SeaDream II Entertainment
Entertainment is informal, and, essentially, it's what you make of it. In the evening, most people were content to enjoy after-dinner drinks, chat and listen to music in the Main Salon Bar on Deck 3, a circular room with a small dance floor and comfortable cream upholstered armchairs.
Champagne is served on deck or in the Main Salon as you board, and people gather there or on deck in the evening for cocktail hour and hot canapes. When the weather does not permit on-deck screenings, the Main Salon shows movies, appropriate for the destination. On our Greek Isles cruise, we had "Mamma Mia!" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," for example.
We preferred the Pool Bar on the aft deck, where you can catch the last rays while you sip a pre-dinner drink. On fine nights, the outdoor movies are shown there, and on one night, we also sang (bad) karaoke.
The piano bar on Deck 4 is also popular, especially during karaoke sessions. Beside it is a tiny casino, with just two tables and a few slot machines; the library is next door.
The Top of the Yacht Bar on Deck 6 is probably the liveliest evening venue if the weather is fine. The sociable horseshoe-shaped polished-wood bar has high wooden bar stools around it and an awning to protect cruisers from the elements, but apart from that, it is open air, with a few cozy tables and upholstered chairs on deck. Dancing takes place there when the mood is right.
One thing we'd experienced before on SeaDream (and to which we were looking forward) was the Champagne Splash, a late-morning festivity at which everybody sits around the pool, the Champagne flows and the waiters leap into the water, fully dressed, and serve caviar from a silver vat that floats in a life preserver. But, on this particular cruise, although the Champagne was there and a caviar bar was set up in a corner of the Pool Deck, the waiters stayed out of the water, and the party was more subdued than we'd hoped it would be. The hotel manager, Peter, told us that they don't always get wet nowadays, and it's up to the individual waiters how the party pans out.
Excursions in port ranged from about $90 for an expert guided town walk to $350 for transport and guide to a major city. These were subject to cancellation if minimum numbers did not sign up. However, there were also free guided walks and bicycle rides available with the tour director, and these were always fun and well attended.
SeaDream II Public Rooms
A SeaDream cruise is really aimed at people who want to be out on deck as much as possible, and we spent very little time indoors.
The Reception, on Deck 6, has glass cabinets displaying the Yacht Boutique's gifts and clothing range. It sells logowear, as well as glass and porcelain items. Although it's quite expensive, the logo gear was popular.
The Reception, or Concierge, was also where you signed forms to borrow the onboard bicycles, snorkels or other sports gear. It's also where passengers book shore excursions.
The comprehensive library on Deck 4 has two Internet terminals; fees are $5 for 10 minutes, $3 for additional blocks of 10 minutes or $35 for a whole day. However, Internet access is available from all staterooms, and most people used their mobile devices, which were cheaper. Laptops are also available at no charge.
SeaDream II Spa & Fitness
On deck, there are various sitting and sunbathing areas, from small booths with padded seats along the side of Decks 5 and 6 to the much-hyped Balinese Beds. These eight squashy, double sun loungers face outward on the port and starboard sides of Deck 6 and are exceptionally comfortable. Understandably, these were in demand on sea days, but on port days we were usually able to get one without a wait. The beds farthest from the smokestack are quietest.
There are also sun loungers and chairs around the pool and hot tub on Deck 3, and on Deck 4 you can use the small gym which offers a couple of treadmills, stationary bikes and free weights. The spa, also on Deck 4, is Thai certified and claims to be the only one of its kind at sea. It costs $158 for a 60-minute massage; offerings include a Traditional Thai Massage (available in a private open-air massage area, as well as in the spa), Traditional Thai Massage with herbs, Swedish Body Massage, Soothing Aroma Body Massage and Asian Blend massage -- a combination of Thai, Shiatsu and deep-tissue techniques. A 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage costs $89.
Other treatments include facials, body scrubs, depilation and hair treatments. A shampoo and blow dry started at $45, with a cut from $50 and highlights from $85. Pedicures and manicures, and eyebrow and eyelash tints were also available.
The very small steamroom was available for free, but it had to be booked, as did the small sauna, and there were free yoga and tai chi classes every morning.
The ship, like its twin sister, has a retractable marina that offers banana boat rides, dinghies, water-skiing, and standup paddleboards. We had quite rough seas on our cruise, so it was only lowered once, and we missed it while we were ashore.
SeaDream II also carries a fleet of mountain bikes, which are free to use on a first-come, first-served basis. Our captain, Terje Willassen, was a keen cyclist, and we noticed one flashy-looking bike tied up by the bridge, labeled "Captain's bike." He would sometimes accompany passengers on cycle trips. A golf simulator on Deck 6, complete with 30 signature golf courses, is free to use.
The Segway Human Transporters, which were a gimmicky feature of the line when it launched, have gone. Apparently, there weren't enough places in ports to use them.