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Sail Date: April 2009
Absolutely loved this cruise. It was the epitome of luxury and great service. Check in was simple at the pier. They took our bags, checked our passports against the passenger list, we boarded the boat and were handed a cold towel and a ... Read More
Absolutely loved this cruise. It was the epitome of luxury and great service. Check in was simple at the pier. They took our bags, checked our passports against the passenger list, we boarded the boat and were handed a cold towel and a glass of champagne. Several days before the cruise we were given the option to upgrade to a suite for a nominal fee which we chose to do. Good decision since cabins tend to be pretty small anyway. The Commodore Suite which we upgraded to is basically two cabins combined. The wall adjoining them is opened up to about an 8 foot opening. We chose to have the second cabin set up with a table for seating four people. What we loved was having two bathrooms, two closets and two sets of drawers, etc. It made it very easy for both of us to get ready in the morning or evening at the same time. We appreciated the Bvlgari toiletries in the cabin, the robes, fridges loaded with beer, water and soft drinks, the flat screen TV, and comfy beds. We did have to call our cabin attendant the first night to have her replace the two twin duvets with one queen size one since the former didn't make snuggling very easy. The next morning we found that the others in our party had the same problem. Later, I ran into our attendant and asked her to fix them up with the proper sized duvets as well. The cabin attendants were outstanding and nice tempered. They never missed a beat. You left your room for breakfast and when you returned, it was made up. Same for dinner or mid afternoon. It was like they had eyes in the back of their heads. One of our favorite things was returning the first night to retire and finding the famous custom embroidered PJs laying on top of our bed with our names on them. Sweet. I had read about it but forgot about it. YOU MUST DO THIS: There is a collection of what they refer to as "Bali Beds" outside on Deck 5. These are great for lounging during the day. But, at night, if you ask your cabin attendant, they'll make one up for you with sheets and duvets so you can sleep outside under the stars.   CUISINE: Fabulous. Thomas, our chef, is a true artist. Every meal was excellent from breakfast which offers a fruit and cereal bar as well as an excellent breakfast menu that is made to order. The scrumptious dinners were nothing short of magical - 2 of which were served outside on the top deck - great idea. The wait staff gets great kudos from everyone in our party of six. They couldn't have been nicer or more professional. The thing that surprised and impressed us most was the "beach party" they held the last day at Jost Van Dyke. We were told they were serving us champagne and caviar at noon. Well, they did - and served it "in the surf." ENTERTAINMENT: Although my boyfriend and I didn't really participate in it, others in our group did and enjoyed it very much. The piano was a lovely place to hand out after dinner as was the mini casino though a bit too much Caribbean poker and not enough blackjack was played. A couple of evenings they played DVD concerts outside on a large screen. PORTS: We sailed from St. Thomas to San Juan and stopped at St. John, St. Barths, Anguilla, Jost Van Dyke and San Juan. Loved every port but particularly the last three. It seemed to us that the USVI were dirty, full of litter and the people not always so friendly - about 50% of them seemed to not like you being on their island. In contrast, the BVI and St. Barths people were friendly, the area clean and free of litter. A cab driver in St. Barths told us that the trash is picked up twice a day there. Anguilla apparently has three of the most beautiful hotels in all of the Caribbean. Didn't go there but did go to a beautiful and secluded beach. ONBOARD SPORTS: We always went ashore during the day but many people chose to just stay on the ship. All the watersports are free so you can water ski, jet ski, swim, snorkel, banana boat, etc. off the back deck of the boat when it is in port. OVER THE TOP: Another service that wow'd us was, upon returning from our shore excursion, we would shower and hang out at the pool. The wait staff there would come around and offer to "Clean Your Sunglasses." Simple but very very nice, helpful and thoughtful. SPA: The spa is run by three wonderful Thai ladies. They are tiny but ferocious. If you have never had a Thai massage - this is the time to try it. These women are incredible. Strong, smart and sweet. When you lie down on the massage table, through the face hole your gaze settles on a bowl of water filled with beautiful flowers. We got a massage the second day and came back for two more days in a row!. Every day these ladies make an offering and say a prayer for smooth sailing. The captain credited them for our smooth trip. The gym is small but adequate and one never needed to wait. HOOKED: By the end of our trip, we were all already talking about when and where to book our next trip on Sea Dream. We just loved everything about it and every staff person from the captain down to the guys who do all the upkeep. 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
Sail Date: June 2010
Let me start by saying that the staff and food aboard this ship was excellent.But will not sail again with this line due to cabin size,bathroom too tiny and lack of balcony or open windows...admit I knew ahead of time of these ... Read More
Let me start by saying that the staff and food aboard this ship was excellent.But will not sail again with this line due to cabin size,bathroom too tiny and lack of balcony or open windows...admit I knew ahead of time of these conditions,but didnt think it would affect us so much,,,but, it really is a deal breaker for me in future... The ports of call were interesting;Dubrovnik a neat town but too many visitors, looks and feels like Disney World with to many guests...the town walls were packed,even early in AM.Quaint streets lined with guides and tourist following in packs.The other cities, Rovinj,Piran,Hvar, Trieste and Venice were intersting to explore.Went on own, all side trips extra and quite expensive, plus many offered in brocure no available due to poor interest. Another problem was a fire in engine room which knocked out power for 5 hrs.,then dinner had to be barbeque at 10 pm on deck,and quite a hassle for guests and crew....but AC out all nite and VERY warm in cabin without window for fresh air...many slept on deck...guess this is what really affected us,felt SO claustrophobic after that whenever in room.The crew handled it well,but STILL a real incovenience...esp. on a "luxury yacht",NOT what one expects.... Also, small ship size is nice in many respects,but did feel a little too tight after 8 days...Little shade areas,inside rooms seem smaller than a river cruise ship..But ,again, must say the staff was excellent and food better than I ve had on any cruise... Mentioned in ship review that carpeting in rooms faded and stained, for luxury ship, should be changed...then had sewer smell in halls on occasion, but could be due to all 3 generators down for many hours due to engine fire???? Sadly, because of above problems, we won t return to SeaDream..... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2010
We started off nicely, leaving from Dubrovnik. About the second day out is when things started to get a little dicey. There was what was described as, "a minor engine fire". Come to find out the fire took out 3 generators and ... Read More
We started off nicely, leaving from Dubrovnik. About the second day out is when things started to get a little dicey. There was what was described as, "a minor engine fire". Come to find out the fire took out 3 generators and left us without any electricity (running water, a/c, toilets, etc.) Because of this, dinner was not served until about 10 that evening (outside, in the dark). That night sleep was impossible (lack of a/c), only to find out the next morning that we were also out of hot water. Some of the staff later revealed that in addition to the fire, there were a couple of burst water pipes in the middle of the night. Those taking the cruise kept expecting some sort of compensation, but aside from some free pajamas, none was given for our inconvenience. After these hick-ups, things started to settle down. To say it was "luxury" is a stretch. The cabins are dated and our bathroom sink finish was cracked. Additionally, our toilet struggled throughout the trip (most times unable to even flush urine), and finally gave out a couple of days before the end of the cruise. Clearly, maintenance was lacking on this "luxury" liner. The service was OUTSTANDING, and the staff deserves special recognition. Food was hit and miss. First night was great. Another night was "Indian Night"(???) Another night I had a prime rib-eye that was like no prime I had ever seen/tasted, and couldn't eat it (I did not complain, but they were genuinely concerned, and asked if they could bring me something else, to which I thanked them, but declined). Another night was an 8-course "elegantly sized" dinner, and it was a true winner. My favorite stops were Dubrovnik, Rovinj, and Venice. Destinations should have been more efficiently planned so that we wouldn't have had to stop in Trieste for fuel, and instead could have had more time in Venice (7:00 pm Venice as our final destination?). Overall, probably will not recommend due to inexcusable maintenance lapses. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2010
Although we have cruised Seadream 2 before this was our first time on Seadream 1. We arrived at the quayside in Dubrovnik a little before the check in time of 14:00 so a stroll to look at the megaships berthed nearby passed the time. We ... Read More
Although we have cruised Seadream 2 before this was our first time on Seadream 1. We arrived at the quayside in Dubrovnik a little before the check in time of 14:00 so a stroll to look at the megaships berthed nearby passed the time. We left our cases at the quay and check-in commenced on time but no longer on the quay under an awning met with champagne and cold towels. We were beckoned on board and greeted with champagne by those I established by asking were the cruise director and captain. We were taken to the concierge area for photos and production of a cruise card. This is now used at a laptop terminal instead of the quaint in/ out board that used to be found at the top of the stairway if you went ashore. The cabin had been booked as a guarantee and we were allocated 202. This is what we expected but as the ship only had 91 guests to 94 crew it would have been nice to have been given an upgrade to a window from portholes. Allocation was onboard and the pre cruise documentation only arrived 2 days before departure which considering the option to personalise your seadream nightwear had to be returned 3 weeks prior to departure I thought was a poor start. A quick check of the cabin revealed the bed configuration hadn't been made up as requested, the welcoming bottle of champagne had become ½, there's no longer any fresh flowers or fruit only artificial pots of what looks like chive, the air con fan wasn't working and there's no longer any body wash provided in the shower just I bar of soap to share between here and the wash basin. The bathrooms are compact and although the shower is excellent, trying to use the toilet seated needs some thought. Other than this the cabin was clean and tidy with the fridge stocked with soft drinks, beer and water. Ice was available in the bucket. Smiler was our cabin steward for the week and she kept things spick and span throughout our stay. The air con fan and bed configuration had been corrected before we went to bed. Food is one of the highlights on board and this rarely failed to deliver. All cooked a la minute and to individual preferences whether in the restaurant or on deck. When this did fail there was always the offer to redo it or take an alternative. Sometimes the service let the experience down when courses failed to arrive or presentation wasn't consistent but the quality and quantity is what you'd expect. Corporate chef Sudesh Kishore was always available and enquired if you'd enjoyed your meal even at breakfast where a variety of teas, including loose is now offered. Bar service on deck, in the main lounge and piano bar is very attentive with the staff soon learning your preferences and engaging in chit chat. Special mention must be made of Xander who always had our digestive ready which went on to become a nightcap accompanied by Alex on the piano. My only poor experience was during the Corinth Canal transit when Gideon at the Top of the Yacht bar considered it more important to wipe down and clean the bar then served another member of staff before asking me for my order. He didn't escape without comment. There were 3 water sports days from the marina with plenty of time for swimming or use of the 'toys' carried on board. Jetskis, sailing, banana ride and waterskiing were all used. The on board pool was also popular. This leads nicely on to our one main complaint. There were at least 3 families on board, 2 with quite young children. They thought it quite acceptable to abdicate their parental responsibilities and let them run about uncontrolled splashing and jumping into the pool. One afternoon the main salon was turned into a playground with all the seat cushions piled into a heap at one end of the banquet seating. They also had the habit of reserving pool sunbeds before breakfast then going ashore and not returning before mid afternoon. This was mentioned to some of the staff and they confirmed they had spoken to the children on numerous occasions but were wary of escalating the issue because they weren't convinced senior management on board would support them. Well let me say I would because the line is advertised as not specifically encouraging children. Therefore the parents have to look after them and know what they are doing 24/7. The concierge staff always had maps and advice for those going ashore and this was available from the first departures which we usually were. On one occasion we heard the organised tour had been cancelled due low numbers. This is something you may wish to consider if visiting a particular site that is important to you. We didn't use the spa. Disembarkation was very leisurely, luggage placed outside your cabin by 01:00 if you wished it to be taken ashore. Full breakfast service offered from 07:30 although tablecloths were absent, and the captain and cruise director at the gangway to bid you farewell ensuring your onward journey starts stress free. We left around 09:30 to meet our driver. Overall the experience is good. Staff should have the confidence to deal with unruly passengers whether they be adults or children. And the money saving schemes of no body wash in the shower must cease if this is to remain a premium product. We are looking to take the Black Sea cruise next year but have decided to look at other cruise companies. 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: December 2010
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and ... Read More
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and doesn't even have jet ways. The taxis are ridiculously expensive and charge on a per person basis while they cram you into a big van with limited A/C. Of course they also gouge you for your luggage. We paid $26 to go from the airport to the Windward Passage which is no more than seven minute ride which would cost about $10 with tip for in normal tourist city. The hotel was fine and we knew what to expect. It wasn't luxury although it was nicely appointed with a friendly staff. The price was pretty good and we liked the fact it was within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. The hotel does have a nice courtyard, pool, free internet, small casino, nice outdoor bar, and other amenities. The Greenhouse and the Giggling Gecko were the two places we ate at and are both a short walk from the hotel. The food and service was fantastic at both places. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Crown Bay) at 1:45 pm and they already started the boarding process. The Captain, Hotel Manager, and other key staff were there to greet us. We were taken to the lobby where an amazing assortment of food was waiting for us to munch on. We relaxed and talked to some of the other guests before being informed we could check in. The staff was very pleasant and got us checked in right away. The rest of this review will discuss the categories such as service, food, and etc. Itinerary: Esperanza, Vieques, Cruz Bay, St John, St Barthelemy, Norman Island, Tortola, and Prickly Pear was substituted for Jost van Dyke (Champagne and Caviar Splash/beach party) Food: Everything was fantastic with only the finest and freshest ingredients. The Executive Chef and some of the other chefs frequently interacted with the guests. Presentation was also a strong point along with the quality of the ingredients. Bars/Service: The bar service was generally good all week at all the bars. My favorite bartenders were Matt and Konrad. They are both very personable and offer great service along with good suggestions on what to drink. They also always had a pitcher of punch or other drink out every day. The selection of alcohol was quite extensive and we never had to pay to upgrade drinks. The included wine and Champagne were also quite good. The Sommelier Tyler did an excellent job matching the wines to the meal and explaining them. Service: Sea Dream excels at service at all levels. The crew was like clockwork at all times and truly went out of their way to please. We made a few special requests during the week and they were instantly granted. I felt like they were a genie who could grant endless wishes. The Hotel Manager John was all but a "freak of nature" with how he was everywhere and always knew what was going on. I swear he had a couple of clones running around. The main concierge lady was a bit stressed and came across as brash and frustrated at times even over very simple matters. I knew before the voyage what types of extras to ask for and it made the trip that more special. Cabin: We booked a guarantee and were assigned cabin 212. We felt a few intense vibrations the first night while sleeping but it was no big deal. The cabin itself was very nice and the room steward La Rosa could not have been better. She was very nice, polite, stealthy, and took great care of the cabin. Activities/Water Sports: There was always plenty to do and very few announcements. The Activities Director Jeff was very outgoing and had a natural knack in observing who may want to participate in the activities. The water sports are one reason we booked Sea Dream and we were quite impressed with the equipment and water toys. It is awesome to ride Sea Doo's off the back of the marina and to swim behind the yacht. Colin and the water sports staff kept everyone safe and worked hard getting everything setup and ensuring everyone was safe. They even draped a towel over your back after getting out of the water. The free "shore side casuals" were also a real treat. I participated in most of the hikes and they all went to some interesting places. They also offered an advanced bike ride which seven guests went on and had a great time even though a few of them came back with bandages. The Yacht Overall: SD I is very quaint and enjoyable. You can always find a place to your own or somewhere in the middle of crowd (not that there is much of a crowd). My favorite spot is the aft of deck four overlooking the pool. It is shaded and close enough to the action. The bartenders also bring you drinks and the afternoon pass around treat which changes daily. The yacht is old and has a somewhat loud and intense vibration in certain parts of the dining room on deck 2. SD I is quite charming and I would sail on it again given the chance. Complaints: None, everything met or exceeded my standards and was as close to perfect as could be expected. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
I reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into ... Read More
I reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into St Thomas on a Cape Air 8 passenger plane from San Juan. It was a $20 fare to the pier and took about 10 minutes. I didn't think the service was quite as good as our first trip, but that could easily be because of my extremely high expectations. It was still far better than any other cruise line I have sailed on. Some of the crew were the same we met on our cruise the year before. I would note that the crew turnover is quite low, no doubt due to how much they all like their jobs. I wanted to address the wonderful flexibility the Captain has. Our first full day on the cruise was in St John and it was the Sunday of the NFL conference championships. Many on the cruise wanted to be able to stay in town later than our 6:00pm departure to see the games so the yacht stayed at anchor until everyone could watch their games and get back onboard. Additionally, there was poor weather forecast the day we were to be in Anguilla so the yacht switched to St Martin. This type of flexibility ensures a great cruise. We did not experience any problems with the marina and have used the toys and swam on both our cruises. We have had some good excursions and some less so. For instance, on our snorkle trip in Virgin Gorda, the contract boat had no flotation devices, which I had never encountered before. There was one gentleman on this trip I would have preferred to see less of but you do run into the same people. On this trip there were only 72 passengers so it was an extra small group. Once again we found the people we met to be enjoyable travel companions. I like that the yacht is seldom at sail. It's especially important for those who think they might get seasick on a small vessel. Between the short sails between ports and the ability to not stick to an itinerary that might include poor weather, I would opine that the chance of getting seasick is limited. We had one evening eating out on the deck where it was chilly and windy enough I would not have wanted the ship to be moving on top of the conditions. This type of cruising is certainly not for everyone, but one last thing I would note is the volume of return customers. (which is not apparent from these reviews) I would say that over half of the passengers were return visitors, some had cruised on the yachts up to 20 times! That is a ringing endorsement. My husband and I look forward to our next trip. Read Less
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
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2012
Was I and my partner actually on the same voyage as bnb521 ? Most of his experiences certainly do not accord with our own but to be fair he refers (twice) to fun loving fellow passengers and the great crew. Yes that is so very true; SD ... Read More
Was I and my partner actually on the same voyage as bnb521 ? Most of his experiences certainly do not accord with our own but to be fair he refers (twice) to fun loving fellow passengers and the great crew. Yes that is so very true; SD always attracts friendly fellow passengers and as for the crew, well words, cannot do justice, they are just magnificent. But as for the rest of his critique, he is............... Well let me just offer this gentle rebuttal of his main points: It is a 102 passenger classic vessel, referred to as "YACHT", it is not competing with the larger vessels. It has no need to, it is an elegant, friendly vessel preferred by those discerning guests who want personal service, the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people (or not) and who certainly don't want "entertaining" that is why it is also referred to as "CLUB" (the mere mention of a "knobbly knees contest" would send my partner hyerventilating !). Would a larger vessel even make it up to Iquitos ? I think not. Trust me the room sizes and facilities are more than adequate. Plus, where can you eat outside (including most evenings) ? For those from cooler climes, this is heaven. Furthermore the size of the rooms and the facilities as well as the public areas are clearly displayed on all the companies particulars. Would it not have been reasonable to check this before booking "an expensive cruise" (his words, not mine).? What part of YACHT CLUB does he not understand ? The weather during the trip was wonderful, if a little humid for the crew (especially those serving to passengers eating outside in the evenings). So if (as claimed) the sommelier filled the glass ever so slightly then maybe it's because he had a lot of ground to cover and wished to keep everybody lubricated. He is one of the hardest working of the crew, hugely liked and respected and a great joke teller (when he has the time). I am most particular about my wine and I thought the regular wines were fine but the evening dinners deserved greater wines. They had a great range, were fairly priced and the sommelier offered some great advice and were served perfectly (if they were not I would impose Sharia law punishment on the offending infidel ! You know what that means but an example would have at least been made). The Amazon was the inaugural sailing for SD, and the Captain took this responsibility very seriously (as always). He was doing 6 hour shifts shared with his Chief Officer for the duration of the voyage. Very demanding, I think you would agree. I too regret that we did not see the Captain as often as we would like but it was clear his priority was to the safety of the passengers and actually navigating the river. Would he preferred to see the Captain schmoozing with lovely ladies, drink in hand whilst passing rocky outcrops so that he could wave to a friend of a friend ? Or would he prefer the Captain to be exercising the greatest attention and personal responsibility whilst we had a gay old time (dont go there, it is an old English expression, not used as much these days ..) The Captain is then criticised for addressing problems with the passengers (always the same few) ! What ? I view this as further testimony to his concern for the passengers and his sense of overall responsibility and not "dodging the issue"; he should be commended not criticised. I do suggest that if his duties could have been shared more (by incorporating an additional senior driver or whatever the second in command is called) then more periodic attendances at drinks before dinner explaining the navigation etc.. may have allayed concerns for the few. Please remember it was an inaugural voyage, most of us were excited by this adventure and had factored this in. The dismissive comment that the food was "passable" is an astounding comment to make. The food is consistently to a very high standard but on the Amazon voyage it was exceptional in every department. We were fortunate to have an assembly of some of the best cooks in the world on board. The chef is a particularly friendly and accessible guy, accommodating food allergies, preferences, fads, etc.. ; if there was something you particularly liked, he would make it ! But the real treat is to try food you would not normally order. With the kind of experience and taste the waiting crew have, I simply let them order my meals (provided I have one soup and one desert): I was never disappointed and constantly amazed by the culinary skill of these giants. My partner and I eat out a lot and are fortunate to eat in some amazing places. SD kitchen is consistently very good as are the serving staff, eating outside or in the beautiful dining-room. On this point, my fellow passenger is hopelessly wrong. SD kitchen is remarkable and the experience of eating on SD is magnificent. I cannot comment on his remarks concerning activities other than to advise that we were satisfied. Concerning announcements: I detest intrusive announcements especially into cabins. SD have got this bang on with their view of being un-obtrusive. We were also mostly well informed, if there was something we wanted to know, we simply asked; no big hardship, in fact it was a way of inter-acting with fellow passengers. I loved the comment about a track for the morning walk. Again I say it's a yacht not a large impersonal ship taking thousands of passengers. The walk lasts 20 minutes, sit somewhere else or join in. Get those endorphins going, they say it helps with your mood (may a couple of hours a day to start with ?). I also loved that he implied he was bored by the Amazon citing only seeing  " birds-trees-water" etc. Well you tend to get a lot of water around vessels ! They move better when they are on water ! Again he cites "trees", what part of rainFOREST is he missing ? What did he expect to see "the Sydney opera house, the hanging gardens of Babylon, herds of wildebeest sweeping  majestically ..... (a famous excerpt from "Fawlty Towers"; a room with a view. Go see it on YouTube. ). Well, happy sailing to you all whoever you prefer to sail with (or not). Finally I would add that my partner and I would not have done this trip except with SD, with this Captain and with his crew and I dare say a large number of our fellow passengers are likely to have felt the same (75% of whom were repeaters; yes we are just "suckers for punishment". Bring it on.........I love you SD, SD crew and every inch of your beautiful classic yacht, cant wait to see you again soon even though Go...an has awful wobbly needs ! Dont look darling !) Read Less
Sail Date: March 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2012
I had quite high expectations of the cruise and my partner was cruising for the first time. Seadream totally surpassed my expectations and was simply the best holiday I have ever had. The service on board was exceptional. We live in Malaga ... Read More
I had quite high expectations of the cruise and my partner was cruising for the first time. Seadream totally surpassed my expectations and was simply the best holiday I have ever had. The service on board was exceptional. We live in Malaga so we were working right up until 2pm and arrived a bit frazzled so it was brilliant to get a welcome glass of champagne and have a breather before checking in. The check in process was fast and friendly and we were in our cabin in less that 15 minutes. The cabin was clean , spacious and the bed was probably the most comfortable I have had on a holiday. We are not great sleepers and some nights we slept for 10 hours without waking up....that alone made it a real relaxing time. It is difficult to say what is the best thing about Seadream as everything was first class. We actually said we never thought we would get tired of drinking champagne but we enjoyed the house wines so much we ended up drinking wine more often. The staff were friendly and efficient without being intrusive and it was such a relief to know they were not just doing it for the tips like on the bigger cruise ships...the tip seekers have ruined several cruises for me. I would like to name everyone but have to single out Michail and Gideon for service and Silvano + Pierre looked after us very well. The cabin girls were giggly and very friendly. The food was superb and not stodgy which meant we didnt walk round all day feeling overfed, lots of fresh ,quality ingredients and the portion sizes were just right. The breakfast specials were excellent and we enjoyed fresh fish most days for lunch. Dinner was a real event, we met some great friends and we had a table for 8 on our last night which was great fun. The highlight was the tasting menu, the pumpkin soup was one of the best things I have ever eaten. During the day there was no pressure to do anything we read in the library or sunbathed on deck or went into the ports. Port Vendres was a favourite as we docked in the harbour and went and had lunch across the road. We have said for the next few years that we will spend all our holidays on Sea dream as nothing else will live upto it....we are booking again for September we are really looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Although we have cruised Seadream 2 before this was our first time on Seadream 1. We arrived at the quayside in Dubrovnik a little before the check in time of 14:00 so a stroll to look at the megaships berthed nearby passed the time. We ... Read More
Although we have cruised Seadream 2 before this was our first time on Seadream 1. We arrived at the quayside in Dubrovnik a little before the check in time of 14:00 so a stroll to look at the megaships berthed nearby passed the time. We left our cases at the quay and check-in commenced on time but no longer on the quay under an awning met with champagne and cold towels. We were beckoned on board and greeted with champagne by those I established by asking were the cruise director and captain. We were taken to the concierge area for photos and production of a cruise card. This is now used at a laptop terminal instead of the quaint in/ out board that used to be found at the top of the stairway if you went ashore. The cabin had been booked as a guarantee and we were allocated 202. This is what we expected but as the ship only had 91 guests to 94 crew it would have been nice to have been given an upgrade to a window from portholes. Allocation was onboard and the pre cruise documentation only arrived 2 days before departure which considering the option to personalise your seadream nightwear had to be returned 3 weeks prior to departure I thought was a poor start. A quick check of the cabin revealed the bed configuration hadn't been made up as requested, the welcoming bottle of champagne had become ½, there's no longer any fresh flowers or fruit only artificial pots of what looks like chive, the air con fan wasn't working and there's no longer any body wash provided in the shower just I bar of soap to share between here and the wash basin. The bathrooms are compact and although the shower is excellent, trying to use the toilet seated needs some thought. Other than this the cabin was clean and tidy with the fridge stocked with soft drinks, beer and water. Ice was available in the bucket. Smiler was our cabin steward for the week and she kept things spick and span throughout our stay. The air con fan and bed configuration had been corrected before we went to bed. Food is one of the highlights on board and this rarely failed to deliver. All cooked a la minute and to individual preferences whether in the restaurant or on deck. When this did fail there was always the offer to redo it or take an alternative. Sometimes the service let the experience down when courses failed to arrive or presentation wasn't consistent but the quality and quantity is what you'd expect. Corporate chef Sudesh Kishore was always available and enquired if you'd enjoyed your meal even at breakfast where a variety of teas, including loose is now offered. Bar service on deck, in the main lounge and piano bar is very attentive with the staff soon learning your preferences and engaging in chit chat. Special mention must be made of Xander who always had our digestive ready which went on to become a nightcap accompanied by Alex on the piano. My only poor experience was during the Corinth Canal transit when Gideon at the Top of the Yacht bar considered it more important to wipe down and clean the bar then served another member of staff before asking me for my order. He didn't escape without comment. There were 3 water sports days from the marina with plenty of time for swimming or use of the 'toys' carried on board. Jetskis, sailing, banana ride and waterskiing were all used. The on board pool was also popular. This leads nicely on to our one main complaint. There were at least 3 families on board, 2 with quite young children. They thought it quite acceptable to abdicate their parental responsibilities and let them run about uncontrolled splashing and jumping into the pool. One afternoon the main salon was turned into a playground with all the seat cushions piled into a heap at one end of the banquet seating. They also had the habit of reserving pool sunbeds before breakfast then going ashore and not returning before mid afternoon. This was mentioned to some of the staff and they confirmed they had spoken to the children on numerous occasions but were wary of escalating the issue because they weren't convinced senior management on board would support them. Well let me say I would because the line is advertised as not specifically encouraging children. Therefore the parents have to look after them and know what they are doing 24/7. The concierge staff always had maps and advice for those going ashore and this was available from the first departures which we usually were. On one occasion we heard the organised tour had been cancelled due low numbers. This is something you may wish to consider if visiting a particular site that is important to you. We didn't use the spa. Disembarkation was very leisurely, luggage placed outside your cabin by 01:00 if you wished it to be taken ashore. Full breakfast service offered from 07:30 although tablecloths were absent, and the captain and cruise director at the gangway to bid you farewell ensuring your onward journey starts stress free. We left around 09:30 to meet our driver. Overall the experience is good. Staff should have the confidence to deal with unruly passengers whether they be adults or children. And the money saving schemes of no body wash in the shower must cease if this is to remain a premium product. We are looking to take the Black Sea cruise next year but have decided to look at other cruise companies. 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
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
The tag line is half right- it's not cruising. It's sitting in an industrial port swatting flies, Hoping they fix the air conditioning and wondering how things went so terribly, terribly wrong. The staff of this boat is ... Read More
The tag line is half right- it's not cruising. It's sitting in an industrial port swatting flies, Hoping they fix the air conditioning and wondering how things went so terribly, terribly wrong. The staff of this boat is fantastic- great, attentive and personal service. Food is ok. Ship shows some signs of wear and mechanical maintenance is of concern given 36 hour air conditioning outage. Makes you worry if the plumbing may be next. spa is lovely and services were good. The real issue, though,is that the cruise is so falsely advertised. Water toys and swimming off the boat? About four hours of 1 day. Pulling up to pristine secluded beaches where there are no other ships? One day...sort of. Knowledge of ports? Non-existent. When we asked, the staff said "we've never been here before so we don't know." Other infamous quotes included: "we think you can find a town if you go that way." Excursions were grim- a rubber factory? A rice museum? And staying on the boat was not much fun. Very hot and lots of competition for seats I'm the shade. There was a disastrous snorkeling trip where money was refunded. The outdoor beds under the stars? Lovely but adjacent to the bar so not really desirable. Yoga classes on the beach? Never happened. Spa treatments outside on the deck? Sorry, maintenance painting going on back there (really? On Christmas cruise?) The library? Year old magazines obviously left by former cruisers and light novels only. We had hoped for information on the history and culture of the area. There was an almanac from 2002 which indicated the collection does not get a lot of attention. Christmas decorations looked dated. We tried to take a bike ashore but had flat tire; this happened to a number of folks. These issues are not related to the staff on the boat, they did their best with an increasingly disgruntled Group. This is an executive level issue- this route was very poorly planned and executed. We paid for a suite which was small but we knew that. The problem is that we paid double what we usually pay for the Owners Suite on Seaborn because we thought it would be a very serene experience Wih lots of beach and swim off the boat time. Have let CEO know we are feeling very cheated but no word yet. Very, very disappointed and dissatisfied with this experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We're 8 time members having cruised with Sea Dream 1 for seven and Sea Dream II for a Caribbean cruise April 2013 so, yes, we're biased. A bias created by nothing but extraordinary memories. The experience of either of the yachts ... Read More
We're 8 time members having cruised with Sea Dream 1 for seven and Sea Dream II for a Caribbean cruise April 2013 so, yes, we're biased. A bias created by nothing but extraordinary memories. The experience of either of the yachts is exquisite regardless of the itinerary. The ship is lovely, the staff are truly the best we've experienced in all of our travels on sea or land. The food is 5-star fine dining, the rooms compact, as you would expect, but luxurious and perfectly outfitted. There is space for everything; well designed, extremely comfortable - all you could want. With a maximum of 112 passengers, one might expect an environment that prevents privacy but with so many nooks, you can find isolation as well. This is the best small cruise (really yacht) offering there is. The weather is not within anyone's control so Sea Dream cannot be faulted if weather is less then expected. As it happened, this cruise began the day after several weeks of nasty weather in the Baltic and began with sunny, warm skies which continued, but for one day, through the 11 days. The first port of Hanko, Finland, was unremarkable yet for many, fitting, considering the many hours of travel required to get to the embarkation port of Stockholm. The last port of Sasnitz, Germany also unremarkable yet again fitting considering how busy passengers had been enjoying the other remarkable ports - a good day to chill onboard, or take an excursion to the countryside. Experiencing the 'white nights' wherein you could view dusk from one side of the ship and night from the other at 2 am was unforgettable. But the most important aspect of Sea Dream is the onboard magic. We're discerning travelers, not easy to please, yet Sea Dream never ceases to amaze. Sit on the pool deck, after dinner, alone, and watch the horizon, listen to the sound of the ship, the waves, and wonder why you didn't discover Sea Dream sooner.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We sailed from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Venice, Italy. It was a wonderful itinerary and we really appreciated the late stays in port. The captain even extended our stay in a couple of ports which was great. The staff were, without exception, ... Read More
We sailed from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Venice, Italy. It was a wonderful itinerary and we really appreciated the late stays in port. The captain even extended our stay in a couple of ports which was great. The staff were, without exception, incredible. For instance, one day we were going into port at the same time as the Maitre d'. He asked what we had planned, when we told him we wanted to go to a beach, he recommended we take a local shuttle service to a small island off the coast. He then walked us through town to where the shuttle left and helped us buy tickets for the shuttle boat. Other staff equally went the extra mile to ensure that our trip was memorable. We were generally happy with our fellow passengers as well. We were two couples, travelling together, in our 40s and 50s. The other passengers ranged in age from their 20s through 70s. Most were probably in their 40s and 50s. Not as pretentious as some other luxury lines. Generally fun loving and well-traveled. There was one partial charter group of about 30 family members. The first couple of days, they were fairly loud and inconsiderate of other guests. According to the staff, on the cruise the previous week, there was another partial charter group who were far worse. Management should do a better job ensuring the large groups don't impact the other passengers. The ship itself is in poor shape. We were prepared for smaller cabins with no balconies. We were not prepared for the subpar physical appearance of the ship. The cabins were extremely worn. Wood work was scuffed and faded, carpets stained, and there was a musty odor throughout much of the ship. We had issues with the air conditioning in the cabin. The maintenance guys tried to repair it, but on some nights the room would get very hot. One night, the dining room was also uncomfortably hot. We felt sorry for the waiters coming in and out of the kitchen soaked in sweat. The food and wine was another issue. Seadream advertises the best cuisine at sea, prepared "a la minute." The food was consistently under-seasoned, unimaginative, and often arrived cold. Fresh fruit and vegetables were limited. For instance, one night, the only salad offered was Caesar. The salad was over dressed, soggy and bland. Another night, the appetizer of shrimp coated crab claws turned out be deep fried. They arrived cold, soggy, and with a sauce that was plain ketchup. Also, the wine poured at dinner was often undrinkable. One night we did purchase a bottle from the reserve list, but they offered very few options under $100. Also, free premium liquors are advertised, but there is a $10 up charge for Grey Goose (among others). The prices for decent wine and true premium liquors felt like nickel and diming. There have been some well publicized management changes at SeaDream over the past couple of years. Clearly, these issues at the top are showing in the condition of the ships and the quality of the food and wine. The product they are currently offering does not merit the price being charged. We will not sail SeaDream again until serious changes are made.   Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Just got back from Transatlantic crossing, had high expectations given what we had heard from others that had cruised with Seadream many times. Food was outstanding, service was great, boat is in dire need of repair - and not just ... Read More
Just got back from Transatlantic crossing, had high expectations given what we had heard from others that had cruised with Seadream many times. Food was outstanding, service was great, boat is in dire need of repair - and not just cosmetic - but real repairs and perhaps better onboard management. For some reason, they decided to make a/c repairs on a crossing (go figure) and couldn't get it fixed for the entire trip. So as it got warmer on the crossing, we got hotter and hotter. Management never said a word or admitted that there was a problem. This is supposed to be a 5 star line, I would give it about 2 stars at the most. When we returned, after several emails, they offered us a 25% reduction off the lowest rate. Although a good deal if you're confident they can fix everything, an expensive cruise of this nature - why would I risk more $$$ to take a cruise and be taken care of this way. Makes no sense. We will not cruise with Seadream again.... Disappointed easy going travelers...... Read Less
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
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, ... Read More
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, as everything was organised through SeaDream leaving Ross and myself to just thoroughly enjoy the whole ceremony, we were so impressed with the crew who did everything they could to ensure it all went smoothly for us, thank you again to everyone involved, love you all.... Back to the rest of our holiday I must say service was excellent in every aspect through the whole 2 weeks. We especially loved being in the Piano Bar every evening where Sammy on keyboard nicely urged passengers to take up the microphone for karaoke, lots of fun and a few of us danced the night away while Chief Barman Zoltan expertly served drinks with his quick wit and ever-ready cheeky smile.... all the crew had an amazing knack of of remembering all the guests names as well as their preferred drinks etc. Every meal was a 5 star dining experience and the chef was only too happy to cook up a favorite meal for you even if it wasn't on the menu. The shore excursions were terrific, I especially loved the ATV tours, first one for us was a tour staying mostly on the roads with scenic pit-stops, where we were able to take some awesome photos. In the second week we did another ATV shore excursion, this time it was off-road but still easy to manage and lots of fun.... the activities on-board were brilliant. I loved the jet ski and banana boat rides while Ross' passion was the little sailboat.... Our 'yachting not cruising' holiday was an exciting and memorable experience and we can't wait for 2016 doing the Mediterranean and Atlantic Crossing on SeaDream I.... Thank you to everyone on SeaDream II for leaving us with some amazing holiday memories.... Cheers Sandy Read Less
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