Although I love cruising, I have become very disillusioned with the large cruise lines. I do not like crowds and having to wake up early to get a lounge chair or breakfast table. After doing some research into smaller cruise lines I came across SeaDream Yacht. With only 100 passengers and 95 crew members, I thought this would be perfect. There were many interesting itineraries to choose from, but we ended up choosing a cruise that would start and end in Rome and take us to the Amalfi coast.
Embarkment was a breeze. There were no lines and we were immediately greeted with refreshments in the lounge. What a relaxing way to start our trip. We enjoyed cocktails and delicious snacks before even checking in! When we were ready to check in, we simply walked to the desk, gave our names, and we were given out ID card.
Our cabin was on Deck 4 and was roomy and comfortable. Plenty of storage space for our stuff. We had a large picture window, as none of the cabins on SeaDream have balconies. I definitely missed having a balcony, but we were able to be out on a deck in under a minute.
The dining on the ship was incredible. There was a new chef on board during our cruise, and the food was amazing. We asked to dine outdoors, rather than in the dining room and we were given a table with the most amazing view. The food was all freshly made, high quality, unique and delicious. The service was outstanding.
We chose to take several excursions through the cruise line and we were always impressed. Everything ran on time and the local guides were friendly and knowledgable. It never felt overly crowded and everything was first rate.
There are a few after dinner activities each night. The casino (which consisted of one blackjack table) was open every night and people seemed to love it. There was also an open piano bar, a few nights of karaoke, a dessert extravaganza and a dance party. The upstairs bar is open late and always has good music playing.
I found the other passengers to be mostly from the US, UK and Australia. Average age from late 40's to early 60's, although there were plenty of older passengers and a few families with adult children in their 20's. I found the other passengers to be interesting, smart, very friendly and I enjoyed getting to know them. I was expecting a bit of a pretension from fellow passengers, but there was none of that. Everyone I met was down to earth and thrilled to be there. Since the ship is so small, when you meet people you like, you will definitely see them again.
Service throughout the ship is perfection. I do not know how they do it, but after just a day, the entire crew seemed to know our names and preferences. Even crew we hadn't interacted with, knew our names. The only special request we made was to have our minibar emptied of sodas and beer and replaced with just water and club soda. It was a small request, but it was done within the hour and kept up for the entire cruise.
We had such an amazing time, we booked another cruise for next year, while we were still on the ship (you get a 15% discount if you book while still on the ship). I cannot imagine taking any other cruise line after being on the SeaDream II. They really know how to make you feel special and how to give you an unforgettable vacation.
All cabins are the same size. You pay based on what deck you stay on. Decks 3 and 4 are identical. The cabins on Deck 2 have 2 porthole windows, rather than a large picture window. Cabin 413 was very quiet and located next to the spa.
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