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7 SeaDream Yacht Club Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have been on more than 30 cruises including Seabourn, Crystal, Cunard, and Celebrity We looked at the Berlitz Guide to Cruising to get advice on the best small cruise ships. Douglas Ward, the author of the Berlitz Guide ... Read More
My wife and I have been on more than 30 cruises including Seabourn, Crystal, Cunard, and Celebrity We looked at the Berlitz Guide to Cruising to get advice on the best small cruise ships. Douglas Ward, the author of the Berlitz Guide 2019, rated the SeaDream 1 yacht as 5 stars, which influenced us to take a cruise with them. However, in our opinion SeaDream 1 only warrants barely a 4 stars rating. See below our reasons why we think this. Staff The staff were mostly very attentive and helpful. Embarkation The embarkation procedure was quick and efficient and well organised by helpful staff. The yacht is old and the furniture and fittings are tired and dated now. The walls were scuffed with black marks. It was very dusty under the sofa suggesting it hadn’t been vacuumed for a long time. The white sealant on the outside of the stateroom windows had yellow/brown stains on it. Food and drink. On our first night on the cruise we went to the main salon to order an aperitif before dinner. We asked a waiter for an Appletini and a Peartini, our favourite cocktails. The waiter looked puzzled and went off and then the bar manager came over to us and explained that he could not make a Peartini as they did not have the ingredients. We were surprised at this given we were on a 5 start yacht and asked whether these could be obtained at the next port of call. He said he would look into this. He was very helpful, but said that Grey Goose pear vodka was a premium drink and we would have to pay extra. We were surprised at this as we had paid £12,000 for the cruise and did not expect this to be the case as other cruise lines we had sailed with. eg. Celebrity offer these as part of their inclusive drinks package. The Appletini arrived which was ok but was not made correctly in a cocktail shaker with ice and did not include the ingredients we were used to so it was very disappointing. The next evening the bar manager said he had tried to make a Peartini and gave my wife the drink. It wasn't very nice being made with macerated pears, but we were pleased he had tried to make one. He said he would try to get the correct ingredients at the next port of call. We decided to have gin and tonics that evening instead. The bar staff brought them over with a dish of nuts. I was about to eat a nut but on looking at the nuts we were horrified to see that they had many small ants crawling around in them. I asked one of the bar staff if I could see the Hotel Manager. He went off to get him. The Hotel Manger came over and I showed him the nuts. He was also horrified at seeing the ants and immediately apologised and said this was unacceptable and took them away. (we have video footage of the ants and we could not believe what we saw). He came back over to apologise again and saw two ants running across the table which must have escaped from the nuts so he used his finger to squash them. Needless to say we did not eat any nuts on any subsequent evenings. The next evening the bar manager had made another Peartini and this time it was quite nice and my wife was pleased that he had gone to the trouble of trying to make this for her. However it was still not correctly made. The breakfasts consisted of a good selection of fruit, nuts and cereals. However, there was no dry muesli only oats soaked in milk with dried fruit. The banana bread was delicious. However, one morning as I opened a jar to get some walnuts a beetle flew out. Hot dishes were cooked to order but were always placed on cold plates. There was a very poor selection of teas and if we wanted a cup of tea during the day we had to order it. The tea was never made to our liking, sometimes being too strong and others too weak. If we asked for weaker tea it was too weak, but then asking for it to be stronger resulted in it being too strong. There is nowhere to get a pot of tea for yourself or kettle in the stateroom. On a couple of occasions flasks were set up in the main salon but the water soon went cold and there was rarely any fresh milk. The barbeque lunch on deck was very good with a good selection of food. Another lunch was fish and chips and this was very good. Dining When entering the dining room or having lunch on deck none of the guests were asked to sanitise their hands, something which is mandatory on other cruise lines(eg Celebrity where a member of staff stands at the door to the restaurant with a dispenser of antibacterial gel). This is not hygienic, particularly because some guests were going directly from the tender up to lunch and helping themselves to foods from a buffet. Sometimes the tongs provided ended up with the handle being put into the food dishes. Loaves of bread were available at breakfast/lunch time with napkins available to hold the bread while slicing it. Unfortunately quite a few guests didn’t bother to use the napkins. Both my wife and I had upset stomachs on one day. Sitting on the right-hand side of the main dining room is unpleasant due to the vibrations and noise from the ship’s engines which led us to ask to be moved to the left-hand side where the noise and vibrations were not noticeable However, we were then shown to a table next to a work station which was not a relaxing experience. Waiters were frequently passing back and forth by our table in a relative narrow gap between the table and the work station. The next evening we asked to be seated in a window seat for two which was very good. Many of the chairs in the dining room were old and stained. In the middle of the dining room was a large table around which 8 people were seated. These had clearly been drinking heavily before dinner. Throughout the meal, they talked very loudly, laughed loudly, whooped and shouted. My wife and I found it very difficult to have a conversation, or a relaxing meal, even though we were at one end of the dining room. We did not expect this kind of behaviour on a ‘5 star’ yacht. However, nothing was done about their behaviour and it continued most nights throughout the cruise. Some guests went into the dining room wearing old ripped jeans. For people who want a relaxing, elegant and sophisticated dining experience (as Douglas Ward states in the Berlitz Guide) we suggest this is not the cruise ship to sail on. The sommelier was very helpful, but there was no wine menu for wines which were part of the inclusive package. Each evening the sommelier showed us the two wines available for that evening which amounted to one red and one white. The alternative was to pay for a bottle of your choice. Our favourite wine is an Australian Shiraz but were told by the sommelier that they did not have any as part of the ' inclusive package' and we would have to pay extra. The only one they seemed to have on the wine menu was a Penfolds Australian Shiraz bin 80 which was priced at $795.00 a bottle! We thought this was outrageous given the cost of the cruise and the fact that a decent Australian Shiraz can be bought for approx. £10.00 in the UK. This wine is not a premium wine and it our opinion ought to be part of the inclusive package. The sommelier again was very helpful and found us an alternative - a French Syrah which we had to be content with each evening. This was ok but was not our preference. We were surprised and disappointed that this five star luxury yacht had no Australian wines available as part of their inclusive package. The food was usually just warm, and mostly not as good as we have had on other cruise ships e.g. Crystal and Celebrity. For example, on different nights we had the following foods: duck which was a little dry as was the chicken. We would rate these as 6/10. The foie gras was good 9/10 the lobster 7/10 and the salmon 6/10. We asked for extra vegetables as there were only very few with the meal on the first evening. These arrived barely warm and al dente. On another evening we had Dover sole and chicken 7/10. We had asked if we could have lobster thermidor one evening and the Maître d’ said yes we could have anything it we ordered it in advance. We did this, but on our third evening when we asked him again when we would get it, he now said rather irritably ‘If it is on the menu.’ However, the next night he informed us that it was available that evening. It was excellent. We rated it 10/10 and we had it again on another 2 occasions as it was so delicious. The chateaubriand, we rated as 6/10, the rib-eye beef, 6/10. One evening the first course was scallops which we rated 10/10 and escargots again we rated them 10/10. The rack of lamb was dry and we rated it 6/10. The tikka masala was mediocre - 6/10. It was decided by the hotel manager that on some occasions that meals would be served outside on the deck. This is a great idea if the weather is warm enough. We had some breakfasts, lunches and dinners on deck. However, on several occasions it was necessary to wear an outside jacket as it was too cold and windy for sitting outside at the beginning of the cruise. We feel there should be a choice as to whether you eat inside or outside, but we were simply told where we were going to have meals that day and no inside dining room alternative was offered. Entertainment. There was little in the way of entertainment. There is a tiny piano bar in which a singer and piano player named George performed each evening. He was excellent. It would have been much better however, if he had played in the main salon where more people could listen to him and they could dance if they wished. There was no room for dancing in the piano bar. There is barely room for about 10 people to stand and sit on the bar stools. There was a casino close to the piano bar which was more like a cupboard where there was one gaming table. Tender service. As the yacht was relatively small (112 guests) we thought it would be able dock in the ports that the larger cruise ships cannot get into. However at every port of call we had to get a tender into port. Sometimes this involved quite journey in a rough sea and strong winds. The reason for this, we were told, was that there were water sports available every afternoon (which during our cruise hardly anyone used due to the cold windy weather and rough seas) and the yacht had to be moored a certain distance from the shore for health and safety reasons. There was just one tender which went back and forth. On one occasion we had to wait over 30 mins at Porto-Vecchio for the tender to first refuel before it set off to us which was a bit tedious as it was raining heavily at the time. To get onto and off the tender it was necessary to go up and down some metal steps hanging from the side of the ship. These steps had very rickety hand rails on either side making the climb up and down rather risky. This service made us reluctant to visit most places more than once due to the distant and unpleasant tender ride. Facilities – The library was well stocked with books and there were 2 computers for guests to use with free wi-fi, but two of the chairs were threadbare on the arms.. Personal wi-fi was not provided free, but was charged at $35 per day or $198 for the nine day cruise. End of cruise We disembarked at 9.50am, collected our cases disembarked and waited for our taxi to take us to the airport. There were seats set up by the side of the ship for guests to sit on while they waited. However, nearby there was a large red 'truck' which was moving rubbish which had been removed from the yacht and had its engine running resulting in foul diesel fumes and unpleasant smells of the rubbish being blown over us all. We felt as if now that we had disembarked we were no longer important to the cruise management. Conclusion. We do not agree that this is a 5 star yacht. This cruise ship is definitely not good value for money. For the price we paid, we were expecting a luxury 5 star cruise experience. We were bitterly disappointed. In our opinion SeaDream1only warrants a barely 4 star rating. In view of our experiences, we will definitely not be travelling on a SeaDream yacht ever again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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 ... Read More
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! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
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 ... Read More
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?! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Review Sea Dream 1 - 6/11/2005 Voyage Citavechia, Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Portovenere, Portofino, Nice Arrival -- Arrived by car after a 45 minute car ride from Rome at around 3:30 p.m. , one couple checking in as we arrived ... ... Read More
Review Sea Dream 1 - 6/11/2005 Voyage Citavechia, Capri, Sorrento, Positano, Portovenere, Portofino, Nice Arrival -- Arrived by car after a 45 minute car ride from Rome at around 3:30 p.m. , one couple checking in as we arrived ... all of our baggage was quickly whisked away, we were greeted by Jimmie the dining room manager who we knew from a previous sea goddess cruise. We checked in under a shaded tent and provided our passports, a credit card for on board charges and were quickly sent up the gangplank in less then 10 minutes...once upstairs we meet other crew members and were poured a glass of GERMAIN cremant champagne and was escorted into the main salon where servers were waiting for us to order other cocktails or soft drinks as well as present a small buffet of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. After enjoying this for ten minutes we moved to the main reception area on the 3rd floor and meet our housekeeper/steward Joie who showed us to our cabin number 209. Upon opening the room the mountains of luggage we arrived with (8 bags in total -- please do not ask why) were neatly stacked in the room.. Joie explained that after unpacking she could stow our baggage as well as helped us find secret stowage space under the bed (enough for two computer bags and two large suitcases. Cabin -- We booked late and were distressed that we were in a cabin on the bottom floor with two portholes instead of a picture window. We actually contemplated paying thousands of dollars to upgrade to a cabin on the fourth floor. After being in cabin 402 on sea goddess we really saw no difference at all in the cabin. The difference in the port holes compared to the picture window was not a major issues either and we would have been wasting money to "upgrade." The layout was quite simple but very logical. The queen size bed was more than adequate for us even though we have a special oversized king bed we sleep in at home. The sheets and pillowcases were Frette and high thread count, very comfortable. The sleeping top was pretty strange though as they covered the bed with two twin comforters. It was not very good. When we asked to make the bed up with a single comforter the only offer was to use a single brown blanket that was not very appealing. The bed was turned down each night and covered with a simple terry type cover each day. Stowage and closets were plentiful and handled the thirty days worth of clothing we brought for this 7 day cruise easily. Large closet dived into two parts, left side for floor length hanging and right side in two parts - top and bottom for slacks and tops. Desk surrounded by three large drawers on each side and closet buffeted by four shelves for stacking shoes and the like (we had 23 pairs with us!). Hangers were wood, plentiful and had full sized hangers and hooks. Electronics included a DVD player and small flat screen monitor, television included cnn worldwide, a live camera from the bridge and I really can not remember much else as we never really turned the tv on in our room. 1 Power outlet for U.S and 1 for European connectors were neatly installed over the desks as well as an Ethernet connection for what was fairly slow satellite internet service...but not complaining having internet in the room was awesome! Bathroom was especially well planned out, toilet immediately facing you upon entry on the left of the room, single sink in the middle with well planned space shelves to the left for toothbrushes and the like. We used a cubby hole outside for toiletries and cosmetics and it worked out well. Balance of the room is made up of a large marble shower which was huge by ship standards. Water flow was awesome and the shower was hand held but had a neat feature to direct water from additional nozzles that sprayed from hip and knee length, very cool. Toiletries were Bulgaria green tea, in bar soap, small sized bath gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Towels had the sea dream logo and were "waffle" type, 4 wash towels, two hand towels and two bath size sheets refreshed twice daily. Safe was typical hotel variety, self programmed and very useful. Small refrigerator was well stocked with wine, beer, soda and champagne. Four liter+ sized water bottles were always re-stocked and our ice bucket was never void of ice during the day and before turning in. Room was made up each day and night and accommodated our sleeping preferences and night times; we never "caught" them cleaning our room. Special little treats were left each evening and upon our anniversary our bed was made up with towels twisted into kissing swans and rose petals on our bed. Exercise/Gym -- Exercise room consisted of 5 tread mills, two bikes, one elliptical trainer, weight machine with typical rectangular stations and a bench of free weights and mats. Plenty of audio/visual devices as each aerobic machine had its own TV and there were two plasma screens on the wall. Room is on fourth floor with floor to ceiling windows looking over ship's prow. Plenty of bottled water available and rolled up burgundy towels available. Exercise classes were one daily yoga class that I saw on the first day but never again. Room was barely used on this voyage with never more than three machines and one weight trainer during peak morning hours. Room was advertised open from specific hours but was open at 4 a.m. one morning and midnight another evening. Interesting tip bit was there were no free weights less than 25 pounds so my wife was out of luck but we did not inquire if there were any smaller available. Headsets were available for the tvs but almost everyone was ipodded and in their own world while using this room. Breakfast -- Fabulous service each morning by a hustling crew. Anything you could think of was available and daily suggestions were offered; eggs Florentine, banana French toast, etc. Large cereal, fruit and bread bar was fresh and remarkable always looking neat and clean. Drinks were poured immediately upon sitting and each knew your preference by the end of the second day's meal. Cooked to order meals were served on white china and the eggs benedict were outstanding, pancakes were very cake like and eggs were fresh and local. Each morning steak and lamb chops were available for protein seekers and we done perfectly each day. Breakfast was served from 7:30 to 10 a.m. each morning and as the weather was great each day was outside in the 5th and 6th floor areas. Plenty of tables were available including cute built ins on the side and aft of the ship. Most folks tended to eat in the same spot each day and the routine was very comfortable and relaxed. A coffee and bread bar was available as early as 6:30 most mornings and always before 7 a.m. -- I had people offer to get me a coffee as early as 5:30 a.m. one morning while tending to cleaning and setting up service. Beverage Services -- Champagne service was never ending. The brand served was GERMAIN, and cremant and brut versions were interchanged often without regard. It made for a very interesting selection to say the least. The brut was crisp and dry and tasted oaky with a hint of vanilla, the cremant was overly sweet and almost displeasing on the front end but finished off nicely. If you ordered a glass you had no idea what would arrive and most of the crew had no idea they were serving two different wines. We had some cruisers who had made the previous voyage and they said the champagne offered on the previous week's voyage was Pommery blue and they were pleased with the change to the Germain. All cocktail pours used good labeled spirits including Myers and Bacardi rums, Absolut, Stolichnaya and Ketel One vodkas, Johnnie Walker Red for no extra charge. There was a charge for "premium liquors" but that would mean you wanted to pay for Grey Goose over Absolut, Stoli or Ketel One. I saw no one buying the premiums and there really was no need. A group of British ales were offered as well as the usual Heinekin, Budweiser, Amstel et all at no extra charge. Wine was dreadful at the bars as a sickening sweet chardonnay and dishwater like pinot grigio were offered standard at the bars. Wine service at dinner was much better and a decent selection of reds and whites from around the world appeared for no charge each night. Mostly these were $10 to $20 retail value wines that were well chosen - some exceptional ones but a few duds as well. The wine available on the supplemental wine list was the biggest surprise of the ship. Not only was the selection exceptional but the prices were below retail value in the US. Examples included an exceptional 1999 Chateau St Jean Cinq Cepages for $80 US, a 2000 Caymus Special Select for $125, and a 1995 Grange for $200. Excellent cabs, chards, bordeaux, burgundies, pinots and champagnes could be found for $30 to $60. We also brought along some special wines for the trip and the staff was happy to cork them for no fee at meals or anytime for us. We even purchased wines ashore and brought them along and they were opened without the thought of a "corkage" fee. Fun cocktails made there way to the pool and top side each day and Richard the top side bartender greeted us with a vodka infused watermelon he made overnight after we had been out sight seeing on a very warm afternoon. What a great treat it was as twelve of us enjoyed the drunken melon and its sweet juices! Recognition -- Staff knew everyone's name quickly and you were always greeted with a smile and a hello. This was done very well and made everyone feel like they belonged. A special reception was held for recurring guests and the captain entertained two couples most evenings. For those of you who have suffered through one of these you know it can be painful and while this captain tries hard, the recognition it offers is not quite worth putting this nice man through what is obviously not his strong suit -- making small talk. I must say when it comes to Captain's dinners this captain ranks in the top 10 percent but still this is a ritual that is long past due retiring. Tours / Activities Director -- James our activities "dude" was hard working and incredibly effective. He pulled out hard to get reservations at key spots and each service was handled perfectly, private cars at ports were on time, clean with English speaking drivers. Private boats were arranged without a flaw. There were not many organized group trips and the ones that were arranged we did not participate in. Some of the port tours did not gain enough interest to be held and James took it upon himself to personally lead shore based walking tours instead. Feedback from other passengers was very positive on both the escorted tours and James' walking trips. Each evening before dinner James reviewed the day's activities and previewed the next. A man of genuine warmth he worked the crowd well and exhibited almost too much local knowledge of the ports of call. All in all a 9+ out of 10 for a very hard working young man with a dedicated support team. Lunch Service -- We ate off the boat most days but on one afternoon we stayed aboard and were treated to a great repast of tender cooked barbecue ribs and caesar salad made to order with grilled shrimp or warm chopped-up turkey breast. Lunch was a huge hit was only exceeded by ice cream and cookies for lunch that were both made on ship, the coconut macaroons especially tasty. Pool Side Sunning -- Sun chairs were narrow metal chairs in three parts; back, thigh and foot areas covered by a three inch blue pad that gave good support. Chairs were plentiful and shade areas could be found on deck 4 and 5 for fair skinned folk. The pool was cold and never used. The hot tub was sufficiently warm, but as there was a group of 28 on board together the hot tub was dominated by this group and a source of frustration for a few ship mates. There were also a few small children and ten or so teens aboard who typically were louder than most adult couples would like to be around. They were easily avoided though and behaved better than most but a few examples of feeding seagulls (left over fruit from drinks and bread procured from the lunch area) and then pretending to shot them with a make believe rifle were disturbing to say the least. Top Side Sunning - Sun Beds -- The Balinese sun beads, two person lounge chairs perched above the ships rail on deck 5 were a big hit. Comfortable and inviting, the crew would add a sun umbrella upon request. And while very popular it seemed easy to obtain a chair and no one played the game of reserving them all day with a book or hat. Food and beverage orders were taken easily by the crew and delivered promptly, more so for drinks than food. Caviar -- These ships, especially in their previous incantation as the Sea Goddess were known for free caviar, anytime anywhere. Alas, no longer, caviar is a $26 charge whenever ordered but done well every time. The two exceptions were the second night captains cocktail party where caviar was available on the buffet and people did indulge themselves. Also one afternoon a group of staff jumped in the cold pool and served champagne and caviar to all who would like. A fun presentation it will be remembered by all who participated. Sports Platform/Marina -- Two jet skis and a banana boat were offered for two hours each afternoon in port. They were especially well received by the children on board but it was easy to gain a turn on each and proper supervision and flotation gear was always provided. After two hours the gas powered toys were put away and swimming was permitted off the rear platform. Lines and buoys were pulled off the back for swimmers to guide themselves by. This service was done very well and the crew should be proud of their work here. Pre-Dinner Cocktail Reception -- Each evening at 7 pm a cocktail party was held in the main salon. Piano music was played by the ship's pianist and he was aided by a drum synthesizer. It served as background music as beverages and a full buffet of cold and hot appetizers were offered. Just at conclusion James the activities director would give his speel on the current and upcoming day's activities. Dinner -- Dinner service alternated between the formal room on deck two and the outdoor dining area on deck 5. Determining factor seemed to be whenever the weather would allow and the ship was staying late in port we would eat outside. Also each night four tables were set up aft on deck 4 for those who wanted to eat outside when the main dining room was being used. These were not advertised as available and you could reserve them by simply asking the dining room manager or reception during the day that you wished to sit outside that evening. At all dining sites tables of two, four, six or as many as 12 were allowed, with people who came aboard as groups eating together, a few couples who seemed very comfortable in the own company dining by themselves and groups of four or six new friends brought together to simply share a meal and get to know each other a bit. Food was continental with traditional starter, salad/soup, main course and dessert offered each night. A full vegetarian meal (with very creative offerings) was printed each evening as well as an "a la carte menu" of pasta, fish, poultry and meat if one did not care for the presentation of the main courses. Orders were taken with great care and mixing and matching - having two starters and a salad perhaps - as well as substitutions were handled effortlessly. The plating presentations were decorated well and the main courses were all served with a silver dome that would be raised in synch by as many servers as diners divided by two. This was fun and elegant on night one but they need to add a twist as it became tedious by night seven. We sent an entire meal back one night and it was whisked away without complaint and new orders replaced more promptly than one could imagine. Service mistakes were minimal. The serving crew actually worked their tails off and all in all dinner was a highlight of the trip. After Dinner - Piano Bar -- Mr. Macintosh, the ship's lone pianist played Broadway and pop standards each evening from 10 pm till the last group retired here each evening. This bar also serves as a staging area for the blackjack tables that are located directly across from the bar as well as for the internet cafe in the library just aft of the bar. The music was pleasant enough and people friendly but mostly done by midnight or so each evening. No major activity occurred but pleasant conversation with nice folks and an occasional sing along to a familiar song from the piano. Don the bartender was very attentive and was actually really good at mixing drinks -- his "Dirty Apple" Martini was a big hit. After Dinner - Main Salon -- This was usually a ghost town, where feature films were played five of the seven nights to an audience of six or eight people. Films included Million Dollar Baby and semi-recent such fare from a large DLP projector that had good overall picture quality and very good sound. On one evening the activities director turned into a DJ and we had a "disco/nightclub" night that was primarily enjoyed by the group of 28 family members who were on the trip together (a stunningly beautiful family by the way). This was the one ship event that the group "owned" and others felt a bit left out. The other major event was a Broadway review night that was held here - a good try at entertainment but I am sure most felt a better use of time could have been found. After Dinner - Top of the Yacht -- This was by far the most active after dinner area. Richard the bartender spins music from a list of several hundred songs that one could request from. The music was played in various volume levels over a decent stereo system depending on size and attitude of the crowd. Drinks were easy to obtain and being outside on warm evenings watching the coast of Italy pass by was especially rewarding. Mostly this broke up around midnight as well. A group who had sailed the previous week and continued on this voyage said the week before this was an incredibly active location on the ship. Some famous former rock and rollers were aboard and played an impromptu concert that kept them partying all night long. Conversations with the crew confirmed that each cruise seems to have its own rhythm, while ours was pretty genteel and subdued; I heard some interesting tales of pole dancers and let's just say behavior not seen at my country club in the states. No doubt if that is going to happen, this is the place for it, but I can not imagine that will occur very often on this ship. Spa/Salon Services -- Biggest upgrade of the ship for us from Sea Goddess days to Sea Dream. This spa and salon gained an A++ from each of us, the Thai therapists were pleasant, competent, friendly, enthusiastic and professional. Massages were offered Thai (no oil) or Swedish (oil) style and each therapist asked about pressure points and how much pressure one would like. Treatment rooms were small but incredibly clean. Standard spa routine of disrobing while the attendant is out of the room and then climbing under sheets (Frette) to lay face down when the attendant returns to the room. The most peculiar aspect was each massage was completed with the therapist asking you to sit up on the table, wherein she would proceed to climb up and massage your back in an upright manner, pretty strange. Prices were moderate -- averaging 75 to 125 for a treatment or series. A minty foot massage combined with a Swedish massage ran $145 and was executed wonderfully. Pedicures and manicures as well as hair services were available as well. The pedicure was done in "spa" style with a comfy chair and paraffin available. Hair services were offered but I found no one who used it. Sleeping Under the Stars -- One of the more intriguing aspects of this ship is watching the housekeeping crew turn the sun beds on deck six into sleeping arrangements each evening. There are three sets of the sun beds on the ship -- four double and one single bed on each side of the ship and a "quad" (four twin mattress) bed up forward on the prow. Bed linens were arranged each evening upon request and a fun adventure would ensue. PJ's and bedding attire were changed into and lights were turned down and music turned off in the adjoining "Top of the Yacht" bar for the sleepers. The beds turned out to be too firm for most and no matter how you avoid it there is always someone lurking about on the top deck so while interesting it is a non-private way to get some sleep. We lasted until about 3 a.m....however I do have to report that another couple actually used this experience to have sex up top...it was truly revolting and makes this board's bombasts about children on the ship seem very trivial... There is also no doubt the beds on the forward part of the ship are the only way to really sleep on top, request that bed as it is private, much quieter and you do not have to breathe the ship's exhaust all evening if the wind is blowing the wrong way (I heard a story of a couple who woke up with black soot all over their faces as the wind went wrong on them!). Reservations were made at the reception desk at any time during the cruise. Casino -- There is no casino on board, just two black-jack tables that are hosted by the surliest and most unfriendly people on the planet. The story goes that Sea Dream contracted out these tables to a third party company who provides the eastern European dealers, what a mistake. This was by far the most disappointing part of the experience. Most nights the tables were empty as no one could possible enjoy playing here. Cards were dealt as fast as possible, no comments or banter was allowed and winning was hard to come by. We meet one of the dealers on a tender going into shore and we asked her why she did not try and have some fun and make it a more enjoyable experience. She said she felt that the people should stay in the bar and keep their money and not throw it away on her table. Regardless no other games or slot machines are available and wow, does this part of Sea Dream need improvement. Fellow Passengers -- The passengers were diverse, fun and primarily nice folk who were really enjoying themselves. The vast majority Americans in their 50s and 60s but a smattering of Brits and Canadians as well. Most were professionals or corporate or self-employed business people. Banter about the current and next port, children, work, home and other vacation experiences dominated conversation that was very easy to strike up and always a fun part of cruising. No one was overly forward and several couples tended to themselves quite happily. A few young children and ten or so tens were there from a large family group as well as one family of five who had three teens with them. Ports of Call -- By far Portofino and Positano were very well received by all. The upscale shops and eateries were populated all day long by our shipmates. Lunching at upscale resorts was a game enjoyed by a block of us who sampled San Pietro and La Sireneuse on Positano, La Palma on Capri and Splendido in Portofino. Sorrento was used by most as a launch pad to visit Pompeii. Capri is a choice between a stroll along the commercial area at the port or a cable car ride up to Anacapri. Here one finds designer stores the like found in a high end Taubman mall in the US. Some visited the tourist trap Blue Grotto and most chalked it up to "do it once...." Giglio was an unusual choice for a port but worked out well. A small island off of Tuscany it was quiet and picturesque and made for a nice lazy day compared to the usual bus trip to Florence or other major tourist spot. Portovenere was my favorite but that opinion was not shared by all. The small port is a base to visit the Cinque Terra which could be explored by foot (5+ hour hike), train, boat or any combination of such. One disappointment was that every port we visited needed tender service. There is nothing better than just hopping off Sea Dream whenever one feels like it when docked. A (very) mild disappointment as the tender service was done efficiently and we never waited more then ten minutes for service when the ship was allowed to use their own tenders. On the island of Capri, they had to use local tenders and it ran on a schedule of every half hour service. This worked well but just did not have the same "we are here for you service" that we received from using the ship's tenders. Ship Store -- This was basically a glass cabinet of logo wear with Sea Dream emblems on hats, t shirts, polos, shorts and running attire. Some jewelry was offered but this will not be anything that will kill even more than 15 minutes on a rainy day. Medical Services -- Dr. Mark was the best ship's doctor anyone could ever ask for. We visited him twice - once to help with an ailing broken (pre-trip) arm and another to help stave off a sore throat / cold. On both experiences he seemed like he was truly excited about trying to help someone and he offered a host of cold presses and antibiotics to support his quick prognosis. He followed up repeatedly during the voyage to see if he could offer more assistance and to check on recovery. This guy is really special. Departure -- Leaving this ship is much harder emotionally than physically. We docked in Nice and the evening before were asked to pack our bags and have them outside the state room by one am. Charge statements for incidental charges were put out by 3 am and were automatically settled to the card presented on arrival. Explanations and mistakes were handled at the reception desk on the third floor and never did I see more than one person waiting at a time. A full breakfast was served on departure morning and we were asked to vacate by 10 a.m. We left around 9:30 -- a steward was more than helpful carrying our two hand cases off the ship for us. We quickly found our entire set of luggage (six pieces!!!) was neatly arranged together under a tent to shade it from the sun. Baggage men help us load our bags into our pre-arranged car and we set off, rested, happy, full and thinking of how and when we can re-arrange our lives to get back on this fabulous ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
This was our first ever cruise, 7 days on sea dream 2 It took place in the Med, august 2003 Here is our impression of this ship Cabins: They are quite small. They are however, very comfortable, well furnished and clean. The shower room ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, 7 days on sea dream 2 It took place in the Med, august 2003 Here is our impression of this ship Cabins: They are quite small. They are however, very comfortable, well furnished and clean. The shower room and toilet is small, but with mirrors and wall to wall marble, looks much bigger than it is. Shower is nice. Don't sit on the toilet and press the flush, you might get sucked away, its viciously efficient. You get a dvd player in the room, quite useful if you get a bit bored. ( they could not come up with the instruction book when asked ). The bed is really comfortable. Don't be put off by a room with portholes,( which are slightly cheaper.) it gives the room a nice nautical feel. The only negative point is the silly corporate video that runs constantly on one of the TV channels, where someone who sounds like an American car salesman, tells you how lucky you are to be on the ship, and how you can hire the ship out if you like and put family portraits on the walls if you do - listen to too much, and you will want to vomit. Service and staff: The staff are really pleasant and helpful. Even the boys who clean the decks at 6am in the morning stop and say hallo, if you want them to, and proudly point out local sites. The waiting staff are really eager, sometimes a bit too helpful! Its unlikely that you will ever have a problem with service on this ship. I am impressed with this. The Food: The food served on the ship is very excellent. Although they can't make fish and chips to save their lives, I would not hold that against them. You don't have to dress up like a penguin just to eat your evening meal. The ship often spends a night in port. We ate on shore occasionally, just for a change of scenery, not due to the quality of the food. Ignore the restaurants recommended by the ship, they will be expecting hoards of rich American and charge accordingly, but get a lonely plant/rough guide/cadogan guide and pick a real local eating place. You get a house wine, otherwise you have to pay for an item on the wine list. They are quite expensive. Try buying one on shore and drinking that, which is more interesting Drinks: All drinks are included, except for the wine list. Experienced cruise people tell me this makes for a more relaxed atmosphere, when chatting and drinking with fellow passengers. The top deck bar is the best. Efficient and friendly bar staff, excellent cocktail knowledge. I wish I was a big drinker ! Entertainment: There isn't very much at all. Great for honeymooners!. Someone plays a piano and sings every night, apart from that, you can play with the other guests. Otherwise its the DVD collection. Its extensive, though you might want to bring some of your own. The ship: There is a small swimming pool at the rear and sun deck. You can't swim very far, but it becomes a social centre if its too hot. The staff will serve you drinks by the pool. The top deck suffers from limited shade, apart from that is very nice. Gym is quite large. Restaurant feels a little closed in. Water sports: The organisation of the water sports seems a little chaotic. This does not happen in every port of call. On our cruise, about 3 times in 7 days. There was only one jet ski operating, which is in huge demand. They ask you to sign silly American waiver forms, and then don't tell you how to use anything. They could be a little more imaginative and offer to ferry guests to some of the remote beaches near where the ship anchors. You of course get ferried to the port continuously.The boatmen who do this are again friendly and very helpful Ports of call. The Mediterranean ones we visited (Corsica, Sardinia, sorrento, capri) were not really that interesting. Try hiring our a car in the port, (via the internet which is cheaper than the walk off the streets tourist rates) with AVIS etc. Then you can explore the country side and escape the tourist hoards. Tips: All tips are included. Its not like an american hotel, where the staff are begging for money at every opportunity. However, if you do tip someone, they won't complain :) ! ( as the chief steward informed me after I had asked ). I did, and hats a rare event. Other guests: On our cruise at least 50 percent were europeans. The remaining americans were fortunately not the typical american tourist (that is, very fat with loud mouthed children, all of whom are called Amy ). Negative points: There are very few. The tours are predictably over priced. The captain certainly never leads people snorkeling, ( he could not swim ) as the promotional video suggests. The transport arrangement from the ship to your airport / hotel are a rip off. They wanted 150 us dollars to transport people from Civitavecchia to Rome airport. A distance of only 40 miles. I hired a car one way. The locals thought this price was ridiculous, and suggested it was because they were hoping to rip off a pile of rich americans. (some people - though not me- had saved up for months this trip ). There is a direct train from Civitavecchia to Rome airport. The tour director seemed put out when passengers discovered this, and implied you would have to walk to the station, as the taxis would refuse to take you. no surprises there. Considering how much people pay to go on this cruise, I would have expected them to lay on a minibus. They can hire one from AVIS or others for very little. Why spoil an excellent cruise with a crap attitude at the end. Other. We were reject for one cruise (silver seas) as my girlfriend was pregnant (28 weeks). From their web site, they appear not discriminate against pregnant women. So we didn't tell them and just got on, having told my girlfriend not to stand sidewise and to wear baggy clothes when boarding. No one complained. Its an ideal cruise for someone in this condition, however, you wouldn't do this in Africa, or if you had several days at sea continuously. Buying your ticket. Experienced cruisers will not buy a ticket 5 days before as I did. One cheaper source was internet auctions. Several american passengers bought their tickets this way. positive points. This cruise is like a long a lazy sunday afternoon, where nothing goes wrong or bugs you. The experience is similar to a large private yacht. I'd recommend it Read Less
Sail Date August 2003
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