Seadream donated a week's cruise to my son's school fundraising auction - on a lark we bid on it and won. Let's make one thing clear - my family abhors the large cruise ships. We watch Oasis of the Sea come to port, and shudder. An Oasis crew member had recently committed suicide on a Caribbean cruise, for example. And the pollution...
We had no idea what to expect, but decided to make it a honeymoon. After 15 years of marriage it seemed about time. Our son is disabled and we have never left him for more than a few days. We planned to go to the Rome-Rome trip, and would be gone for 11 days. This was scary and after our son had been admitted to hospital 4 times in 6 weeks we were reluctant to go through with our plans. But we had a good team of attendants to be with him, and we went on the trip.
We are so glad we did. After 2 days in Rome we taxied out to Civitavecchia, and were so pleased by our immediate first impressions. Some of the other reviews said it best - the eyeglass cleaning, the cold washclothes upon coming on ship, the food, and the staff....all this attention to detail was appreciated. We are tired parents, and needed this respite from 15 years of caretaking our son.
My husband had a facial, his first ever. I went to the spa 3 times and loved every minute. Our room was right next to the spa so we would pop our heads in to say hello to Luanna, the spa manager. She, and all the women, are charming and kind.
I prefer Italian food, but have to admit Thomas is a food genius. His young family was with him on board and this only added to the Seadream family atmosphere. When I purchased zucchini flowers in the markets we made them up for us.
I decided to surprise my husband with a renewal of vows, and this turned out to be the highlight of our trip. And it was the perfect illustration of how seriously the crew takes their hospitality responsibility. Patrice planned the sweetest cake, flowers and champagne. The Captain was elegant, and Jeff Fithian, the activities director, stood up with us. Jeff even wrote some very nice vows for us. I thought it would be silly, but it was moving. Their photographer took photos for us. And it was aired on the ship's closed circuit TV.
On the last day, we received very bad news about our son's health and had to get home asap. We were in Sorrento, headed for Civitavecchia. The Captain and Jeff assured us we could change our plane reservations and get home a day early. We didn't know you could disembark at 8:20, get to the airport in time for an 11am flight! They were kind, helped us change our plans and got us to the airport on time. We were very frightened parents, and desparate to get home.
When we left the ship, rushing to get to Rome's airport, we felt a tinge of sadness to leave our new friends. As frantic as we were to get home we knew we would miss Seadream. Not just the food, wine, deserts, fun and travel...we would miss the kindness of very nice people.
I am writing this from my son's bedroom computer - he is doing better everyday. He will always have health issues, but the memories we created on Seadream will carry my husband and I through the tough times. FYI: We made plans to get together with the crew when they come to our home in St John - we want to repay their hospitality. And we put a down payment on another trip...who knows what Jeff has in store for us next time?!
416 is a great location is you want to make the spa your home....it is quiet there because the spa closes at 8pm and no one else goes past your room. Anyone who says they used the exercise machines must have been very quiet indeed. I liked the reading lamps over the bed, but the mattress seemed rather hard for our taste. Yes, the bathroom is small, but we were pleased by the shower. This was our first time on a ship like this one. We sail, and therefore found the amenities plush compared to a small sailboat!
P.S. Reserve the Bali bed at the very front of the ship. OMG! Did we ever enjoy that. Shooting stars, the moon, and the sunrise....very romantic.
Crowded, exciting because Alicia Keys just got married there! We loved the shopping, the French Foreign Legion buildings and walking around. Bonafacio is very crowded in August and we had a hard time getting around~ we ended up spending the night there because the next stop was even more crowded. No place to swim in water and this was disappointing.
No one's fault, I suppose, but we had to port at Porto Rotondo, a fake village with the charm of a suburban cul de sac. So many private yachts and rich people we couldn't go into Porto Cervo. Okay, so Leo and his Hollywood pals were in town. The water was choppy for swimming,and water sports. But by then we had been on ship for 2 nights were anxious to swim in the sea.
We then went to little towns along the Amalfi Coast, and the final night in Sorrento. Positano was crowded, full of smokers, wall to wall people. But it was charming, the water was calm for swimming and it was our fault we wanted to enjoy an evening stroll, in August, on the Amalfi Coast! Kind of like any July 4th event at the Jersey shore......Ignore Capri and go directly up the mountain to Anacapri, and take the chairlift to the top of the mountain. Plan your shopping for ASAP in the morning, and prepare yourself for the most remarkable crowds of people. If you want to see a church, go to a store or buy anything go early!!!! We took only 2 excursions - one to the Blue Grotto on Capri. This was, and is, and always will be, one of the biggest tourist rip offs known to the traveling world. However, we couldn't resist seeing something that had been so universally panned - I can say with certainty now - ignore the Blue Grotto. Save your money. We also took the excursion from Sorrento to Pompeii - we were too tired to follow our usual independent streak. This was a very good thing because the traffic is horrendous, and we liked our guide very much. Naples is a polluted remmant of its past glory -
It was August, in the Italian sea...of course there were crowds and everywhere was a happening place. It was pretty cool......