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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on a LOT of cruises. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian. I have taken 7 cruises on Norwegian, the last 3 in the Haven Suites. After my last cruise on them I felt VERY nickle and dimed. When I found out ... Read More
I have been on a LOT of cruises. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Princess and Norwegian. I have taken 7 cruises on Norwegian, the last 3 in the Haven Suites. After my last cruise on them I felt VERY nickle and dimed. When I found out after paying over $20,000 for my families haven vacation that my pre paid gratuities (come on, you know they are not giving those dollars up to the staff!) did not even cover all of the gratuities, I was done. There was so much more to that but I digress. We finally decided to try a small, boutique ship and I did extensive research. We just got back from a San Juan to San Juan week long vacation on the Seadream 1 and I can honestly say it was the BEST most RELAXING vacation ever!!! 1. It has the BEST service of any place in the world. The people that work on the ship LOVE their jobs and they are simply wonderful. 2. The food is truly 5 plus star. I have dined all over the world and it is simply exceptional. 3. Drinks are included. 4. You can have basically whatever you want whenever you want it. 5. The open spaces on the ship are a nice bonus. The pool is nothing but views. There is no fighting for a deck chair, no lines of any kind, you don't wait for anything at all. There were only 70 guests total and it never felt crowded. 6. It is not for kids. Leave them at home. 7. The stops are exotic and you feel more like an explorer and less like a tourist. 8. You will be pampered. The Thai massage is well worth it! 9. There is no one trying to sell you anything anywhere! Tips are included, but I actually tipped a few people because it was just so wonderful. 10. The staff are treated well and it shows. I cannot rave more about the service! 11. The cabin and ship are old, but clean. It has character. If you are looking for fancy, this isn't it. We were always on the go so I did not even miss the balcony. 12. Sleeping on the front of the ship cannot be missed! It was WONDERFUL! 13. They go out of their way to make your trip great. There are little touches like monogrammed pajamas custom made for you~! You can also jet ski (also included), banana boat, kayak or paddleboat off the back of the ship. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Just returned from 1 week Caribbean cruise on Sea Dream II - first time with Sea Dream. Traveled with my husband and 86 year old mother. We all had a great time. Our prior cruise experience was on Regent Seven Seas. First cruise for ... Read More
Just returned from 1 week Caribbean cruise on Sea Dream II - first time with Sea Dream. Traveled with my husband and 86 year old mother. We all had a great time. Our prior cruise experience was on Regent Seven Seas. First cruise for Mom. Here is general info for folks considering a Sea Dream cruise: 1) Mix of ages, from two ladies in their 80's to even a few 30 year olds. Bulk of guests are 45 to 65, I'd guess. Primarily would call this a rest and relaxation cruise, vs an active cruise. Guessing that is why most people choose a Caribbean vacation. 2) Open bar attracts some folks that like to drink and party, but there was no negative impact on the rest of us. I'd say approximately 15 - 20% of guests on our sailing fit the partying stereotype, but they didn't impact our ability to go to bed at 10:30. We were on deck 2 and Mom was on Deck 4 and none of us heard any partying noise that kept us awake. Another guest indicated he had the room nearest the piano bar and could hear bar noise that did keep him awake, so if you like to retire prior to 3 am it is best to choose a room further down the hallway. Loved getting up at 7 and going up top to start the day. Super quiet/peaceful at that time. 3) Our room on deck 2 was one of the rooms that can be combined into a larger suite. We didn't hear any noise from our neighboring room. There was a some creaking of wood/furnishings when sailing, but it blended into engine/ocean noise. Don't know if creaking was more in a room that has the folding wall or not. I slept super well on the boat, better than I usually do at home! Being on deck 2, the noise of the waves against the boat lulled me to sleep. 4) Limited smoking areas provided on ship for smokers, but smoke was never an issue as it blows off the ship (and I'm very sensitive to second hand smoke). 5) Beds super comfy. Showers very nice. Though, overall bathroom is small, but small size is to be expected on a yacht/smaller cruise ship. 6) Water sports platform was probably the only disappointment of the entire trip. Only opened in the afternoons for 2 hours most days and allowed all types out at the same time. As a result, jet skis, sail boats, paddle boards, etc were all in the same area. Allowed area for water sports is very constrained/limited (2 safety motor boats keep everyone corralled), as a result actually very dangerous with jet skis zooming alongside paddle boards and sail boats. Plus not too much fun to paddle left for 15 strokes, then right for 15, then back the other way and repeat. Paddle board equipment, what we like to do, was very old/beat up, with only 2 paddles ... neither of which was adjustable - only correctly sized if 5'6" or 6' 2" tall. Adjustable paddles are a must. Would have been better to have water sports equipment taken to the beach each day vs using off the back of the boat. 7) Trip on Sea Dream compares very favorably to our prior cruise on Regent Seven Seas. Lack of balcony off our room wasn't an issue, as we truly spent all but sleeping/dressing time up on deck or on shore. The whole ship is your balcony when you are on a yacht trip. Service was excellent, with much more personalized nature vs Seven Seas. Everyone calls you by name from first day on. Food/dining was fabulous. Every dish is wonderfully presented - works of art. Serving size is smaller, which is great for allowing for multiple courses. They go out of their way to make guests happy, even to point of adding additional chocolate desserts after I commented how great the chocolate dessert was at dinner one night. Dream Cookies are wonderful. Always a cookie/beverage table set up at the tender dock, which is a very nice touch (never had that with Seven Seas). Only thing you miss out on vs larger cruise ship is the entertainment/enrichment activities, but our days/evenings were full so don't know when we would have had time for entertainment/enrichment activities. With Sea Dream yacht sized boats you gain on not going into a dock for each port, but anchor off of the actual beaches that you came to the Caribbean to visit. Made it great for my elderly mother to stay on the boat and enjoy the beautiful ports/scenery vs staring at a pier. 8) Loved the Balinese Day Beds for lounging. Raised up high enough to see over the railings, which affords a great view. All 3 of us would lounge together on the double wide. Signed up to sleep outside, but isn't really feasible unless you stay up late, as the bar creates a lot of noise close by. 9) Sea Dream shore excursions we did were great. Kayak/snorkel trip in St John - excellent equipment, closed deck double kayaks with rudders. Motor boat/snorkel trip in Anguilla to the most beautiful sandy island. Also, did the group tour to The Baths on Virgin Gorda, but that could have been easily done on our own via taxi. 10) Excursions we did on our own: We rented car at St Barts and drove the whole island, plus hiked Crispeen track on our own on Saba (hiked from tender pier all the way up ... very steep!). In retrospect, we would have hired more taxis from tender piers to take us to other beaches on the islands. Can be easily done for $20 or less, based on feedback from other guests. 11) Post 2017 Hurricane Irma and Maria still have visible impact on all islands we stopped at. Old Town San Juan and St Barts were the most repaired - perhaps only 5% of buildings still damaged. All other stops had 50 to 75% of buildings still damaged/unopened. Virgin Gorda was probably most impacted, which was very sad to see. Our guide told us that all 9 resorts on the island were still closed/undergoing repairs (re-opening ETA's in Feb 2019 at the earliest!), as a result the island population has declined by 50% due to loss of jobs/housing. You can feel good that your tourist dollars are helping in a small way. 12) Dining al fresco with Sea Dream was a huge plus. I didn't realize in advance how much we would like that aspect of Sea Dream's ships. Only 3 dinners served in the dining salon, but in the end I'd have preferred all dinners to be held on the upper deck, open dining area. On final night we had rough seas and I got a bit sea sick in the enclosed dining salon. I left dinner early and went outside. I noticed a small group of several tables where guests were dining outside. I didn't ask about it, but I'm guessing you can request to dine al fresco even if dinner is scheduled for the dining salon. I think that would have kept me from getting sea sick at dinner that night. No issue not having multiple restaurants on the ship, as always a variety of food offered on the menu. 13) Little gifts left in your room multiple times on the trip. The infamous pajamas, which are XXL for all men and XL for all women. Stitched monogramming with our names on the night shirts. Sizing seemed a joke til we got home and washed them. Hot water and drying made them fit quite well. They are now shrunk to size and we both find them a comfy, soft cotton reminder of our wonderful vacation. Other evening room surprises included chocolate covered strawberries, eye masks, ditty bags and Sea Dream mints. Small, but nice touches! 14) Itinerary was changed vs what we were provided prior to sailing. That was a bit of a disappointment initially, as I'd done research on the islands/ports we were to have visited. Captain indicated we should have been notified by email, but no one we talked to had been told of the change in advance. The new itinerary was great, so no complaints at the end. May have actually been better, as had full day at each location we stopped at vs 2 islands on several days for the prior itinerary. 15) Gym is very nice, with large windows. Pleasant place to get some exercise. 16) Embarkation and disembarkation a breeze. Off the ship and through immigration in 15 minutes of less! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, excursions and the outstanding service and cuisine, and the excellent reputation of its staff. The fare includes all food and beverage (alcoholic or non) and tips. The only additional expenses on ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary, excursions and the outstanding service and cuisine, and the excellent reputation of its staff. The fare includes all food and beverage (alcoholic or non) and tips. The only additional expenses on board are excursions, boutique merchandise, premium wines/spirit, or avail of their spa services (massage/beauty salon). The embarkation was excellent as there were no crowds with only 112 guests on board. No lines to speak of. When you board the ship, you are greeted by the captain and the staff and a glass of champagne, escorted to the lounge for some more drinks and refreshments, to sit and relax. Registration is by party, and a staff will escort you to the concierge area where you are handed your sea pass. No lines to stand in. After this is all done, a cabin stewardess will escort you to your room where your luggage would most probably be waiting for you by the door. She will then go through the room amenities and give you the day's schedule. You can unpack and then go have a tour of the ship or book your excursions or have a drink and hang out at the pool. This cruise is not for everyone - It seems to be designed for the active travelers - young or old. There are no kids clubs, photographers or staff constantly selling you things. Entertainment is minimal - a guitarist and pianist, a 1 table casino, library, an 18 hole golf simulator, and an extensive collection of DVD that you can watch in your cabin. The concierge would even make pop corn and bring it to your room. Excursions are beach, bike, hike, snorkel or scuba diving, or you can get off the ship and do your own excursion arrangements ashore. Usually there are 2 ports per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. As several ports do no have docks, you have to be tendered in using one or two of the lifeboats, or by zodiak if you are going straight to the beach. Dining is usually on the Deck 5 and 6 and is open air, except for a couple of nights when both open air and the formal dining room on deck 2 is open. Food is excellent with extensive vegan options. The chef will make adjustments according to your requests, or would prepare a specific dish that you request if you give them a days notice. Only a few dishes are prepared in advance as most are cooked to order. Meals consist of breakfast, lunch, afternoon cocktails and dinner. You can also order from the room service menu any time day or night. Special occassions like birthdays or anniversaries are noted ahead of time and you will probably get serenaded by the staff or a staff member, with a cake and card signed by the captain. They will decorate your room with balloons and another special note from your cabin stewardess. The staff is always on the constant lookout for anything to satisfy your requests, and most of the time would anticipate it without waiting for you to ask for it. They call each guest by name - it might take a day or so, but they go through the guest list with pictures. The attire is informal until 6:30 pm where they recommend you get into a casual getup (proper shoes and long pants for the gents, no shorts/bathing attire for the ladies) however several guests seem to prefer to dress up a little (Dress for the ladies, jackets for the gents) as this is the start of the cocktails leading into dinner but you wouldn't be out of place in a polo/golf or hawaiian shirt. The on board atmosphere is more like a family get together as the staff always keeps you engaged, not because it is their job but because they truly care. A large majority of the passengers are repeat cruisers and are quite proud to share their onboard experiences with you. Disembarkation was a little sad as you are leaving newly found friends, but a lot of them have already made plans for the next cruise, and if you have as well, chances are you might see the same faces - guests and staff - welcome you back on board. There was no rush to get off the ship except for those that have a flight to catch, and with only 112 guest, there was no line to speak of. Going through immigrations was smooth and the taxi line was waiting outside. We were off the ship and at the airport in 20 minutes. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
It’s time for my yearly review of SeaDream. I contemplated skipping the review this year since it feels like my reviews are repeating themselves: we had a fabulous time, the weather was perfect, the service was top-notch, blah, ... Read More
It’s time for my yearly review of SeaDream. I contemplated skipping the review this year since it feels like my reviews are repeating themselves: we had a fabulous time, the weather was perfect, the service was top-notch, blah, blah,blah. But since I look forward to reading anything “SeaDream” throughout the year, I decided to go ahead and share some highlights and new things we noticed this year at the risk of being redundant. OUR VOYAGE Seadream I, January 31 – February 7th, 2015. Planned Itinerary: Depart San Juan | Sandy Ground, Anguilla | Saba - Gustavia, St Barts (Overnight) | Soper’s Hole, Tortola | Norman Island | Virgin Gorda | Disembark St Thomas One of the unique things I love about SeaDream is it’s ability to change itineraries based on weather, etc. This came in handy on our cruise, as the weather on Sunday in Anguilla wasn’t the best. We ended up making St. Barts our first stop, visiting Anguilla later in the week. We also didn’t make it to Saba due to weather - we’ve been to Saba before and it’s not one of our favorite ports so this didn’t disappoint. PORTS ANGUILLA | we went to the beach at Shoal Bay, beautiful beach, but there is a lot of building going on since we visited 2 years ago, and I’m wondering how much the atmosphere is going to change in the future. ST. BARTS | we normally visit Governor’s Beach but decided to give Saline Beach a try for something new. It was a good choice, beautiful location and less crowded then Governor’s. There was a nice little restaurant within walking distance to the beach. NORMAN ISLAND | we took the tender to Pirate’s Bight and walked around a bit, before heading back to the ship to spend the day enjoying the pool. FELLOW PASSENGERS Our cruise had 70 passengers, with about half having sailed with SeaDream previously. This was a rather low key crowd – personable – with no real complainers and no life-of-the-party types. Top of the yacht bar emptied out by midnight, though the piano bar seemed more popular than previous trips. Most of the guests were in the late 40- 60s age range. There was one married couple with a 4 month old baby and 2 year old. We were a bit worried when we first saw the baby and toddler, but they were adorable and absolute angels and didn’t cause any problems. SERVICE The service is always a highlight of our cruises on SeaDream. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on it, but the service seemed to be at an all time high. Enes as Maitre ‘d is a gem. We’ve sailed with him before and have never had a meal go by where he hasn’t checked in on us - attentive and just a really nice guy! Waiters Robin, Doramus and Mikee were all up to the challenge of keeping our party of 7 fed and happy during the week. Bartender Manuel at the piano bar - so kind, plus he introduced me to the perfect Amaretto Sour. At this point in my life I thought I’d tried every cocktail there was, nice surprise to find an addition to add to my arsenal. Marco and Gabor at the TOYB were a hoot - stand up comedians or bartenders? I’m still not sure. Mark and Angelo at the pool were constantly making sure we were happy - moving umbrellas, serving cocktails and passarounds, misting us with cool water, cleaning our sunglasses - I was exhausted just watching them all day! CAPTAIN ERIKSEN This is our first sailing with Captain Erickson, what a great addition to the SeaDream team. He was very visible and informative, keeping us up-to-date on the weather, and letting and us know when there was a chance we were going to miss a port and what our options were. I liked his straight forward approach, on a few of our other trips we felt like we were given different stories about what was going on when ports were canceled. He also gave us a surprise visit to Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke Thursday night. It’s was great to get a taste of the Caribbean nightlife and also to see some of the crew given time off to enjoy themselves along with us. SPLASH Our splash this year was at Virgin Gorda. The location is new and it wasn’t my favorite setting for the splash. The beach is on a slant, so it’s hard to relax when sitting on a lounger. The water was a bit rough so the caviar was served on the beach not in the water. That being said, it was a wonderful way to spend our last day of the cruise. The weather was perfect, the water temperature sublime, and the food was excellent - noteworthy was the prime rib and the shrimp skewers that were cooked to perfection. Note: My overall splash rankings would be: 1st Soggy Dollar (ambiance), 2nd Nevis (facilities), 3rd Virgin Gorda. FOOD Food was excellent all week, some of our favorites: – pesto omelet – the “crispy” bacon – mussels for lunch – swordfish at lunch – fish and chips at lunch – white tomato cappucino (sublime!) – spicy tuna appetizer – chateaubriand – beef wellington – chocolate chipotle ice cream (sounds strange, but delicious) NIGHTLIFE We started most nights at the piano bar. George the piano player was great, though he could update his music library with some more current songs. When we weren’t belting out a song we would hop over to the black jack table. Valentina, the dealer, was wonderful. Most nights it was just our group playing and we are by no means blackjack afficienados. Valentina was very patient with us, helpful and always smiling. We would then head up to the Toy Bar where Gabor and Marco would fix us a delicious end-of-night cocktail and have us laughing. One couple from our group spent a night on the front bali bed one evening and loved it. They had perfect weather and lasted outside all night. MISCELLANEOUS – New decor in the salon is an improvement. – Love the bamboo plants in the bedroom, the previous plastic plant drove me crazy – Complimentary mini massages by the pool a few afternoons were wonderful – Liked the new Confluence dinner (in addition to the Degustation night) – Current movies were being shown in cabin (American Sniper was available on our sailing) – Heineken is now served on draft at the pool and TOYB. Icy cold and delicious – Wine at dinner seems improved over last year - though there is still room for more improvement :) – Foxy’s evening stop was great. LIFE-IS-GOOD MOMENT Our vacations on SeaDream have left us with so many wonderful memories, on each cruise there is that one moment where it hits you -- life doesn’t get much better than this! For this trip it occurred on Thursday as we sailed from Sopers Hole to Norman Island. Lunch was served al fresco while we were under sail. Everything about the lunch was perfect - the weather and gentle seabreeze, the fabulous service by Robin (which we had grown accustomed to all week), fish and chips cooked to perfection, cold wine and beer being poured continuously, laughter and conversation with my family, all while breathtaking views of the mountains of the British Virgin Islands sailed by. Truly a snapshot that will stay with me forever. Thank you SeaDream for creating such a unique vacation experience. To the Crew, thank you for being the perfect host year-to-year...treating us spectacularly, putting up with odd requests, and doing it all with such joy! It’s a week my siblings and I look forward to all year - we get to leave behind the hustle of the real world and spend some quality time catching up, reminiscing, laughing, eating and drinking all while enjoying the gorgeous scenery and weather of the Caribbean. We can’t wait to spend another week with you next year! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Yes it's been a while but when I was told of the stellar team assembled on SD 1, I had just had to come and it was truly worth it. I see from a few recent reviews that a few reviewers are complaining about silly niggles BUT seem to ... Read More
Yes it's been a while but when I was told of the stellar team assembled on SD 1, I had just had to come and it was truly worth it. I see from a few recent reviews that a few reviewers are complaining about silly niggles BUT seem to have wholly ignored SD's finest asset that leads this line so far out in front than any other: the amazing CREW ! The fine men and women (and I include all of them) are simply the best (good name for a song). The cuisine was incredible and Michelin standard. One recent reviewer complained about pre-dinner drinks and eating outside ! Coming from Northern Europe where I did'nt even bother putting cushions on my outdoor furniture last summer because it was so cold and wet ! I was delighted to eat outside morning, noon and night with fantastic views over Caribbean islands with lovely breezes and feeling the WARMTH ! What other line provides this facility ? None. The crew are a happy lot too and this atmosphere is vital BUT seems lost on Mr.Niggle. We visited a number of ports but partly due to an injury and partly because I loved the experience on SD; I never got off ! Now some may say "you've come all this way and did'nt see the islands ?". Shocking is'nt it BUT time on board with my fellow lovely passengers away, it was just so peaceful. There were a few children on board but they were well behaved and kept away by an amazing Activities Manager and capable assistant. So now you must be asking "there must have been something wrong". Well there was; a waiter due to be on board (whom we adore) had to return home BUT he was replaced by SD1's Employee of the Year ! So even that worked out but we still missed G. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
My Wife and I just completed our fourth pre-Christmas Sea Dream 2 cruise from December2-9 2012. As always, it was wonderful to return to Sea Dream and reconnect with our friends on the crew. While we usually sail out of St. Thomas, this ... Read More
My Wife and I just completed our fourth pre-Christmas Sea Dream 2 cruise from December2-9 2012. As always, it was wonderful to return to Sea Dream and reconnect with our friends on the crew. While we usually sail out of St. Thomas, this cruise originated from San Juan. Susie and I got to the pier two hours before embarkation, gave the check-in people our bags and went out to find some a good Latin lunch. Upon returning from lunch, we took seats in the terminal and watched the passengers arrive. To our surprise, the ship wound up having 88 passengers, 50 of whom were gay males. We live in New York City and have cruised with gay friends. I should have been cooler about it. Truth is that it bothered me at first. I'm not proud of this, but I'll be honest. It occurred to me that Sea Dream should have let passengers know this was the case, simply out of courtesy. But my initial reaction did not last long. The gay guys were really a lot of fun and much more interesting than most of their hetero counterparts on the ship. We all agreed that this cruise had been one of the best we've taken on Sea Dream. I learned something, too. We made a lot of new friends who happened to be gay, and I would travel with them again in a heartbeat. They were interesting, unfailingly polite and often very funny. We had a good time. I could see from attitude and expression that not all the hetero couples were quite as thrilled, but c'est la vie. If you don't give people a chance, you'll never know whether you like them or not. We had the pleasure of dining with Captain Torbjorn Lund one evening. We have cruised over 100 times and had many invitations to join the Captain for Dinner, and we usually decline. We want to be our usual asinine selves and not make polite small talk. But having had a chance to get to know Captain Lund on previous sailings, we all decided to join him. We had a great Dinner, a lot of laughs and will be doing it again. Captain Lund is a very nice guy, funny and easy to talk to. Thanks to Zoltan, Shawn, Werner, Louie, Arla, Om, Abby, Jasper, June, Jessy, Elena, Chela and too many other people to name for making another memorable voyage possible. Thanks to George for his fine performances in the Piano Bar and the fun we had singing. We're sorry to have missed Ae, Rey and Sonja who were on vacation. Next year, we will have to make new plans for our pre-Christmas cruise. Sea Dream 2 will be sailing in Asia. I know this will be exciting for many of the Asian crew members, as they will be closer to home. But we have seen Asia and at our age, we will not be doing any 20 hour flights. So we will miss you all next December. Sea Dream 1 will be doing a Costa Rica itinerary, but we've seen that part of the world numerous times. We love the BVI at that time of year. But I want to tell all the Sea Dream 2 crew that Sue and I will be thinking of you next Christmas and hoping we will get to sail together again in the future. You are a very special bunch of people and we will miss you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
We recently cruised on SeaDream II for a birthday cruise. THis weas our first experience with SeaDream, though we have cruised extensively. Friends had raved on the experience and we wanted to see for ourselves. Everything from ... Read More
We recently cruised on SeaDream II for a birthday cruise. THis weas our first experience with SeaDream, though we have cruised extensively. Friends had raved on the experience and we wanted to see for ourselves. Everything from Embarkation to Disembarkation was incredible. Starting with massages on the deck while you wait to complete your paperwork. We stayed in the Admiral suite and it was exceptional. Plenty of room. While it is right off of the bar/casino area there was no issue with noise. This line definitely introduces you to the experience of yachting versus cruising. we have done both. The SeaDream experience allows you to be as private, or as social as you wish. We met some incredible friends that we know we will see again. It was also amazing how many guests were on their 3,4, 5 or even more cruise with SeaDream. This is a testament to the product. The staff is as gifted at service as you can expect. They are attentive to your every need and the longer you cruise the more they know exactly what you expect - and they deliver. Everyone from the wait staff to the bar staff to officers were friendly and approachable. We ended up partying with them at St Barts and had a great time. Bottom line - book it. This one is not to be missed. Do leave the kids at home though. This one is for the adults! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was our 2nd cruise with Seadream, and I can only hope it is not our last. We last sailed with her 2 years ago, and if anything, the experience is even better. Embarkation was a breeze, but be warned that when they say you cannot ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Seadream, and I can only hope it is not our last. We last sailed with her 2 years ago, and if anything, the experience is even better. Embarkation was a breeze, but be warned that when they say you cannot embark before a certain time (in our case 2PM), they mean it. Just a short wait in the main lounge, complete with champagne and nibbles, and it was time to register (took perhaps 30 seconds!). Then it was on to our cabin, unpack, lifeboat drill and at 6PM we were off. I won't bore you with island-by-island descriptions as others reviewers have done a better job than I can. However, over the last 30 years we have seen changes in the Caribbean that make the ship it's own destination. Also, the snorkeling is really quite poor due to coral bleaching. On our trip, several excursions had to be cancelled due to lack of participation. I think that this is because Seadream has such a large repeat percentage that many people have "been there, done that." The food was just as good, if not better, than ever. On the days we were in St Barts we knew we would miss the weekly shipment of mussels from France, but Christophe managed to get them for us! When we asked how many there would be, he said "only a few" and that we should consider them an appetizer. When we received them we all cancelled our main courses! I later found out he bought 7 kilos for 6 people -- you do the math! The age group on our cruise ran from mid-thirties up to 80's, and the nationalities were mainly American with some Scandinavians, Brits and Germans. On this cruise the champagne splash was held in an isolated part of Nevis, which we preferred to Prickly Pear as this place had a shallow swimming pool and covered dining. The great appeal of Seadream is its exemplary service, terrific food, and fab ambiance. The crew is beyond terrific and that to me, is what makes a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I just returned from 8 days of pure pampering and the finest service and food that I have experienced on any cruise, even prior Seadream voyages. This was my third time on the line. I have cruised on all the major high end lines ... Read More
I just returned from 8 days of pure pampering and the finest service and food that I have experienced on any cruise, even prior Seadream voyages. This was my third time on the line. I have cruised on all the major high end lines (Regents, Seabourn, Crystal). I have nothing negative to say about any of them. They all have their strengths, but I am convinced that no other line can deliver the same level of service as Seadream as they hold a maximum of about a 100 passengers. My impression since my last sailing with them in the Caribbean in 2011 was that they have raised the bar even further. My prior sailing was in 2008 in the Med. Fine food and personel service are two very important elements for me. Yes, I have had excellent meals on other lines, but Seadream did not miss a note the entire voyage. I actually took photos of many of the dinner meals. I am a foodie and a tough critic. I could find zero fault. As they had in the past, they really made us feel like the yacht was ours. There are never any lines. They will modify the itinerary if the weather is bad so that guests have a comfortable ride. They are happy to take a tender with only one person in it if you want to go ashore or come back to the ship. There is no waiting. And yes it is true that by the second day staff seems to know all the passenger's names and favorite drinks or breakfast items. Many passengers on the cruise took advantage of the water sports (sailing, waverunners, watersking, paddleboards). I can not describe the fun of jumping off the back of the ship to swim in blue water. The back of the ship folds down the create a swim platform. We stopped at wonderful islands with that varied from barely habitated to very chic (St. Barts). The ship tends to overnight in St. Barts to allow passengers the ability to stay on the island as long as they wish. The second day that we were in that port, the sister ship Seadream II arrived and anchored next to us. It was an impressive site to see the blue yachts just outside the harbor. The final day, Seadream puts on a Caviar Splash on a beach. This time it was on Jost Van Dyke. They also do the same on Virgin Gorda. The head chef and hotel manager serve guests champagne and caviar from a surfboard in the surf. Great photo opportunity. There is a strong tendency to make new friends on the ship. Based on the small size, one gets more opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow passengers than other cruise lines. By the end of the week it really feels like your family onboard. If I sound like I was extremely pleased with my voyage, it would be an understatement. Seadream exceeded all my expectations. Well done!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
It's been two weeks since we disembarked SeaDeam Yacht Club's SeaDream II in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and my mind keeps drifting to an old Celebrity Cruises commercial. It showed an executive in his office, fussing with his ... Read More
It's been two weeks since we disembarked SeaDeam Yacht Club's SeaDream II in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and my mind keeps drifting to an old Celebrity Cruises commercial. It showed an executive in his office, fussing with his Venetian blinds and daydreaming about his most recent voyage. He's feeling out of sorts without the constant pampering of the crew and he laments of his current situation at work: "I consider this a temporary exile." We can all commiserate with that sentiment after stepping off a luxury cruise ship and the pain certainly cuts so much deeper when you're saying goodbye to a vessel in the ilk of SeaDream II. In this review, I'll step you through the SeaDream experience and will rate each element of the cruise. However, before getting into specifics I think it's important for you to know a bit about me, what I like about cruising, and my other vacation preferences. Otherwise, my statements will be without a baseline from which to judge them. My husband and I are in our early forties and we cruise three to four times a year. We generally travel with luxury lines because we prefer smaller ships, larger staterooms with balconies, all-inclusive cruise fares, excellent food and wine, more foreign passengers in the mix, fewer families with young children, and unusual shore excursions and onboard experiences. We look for excellent but sincere service that isn't overwrought and we appreciate a relaxed approach to luxury. I love the outdoors and animal life but I'm a bit of a princess. My idea of "roughing it" is staying at a hotel that doesn't offer 24-hour room service with chocolate cake on its menu. Ritz-Carlton is our preferred hotel chain. We tend to find something to love about most cruise lines, but we're particular fond of American Safari Cruises, Yachts of Seabourn, SeaDream, and Windstar. Now, on to my review of SeaDream II... We stayed at the Hilton San Juan on HHonors points for one night before the cruise. It's a nice, large convention-style hotel but the service was not stellar. The best place to stay before a SeaDream cruise is the Sheraton Old San Juan since that hotel is so close to the embarkation pier. (It's literally right across the street from the pier.) We would have stayed there but it was booked solid. Make hotel your reservations early! Our Eastern Caribbean Itinerary: San Juan, Puerto Rico Culebrita, Puerto Rico Esperanza, Vieques, Puerto Rico Cruz Bay, St. John, United States Virgin Islands Marigot, St. Martin, French West Indies Saba, Netherlands, Antilles Gustavia, St. Barthelemy, French West Indies Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands (we ended up calling on Peter Island instead due to sea conditions) Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands Embarkation We boarded SeaDream II and were welcomed by the crew with champagne and cold towels. Cabins weren't yet ready so we were invited to wait in the Main Salon, where the drinks flowed and sandwiches were served. It took about 45 minutes before we got our photos taken for our ID cards. When we arrived in our stateroom, our luggage had already been delivered. The Yacht SeaDream II began life as Sea Goddess II in 1985. She sailed under Sea Goddess Cruises until 1998 when she was transferred to the Seabourn fleet. In 2001, Norwegian Atle Brynstead founded SeaDream Yacht Club and he purchased both Sea Goddess II and sister ship Sea Goddess I in order to rebrand them under the SeaDream moniker. Due to her age, SeaDream II doesn't have the sleek lines of some of the newest megayachts. Still, you wouldn't necessarily know the ship is 25 years old either. She's been updated consistently over the years and upkeep—both inside and out—is impeccable. The common areas are elegantly decorated in understated tones of beige, blue, white, gold, and natural woods. You'll spend most of your time exploring these aspects of the yacht: Sunbathing on Balinese Dream Beds & Sun Beds Balinese beds are unique to SeaDream and we fell in love with them. The Balinese Dream Beds—eight queen-size and two twins—are set on risers in the aft section of the yacht. You'll have unobstructed views from your bed. Umbrellas are available for those of us who require additional shade. The Sun Beds are located far forward and are surrounded by a half moon of chaise lounges. We preferred the Balinese Beds and, with two side tables, they were the perfect place to enjoy drinks and snacks in the afternoon. If you've sailed with SeaDream, you already know that you can even sleep under the stars on the Balinese Dream Beds and Sun Beds. Upon embarkation, seek out the Concierge and make a reservation. The forward Sun Bed (location #19 on the deck plan) offers the most privacy. We did this on the second night of our cruise and it was definitely memorable! SeaDream stewardesses make up the beds with duvets and throw pillows and the area is roped off to ensure your privacy. This was a highlight of the trip and I urge you to do this the next time you cruise with SeaDream. We live in the New York City area and we rarely get to see the stars shine brightly. Out in the Caribbean, the stars were brilliant and we stargazed for at least two hours before drifting off to sleep. Top of the Yacht Bar Top of the Yacht Bar, at midship, separates the Balinese Dream Beds and Sun Beds on the top deck. This is the place where early risers gather for coffee, tea, and pastries and it's a terrific place to cool off during the afternoon. After-dinner drinks are served here as well. Top of the Yacht is special because it gives you an excellent vantage point of your port of call and the bartenders are spectacular. During our voyage, we spent time here talking with chief bartender Zoltan, as well as Chad, Mario, and Brian. Golf Simulator Also on Deck 6, the Golf Simulator is in a room forward of the Top of the Yacht Bar (near the Sun Beds). It was out of service during our voyage so I unfortunately can't comment on it. Staterooms Since SeaDream II is a small ship, you won't have too many choices when it comes to your cabin. Staterooms are on Decks 2, 3, and 4. If you are worried about seasickness, book a midship cabin on Deck 2. However, realize that if the seas are rough, you will hear waves crashing on the side of the yacht and may see spray through your portholes. We don't have problems with motion—we sort of like it when it's rocking and rolling!—so we enjoyed our Yacht Club Stateroom on Deck 4, room 404. Yes, you can hear the Piano Bar from the room at night but if you want to go to sleep, simply pull the heavy curtain between the bed and the sitting area. That blocks out all noise from the hallway. Yacht Club Staterooms, there are 54 of them, are 195 square feet. The closet and bathroom flank the entryway. While the marble bathroom is beautiful, it is a bit small. There's no tub but the shower has a high-end multi-jet showerhead. The bathroom is stocked with Bvlgari bath supplies. The sitting room has a sofa and coffee table and faces the entertainment center with a flat-screen TV and DVD/CD player. Suitcases can be stashed under the bed. If Yacht Club Staterooms are too small for you, book a Commodore Suite (390 square feet). There are eight of these and they are actually two Yacht Club cabins combined. You may choose to have two beds or one bed plus a dining table and four chairs. The obvious perk is having two full bathrooms and closets. That definitely solves the space problem. Finally, there are two specialty suites on SeaDream II: the Admiral Suite (suite 400) and the Owner's Suite (suite 315). The Admiral Suite is 375 square feet and includes three panoramic windows, separate bedroom and living area, a dining area, and one and a half baths. (The full bath is complete with a tub). The Owner's Suite, at 447 square feet, is the largest cabin onboard and features a bathroom with soaking tub, a dining area that seats four, a living area, and separate bedroom with queen bedding. There's a mini fridge in all staterooms and your stewardess will keep it stocked with your favorite beverages (beer, soda, water, etc.). You'll also find 100% Turkish cotton waffle-weave bathrobes and comfortable slippers for your use while onboard. There's a makeup mirror in the room, although the light in ours was broken. Finally, there's a dataport (Ethernet jack) so you can access the Internet via your own laptop or one you borrow from Concierge. While wifi is not available on board, you can hook up via the dataport and then broadcast your signal so your iPhone, for example, can get a wireless connection to the Internet. Internet access costs $35 per 24-hour period. Dining I'll say right now that I think the food aboard SeaDream II is the best I've had on any cruise ship anywhere in the world. Chef de Cuisine Josselin Jeanblanc and his team of 15 work miracles in the kitchen and the provisions used are the freshest I've seen at sea. (My other favorite cruise ship dining experiences include Seabourn Odyssey and Celebrity Equinox.) If you'd like to see some photos of the food served aboard SeaDream II, visit http://luxurycruisebible.blogspot.com/2010/01/fine-dining-aboard-seadream-ii.html View a week's worth of SeaDream II dinner menus here: http://www.luxurycruisebible.com/articles/menu-seadream-ii-caribbean-2010 Service The yacht's crew seems more like a family than a group of coworkers. Stewardesses and Marina staff mostly hail from the Philippines while the waiters are from Croatia and other Eastern European countries. There is one American staff member and the captain and several engineers were born in Norway. Every single SeaDream employee seemed genuinely happy in their occupation and made guests immediately feel at home. We were always called by name and every request was handled with the acumen you'd expect from a luxury property. (Laundry was done within hours, for example.) The crew seems to magically appear whenever you need something but remains out of sight when you just want to relax on deck. It's a difficult balancing act and SeaDream II's crew pulls it off perfectly every time. Entertainment Remember that SeaDream II is a very intimate ship and that means entertainment options don't resemble what you'll find onboard today's hulking cruise ships... and that's more than okay by me! Retractable Aft Marina & Pool Deck One of SeaDream's most interesting features is its retractable aft Marina, which is deployed several times per cruise (when sea conditions are favorable). From the Marina platform you can take a swim or go snorkeling, or you can borrow a personal watercraft—kayaks, jet skis, Sunfish—and take it for a spin. The Zodiac will also be available for water skiing, tubing, and thrilling banana boat rides. The Marina is directly below the Pool Deck so if you don't join your traveling companions on the jet skis, you can watch them from Deck 3 as you sip a margarita and take a dip in the pool or a soak in the whirlpool. Library, Piano Bar, and Casino After dinner you'll probably spend plenty of time in this trio of rooms on Deck 4: the library, piano bar, and casino. If you didn't bring your laptop (and didn't borrow one from the Concierge), you can check your e-mail at one of two computers in the library (located aft). You can also borrow books and magazines; there's actually an excellent selection of both novels and nonfiction. The library is a rich-looking room with cherry wood tones and comfortable furniture. Directly outside the library is the Piano Bar. In the evenings, Chief Bartender Zoltan opens the bar while musician George presides over a sing-along. There are a few bar stools but many guests simply gather around the piano to join in the fun. Across from the Piano Bar is the Casino. Well, in truth it's just one gaming table manned by Casino Manager Mariya. Despite the tiny room, passengers turned up each night to try their hand at Blackjack. Spa & Fitness SeaDream Spa on Deck 4 is an oasis at sea and is run by a cadre of wonderful Thai women. They offer a variety of spa treatments, including body therapy (a 30-minute papaya body mask for $70), massage therapy (a 50-minute traditional Thai massage for $115), and facial therapy (a 50-minute aromaplasty session for $95). You can also make an appointment for salon services like a manicure and pedicure (standard or French), or a shampoo and blow dry ($35-$45). The spa staff also assists at the Fitness Center, which is open from 8am-8pm. You'll find treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes and free weights. Free group exercise classes in yoga and tai chi are scheduled throughout the cruise. Shore Excursions I was pleasantly surprised to find that SeaDream offers a solid list of shore excursions at most ports. Be warned, however, that some Yachting Land Adventures, as they are called by the line, are cancelled if a minimum number of participants isn't reached. During our voyage, some guests were shut out of a zip-line adventure for this reason. One of the excursions we joined in Esperanza on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico was perhaps the coolest we've ever participated in: the Bioluminescent Bay Encounter. Known locally as "Bio Bay," this spot combines the perfect conditions to create a community of dino-flagellates. These are microscopic organisms—part plant and part animal—that live here off the nutrients in the bay. What makes them unique is how they react to motion: they glow neon blue. So, while you can't see the organisms with the naked eye, you can see the light they produce when they come in contact with you, a fish, a boat, etc. The effect is other-worldly! You'll be wowed the moment you hit the water! Just move your arms and legs and a strange blue light will "glow" from your body! Lift your arms out of the water and you'll see individual "stars" or "diamonds" emit sparks of light. It is so hard to explain just how unusual and beautiful this experience is. Photographing the effect is very difficult since you're in complete blackness and if you use a flash, you'll flatten the "glow." This is something you'll have to do yourself and then you'll also be telling people, "You must visit Vieques and Bio Bay!" This tour was definitely worth much more than the $58 per person we paid. Enrichment Unlike some cruise ships, there are no daytime lectures or guest speakers. Instead, the yacht's Club and Activities Director conveys port information each evening in the Main Salon during cocktail hour. Dress Code We love SeaDream because the dress code is so easy! There are no formal nights but if you want to dress up in the evening, go for it. Many couples dressed for dinner in the Dining Salon while others simply wore sundresses and trousers with button-down shirts. The relaxed dress code certainly made packing easier! Fellow Passengers On our voyage, we met Europeans, Canadians, and fellow Americans. While SeaDream II can accommodate up to 112 guests, there were 85 people on our sailing (each Commodore Suite was booked, thus depleting the number of available Yacht Club staterooms and lowering the total capacity of the ship during this particular sailing). Family & Children I would not recommend SeaDream for families with young children. Even teenagers may be bored during the evenings (though they'd love the Marina during the day). Cruise Fare & Gratuity SeaDream Yacht Club offers an all-inclusive experience and the cruise fare includes alcoholic beverages and gratuities. Of course, some guests still prefer to tip or, as we did, donate to the crew welfare fund. If you dissect SeaDream's sailing schedule, you'll find some excellent values. Certain Caribbean sailings and transatlantic repositioning voyages have been consistently priced in a way that makes them a bargain among luxury cruise line offerings. However, even the highest rack rate fares are reasonable considering the intimate size of the yacht, the high level of service, and excellent food and wine onboard. We will definitely sail with SeaDream Yacht Club again in the very near future. —Originally published at http://www.luxurycruisebible.com ©2010 Andrea M. Rotondo Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
It was with a lot of trepidation that we booked an Xmas cruise on SeaDream this year. We are not cruise people, we like sophisticated, unpredictable travel. We don't like things to be safe, and canned and sanitized. We decided to give ... Read More
It was with a lot of trepidation that we booked an Xmas cruise on SeaDream this year. We are not cruise people, we like sophisticated, unpredictable travel. We don't like things to be safe, and canned and sanitized. We decided to give it a go because we spend the holidays with my mother every year and this year she had foot surgery that made more active trips unpractical. It was a strictly on-off event that we were going to take with a grain of salt. Boy, did we get a surprise. It turned out to be the most perfect and relaxing family holiday we have ever taken. So much so that we rebooked before getting off the ship something we have never done in any of our other travels. We cruised the Caribbean (and some fairly uninteresting islands they turned out to be, if you compare these destinations to some of the places we have been in South America, Asia and Africa, but the mix of the other guests, the out-of-the-world staff (sweet, efficient, genuine), the understated 'rightness' of the ship's appointments, the very very good food and drinks all contrived to make the trip unforgettable and completely addictive. We have been in touch with the other passengers we clicked with and they too are similarly bereft at being back in their real life. We all want to dream on. This is really the only way I could ever imagine going on a cruise even though other lines have clearly more interesting routes and more route variety. Next trip for us will be the Med from Dubrovnik to Istanbul. You always read people gushing about their trips and one can't help being skeptical but this is one time when I feel my superlatives really don't do the experience justice. Go! Find out for yourself!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
We knew we were going to have a great week when it took all of 5 minutes or less from getting out of the taxi to walking up the gangway and being handed a cold wet cloth to cool you and a glass of champagne to welcome you. The crew was the ... Read More
We knew we were going to have a great week when it took all of 5 minutes or less from getting out of the taxi to walking up the gangway and being handed a cold wet cloth to cool you and a glass of champagne to welcome you. The crew was the best we've ever experienced including any 5 star hotel on earth. Their one goal in mind is to see that your every need is met and you are having a fantastic time. We went for our 30th anniversary and they created a romantic dining table at the front of the ship on deck with beautiful flowers and a surprise cake at the end. Our stateroom was decorated with roses and rose petals and a bottle of champaign and chocolate covered strawberries upon retiring for the evening. The ship is so wonderful it's hard to think about ports and excursions. You almost don't want to leave. There are no cheesy shows, just doing what you what to do, when you want to. And the food was the best ever. First class chefs. This all inclusive smaller ship is just what is needed for anyone wanting to re-ignite, re-charge and relax. It's not over the top formal, but relaxed, like a group of friends taking off together to have fun and relax. We will probably never cruise another cruise line again. These guys have perfected cruising in every sense of the word. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2008
Having grown up in a family having our own yacht and full-time crew for eight years, I am especially qualified to say that SeaDream is more akin to yachting than cruising. This was our second time aboard SeaDream (and my wife and I had ... Read More
Having grown up in a family having our own yacht and full-time crew for eight years, I am especially qualified to say that SeaDream is more akin to yachting than cruising. This was our second time aboard SeaDream (and my wife and I had cruised aboard Seabourn three times prior to that). We believe SeaDream is measurably better (particularly after Seabourn was sold to a large, multi-brand company - Carnival Cruise Line). My wife and I only stay at the finest of resorts when we travel on vacation. NONE have put together a team that executes like SeaDream does. I mean none. And seldom does the guest experience that from each and EVERY staff member and department that guests come in contact with. Usually, a guest senses some departments delivering better attitude and/or better execution than others. I was astounded to see "over the top" attitude and service from each and every crew member, regardless of which department head was responsible for their training. It is one thing to respond to a guest's request, but it is quite another to anticipate, and offer extra service, without having been asked. Equally telling, is that I recognized crew members from over five years ago - which longevity is uncommon (with some exceptions) in the crew industry. For example, when our flight connection to San Juan experienced mechanical problems and we caught another flight getting us there 2 hours prior to the flight that our luggage was on, we reported the baggage situation to the airline in the usual fashion and then went right to the ship (we got out of the airport sooner than if we had to wait at baggage claim for our luggage). When we told the receptionist at SeaDream about our baggage being on a flight arriving later, she told us to go enjoy ourselves, and that she would arrange for one of the crew to go back to the airport and retrieve our bags. So, instead of my wife and I sitting for two hours or so in a Caribbean airport waiting for our bags - on our first day of vacation - we were able to enjoy our first day aboard just as we planned, and the bags appeared a couple hours later in our stateroom when we returned from cocktails and dinner. When I requested ahead of our trip that our refrigerator in our stateroom be stocked with particular brands, it was. Each day, it was re-stocked that way, too. Even our ice bucket in the stateroom was replenished with fresh ice, twice a day, without ever having to ask. The crew really endeavors to learn your individual preferences, and then delivers them at your next lunch or dinner without you having to remind them or re-ask. This is how yachting is supposed to be. A truly customized experience. SeaDream can deliver this because there is a maximum of 55 couples aboard. What also brings it closer to a private yacht vacation, rather than a cruise ship, is the fact that nothing aboard is rigid. Cruise ships, generally speaking, go to a port in the morning and leave around 5 or 6 pm. SeaDream will pull up anchor after lunch sometimes and cruise in the middle of the day for a couple hours while you relax and enjoy the changing scenery in motion. As well, SeaDream almost always anchors, rather than pulls in to a dock. The most beautiful scenery is captured from an anchorage looking back onto the sights ashore - not from a dock (usually in the industrial section of the port) looking out at the plain ocean. At really popular ports of call, SeaDream will not leave until well after midnight so that, if you wish, you may enjoy dinner and an evening ashore. One evening, the ship wan not leaving until after midnight, but the last tender bringing you ship to shore and back was scheduled to have everyone back aboard before dinner (largely because that particular island, Nevis, had only a Four Seasons Resort on it, but not much else to do). When my wife and I remarked that we had planned to have dinner at the Four Seasons that evening, the onboard concierge - before we could say a word - immediately asked that we allow her to ask the captain if they could keep the tender running for us so we could enjoy dinner that evening at the Four Seasons. SeaDream, because it caters to only 55 couples maximum, can be flexible like that. And they go out of their way to deliver that individual attention without you ever feeling like you may be imposing on them. On evenings when dinner is served in the dining room, as opposed to outside under the stars, they always still set up a few tables for those guests who, like my wife and I, want to dine under the stars every evening. Unlike larger cruise ships, SeaDream is not big on educational lectures, or live performances after dinner etc. Rather, they are focused on pleasing the discerning vacationer looking to get away, relax and have fun as opposed to looking forward to exploring the ports and getting the educational enrichment that is found on larger cruise ships catering to the adventure-minded traveler. Indeed, SeaDream only cruises the Caribbean in the winter and the Mediterranean in the summer; it does not try to compete with cruise lines that cover the globe. At the same time, however, SeaDream enjoys the distinct advantage of being able to anchor in more fashionable, smaller ports which the larger cruise ships cannot gain access to. Again, because of its small number of guests, you never wait in line for anything. Going ashore is fast, and comfortable. The shore excursions cater to the well-heeled traveler, meaning they are done with class - and you never feel like you are being "herded" like cattle or part of a tourist trap. As you might expect, the age group tends to be more middle-age active adults, rather than seniors. The live entertainment at night consists of a guitar player and a piano player at the outdoor and indoor bars, respectively (although the music and guests get more festive as the evening wears on and the mild crowd retires to their staterooms for cookies and a movie). My wife and I enjoyed both types of evenings, equally, and were happy to have the variety available. The guests were elegant and sophisticated, but knew how to have fun, too. It is not the intent of this review to repeat the "niceties" that the SeaDream brochure or website already points out. They are wonderful, and don't overstate the truth. In comparing this type of vacation to a shore side resort, the only drawback would be that the staterooms are, obviously, not as large as at a fine hotel. That's the nature of a small, exclusive ship. At the same time, though, because of that exclusive atmosphere, we spent very little time in our stateroom. There were always multiple places where we could enjoy just being by ourselves. The whole ship feels like your stateroom when there are so few guests. The other guests are there when you want to enjoy them, and you can pick several different places to go when you wish to be alone. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
April 16-23, 2006 -- Overall this cruise and cruise line far exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were set high! SeaDream I is one of two small ships/large yachts in the luxury class of cruise lines. At 55 cabins with a staff ... Read More
April 16-23, 2006 -- Overall this cruise and cruise line far exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were set high! SeaDream I is one of two small ships/large yachts in the luxury class of cruise lines. At 55 cabins with a staff to guest ratio of almost one to one, this is a luxury yachting experience. This is an all-inclusive line where almost everything is included in the price of the voyage making it well priced when you compare it to the price of a voyage combined with the on-board extras on other lines. Embarkation: Having been on very large ships and on the Windsurf (306 passengers) I was excited to board SeaDream I (SDI) in San Juan. We dropped off our bags at 1 pm without any hassles and then returned about 2:15 to a very small line and a personalized greeting. We obtained our room keys (in a beautiful leather bi-fold pouch) then had our carry-on bags carried onboard for us by smiling crew members. We were met on board our beautiful ship with tall flutes of good champagne and led to our cabin (ours was 415 next to the spa). Within 2 minutes our other luggage arrived. How great is that! And in our room was a chilled bottle of Perrier Jouet champagne! Muster: What a pleasure that was. Easy and quick (and each person was accounted for by the crew) Cabin: There are only 55 cabins (110 passenger capacity).The cabins are all almost identical at 195 sq Feet. Small but with ample storage (actually more storage than I had in a mini-suite on a new large ship recently). Flat screen TV, CD player, DVD player, sofa, chair (we had it taken it out as we didnt need it  no problem). Bathroom is tiny but well equipped and the shower with three heads was very nice. Bulgari toiletries and nice towels and robes (already in the cabin). Beds are very small and narrow (as women we didnt mind but Im not sure how a couple shares the two tiny twins together nor a large man fit in one). But the all in one duvet comforter was great. No top sheet needed. We did have air conditioning problems in our cabin that they tried to fix three times and each time it would only work for a short time so we did suffer a bit. We hope it has been subsequently fixed. Cabin Steward: Ours was Tesse assisted by Maureen and they were efficient and always smiling and from day one greeted us by our names. She gladly stored the suitcase that was too small for under the mini-bed and it magically reappeared the last morning and restocked our mini-fridge with the diet soda and light beer we wanted. Gym and Spa: As you would expect on a small ship, they were small (on deck 4 next to our cabin) but adequate. In the gym there were 4 treadmills, 1 elliptical, two bikes and weight. Multiple TVs, stereo and a stocked refrigerator with free bottles of water. The spa is staffed by a fantastic group of women from Thailand. I had heard wonderful things about the Thai Massage so I indulged myself (for the sake of research of course). Given spa pajamas to wear you go up to deck 5 and have the massage outside on a curtained off area of the deck. It was amazing and well wroth the $110 charge. My therapist was Bub and she was terrific. I spoke to others who had regular massages in the small spa and they also reported very talents therapists. There was also a Thai Massage tent on the beach in Jost Van Dyke where guests could have massages outdoors. Wonderful! Golf Simulator: There is a nice golf simulator on deck 5 which we did try for one hole  there was so much to do that we never got back there. It also is included at no extra charge. Balinese Sun Beds: One of my favorite places on the yacht were on the Balinese Sun Beds on the aft portion of deck 5. There were 4 doubles and one single on each side of the boat with cushions, high up enough to see out over the rail. Umbrella (and drinks) available there. They were a wonderful spot for sunbathing, reading, relaxing and watching the sunset (or even rise!). They can be made with the duvets to sleep at night and we did enjoy that several nights. Not for everyone since it can be too light and noisy to sleep but it can be good for at least several hours. To demonstrate the level of personalized service  one night I did sleep through and awoke at 5:30 am to the sounds of Sherwin setting up the coffee cups at the Top of the Yacht Bar  I asked from my bed if there was coffee yet and he said no but he would go get me a cappuccino. What a luxury to have it there and watch the sun rise! There were also two bar height chairs in the corners of the aft deck ideal for putting your feet up and watching the world go by. Sea Dream added a nice touch with binoculars in the drawer for better viewing. Pool: There is one small but nice saltwater pool on deck three aft with a hot tub. There are always ample chairs there and plenty of towels folded up on the available chairs and in a bin. There are often cushions set out on the ledge surrounding it for chatting. This was a nice place to meet people and relax (and the pool bar was right there). Water was always the perfect temperature. Crew: I should save them for last but just have to say sooner than later how great they were. Everyone had a smile for you and knew your name almost from the start. Although they have to do it week after week you would think we were the only guests they ever had. They made the whole experience special. They were welcoming and always seemed to anticipate ones needs. Many of them multi-tasked (like Leo the pianist who also helped us with the Segways) and Ray did water sports and served as our DJ for disco night, and we so enjoyed them all. The wait staff were great. Tomasz who was the Chief Hotelier was also amazing in making sure that everything happened the way it should. And of course I cant forget charming and obviously capable Captain Valter Berg! Activities Director: We had the privilege of having Clive Carrington as our activities director and he really made the week special. Not only is he a truly multi-talented man but he made sure every guest felt special including all the children. He organized a Pub-Crawl on St. Croix and about 8 of us took off on the great mountain bikes on board down the road along the beach and stopped at beach bars on the way back. What fun to sit on the beach with a cold beer and chat with new friends with our yacht in the background beckoning us home! He accompanied groups on several shore excursions and was always there to assist and carry things for the older guests or whatever needed doing to make sure people had a good time. We probably had one of the best experiences ever on Sea Dream when Clive agreed to give a one time only concert in the piano bar on the last night of the cruise and had us all laughing to his renditions of everything from Grease tunes to the Piano man and Elvis. Thank you Clive! Cuisine: The food on Sea Dream was wonderful. It certainly exceeded my expectations. Dinners featured very varied and unique menus (we even had a choice of Indian food one evening since the Chef (sorry I have forgotten his name but not his smile) is from India. All beautifully presented and cooked exactly the way it was ordered. The buffet that accompanied the menu for breakfast and lunch always had a wonderful array of fruits, salads, smoked salmon and goodies like Alaskan crab legs! At various times during the day, there was food brought out to the pool such as club sandwich quarters, crudités, home made mini-pizzas and one day eight varieties of homemade ice cream (with toppings of course!). And there were cookies and popcorn daily. Each evening prior to dinner, there was cocktails in the salon accompanied by wonderful hors doeuvres and one time even delicious caviar. Room Service is always available and although we didnt partake, those that did say it came fast and with a smile. Beach Party and Champagne Splash: Speaking of caviar, there is nothing like standing in the surf eating it with champagne, followed by the most delicious beach barbecue Ive ever tasted! This was our very special day on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Island. Additionally, several times upon coming back to the room it was not only turned down but there were treats like chocolate covered strawberries or homemade chocolates. Bar and Wine: Anyone sailing on SeaDream I will become spoiled by George, Lukas and Arturo who not only masterfully mix drinks at incredible speed but create a party while doing it. There was also nothing like laying on the Balinese Bed and having a charming bartender bring you a drink while you watch the sunset! Drinks are included in the price of the voyage except for premium varieties which were available for a reasonable supplement. The champagne that is served on board along with the wines is very good (usually the champagne was Piper Heidsieck). The house wines varied by night and were matched to the menu. We never had to order special wines from the menu but one wine-collector did and he said the wine selection was very good and not overpriced. Extra Touches: Usually upon boarding the ship from a shore excursion, someone would be waiting with a chilled towel to refresh! How nice. And I hate to spoil the surprise but you get your very own pair of Sea Dream Yacht Club pajamas with your name embroidered over the pocket! Those brave enough, wear them to the pajama party at the Top of the Yacht Club bar on Monday night (yes I did). I also loved that there was an open bridge policy so we could go up there most times and take a look at what was going on. Captain Berg and his crew showed us instruments and even lent us their crew binoculars one night for an amazing sunset off the bow. Excursions: SeaDream offered a small but varied selection of shore excursions and it was easy to see the Concierge on deck 3 to sign up. They were well priced and never overcrowded. They were only for Sea Dream guests so it was fun especially as the week progressed to go out with new friends. We enjoyed them all. Watersports and other activities: On four of the ports, the back of the yacht dropped down and became the water sports platform (The Marina). Although there was supposed to be water skiing, wake boarding and windsurfing, those were never done but there was still plenty to do. There were inflatable kayaks and swimming but the favorites were the banana boat and the jet-skis. Ant they had their own water trampoline at Jost Van Dyke. Lots of fun and of course  included in the cost of the voyage! There are also three Segways (people movers) that can be used in at least one port. We used them for 15 minutes on the dock in St. Croix (only $15 for that time) and it was great fun! I highly recommend this unique experience. Internet: There were two internet stations set up by the Piano Bar. A card could be purchased with the concierge. Im not sure of the charge. If you want to use a laptop in your cabin, it was $35 for a 24 hour day. I opted to use my Blackberry and it connected in about 4 or 5 of the ports and got me through email necessities. Casino: There were two tables both with women dealers and those that played enjoyed it very much  my companion even won $125 at Caribbean poker. Boutique: What a refreshing change not to have multiple shops with wares being hawked in the hallways. The very small boutique on deck four had some glass ware, a few pieces of jewelry, sundries and of course a very nice selection of well priced Sea Dream articles of clothing, travel bags and the like. Library: Amply stocked and attractive. A large variety of DVDs and CDs were available for check out from the concierge. The children aboard took advantage of that feature. Guests: What a great group of people were on board this cruise. The range of ages was from 7 months (yes) to late 70s. (It was Spring Break time).The intimacy of the yacht afforded the opportunity to really get to meet people and that was an added bonus to the luxury experience. We enjoyed many dinners and excursions with our new friends. Even the children (who were very well behaved) enhanced the experience of the cruise. They all enjoyed the yacht and the ports. Although there were no childrens activities the crew did a nice job of creating an early dinner experience on the deck for them and making sure they had what they need. Ports of Call: As with all the Sea Dream itineraries (including the Mediterranean and now South America too!), the ports of call are small and special. Many are ports that the large cruise ships cant access which is great. We stopped in St. Croix, St. Barths (fabulous of course and we stayed until midnight there so had plenty of time), Antigua, Anguilla, Virgin Gorda (loved The Baths) and finally Jost Van Dyke  very unspoiled and a special location for the beach party and champagne splash! Even in the Antigua we were in the harbor across the island from busy St. Johns which had three huge ships docked during our stay. Entertainment: There was as expected littler onboard entertainment  Several nights there was a concert on board! Actually a huge screen raised on the aft deck by the pool where we enjoyed a Rod Steward and Bob Marley concert! Leo played at the Piano Bar and of course there was the Clive Carrington Concert! Usually I end my reviews with what exceeded by expectations and what needs improvement, but the entire yachting experience with Sea Dream was top notch! I highly recommend it for couples, families and even friends who want a touch of luxury and a magical get-away. I cant wait to try it in the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
SeaDream Yacht Club - Cruise Review I knew it was going to be a great week when check-in took under 2 minutes and I was handed a glass of champagne, a warm welcome and a cold towel as I boarded Sea Dream I in San Juan. Dining: Some of ... Read More
SeaDream Yacht Club - Cruise Review I knew it was going to be a great week when check-in took under 2 minutes and I was handed a glass of champagne, a warm welcome and a cold towel as I boarded Sea Dream I in San Juan. Dining: Some of the best food I have eaten anywhere. For breakfast, don't miss the fresh squeezed OJ. The cheeseburgers at lunch are great on their sesame seed buns. The ribs are some of the best ever. At breakfast and lunch, it is waiter service AND a buffet for other than entree items. At dinner, I didn't have an entree I didn't like, they were all delicious. Creative soups too, like pumpkin seed! Breakfast is "made to order" eggs, omelettes and pancakes (to name just a few items). Breakfast and lunch was served outside on the upper decks. Dinner was either in the dining room OR, depending upon the night, on the upper deck outside, which was just terrific. HINT: Eating outside on desk 5 is great...sit at one of the "cutouts" (for 2 people) on each side of the yacht, or one of the tables for 4 in each back corner of deck 5 to get a great review. Entertainment: Very low key with no mega performances each night! instead, gather in the main salon for drinks or movies, the small casino for games, or my favorite the "Top of the Yacht" Bar outside on Deck 6. HINT: Take advantage of all of the technology SeaDream offers its guests. For example, at check-in, we borrowed an MP3 player with music already downloaded. It was great! My favorite was sailing through the British Virgin Islands (what beauty!) while listening to Andre Bocelli (what a voice) on the MP3 player. It was a magical experience, combining spectacular sights and sounds. You can borrow CDs and DVDs from the reception desk to play in the CD and DVD recorders in your cabin. The Cabins: I could get used to them!! The amenities (Bvlgari toiletries, waffle robes, mini-refrigerators loaded with beverages, flat screen TV, VERY comfortable beds with great duvets) and outstanding stewardess service, along with an ample size cabin (including sitting area) make it a relaxing and comfortable cabin. I thought I would miss the balcony, but really you can get to the outside decks in a matter of "seconds" and find the same privacy and comfort you'd have on a balcony. In fact, not having a balcony was a reservation I had about SeaDream and I am happy to report that it was not an issue at all. See "The Decks" for more information! HINT: There is 24 hour room service, including Popcorn to go with the movie DVD you can borrow from the reception desk. The Staff: In a word, outstanding! They really go out of their way to ensure you will have a great vacation experience. You will get to know them much better than if it were a bigger ship, and without exception they go above and beyond...even with special requests! We really enjoyed their company! HINT: It is hard to single out 1 or 2 people, since the service all of them provide is so good. You will get a survey to fill out at the end of the trip. The Islands: We visited the British Virgin Islands, Isles des Saintes Guadeloupe, Antigua, and St. Maarten. I only got off the yacht to see St. Maarten (for an hour) and for a beach visit in the BVI. So I can't really speak to the islands, except that people seemed generally pleased with the itinerary. While you are anchored some days, the "marina deck" turns into the watersports area (sailing, banana boating, jet skiing, water skiing) and it really is a lot of fun. They also let you swim off the marina deck. I was impressed with their safety measures (e.g. life jackets always required, there was always a zodiac floating around during watersports). HINT: If you miss the watersports on one day, it should be repeated on another so don't worry. The Yacht: Don't expect a cruise ship (their slogan is "it's yachting, not cruising" and it is so true!). I am a huge fan of cruising, and this was my first experience at "yachting." Bottom line is I love them both, but really, this was over the top. The difference is (IMO) like staying a nice hotel or a mansion. Both are great, but very different. HINT: make time to stop by the bridge and engage the crew. We learned a bit about the night sky and stars which was spectacular on one really clear night! ANOTHER HINT: Don't get too used to the yacht, you vacation will end in 7 days and then it's back to reality :) The Decks: You will spend time on decks 2 to 6. Cabins are on decks 2, 3 and 4. The dining room is on deck 2 (open seating from 730pm - 930pm, which is really nice IMO). The main salon (gathering place for pre-dinner cocktails and hors d'oeuvres) and the reception desk is on deck 3. On deck 4, there is the library (stocked with an abundance of books), small casino (2 tables), boutique and the spa and gym. Moving outside, the pool deck is 3, the outside restaurant is 5, and the Balinese Beds (my favorite) are on 6, along with the Top of the Yacht Bar. One of my concerns about sailing on SeaDream was that there were no balcony cabins. However, this turned out to be no issue at all. My perfect cruise vacation is a comfortable deck chair in the shade on a balcony so I can read a book. There are many places to hang out on deck, beginning with the pool deck and moving up to decks 4, 5 and 6 from there. Even on the pool deck, there are tables with umbrellas so that you can get shade. The Balinese beds (deck 6) are semi-private double beds with big umbrellas and a small table (to place your drinks, of course!). They come complete with over size pillows so you can prop yourself up and look out to the sea (or read a book!). There are also deck lounges and even hammocks available. There was never a shortage of places to go on deck and there was always space available. HINT: THe hammocks are very comfortable, but bring a rolled-up towel to use as a pillow! The Spa and Gym: I used the treadmills every day to walk off the deserts!! There are 4 treadmills and never a wait (in fact, there were always 1 or 2 available when I was there). The gym is small, but certainly adequate. Had massages too, which were relaxing and great. The ladies who work there are extremely nice and polite. And no pressure to buy spa products as is sometimes the case on ships. HINT: Bottled water is in the small refrigerator with the glass door (built into the shelves) at the back of the gym. It took me a couple of days to find it! The Passengers (Sea Dream calls them Guests!): Because there is capacity for only 110 passengers, you have an opportunity to become friends with other passengers. We made a bunch of new friends, and really had a great time with them on board. So much so, that we'd like to take another SeaDream trip together. It is a very social environment, with people onboard who are fun and lively. (On the other had, if you want privacy, you can have it.) Toward the end of the week, SeaDream does something great (it's a surprise) and I observed everyone having a fantastic time with one another. It was a highlight of the cruise, quite honestly. The Bottom Line: Run, don't walk, to book a trip on Sea Dream!!! Focus on the VALUE you get for the tariff vs. the actual tariff itself (it may seem expensive at first). It is all inclusive: gratuities, drinks, watersports, cabin amenities, gourmet (really!) meals, and a lot "more" (there are some things that are best left to the element of SURPRISE!). Sometimes, if you're like me, you need to get away, relax and decompress....I did, and Sea Dream was just what I needed! They also have cruises to the Mediterranean in the Summer and next Fall they start in South America. So for me, it's not a matter of IF I will sail on SeaDream again, it's just a matter of WHEN :) ...I can hardly wait! Read Less
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