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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on a LOT of cruises. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian. I have taken 7 cruises on Norwegian, the last 3 in the Haven Suites. After my last cruise on them I felt VERY nickle and dimed. When I found out ... Read More
I have been on a LOT of cruises. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian. I have taken 7 cruises on Norwegian, the last 3 in the Haven Suites. After my last cruise on them I felt VERY nickle and dimed. When I found out after paying over $20,000 for my families haven vacation that my pre paid gratuities (come on, you know they are not giving those dollars up to the staff!) did not even cover all of the gratuities, I was done. There was so much more to that but I digress. We finally decided to try a small, boutique ship and I did extensive research. We just got back from a San Juan to San Juan week long vacation on the Seadream 1 and I can honestly say it was the BEST most RELAXING vacation ever!!! 1. It has the BEST service of any place in the world. The people that work on the ship LOVE their jobs and they are simply wonderful. 2. The food is truly 5 plus star. I have dined all over the world and it is simply exceptional. 3. Drinks are included. 4. You can have basically whatever you want whenever you want it. 5. The open spaces on the ship are a nice bonus. The pool is nothing but views. There is no fighting for a deck chair, no lines of any kind, you don't wait for anything at all. There were only 70 guests total and it never felt crowded. 6. It is not for kids. Leave them at home. 7. The stops are exotic and you feel more like an explorer and less like a tourist. 8. You will be pampered. The Thai massage is well worth it! 9. There is no one trying to sell you anything anywhere! Tips are included, but I actually tipped a few people because it was just so wonderful. 10. The staff are treated well and it shows. I cannot rave more about the service! 11. The cabin and ship are old, but clean. It has character. If you are looking for fancy, this isn't it. We were always on the go so I did not even miss the balcony. 12. Sleeping on the front of the ship cannot be missed! It was WONDERFUL! 13. They go out of their way to make your trip great. There are little touches like monogrammed pajamas custom made for you~! You can also jet ski (also included), banana boat, kayak or paddleboat off the back of the ship. Read Less
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife and I sailed on the SeaDream II out of San Juan in February. We have cruised many times on the mega ships, but have since transitioned away from cruising. On the recommendation of friends, we booked the SeaDream II cruise. ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the SeaDream II out of San Juan in February. We have cruised many times on the mega ships, but have since transitioned away from cruising. On the recommendation of friends, we booked the SeaDream II cruise. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and the service on board greatly exceeded our expectations. Our cabin was spacious for a cruise ship. After the first night, our cabin steward (without notice) stored our suitcases so that we had additional space. On the last night, she returned them (again without notice) so that we could prepare for disembarkation. This was a nice touch. The bartender and servers at the various lounges were incredible. After the first night, they addressed us by name. They were all very friendly and never seemed too rushed to ask how our day was or our plans for the following day. If we had any special requests, they were quick to act upon it. The food on this cruise surpassed all expectations imaginable. The variety, taste, and presentation at each dinner was incredible. Because of poor weather conditions, we only sat outside for dinner once. However, eating inside was not a disappointment. Especially because of the quality of the meals. In addition, the house wine that was served at all meals was very good. We utilized the spa on a couple of occasions. It was exceptionally 5-star. My wife and I each had a Thai Massage that was incredible. As with the rest of the staff on board, the workers in the spa were friendly and very helpful. Our biggest disappointment had to do with communication and in particular, the activity director. Throughout our cruise, the weather was not great. Windy conditions caused us to change our itinerary. We understand that safety always comes first. However, considering the cost of a SeaDreams cruise, I would think that the activity director would have a backup plan when weather becomes an issue. On this cruise, you were left to figure it out on your own! On our first full day, we changed itinerary and went to St. Thomas. We docked at Crown Bay which is essentially a cargo harbor. Absolutely nothing to do within several miles. The plan was that we would dock here for a couple of hours, then go to Honeymoon Beach. My wife and I took the bikes on board and rode into Charlotte Amelie. We were having a great time, but had to quickly leave so that we wouldn't miss our departure time (11:30 am). When we arrived back on the ship, someone told us that because of weather, we weren't leaving until 10:00 pm. This was frustrating. The winds and weather were the same at 11:30 am as they were at 9:30 am when we left the ship. I feel they knew we weren't leaving all along, but failed to communicate this until later. In fact, we never heard the staff make the announcement, we just heard it from other passengers who were confused and didn't know what to do at this "less than attractive" port. So, what to do for the next 10 hours. Well, Greg the activity director, was no where to be found. Ultimately, my wife and I took a taxi to Megans Bay where we had a wonderful beach day. It was out of the wind and the water was great. Fortunately, we had been to St. Thomas before so we knew what to do. When we got back to the ship, most of the passengers just stayed on board. Without any direction from the activity director, they didn't know what to do. Again, when you pay as much as you do for a SeaDreams cruise, they should have coordinated transportation to Megans Bay so the passengers who wanted a beach day could have a beach day. Another frustrating moment we had was on Anguilla. Early in the cruise, we informed the Greg that we enjoyed biking and would want to bike on most of the islands, if possible. This obviously fell on deaf ears. SeaDreams had a shore excursion to Schoal Beach. We paid the money only to find out that the excursion only included transportation to the beach. We could have hired a taxi for a cheaper price. What was also frustrating is that the excursion ended at around 1:00 pm and we wanted to stay longer. So, we just skipped the return transportation that we paid for through SeaDreams and took a taxi when we were ready. The entire Schoal Beach excursion was poorly communicated. SeaDreams easily could have had two return buses for people. One at 1:00 pm and one at 4:00 pm. We took two buses to the beach. However, what was super frustrating was that after we paid for this excursion, Greg announced that they will have bikes available to bike to the beach. What? When I asked if we could take two bikes, he indicated that we already had paid for the excursion so we wouldn't get a refund. Furthermore, I immediately tried to sign up for the bike trip and he said they were already booked. This was very frustrating. Overall, our SeaDreams cruise was truly wonderful and definitely a 5-star experience. However, the lack of communication especially from the activity director was underwhelming at best. 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
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
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Time for my annual “state-of-the-union” address. We’ve been sailing SeaDream yearly since 2010. Since every trip has been memorable and there aren’t many reviews posted on Cruise Critic, I’ve tried to write a review for most of ... Read More
Time for my annual “state-of-the-union” address. We’ve been sailing SeaDream yearly since 2010. Since every trip has been memorable and there aren’t many reviews posted on Cruise Critic, I’ve tried to write a review for most of our trips. This years vacation stands out as one of our favorites for many of the usual reasons - great itinerary, great crew and service, great fellow passengers, great food - and as luck would have it, great weather! We started our vacation by staying at Caneel Bay on St. John for 3 days prior to the cruise. We like to take a few days to get into vacation mode before boarding SeaDream. Caneel Bay has always been on our bucket list and we were quite pleased with our stay. It has some similarities to SeaDream in that the rooms are not modern and slick, but more retro and quaint. We loved the laid back vibe and gorgeous grounds and beaches. Definitely a place we want to return to. The resort runs a ferry taking guests back and forth to St. Thomas. It was very easy leaving Saturday morning and getting to the dock to board SeaDream. Highly recommend it as a pre- or post-cruise stay. ITINERARY SATURDAY | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. SUNDAY | Sopers Hole and Norman Island. Anegada was supposed to be our first port, but because of swells the captain moved Anegada to Friday as the weather report showed a better chance of tendering later in the week. We took a quick walk around the shops at Sopers Hole and then headed back for lunch. At Norman Island we took a quick trip ashore to Pirates Bight and quickly returned to the ship to enjoy the pool. MONDAY | Anguilla. We took a taxi to Shoal Bay, rented lounge chairs and enjoyed the beach. We stopped in at Elvis’ bar at the dock for a beer before taking the ferry back to the ship. TUESDAY | Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Barts in the evening. We took our only ship excursion on St. Maarten. We thoroughly enjoyed the America’s Cup Regatta. Great fun and well run though, if you suffer from seasickness, it might not be for you. Got a relaxing poolside massage while we sailed from St. Maarten to St. Barts. We stayed onboard in the evening, though many guests went ashore to have dinner. WEDNESDAY | St. Barts. We have a routine we follow for St. Barts. Shopping in he morning, Nikki beach and lunch midday, and then a late afternoon trip to Gouvernor’s beach. Usually we have lunch at LaPlage, but this year we decided to try Eden Rock. SeaDream’s concierge made the reservation for us. Lunch and service was excellent and we will probably make it our “go-to” lunch spot on future trips. THURSDAY | Jost Van Dyke (Champagne & Caviar Splash) and Foxy’s in the evening. Because of the change in itinerary the Splash was moved to Thursday. As always, it was a highlight of the trip and I think we prefer having it on Thursday. There was no worrying about rushing back to the ship to pack. Instead we wandered down to Soggy Dollar and people-watched until the last tender back. That evening we felt obligated to take a trip to Foxy’s. It was extremely crowded and we couldn’t even get through the crowds at the bar to get a beer. In the future will probably pass on Foxy’s if it’s offered. FRIDAY | Anegada. This was the only island on our trip that was new to us. After a treacherous (but fun) trip onto the tender and a bumpy trip to the island, SeaDream had a complimentary shuttle waiting to take passengers to Cow Wreck beach. The beach was spectacular and went on for miles, great for a long beach walk. We tried the famous lobster lunch and hate to admit it but was totally unimpressed - maybe it’s just us as the others guests were raving about the lobsters. Service at the bar/restaurant was good, and we would rate this as the prettiest beach of the trip. CREW - as always the crew was top notch. Some that really stand out: Captain Holmsteinsson. This was our first trip sailing with him and we were lucky enough to dine with him one evening. He was a very nice dinner host and great captain. Keeping us informed all week of weather situations and going the extra mile to make sure we were able to experience Anegada. Hotel Manager | Christophe. What a professional! We try to be low maintenance, and because of the great service, we really don’t have much need to request anything extra. But it seems Christophe is so good that he anticipated what would make our vacation better. For example, while we were eating lunch at the splash Christophe came over to say hello. One of us mentioned how the coconut macaroons that had been served all week were fabulous, and the only way to improve upon them would be to dip them in chocolate. That evening at dinner a plate full of chocolate dipped macaroons appeared, followed by a visit by the pastry chef. Another special touch, on the last day of the cruise we were on the pool deck waiting to see our last Caribbean sunset for awhile. Again Christophe stopped by to say hello. We mentioned how this was our favorite time of day and how absolutely perfect the weather and day had been. He asked if we would like to dine outside that evening. We were thrilled. I know this is something that we can request, but we feel that the waiters work so hard at all times that we don’t want to add to their workload. With Christophe’s blessing our last meal was perfect with the added treat of dining under the stars. Waiter | O’Neil. Poor guy was the “lucky” one that served us breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. Such a nice man and perfect waiter. He was always checking to make sure we were happy and everything was prepared properly. Casino | Stela. Adorable, funny and entertaining, we enjoyed spending most evenings with her. Head Bartender | Severin (piano bar). Great guy and great bartender. One of us requested a pickle martini - I know, why would you do that? He didn’t have pickle juice but told us he would try to find some when he went shopping. A few nights later while we were in the lounge for cocktail hour, he came towards us with a tray with a jar of pickles on it! He also made a perfect Lemon Drop, Espresso Martini, B&B...come to think of it all of his cocktails were perfect. On top of that, he is just a really sweet guy. Top of the Yacht Bartender | Gareth. We usually ended each night with a drink at the TOY Bar. Gareth was game to make anything we requested and quite enjoyable to chat with. He has only been with SeaDream for a few weeks but seemed like a natural fit. Music | Din Din (guitar) and George (piano). Both are very talented, one night they did a poolside concert that was very enjoyable. We spent many a night with George at the piano bar, it was quite lively on this cruise and always fun, though I think some current music additions would be welcome. We also enjoyed spending time with Din Din on the America’s Regatta. Tender Crew. Unfortunately I don’t know their names but they did a great job all week. There were a few times when the seas were rough and they were able to get us on and off the tenders safely. FELLOW PASSENGERS. We had originally booked a cruise a few weeks later on SeaDream I, but because of a work conflict of one of our group we needed to change the date. When we called SeaDream to change we were told that the 3rd and 4th floor for this itinerary had been purchased by a group and they didn’t have any information about the group. We’ve read all of the horror stories on this board about groups taking over the ship and were a bit hesitant. Since this was the only trip that would work for us we crossed our fingers and booked. It turns out a travel agent who has sailed on SeaDream for many years had booked the 2 levels. His guests were very inclusive and quite fun. I’ve always thought that one of the biggest selling points of SeaDream is that the fellow guests are so down-to-earth and friendly. Last year was a bit of an anomaly, as quite a few guests seemed to have a superiority attitude, and I was scared this might be a trend -- I’m happy to report that it didn’t carry over to this year! FOOD. The food, as we’ve become accustomed to, was superb this year. There seemed to be a lot of new items on the menu, but enough old reliables that we weren’t disappointed. Chef Thomaz was very visible and his usual happy self. The desserts seemed better than ever - and the dessert extravaganza was outstanding. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Just to be fair and balanced, here are a few areas that could be improved upon: Pool Bar Service. This would be my only real complaint. The pool service seems to have suffered a cut-back. In the past there seemed to be 2 bartenders during the day. On this cruise, there was only one server at most times and he seemed overworked. On a Caribbean cruise the pool seems to be the most popular area during the day, cutting back on service here doesn’t make sense. Wine. The wine at dinner is generally pretty bad. We purchased wines most evening. I’m not a wine snob and there are quite a few inexpensive wines I drink that I enjoy. I think the complimentary wine list could be easily improved on. Bring back the pistachio cookies! I know, how can we complain when there is so much to choose from, but the pistachio cookies seemed like SeaDreams signature cookie. They were missed, but I didn’t gain as much weigh on this vacation, so there was a silver lining. Cocktail Hour hors d’ouvres. Lots of repeats and not very exciting, House Plant in the stateroom. This is my crazy nit-picky thing. If you read my review a few years ago I was appalled at the 1970 style plant in the staterooms. The next year it was replaced with a grassy looking plant. I of course envisioned the change as the heads of SeaDream reading my review, sitting back and saying, “what an astute passenger, she’s right - let’s replace it with something modern”. Well, flash forward to this year and the 1970s style plant is back. So much for my influence THINGS WE LOVED. Overall we loved everything about the week. Some of the extra special things we loved that I haven’t listed above: - Love walking up the ramp when we first arrive and getting a glimpse of the crew we’ve had the privilege to sail with before. - Love that every year our list of “favorite” crew gets more and more names added to it. - Love the new and improved monogrammed PJs. The new cotton pants are very nice. - Love coming back to a beautifully made stateroom every evening -thanks to Jesse our room steward. - Love sitting at the TOYB in the evening enjoying a cocktail, each other’s company, listening to the waves, and star-gazing. - Love watching (and sometimes love listening) to the singers at the piano bar each evening - always entertaining. - Love crispy bacon each morning. - Love that they grate chocolate over the cappuccino -- it's the little things! - Love swimming off the back of the boat -- this trip the captain even had a surprise sunset swim available one evening. - Love the “voila” every evening at dinner. It never gets old. - Love taking the tender to the beach the morning of the splash. - Love knowing that we will be back on-board next year! SeaDream really is a special vacation for us and one we don’t take for granted. We visit places that are breathtakingly beautiful, while being treated to impeccable service by a crew that works so hard, but always with a smile. Thanks for another week of wonderful memories. Happy to report the state of SeaDream is better than ever! 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
45 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We cruise a fair amount – mostly Seabourn and previously Silversea and have heard lots or positive things from fellow cruisers about about SeaDream. We were on a short four day cruise from Barbados to Barbados. We were looking ... Read More
We cruise a fair amount – mostly Seabourn and previously Silversea and have heard lots or positive things from fellow cruisers about about SeaDream. We were on a short four day cruise from Barbados to Barbados. We were looking forward to a nice suite (tick), excellent food (tick) and some pleasant (possibly staid) evenings in a piano bar. We found ourselves on a party ship with at least three groups of families or friends celebrating birthdays and life. I suspect we were unlucky due to the nature of the voyage but on reading the promotional materials on the ship it does seem that SeaDream is setting out its stall as a ship to enjoy celebrations and as such it is doing a great job for these people. Would highly recommend for this purpose. The top deck at night was a full blown and rather fantastic party. The dining room got quite noisy – we met a couple who had to walk out they were so overwhelmed by it. The general vibe was just not what we wanted – more what I would imagine Club Med or Costa cruise. The question I ask myself is would we come again knowing there were not to be groups? The answer is still no. The ship is too small for us. We badly missed a veranda (somewhere to escape from the very busy pool area), we missed a bar being open after dinner (did not open till 9.30), we missed having a bottle of wine in our room (forbidden – only by the glass) and we missed choices of places to eat with different ambiences. The ship is undoubtedly kept immaculately but it is aging and the competition in this band is fierce. Would also comment that the white wine choices were pretty average or not really to my taste. There was a tolerable French Sauvignon Blanc which saved the day. Also whites and champagne were rarely cold enough. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Seadream sailings are NOT your typical cruising. Read their tag line and it says it all. This is yachting so if you're expecting and hoping for Seabourn,Crystal or Regent you might be disappointed. This is a kick back, relaxing ... Read More
Seadream sailings are NOT your typical cruising. Read their tag line and it says it all. This is yachting so if you're expecting and hoping for Seabourn,Crystal or Regent you might be disappointed. This is a kick back, relaxing vacation with amazing staff who are full time attentive . The crew are happy, funny, and appear to love what they do. When you're on vacation you want to see smiles! Cabins are adequate size and appointed decently. I did think the bedding could be updated but that would be my only complaint on the room. Bathrooms are small but the showers are good. I read another review that was highly critical and it was hard, given our experience, to imagine they were on Seadream. Maybe I'm a bit more relaxed but then the trip is supposed to be a vacation. If you're looking for glitz and glamour look somewhere else otherwise book a relaxing vacation on Seadreamand enjoy the service and fun of the "yacht". 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
It’s time for my yearly review of SeaDream. I contemplated skipping the review this year since it feels like my reviews are repeating themselves: we had a fabulous time, the weather was perfect, the service was top-notch, blah, ... Read More
It’s time for my yearly review of SeaDream. I contemplated skipping the review this year since it feels like my reviews are repeating themselves: we had a fabulous time, the weather was perfect, the service was top-notch, blah, blah,blah. But since I look forward to reading anything “SeaDream” throughout the year, I decided to go ahead and share some highlights and new things we noticed this year at the risk of being redundant. OUR VOYAGE Seadream I, January 31 – February 7th, 2015. Planned Itinerary: Depart San Juan | Sandy Ground, Anguilla | Saba - Gustavia, St Barts (Overnight) | Soper’s Hole, Tortola | Norman Island | Virgin Gorda | Disembark St Thomas One of the unique things I love about SeaDream is it’s ability to change itineraries based on weather, etc. This came in handy on our cruise, as the weather on Sunday in Anguilla wasn’t the best. We ended up making St. Barts our first stop, visiting Anguilla later in the week. We also didn’t make it to Saba due to weather - we’ve been to Saba before and it’s not one of our favorite ports so this didn’t disappoint. PORTS ANGUILLA | we went to the beach at Shoal Bay, beautiful beach, but there is a lot of building going on since we visited 2 years ago, and I’m wondering how much the atmosphere is going to change in the future. ST. BARTS | we normally visit Governor’s Beach but decided to give Saline Beach a try for something new. It was a good choice, beautiful location and less crowded then Governor’s. There was a nice little restaurant within walking distance to the beach. NORMAN ISLAND | we took the tender to Pirate’s Bight and walked around a bit, before heading back to the ship to spend the day enjoying the pool. FELLOW PASSENGERS Our cruise had 70 passengers, with about half having sailed with SeaDream previously. This was a rather low key crowd – personable – with no real complainers and no life-of-the-party types. Top of the yacht bar emptied out by midnight, though the piano bar seemed more popular than previous trips. Most of the guests were in the late 40- 60s age range. There was one married couple with a 4 month old baby and 2 year old. We were a bit worried when we first saw the baby and toddler, but they were adorable and absolute angels and didn’t cause any problems. SERVICE The service is always a highlight of our cruises on SeaDream. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on it, but the service seemed to be at an all time high. Enes as Maitre ‘d is a gem. We’ve sailed with him before and have never had a meal go by where he hasn’t checked in on us - attentive and just a really nice guy! Waiters Robin, Doramus and Mikee were all up to the challenge of keeping our party of 7 fed and happy during the week. Bartender Manuel at the piano bar - so kind, plus he introduced me to the perfect Amaretto Sour. At this point in my life I thought I’d tried every cocktail there was, nice surprise to find an addition to add to my arsenal. Marco and Gabor at the TOYB were a hoot - stand up comedians or bartenders? I’m still not sure. Mark and Angelo at the pool were constantly making sure we were happy - moving umbrellas, serving cocktails and passarounds, misting us with cool water, cleaning our sunglasses - I was exhausted just watching them all day! CAPTAIN ERIKSEN This is our first sailing with Captain Erickson, what a great addition to the SeaDream team. He was very visible and informative, keeping us up-to-date on the weather, and letting and us know when there was a chance we were going to miss a port and what our options were. I liked his straight forward approach, on a few of our other trips we felt like we were given different stories about what was going on when ports were canceled. He also gave us a surprise visit to Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke Thursday night. It’s was great to get a taste of the Caribbean nightlife and also to see some of the crew given time off to enjoy themselves along with us. SPLASH Our splash this year was at Virgin Gorda. The location is new and it wasn’t my favorite setting for the splash. The beach is on a slant, so it’s hard to relax when sitting on a lounger. The water was a bit rough so the caviar was served on the beach not in the water. That being said, it was a wonderful way to spend our last day of the cruise. The weather was perfect, the water temperature sublime, and the food was excellent - noteworthy was the prime rib and the shrimp skewers that were cooked to perfection. Note: My overall splash rankings would be: 1st Soggy Dollar (ambiance), 2nd Nevis (facilities), 3rd Virgin Gorda. FOOD Food was excellent all week, some of our favorites: – pesto omelet – the “crispy” bacon – mussels for lunch – swordfish at lunch – fish and chips at lunch – white tomato cappucino (sublime!) – spicy tuna appetizer – chateaubriand – beef wellington – chocolate chipotle ice cream (sounds strange, but delicious) NIGHTLIFE We started most nights at the piano bar. George the piano player was great, though he could update his music library with some more current songs. When we weren’t belting out a song we would hop over to the black jack table. Valentina, the dealer, was wonderful. Most nights it was just our group playing and we are by no means blackjack afficienados. Valentina was very patient with us, helpful and always smiling. We would then head up to the Toy Bar where Gabor and Marco would fix us a delicious end-of-night cocktail and have us laughing. One couple from our group spent a night on the front bali bed one evening and loved it. They had perfect weather and lasted outside all night. MISCELLANEOUS – New decor in the salon is an improvement. – Love the bamboo plants in the bedroom, the previous plastic plant drove me crazy – Complimentary mini massages by the pool a few afternoons were wonderful – Liked the new Confluence dinner (in addition to the Degustation night) – Current movies were being shown in cabin (American Sniper was available on our sailing) – Heineken is now served on draft at the pool and TOYB. Icy cold and delicious – Wine at dinner seems improved over last year - though there is still room for more improvement :) – Foxy’s evening stop was great. LIFE-IS-GOOD MOMENT Our vacations on SeaDream have left us with so many wonderful memories, on each cruise there is that one moment where it hits you -- life doesn’t get much better than this! For this trip it occurred on Thursday as we sailed from Sopers Hole to Norman Island. Lunch was served al fresco while we were under sail. Everything about the lunch was perfect - the weather and gentle seabreeze, the fabulous service by Robin (which we had grown accustomed to all week), fish and chips cooked to perfection, cold wine and beer being poured continuously, laughter and conversation with my family, all while breathtaking views of the mountains of the British Virgin Islands sailed by. Truly a snapshot that will stay with me forever. Thank you SeaDream for creating such a unique vacation experience. To the Crew, thank you for being the perfect host year-to-year...treating us spectacularly, putting up with odd requests, and doing it all with such joy! It’s a week my siblings and I look forward to all year - we get to leave behind the hustle of the real world and spend some quality time catching up, reminiscing, laughing, eating and drinking all while enjoying the gorgeous scenery and weather of the Caribbean. We can’t wait to spend another week with you next year! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Yes it's been a while but when I was told of the stellar team assembled on SD 1, I had just had to come and it was truly worth it. I see from a few recent reviews that a few reviewers are complaining about silly niggles BUT seem to ... Read More
Yes it's been a while but when I was told of the stellar team assembled on SD 1, I had just had to come and it was truly worth it. I see from a few recent reviews that a few reviewers are complaining about silly niggles BUT seem to have wholly ignored SD's finest asset that leads this line so far out in front than any other: the amazing CREW ! The fine men and women (and I include all of them) are simply the best (good name for a song). The cuisine was incredible and Michelin standard. One recent reviewer complained about pre-dinner drinks and eating outside ! Coming from Northern Europe where I did'nt even bother putting cushions on my outdoor furniture last summer because it was so cold and wet ! I was delighted to eat outside morning, noon and night with fantastic views over Caribbean islands with lovely breezes and feeling the WARMTH ! What other line provides this facility ? None. The crew are a happy lot too and this atmosphere is vital BUT seems lost on Mr.Niggle. We visited a number of ports but partly due to an injury and partly because I loved the experience on SD; I never got off ! Now some may say "you've come all this way and did'nt see the islands ?". Shocking is'nt it BUT time on board with my fellow lovely passengers away, it was just so peaceful. There were a few children on board but they were well behaved and kept away by an amazing Activities Manager and capable assistant. So now you must be asking "there must have been something wrong". Well there was; a waiter due to be on board (whom we adore) had to return home BUT he was replaced by SD1's Employee of the Year ! So even that worked out but we still missed G. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
We were on a seven-day cruise on Sea Dream 1 going out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and calling at various small islands. My wife is mobile, but was suffering from a bad knee, so we were dismayed at the amount of physical activity that was ... Read More
We were on a seven-day cruise on Sea Dream 1 going out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and calling at various small islands. My wife is mobile, but was suffering from a bad knee, so we were dismayed at the amount of physical activity that was needed on this ship. We were not allowed past the gate at the dock in San Juan at 1:20pm, as the ship said boarding was not until 2:00pm. That meant we had to stand outside in the hot sun as there was no place to sit down or any shade. The ship did not provide a waiting area inside the dock building, which every other cruise line does. The big clue to the amount of physical activity needed to enjoy this ship was the first time we boarded, up a very steep gangway ladder with open slats which were curiously slanted. My wife needed help to get up it. This same ladder was used anytime one got on and off the ship including boarding tenders. Tenders were used at every port call, and zodiacs at two of them. My wife was unable to use the zodiac and thus missed the "highlight" of the cruise, the beach bbq with caviar and champagne. This was also a "wet" landing. The tenders tended to pitch quite a bit when being loaded and unloaded at the ship and were very tricky, even for the young and agile passengers. I knew it was a small ship, but I was surprised that entertainment was only one piano player/singer, one guy with a guitar, and one cabin stewardess who sang a couple of times. The casino was one blackjack table. This was a Caribbean cruise with good weather. The ship seemed to think that everyone wanted to eat every meal up on deck with some wind and lots of sun. The main dining room was NEVER open for breakfast or lunch, and they really wanted to serve every dinner outside, but fortunately the weather made them serve inside twice. They do not seem to realize that some folks do not want to dine outside all the time. Also, in order to get to the outside tables, one had to climb stairs, as the one tiny ship's elevator did not go all the way up to where the food was. They also insisted on service pre-dinner drinks and snacks outside on the pool deck whenever they could, instead of in the much more comfortable main salon. One night they had a dessert buffet extravaganza outside on the pool deck. It was so dark one could not see what the items were, so I went and got my flashlight so I could differentiate the chocolate cake from the apple strudel. Yes, the service was very good and they learned your name right away. I criticized something with the maitre 'd the second day, and he never was really friendly to me again the rest of the cruise, just professional. I criticized one bartender the second day that the beer was not cold (which he then put on ice for me, but which after 15 minutes I had to go get myself) and after that he never smiled at me again, but was jut professional. I did feel that certain groups and passengers got preferential treatment, especially when seats were assigned for evening dining. I got the unfortunate impression that if you made a complaint, they remembered it and you for the rest of the trip. There was no actual dress code, but the women usually dressed up a bit the two times we were in the main dining room. The men spruced up a bit these two nights, but apparently if one dined on deck, the men took it as OK to wear baggy utility shorts, uncollared shirts, and shoes/sandals without socks. Even on nights with open-air dining, the women did dress up more than the men. There was a definite more spruced-up look from the European guests than the American ones. I was very surprised by the free wines served at meals. Only one white and one red and of mediocre quality. The catch was that they served the same wine until it ran out, so you would get the same rather rough Cianti for two or three days. Other ships I have been on which served free wines usually had two whites and two reds and changed them every day. They must have had limited refrigeration space, as the beer was not served very cold, and they poured the soft drinks out of warm cans. The bar Scotch was Johnny Walker Red, rather than the Black served on other six-star ships. So, this ship is for those who do not mind lots of stairs, tendering, zodiacs with wet landings, etc. They must like to dine outside rather than in the main dining room. The cruise line seems to like to fill the ship with groups which makes it difficult for a couple on a ship with only 100 passengers (our week there was a very rowdy and loud group of 20 Texans who liked to sit together). I thought that for the six-star ultra-luxury rating they were a bit cheap with the wines and spirits served. Caviar is strictly rationed but always available at $100 an ounce. They seemed to push the sale of premium wines and spirits. The daily free wines were never listed on the menus, but they always prominently featured premium wines which could be purchased. I noticed that when they served the free wines they always just said we have a cabernet or we have a chardonnay. They were reluctant to volunteer where the wine was from, and the label was usually not made obvious unless one asked to see it. Yes, there were a bunch of little things that were somewhat annoying about this ship but the vast majority of the staff was very friendly and helpful, especially the lower-ranking staff. On a ship with only 100 passengers, one would think that every couple would be invited to dine with officers or staff at least once during the trip, but we were not, although I saw at least one other couple at an officer's table twice. We will not be back on Sea Dream 1, or 2, for that matter, but do acknowledge that most of the guests seemed to be having a very nice time aboard. I would also mention in closing that we were in a cabin that had a door which opened up to form a suite for those who wanted to book it. This door, while closed, allowed sound to come through to such a point that we were able to judge how often the couple next door enjoyed a romantic interlude. The gym was small with only four treadmills, but I always found one available. There were always fresh towels and water provided at each treadmill. The cabin was small, but adequate. The bathroom was small and it was hard to get inside and close the door to use the toilet. On this very small ship, there were only two good indoor places to sit and read, in the main salon and in the library, both of which were quite dark. So, the ship was great if you were young and active, but did not really appeal to us and was just too small, too informal, too many outdoor meals, etc, with a bit of favoritism shown on board. They really need to do something about that rather hazardous gangway ladder. 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: December 2012
Today, anyone who has the desire to take a cruise can find something that suits their tastes and price range. From mammoth "floating cities" with all the bells and whistles, medium-sized vessels in all price ranges and very ... Read More
Today, anyone who has the desire to take a cruise can find something that suits their tastes and price range. From mammoth "floating cities" with all the bells and whistles, medium-sized vessels in all price ranges and very small ships, usually costing a little more but including more in the cruise fare, there is something for everyone. But for most of cruising history, an ocean voyage was the exclusive domain of the very wealthy. Most evenings were formal. As the cruise industry has evolved, there is an increasingly casual ambiance about the experience. This has carried over to the interaction between passenger and crew members. Particularly on the very small ships, friendships are made between passengers and crew that carry over year to year. For the past few years, I have taken Sea Dream Yacht Club's Sea Dream 2 out of St. Thomas in early December. On my first voyage, I noticed a waiter, Werner Roy, who stood out from his peers. He was considerably older, and unlike many of the other waiters, he was Caucasian. Much of Sea Dream's crew is Asian. He struck me as very formal, and I, incorrectly, took this as a lack of warmth. As time passed, our group sat in his station and we began to talk with Werner. He turned out to be our favorite, and on our last cruise in December, 2012, we had the Matre reserve a front table with Werner for the entire cruise. The more I learned about his extensive history at sea, the more I understood his demeanor was a reflection of his years aboard the premier luxury liners of their day. He is doting, yet reserved and unobtrusive. His bearing is formal and respectful. The more I drew him out, the more I wanted to hear his story. He agreed to be interviewed for this piece, and seemed happy to do so. Werner Roy comes from the Black Forest region of Germany, which is bordered by France to the West and Switzerland to the South. He attended Hotel school in Switzerland, and upon graduation, went on to work at prestigious hotels in England, Switzerland and Paris. But he was feeling the ocean beckoning him, and his first contract at sea was on a freighter. He suggested trying a freighter cruise as a passenger would be a rewarding experience, and I'm looking into doing that. Deciding that his hotel and hospitality experience would be better served on a passenger ship than a freighter, Werner landed a waiter position with the Royal Viking line. Royal Viking was the premier cruise line of that time, counting among its passengers Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and Vincent Price among numerous other celebrities. Royal Viking operated from 1972 to 1994 when financial difficulties necessitated its sale to the Cunard line. In 1998, Cunard was taken over by Carnival. The Royal Viking Star holds a fond place in my heart for two reasons. First, they had the gumption to throw the lovely and congenial Leona Helmsley off the ship after she had thoroughly annoyed both crew and fellow passengers. You have to love that. I guess money can't buy everything. Secondly, I had the chance to sail on the Star after it had been sold to Norwegian Cruise lines. I just wanted to see the ship. We didn't have much money, and took an inside cabin on the lowest deck, but the ship was gorgeous. That stateroom was the largest I've had on any of my cruises. While with Cunard, Werner served on both the Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II, 220 passenger ultra-luxury ships that were the epitome of upscale small ship cruising. Today, they are the Sea Dream 1 and 2. His Sea Goddess passengers included Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Albert. I had to practically pry the names from Werner. Even now, all these years later, he places a high value on the guest's privacy. He is clearly not comfortable speaking about past passengers. His discretion is most admirable. While Werner was taking contract after contract at sea, he had a fiancee at home who had expected him to come home and take a land-based job. He kept saying this next contract would be the last, but finally his Lady had had enough. He was sorry about it, but he'd found his calling at sea. He does not regret it. He has loved life at sea. At 63 years young, Werner plans to retire in a couple years. He has a lady friend waiting for him in Germany, and claims to be looking forward to retiring. He is considering spending half of each year in Asia, and has a keen interest in gardening. When we were getting ready to disembark last December, Werner was preparing to fly home for Christmas to celebrate with friends and family. He was looking forward to all the traditional German foods served at Christmas, including the "weiswurst", a veal and bacon sausage, and gluhwein, the spicy mulled red wine made with cloves, cinnamon, and sugar and served hot. Adding nutmeg and brandy is optional. After his two month vacation, he was looking forward to coming back aboard Sea Dream 2. He loves working with and teaching the younger waiters and introducing passengers to new foods. You can see from how Werner is treated by his co-workers that he is both respected and loved. He says he will have no trouble retiring, but I have to wonder. He will miss the sea. When next December rolls around, Werner and Sea Dream 2 will be in Asia rather than their usual Caribbean itinerary. This will be great for many of the crew, as they will be close to home and family. My Wife Susie and I will be sailing on another ship, and we will dearly miss both Werner and the whole Sea Dream 2 family. It is my fervent hope to have a chance to sail with them again before Werner retires. I will miss his droll humor, the sparkle in his eye and his love of people. He has become my friend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
We recently cruised on SeaDream II for a birthday cruise. THis weas our first experience with SeaDream, though we have cruised extensively. Friends had raved on the experience and we wanted to see for ourselves. Everything from ... Read More
We recently cruised on SeaDream II for a birthday cruise. THis weas our first experience with SeaDream, though we have cruised extensively. Friends had raved on the experience and we wanted to see for ourselves. Everything from Embarkation to Disembarkation was incredible. Starting with massages on the deck while you wait to complete your paperwork. We stayed in the Admiral suite and it was exceptional. Plenty of room. While it is right off of the bar/casino area there was no issue with noise. This line definitely introduces you to the experience of yachting versus cruising. we have done both. The SeaDream experience allows you to be as private, or as social as you wish. We met some incredible friends that we know we will see again. It was also amazing how many guests were on their 3,4, 5 or even more cruise with SeaDream. This is a testament to the product. The staff is as gifted at service as you can expect. They are attentive to your every need and the longer you cruise the more they know exactly what you expect - and they deliver. Everyone from the wait staff to the bar staff to officers were friendly and approachable. We ended up partying with them at St Barts and had a great time. Bottom line - book it. This one is not to be missed. Do leave the kids at home though. This one is for the adults! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was our 2nd cruise with Seadream, and I can only hope it is not our last. We last sailed with her 2 years ago, and if anything, the experience is even better. Embarkation was a breeze, but be warned that when they say you cannot ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Seadream, and I can only hope it is not our last. We last sailed with her 2 years ago, and if anything, the experience is even better. Embarkation was a breeze, but be warned that when they say you cannot embark before a certain time (in our case 2PM), they mean it. Just a short wait in the main lounge, complete with champagne and nibbles, and it was time to register (took perhaps 30 seconds!). Then it was on to our cabin, unpack, lifeboat drill and at 6PM we were off. I won't bore you with island-by-island descriptions as others reviewers have done a better job than I can. However, over the last 30 years we have seen changes in the Caribbean that make the ship it's own destination. Also, the snorkeling is really quite poor due to coral bleaching. On our trip, several excursions had to be cancelled due to lack of participation. I think that this is because Seadream has such a large repeat percentage that many people have "been there, done that." The food was just as good, if not better, than ever. On the days we were in St Barts we knew we would miss the weekly shipment of mussels from France, but Christophe managed to get them for us! When we asked how many there would be, he said "only a few" and that we should consider them an appetizer. When we received them we all cancelled our main courses! I later found out he bought 7 kilos for 6 people -- you do the math! The age group on our cruise ran from mid-thirties up to 80's, and the nationalities were mainly American with some Scandinavians, Brits and Germans. On this cruise the champagne splash was held in an isolated part of Nevis, which we preferred to Prickly Pear as this place had a shallow swimming pool and covered dining. The great appeal of Seadream is its exemplary service, terrific food, and fab ambiance. The crew is beyond terrific and that to me, is what makes a great cruise. 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
Sail Date: January 2011
I have traveled the best of cruise lines. Sea Dreams beats them all if you are looking for an active-life-style cruise serving incredible food with impeccable service. The cabins are ample and comfortable with plenty of storage in them. ... Read More
I have traveled the best of cruise lines. Sea Dreams beats them all if you are looking for an active-life-style cruise serving incredible food with impeccable service. The cabins are ample and comfortable with plenty of storage in them. Entertainment at night is the piano / Karaoke Bar which is far more fun than going to the typical show you see on larger cruise ships. There is also an additional outside bar on the top deck to hang out at while enjoying the evening sights around the port you are in or cruising the seas. Of course there is an extensive book and movie library that you may borrow from. Every cabin has a DVD Player and an ample TV to watch films on. The ship also offers movies almost every night that are currently on pay-per-view for your enjoyment in the lounge or, on some nights, on the pool deck outside......popcorn is always served HOT! For those who like to gamble, you can enjoy a game of black jack in the mini-casino near the piano bar. People are fun and interesting and you really have a chance to more than just "meet and greet". You certainly can get to know the people on board travelling with you. You also have the option of remaining quiet and uninvolved if you wish. There are only 80 to 100 people on board for most trips as the yacht ........ yes this truly is yachting NOT cruising !.....has only 50 staterooms. The back end of the ship drops down when anchored and many water sports are available for passengers to use including but not limited to jet skiing, water skiing, sailing, kayaking and much more including swimming right off the back of the ship......FANTASTIC ! Within the first 24 hours the entire staff knows you by name and what your likes and dislikes are. They know what you want before you do !Embarking and disembarking are a pleasure and so very easy whether it be when you first arrive or leave, or when you are at ports along the way and using a tender to go ashore. No waiting for anything ever. Your tender might have one or two people on it or as many as 10 but in either case you never have to wait more than a minute or two......ok maybe 4 minutes once or twice! There is never a line to do anything and the open seating policy during mealtimes is delightful. Eat by yourself, with new friends, and/ or different folks every night. It's like going to a gourmet restaurant each evening. Weather permitting, breakfast and lunch are always served on the outside (covered dining area) deck. It's beautiful and just delightful. Dinners are served in the dining salon some evenings and on deck others. This cruise (Yachting) line is simply terrific and I highly recommend it for young and old. However, this is NOT a ship to bring young children or teenagers on.........it's geared for adults only. Our cruise was in the Caribbean and we stopped at island ports such as St. Johns, Anquilla, St. Barths and more. In closing, if you want a FANTASTIC cruising (Yachting)experience then be sure to take a SeaDreams Yacht Club cruise........I'm booking another already and so will you. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
We met the ship in St Thomas and were greeted at the brow with a handshake from the Captain, a cool towel and then a glass of champagne. Hors d'oeuvres and more champagne in the main salon while waiting to check in, which took all of ... Read More
We met the ship in St Thomas and were greeted at the brow with a handshake from the Captain, a cool towel and then a glass of champagne. Hors d'oeuvres and more champagne in the main salon while waiting to check in, which took all of 2 minutes. We were escorted to our room where our luggage was already waiting. The room is small, but very nice, as is the bathroom which includes Bulgari toiletries. We were introduced to our room steward, who immediately took the drinks we don't drink out and brought in more of what we do drink for the refrigerator in our room. She asked us if we wanted OJ in the morning, we were thinking the little cans, but it was a small pitcher of fresh squeezed which appeared every day. At 7 we went up for more pre-dinner hors d'hoeuvres and drinks. During this time every day the ship's cruise director discusses the next day's port visit and ship activities. For dinner we opted to sit with a group. The meal and service were fantastic. We were tied to the pier overnight and left about 7 in the morning and were at St John at 8:30. We went to breakfast out on the deck, ate our egg-white omelets and were just amazing at how wonderful it all was. The service everywhere is impeccable. By the time we finished breakfast the waiter knew our names (somehow). We took a 9:30 launch to shore and took a jitney to Trunk Bay for snorkeling and laying on the beach. In the afternoon we sat out on the pool deck for a while, then they opened the "marina", aka the toy deck operated off the back of the yacht. My husband and I went on a banana rocket ride, which was hilarious. I wish someone would have been videotaping! They also have jet skis, which we will try next time. The weather was just perfect 85 and just a few clouds. The water is about 82. We were situated in the middle of a bunch of islands so as the ship travels around the anchor there is just a different island to look at. As we were sitting around the pool they brought out home-made ice cream sandwiches and then came around and cleaned our sunglasses. The people we met were all great and really made the trip. The group is actually younger than I expected, patrons ranged from 30-80. TUESDAY - We arrived in Anguilla about 9 in the morning. We had wanted to borrow 2 of the ships bikes but they were taken by the time we got around in the morning. Another couple heard this and offered that they would ride the bikes TO a resort and we would ride them back. That really worked well. We took a cab to the resort and sat out under an umbrella for about an hour at a magnificent beach and then the other couple arrived and we rode the bikes about 45 minutes back to the pier. We were back in time for a late lunch. Dinner was served outside on deck. The entertainment on board for the night was a screening of a Beyonce concert under the stars on a big blow-up screen. Instead we we ashore in St Barths, which was really dead. We reserved an outside Balinese daybed to sleep under the stars that was ready for us upon our return. I lasted out there for about an hour before deciding to come back inside. The never-ending glasses of red wine had gotten to me! WEDNESDAY - Had an 8:00 appointment for body scrub, massage and facial, all of which were wonderful. My husband went to the gym and had room service waiting when I was done. We then took the launch into St Barts and did some shopping (looking) and walked to a beach made of shells, vice sand, which was nice. No celebrity sitings. We were back to the ship for a late lunch. I sat by the pool and swam in the ocean. Dinner consisted of a set 10 course meal. This is how good the service was...Tuesday night our group was a little crazy and loud so the staff set up a large table for us out on the deck under the stars even though they were serving dinner in the dining room. THURSDAY - Anchored off Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. Took a zodiac into shore for a BBQ. The staff served champagne and caviar off a surfboard and lunch included BBQ shrimp, pork, lamb, roast beef, grouper, and chicken. We mostly just stood in the ocean and drank champagne for 6 hours. My husband went to get me a glass of champagne about an hour before we had to get back on the ship but they were out so they actually drove out to the ship to get a couple more bottles for us! Got into port in San Juan PR at about 9 am Friday and our flight didn't leave until 9 pm so we wandered Old San Juan, had a nice local lunch and sat in a park for a while, (jealously) watching people get on the ship for the next cruise. We were very pleased with all the food, drinks, and above all, the service! Even though they have a "no tipping" policy, this was one trip where we felt extra was warranted. We won't go back to the big ships unless we are forced to based on destination. The ship is the destination. It's just so easy for us to get to the Caribbean that these ships are where we will be when we just want to relax. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of ... Read More
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of December 5-12, 2010. Some background: my sister, cousin and I have been cruising together for close to 20 years. It started out as an annual cruise and as the years have gone by has turned into a 2-3 times a year getaway. In the past we have sailed on the mass lines: Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland - with Celebrity and Holland being our favorites. This past June we decided to take a leap and try the small lines. We booked a back-to-back Mediterranean cruise starting on Seabourn Legend and ending with SeaDream II. We were underwhelmed with Seabourn, although I will give their staff high-marks for friendliness/helpfulness. The funny thing is as soon as we stepped on SeaDream II we gave each other a look knowing that we had found something special. Unfortunately, a family emergency forced us to leave 4 days into our June cruise, but we knew, in that short time, that we had found a new addiction. Six months later we were packing for St. Thomas, ready to board SeaDream I. Our itinerary was to be: December 5, 2010 - Depart from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas U.S.V.I. December 6, 2010 - Esperanza, Vieques Puerto December 7, 2010 - Cruz Bay, St John U.S.V.I. December 8, 2010 - Gustavia, St Barts French West Indies December 9, 2010 - Norman Island B.V.I. December 10, 2010 - Virgin Gorda B.V.I. December 11, 2010 - Jost Van Dyke B.V.I. December 12, 2010 - Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas U.S.V.I. Dock 8:00 Am There was some revision to the schedule once we got onboard. A container of food hadn't reached St. Thomas by the time we were to depart, so it was decided to swap St. John and Vieques. After spending the first day in St. John, we returned to St. Thomas in the evening to load the container. We spent Day 2 in Vieques. Day 3 and 4 were spent in St. Barts. We were originally supposed to be anchored one day in St. Barts. It was never clearly explained why Norman Island was eliminated to add the extra day at St. Barts. First we were told it was due to the weather. Then we were told it was because Norman Island had suffered too much hurricane damage. This was a bit disappointing as I'm not a big fan of St. Barts and love the beauty and seclusion of Norman Island. What I didn't like was the way it felt like we were being given different story by the staff. Other than those 2 changes the itinerary went as planned. I was a little hesitant departing from St. Thomas as I had read horror stories on Cruise Critic about the St. Thomas airport, and it had been years since I had flown into that airport. To be honest, there was no problem arriving or departing from St. Thomas. The airport is small, but customs and security was well-staffed and didn't have long waits. The only negative I have with sailing from St. Thomas is that there are no direct flights from the Washington, D.C. area to St. Thomas. We stayed at the Morning Star section of the Frenchman's Reef Marriot for the 2 nights before and the 1 night after the cruise. Morning Star is located directly on the beach. The location and view of the beach was fabulous; the rooms just OK. The concierge and hotel staff were extremely helpful and pleasant. We had decent breakfasts and drinks at "Coco Joes" a few times during our stay. This open air restaurant directly on the beach was a nice place to watch the sunset and the cruise ships sail out. We had dinner 2 nights at Morning Star's onsite restaurant "Havana Blue". The food and drinks were fabulous, the dEcor was modern and gorgeous, our waitress was very good - the only negative was that the numerous hostesses seemed to have an attitude both nights. We also had dinner one night at "Windows on the Harbor" the Marriott restaurant located at Frenchman's Reef. The food and service here was mediocre, but the view of the Harbor was spectacular. DECEMBER 5TH - ST. THOMAS: We arrived with excitement at the dock around 2:30 to board SeaDream I. We were met by SeaDream staff and porters immediately. Hotel Manager John and Activities Director Colin (who happened to be our favorite bartender when we sailed in June - congrats Colin on your promotion) were there to greet and welcome us. We received our champagne and were checked in within minutes. We immediately took a tour of the ship and found the Top of the Yacht Bar. We were served our first drink by Konrad (great guy) and could tell immediately we were in for a great week! After unpacking we started what would become our routine for the week: cocktail hour, dinner, after dinner drinks at the TOY bar - life is good. A few nights we mixed it up with some gambling, singing at the piano bar, or just wandering around to see what was going on. At the first cocktail hour we were told by our captain that the sailing had 47 passengers and 97 crew. Wow! SeaDream II was departing with us from St. Thomas but their ship was full. I think that was due to their trip being 9 days compared to our 7 days. Dinner the first evening was in the Salon, the food was fabulous, and our cruise was underway. DECEMBER 6TH - ST. JOHN, USVI: We did a little shopping and then took a taxi to Honeymoon Beach. The taxi dropped us off at Caneel Bay Resort. We then had to hike about ½ mile to the beach. The sand and water was breathtaking, very secluded with no more than 20 people on the entire beach. Other people traveling with us went to Trunk Bay and Water Lemon key, they gave high marks to both beaches. Dinner that evening was again in the Salon. Our party of 8 was invited to dine with the Chief Officer Albert from Sweden. He was very interesting and personable and we had a lovely evening. A sidenote: our captain was very visible throughout the entire cruise and was always willing to chat and answer any question we had. DECEMBER 7TH: ESPERANZA, VIEQUES: The day was a little cloudy. We stayed at the pool during the day, did some swimming off of the marina, and jet-skiing. I love that the marina was opened almost every day. Dinner was served outside to the early diners, but as the rain came we were escorted to the Salon for dinner. DECEMBER 8TH & 9TH - ST. BARTS: The first day at St. Barts was off-and-on rain but we headed to the beach anyway. We stopped at St. Jean's Beach and when the rain started we popped into the beachside restaurant, "The Pink Parrot", for lunch and a drink. It had a very French vibe, and we enjoyed ourselves. For dinner that evening, we were served topside - nothing more decadent than being served a 5-star meal with views of St. Barts surrounding us! Wonderful evening. The second day at St. Barts offered the ATV excursion. Four of our group took this excursion and voted it the best experience of the cruise. They also stopped at Governor's Beach and thought it was breathtaking. From here on out, the weather was perfect- sunny and warm. DECEMBER 10TH: VIRGIN GORDA: We've tried to visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda on a few of our previous cruises, but it had never worked out. Finally, we were able to take the ship's excursion on this cruise and experience the baths. It was spectacular. The views were amazing, though we were told by the staff that it was a very easy tour and felt that it would have been difficult for anyone who is not fairly active The boat was anchored off Bitter End Yacht Club in the afternoon with tenders to the beach - very nice. Dinner was served outside again, and I know I'm sounding redundant, but it was delicious and the ambience perfect. The chef setup a Dessert Extravaganza on the pool deck after dinner, while a large movie screen played a Chakira concert. The boat had been repositioned to Leverick Bay for the evening which allowed us to tender to Jumbies Beach Bar. The majority of the passengers seemed to tender over to the bar. It was nice to see a lot of the crew enjoying themselves as well. DECEMBER 11TH: JOST VAN DYKE: Caviar Splash + Beach Barbeque + Degustation Menu = Heaven! A truly special day from beginning to end. Starting with the speedy Zodiac ride to the beach, hearing the blowing of the ship horn to signal the start the Caviar splash, enjoying the fabulous beach barbeque, walking to Soggy Dollars Bar, having champagne delivered to us while floating in the Caribbean, and then ending the day with the Chef's 7 course Degustation Menu for dinner - it was a day that we will remember for a lifetime! DECEMBER 12TH: What a fast week! We had our last, leisurely breakfast before departing a wonderful vacation. We said some thanks to the crew which had treated us so well. We left knowing that we would be returning to SeaDream in the not-too-distant future, as we had taken advantage of the onboard booking disount! FOOD: Overall excellent. Here are some of our favorites: Mushroom Soup, Mussels, Duck, Indian Salad, Grand Marnier Souffle, Indian Salad with Chickpeas, the Pea Risotto served with the Lobster (I didn't think I liked peas or risotto, but OMG it was delicious!), Pistachio Cookies, all 7 courses of the Degustation Menu. Also, all of our requests were easily accepted: crispy bacon, steak cooked to the proper temperature. ACTIVITIES: We enjoyed the daily cocktail hour, the blackjack table, the piano bar, the disco night, the staff afternoon with mini massages/crepe demonstration/fashion show, disco night. WATERSPORTS: Loved that the water sports were available every day! Swimming off the back of the yacht was lovely and the water temperature was perfect. The jet skis were available a few days (they are not allowed in the British Virgin Islands) and were great fun. Other passengers used the sailboat and kayaks during our sailing. STAFF: The staff is what makes SeaDream. Everyone seemed sincerely happy to be making our vacation special. Some of our favorites were: the Captai, Chief Officer; Hotel Manager, John; Activities Manager, Colin; Concierge, Nina; the Casino Dealer (her name escapes me, but she was very patient with us!); Sommelier, Tyrell; Bartenders, Konrad and Pablo; Waiters, Felix, Olivier, and Mikee, along with adorable Assistant Waiter Placido. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but as I mentioned I've turned 50 so my mind is not what it used to be. PASSENGERS: The fellow passengers are also a big part of what makes us love SeaDream. Everyone was friendly and not pretentious, as was the case on our other small cruiseline experience. With the ship being only half full, it seems like we interacted with everyone onboard. The age range for the cruise was mostly 40s/50s with a few younger and a few older. CABINS: We had 4 cabins on level 2. The cabins are small, but not a problem for us. The storage area was adequate and we had plenty of hangers in the closet. The bathroom is small, but oh that shower pressure and constant hot water was fabulous! The cabin dEcor is the only place where I see some need for improvement from SeaDream. The dEcor seems dated and could be easily and inexpensively updated. Color scheme, art, wood drawers could all be modernized. Plus, I hate the plants on the ledge...yes a little picky, but they seem tacky. SPECIAL MOMENTS: • The "Voila" moment at dinner in the salon. Makes me happy everytime! • Early on in the cruise we were served a homemade ice cream sandwich poolside. Pistachio cookies with homemade cherry ice cream -- they were amazing. A few days later the waiter came around with fruit kabobs. One of us said "what no ice cream sandwiches" and the waiter said "I'll make some for you, how many do you want?" Five minutes later he was back with a tray of freshly made ice cream sandwiches! • My brother and sister-in-law had the large bali bed reserved one night. They decided they would take a photo to use for their Christmas card. I thought they were crazy when they asked the concierge if they had a Santa hat they could borrow. 10 minutes later 2 santa hats were delivered to their cabin. • Jost Van Dyke! MISCELLANEOUS: • Love the casualness of SeaDream...no formal nights, yippee! • Love the shower...it's small but powerful. • Love the Bvlgari shower products. • Loved entering a cabin filled with balloons and decorations on my birthday. • Love the way that SeaDream allows the staff to actually enjoy themselves with the passengers. At Jost Van Dyke and Jumbies Bar the staff was able to have some fun. • Love cocktail hour...martini and crab claws before dinner, yummy. • Love the poolside pass-arounds. • Love the sunglass cleaning. • Love the alfresco dinners with perfectly set tables...casual and elegant at the same time. • Love swimming off the back of the boat. • Love the overall atmosphere. • Love getting to know the passengers and staff...so many interesting stories to hear. • Love being called by name as soon as we board...how the heck do they do it? • Love SeaDream I just as much as SeaDream II. I was a little leery after reading some cruise critic postings that SeaDream I wouldn't match up with II. I'm happy to report that the two ships seemed identical in looks and atmosphere. • Love that we took advantage of the open booking discount onboard and that we'll be returning to SeaDream. 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
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