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Cruise Ratings
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
Just completed a 9-day Amazon cruise on Seadream II, Iquitos Perus to Manaus Brazil. I won't dwell on the stops and specifics of the cruise itself because Seadream (SD) announced that this will be the final Amazon cruise. My thoughts ... Read More
Just completed a 9-day Amazon cruise on Seadream II, Iquitos Perus to Manaus Brazil. I won't dwell on the stops and specifics of the cruise itself because Seadream (SD) announced that this will be the final Amazon cruise. My thoughts on SD itself are: SD is a good "small ship" alternative to "large ship" cruise lines like Princess or Holland America. Instead of 2,000 or 3,000 passengers, SD sails with 85 to 110, basically about 3% to 5% of the passengers. Accordingly, the service is much more personalized - the crew all know your name and take all of your requests or problems seriously. The service is 5-star. The food is also much better than the large ship cruises. It's better than the "specialty" restaurants on the large ship lines with no extra costs. As a matter of fact, there are very few extra costs - drinks, tips and most expeditions are included in your fare - no last minute tipping or add ons. The chef is very accessible - you can just walk up to him during lunch or breakfast and introduce yourself and ask him for a kitchen tour or for a special dinner or lunch the next day and he will be happy to oblige. The concierge desk is manned 24-hrs a day and they know who you are. If want to call them or walk to the desk and ask them anything, they are friendly and anxious to please. Overall, all of the crew give you personalized service and will do everything possible to comply with your requests. The ship itself is attractive and clean. 5 decks with smallish but very well-designed cabins - lot's of storage space and shelving. Flat screen TVs with DVD players. You can feel the ship's engines on the lowest and cheapest deck (Deck 2). Small but adequate gym. Small pool and spa with uncovered recliners were not very used. The outdoor Balinese beds were largely not used because (1) half of them were right next to the heat and smell of the engine exhaust and (2) all but one of them were unshaded. Very nice 24-hr library which was usually not used. Attractive large Deck 2 dining room for dinner and outdoor Deck 4 and 5 lunch areas. Possible negatives: SD is not for children (a plus for me) - it is for active and semi-active adults. SD is also not for 1st time cruisers or mobility-impaired individuals. The ship is not ADA accessible. Finally, potential Seadream cruisers should be (1) experience cruisers who are looking for a small ship, personalized experience where they can mingle with other experienced cruisers, (2) not be looking for an Expedition type cruise (SD is not a true Expedition cruise line - they are more of a Caribbean/ Mediterranean luxury water sports type line), (3) not need lots of help entertaining themselves (no Broadway shows, magicians or the like). I would definitely cruise with Seadream again - for me, cruising with SD emphasized how mediocre large line cruises are, however SD may not be for everyone. 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: February 2012
It was our first trip on a SeaDream cruise ship... and it was the company's first time (maiden voyage) visiting 'The Amazon.' First, it must be said, the absolutely BEST part sailing with SeaDream are it's wonderful ... Read More
It was our first trip on a SeaDream cruise ship... and it was the company's first time (maiden voyage) visiting 'The Amazon.' First, it must be said, the absolutely BEST part sailing with SeaDream are it's wonderful passengers. They are by far the company's greatest asset, and some of the nicest, most fun-loving folks you will encounter on ANY cruise ship. And SeaDream crew members (on the whole) are as well great fun and very professional. As for the company... it can and SHOULD be better... there were numerous lapses. NOT a good thing for a line charging TOP dollar for what is touted as a high end cruise product. It all starts with the ships... and both SeaDream I & II are OLD... what was passable 30 years ago does not work well in today's world (even with some upgrades)!! - cabins are far too small... for those use to and familiar with larger ships they are substantially smaller... and the area around the bed(s) is particularly tight.... and in today's market, high end clients want cabins with balcony's.. SeaDream ships DON'T have any... not even the owners suite ! .... bathrooms are ridiculously tiny.. and there is a fairly high step up to enter the bath.. toes get banged quite often.... closet and bathroom doors are not secured by any restraining hardware.. very annoying when ship is rolling.. this requires just a simple solution and is totally unacceptable.... the boat sauna is for 1 person only.. even if you are not claustrophobic.. a hot steam in this small space will change that... and SeaDream ships are lacking in inside common areas... limited bar/lounge areas to accommodate guests... also, the library on-board is very limited... bring a good selection of ebooks... (larger ships again have it much better... all major pluses with bigger, newer ships). - extra charges for many services are prevalent... and would appear to be an integral part of company policy.... some of the shore excursions are priced exceptionally high... $160.00 pp for a one hour local 'native' performance was agreed by many to be exorbitant. - excursion tours are at times poorly managed and executed.. planning is below par for a high end cruise line.. there were missed opportunities to attend important local festivals on shore due to what seemed little or no advanced research or planning.... emphasis on critically important stops was lacking... I.E. missing only opportunity to see virgin forest because no emphasis was placed on that excursion by those in charge... a desirable village tour was cancelled... and several guests were given no choice and did not do any of the scheduled zodiac tours as a result... all so we could get to a 'shopping' experience on schedule... missed out at another magical night at the carnival festival in Santorum... as we arrived a few hours too late.... a real disappointment was never getting to see a true portion of the old growth virgin Amazon forest ... an old growth tree remaining here and there but that's all... the one stop that we had a chance was not at all properly presented and no one was made aware of what they were missing... extremely frustrating! !! - pool water was unsightly after several days use.. pool water did not appear to be filtered.. and was not able to be changed until a larger port was reached after several days of additional sailing.... insect and a/c were major issues... in a climate that the ships is normally not accustomed to sailing... some of the common areas were exceptionally cold at times... numerous passengers were in agreement. - food is mostly passable but not great... same for the 'complimentary' wines.. prompting purchase of dinner wines on several occasions... it really should be better on both counts considering the high cost of the cruise... dinner starts serving at 7:30, catering exclusively to those passengers who like to eat later in the evening... after dinner all 3 bars on-board were not scheduled to open till 9:30.. as a result passengers at times were left to force an issue to find a bartender to get an after dinner drink... under the pressure, they somewhat conceded and altered the time to 9:00 ... without being asked passengers are over-poured wines at lunch and dinner ... not a good policy. (again, major pluses in all matters on other high end cruise lines) - PA announcements for the most part are non-existent ... (and those that are given don't go into the cabins) passengers are left asking questions about basic goings-on... and on several occasions passengers were given unwarranted misleading information as excuses for events... many grumbled about being given obviously dubious information. - expedition lecturers came on board later than they should have... and they are not used adequately for guests hungry for excursion and Amazon information, and were left to play movie trivia in the afternoon to pass time... very little at all was discussed regarding the future problems and critical nature of the Amazon's future.. this was most surprising and disappointing... SeaDream is looking to make a Med or Caribbean trip of the Amazon, in that regard they are a 'fish out of water.' - attitude on-board is that we want you to be happy... but we really do not believe we should be hearing any complaints... and unhappy guests were talked to out in the open common dining areas by the captain of all people...(most unusual no other senior officer had this responsibility) - SeaDream ships use common pathways as a walking/ jogging track.. disturbing to guests seated alongside these areas... (larger ships have designated running/ walking decks). - in the Port of Manaus there was free wi-fi ... on the boat it costs $35 a day, or $0.35 a min ($25 an HR)... (most other luxury lines include wi-fi for all returning passengers). - the time spend going from Barbados to Manaus is not worth the cost ... there is nothing happening (at sea) for too many days, and you are not really seeing or doing much of anything... most all guests agreed. - several important staff on-board do not fully understand their interactive roles with passengers... i.e. wine sommelier... activities director... and the captain.... and no one appeared really adequately in charge of the expedition guides...as a result planning and coordination of their expertise was very uneven at times. - pack the lightest light weight clothes you can bring... you and your clothing will be somewhat damp most all times, and lighter clothes will dry much quicker... there is no laundry on-board (as on other larger ships)... and SeaDream laundry costs are again very high. - having the same routine every evening (6:30 cocktail hour... dinner at 7:30) for 3 weeks becomes wearisome ... and there is no after dinner entertainment to break up the monotony (as on all larger ships)... most all activities on the various parts of the river are identical... and 3 weeks is a long time to be doing the same things over and over... zodiac tours became very repetitive ... birds-trees-water... village tours were a bit more diverse.. but not well organized and fewer in number than should have been.. and no meetings with truly indigenous peoples were scheduled while in Brazil... a very long stretch. As indicated, three weeks is far too long to be on a voyage with SeaDream. There are things to like (and most of their long time loyal cruisers believe sincerely in the company)... but for us, they are much outweighed by policies, mindset, and lack of ship's amenities. In hindsight, we might only have done a Manaus to Iquitos segment...but more than likely would have really looked to doing it with a more accomplished adventure travel company. As previously stated, the passengers and majority of the crew were absolutely wonderful... but in the final result, we came to experience 'the Amazon'... and in that regard we feel somewhat shortchanged by the overall SeaDream experience...(especially in consideration of its high cost). Read Less
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