This was our first cruise. Friends recommended the SeaDream cruises as intimate with excellent service and food. What we did not want: A massive ship where we were one of a zillion people and mediocre food & service. We have chartered private yachts in the past and like the first class experience.
Embarkation and disembarkation were simple and pleasant. From the minute you arrive to the moment you depart in your airport transport, you experience the excellent service.
Staff was outstanding, 91 passengers/ 95 staff on our cruise. Not only did they know your name but at one stop on the beginning of our cruise, I needed a hat and due to port rules, they couldn't sell me one, a staff member insisted I borrow hers!
Additionally, you can really feel how proud the staff is to work on the ship. Many have been on the ship for over 10 years.
Food: Overall the food was stellar. They had options for everyone -- including a raw, vegan menu every evening.
The pre-dinner cocktail hour was nice but it's one area I felt it fell down on food. The options just weren't as elegant as the food served at the meals. The caviar celebration was nice but I didn't care for the caviar.
Each day a soup was offered at lunch; it would have been great to have a cold soup option on such a warm weather cruise.
The dining room was very nice and when feasible, we dined on the deck outside. There were night where it was simply too windy though.
Wine selection was good. We generally purchased a bottle for dinner as the dinner selections (one white, one red) were not my taste (I'm picky). I didn't feel the markup was extravagant. One night we had a $90 bottle and another we had a $30 rose that was quite nice.
In room dining - See menu pics, pretty much says it all. For a non kid-friendly cruise, I was left wondering where the adult food was.
Movie night was fun although a bit difficult to hear sound. Wish service had been better / existed. After the popcorn was distributed, we never saw the staff again -- I would have liked a glass of wine but didn't want to step away from the movie to find an open bar.
Spa was excellent. We went nearly every day. They are flexible and it was easy to change our appointment times, day of. We made our appointments shortly after we arranged our land excursions and they made sure we didn't have conflicts.
Land adventures were great. The adventures offered were a selection of the ones listed on the website. Prior to the cruise, I asked which ones were actually going to happen and they directed me to the website. Once on board, it made more sense as they change things depending on circumstances. For instance, there were 2 Pompeii tours on the site - same tour, just different starting point. When we arrived on the boat, they only offered one -- the better one as it was a 20 minute drive to the site instead of a 2 hour drive the other tour required.
Port timing - typical of cruise ships probably but some were too short for our preference. Still, it was a nice "taste" of all of the stops.
Stabilizers. An asst captain (I think) told us the ship had stabilizers but they didn't seem to work that well. It wasn't unbearable but the ship definitely rocked. I could see it being difficult if you are prone to seasickness
There is a gym but the hours aren't great if you'd like to start early with a work out or go after dinner.
Casino is a single blackjack table. I'm not a gambler but found this fun as it was another opportunity to get to know fellow cruise members and be social.
See below for cabin information
My husband, who was even more apprehensive about taking a cruise, is already talking about the next SeaDream cruise we should take. I can't wait!
No balconies but our room on the 3rd floor had a good sized window. The ship has so many areas to be social or to be alone, one doesn't need to spend much time in the room at all.
A family of 3, you could probably put a child on the couch.
Luggage stored under the bed.
Room was sufficient, larger than I expected. Furnishings cheaply made with problematic drawers. Overall a minor issue. Bathroom was also larger than I anticipated. Don't get me wrong, it's no private yacht bathroom but it's perfectly suitable. My husband isn't a terribly big guy but he did find the bathroom a bit cramped and found it difficult to shut the door while inside.
Pajamas - one size does not fit all but that's what they offer, xxl. It would be great if they offered, even a size medium but they don't. The top is fine for a night shirt; the pants are huge.