• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
You may also like
Dismiss
SeaDream to Run Caribbean Season From Barbados Starting in November, October Transatlantic
SeaDream I (Photo: SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises)

SeaDream to Run Caribbean Season From Barbados Starting in November, October Transatlantic

SeaDream to Run Caribbean Season From Barbados Starting in November, October Transatlantic
SeaDream I (Photo: SeaDream Yacht Club Cruises)

September 15, 2020

Chris Gray Faust
Managing Editor
By Chris Gray Faust
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
(4:35 p.m. EDT) -- SeaDream Yacht Club will run 22 cruises in the Caribbean beginning in November on at least one ship, as well as an October transatlantic from Europe.
The announcement, made in a webinar with the line's executives, is good news for luxury cruisers seeking sun in the colder months. Several luxury lines, such as Seabourn Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises, have canceled cruises though the end of 2020.
As previewed two weeks ago, the cruises will run round-trip from Barbados and visit St. Vincent and several islands in the Grenadines such as Union Island and Bequia, as well as Grenada. A day of snorkeling will take place in Tobago Cays, and the line's signature Champagne splash will be held in Mayreau.
The first voyage will begin November 7 in Bridgetown, and subsequent cruises will be either seven or eight days long. The last cruise will take place in April, so the ship can reposition and do its previously scheduled sailings in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Voyages are only being planned on SeaDream I, although the line will add SeaDream II if the demand is there, SeaDream president Bob Lepisto said. Both ships carry 100 passengers, and both are coming off successful summer seasons in Norway. SeaDream was the first luxury line to return to cruising after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sailing worldwide in mid-March.
Cruisers who want to do a transatlantic can book the ship on a 21-day voyage sailing October 15 from Oslo to Bridgetown. Stops on that trip include Skagen, Denmark, and Southampton, U.K., where Europeans will be allowed to board, Lepisto said. The ship will stop in Funchal, Portugal, before arriving to the Caribbean.

New Health Protocols and Purchases, COVID Tests Dockside

SeaDream I
To sail in the Caribbean, SeaDream has enhanced the health and safety protocols that it developed for its summer season in Norway.
For one, COVID-19 tests will be required to board. Passengers coming from the United States will have to take several tests to cruise, said Emilio Freeman, VP Destinations -- one at home at least 72 hours before arriving in Barbados and possibly a second one at the airport.
The line has purchased an Abbott ID Now rapid testing machine that gives COVID-19 results in 15 minutes, said Sudesh Kishore, senior vice president of hotel operations. This machine will be at the dock and all passengers will be tested again before embarkation. Embarkation itself will be staggered between noon and 6 p.m. so there are no crowds.
In addition, the line has added thermal scanners that record temperatures, which will be kept in a daily log. Passengers will look into the scanner when they re-embark the ship after being onshore, he said.
The line has also bought another new machine, a hospital-grade Altapure AP-4 disinfectant fogger that the crew will use to clean the ship before people board, Kishore said. Ultraviolet lights will be used for daily cabin sanitation, and hand sanitizers will be placed around the ship. Special mats that sanitize shoes are another new addition.
While the ship will be asking people to practice social distancing, masks will not be required, Kishore said. "We do not want people to wear masks onboard," he said. "That's why we want people to be tested prior to embarkation."
But SeaDream Executive Vice President Andreas Brynestad noted that requirements would be dependent on local government regulations, as well as guest comfort level and feedback. "We will have masks for everyone onboard," he said.  "If our guests feel like wearing masks is the right thing to do, we are more than happy to listen."

Organized Shore Visits Required, Barbados Pre-Visit Discouraged

Barbados (Photo:Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock)
One change from the previous announcement is that passengers will likely not be able to do their own thing while on shore. The line is working to create organized excursions that get at the heart of the islands, Freeman said.
"They will allow us to come on shore but in an organized fashion to pre-determined places," he said. "You probably will not be allowed to go out and explore on your own."
The line is talking to the island governments to see if they can run their usual biking and hiking excursions. The ship will have its water platform and toys available for use as much as possible.
Another logistical challenge is that guests from the U.S. will be encouraged to fly to Barbados the day of embarkation, rather than a day or two in advance, Freeman said. That way, the Barbados government will likely classify passengers as "in transit" and able to bypass the island's current 14-day quarantine for people arriving from the U.S.
People shouldn't worry about missing the ship, as it will be able to stay at the dock longer since the next island, St. Vincent, is not that far from Barbados, Freeman said. "Anyone who might be thinking at a stay in Barbados should think about doing it as a post as opposed to a pre."
Passengers who are booked on current voyages will be contacted to discuss transferring to the new itineraries, Brynestad said. The company won't reimburse passengers for airplane change fees.
Brynestad also commiserated with passengers who had hoped to visit the U.S or British Virgin Islands, a staple of SeaDream's Caribbean season.
"It's tricky with U.S. ports," he said. "We hope that things will change. I believe that come November, I think there is going to be a big change with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). I hope there is an opportunity. We are working on it, but it's quite uncertain. We're not going to know anything for quite some time."
The CDC currently has all ships under a "no sail" order from U.S. ports. That order is set to expire at the end of September, but many cruise lines have already put themselves on a voluntary pause through October 31. The CDC order does not apply to SeaDream, as its Caribbean cruises do not visit the U.S.
All of the executives cautioned that things were in flux and might adjust, depending on COVID-19 infection levels. Brynestad is moving to Barbados for the season so he can facilitate getting the cruises up and running.
Still the general mood was optimistic. "We had incredible rainbows and good fortune in Norway," Lepisto said. "We plan to have the same incredible fortune when we come over to the Caribbean."
How was this article?
Popular with cruisers like you
Masks, Plexiglass and Temp Checks -- the New Normal for River Cruising

Confidence is on the rise -- in Europe at least -- as dozens of river cruise ships ply the rivers and canals of Europe.

In fact, river cruises have been operating safely here since June -- and I was fortunate enough to be on one of the first, A-ROSA on the Douro.

(There has been just one COVID-19 outbreak, on a Croisi river cruise ship in Portugal at the end of its cruise, infecting two passengers and five crew members.)

However, all these lines have one thing in common -- they are all European. The huge fleets from U.S.-based cruise lines in Europe such as Viking, Uniworld and AmaWaterways are idle, except for one.

In cooperation with the German tour operator e-ho

Virgin Voyages Introduces New Cruise Itineraries for Valiant Lady

(4:55 p.m. EDT) -- Virgin Voyages introduced a series of new itineraries for its second modern cruise ship, Valiant Lady, for the 2021 cruise season.  

After debuting in the Mediterranean next year, Valiant Lady will join sister-ship Scarlet Lady in the Caribbean for the 2021-2022 winter season. The ship will also inaugurate a series of new Caribbean itineraries for Virgin, including six- and eight-night sailings along with two brand-new destinations in the Caribbean.

Beginning in November 2021, Valiant Lady will offer six-night voyages roundtrip from Miami that call on Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Virgin's own Beach Club at Bimini in the Bahamas.

Eight-night cruises wi

Photos From Paul Gauguin: Cruising Has Resumed In Tahiti

(11:50 a.m. EDT) -- After a false start this summer, Paul Gauguin has resumed cruising in Tahiti and the South Pacific -- and Cruise Critic has some pictures to prove it.

Elaine Fiorina, of Rancho Mirage, California, is onboard the vessel as it sails the Society Islands on a weeklong cruise from Tahiti. She's one of 54 passengers onboard the ship, which can usually hold 350 guests.

It's the third sailing with international passengers from the single-ship line, which was bought by the French cruise company Ponant last year. Synonymous with South Pacific cruising, Paul Gauguin had started cruising with local residents in mid-July after French Polynesia developed strict testing criteria f

Carnival Sells Fascination, Delays Restart of Four Other Cruise Ships Into 2021

(11:25 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Line today confirmed the sale of Carnival Fascination, along with sister-ship Carnival Imagination, and announced further suspension of sailings for four other ships until after their scheduled 2021 drydocks.

The 1994-built Carnival Fascination had until recently made its homeport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where it sailed weeklong voyages to the eastern and southern Caribbean. While a buyer wasn't announced, it is expected the ship will be sold to shipbreakers in Turkey.

Sister-ship Carnival Imagination, built in 1995, arrived this week off Aliaga, Turkey where it will be run aground for final demolition. The ship had been based for several years in

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.