etc) are not in use. This makes perfect sense to me but it means you can only swim after breakfast till noon at which point the marina closes for 2 hours, the best time to swim mid day. Then the toys come out at 2pm for 2 hours till 4:30 and the day is over. They let you jump in at 4:30 for an hour or so and that is it.....and all this is weather permitting. Usually we were forced o take an expensive excursion to swim. Which many folks did. Very often the "toys" sat off the back of the marina used by 3 or 4 people while the rest of us sat in the hot sun near the pool. (which was out of service and unfilled the 1st 2 days of the itinerary). On our trip they had one jet ski in the water (the other was broken) which was popular with 3 or 4 guests, versus 15-20 other folks, including myself, who would have loved to take a dip in the sea. My suggestion would be that "toys" are alternated every other day to allow swimming in the 2-4pm slot. Especially on days where there are no beach or other water excursions and an alternative. Social aspects: Even though I had a good time dancing on tables with uncle ED and Aunt Rose at the Sunday rum punch party, I didn't want to run into them for the next 7 days every 10min and at every turn, at every meal asking me to join them for B,L and D. It became uncomfortable to constantly decline and seek privacy on this ship. So if you want a private experience don't take Seadream becuause, as another reviewer points out, you can't hide in the crowd and your stateroom is not geared to retreat to with no balconies. You'd better be fairly gregarious and like the folks booked on your itinerary because you are going to see them every day, at every turn and there is no place to get away. The good news is Seadream isn't cheap so caliber of deck mate is pretty high and most folks are very interesting and a lot of fun. Pool: Finding shade on this ship isn't easy. There is usually a lot of wind so I saw only 3 umbrellas around the pool area. There were none on the Balinese beds. Once I secured the only umbrella left on deck, I had to muscle them around myself every time I needed them moved so I could stay in the shade. The first 2 days of the cruise, there I was, 58 yrs old, struggling with 30 pound umbrella bases. I think there was a staffing issue at the pool area for the 1st couple of days because on many occasions I had to search out help with my chair or track down someone for a drink. One afternoon, I carried 4 dirty drink cups to the pool bar window that had been sitting on deck for several hours in the hot sun that the bar attendant simply walked past several times. I had to pick them up myself or trip over them..not what I assumed would be Seadream standard. By day 3 I finally said something to the concierge and service at the pool improved markedly. Balinese beds/Sleeping under the stars: Forget it unless you reserve the front bed in the bow on deck 6. The beds in the stern area are under the smoke stacks and given to diesel fumes, black soot and noise from the bar. They are not private and bright deck lights remain on all night making it virtually impossible to sleep. There are so many distractions, most folks start out there and end up back in their cabins after an hour or two. The front bed is special..no lights and quiet. But reserve it the SECOND you board or you won't get it. Concierge/ports/admin: Poor. Period. I took 2 excursions during my trip and the concierge was misinformed about various details on all of them. I don't think any of the operators Seadream uses is up to standard that I have experienced on Silversea, Regent or even Royal Carribbean. On this itinerary, we booked a 3 hour snorkel trip (so we could finally swim by the 5th day). I am a certified diver and have been on a lot of dive/snorkel boats over the years and this one was the worst I have ever been on. The boat we were on was too small for the size of our group which was about 30 people on a 35 foot vessel with no bathroom. I don't mind number one in the ocean but the other is not my idea of sanitary much less 1st class with a group of 30. Plus the concierge told me no more than 20 would be on the boat. I guess she can't count. Anyway there were 2 snorkel spots which were subpar with few fish or reefs. They did take us back to a beach hut, which of course, was selling apparel and drinks. We spent 45 min of the 3 hours standing around there. The $200 pp "Dolphin Experience" was a typical short swim / photo op where the primary focus is selling you $125 pictures with the dolphin chosen to work that shift. Most of the guests who had never done this before were delighted. However I had been to several such facilities didn't want to sign up again unless it was something different and I was assured by the concierge it was. She sold this excursion as something it was not. Finally there was one very disturbing issue with the Dolphin facility. There was a walkway over a small bridge from the parking area to the facility that was over a "river" that turned out to be an open cesspool with floating feces and a horrible smell. It was directly next to the swimming enclosure. Needless to say I skipped the dolphin swim and for the $200 cost of this excursion I have no $125 pictures to prove it. Other than the Dolphin experience, Tortola was a depressing mishmash of burned out car/truck junk yards and poverty. A total miss in my opinion, and this was the port of choice location for the mountain bike excursion....? Finally, the ship was seldom at sail. Other than the nights departing from San Juan and back we stayed at anchor. Most transits were less than an hour or two and took place after midnight. There were no ports to speak of that were interesting enough to stay late to enjoy, except St Baths, and on that night we left after dinner. On this cruise I missed the cocktail hour sail out of port in the evening or the ship under sail after dinner with fresh breeze under the moon. There was none of that. Maybe they avoided sail to keep the ship stable for dinner service or maybe just to save money. I think it the later. But the whole feeling of evenings at sail on open waters or freedom to swim off the marina were all points that were sorely missing that I thought were Seadream hallmarks. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
I reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into ... Read More
I reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into St Thomas on a Cape Air 8 passenger plane from San Juan. It was a $20 fare to the pier and took about 10 minutes. I didn't think the service was quite as good as our first trip, but that could easily be because of my extremely high expectations. It was still far better than any other cruise line I have sailed on. Some of the crew were the same we met on our cruise the year before. I would note that the crew turnover is quite low, no doubt due to how much they all like their jobs. I wanted to address the wonderful flexibility the Captain has. Our first full day on the cruise was in St John and it was the Sunday of the NFL conference championships. Many on the cruise wanted to be able to stay in town later than our 6:00pm departure to see the games so the yacht stayed at anchor until everyone could watch their games and get back onboard. Additionally, there was poor weather forecast the day we were to be in Anguilla so the yacht switched to St Martin. This type of flexibility ensures a great cruise. We did not experience any problems with the marina and have used the toys and swam on both our cruises. We have had some good excursions and some less so. For instance, on our snorkle trip in Virgin Gorda, the contract boat had no flotation devices, which I had never encountered before. There was one gentleman on this trip I would have preferred to see less of but you do run into the same people. On this trip there were only 72 passengers so it was an extra small group. Once again we found the people we met to be enjoyable travel companions. I like that the yacht is seldom at sail. It's especially important for those who think they might get seasick on a small vessel. Between the short sails between ports and the ability to not stick to an itinerary that might include poor weather, I would opine that the chance of getting seasick is limited. We had one evening eating out on the deck where it was chilly and windy enough I would not have wanted the ship to be moving on top of the conditions. This type of cruising is certainly not for everyone, but one last thing I would note is the volume of return customers. (which is not apparent from these reviews) I would say that over half of the passengers were return visitors, some had cruised on the yachts up to 20 times! That is a ringing endorsement. My husband and I look forward to our next trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
Sea Dream Yacht Club - Casual, Luxury Small-Ship Cruising Posted February 4, 2011 by wjudson461 Categories: Cruise Travel Sea Dream Yacht Club- A Different and Unique Cruise Experience Sea Dream Yacht Club operates two ... Read More
Sea Dream Yacht Club - Casual, Luxury Small-Ship Cruising Posted February 4, 2011 by wjudson461 Categories: Cruise Travel Sea Dream Yacht Club- A Different and Unique Cruise Experience Sea Dream Yacht Club operates two 344 ft. mega-yachts offering all-inclusive, luxury cruises to the Caribbean in the winter and the Mediterranean in the summer. Accommodating 112 passengers with a crew of 95, these ships call on the smaller, unspoiled islands the bigger cruise lines are unable to reach. As most of these islands lack an airport, their natural beauty lies, in part, in the fact that they are difficult to get to. Not terribly easy to get home from, either. Tiny gems like Saba, Montserrat, Jost Van Dyke and Anguilla. If you've ever daydreamed about cruising the Greek Isles on your own private yacht, this is about as close as most of us will ever come. That being said, Sea Dream is most certainly not for everyone. It is very casual, laid back and geared to adults comfortable with entertaining themselves. Who Should Not Book a Sea Dream Voyage? OK, let me try to cull the herd as quickly and ruthlessly as possible. If you are traveling with your small children and looking forward to picking them up from the supervised Kid's program so you can feed them at the Early Seating and put them to bed with a babysitter in order to don your tuxedo and eat, take in a Broadway-type show before catching a Comedian in one of the many lounges and partying until the wee hours of the morning in a Casino with craps, roulette and all the bells and whistles, you are definitely in the wrong place. It is not happening. None of it. Not on Sea Dream. You are likely to find a larger crowd enjoying early morning coffee to watch the sunrise than you will in the Casino at 11:00 PM. The Sea Dream Passenger The Sea Dream experience attracts guests who are not only able to entertain themselves, but prefer to do so. The intimacy of the yachts is conducive to meeting people and getting to know them. Even if you are naturally shy, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid eye contact when you are running into the same people over and over. You cannot be a face in the crowd, since there is no crowd. So you break down and introduce yourself, and are usually rewarded. Usually, but not always. Sea Dream can scan your bags, but has not perfected scanners for personalities and social skills. Seriously, I have found Sea Dream passengers to be the most interesting, educated and friendly, and the least pretentious. We have a group of former cruise mates who we keep in touch with and sail with every year. Many of them are Sea Dreamers. Some Sweet Suites Most of the suites are Yacht Club Staterooms averaging about 195 sq. ft. and equipped with queen -sized beds, sitting area, refrigerator, fully-stocked refreshment bar, flat screen TV, DVD player, CD player, robe, slippers, etc. The suites are very nice and you would be hard pressed to come up with anything Sea Dream has forgotten. The bathrooms are small, definitely one person at a time affairs. When sitting on the throne, I usually locked the door, not because I had a sudden attack of modesty but because I've already had my nose broken several times. If you are over 7 ft. tall, I would imagine you would need to be pretty limber. Of course, you could always use the facilities in the public rooms, but if everyone did that, no one would do that. If you are a jockey, there should be no issues with the bathroom dimensions. I happen to really like the Sea Dream bathrooms. The multi-jet shower is really cool with good water pressure and the Bvlgari toiletries and soaps are fabulous. If you plan your vacations solely by the brand of shampoo provided, you may have found your niche. I also like the way Sea Dream has the sitting area by the entrance and the bed by the window. Most cruise lines have it the other way around, ostensibly so you can look out the window from the sofa. The Sea Dream arrangement works if your Spouse gets up earlier than you and orders coffee. The room service girl can drop off the tray in the sitting area without coming through the sleeping area. If you really want to try something different, ask to have one of the ultra-comfortable Balinese Dream Beds ( pictured below) made up with linens, pillows and duvets and sleep on Deck under the stars. Cuisine and Service Both are among the best available at sea. If you call for Room Service, you might as well not sit down again. These people are good. Our Cabin Stewardess was remarkable. I would get up in the morning, put out my "Make up Room" sign on the doorknob and go up to the Concierge to get my daily paper of choice. I would take it out on deck to glance at the headlines and return to the cabin, this whole exercise having taken maybe ten minutes. The suite would be completely made up. Our room was always made up and I never saw our Cabin girl in it or even near it. Another neat trick was that within two hours of embarkation, crew members who had never seen me before were greeting me by name. I assume they are given pictures and names and expected to memorize them. But it was a really nice touch. If you travel under multiple aliases, it may take a little longer. The Best and Only Licensed Thai Spa at Sea In terms of massage, Sea Dream has no peer in the cruise industry. Although I'm sure Swedish massage is offered, skip it and go with the Asian Blend massage. These girls are incredibly strong and good sports as well. They don't gloat about having twisted you into a pretzel-like shape that would make an Olympic gymnast green with envy despite giving up 100 lbs. I have always thought Swedish massage to be the spa equivalent of elevator music. You are oiled up like an Oven Stuffer and given a rub that is mildly enjoyable but forgotten the moment you walk out the door. The Asian Blend massage actually has results you can feel, although if you have never had Thai massage, it may take a little getting used to. Sometimes it hurts, although your masseuse will lessen the pressure if she hears you whimpering. Is she really climbing onto my back? Yes, she is. You have a pocket of tension in your back and kind of hope she'll miss it, as kneading it out can be painful? Forget it. These girls take massage very seriously and they miss nothing. But that evening, or maybe the next morning, you'll realize that nagging pain you were so used to is just not there anymore. The Water Sports Marina The Water Sports Marina really sets Sea Dream apart from any other cruise line. Other lines have them, but none have the toys that Sea Dream does, like Hobie Cat sailboats, kayaks, jet skis and even mountain bikes to take ashore and ride around the often mountainous ports of call. Please note that while I strongly encourage taking the mountain bikes ashore for a good workout, I personally have nothing to do with them. I prefer to be driven where I want to go. In order to use the Water Sports Marina, guests must sign a waiver relieving Sea Dream of any culpability should you become entangled in a submarine propeller or eaten by a giant squid. In exchange for your signature, you receive a brightly-colored wristband which entitles you to use all the toys. When they take in the toys, it is time for the afternoon swim. While the shipboard pool is fine, there is nothing like swimming out at sea. But it might be a good time to realistically appraise your swimming strength. If you're turning 60 and you swam competitively in your teens, you have to remember you are not that kid. The ship is a long way from shore, the water is deep and there are currents. Sometimes, they are very strong currents. There is ample supervision, both on the platform and in a motorboat that watches over you. A line attached to floating buoys is extended out from the platform so swimmers can grab on if they need to. Staying fairly close to that line is not a bad plan. In a good current, you can stroke very hard and find you've gone nowhere. So use your head. Is There a Sea Dream Cruise in Your Future? I have provided you with the basics of the Sea Dream experience. It is a unique one, suited to a certain type of passenger. The best way to find out if this is for you is to get out and do it. This is really true of almost anything. Having read my piece, if all of this sounds fabulous, you simply have to experience a Sea Dream cruise. If some of it sounds appealing, perhaps you should try a Sea Dream cruise. If none of it sounds the least bit enticing, I don't know what to tell you. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
It's been two weeks since we disembarked SeaDeam Yacht Club's SeaDream II in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and my mind keeps drifting to an old Celebrity Cruises commercial. It showed an executive in his office, fussing with his ... Read More
It's been two weeks since we disembarked SeaDeam Yacht Club's SeaDream II in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and my mind keeps drifting to an old Celebrity Cruises commercial. It showed an executive in his office, fussing with his Venetian blinds and daydreaming about his most recent voyage. He's feeling out of sorts without the constant pampering of the crew and he laments of his current situation at work: "I consider this a temporary exile." We can all commiserate with that sentiment after stepping off a luxury cruise ship and the pain certainly cuts so much deeper when you're saying goodbye to a vessel in the ilk of SeaDream II. In this review, I'll step you through the SeaDream experience and will rate each element of the cruise. However, before getting into specifics I think it's important for you to know a bit about me, what I like about cruising, and my other vacation preferences. Otherwise, my statements will be without a baseline from which to judge them. My husband and I are in our early forties and we cruise three to four times a year. We generally travel with luxury lines because we prefer smaller ships, larger staterooms with balconies, all-inclusive cruise fares, excellent food and wine, more foreign passengers in the mix, fewer families with young children, and unusual shore excursions and onboard experiences. We look for excellent but sincere service that isn't overwrought and we appreciate a relaxed approach to luxury. I love the outdoors and animal life but I'm a bit of a princess. My idea of "roughing it" is staying at a hotel that doesn't offer 24-hour room service with chocolate cake on its menu. Ritz-Carlton is our preferred hotel chain. We tend to find something to love about most cruise lines, but we're particular fond of American Safari Cruises, Yachts of Seabourn, SeaDream, and Windstar. Now, on to my review of SeaDream II... We stayed at the Hilton San Juan on HHonors points for one night before the cruise. It's a nice, large convention-style hotel but the service was not stellar. The best place to stay before a SeaDream cruise is the Sheraton Old San Juan since that hotel is so close to the embarkation pier. (It's literally right across the street from the pier.) We would have stayed there but it was booked solid. Make hotel your reservations early! Our Eastern Caribbean Itinerary: San Juan, Puerto Rico Culebrita, Puerto Rico Esperanza, Vieques, Puerto Rico Cruz Bay, St. John, United States Virgin Islands Marigot, St. Martin, French West Indies Saba, Netherlands, Antilles Gustavia, St. Barthelemy, French West Indies Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands (we ended up calling on Peter Island instead due to sea conditions) Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands Embarkation We boarded SeaDream II and were welcomed by the crew with champagne and cold towels. Cabins weren't yet ready so we were invited to wait in the Main Salon, where the drinks flowed and sandwiches were served. It took about 45 minutes before we got our photos taken for our ID cards. When we arrived in our stateroom, our luggage had already been delivered. The Yacht SeaDream II began life as Sea Goddess II in 1985. She sailed under Sea Goddess Cruises until 1998 when she was transferred to the Seabourn fleet. In 2001, Norwegian Atle Brynstead founded SeaDream Yacht Club and he purchased both Sea Goddess II and sister ship Sea Goddess I in order to rebrand them under the SeaDream moniker. Due to her age, SeaDream II doesn't have the sleek lines of some of the newest megayachts. Still, you wouldn't necessarily know the ship is 25 years old either. She's been updated consistently over the years and upkeep—both inside and out—is impeccable. The common areas are elegantly decorated in understated tones of beige, blue, white, gold, and natural woods. You'll spend most of your time exploring these aspects of the yacht: Sunbathing on Balinese Dream Beds & Sun Beds Balinese beds are unique to SeaDream and we fell in love with them. The Balinese Dream Beds—eight queen-size and two twins—are set on risers in the aft section of the yacht. You'll have unobstructed views from your bed. Umbrellas are available for those of us who require additional shade. The Sun Beds are located far forward and are surrounded by a half moon of chaise lounges. We preferred the Balinese Beds and, with two side tables, they were the perfect place to enjoy drinks and snacks in the afternoon. If you've sailed with SeaDream, you already know that you can even sleep under the stars on the Balinese Dream Beds and Sun Beds. Upon embarkation, seek out the Concierge and make a reservation. The forward Sun Bed (location #19 on the deck plan) offers the most privacy. We did this on the second night of our cruise and it was definitely memorable! SeaDream stewardesses make up the beds with duvets and throw pillows and the area is roped off to ensure your privacy. This was a highlight of the trip and I urge you to do this the next time you cruise with SeaDream. We live in the New York City area and we rarely get to see the stars shine brightly. Out in the Caribbean, the stars were brilliant and we stargazed for at least two hours before drifting off to sleep. Top of the Yacht Bar Top of the Yacht Bar, at midship, separates the Balinese Dream Beds and Sun Beds on the top deck. This is the place where early risers gather for coffee, tea, and pastries and it's a terrific place to cool off during the afternoon. After-dinner drinks are served here as well. Top of the Yacht is special because it gives you an excellent vantage point of your port of call and the bartenders are spectacular. During our voyage, we spent time here talking with chief bartender Zoltan, as well as Chad, Mario, and Brian. Golf Simulator Also on Deck 6, the Golf Simulator is in a room forward of the Top of the Yacht Bar (near the Sun Beds). It was out of service during our voyage so I unfortunately can't comment on it. Staterooms Since SeaDream II is a small ship, you won't have too many choices when it comes to your cabin. Staterooms are on Decks 2, 3, and 4. If you are worried about seasickness, book a midship cabin on Deck 2. However, realize that if the seas are rough, you will hear waves crashing on the side of the yacht and may see spray through your portholes. We don't have problems with motion—we sort of like it when it's rocking and rolling!—so we enjoyed our Yacht Club Stateroom on Deck 4, room 404. Yes, you can hear the Piano Bar from the room at night but if you want to go to sleep, simply pull the heavy curtain between the bed and the sitting area. That blocks out all noise from the hallway. Yacht Club Staterooms, there are 54 of them, are 195 square feet. The closet and bathroom flank the entryway. While the marble bathroom is beautiful, it is a bit small. There's no tub but the shower has a high-end multi-jet showerhead. The bathroom is stocked with Bvlgari bath supplies. The sitting room has a sofa and coffee table and faces the entertainment center with a flat-screen TV and DVD/CD player. Suitcases can be stashed under the bed. If Yacht Club Staterooms are too small for you, book a Commodore Suite (390 square feet). There are eight of these and they are actually two Yacht Club cabins combined. You may choose to have two beds or one bed plus a dining table and four chairs. The obvious perk is having two full bathrooms and closets. That definitely solves the space problem. Finally, there are two specialty suites on SeaDream II: the Admiral Suite (suite 400) and the Owner's Suite (suite 315). The Admiral Suite is 375 square feet and includes three panoramic windows, separate bedroom and living area, a dining area, and one and a half baths. (The full bath is complete with a tub). The Owner's Suite, at 447 square feet, is the largest cabin onboard and features a bathroom with soaking tub, a dining area that seats four, a living area, and separate bedroom with queen bedding. There's a mini fridge in all staterooms and your stewardess will keep it stocked with your favorite beverages (beer, soda, water, etc.). You'll also find 100% Turkish cotton waffle-weave bathrobes and comfortable slippers for your use while onboard. There's a makeup mirror in the room, although the light in ours was broken. Finally, there's a dataport (Ethernet jack) so you can access the Internet via your own laptop or one you borrow from Concierge. While wifi is not available on board, you can hook up via the dataport and then broadcast your signal so your iPhone, for example, can get a wireless connection to the Internet. Internet access costs $35 per 24-hour period. Dining I'll say right now that I think the food aboard SeaDream II is the best I've had on any cruise ship anywhere in the world. Chef de Cuisine Josselin Jeanblanc and his team of 15 work miracles in the kitchen and the provisions used are the freshest I've seen at sea. (My other favorite cruise ship dining experiences include Seabourn Odyssey and Celebrity Equinox.) If you'd like to see some photos of the food served aboard SeaDream II, visit http://luxurycruisebible.blogspot.com/2010/01/fine-dining-aboard-seadream-ii.html View a week's worth of SeaDream II dinner menus here: http://www.luxurycruisebible.com/articles/menu-seadream-ii-caribbean-2010 Service The yacht's crew seems more like a family than a group of coworkers. Stewardesses and Marina staff mostly hail from the Philippines while the waiters are from Croatia and other Eastern European countries. There is one American staff member and the captain and several engineers were born in Norway. Every single SeaDream employee seemed genuinely happy in their occupation and made guests immediately feel at home. We were always called by name and every request was handled with the acumen you'd expect from a luxury property. (Laundry was done within hours, for example.) The crew seems to magically appear whenever you need something but remains out of sight when you just want to relax on deck. It's a difficult balancing act and SeaDream II's crew pulls it off perfectly every time. Entertainment Remember that SeaDream II is a very intimate ship and that means entertainment options don't resemble what you'll find onboard today's hulking cruise ships... and that's more than okay by me! Retractable Aft Marina & Pool Deck One of SeaDream's most interesting features is its retractable aft Marina, which is deployed several times per cruise (when sea conditions are favorable). From the Marina platform you can take a swim or go snorkeling, or you can borrow a personal watercraft—kayaks, jet skis, Sunfish—and take it for a spin. The Zodiac will also be available for water skiing, tubing, and thrilling banana boat rides. The Marina is directly below the Pool Deck so if you don't join your traveling companions on the jet skis, you can watch them from Deck 3 as you sip a margarita and take a dip in the pool or a soak in the whirlpool. Library, Piano Bar, and Casino After dinner you'll probably spend plenty of time in this trio of rooms on Deck 4: the library, piano bar, and casino. If you didn't bring your laptop (and didn't borrow one from the Concierge), you can check your e-mail at one of two computers in the library (located aft). You can also borrow books and magazines; there's actually an excellent selection of both novels and nonfiction. The library is a rich-looking room with cherry wood tones and comfortable furniture. Directly outside the library is the Piano Bar. In the evenings, Chief Bartender Zoltan opens the bar while musician George presides over a sing-along. There are a few bar stools but many guests simply gather around the piano to join in the fun. Across from the Piano Bar is the Casino. Well, in truth it's just one gaming table manned by Casino Manager Mariya. Despite the tiny room, passengers turned up each night to try their hand at Blackjack. Spa & Fitness SeaDream Spa on Deck 4 is an oasis at sea and is run by a cadre of wonderful Thai women. They offer a variety of spa treatments, including body therapy (a 30-minute papaya body mask for $70), massage therapy (a 50-minute traditional Thai massage for $115), and facial therapy (a 50-minute aromaplasty session for $95). You can also make an appointment for salon services like a manicure and pedicure (standard or French), or a shampoo and blow dry ($35-$45). The spa staff also assists at the Fitness Center, which is open from 8am-8pm. You'll find treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes and free weights. Free group exercise classes in yoga and tai chi are scheduled throughout the cruise. Shore Excursions I was pleasantly surprised to find that SeaDream offers a solid list of shore excursions at most ports. Be warned, however, that some Yachting Land Adventures, as they are called by the line, are cancelled if a minimum number of participants isn't reached. During our voyage, some guests were shut out of a zip-line adventure for this reason. One of the excursions we joined in Esperanza on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico was perhaps the coolest we've ever participated in: the Bioluminescent Bay Encounter. Known locally as "Bio Bay," this spot combines the perfect conditions to create a community of dino-flagellates. These are microscopic organisms—part plant and part animal—that live here off the nutrients in the bay. What makes them unique is how they react to motion: they glow neon blue. So, while you can't see the organisms with the naked eye, you can see the light they produce when they come in contact with you, a fish, a boat, etc. The effect is other-worldly! You'll be wowed the moment you hit the water! Just move your arms and legs and a strange blue light will "glow" from your body! Lift your arms out of the water and you'll see individual "stars" or "diamonds" emit sparks of light. It is so hard to explain just how unusual and beautiful this experience is. Photographing the effect is very difficult since you're in complete blackness and if you use a flash, you'll flatten the "glow." This is something you'll have to do yourself and then you'll also be telling people, "You must visit Vieques and Bio Bay!" This tour was definitely worth much more than the $58 per person we paid. Enrichment Unlike some cruise ships, there are no daytime lectures or guest speakers. Instead, the yacht's Club and Activities Director conveys port information each evening in the Main Salon during cocktail hour. Dress Code We love SeaDream because the dress code is so easy! There are no formal nights but if you want to dress up in the evening, go for it. Many couples dressed for dinner in the Dining Salon while others simply wore sundresses and trousers with button-down shirts. The relaxed dress code certainly made packing easier! Fellow Passengers On our voyage, we met Europeans, Canadians, and fellow Americans. While SeaDream II can accommodate up to 112 guests, there were 85 people on our sailing (each Commodore Suite was booked, thus depleting the number of available Yacht Club staterooms and lowering the total capacity of the ship during this particular sailing). Family & Children I would not recommend SeaDream for families with young children. Even teenagers may be bored during the evenings (though they'd love the Marina during the day). Cruise Fare & Gratuity SeaDream Yacht Club offers an all-inclusive experience and the cruise fare includes alcoholic beverages and gratuities. Of course, some guests still prefer to tip or, as we did, donate to the crew welfare fund. If you dissect SeaDream's sailing schedule, you'll find some excellent values. Certain Caribbean sailings and transatlantic repositioning voyages have been consistently priced in a way that makes them a bargain among luxury cruise line offerings. However, even the highest rack rate fares are reasonable considering the intimate size of the yacht, the high level of service, and excellent food and wine onboard. We will definitely sail with SeaDream Yacht Club again in the very near future. —Originally published at http://www.luxurycruisebible.com ©2010 Andrea M. Rotondo Read Less
SeaDream II Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.0
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 2.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 3.0
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 5.0 4.1

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