8 St. Martin Luxury Cruise Reviews

This new vessel for Crystal was completely refitted in 2015 and christened in December 2015 after it’s previous life as a private yacht for the Chairman of the parent company of Crystal. This is a big departure from the two older Ocean ... Read More
This new vessel for Crystal was completely refitted in 2015 and christened in December 2015 after it’s previous life as a private yacht for the Chairman of the parent company of Crystal. This is a big departure from the two older Ocean ships the Serenity and the Symphony that I have sailed five times and loved. This beautiful yacht has 31 cabins (including one Owners Suite which is 515 square feet). Most of the suites (S1,2 and 3) are 280 SF which is huge for a yacht (and larger than the non-suite cabins on the Crystal ocean ships and much larger then the 195 SF cabins on the competitor Sea Dream Yacht Club. They are all ocean view (this is a yacht after all). The cabins are decorated in muted greys and taupe with a relaxed feel. They all have King beds with great bedding and all the modern touches travelers today demand with plenty of outlets, USB ports and a great iPad by the bed to set alarms, wake up calls, see the daily schedule and more! There is so much storage we couldn’t fill it all and we are not light packers. There is a full length closet with the famous 2 sets of Crystal robes (the heavy terry I don’t like and the lovely kimono style). There is a another closet with short hanging and more drawers. The bathroom is amazing with a huge shower, tons of storage, double sinks, large mirror and a TV embedded in the mirror. There are large size luxury Italian Etro amenities. A stocked mini-bar is included and there is a Nespresso machine. Because we arrived on Easter Sunday, we had a table full of beautiful Easter chocolates and our darling (two) stewards greeted us with bunny ears! There are also great features like the lighting system with a switch for floor lighting for night bathroom visits and a choice of lighting from bright to relaxing! The owners suite also has a Japanese toilet with heated seat and more and a beautiful bathtub. The yacht holds only 62 passengers (or up to 65 max if there are 3 third berth passengers. On our sailing we had only 43 (with one very well behaved 12 year old girl). Our crew was 89 and pampering and extra special service is an understatement. I’ve sailed many luxury lines and stayed in luxury properties but the service level on the Crystal Esprit was exceptional. Part of that was the staff to guest ratio and part was the hand picked crew who seemed to truly love being part of the Esprit experience and went above and beyond. There are multiple dining spots onboard from the Yacht Club restaurant with award winning chef Adam Jenskins to 24 hour room service which we never tried. (actually that is not true as the night they were having caviar in the Cove before dinner we knew we wouldn’t make it in time, and expressed our “dismay” to our butler in the all – he brought us our own caviar set up and popped our champagne for us). The Patio Café for lunch and breakfast is lovely (and delicious) and the Grill on deck 5 for outdoor dining is great with a small but fun selection from Kobe burgers to Frito Misto that we had several times. The Pantry on Deck 2 is a great self-service bistro with light snacks, bakery goods and little jars that change daily with fun salads, hummus and more (plus an easy 24 hour specialty coffee machine). This is truly an all-inclusive experience with all gourmet meals, beverages (a great wine list included), butler service and choice of several excursions in each port from easy to strenuous. Also included are the water sports like kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis and the fun speed boat. We weren’t sure what the demographics might be on this yacht as it is a departure from the Crystal ocean ships and more luxury than the competitor SeaDream Yacht Club. We really had a great group of guests ranging from the late 30s to the 70s and all well-traveled, interesting and friendly. We sailed in the West Indies round trip Marigot. St. Martin was very badly hit by the 2017 hurricane so the port and the island has really suffered. But all of our port stops were great (Moskito Island, Saba, St. Barts, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis. There are several choices of complimentary excursions in most port from relaxing to strenuous hikes. My husband wasn’t able to do any of the strenuous ones but I heard great things about them. The first port is an beach BBQ on Moskito island (one of Richard Branson’s private islands) and a great way to start the cruise. Was it as fun as my time on SeaDream Yacht Club with a girlfriend? Maybe not. Was it more luxurious ….for sure! Were there lots of special touches that made it so special. YES! As me about them. Would I do it again or recommend to clients – absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I just returned from Crystal Cruises' 7-day Esprit Yacht experience in the British Virgin Islands- and cannot stop raving about it! It was a beautiful, relaxed, elegant, sporty, top-notch and unique vacation that I'd recommend to ... Read More
I just returned from Crystal Cruises' 7-day Esprit Yacht experience in the British Virgin Islands- and cannot stop raving about it! It was a beautiful, relaxed, elegant, sporty, top-notch and unique vacation that I'd recommend to just about anyone! From the 5-star restaurant food (OMG!!) to the gorgeous island destinations (Ahh!) to the top-notch administrative organizing and hospitality, I want to give each dept. their propers! But let me start with the BEAUTY. The Esprit is a gorgeous ship, and with a maximum of 62 guests allowed, it was big enough to host fab amenities and yet never felt crowded or lacking. The white, turquoise and crystal aesthetic gave the Esprit a 60s modern look that felt nautical, fresh and hip-retro, simultaneously! Next, HOSPITALITY: I'm kind of a neat-freak in public places and this ship was spotless! I never noticed dirt, dust or things that made me blanche. The hospitality team and butler on each floor were so attentive, tidy and helpful (not to mention funny and friendly!), that the rooms and halls looked immacualte, always. Next, FOOD: Someone said our chef was Michelen-rated. I would not be surprised if that was true. The food alone is worth the cost of this trip! Each dinner was varied, nutritious, sculptural, and totally delicious!!! It was fine dining at its finest- three times a day! Not to mention, a grill on the deck and round-the-clock room service. All this great grub + bottomless drinks embedded in the trip cost, with no-tipping policy ever was a HUGE bonus. DRINKS: Dinner always included two new bottles of wine paired with what was on the menu that day. I don't drink, so I didn't indulge in the endless bottles of champagne, wine, cocktails and beers that were available around the clock, but my friends sure did!! What a treat! Ok, ADMIN: The reception dept. and evening notes at our door made each day a complete stress-free travel situation. We always knew where we were going, what land and boat opportunities we'd have and what we needed to do for each event. Getting bags on and off the boat, checking on different post-trip travel arrangements.. I was very impressed with the Admin/Reception Dept and how gracefully and efficiently they took care of things. Always with a smile, too! Next: ISLANDS! Dropping anchor daily a new island was incredible! I loved stopping at unspoiled Saba, swinging in a hammock on Mosquito Island, and taking a speedboat ride from the locals-feel of Antigua. Swimming/sun-bathing off the St. Kitt's Four Season's beach was exquisite. In St. Bart's only briefly, I was duly wowed by the line-up up gorgeous yachts in its harbor. Virgin Gordo and Nevis also were a feast for the eyes. ACTIVITIES: Swimming off the stern of the boat at sunset was something I'll never forget; we were able to do that twice! I totally recommend this! The jet skis and motorboat are a must for thrill-seekers, and for a totally unusual experience, schedule a ride in the Esprit's *submarine!* Two of my friends did it and it sounded amazing. Snorkeling, kayaks and stand-up paddling must be on your list, too! The waters are warm and the views are sublime. There are hikes and tours and excursions on many of the island destinations. The pool is tiny on the Esprit, but great for cooling off on a hot afternoon. Cosy and big lounge chairs and outdoor deck furniture beg you to nestle in and read a book, have a cocktail or swap stories with friends. Or, just stare dreamily off to the azure horizon or a lush nearby island- pure heaven! There is a small workout room with a great treadmill, an elliptical and a recumbent bicycle. Free weights, yoga mats, towels and waters are in there, too. In the evenings, having drinks on the boat in the "Cove" while a spritely singer and pianist entertains is an option; going to a bar on shore is bound to stir up much spicier adventures. Nice to have options, depending on your age/mood/lifestyle! :) Oh, before I forget! Back to the food, because, well, it was everything! One of our friends eats a purely plant-based diet, and only informed the chef of this once he got on the yacht. On the fly and with the artistry of Rodin, the chef designed and printed up a unique-for-this-guest many-course meal at dinner- every day! Each dish was vegan, delicious, artful and very social media-post-worthy! I was very impressed with the chef conjuring up a purely plant-based menu that matched the already outstanding taste and presentation of his daily menu- all on the fly! From the chocolate-dipped fruits they placed in our room each night with the turn-down service to the fun, energized, top notch service of the marina dept., wait staff, boat crew... it was just awesome, from start to finish. CAVEAT: There are some people for whom this trip and boat would not be a fit. First of all, there is no elevator. So the guests on this boat need to be ambulatory, and ok with going up and down carpeted stairs indoors, and ascending and descending the metal, winding stairs connecting the outdoor decks. Also, to get into the rubber zodiac boats that ferry us to and from shore, you must be able to climb down a few rungs of a wooden ladder/stepcase. The marina crew helps with this, but given that the process involves stepping down backwards and using your arms to pull yourself up, going to shore means having pretty good means of moving around on your own. Also, if you are into very loud partying and need to be entertained non-stop, this may not be the trip for you. Things get quiet at 10 pm and most of the guests are healthy, spry, interested in the world and friendly with those around them. It's a trip like no other! May your trip be as delightful and memorable as the one my friends and I had. Thank you, Crystal Cruises!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was my first cruise, but my boyfriend's 5th. While I haven't cruised before, I've traveled extensively. My boyfriend has typically taken large ships on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In his words, "This isn't ... Read More
This was my first cruise, but my boyfriend's 5th. While I haven't cruised before, I've traveled extensively. My boyfriend has typically taken large ships on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. In his words, "This isn't cruising, this is yachting. You can't even compare it to a large cruise ship." We took Windstar's Classic Caribbean itinerary, which visits Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, St. Kitt's, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin. We had a large suite on Deck 3 which was beautifully appointed and comfortable with a King-sized bed. From the moment we approached the ship we were treated like royalty. The check in procedure was seamless and we were quickly taken to our cabin by our stewart, who was wonderful the entire trip. Our cabin was spotless and stayed that way the entire trip, with fresh fruit every day. One of the nicest things about this cruise is you are not charged for soft drinks and if you don't purchase the alcohol package, the drinks are very reasonable with a great selection of wines by the glass for dinner. Little tip: Try the drink of the day! There were numerous dining options and the food was first rate at all of them. You can dine al fresco on the top deck, and there are three dining experiences: Candles (steaks), Stella (Upscale) and Amphora (dining room). We never had a problem with reservations for the first two, and we never had trouble with seating. Service was superior! The dining manager Allen went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed the food and service. In fact, when we suffered a bad sunburn, he send yogurt to our room and advised us to rub it on the sunburn to help with the pain (it worked great). "Daddy" supervised the wait staff and he was also fabulous. You got the sense that these folks really cared about your experience and they went above and beyond to make us happy. The fitness room on the ship was well appointed and not too crowded in the morning or afternoon. Each evening, we got a list of activities on board for the following day and the ones we did were really terrific (trivia/line dancing). One of the best things about this ship is the fact that they don't allow people to reserve lounge chairs (the same folks who then disappear and don't use them). So, we were always able to find a place to relax somewhere on the ship/any time of day. A couple of things not to miss are the beach party and deck BBQ...both were great fun and the food was fantastic. Also, the crew show was WONDERFUL. We really enjoyed it...there's some great talent on board. In the evenings there is a choice of a duet in the Compass Lounge and a band in the main lounge. Both were very talented and we really enjoyed them. We also give high marks to the Casino staff. The dealers and manager were so sweet and took time to educate passengers who didn't know how to play the games well. They were a lot of fun! The excursions were really great. Very well organized and on time. We did one each day and didn't have a single complaint. A couple of things to note...this is not a cruise for children. It's really very adult-oriented. Also, if you have physical limitations, you might find it hard to get on and off the tender to go ashore if it's rough. The ship moors in several locations, so there's not always docking for easy access to shore. There was one day when getting on and off the tender was a real challenge. Overall, I would recommend this cruise line HIGHLY. The service was excellent on every level...the staff was amazing. It will truly spoil you for any other cruise experience. In fact, we plan to try the Yachtsman's tour next spring. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Just returned from a week on the Wind Surf--my first WINDSTAR cruise. Overall, a really great experience. My cabin--128--was comfortable and well appointed. The bathroom was a surprise--plenty of counter space and outstanding water ... Read More
Just returned from a week on the Wind Surf--my first WINDSTAR cruise. Overall, a really great experience. My cabin--128--was comfortable and well appointed. The bathroom was a surprise--plenty of counter space and outstanding water pressure in the shower. The cabin was clean--my room steward Eri kept it well serviced. Boarding was pretty efficient--no long lines anywhere. I was traveling with friends and we were all checked in in about 10 minutes. Our itinerary was the Yachtsman's Caribbean. It was perfect--a different island every day! We only did one ship excursion--the Baths at Virgin Gorda. In every other port we found cab drivers to take us to a local beach. Less expensive than excursions and since we were really looking for R&R it was the best way to go. Spent a lot of time sunning and swimming. Re: the Baths excursion--we were really glad that we did it--truly amazing site--but very disappointed in the lack of a guide to take us through the boulders. It is not an easy trek--and we (and lots of others) got lost. Heard that someone in another group had a panic attack. So, to classify this as a "moderate" activity was very misleading. The common areas on the ship were great--always found a place to sit and relax--even o the sea day. We enjoyed cocktail hour at Compass Rose--though a few more tables there would be a good addition. Entertainment was weak. The duo in Compass Rose had the most depressing play list--it became a running joke--what memorial service song will they play next? The band in the lounge did their best, but they were just a tad too corny to really engage the passengers. That said, a highlight of the week was the crew show--that gets a "10" for sure! The crew was very pleasant and I have no complaints there. They work hard--all of them. Food--this is why this isn't a 5 star review. The food was fine, but not great. We ate at Candles our first night and that was just OK--disappointing. The main dining room was better. But the menu seemed stagnant and boring. My last cruise was Oceania so perhaps my expectations were too high. This wouldn't keep me from sailing WINDSTAR again--I definitely would--but with different expectations. Spa--worth every penny I spent there! The acupuncturist was amazing! Fixed a shoulder pain I'd had for months! My massage was excellent too. Water platform--we had access on two days only due to weather. It was really fun to swim off the back of the boat, but those currents are no joke. When they have it closed, it's for a reason. Other passengers--wonderful people! Everyone was friendly and pleasant and easy to be around. We made some great friends (and met several groups who had met on prior WINDSTAR cruises). Would I sail them again--absolutely! When you consider the itineraries, price and service, they offer a great value. Final note--do not book their airport transfer--much cheaper to take a cab Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The entire experience was very good. From hotel to yacht to cabin was smooth. The cabin BX 124 was a very comfortable size, much bigger than standard cabin on celebrity or princess. We had room service several times and the service ... Read More
The entire experience was very good. From hotel to yacht to cabin was smooth. The cabin BX 124 was a very comfortable size, much bigger than standard cabin on celebrity or princess. We had room service several times and the service was excellent and choices very good. The entertainment in two areas were very good. We used the pool and hot tub. The casino was small. The staff were extremely attentive. Very clean ship. The food was good to great. The prices for drinks were reasonable. There was a cafe open till 5 daily which served small plates and specialty coffees - thus was very nice. Before choosing Windstar I searched many reviews and found not enough to really convince me either way but I am glad we took a chance. There were daily activities and the onboard gym were nice to have if you were interested. The port and shore excursions were well planned...you could be as active or lay backed as you wished. Cost were appropriate for each region. The tour directors were available for advise and suggestions if you wanted to do something on your own. Which we did following their tips. We did 3 excursions and we're happy with our choices. My only suggestion is you can transfer much cheaper yourself Windstar charged 60.00 per couple from airport to hotel and again 60.00 to transfer from hotel to yacht and again 60.00 to transfer to airport. So 180.00 was way to expensive can be done for half the price or less! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We just returned from the Jan. 16 SD I sailing from Marigot to Barbados. We sailed the same week in 2015 out of St. Thomas. While eager to enjoy SeaDream again, we also wondered whether a second trip would live up to our experience last ... Read More
We just returned from the Jan. 16 SD I sailing from Marigot to Barbados. We sailed the same week in 2015 out of St. Thomas. While eager to enjoy SeaDream again, we also wondered whether a second trip would live up to our experience last year. Any anxiety/concerns were unnecessary, as SeaDream I exceeded our memory and expectations! The Ship: Every aspect of the ship was in great condition--remarkable for a vessel 30 years old. The high standards for cleaning, maintenance and care were evident inside and out. Crew: What maybe surprised us the most was the welcome from members of the crew that we had come to know on our previous cruise. While absolutely a reflection of the excellent training and standards on SeaDream, many seemed genuinely to remember us, and made that a special part of the SeaDream experience. We were happy to see Gareth and Pierre again in their leadership roles, and especially excited to learn that Tomislav was promoted following Enes' departure from SeaDream--a very well deserved promotion. Stateroom 324: We sailed on Deck 3 again, appreciating the easy access to the pool deck and tender. We definitely like this level. The configuration and amenities were identical to last year, though we felt the difference being at the far forward position on the ship. The anchor dropping got our attention a couple of mornings, and the motion was a bit more pronounced during the final leg into Barbados. We would take the cabin again (it was the only Deck 3 remaining when we booked in May), but if possible would move midship to avoid the anchor noise. Our Stateroom attendant Kat was excellent, friendly and took great care of us. We packed lighter this year, and utilized the laundry service more, which was a good choice. We generally put laundry out when departing the stateroom for dinner, and it was always back the next afternoon. Food: If possible, even better than last year. This was the first sailing with new Executive Chef Alistair, and he was visible every night at dinner getting feedback and asking for reaction. His enthusiasm was great, and his skill was evident with every meal. Doramus, Robin and Zsambor made every meal a treat, offering great suggestions and perfect timing with every course. Christian was aboard as Sommelier, and provided excellent wine service at lunch and dinner. We thought the quality of wines poured at dinner was very good. We ordered a separate bottle off the list only once this trip, as we were very satisfied with the wines offered. We also enjoyed the opportunity to dine with the Captain one evening, who was a great host. Bar Service: Francisco, Danny and Martin provided outstanding service, with Martin making great Mojitos in the afternoons at the pool bar. Again, selection and quality of drinks was outstanding during the day and at night. The Piano Bar with Sammy was much frequented on this sailing compared to last year, with a good crowd every night and action at the Blackjack table most evenings. Land Adventures: A highlight of the trip was the Cat Sail/snorkeling from Mayreau to the Tobago Cays. The crew was outstanding, and the turtles around the ship and snorkeling site was a real treat. The sail back to Mayreau for the Beach Splash was beautiful. We also tried the Clear Kayaks on Ile de Saintes. It was a cloudy day, which limited visibility, though the clear kayaks were great. We stayed in very close to the main harbor. The tour leader indicated it is normally a 3 hour trip they tried to fit into 90 minutes. This excursion would be better if longer. Ports: Marigot: We arrived one day early, and stayed at the Mercure Hotel on Baie Nettle. The hotel was very nice and worked well for a short pre-cruise stay. They provided a very nice breakfast buffet. Guests were predominantly European. We ate dinner and lunch the next day at Dreams Restaurant, about a 200 meter walk from the hotel. The food at Dreams was outstanding at both meals. I would especially commend the selection of pizzas for lunch. The SD I departed from Galisbay Port, about a 15 minute taxi ride from the hotel. Gustavia: We dined on the ship and tendered over to the port. For a Saturday night, the town felt pretty quiet. We met some fellow passengers at Bar L'Oublie, where we enjoyed live music and dancing from a bar across the street until midnight. The next day we rented a Suzuki Jimny from Turbe rental cars, and spent the day visiting beaches around the island. We enjoyed Gouvernor's Beach the most. Lunch at Restaurant Santa Fe on a cliff overlooking the beach--excellent Mahi ceviche, gazpacho and lobster salad. Iles des Saintes: A small, quiet port--definitely a different feel in the Caribbean. We did the Clear Kayak excursion here. Grande De Anse, Martinique: Highlight here was Gareth's hike--a 2 km. rough trail up one hillside then down to Plage Arlot and swimming at the beach. If he offers the walk, do it! Rodney Bay: We experienced rain showers through the morning here, so after a brief walk, came back to the ship for lunch and enjoyed sun in the afternoon by the pool and swimming off the watersports platform. We would consider renting a car here next time, and exploring more of St. Lucia--there's not much at Rodney Bay. Bequia: The sail through the Grenadines was a highlight of the trip, and Bequia was a wonderful destination. Perfect weather, and Princess Margaret Beach was a $3 water taxi from the pier. We had lunch at Jack's on Princess Margaret beach, with excellent grilled mahi and grilled local lobster. The beach was crowded as another ship was in port, but the sand and water were outstanding, with lots of palm trees providing shade if you wanted a break from the sun. Mayreau: Cat Sail snorkeling here, described above. The Beach Splash location was ideal--completely private and an amazing barbeque lunch. Again, Chef Alistair was about ensuring all was perfect. Beach was great with lots of time in the water. Was the ideal end to the trip. Barbados: We had a late flight out Saturday afternoon, so we arranged a tour to visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery, Harrison Caves and lunch before arriving at the airport around 2:30. Carson was waiting for us at the port, and provided an excellent tour. The blizzard on the east coast made travel back challenging, but our flight did depart later that evening, getting us as far as Atlanta. Getting home to DC is another story..... Conclusion: While the SD I had 104 passengers compared to 84 last year, the ship never felt crowded, and service never missed a beat. We've not repeated many trips over the years, and were surprised we wanted to take SeaDream again after only one year. We made an open booking for our next trip on the last night--our easiest decision on the trip. There is nothing about the trip I can really criticize or highlight for improvement--its just that good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
First- We were informed a couple days before our vacation was to start that our cruise was cancelled. I asked to be switched to another ship at 9:00 am and by 5 pm I needed to call and be very demanding to make sure we had a cabin on a ... Read More
First- We were informed a couple days before our vacation was to start that our cruise was cancelled. I asked to be switched to another ship at 9:00 am and by 5 pm I needed to call and be very demanding to make sure we had a cabin on a boat going somewhere. Our excursions were of coarse cancelled as well as the loss of our pre and post cruise hotels and air fair. I had to scramble to make something of our Christmas Vacation the night before we were scheduled to leave. Overall the actual ship was okay. 1) The cabin was clean and a good size 2) The onboard staff was very accommodating and eager to please. 3) Entertainment on board is poor at best. 4) Food quality and choices are also poor. 5) Excursions are very un-organized. Transportation un-organized and excursions cancelled or times changed. Reception desk never seemed to know that was going on. At the end of the cruise I was overcharged and so far have not been credited and been given one excuse after another by the guest relations department at Windstar. I would not recommend a line that treats is passengers with such a carless attitude. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We stayed in the lowest-price cabin on board, and that was over $20,000 with airfare. This review is written with that in mind; this was not a $4,000 Princess cruise and my expectations, and this review, are calibrated accordingly. I ... Read More
We stayed in the lowest-price cabin on board, and that was over $20,000 with airfare. This review is written with that in mind; this was not a $4,000 Princess cruise and my expectations, and this review, are calibrated accordingly. I should point out that even though the fare and port fees were over $18,000, this was the cheapest cabin on board. First, let's get out in the open the main reason for the poor overall rating. For years we had wanted to visit Saba. As an aside, we had once missed the opportunity to dine at The Beach House at the southern tip of St. Kitts (we drove all the way there only to find they had closed unexpectedly) and we once attempted to climb to the top of Mount Nevis only to be stymied by No Trespassing signs, learning later that having a guide is a must to complete that climb. So we were thrilled to find a luxury cruise--ahem, I mean "yacht"--that was going to stop at all three of those places, plus visits to Montserrat and St. Barts, both our to-visit list. Expensive? You bet--but worth it to us to visit so many places on our bucket list all in one shot. Or so we thought. Shortly after we boarded the Seadream II, we were handed a new itinerary announcing we'd be skipping Saba entirely. Seems that the seas had been too rough over the past several weeks, so they rearranged the ports of call. St. Kitts was out, too. We were devastated. But hold on, surely I'm not expressing sour grapes over a decision made for the safety of the ship? Ah, but here's the thing: to be absolutely certain that nothing kept us from keeping a $20,000 appointment, we flew into our departure port (St. Martin) four days early. We had plenty of time to visit Saba for a day or two, there are air and ship ferries daily from St. Martin and St. Marteen to Saba, and we could have easily taken one: all it needed was an email, and we were of course checking messages several times a day. Seadream management simply did not bother. I should add that at least we still got on the boat; our traveling companions almost weren't so lucky. They had missed a connection and did not know if they were going to make it to St. Martin in time, and almost changed their flight to meet the Seadream the next day in St. Barts. Good thing they didn't, because St. Barts was moved--without announcement--from the first day (Sunday) to the fifth day. They were told that was in order to visit while the shops were open, but that explanation does not stand up to close examination: the shops were closed on Sunday back when the itinerary was first announced. They almost lost five-sevenths of their entire trip, and that they did not was due to sheer luck and not to any foresight or effort on Seadream's part. The courtesy of a simple email would have prevented this near-catastrophe. Nor was this the only failing on the part of the captain and company management to communicate important issues to the guests. We left Anguilla (added at the last moment) Sunday and ran into fairly heavy seas, with the result that a number of passengers (myself included) got seasick. I later discovered that the Concierge stocks Dramamine, but that's not mentioned in the cabin literature and wasn't part of the departure briefing (which consists almost entirely of sales pitches for shore excursions--more about those later in the Port descriptions--and future sailings). The ship made a high-speed run for Montserrat, which made the heaving unbearable. Seeing as how the Seadream lacks stabilizers, there were a lot of toilets flushing that night. Around 2AM, the ship suddenly became quiet and steady, and we arrived at Montserrat later that morning without further incident. But here's the thing: in the stairway is a computer screen showing the ship's progress and the times at which Seadream arrived and departed. Upon checking the display, I noticed that we HAD in fact stopped at St. Kitts (which had been scratched from the itinerary, along with our hopes of visiting The Beach House) after all, no doubt to shelter from the punishing waves. The real irony of this came on the last day at Nevis, when we were docked within sight--almost within swimming distance, in fact--of The Beach House on neighboring St. Kitts. Two nights later, the captain came on the public address to announce that we would be running into heavy seas again. "If you are sensitive," he said, "you will be feeling it." Thanks for the warning, captain; but why did you wait until we were actually pulling up anchor to tell the passengers, instead of giving them some advance notice so they could take medicine to combat the symptoms (it takes an hour or two for Dramamine to take effect). Hint: get your physician to prescribe a Scopolamine patch, several passengers had them and swore by them. Speaking of physicians, the ship's doctor was worse than useless--on boarding, my companion informed him that she had a sinus infection and had lost her Amoxicillin; he promised to provide some tablets, and then was never seen nor heard from again for the remainder of the trip. The medical office is open a total of two hours a day, one before lunch and one after. What exactly does the doctor get paid for? We were very interested in the "massage on the beach" offered on the final day as part of the beach splash party. But nowhere could we find where they were set up, and we left somewhat saddened-and tenser--without a massage. Back on board, we were told that they had decided to move it from the beach to the back of the hotel located there. But once again, they did not bother to communicate this to the passengers. Finally, because of the way in which the itinerary was rearranged, we spent two full days traveling back and forth between the northern and central Antilles instead of hitting them in order. The consequence of this was while we gained a stop at Anguilla, we actually lost three ports. None of this was explained. So in short, communications to the passengers from the bridge, and from Seadream management, were terrible. Just a few words would have made the voyage so much more enjoyable. This, then, is the major beef we had: poor and thoughtless communications from ship management largely negating the otherwise excellent service from the line staff. For most cruises most of this would never have come up, but the true measure of any service organization is not how it handles things when they go right but how they communicate when things go wrong; and Seadream falls far short of the mark here. For a $2,000 cruise this lack of communications would be annoying; for $20,000 it is unforgivable.And with that...on to the rest of the review. From this point on, I will provide some comparisons with Seven Seas, a roughly equivalent top-drawer luxury cruise line; specifically, the Navigator, with around 450 passengers compared to Seadream's 110. Seven Seas provides at least SOME free Internet, one hour if I recall correctly; l enough for you to get some emails and in particular to arrange, confirm, and if necessary rearrange travel. Seadream charges you for every second; not what I'd expect if I was a guest on someone's private yacht, and I certainly would not have expected to be nickled-and-dimed on a $20,000 to $60,000 cruise. That was just insulting. Exercise room was well equipped and appointed, at least as large and as modern as the considerably larger Seven Seas Navigator. It is combined with the spa area, which my companion found excellent. The best food on Seven Seas outshines the best food on the Seadream. Having said that, there's a very big caveat: the best on Seven Seas, or any other line I have been on, means their premier select restaurant; and you'll be lucky to eat there once during your cruise. Seadream does not have any exclusive eatery; instead, their "ordinary" is extraordinary. Chef Thomasz was brilliant and amazing, even making small batches of exquisite cultural specialties for the various nationalities (my companion and several other passengers were Polish, so some nights we had perogies or galumpki--not on the menu, simply upon request...and sometimes, without even requesting. The wait staff was flawless, but the food runners consistently made mistakes - bacon not Canadian bacon, mixing up who got what dish. Not a problem but surprising for such a high-end presentation. Special commendations to Sommelier Pablo, with whom I often disagreed with his choices of wine and was patient, flexible, and eager to please. I learned a lot about wine form him, and I daresay he learned a few things from me as well. He would catch me at lunch to go over his dinner choices, never said no, and in a few times convinced me that his choice was the better one--and he was usually (but not always) right. I don't want an expert to say yes to everything I say, I want to get the benefit of their knowledge--I am very grateful for the experience with Pablo. I read several reviewers who claimed that everyone (and in one review, re-stressed: but EVERYBODY) knows your name. That's a bit of hyperbole. However, most of the customer-facing staff that you see every day does: concierge, maitre-d'hotel, stewardess (Rayn was fantastic, by the way), wait staff, bartenders, activities director all had it by the third day. Oddly, most of them never did learn my companion's name and would just defer to me. Anyway, this intimate knowledge of passengers, while perhaps not as uiversal as advertised, is unheard of on the other cruises I've taken, and even on Seven Seas most of the staff, even bar staff, had at best a rudimentary command of English. Speaking of odd, the reason why they ask you what name you go by as part of registration isn't because that's the name they will call you; it's rather the name that will be printed on your complementary pajamas. A nice touch, to be sure, but only available in medium, large, and extra-large so if you are big like me or particularly petite, somewhat embarrassing. We did not get to sleep outdoors on the Balinese beds--too windy, and the night we had one scheduled (the big one in the bow!) was the night I got seasick. But they sure looked comfy. The water toys platform is a great gimmick, I do wish they'd have them available more hours (since we were always ashore doing things) but it was a great differentiation from Seven Seas. See the Deck Plans section for my comments on the cabin. My final comparison to Seven Seas: on all other cruises I've been on, whether luxury boats or giant mass-market megaships, most excursions are free. As I'll explain further in my port descriptions, none of the excursions on Seadream--at least, not on my particular voyage--were included, and they were nothing you could not have made better arrangements on your own, or frankly in both of our cases, being on our own for free. In St. Barts, we boarded a snorkeling catamaran that took us right back out to the Seadream (we could have kayaked for three minutes and done the same excursion on our own); at Nevis, not only did our hiking tour cover the exact same ground as we had done on our own five years ago (i.e. there was no need to have a "guide" along at all), and not only did the guide's contribution consist of showing us pictures in a book, but the trail was washed out and we turned around well before reaching the top--a fact that was withheld from us until we reached the turnaround. In short, don't book Seadream for the excursions! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015

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