I am 57 and my husband is 63. We enjoy good health and like to be active. We were invited to spend this cruise with another couple. We have cruised on big ships: Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Holland America, as well as the smaller ones: Wind Star and Wind Spirit Sail ships. (We've also cruised in our own trawler as well as sailed various sailboats throughout the years.) This was definitely our favorite commercial cruise.
It was casual, yet first class. The crew was SINCERELY interested in making sure our voyage was perfect. The passengers probably all had money to spend, but every one we observed was respectful, considerate, and friendly to the crew members. It is a confident person who can treat others with kindness no matter what kind of power they have in life or business, and we found the passengers to be just as refreshing as the crew members. We got to know every crew member who served us, as well as many of the passengers. This was the 5th SeaDream cruise our friends have been on, and is one of the reasons they return. We have already booked our next cruise with them and 18 other friends for July 2021!
Everything is included except spa treatments. However, unlike the other cruises we've been on, SeaDream employs their own spa personnel with no outside contractors. Each massage therapist is a certified Thai masseuse, which is the best kind, in my opinion. We used Winni and Na who were both phenomenal. No one in the spa pressured us into buying anything as you usually find on cruise ships. It was so great not to have to listen to a lecture on why I have to buy this or that face cream! And, after we boarded, not only were we treated to champagne (or any other drink we wanted), and a beautiful buffet of hors d'oeuvres, but every passenger was given a neck massage by one of the masseuse therapists! The workout equipment was just perfect for a cruise this size. I used the treadmill on only three occasions when I was not able to get my 15,000 steps in. (I never saw another person in the workout room.) I also participated in the yoga on one occasion. It was fabulous! Unfortunately, it was in the hot sun which really didn't appeal to me.
DINING and COCKTAILS:
Prior to dinner every night, there was a 6:30 cocktail hour on the pool deck with an announcement by Taylor, our Cruise Director, at 7:15. It was always entertaining and very informative. Frude was our Activity Manager, and she was just as sweet and adorable as anyone. She wanted to make sure everyone had a wonderful time and was open to concerns and input.
All drinks and food are included, with the exception of upgraded wine and spirits. We did not feel the need, at all, to upgrade what was served - even though we usually buy top shelf at home or on vacation. Head Bartender Aurel, Andre', and the others were exceptional, and they always knew what we wanted!
And DINING! This was a gourmet food cruise if I've ever been on one! I cannot say enough about it. Dinner was from 7:30-9:30 every night. Chef Tomas', and his chefs, made each dish as ordered. This was First Class dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Although you can order anything from your room, the whole dining experience was so superior to any upgraded meal service on any other cruise. (This is why I checked the box below which indicates this was a "gourmet food cruise.") It was not publicized as a gourmet food cruise, but we all agree it would put ANY gourmet food cruise to the test! Unparalleled.
Another thing about dining. Depending on the route and winds, we ate in the dining room on deck 2 or dined "al fresco" (outside under the stars) up on decks 4/5/6. Both experiences were amazing. Robin, the Maitre d' Hotel really knows how to run his department. Leo, Kumal, Jonathon, Juan III (Tre), Russell, Leslie, Tristan, and all the others were consummate professionals with a twist of personable humor and wit. They were such an absolute pleasure! When dining in the dining room, no bathing suits, shorts, or jeans, and close-toed shoes for men. Women could wear any kind of shoe. Most everyone was dressy casual. You can wear anything for outside, although most were dressy casual.
Andy, the "Hotel Manager," was just OUTSTANDING!! To me, he was the most important "key" person on the cruise. He organized a last minute special event for my friend. He even pulled in the Director of Communications "Gedal" (?) to help with technology. Gedal was such a professional and really helped to make a surprise come to fruition. (This was not part of his job description, but he happily helped us! Thank you, Gedal!) Andy pulled the whole thing off flawlessly, happily, and with entertaining secrecy. What a top-notch guy! Super detail-oriented, which is just what you need in this position. Brenda, the fabulous concierge, and her assistant, Carene, were very knowledgeable and accommodating and both so very sweet and sincere. True smooth and flawless multitaskers under pressure. And Tess, the Boutique Manager, was available when we needed her, but was not "pushing" anything. A tribute to Andy!
Fred the pianist, and Ruel, the guitarist, were great soloists as well as a great team. Each night at dinner, Ruel played guitar as we entered to eat. Each night from 9-11, Fred played all the songs we loved. We could choose to sing along or alone. However, no one was as good as Fred, with his beautiful, melodic voice. For more entertainment, there is a golf simulator on board which was used quite frequently!
Additionally, Denisa runs the casino table - adjacent to Fred on the piano (so you don't miss a thing), and Denisa and Ruel also take care of the complementary water sports during the day: kayaks, jet skis, banana boat, and swim platform!
And, for your listening pleasure, we heard rumor that many of the crew members were amazing singers. So, at Karaoke night, we begged them to sing. Brian, Ruel, and Brenda gave us the most astonishing concert! They rivaled any big cruise ship entertainment - Really astonishing and refreshing! (I have proof!)
One of the cool things about this cruise was that a single or couple could sleep outside, under the stars, in one of the 14(?) Balinese beds. The crew would make them up around 8:00 and you could spend 1 hour to all night sleeping outside.... with no cameras (as Taylor told us! :)
Other than when boarding and when departing the cruise, all passengers on our journey had to use a "tender" to reach each shore. We were each given a card, and Security Officer, Suraj, screened us out and in every day. He made sure we had water, towels, snorkeling gear, and knew when to return. Most of all, he made sure we were all safe and secure. (He also had quite the sense of humor as I asked if I was on the "Disney" cruise every time I boarded. Without skipping a beat, he always responded, "Yes, this is where you need to be!"
Because the stair getting down to the tender was quite steep, I did not see a lot of the elderly taking advantage of going to shore. When the seas were rough, it became very difficult even for the less elderly. Because I am used to being on small boats, I was fine. However, this is something to keep in mind. I would say most of the people on our trip were adventurous and didn't seem to mind. And tender driver, JJ, was very competent and careful - keeping safety first!
ALL service was unparalleled to any service we have received on any other cruise! .............. Mic drop!
First of all, we know that both of the SeaDream yachts are going to undergo room renovations by May 2021. Because of this, my cabin review is only for those people who will be traveling before this occurs. The cabin was fine. It showed wear and tear and age. But, it was clean and perfectly supplied. We were happy, however, to hear of the coming renovations.
None of the cabins have balconies or opening portholes or windows. However, the cabins on the 3rd and 4th decks have big picture windows, and the cabins on deck 2 have two portholes each. I did not miss the balcony even though I have never sailed without one. We did not spend a lot of time in our cabin, and no one else seemed to.
Many nights, we received a "treat" from SeaDream: Monogrammed pajamas, glasses holders, mints, pens, bag for wet swim suits or shoes, and monogrammed tumblers.
Just FYI, each standard room has:
1. A magnification mirror
2. Only 1 - 110 volt outlet in the main cabin. One in the bathroom "for shavers only." (Luckily, I brought an extension cord!)
3. 2 USB ports
4. Bvlgari shampoo/body wash, conditioner, body lotion
5. Blow dryer
6. Laundry service available
7. Robes and slippers
8. No iron.... which I always like to have. ;(
9. Best towels ever! Not too soft, not too hard, but just right! Thanks to Maiwan, the Laundry Master!!!
All of the cabin attendants were super attentive, and although we had a dedicated cabin attendant, we could ask any of them for anything, and they were happy to comply. They were the "quietly enthusiastic" crew who were there all the time without being in your space or doing their busy work in front of you. A perfect combination of classy organization.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Our room was closest to the bow (front) which meant we felt the wave action more than those in the middle. This did not bother us at all, even when the seas were rough. However, it MAY bother those who are prone to sea-sickness. You should chose a more middle cabin if you are concerned.
OTHER HELPFUL NOTES:
If you choose a cruise to the Caribbean islands, don't forget your bug repellant! There are mosquitoes off and on all the islands.
Bring a backpack capable of holding towels, snorkel gear, water and anything else you may want to take on your daily excursions. My husband and I each had one which was so helpful.
Another interesting thing I wanted to mention is that the crew does not mind if you bring outside drinks/alcohol onto the SeaDream, nor did they collect it and hold it until departure. I never saw anyone do this except those who were bringing home Rum souvenirs, etc. The thing is, the Sea Dream has everything you will want and there is no need to try and "sneak" anything on as so many try to do on those big cruise lines. :)
PORTS OF CALL:
In my photos, I include a daily itinerary from our yacht. Unfortunately, I am missing the Sunday flyer for St. Barts. Sorry about that!
We began our cruise in Marigot, St. Maarten which we reached by American Airlines. We rented a car and drove about 1 1/2 hours (The hotelier said it would be 25 minutes) to our " boutique" hotel, which had five star reviews but was definitely not even close, and was severely overpriced. I would definitely NOT recommend "Villa JWI Lavi".
St. Maarten had not yet recovered from the hurricane and still needs a lot of work. However, we were happy to see both the Dutch and French sides. There is major traffic which should be a consideration as to where you stay. Although we were able to drive around using our rental car, we questioned whether or not it was worth the traffic and time hassle. Next time, we'll take a cab to our hotel and make sure our hotel is next to the seaport from which we depart.
Our next stop was St. Bartholomew (St. Barts). This is a very wealthy island, which has already totally rebuilt since the hurricane. Beautiful island with "beautiful" people who take a lot of pride in their place in the sun. We went to the famous Nikki Beach Club and Eden Rock Hotel, both right on the exquisite beach. Everyone was dressed in their best elegant, casual attire with full make-up and perfectly sculpted bodies. What an amazing "style show"! We then drove around the lovely mountainous island with unique and incredible architecture in all the beautifully crafted homes.
NOTE: IF you are afraid of heights, or driving on narrow roads with a cliff-like drop offs, none of these mountainous islands we visited are ones to drive around.
On Monday, we visited Little Bay, Montserrat. This was one of my favorites because my friend and I hired a private driver and toured the island. Since there is an active volcano currently spewing steam, it was a sight to behold. Our incredible driver, Jermaine Wade, with "Fabulous Tours" was second to none! He grew up on Montserrat and remembers the devastation that occurred with the volcano eruption. He took us all around the island, including the "exclusion zone" and was such an amazing advocate for his people. You can expect to pay at least a minimum of $120 for a 2 hour tour around the island. We talked him down, but ended up paying him much more after realizing that he was such a passionate tour guide and the fact that the island only receives small boats once every 2 weeks. He was absolutely worth $200!! Here's his number: 664-393-6718 or 664-493-4357. GREAT guy! I can't say enough! (By the way, the local police recommended him.). It would be worth visiting the buried (by the volcanic eruption) former capital city of Plymouth. We were very lucky in that our Captain departed and was able to give us a tour us along the coast with all the devastation, and we were able to see the buried city from the water.
We arrived in Portsmouth, Dominica on Tuesday. There were several tours available, but I decided to "get my steps in" and walk into town. We moored really far away from the town. I wish SeaDream would reconsider this move. The yacht could have been closer in so that older people could have walked around. HOWEVER, this was such a depressed town! Although the men were friendly, the women were aloof. There was trash everywhere in the streets and on the beach, but I did see some construction. I felt very safe, although I was approached by a number of men wanting to help me or take me anywhere in their "taxi." I actually passed a well-dressed man relieving himself on the beach - right in front of me and everyone else - who didn't seem to notice. (My husband, who spends a lot of time in this area, says this is very typical. So, don't be surprised.). I was most bothered by the stray dogs who seemed to be undernourished and uncared for. It was a very depressing day and, although I don't care to return to this island, I want to help the animals. I ended up walking over 8 miles.
Grande Anse, Martinique was such a tidy proud island. It was very "walkable." it had a lovely countryside, and an amazing beach. The "French" people were warm and welcoming! We stopped at an adorable beach cafe called "Payot" with the most hilarious waiter and waitress! The whole day experience was well worth the stop!
Thursday was Port Elizabeth, Bequia, The Grenadines! What an exceptional island! We walked all along the 2 mile boardwalk and enjoyed meeting the locals and seeing the beach sights. My husband and I decided to dive with "Dive Bequia:" and dove a one tank dive along a reef and 3 wrecks. Great experience and I highly recommend Dive Bequia! Christian was an amazing Dive Master and Captain Kirk was a terrific assistant. Afterwards, they dropped us off at "Bar One", which is a bar on a pontoon which you can only get to by boat. THE MOST amazing Margaritas! (See photos) We took a $5 pp water taxi back to our dock to pick up the tender back to the yacht.
On Friday morning, we went to a little deserted island of Tobago Cay, Grenadines which we could only reach by Zodiac boat. BRING money because there are little souvenirs, drinks, and snacks to buy. It's just a cute little island and you can "bob" in the water with a little drinkie. I was bothered that the people who set up their tables didn't really seem to care about preserving this small little spit of land. There were cigarette butts and beer bottle caps everywhere.
In the afternoon, the yacht was moved to a nearby location called Clifton Harbour, Union island (Grenadines). This was one of the most depressing islands we went to. There were neglected dogs EVERYWHERE, looking for food, but so scared of everyone. The people were very aloof and unfriendly, and certainly did not seem to appreciate us being there. The town was dirty and showed a lack of any pride. This is a stop which could be avoided except for those who can help with the animal situation. I saw a mother goat walking through the street with a rope attached to her neck. A baby followed her. Very sad. However, my husband, who is a kite-boarder, said this was a real hot spot for kiters in this area and he took advantage of the stop. It was very enjoyable for him.
Saturday was the best day ever! We went out on a 60 foot catamaran, with Wind & Sea Captain Tim Adams (and Dillon and Steven), to swim with the turtles. I saw "a record" 13 turtles, 10 starfish, a spiny lobster, and a baby stingray! After, we immediately went to the beach for a Beach Party on Mayreau, the Grenadines!!! SO MUCH FUN!! The staff paraded to the beach with a table of caviar for an amazing presentation! Then Chef Tomas' put on the most amazing beach lunch ever. I just can't say enough about the presentation and quality. Then, the four of us had "couples massages" on the beach! What a great day!!
The next morning was disembarkation. We were not "rushed" off the boat, but told to relax and take our time while we ate breakfast and said good-bye.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Although tipping is not necessary at all, you will want to bring small bills to hand out as the cruise progresses or at the end. We brought US $10's and $20's.
Some of the crew had completed their contracts which was kind of sad. When we saw them at the airport, they were just as polite and professional as they were on the yacht. It was such an honor and pleasure to experience this. I can say that Aurel (Head Bartender) is a true professional and we were happy to have made his acquaintance.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip which was repeated by just over 50% of the passengers onboard! In addition to that, we met employees who have been with SeaDream for 5 years, 6 years, 12 years, 18 years, and there are many more who have that kind of longevity. THAT tells you something about a company. We are excited to return to the SeaDream, and excited to see some of our new friends who will, sincerely, be waiting for us to return! :D Read Less