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.