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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
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
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This ... Read More
My wife and I were part of a private event that took over the whole ship for 5 days/4 nights. We have experienced great service before, but this was our first cruise. Though we live in a cruise-port, big ships turn us off big time. This cruise, from embarkation in Nice until the final port of Monaco, was stunning on many levels: My wife and I loved the yacht-like experience from the first moment on board (around 15:00), which began with a poolside buffet to tie us over until dinner. Any crew member we had contact with demonstrated an outstanding service mentality; not demure or fake-friendly but truly engaging and baffling in their capability to anticipate passenger's wishes. Both F&B service and -quality was excellent, and staying with the standard level of wines (included in fare) proved to be completely sufficient, thanks to a great sommelier (Ferenç) who enjoyed wine-talk. However I can imagine that passengers in need of constant entertainment and stimulation will be much happier on a large ship, surrounded by 4,500 of their best new friends. We on the other hand are already plotting when and where we will able to catch a ride on this ship or its sister. Highly recommended! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our Sea Dream I cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona got off to a poor start. Unlike Silversea, which we have used several times, Sea Dream was chaotic in a rain storm. The taxi couldn't get close to the terminal, boarding was an hour or ... Read More
Our Sea Dream I cruise from Lisbon to Barcelona got off to a poor start. Unlike Silversea, which we have used several times, Sea Dream was chaotic in a rain storm. The taxi couldn't get close to the terminal, boarding was an hour or two late and there was no canopy to protect us from driving rain as we boarded. The ship, just out of two weeks in drydock, did not get all its deficiencies fixed. When we entered our cabin, there were black specks of unknown origin on the bed covers. The covers were changed, but the same thing happened again. At this point a repairman inserted a filter in the ventilation system, which solved the problem. Another cabin had no hot water for several days. There were a few cosmetic problems also, such as white paint on mahogany railings. On the good side: fine service, especially in the dining room, and wonderful food. The Gibraltar expedition was wonderful. We explore other ports, such as Cadiz, Cartagena and Malaga, on our own. It's a small ship -- 112 passengers -- and too light to brave high seas and waves to enter Portimao, the first scheduled port of call. I congratulate the captain for choosing safety over the schedule. Many aboard the ship had cruised with Sea Dream a dozen times or more, but for us it's one and done. We'll go back to Silversea. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2012
I had quite high expectations of the cruise and my partner was cruising for the first time. Seadream totally surpassed my expectations and was simply the best holiday I have ever had. The service on board was exceptional. We live in Malaga ... Read More
I had quite high expectations of the cruise and my partner was cruising for the first time. Seadream totally surpassed my expectations and was simply the best holiday I have ever had. The service on board was exceptional. We live in Malaga so we were working right up until 2pm and arrived a bit frazzled so it was brilliant to get a welcome glass of champagne and have a breather before checking in. The check in process was fast and friendly and we were in our cabin in less that 15 minutes. The cabin was clean , spacious and the bed was probably the most comfortable I have had on a holiday. We are not great sleepers and some nights we slept for 10 hours without waking up....that alone made it a real relaxing time. It is difficult to say what is the best thing about Seadream as everything was first class. We actually said we never thought we would get tired of drinking champagne but we enjoyed the house wines so much we ended up drinking wine more often. The staff were friendly and efficient without being intrusive and it was such a relief to know they were not just doing it for the tips like on the bigger cruise ships...the tip seekers have ruined several cruises for me. I would like to name everyone but have to single out Michail and Gideon for service and Silvano + Pierre looked after us very well. The cabin girls were giggly and very friendly. The food was superb and not stodgy which meant we didnt walk round all day feeling overfed, lots of fresh ,quality ingredients and the portion sizes were just right. The breakfast specials were excellent and we enjoyed fresh fish most days for lunch. Dinner was a real event, we met some great friends and we had a table for 8 on our last night which was great fun. The highlight was the tasting menu, the pumpkin soup was one of the best things I have ever eaten. During the day there was no pressure to do anything we read in the library or sunbathed on deck or went into the ports. Port Vendres was a favourite as we docked in the harbour and went and had lunch across the road. We have said for the next few years that we will spend all our holidays on Sea dream as nothing else will live upto it....we are booking again for September we are really looking forward to it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2006
We recently sailed on SeaDream II for the first time and found the whole experience fabulous!! Having previously sailed with Seabourn and Silversea we were used to this level of quality, but found that the level of service on SeaDream ... Read More
We recently sailed on SeaDream II for the first time and found the whole experience fabulous!! Having previously sailed with Seabourn and Silversea we were used to this level of quality, but found that the level of service on SeaDream surpassed anything we had encountered before. Embarkation We arrived at the port of Nice slightly early (11.30 am) and were able to leave our luggage in a tent beside the ship whilst we explored Nice. At 2.00 pm, we wandered back to the ship, to find no queues, so we were able to complete the formalities and be on board within a couple of minutes. We were welcomed at the top of the gangway by the Captain, given cold towels to freshen up, a couple of glasses of champagne and were escorted to our cabin by our stewardess. Cabins We were in a Standard Yacht Club Stateroom on Deck 4, which at 195 sq ft was slightly smaller than those on Seabourn. We found it more than adequate in size, with a large, comfortable double bed, sofa and armchair and picture window. The bathroom was on the small side, but contained a large multi-jet shower in a glass enclosure. The bathroom was stocked with plenty of Bvlgari toiletries. The cabin is equipped with a flat screen TV, DVD player and CD player. A half bottle of Champagne was waiting for us in the cabin and the mini-bar was stocked with beers, soft drinks and large bottles of water. The cabin was kept spotlessly clean by our stewardess, who also left various gifts for us each night! The only slight criticism I would have is that the sound-proofing between cabins is not up to Seabourns, so you can hear the TVs from neighbouring cabins. This wasnt really a problem as most SeaDream guests are very considerate. We could also hear the music/singing from the Piano Bar on the night we decided to stay in and watch a DVD, but this finished promptly at midnight  the other nights we were the ones singing in the Piano Bar!! On Deck For such a small ship (4260 tons and only 344 ft in length), there was an amazing feeling of space on deck, with sunbeds readily available whenever and wherever you wanted one, including the incredible Balinese double sunbeds on the top deck  this was definitely our favourite sunbathing/cocktail drinking place on the ship! The Top of the Yacht Bar is close to the Balinese sunbeds, so it is easy to get a drink either from the bar or by asking one of the barmen who often circle the deck. There is a nice pool at the rear of Deck 3, with an adjacent Jacuzzi and a well placed bar. We spent the first afternoon in the Jacuzzi, watching people boarding the ship and having our champagne glasses constantly filled by the barman. Dining Breakfast and lunch were taken at the Topside Restaurant, a semi-open air restaurant on Deck 5. There was never any problem getting a table as soon as you arrived. The food at both breakfast and lunch was superb, with the best beef-burgers I have ever tasted and one day some very authentic fish and chips for lunch. Dinner in the evening was in the Main Dining Salon on Deck 2. This is a very elegant restaurant, with tables for 2 upwards. The Maitre D always managed to get us our favourite table for two each evening. The food was wonderful and beautifully presented, including the 8 course Menu Degustation on the last evening. The service was incredible, yet looked so relaxed with the waiters and wine waiters having time to chat to us  the Maitre D and his team did an absolutely first class job, the best we have ever experienced. Dress code was informal each evening, with the majority of men wearing jackets, but definitely no ties! Ports of Call Due to some rather rough seas at the start of the cruise, the Captain decided to completely change the order that we would visit each port of call, so allowing us to be docked on the days when the sea was at its roughest and keeping the time at sea to a minimum. This had the advantage that we were docked in Monaco for the Vintage Motor Racing. When we went ashore, we were given complementary passes that allowed us to get close to the cars and to see parts of the races. It was an incredible spectacle and the noise during the races was unbelievable (even from the ship). At ports where we were lying at anchor, there was a continuous Tender service (just one tender) which made very fast crossings to the shore (really exciting), so there was never more than a few minutes wait for a Tender. When we were at Calvi, we lay at anchor with a Tender service in the morning, so the marina could be used. Then once this was finished, the ship docked below the castle to allow for ease of getting ashore. Toys Whilst at Calvi, the marina at the stern of the ship was lowered and two jet skis were made available for anyone to use free of charge. This was great fun, you were allowed up to 5 minutes usage before returning to the ship and handing them over to the next person and no-one hogged the jet skis. There was also a speedboat towing a banana ride, which looked good too. When the ship docked at Calvi, a number of Segways were available for use. These cost (I think) $49 for 45 minutes. There were also a number of mountain bikes that could be borrowed free of charge to take ashore. Entertainment Entertainment in the evening after dinner was quite low key, with a great pianist in the Piano Bar who encouraged everyone to get up and sing along. As there was a very lively group of people from Scotland on board who launched themselves into the singing, everyone was soon in the party spirit! The other entertainment took place in the Main Salon Bar on Deck 3 and changed each evening  disco, Karaoke, etc. We certainly had more fun on this ship than any other we have been on. Disembarkation Disembarkation was the smoothest and quickest we have ever known. A few days before the end of the cruise, a note came around asking whether we needed taxis when we disembarked and they would order them for us. We had to leave our luggage outside our cabin door by 1 am on the last day. Then following a leisurely breakfast, we collected our passports from the Pursers Desk (no queue) and no sooner had we done this than a member of staff came up to us and said that our taxi was waiting and they had already put our bags in the taxi  what service!! So we were off the ship in no time at all. Summary Overall it was one of the best cruises we have ever been on, the wonderful staff made us feel so special and we loved every minute of it. We would sail with SeaDream again in an instant. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
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 2004
Dear Stranger: I very much enjoyed my 14-day experience of the Sea Dream II lifestyle (which ended 3 days ago). I can assure you that in 2 weeks, one CAN become used to having one's buffet plate carried to the table for you, and ... Read More
Dear Stranger: I very much enjoyed my 14-day experience of the Sea Dream II lifestyle (which ended 3 days ago). I can assure you that in 2 weeks, one CAN become used to having one's buffet plate carried to the table for you, and napkin opened and placed on your lap! I was ill the first week, but cured by the Chef's excellent consomme and Dr. Marek of the ship. I found all of the staff to be supportive and attentive to every possible need - including ones I did not know I had. The staff are cheerful, friendly, sincere and buoyant in their own right. They wear different uniforms reflecting their different duties, and they are incredibly supportive of each other, with real teams working together. As an employer myself, I know that Attitude can be the frosting on the Skill cake, and this crew performs with a level of sincerity and good will that touched me unforgettably as a passenger. The quiet physical support and good-nature of the Tender Fellows, who helped us on and off the Sea Dream II's Tender was memorable too. They were kind, strong, and careful with everyone. With me? A little unsteady and embarassed? Very cheery & positive! This was a new experience for me, to Yield and Trust, to be on the receiving end of aid. Every single person was friendly and worth more time than we had available. Many fellow passengers made interesting conversation. Some new friendships were formed, through doing the many activities together. Our days were full - with no lack of recreation! There were LOTS of options! I give very high marks to Richard, our Recreation Director, who gave nightly talks about the next day's secedule and the next 2 days' otpions. He arranged Land Excursions that were interesting, recommended restaurants and places to visit in town and other forays, and was a very good teacher of the Segway races at the foot of the castle at Bonifacio, at the south end of Corsica! He painted 5 lanes and 4 of us were off! I have been to Europe more than a few times, and to the French Riviera and the Italian Riviera, so I was not unfamiliar with what to expect. But those trips had been land trips. This was a different experience. I found the written daily Calendar with descriptive summaries of our next port (which were revised twice, due to weather changes), the many and various Land Excursions' written summaries, maps and written hisotry summaries of the ports to be very helpful. Having a ready reference at the time of making a decision can help one decide between going to visit ruins, a private beach, the Chef's walk, or just lounge around town with an iced coffee. The stateroom was more than adequate, and the bathroom amentities were luxurious. Everyone I met from this trip liked their shower stall, with double nozzles and a third hand-held nozzle. But admittedly, getting used to the bathroom marble did become commonplace after time. The 2 closets and 2 sets of 3-drawers each were very conducive to feeling organized and getting ready for the next event. The cabin service was superb and 3 times a day. "Surfeit" is a word I thought would never apply to me - but finally I realized that while I enjoyed every meal, and each was a delicious adventure, by Day 13 I could no longer eat another well-grilled lambchop for breakfast. The fresh Orange Juice every day at breakfast made it worth waking up. The champagne and caviar were as advertised, and always available. Special memories include the artichoke mousse, cinnamon ice cream, salad nicoise, the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted, good pate, a deliciious kohrabi soup, a quail entre, a happy lobster, and Captain Erik's "Hammer". I cannot say enough about this wonderful trip - coming 'home' from dusty Pompeii was totally refreshing: physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. So I look forward to a return visit on the Sea Dream II, with different ports and hopefully less luggage! Sea Dream II's dress code after 18:30 is "Yacht Casual" which is very comfortable and moderne - and for me, downright restorative. Read Less
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