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 Â½, 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.