SeaDream I - Eastern Caribbean: SeaDream I Cruise Review by cruisewoman79
Overall Member Rating
SeaDream I - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
SeaDream I is one of two small ships/large yachts in the luxury class of cruise lines. At 55 cabins with a staff to guest ratio of almost one to one, this is a luxury yachting experience. This is an all-inclusive line where almost everything is included in the price of the voyage making it well priced when you compare it to the price of a voyage combined with the on-board extras on other lines.
Embarkation: Having been on very large ships and on the Windsurf (306 passengers) I was excited to board SeaDream I (SDI) in San Juan. We dropped off our bags at 1 pm without any hassles and then returned about 2:15 to a very small line and a personalized greeting. We obtained our room keys (in a beautiful leather bi-fold pouch) then had our carry-on bags carried onboard for us by smiling crew members. We were met on board our beautiful ship with More tall flutes of good champagne and led to our cabin (ours was 415 next to the spa). Within 2 minutes our other luggage arrived. How great is that! And in our room was a chilled bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne!
Muster: What a pleasure that was. Easy and quick (and each person was accounted for by the crew)
Cabin: There are only 55 cabins (110 passenger capacity).The cabins are all almost identical at 195 sq Feet. Small but with ample storage (actually more storage than I had in a mini-suite on a new large ship recently). Flat screen TV, CD player, DVD player, sofa, chair (we had it taken it out as we didnt need it no problem). Bathroom is tiny but well equipped and the shower with three heads was very nice. Bulgari toiletries and nice towels and robes (already in the cabin). Beds are very small and narrow (as women we didnt mind but Im not sure how a couple shares the two tiny twins together nor a large man fit in one). But the all in one duvet comforter was great. No top sheet needed. We did have air conditioning problems in our cabin that they tried to fix three times and each time it would only work for a short time so we did suffer a bit. We hope it has been subsequently fixed.
Cabin Steward: Ours was Tesse assisted by Maureen and they were efficient and always smiling and from day one greeted us by our names. She gladly stored the suitcase that was too small for under the mini-bed and it magically reappeared the last morning and restocked our mini-fridge with the diet soda and light beer we wanted.
Gym and Spa: As you would expect on a small ship, they were small (on deck 4 next to our cabin) but adequate. In the gym there were 4 treadmills, 1 elliptical, two bikes and weight. Multiple TVs, stereo and a stocked refrigerator with free bottles of water. The spa is staffed by a fantastic group of women from Thailand. I had heard wonderful things about the Thai Massage so I indulged myself (for the sake of research of course). Given spa pajamas to wear you go up to deck 5 and have the massage outside on a curtained off area of the deck. It was amazing and well wroth the $110 charge. My therapist was Bub and she was terrific. I spoke to others who had regular massages in the small spa and they also reported very talents therapists. There was also a Thai Massage tent on the beach in Jost Van Dyke where guests could have massages outdoors. Wonderful!
Golf Simulator: There is a nice golf simulator on deck 5 which we did try for one hole there was so much to do that we never got back there. It also is included at no extra charge. Balinese Sun Beds: One of my favorite places on the yacht were on the Balinese Sun Beds on the aft portion of deck 5. There were 4 doubles and one single on each side of the boat with cushions, high up enough to see out over the rail. Umbrella (and drinks) available there. They were a wonderful spot for sunbathing, reading, relaxing and watching the sunset (or even rise!). They can be made with the duvets to sleep at night and we did enjoy that several nights. Not for everyone since it can be too light and noisy to sleep but it can be good for at least several hours. To demonstrate the level of personalized service one night I did sleep through and awoke at 5:30 am to the sounds of Sherwin setting up the coffee cups at the Top of the Yacht Bar I asked from my bed if there was coffee yet and he said no but he would go get me a cappuccino. What a luxury to have it there and watch the sun rise!
There were also two bar height chairs in the corners of the aft deck ideal for putting your feet up and watching the world go by. Sea Dream added a nice touch with binoculars in the drawer for better viewing.
Pool: There is one small but nice saltwater pool on deck three aft with a hot tub. There are always ample chairs there and plenty of towels folded up on the available chairs and in a bin. There are often cushions set out on the ledge surrounding it for chatting. This was a nice place to meet people and relax (and the pool bar was right there). Water was always the perfect temperature.
Crew: I should save them for last but just have to say sooner than later how great they were. Everyone had a smile for you and knew your name almost from the start. Although they have to do it week after week you would think we were the only guests they ever had. They made the whole experience special. They were welcoming and always seemed to anticipate ones needs. Many of them multi-tasked (like Leo the pianist who also helped us with the Segways) and Ray did water sports and served as our DJ for disco night, and we so enjoyed them all. The wait staff were great. Tomasz who was the Chief Hotelier was also amazing in making sure that everything happened the way it should.
And of course I cant forget charming and obviously capable Captain Valter Berg!
Activities Director: We had the privilege of having Clive Carrington as our activities director and he really made the week special. Not only is he a truly multi-talented man but he made sure every guest felt special including all the children. He organized a Pub-Crawl on St. Croix and about 8 of us took off on the great mountain bikes on board down the road along the beach and stopped at beach bars on the way back. What fun to sit on the beach with a cold beer and chat with new friends with our yacht in the background beckoning us home! He accompanied groups on several shore excursions and was always there to assist and carry things for the older guests or whatever needed doing to make sure people had a good time. We probably had one of the best experiences ever on Sea Dream when Clive agreed to give a one time only concert in the piano bar on the last night of the cruise and had us all laughing to his renditions of everything from Grease tunes to the Piano man and Elvis. Thank you Clive! Cuisine: The food on Sea Dream was wonderful. It certainly exceeded my expectations. Dinners featured very varied and unique menus (we even had a choice of Indian food one evening since the Chef (sorry I have forgotten his name but not his smile) is from India. All beautifully presented and cooked exactly the way it was ordered. The buffet that accompanied the menu for breakfast and lunch always had a wonderful array of fruits, salads, smoked salmon and goodies like Alaskan crab legs! At various times during the day, there was food brought out to the pool such as club sandwich quarters, crudités, home made mini-pizzas and one day eight varieties of homemade ice cream (with toppings of course!). And there were cookies and popcorn daily. Each evening prior to dinner, there was cocktails in the salon accompanied by wonderful hors doeuvres and one time even delicious caviar. Room Service is always available and although we didnt partake, those that did say it came fast and with a smile.
Beach Party and Champagne Splash: Speaking of caviar, there is nothing like standing in the surf eating it with champagne, followed by the most delicious beach barbecue Ive ever tasted! This was our very special day on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Island.
Additionally, several times upon coming back to the room it was not only turned down but there were treats like chocolate covered strawberries or homemade chocolates.
Bar and Wine: Anyone sailing on SeaDream I will become spoiled by George, Lukas and Arturo who not only masterfully mix drinks at incredible speed but create a party while doing it. There was also nothing like laying on the Balinese Bed and having a charming bartender bring you a drink while you watch the sunset! Drinks are included in the price of the voyage except for premium varieties which were available for a reasonable supplement. The champagne that is served on board along with the wines is very good (usually the champagne was Piper Heidsieck). The house wines varied by night and were matched to the menu. We never had to order special wines from the menu but one wine-collector did and he said the wine selection was very good and not overpriced.
Extra Touches: Usually upon boarding the ship from a shore excursion, someone would be waiting with a chilled towel to refresh! How nice. And I hate to spoil the surprise but you get your very own pair of Sea Dream Yacht Club pajamas with your name embroidered over the pocket! Those brave enough, wear them to the pajama party at the Top of the Yacht Club bar on Monday night (yes I did). I also loved that there was an open bridge policy so we could go up there most times and take a look at what was going on. Captain Berg and his crew showed us instruments and even lent us their crew binoculars one night for an amazing sunset off the bow.
Excursions: SeaDream offered a small but varied selection of shore excursions and it was easy to see the Concierge on deck 3 to sign up. They were well priced and never overcrowded. They were only for Sea Dream guests so it was fun especially as the week progressed to go out with new friends. We enjoyed them all.
Watersports and other activities: On four of the ports, the back of the yacht dropped down and became the water sports platform (The Marina). Although there was supposed to be water skiing, wake boarding and windsurfing, those were never done but there was still plenty to do. There were inflatable kayaks and swimming but the favorites were the banana boat and the jet-skis. Ant they had their own water trampoline at Jost Van Dyke. Lots of fun and of course included in the cost of the voyage! There are also three Segways (people movers) that can be used in at least one port. We used them for 15 minutes on the dock in St. Croix (only $15 for that time) and it was great fun! I highly recommend this unique experience.
Internet: There were two internet stations set up by the Piano Bar. A card could be purchased with the concierge. Im not sure of the charge. If you want to use a laptop in your cabin, it was $35 for a 24 hour day. I opted to use my Blackberry and it connected in about 4 or 5 of the ports and got me through email necessities.
Casino: There were two tables both with women dealers and those that played enjoyed it very much my companion even won $125 at Caribbean poker.
Boutique: What a refreshing change not to have multiple shops with wares being hawked in the hallways. The very small boutique on deck four had some glass ware, a few pieces of jewelry, sundries and of course a very nice selection of well priced Sea Dream articles of clothing, travel bags and the like.
Library: Amply stocked and attractive. A large variety of DVDs and CDs were available for check out from the concierge. The children aboard took advantage of that feature.
Guests: What a great group of people were on board this cruise. The range of ages was from 7 months (yes) to late 70s. (It was Spring Break time).The intimacy of the yacht afforded the opportunity to really get to meet people and that was an added bonus to the luxury experience. We enjoyed many dinners and excursions with our new friends. Even the children (who were very well behaved) enhanced the experience of the cruise. They all enjoyed the yacht and the ports. Although there were no childrens activities the crew did a nice job of creating an early dinner experience on the deck for them and making sure they had what they need.
Ports of Call: As with all the Sea Dream itineraries (including the Mediterranean and now South America too!), the ports of call are small and special. Many are ports that the large cruise ships cant access which is great. We stopped in St. Croix, St. Barths (fabulous of course and we stayed until midnight there so had plenty of time), Antigua, Anguilla, Virgin Gorda (loved The Baths) and finally Jost Van Dyke very unspoiled and a special location for the beach party and champagne splash! Even in the Antigua we were in the harbor across the island from busy St. Johns which had three huge ships docked during our stay.
Entertainment: There was as expected littler onboard entertainment Several nights there was a concert on board! Actually a huge screen raised on the aft deck by the pool where we enjoyed a Rod Steward and Bob Marley concert! Leo played at the Piano Bar and of course there was the Clive Carrington Concert!
Usually I end my reviews with what exceeded by expectations and what needs improvement, but the entire yachting experience with Sea Dream was top notch! I highly recommend it for couples, families and even friends who want a touch of luxury and a magical get-away. I cant wait to try it in the Mediterranean. Less
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