It’s time for my yearly review of SeaDream. I contemplated skipping the review this year since it feels like my reviews are repeating themselves: we had a fabulous time, the weather was perfect, the service was top-notch, blah, blah,blah. But since I look forward to reading anything “SeaDream” throughout the year, I decided to go ahead and share some highlights and new things we noticed this year at the risk of being redundant.
Seadream I, January 31 – February 7th, 2015.
Planned Itinerary: Depart San Juan | Sandy Ground, Anguilla | Saba - Gustavia, St Barts (Overnight) | Soper’s Hole, Tortola | Norman Island | Virgin Gorda | Disembark St Thomas
One of the unique things I love about SeaDream is it’s ability to change itineraries based on weather, etc. This came in handy on our cruise, as the weather on Sunday in Anguilla wasn’t the best. We ended up making St. Barts our first stop, visiting Anguilla later in the week. We also didn’t make it to Saba due to weather - we’ve been to Saba before and it’s not one of our favorite ports so this didn’t disappoint.
ANGUILLA | we went to the beach at Shoal Bay, beautiful beach, but there is a lot of building going on since we visited 2 years ago, and I’m wondering how much the atmosphere is going to change in the future. ST. BARTS | we normally visit Governor’s Beach but decided to give Saline Beach a try for something new. It was a good choice, beautiful location and less crowded then Governor’s. There was a nice little restaurant within walking distance to the beach. NORMAN ISLAND | we took the tender to Pirate’s Bight and walked around a bit, before heading back to the ship to spend the day enjoying the pool.
Our cruise had 70 passengers, with about half having sailed with SeaDream previously. This was a rather low key crowd – personable – with no real complainers and no life-of-the-party types. Top of the yacht bar emptied out by midnight, though the piano bar seemed more popular than previous trips. Most of the guests were in the late 40- 60s age range. There was one married couple with a 4 month old baby and 2 year old. We were a bit worried when we first saw the baby and toddler, but they were adorable and absolute angels and didn’t cause any problems.
The service is always a highlight of our cruises on SeaDream. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on it, but the service seemed to be at an all time high. Enes as Maitre ‘d is a gem. We’ve sailed with him before and have never had a meal go by where he hasn’t checked in on us - attentive and just a really nice guy! Waiters Robin, Doramus and Mikee were all up to the challenge of keeping our party of 7 fed and happy during the week. Bartender Manuel at the piano bar - so kind, plus he introduced me to the perfect Amaretto Sour. At this point in my life I thought I’d tried every cocktail there was, nice surprise to find an addition to add to my arsenal. Marco and Gabor at the TOYB were a hoot - stand up comedians or bartenders? I’m still not sure. Mark and Angelo at the pool were constantly making sure we were happy - moving umbrellas, serving cocktails and passarounds, misting us with cool water, cleaning our sunglasses - I was exhausted just watching them all day!
This is our first sailing with Captain Erickson, what a great addition to the SeaDream team. He was very visible and informative, keeping us up-to-date on the weather, and letting and us know when there was a chance we were going to miss a port and what our options were. I liked his straight forward approach, on a few of our other trips we felt like we were given different stories about what was going on when ports were canceled. He also gave us a surprise visit to Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke Thursday night. It’s was great to get a taste of the Caribbean nightlife and also to see some of the crew given time off to enjoy themselves along with us.
Our splash this year was at Virgin Gorda. The location is new and it wasn’t my favorite setting for the splash. The beach is on a slant, so it’s hard to relax when sitting on a lounger. The water was a bit rough so the caviar was served on the beach not in the water. That being said, it was a wonderful way to spend our last day of the cruise. The weather was perfect, the water temperature sublime, and the food was excellent - noteworthy was the prime rib and the shrimp skewers that were cooked to perfection. Note: My overall splash rankings would be: 1st Soggy Dollar (ambiance), 2nd Nevis (facilities), 3rd Virgin Gorda.
Food was excellent all week, some of our favorites:
– pesto omelet
– the “crispy” bacon
– mussels for lunch
– swordfish at lunch
– fish and chips at lunch
– white tomato cappucino (sublime!)
– spicy tuna appetizer
– beef wellington
– chocolate chipotle ice cream (sounds strange, but delicious)
We started most nights at the piano bar. George the piano player was great, though he could update his music library with some more current songs. When we weren’t belting out a song we would hop over to the black jack table. Valentina, the dealer, was wonderful. Most nights it was just our group playing and we are by no means blackjack afficienados. Valentina was very patient with us, helpful and always smiling. We would then head up to the Toy Bar where Gabor and Marco would fix us a delicious end-of-night cocktail and have us laughing. One couple from our group spent a night on the front bali bed one evening and loved it. They had perfect weather and lasted outside all night.
– New decor in the salon is an improvement.
– Love the bamboo plants in the bedroom, the previous plastic plant drove me crazy
– Complimentary mini massages by the pool a few afternoons were wonderful
– Liked the new Confluence dinner (in addition to the Degustation night)
– Current movies were being shown in cabin (American Sniper was available on our sailing)
– Heineken is now served on draft at the pool and TOYB. Icy cold and delicious
– Wine at dinner seems improved over last year - though there is still room for more improvement :)
– Foxy’s evening stop was great.
Our vacations on SeaDream have left us with so many wonderful memories, on each cruise there is that one moment where it hits you -- life doesn’t get much better than this! For this trip it occurred on Thursday as we sailed from Sopers Hole to Norman Island. Lunch was served al fresco while we were under sail. Everything about the lunch was perfect - the weather and gentle seabreeze, the fabulous service by Robin (which we had grown accustomed to all week), fish and chips cooked to perfection, cold wine and beer being poured continuously, laughter and conversation with my family, all while breathtaking views of the mountains of the British Virgin Islands sailed by. Truly a snapshot that will stay with me forever.
Thank you SeaDream for creating such a unique vacation experience. To the Crew, thank you for being the perfect host year-to-year...treating us spectacularly, putting up with odd requests, and doing it all with such joy! It’s a week my siblings and I look forward to all year - we get to leave behind the hustle of the real world and spend some quality time catching up, reminiscing, laughing, eating and drinking all while enjoying the gorgeous scenery and weather of the Caribbean. We can’t wait to spend another week with you next year!