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30 St. Thomas to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

Seadream II: Antigua - Antigua, March 31 - April 6, 2018. Anyway because of Hurricane Irma’s destruction of St. Maarten Seadream had moved their hub to St. Johns, Antigua for the whole season. A wierd choice because Antigua has no ... Read More
Seadream II: Antigua - Antigua, March 31 - April 6, 2018. Anyway because of Hurricane Irma’s destruction of St. Maarten Seadream had moved their hub to St. Johns, Antigua for the whole season. A wierd choice because Antigua has no Cruise Terminal - in fact no facilities whatsoever. We came in on an Island hopper from St Maarten during the morning, took a taxi to St. Johns and was actually dropped off at the top of the pedestrian street leading down to the pier. No Seadream staff. No sign. A minuscle public office (when we finally found it) served as combined customs and immigration. Still no Seadream staff. By questioning the local person at the office we found out where the boat was parked: 300 meters of south-facing boardwalk with no shadow but a lot of stairs from where we were. No Seadream staff. No Porters. Plenty of luggage. We hauled our 60 kilos over to the boat and happily but sweaty climed the gangway. On the otherwise empty deck finally we found a Seadream Officer. Without any greating he promptly denied us access. By then it was almost 1 pm. but apparently we were an hour too early. Could we please sit in the shadow somewhere? No. Get off the ship and return later. What about our luggage standing on the pier? Just leave it there! And from then it went downhill: Only 30 passengers of which 12 were invited agents. Inconsistent service. Arrogant Middle Managers. The “port” at Virgin Gorda (Leverick Bay) was completely destroyed by Irma. Not one building was left standing. Yet they insisted in tendering in the few braves that wanted to. For what? Instead they could be anchoring up at a nice beach somewhere in the neigborhood. After all that should be their strenght: Small size and few passengers equals flexibility. Not so on Seadream. In fact the only change in the itineray was to not go to White Beach, Joost Van Dyke which happens to be one of the most spectacular beaches on the Planet. Instead they went to a dark-grey uninviting beach on another island. Why? Because the shack they use for the beach BBQ on White Bay Beach had not been rebuilt yet and they wanted to show the agents what a beach BBQ was. Apparently there was a shack on Dark Grey Beach where they could feed the flock of agents (with severely burnt feet). Out of six dinners three were good. Dishes had to be sent out at the other three. Compared to the other 6* lines the cabins are small and uncomfortable. The bathroom is so small that I had to sit side-ways on the loo. The sink is barely above my knee caps. (I am 6,3). To take a shower was an acrobatic exercise. Since 1999 we have cruised upwards of 400 days always on small or medium sized 6* lines. The six days on board Seadream were the most expensive per diem - and the poorest value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
SeaDream is niche and one's response will depend on how one visualizes a 5-star experience. There's nothing wrong with it, but a lot of what we've come to associate with luxury resorts requires bigness, like walk-in closets, ... Read More
SeaDream is niche and one's response will depend on how one visualizes a 5-star experience. There's nothing wrong with it, but a lot of what we've come to associate with luxury resorts requires bigness, like walk-in closets, big bathrooms, lots of choices in restaurants and entertainment, structured programs. So, gut check time -- if your lux ideal requires big, then SeaDream isn't for you. Things like the wine list and the pool are going to be great but not big. Onboard shopping is very limited. This isn't a floating Bellagio -- you'll feel the boat move . . . a lot. I'd also say SeaDream isn't "plush" -- sheets, towels, furniture, fixtures are all very comfortable and up to date, but not over-the-top or to-die-for. On the other hand, you'll love SeaDream (as we did) if your definition of luxury corresponds to what SeaDream brings to the table. The food is phenomenal (really) in creativity, presentation, execution, you name it. In this respect, smallness had no negative effect on choices -- the menu always had lots of choices, even for breakfast. These are 300' yachts, not cruise ships, which makes them both charming and convenient. There is wooden trim as well as doors and hatches that need to be latched. Literally nothing on the ship is more than a 2 minute walk from anything else -- I could go back to our room to retrieve a forgotten item and be back at the pool or topside restaurant in less than a minute. (Incidentally, wind and water make for good white noise -- we barely heard a thing from outside the room, even from the piano bar only 30' away on Deck 4 or the topside bar directly overhead). Mostly, however, SeaDream delivers its kind of 5-star luxury through relationships -- both among guests and between guests and crew. (The latter may be more commonly known as "service," but it's still about personal relationships.) SeaDream is famous for its social atmosphere and its service, and I won't belabor the point other than to say it's real and it's all it's cracked up to be, and to add a few observations: 1. Social doesn't mean frat house and doesn't mean an absence of privacy. We're still talking about 40-80 year old adults, mostly in their 50s and 60s, of differing temperaments. You can be social if and when you want to be. I considered us fairly social and yet we still ate breakfast alone almost every morning, lunch alone most days, and dinner alone twice. 2. If you're in the mood and the moons align for a party, there are unforgettable, fun experiences that can only happen within the kind of socially intimate groups you'll find on SeaDream. The high-enthusiam (if not high-quality) singalongs to George's piano don't work with a group of strangers. Same for the no-particular-occasion dance party at the Top of the Yacht that roared until 1:30 am until we took pity on Gareth and Domo and let them go to bed. It was self-DJ'd, meaning a bunch of 40, 50 and 60 year olds took turns plugging in their iPods to play fun, middle-age people dance music. That can only happen among people who already know and like one another and you're pretty sure they'll have extra Advil to share in the morning. 3. Maybe unwittingly, SeaDream has taken the social science breakthrough of our time (relationships, not stuff, makes us happy) and applied it to luxury cruises. It's your relationship with the staff (a/k/a service) and your relationship with the other guests. The result is a sense of contentment and security that you'll pay good money for, also known as luxury. Who knew. Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a special shout-out to some of the staff. The waiters and bartenders work very hard, and I want to especially thank some for making our trip very special: Domo, Gareth, Grenold, O'Neill, Bartosz. Thanks, guys. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Time for my annual “state-of-the-union” address. We’ve been sailing SeaDream yearly since 2010. Since every trip has been memorable and there aren’t many reviews posted on Cruise Critic, I’ve tried to write a review for most of ... Read More
Time for my annual “state-of-the-union” address. We’ve been sailing SeaDream yearly since 2010. Since every trip has been memorable and there aren’t many reviews posted on Cruise Critic, I’ve tried to write a review for most of our trips. This years vacation stands out as one of our favorites for many of the usual reasons - great itinerary, great crew and service, great fellow passengers, great food - and as luck would have it, great weather! We started our vacation by staying at Caneel Bay on St. John for 3 days prior to the cruise. We like to take a few days to get into vacation mode before boarding SeaDream. Caneel Bay has always been on our bucket list and we were quite pleased with our stay. It has some similarities to SeaDream in that the rooms are not modern and slick, but more retro and quaint. We loved the laid back vibe and gorgeous grounds and beaches. Definitely a place we want to return to. The resort runs a ferry taking guests back and forth to St. Thomas. It was very easy leaving Saturday morning and getting to the dock to board SeaDream. Highly recommend it as a pre- or post-cruise stay. ITINERARY SATURDAY | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. SUNDAY | Sopers Hole and Norman Island. Anegada was supposed to be our first port, but because of swells the captain moved Anegada to Friday as the weather report showed a better chance of tendering later in the week. We took a quick walk around the shops at Sopers Hole and then headed back for lunch. At Norman Island we took a quick trip ashore to Pirates Bight and quickly returned to the ship to enjoy the pool. MONDAY | Anguilla. We took a taxi to Shoal Bay, rented lounge chairs and enjoyed the beach. We stopped in at Elvis’ bar at the dock for a beer before taking the ferry back to the ship. TUESDAY | Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Barts in the evening. We took our only ship excursion on St. Maarten. We thoroughly enjoyed the America’s Cup Regatta. Great fun and well run though, if you suffer from seasickness, it might not be for you. Got a relaxing poolside massage while we sailed from St. Maarten to St. Barts. We stayed onboard in the evening, though many guests went ashore to have dinner. WEDNESDAY | St. Barts. We have a routine we follow for St. Barts. Shopping in he morning, Nikki beach and lunch midday, and then a late afternoon trip to Gouvernor’s beach. Usually we have lunch at LaPlage, but this year we decided to try Eden Rock. SeaDream’s concierge made the reservation for us. Lunch and service was excellent and we will probably make it our “go-to” lunch spot on future trips. THURSDAY | Jost Van Dyke (Champagne & Caviar Splash) and Foxy’s in the evening. Because of the change in itinerary the Splash was moved to Thursday. As always, it was a highlight of the trip and I think we prefer having it on Thursday. There was no worrying about rushing back to the ship to pack. Instead we wandered down to Soggy Dollar and people-watched until the last tender back. That evening we felt obligated to take a trip to Foxy’s. It was extremely crowded and we couldn’t even get through the crowds at the bar to get a beer. In the future will probably pass on Foxy’s if it’s offered. FRIDAY | Anegada. This was the only island on our trip that was new to us. After a treacherous (but fun) trip onto the tender and a bumpy trip to the island, SeaDream had a complimentary shuttle waiting to take passengers to Cow Wreck beach. The beach was spectacular and went on for miles, great for a long beach walk. We tried the famous lobster lunch and hate to admit it but was totally unimpressed - maybe it’s just us as the others guests were raving about the lobsters. Service at the bar/restaurant was good, and we would rate this as the prettiest beach of the trip. CREW - as always the crew was top notch. Some that really stand out: Captain Holmsteinsson. This was our first trip sailing with him and we were lucky enough to dine with him one evening. He was a very nice dinner host and great captain. Keeping us informed all week of weather situations and going the extra mile to make sure we were able to experience Anegada. Hotel Manager | Christophe. What a professional! We try to be low maintenance, and because of the great service, we really don’t have much need to request anything extra. But it seems Christophe is so good that he anticipated what would make our vacation better. For example, while we were eating lunch at the splash Christophe came over to say hello. One of us mentioned how the coconut macaroons that had been served all week were fabulous, and the only way to improve upon them would be to dip them in chocolate. That evening at dinner a plate full of chocolate dipped macaroons appeared, followed by a visit by the pastry chef. Another special touch, on the last day of the cruise we were on the pool deck waiting to see our last Caribbean sunset for awhile. Again Christophe stopped by to say hello. We mentioned how this was our favorite time of day and how absolutely perfect the weather and day had been. He asked if we would like to dine outside that evening. We were thrilled. I know this is something that we can request, but we feel that the waiters work so hard at all times that we don’t want to add to their workload. With Christophe’s blessing our last meal was perfect with the added treat of dining under the stars. Waiter | O’Neil. Poor guy was the “lucky” one that served us breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. Such a nice man and perfect waiter. He was always checking to make sure we were happy and everything was prepared properly. Casino | Stela. Adorable, funny and entertaining, we enjoyed spending most evenings with her. Head Bartender | Severin (piano bar). Great guy and great bartender. One of us requested a pickle martini - I know, why would you do that? He didn’t have pickle juice but told us he would try to find some when he went shopping. A few nights later while we were in the lounge for cocktail hour, he came towards us with a tray with a jar of pickles on it! He also made a perfect Lemon Drop, Espresso Martini, B&B...come to think of it all of his cocktails were perfect. On top of that, he is just a really sweet guy. Top of the Yacht Bartender | Gareth. We usually ended each night with a drink at the TOY Bar. Gareth was game to make anything we requested and quite enjoyable to chat with. He has only been with SeaDream for a few weeks but seemed like a natural fit. Music | Din Din (guitar) and George (piano). Both are very talented, one night they did a poolside concert that was very enjoyable. We spent many a night with George at the piano bar, it was quite lively on this cruise and always fun, though I think some current music additions would be welcome. We also enjoyed spending time with Din Din on the America’s Regatta. Tender Crew. Unfortunately I don’t know their names but they did a great job all week. There were a few times when the seas were rough and they were able to get us on and off the tenders safely. FELLOW PASSENGERS. We had originally booked a cruise a few weeks later on SeaDream I, but because of a work conflict of one of our group we needed to change the date. When we called SeaDream to change we were told that the 3rd and 4th floor for this itinerary had been purchased by a group and they didn’t have any information about the group. We’ve read all of the horror stories on this board about groups taking over the ship and were a bit hesitant. Since this was the only trip that would work for us we crossed our fingers and booked. It turns out a travel agent who has sailed on SeaDream for many years had booked the 2 levels. His guests were very inclusive and quite fun. I’ve always thought that one of the biggest selling points of SeaDream is that the fellow guests are so down-to-earth and friendly. Last year was a bit of an anomaly, as quite a few guests seemed to have a superiority attitude, and I was scared this might be a trend -- I’m happy to report that it didn’t carry over to this year! FOOD. The food, as we’ve become accustomed to, was superb this year. There seemed to be a lot of new items on the menu, but enough old reliables that we weren’t disappointed. Chef Thomaz was very visible and his usual happy self. The desserts seemed better than ever - and the dessert extravaganza was outstanding. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. Just to be fair and balanced, here are a few areas that could be improved upon: Pool Bar Service. This would be my only real complaint. The pool service seems to have suffered a cut-back. In the past there seemed to be 2 bartenders during the day. On this cruise, there was only one server at most times and he seemed overworked. On a Caribbean cruise the pool seems to be the most popular area during the day, cutting back on service here doesn’t make sense. Wine. The wine at dinner is generally pretty bad. We purchased wines most evening. I’m not a wine snob and there are quite a few inexpensive wines I drink that I enjoy. I think the complimentary wine list could be easily improved on. Bring back the pistachio cookies! I know, how can we complain when there is so much to choose from, but the pistachio cookies seemed like SeaDreams signature cookie. They were missed, but I didn’t gain as much weigh on this vacation, so there was a silver lining. Cocktail Hour hors d’ouvres. Lots of repeats and not very exciting, House Plant in the stateroom. This is my crazy nit-picky thing. If you read my review a few years ago I was appalled at the 1970 style plant in the staterooms. The next year it was replaced with a grassy looking plant. I of course envisioned the change as the heads of SeaDream reading my review, sitting back and saying, “what an astute passenger, she’s right - let’s replace it with something modern”. Well, flash forward to this year and the 1970s style plant is back. So much for my influence THINGS WE LOVED. Overall we loved everything about the week. Some of the extra special things we loved that I haven’t listed above: - Love walking up the ramp when we first arrive and getting a glimpse of the crew we’ve had the privilege to sail with before. - Love that every year our list of “favorite” crew gets more and more names added to it. - Love the new and improved monogrammed PJs. The new cotton pants are very nice. - Love coming back to a beautifully made stateroom every evening -thanks to Jesse our room steward. - Love sitting at the TOYB in the evening enjoying a cocktail, each other’s company, listening to the waves, and star-gazing. - Love watching (and sometimes love listening) to the singers at the piano bar each evening - always entertaining. - Love crispy bacon each morning. - Love that they grate chocolate over the cappuccino -- it's the little things! - Love swimming off the back of the boat -- this trip the captain even had a surprise sunset swim available one evening. - Love the “voila” every evening at dinner. It never gets old. - Love taking the tender to the beach the morning of the splash. - Love knowing that we will be back on-board next year! SeaDream really is a special vacation for us and one we don’t take for granted. We visit places that are breathtakingly beautiful, while being treated to impeccable service by a crew that works so hard, but always with a smile. Thanks for another week of wonderful memories. Happy to report the state of SeaDream is better than ever! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We'd been with Sea Dream Yacht Club twice before and enjoyed it very much. This trip was our LAST on Sea Dream. We had booked back-to-back cruises for 2018 on board which we have now cancelled. Our stateroom was OK...it was one ... Read More
We'd been with Sea Dream Yacht Club twice before and enjoyed it very much. This trip was our LAST on Sea Dream. We had booked back-to-back cruises for 2018 on board which we have now cancelled. Our stateroom was OK...it was one of the ones that can be converted into a suite. The layout was set up for combining cabins...not for being an individual room. The first week we had one chef and then the second week his contract was up so another chef came on board. The food the second week was a little better. The food, for the most part, was good. The bread was at best fair. We stopped at islands were terrific European bakeries, but bread was not one of the things the ship bought locally...they baked on board...but not well. Beef was always good...steaks and prime rib exceptional. The problem I had was with the casino. Stella both "managed" and dealt at the single blackjack table they had. She had some strange unwritten rules...if she made a mistake and exposed a card that shouldn't be played she never burned the card...she just made it the next card out...so if it was a six and the next card out came to a player they got the six...no choice. She claimed "I never burn cards". The "casino" is opposite the piano bar in a very small area. The passengers are given a microphone to sing along with the pianist...bad idea. Most of the guests were drunk or getting their quickly and they sang like...well...lets just say it was load and there were words involved but it was a far cry from singing. I usually wore ear plugs in the casino when I played. They use European rules...they only look under aces...not 10's so you can have a lot of money on the table from splits and double downs and the dealer can turn over a blackjack.. That adds about 5% to the house. You also have to play 2 hands if you are the only one at the table and you can't play more than 2 hands. So if you are alone you are locked into the shoe...you can't change the fall of the cards by playing an extra hand or staying out of a hand. I lost most nights. On the last night I finally raised my bet to the table maximum which is $50 as I was winning and I was trying to get even. I got back about 1/4th of my two weeks losses and then Stella, the iron fisted manager/dealer from Serbia, shut the table down. She told me it was because I got into a confrontation with other guests. I was the only player and was quite tired of the load screeching coming from the piano bar. I went outside the casino and said, "Can you people please sing a little louder?" I then returned to the table. Stella "took a break" for twenty minutes and when she came back she closed the table 50 minutes early. The second in command came up and claimed that we were in "American waters" which was a lie. The table was closed because I was winning for a change. I've played a lot of blackjack in a lot of places over the years. This casino was terrible. If you play there consider it a contribution to Sea Dreams Yacht Club...not gambling. By the way, the seats at the table were set so close to the table that you could hardly sit down. There are too many other small ship cruise lines that offer not only better blackjack rules, but a much better experience. My wife and I will not travel with Sea Dreams again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
First I need to say is that anyone that wants to be picky should never go on a cruise!! I couldn't wait to write this review. In fact I'm doing it as we head to the Airport. The Escape was a very Beautiful Ship with the Wow ... Read More
First I need to say is that anyone that wants to be picky should never go on a cruise!! I couldn't wait to write this review. In fact I'm doing it as we head to the Airport. The Escape was a very Beautiful Ship with the Wow factor! From first entering the ship all the way to the exiting the ship on the last day the crew was Superb!! Starting at the Port to getting on the ship went smoothly! Yes there is a waiting period so don't get there at 9 am! We arrived at 11:30-11:45 and was on board by 12:45. Once on the ship we were able to eat a great lunch! It was so relaxing and the staff was always friendly! The only hiccup was getting 1 out 8 pieces of our luggage. The tag got ripped off so it was at the Guest Service Desk! If we would have thought to go there earlier I'm sure we would have had my luggage a lot earlier! Lesson learned! Throughout the cruise every single person was friendly and looked like they enjoyed their jobs! There is one exception and that was the young girl at the Excursion Desk! She was quite curt and seemed as if we were bothering her with our many questions we had about an Excursion! She must of been having an off day! Not that you have to but we tipped our stewards that cleaned our rooms and our friendly bartenders!! I know the gratuity is included but I think they deserved extra! Our room was cleaned very well and our kiddos loved having a animal made from towels left on their beds each day! On our port days the whole Embarkation process was so easy!! On our final day Exiting the ship was a breeze as well. We took our own luggage and it wasn't bad at all! I believe we were off the ship within 20 minutes. The food and drinks were the best I have ever had at a resort. The After Midnight show was spectacular. Only wished the Million Dollar Quartette wasn't cancelled. But all in all there are people that like to only point out the bad and I'm sure there are but the good definitely out weighs them on this ship! This was our first cruise. We are a family of 7! I will definitely sail on a NCL ship again!! In fact NCL ships put the others we saw at the ports to shame! Keep up the energy and greeting your guests back on the ships NCL! The other ships look boring and I think the other ships guests wished they were getting on our ship when they saw the special treatments we got as we were boarding...cool wash clothes, water and juice!! Very nice factor! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am a veteran of many cruises, from Atlantic crossings on the old Italian Line, to the Home Line, to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, including the Oasis of the Sea. I have brought my children and grandchildren on cruise vacations. I ... Read More
I am a veteran of many cruises, from Atlantic crossings on the old Italian Line, to the Home Line, to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships, including the Oasis of the Sea. I have brought my children and grandchildren on cruise vacations. I have traveled with groups and with just my wife. We enjoy cruising. This was the first time on a small ship for my wife and me. We traveled with a group of 23 from our Wine Making School. The experience was quite a difference from the larger ships. Mostly good but with a few drawbacks. We embarked from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The embarking process was unbelievably simple. We dropped off our luggage about 2 hours prior to boarding time. When we returned, we found no long lines and endless forms to consume an hour or more. Upon presentation of our boarding documents and passports we were ushered into the Grand Salon Lounge for a cocktail party. As we talked and met people, we were called, several families at a time, into the "registration room"/Concierge area, where a friendly staff quickly processed our information, took our photos for sea passes, and had us escorted to our staterooms by a stewardess with our baggage. Painless! The cabins were first class. They were large, modern and comfortable. As an "all-inclusive," the room bar was available and well stocked. The mandatory Life Boat drill was handled quickly and efficiently. Taking a little time to become familiar with the ship, we were very pleased with the obvious luxury of the appointments and the pride the crew and staff took in maintaining everything and providing excellent service. The various restaurants were easily reached and all attractive. The cuisine was 5 star all the way. The variety was excellent and the quality of food and presentation was excellent. No chaotic buffet lines here. Even when you selected your own food from the available buffet, a waiter would take the plate from you and escort you to your seat. It became obvious early on that service was a prime goal. By the second day, the crew knew the passengers by name, and addressed you as you entered their areas. We sat at the pool one day and ordered drinks. The second day the waiter appeared with our drinks without even asking. Enrico, the pianist at the piano bar was excellent. He played a wide variety of music with true virtuosity. Being a pretty decent pianist myself I could appreciate his talent. Plus he is an excellent singer. Zoltan, the chief bartender also worked the piano bar and was the friendliest, most attentive bartender you could ask for. The ship has a complement of mountain bikes, wave runners, snorkel equipment and other land and sea toys that are available for passenger use at no additional charge. The crew numbers 95 while the passengers are 112 if full. That's almost 1:1 attention. So where are the drawbacks? I do miss the entertainment and shows available on larger ships. The "casino" consisted of 1 blackjack table and dealer, Lori. She was also a friendly person but some slot machines would have been appreciated. Lori and Enrico doubled as the water sports people during the day. Everyone had multiple duties. The port experiences were a bit disappointing. We went to Anguilla, St. Barts, Nevis and St. Kitts, Tortola, Norman Island, White bay, Jost van Dyke. Most of the landings were away from where the larger ships docked and all were by tender. Several stops occurred while the shopping areas were closed as they only open when the large ships are in. All three of the land excursions we attempted to book were cancelled because we did not have the minimum number for participation. The luncheon provided at our last stop was phenomenal. The Concierge should stop making referrals to the Four Seasons in Nevis as they wanted $500 just to use beach lounges and their pool for the day. Right down the beach was Sunshine's who only charged $5 per lounge for the day. So would I do it again. YES - It all depends on what you are looking for. I would not take my adult children, ages 39, 37 and 30 because there would not be enough action for them. Likewise my 4 grandchildren would be bored. But for adults looking for a restful break, this was ideal. Is it better than the large ships or not as good? Neither. They both serve different purposes. The disembarkation process was also the easiest I have ever experienced. The customs inspectors came right on board. There were no long lines and we were cleared and exited the ship as simply as we boarded. It was a "Sea Dream" experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Seadream sailings are NOT your typical cruising. Read their tag line and it says it all. This is yachting so if you're expecting and hoping for Seabourn,Crystal or Regent you might be disappointed. This is a kick back, relaxing ... Read More
Seadream sailings are NOT your typical cruising. Read their tag line and it says it all. This is yachting so if you're expecting and hoping for Seabourn,Crystal or Regent you might be disappointed. This is a kick back, relaxing vacation with amazing staff who are full time attentive . The crew are happy, funny, and appear to love what they do. When you're on vacation you want to see smiles! Cabins are adequate size and appointed decently. I did think the bedding could be updated but that would be my only complaint on the room. Bathrooms are small but the showers are good. I read another review that was highly critical and it was hard, given our experience, to imagine they were on Seadream. Maybe I'm a bit more relaxed but then the trip is supposed to be a vacation. If you're looking for glitz and glamour look somewhere else otherwise book a relaxing vacation on Seadreamand enjoy the service and fun of the "yacht". Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We did enjoy this cruise very much. The ship is a nice new ship, however some of the changes are not really that great. They have made the theater much smaller and in order to get a decent seat you need to go to the theater no less that ... Read More
We did enjoy this cruise very much. The ship is a nice new ship, however some of the changes are not really that great. They have made the theater much smaller and in order to get a decent seat you need to go to the theater no less that thirty to forty minutes before the show. If not you will probably not even get in to see the show. They have also removed the little tables in front of the seats, so if you do decide to buy a drink there is no place to sit your drink. The shows are extremely short (45 to 55 minutes) in order for them to squeeze in three shows per night. Shows were generally less than average, but o.k. Some of the most popular game shows they squeezed into the very tiny Princess theater. The buffet was terrific and we ate there often, mainly due to the fact that even though the food in the dining rooms was really good, the SERVICE IN ALL THREE DINING ROOMS WAS TERRIBLE!! In two different dining rooms we waited for over forty-five minutes with NOTHING OTHER THAN A GLASS OF WATER to be served. It appeared the the dining rooms had terrible staffing problems. I would say that in general that this was probably the one complaint that I herd over and over. Don't get me wrong, this was a very nice cruise and we would probably do it again. I think that this is just a problem that Princess needs to work out. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just arrived home after a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Glory Eastern Caribiean. Embarkment was very smooth and fast. First night we found out we were right above the piano bar (cabin 6453).........needless to say many sleepless nights. ... Read More
Just arrived home after a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Glory Eastern Caribiean. Embarkment was very smooth and fast. First night we found out we were right above the piano bar (cabin 6453).........needless to say many sleepless nights. Make sure you book on the 7th floor or above...this was a nightmare!!! Food was good!! We ate in the dining room every night for supper. The odd and unusual food was fun. Breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck was good...Fish and Chips on top of ship - oysters were awesome!! Shows - we went to one family comedy it was lame to say the least! The juggling act was good. The Piano man in the piano bar was very irritating - 7 nights of him till 2 am! Entertainment in the casino was good. We enjoyed the 3 card poker at the casino alot!! The ports of call were all excellent! St. Thomas being my favorite!! We did excrusions in 3 of the 4 ports ...power snorkeling in Grand Turk, Beach and Stingrays in Bahamas....tour of St. Thomas in a open bus (Banana Drinks to die for) in Puerto Rico we used a Taxi to get around and toured Old San Juan by walking. Disembarkment was easy - we checked our luggage through to the airport and it arrived safely in Edmonton....we were impressed. This was great not having to deal with the luggage from ship to airport....it was automatically checked through to our final destination and we never saw it until we arrived home! The staff on the whole was very friendly and helpful! All in all we enjoyed it and would do it again in a couple of years! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My wife and I approached this with some fear and trepidation due to a prior review of the same Yorktown cruise among the U.S. and British Virgin Islands a few weeks before ours, which commenced from St. Thomas on Friday, January 17, 2014. ... Read More
My wife and I approached this with some fear and trepidation due to a prior review of the same Yorktown cruise among the U.S. and British Virgin Islands a few weeks before ours, which commenced from St. Thomas on Friday, January 17, 2014. We need not have feared. Excellent cabin with fine view, plenty of luggage storage space and nice fresh linens and towels. temperature control was fine and there was always plenty of hot and cold water for showering. Everything was perfect from embarkation and disembarkation procedures to on-board food and entertainment and instructional lectures. We very much enjoyed the various snorkeling and sightseeing expeditions that were part of the cruise. Our cabin was very nice and was kept up very well throughout our stay. Captain Jim Annnicelli was superb as the master of a small cruise ship, doing fun bridge tours, even helping out in the dining room and with going ashore in the ship's inflatable boats, and playing a mean piano in the ship's lounge. Cannot sing the praises of this ship and its crew enough! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Princess Cruise line worked very hard to prepare a cruise vacation that was flawless. The ship dazzles you upon your arrival. She sparkles from the inside out. This may be the most beautiful ship on the ocean. The staff genuinely enjoys ... Read More
Princess Cruise line worked very hard to prepare a cruise vacation that was flawless. The ship dazzles you upon your arrival. She sparkles from the inside out. This may be the most beautiful ship on the ocean. The staff genuinely enjoys their work enviornment as well as the passengers and each other, and it shows. Staterooms are nicely decorated and seemed larger than they really are, based on the layout. My husband and I had a balcony room with beautiful sunsets. The food was exceptional in all dining venues. And the main dining room was equally as satisfying as the specialty restaurants. We did the anytime dining and waited maybe 5 minutes at best for a table. The spa is a hidden treasure. Specifically the Enclave. Worth every penny. We also enjoyed the adult pool retreat and rented a cabana one of the sea days. The entertainment was always enjoyable and the ship provided many dance options. The Piazza was the regular meeting place and music played from sun up through sundown and beyond. There were lots of daily activities to choose from. The ship provided a daily bible study in the chapel and that ended up being the biggest blessing on the ocean. Thank you Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
January 3, 2014 We have just returned from our trip on the Yorktown visiting the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, offered by Travel Dynamics International (TDI). Rather than repeat the information about the ship’s provenance or the ... Read More
January 3, 2014 We have just returned from our trip on the Yorktown visiting the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, offered by Travel Dynamics International (TDI). Rather than repeat the information about the ship’s provenance or the company and its target audience, etc, as reported in the editorial and passenger review preceding this, I will focus on our experience on and off the ship and with its crew. First, the original trip was canceled while it was still in dry dock due to a delay in receiving US Coast Guard certification; that should have sent a signal. We chose to go on the next passage, because it was still over the holiday period (paid time off). Just before leaving, we were told the ship, heading for Saint Thomas from Florida, had encountered rough seas and strong currents and could not make it to its destination in time. We were sent tickets for a connecting flight to San Juan where we were to meet the boat after dinner at a nearby hotel. TDI did a good job of collecting us at the airport and we had a pretty good dinner at the hotel (much better than any dinner we were to have on the ship). Then around 9:30 we were taken to the ship, where for some reason the embarkation took a very long time. We ended up having the mandatory safety drill at 1:00 a.m., after a very long travel day. Saturday, December 28: After a perilous overnight sail from San Juan to Jost Van Dyke, we arrived late morning. The ship had heaved and rolled all night on water that was merely choppy; waves of two to four feet should not be difficult for a ship of this size, however this ship has a very narrow draft of nine feet. It is a ship for rivers and lakes, not the ocean, as would be made quite evident over the course of the trip. Many people were quite seasick the next day. As I said we got in late morning, and by then we were to have been swimming, snorkeling or kayaking on White Bay Beach. Instead it was lunch time and we were told that right after lunch we’d be boarding the “DIBS” (I’ll call them pontoons) for a wet landing on the beach. All those going were to wait with their gear in the lounge until the three pontoons were secured to the swim platforms and we would then go in groups, 12 to a pontoon. We waited, and waited. This was TDI’s first trip in the VI, obviously completely unrehearsed! It turned out they had to figure out how to secure the pontoons, and then they realized they only had one person available who could commandeer the thing. Ultimately they found one other, who was busy “working on the anchor” who was pulled into service. So now we had two pontoons that could bring a total of 24 people at a time. The lounge was full, I’d say about 60 people waiting to go. When they called for the first group, there was no order, just whoever was closest to the stairs to go down to the platform. Chaos ensued, a crowd not a queue, as people were handed life jackets and “helped” (more on that later) onto the pontoons. One pontoon at a time was made ready as the platform on the other side of the ship was not used; they did not have enough staff. By the time we made it onto a pontoon, it was mid-afternoon. The experience of being assisted (we are not novices at this) was very telling. The pontoons were not secured close enough to the ship, and there was a lot of movement on the choppy water. It was not calm, there was constant yelling to grab this, step on this, and people were getting kind of thrown on. The condition of the pontoon was horrible. These were small, uncomfortable metal units resting on rubber pontoons that were riddled with repair patches. These were very old, very used up equipment that inspired no confidence. The splash control ( a rubber sash across the front) sagged almost into the water and anyone sitting in the front had to get a lot of splash. I’d say we got to the beach around 3:45 p.m. This “secluded beach,” reachable only by “special boats” like ours, was tiny, mobbed, and extremely loud; there was an outdoor club playing loud loud loud hip hop rap “music” non-stop. The beautiful coral and fish (displayed in the colorful brochure) were not there; I saw a sandy bottom and some minnows. That’s all anyone else saw. After about 45 minutes I had enough of the noise and got on the next available pontoon to return, with just enough time to shower and get ready for dinner. There was no facility on the return to the platform to rinse off all the sand on the fins, our sandals, feet, etc. Imagine the mess 60 sandy people made trudging back to their rooms, forced to rinse their gear off in the shower! The captain just shrugged his shoulders and said “we’ll just have to do the best we can.” (Oh, oh, I said to myself.) What a mess, everywhere. By the time we had arrived at that beach, we were already supposed to have done it and then returned for lunch while they sailed to Peter’s Island for afternoon swimming and snorkeling at Soper’s Hole. The actual sail occurred during dinner, and we arrived there at night. A few brave souls went out with Wayne the “Expedition Leader,” and the account told to me was that they walked around the town in total darkness, no lights anywhere and crossing streets with cars whizzing around them. Wayne offered no information about what they were “seeing.” “We could have been killed” said the couple I spoke with. A word about the expedition leaders: Wayne and Karen Brown, Expedition and Assistant Expedition Leaders, are billed in the promotional literature as having expertise in environmental and marine biology, and ecology. The expectation was that they would be accompanying us on excursions to explain what we were looking at. They didn’t. Their primary function seemed to be herding people around, getting them from point A to point B, often on open air safari taxies because the boat did not get close enough to where we were going. Wayne was constantly babbling on the speaker system on the ship, repeating information, to most people’s great annoyance. Sunday, December 29: We were supposed to awake arriving at Tortola, capital of the U.S.V.I. Instead, we were awakened at 6:00 a.m. by Karen over the PA system, telling us in a chirpy happy chuckley voice that we were not in Tortola, we were still in Soper’s Hole, and we had one hour to get cleaned up and get some nutrition and make it to the “taxis” that would take us to our destinations, about 45 minutes away and not a comfortable ride. I was livid; there was no explanation, and no apology offered for the inconvenience. I found Karen and let her know how insulted I felt at being treated this way, and that we all deserved an explanation and an apology. She was all chirpy happy until I let her know how inappropriate that was in light of the situation. She did then get on the mike, apologized, and explained that they had lost an anchor when attempting to leave Soper’s hole, and a dive team was on the way to retrieve it. We were stuck, and behind schedule already. We had opted for a historical tour of Road Town. We first drove to the botanic garden to find it closed (why didn’t they know it would be closed on Sunday?), skipped without mention one museum, then visited an old cotton works museum, where we spent more time than anyone wanted to. Those that went on the Sage Mountain Hike were far less fortunate. Apparently it was not planned out, and split into disorganized groups. It was a treacherous hike with seemingly no purpose; no explanation of the environment they were in or what they were seeing. There were injuries (mostly scrapes), including a broken rib. On the ship there was not even easily obtainable over-the-counter medications to help those with injuries. We were supposed to have lunch while sailing from Tortola to Peter’s Island for swimming, snorkeling or kayaking; instead, we were still stuck at Soper’s hole. The group was offered a taxi back to a local beach for swimming only. We decided to not even go back to the boat, and had ourselves a very nice lunch on the pier. At this point I’d like to mention this is not a cheap excursion; John and I paid, net after air credit, $10,000 for our (2) cruise tickets. At this price point for 7 nights, 6 days, we expected a lot more than we were getting. Late afternoon, we were supposed to be sailing for Virgin Gorda, but we were still sitting dead in the water. We settled in before dinner for a concert by an excellent chamber music quartet (specific to this cruise only, for the benefit of various music appreciation groups who booked this cruise); more on that later. During the concert the crew was noisily testing raising and lowering the newly attached anchor, and finally we were on our way, considerably behind schedule. Monday, December 30: Of course by now the morning arrival at Virgin Gorda was now to be an afternoon affair, so we skipped breakfast to get some sleep. Now for the much touted BBQ on the sun deck, prior to our excursion to The Baths at Virgin Gorda. And why did it have to be an “excursion?” Shouldn’t this special boat with its nine foot draft just bring us there? The BBQ consisted of hamburgers and bean burgers, cooked in the restaurant kitchen and sent up to be warmed on the grill. Ribs? Chicken legs? Hot dogs? Nope, just hamburgers. They did toast the buns. But wait! They served the 20 or so of us that were on board (I don’t remember what they offered off shore that morning) and when those legions returned, guess what? There was no food for them! They literally ran out of food for the much touted BBQ after serving about a quarter of the people on board. The rest were told to go get their burgers from the restaurant and bring them up, and they could get their buns toasted. How festive! At this time I caught sight of the beautiful Seabourn Pride across the bay from our ratty ship, and I just wanted to swim over to it. It was like dangling shrimp in front of a cat. How cruel. Mid-afternoon, our trip to the Baths at Virgin Gorda was nice, if crowded. With all the time it took to load up the taxis, get there and back, the photo-ops we were supposed to have in the afternoon were instead some quick shots (I didn’t bother) on the way back as the light was quickly fading and it was hazy. It was bright and clear on the way out, so why didn’t they stop then? The (after lunch) nature hike to the summit of Gorda Peak National Park didn’t happen, again because they were still catching up to their “schedule.” Tuesday, December 31: This day was supposed to be a variety of stops around Salt and Normand Islands. The one item on the itinerary that was made available was a hike around a natural salt evaporation pond. A stop at Cooper Island was changed for this “more interesting stop” so snorkelers could view a famous ship wreck, but the currents were too strong and that was canceled (shouldn’t they have known about the currents?). The “late morning” sail to Norman Island to swim or snorkel and view an area known as The Caves did not happen. It was almost dark when Wayne announced we were sailing past The Caves, and we could look out and “still see them.” No one bothered. One had the sense that this was a cynical attempt to say this part of the itinerary was at least partially met. Pathetic. Another beautiful concert on board. Wednesday, January 1: After another perilous overnight journey through a violent storm (I heard the ship had gone further out to sea to dump “grey water”) we arrived at Cruz Bay in Saint Thomas. It was a wilder ride than the initial one from San Juan. It was dangerous to get out of bed. I went on all fours to use the bathroom, and hung onto the shower bar and vanity and had one foot braced against the shower sill. My first no-hands pee! I crawled back to bed and worried about making it. We took it easy in the a.m. and opted for an afternoon shuttle to Trunk Bay, a beautiful if crowded beach maintained by the National Parks. It was clean and there were shady areas, and a concession stand. There is also an underwater snorkeling trail, which John explored, but it was so crowded you had to “keep moving” to not hold up the line. Barkers in bullhorns periodically admonished swimmers to not stop or touch or stand on the coral. Barkers from major cruise lines such as Carnival walked up and down the beach yelling for their passengers to return. So why were we here, instead of at a very private secluded beach, with our special boat with a 9 foot draft? At this point I didn’t care, I was glad to be out wading in clean warm water, knowing I would soon be packing and that we were disembarking the next morning, a day early. We had changed our flights to beat a storm, and, admittedly, it was a good excuse to get off the ship. An incident with staff: After dinner Wednesday evening, I finished packing and as it was still early went down to the lounge to get a glass of wine and look for anyone I hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to. It was about 10:45 by my iPhone and the bar had been closed early. I started chatting with a couple and their son about the trip (this really was a topic most passengers found common ground with!) and they were asking me about other cruises I’ve been on. The bartender (Tom) appeared to fetch something and I said “Great! Can I get a glass of wine?” Tom said no, the bar was closed. I asked how late the bar was open and he said 11:00. I said I was there before 11:00, and Lisa looked at her watch and said it was only a few minutes past 11:00 and that I’d been there talking to them for at least 20 minutes. An awkward moment passed, then Tom leaned over to me and said “Well I guess that’s just too bad for you.” We were pretty surprised at the unnecessary rudeness, and as he walked away I said I was going to report him in the morning. I blew it off, and we continued chatting for about another 20 minutes, when Tom came into the lounge with two other staff members, came up to me and said “I have determined that you are inebriated and need to be escorted to your cabin.” I can only guess this was a futile attempt to pre-empt the complaint he surely knew I would make. It was also quite clear to all present that I was entirely lucid and in control. We all froze at first, recognizing the potentially dangerous situation. I looked this guy in the eye and said “I’m not going anywhere, and I want you to call the captain.” (There was no way I’d be caught with him out on a dark deck on a rocky boat.) My friends did a great job of showing with their body language that they were staying put with me. The other two staff looked awkward and stayed back, avoiding eye contact. Tom went to the bar and picked up a phone, mumbling something, and it looked like he was pretending to make a call while trying to think of how to get his self out of his own mess. The other two staff, to their credit, moved away from the door and turned their backs. I whispered too my friends and they walked with me to my cabin. I felt so threatened I was afraid to fall asleep, so John jammed the lock lever to prevent anyone from turning a key from the outside. I reported this incident to Brian (Tour Manager) who was very surprised and concerned, and wanted to make sure I was alright. (Actually, I wasn’t) Disembarkation: Even this was complicated, and there was confusion about what to do. Brian had been told that before we could go to the airport, we had to go to a customs declaration site because we had been out of the country. The driver went to the wrong one of two sites, they were not nice, and sent us back to the ship. Brian and the purser then came with us to straighten it out, and ultimately they decided that since we had just cleared Saint John we could in fact go to the airport. Again, this process should have been vetted before taking on passengers. It’s a good thing we started early. We caught the last flight to Boston before the storm. A final word: It was strange to be on such a problematic trip, yet experience such a lovely group of passengers. This particular cruise happened to be mostly a charter for alumni groups associated with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The musicians were the creme de la creme of chamber music; I regret having to miss the last concert. Apparently this is the type of audience TDI targets, and by all accounts, until this cruise on this boat, they have done it very well in Europe. For this group of people, the cruise itself was secondary; they were there for the music. Still, the problems became even too much for them, and there were no happy campers. The crew on this ship left much to be desired, with the exception of Brian Goyette (Tour Manager) and Terri Lundi (Tour Director, I think). They were professionals who always had their hands full yet managed to stay calm and keep things moving. The wait staff was fine, but the boat crew from the captain on down gave the impression that TDI fished from the very bottom of the barrel. We did not expect this to be a luxury trip, but we did expect for the price to have a real expedition and education style cruise; we are sorely disappointed. end -   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Today, anyone who has the desire to take a cruise can find something that suits their tastes and price range. From mammoth "floating cities" with all the bells and whistles, medium-sized vessels in all price ranges and very ... Read More
Today, anyone who has the desire to take a cruise can find something that suits their tastes and price range. From mammoth "floating cities" with all the bells and whistles, medium-sized vessels in all price ranges and very small ships, usually costing a little more but including more in the cruise fare, there is something for everyone. But for most of cruising history, an ocean voyage was the exclusive domain of the very wealthy. Most evenings were formal. As the cruise industry has evolved, there is an increasingly casual ambiance about the experience. This has carried over to the interaction between passenger and crew members. Particularly on the very small ships, friendships are made between passengers and crew that carry over year to year. For the past few years, I have taken Sea Dream Yacht Club's Sea Dream 2 out of St. Thomas in early December. On my first voyage, I noticed a waiter, Werner Roy, who stood out from his peers. He was considerably older, and unlike many of the other waiters, he was Caucasian. Much of Sea Dream's crew is Asian. He struck me as very formal, and I, incorrectly, took this as a lack of warmth. As time passed, our group sat in his station and we began to talk with Werner. He turned out to be our favorite, and on our last cruise in December, 2012, we had the Matre reserve a front table with Werner for the entire cruise. The more I learned about his extensive history at sea, the more I understood his demeanor was a reflection of his years aboard the premier luxury liners of their day. He is doting, yet reserved and unobtrusive. His bearing is formal and respectful. The more I drew him out, the more I wanted to hear his story. He agreed to be interviewed for this piece, and seemed happy to do so. Werner Roy comes from the Black Forest region of Germany, which is bordered by France to the West and Switzerland to the South. He attended Hotel school in Switzerland, and upon graduation, went on to work at prestigious hotels in England, Switzerland and Paris. But he was feeling the ocean beckoning him, and his first contract at sea was on a freighter. He suggested trying a freighter cruise as a passenger would be a rewarding experience, and I'm looking into doing that. Deciding that his hotel and hospitality experience would be better served on a passenger ship than a freighter, Werner landed a waiter position with the Royal Viking line. Royal Viking was the premier cruise line of that time, counting among its passengers Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and Vincent Price among numerous other celebrities. Royal Viking operated from 1972 to 1994 when financial difficulties necessitated its sale to the Cunard line. In 1998, Cunard was taken over by Carnival. The Royal Viking Star holds a fond place in my heart for two reasons. First, they had the gumption to throw the lovely and congenial Leona Helmsley off the ship after she had thoroughly annoyed both crew and fellow passengers. You have to love that. I guess money can't buy everything. Secondly, I had the chance to sail on the Star after it had been sold to Norwegian Cruise lines. I just wanted to see the ship. We didn't have much money, and took an inside cabin on the lowest deck, but the ship was gorgeous. That stateroom was the largest I've had on any of my cruises. While with Cunard, Werner served on both the Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II, 220 passenger ultra-luxury ships that were the epitome of upscale small ship cruising. Today, they are the Sea Dream 1 and 2. His Sea Goddess passengers included Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Albert. I had to practically pry the names from Werner. Even now, all these years later, he places a high value on the guest's privacy. He is clearly not comfortable speaking about past passengers. His discretion is most admirable. While Werner was taking contract after contract at sea, he had a fiancee at home who had expected him to come home and take a land-based job. He kept saying this next contract would be the last, but finally his Lady had had enough. He was sorry about it, but he'd found his calling at sea. He does not regret it. He has loved life at sea. At 63 years young, Werner plans to retire in a couple years. He has a lady friend waiting for him in Germany, and claims to be looking forward to retiring. He is considering spending half of each year in Asia, and has a keen interest in gardening. When we were getting ready to disembark last December, Werner was preparing to fly home for Christmas to celebrate with friends and family. He was looking forward to all the traditional German foods served at Christmas, including the "weiswurst", a veal and bacon sausage, and gluhwein, the spicy mulled red wine made with cloves, cinnamon, and sugar and served hot. Adding nutmeg and brandy is optional. After his two month vacation, he was looking forward to coming back aboard Sea Dream 2. He loves working with and teaching the younger waiters and introducing passengers to new foods. You can see from how Werner is treated by his co-workers that he is both respected and loved. He says he will have no trouble retiring, but I have to wonder. He will miss the sea. When next December rolls around, Werner and Sea Dream 2 will be in Asia rather than their usual Caribbean itinerary. This will be great for many of the crew, as they will be close to home and family. My Wife Susie and I will be sailing on another ship, and we will dearly miss both Werner and the whole Sea Dream 2 family. It is my fervent hope to have a chance to sail with them again before Werner retires. I will miss his droll humor, the sparkle in his eye and his love of people. He has become my friend. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The Seabourn LegendEmbarkationIt does not take long to realize you are in for something very special when you board the Seabourn Legend. We just completed our fourth voyage on the Legend and I have no question there will be more. You ... Read More
The Seabourn LegendEmbarkationIt does not take long to realize you are in for something very special when you board the Seabourn Legend. We just completed our fourth voyage on the Legend and I have no question there will be more. You walk up the gangway and enter the Reception area, where you are promptly handed a chilled flute of champagne. An attentive crew member has already insisted on carrying all your bags as he escorts you into the King Olaf Lounge for registration. You have two free hands and tell the young man that you're perfectly capable of helping carry your own things. But he will not hear of it, so we proceed to the Lounge, your hands swinging free, the young crew member laden down like a camel. At registration, as in everything on Seabourn, there is no wait. Within minutes of entering the lounge, you are registered and your picture IDs and room card keys handed over to you. The young man carrying your bags suggests you have a bite to eat before he brings you to your suite, so you hit the table with finger sandwiches, cookies, pastries and all kinds of beverages. Champagne, soft drinks, and iced tea are there on the table, while a strolling waiter serves rum punches from a tray. When you are ready, and there is never any hurry, the young man brings you to your suite.SuitesA short stroll down an ornate circular staircase brings you to your suite, an elegantly appointed oasis that you figure you will have no problems calling home. All Legend suites are ocean view, some with "balconies." While the balcony suites allow you to open the windows and enjoy the sea breezes, the balconies are really more like French windows. There are no chairs, nor room to put one. Our suite has a large picture window, refrigerator, flat screen TV, CD and DVD players, walk in closet, and a marble appointed bathroom. The suites have all the bells and whistles one could reasonably hope for. The refrigerator is stocked with the beer, soft drinks, bottled water and mixers you had requested on your pre-cruise order form. Each suite is entitled to two liters of the alcohol of your choice and they will be dropped off in your suite the first evening. Of course, there is no charge for any of this, as it is all included in your fare. Above the refrigerator is a glass cabinet with beautiful crystal glasses; champagne flutes, wine glasses, rocks glasses, etc. It is almost a shame to pour a Diet Coke into this beautiful crystal, but I got over it. Soon, there is a gentle tapping at the door, then shortly after, another. The first is the arrival of your check-in luggage, faster than I've ever had it happen anywhere. The second knock is your Cabin Stewardess who has come to introduce herself. She has brought fresh canapEs to go with the iced champagne sitting in a bucket in your sitting room, along with a bowl of fresh fruit. She also has brought a tray of toiletries for you to select your soaps and shampoos. The soaps are L'Occitane, the other toiletries Moulton & Brown of London; very nice stuff. Get a good look at your cabin girl, because chances are you will not see her in your cabin again. These girls are masters at seeing to every possible need you could possibly have and keeping the suite turned down, made up and spotless without ever actually being spotted in the suite. To say they are not intrusive is an understatement. They are like ghosts; very competent ghosts. We take a few minutes to unpack and hang up our clothing and it is off to the top deck Sky Bar to meet our fellow passengers as we prepare to sail out of St. Thomas harbor.Seabourn PassengersThe typical Seabourn passenger is successful, affluent, well-educated and well-travelled. Most of the people you speak with are returning guests like ourselves, and usually we know at least a few of the guests from previous cruises. Seabourn passengers are very loyal to the brand, so if you travel with Seabourn often enough, there are familiar faces and sometimes, old friends from prior voyages. But this time, so far, we have not seen anyone we know. But just as we are preparing to sail, a couple from Ohio comes out on deck who we had gotten to know and like very much on another cruise line several years ago. We see each other, our jaws drop and a friendship rekindled. That's how it works on the smaller ships. It is a pretty small fraternity. As we pull out to sea, my Wife Susie and I run down to the well-stocked library to pick out some books to read and head back to our suite for a short nap before showering for Dinner.The CuisineConde Nast Traveler's latest Reader's Poll named Seabourn Legend's cuisine the best at sea. All the Seabourn vessels were rated at or near the top, but the Legend the very best. Seabourn's menu and recipes are created by famed Chef Charlie Palmer, and dining is a big reason we are aboard the Legend for the fourth time. The food and service are sensational, and the servings modest enough that it is possible to try every course and leave the Dining Room content but not bloated. While the Dining Room is consistently wonderful, try the reservations-required specialty Restaurant "2" at least once on your trip. The theme changes every night. The night we were able to get a reservation, it was a French Bistro theme, and the meal was possibly the finest I have had at sea in 89 cruises. A tip: put yourself on the waiting list for"2" every night. The place is very small and difficult to get in. Most of the passengers seem to like the Veranda Restaurant for breakfast and lunch. You can eat inside or outside and enjoy the sea air. My Wife and I like to go to the Dining Room for both meals. At breakfast it is virtually empty, which suits me fine as I like to have my coffee and look at the paper in peace. I was a morning person most of my life, but since retiring, I like to ease into the day. The solitude of the Dining Room in the mornings accommodates this. For lunch, it is nice to get out of the sun for a few minutes and have a real meal. I do not like to eat hamburgers and other things I have at home when cruising, particularly on the Legend. There is a culinary treat waiting around every corner; try things you don't get at home. One story occurs to me that exemplifies the Seabourn approach. One evening, the Chef came out of the Kitchen to go from table to table asking if everything was satisfactory.My Wife Sue mentioned that the chocolate chip cookies that had been put out that day at afternoon tea were the best she had ever had. The Chef did not ask our names or suite number, but every evening for the rest of the voyage, when we returned to our suite in the evening, there was a plate of chocolate chip cookies and two tall glasses of milk. That is how Seabourn does things. Our CruiseThis voyage is a Caribbean sailing out of St. Thomas, calling on St. John, St. Barth's, St. Maarten, Antigua, Jost Van Dyke, St. Kitts and Prickly Pear Island, which is off Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, before returning to St. Thomas. We are beach and sun people, and Caribbean cruises have become our most frequent voyages due to the laid-back nature of the itinerary. We have done more Caribbean cruises than I can count in our 89 cruises, and thus have seen just about every island most ships call upon. This removes all the urgency about rushing off the ship in every port, since we've seen all the islands many times. On European cruises, the pace was very different, as there were so many things we wanted to see ashore. But we have cruised extensively, and been all over the world, and the Caribbean seems to fit our current mindset. On this cruise, we did not even get off the ship in St. Maarten and St. John. We find lying on deck and taking dips in the pool while most of the other passengers are ashore to be very relaxing. And the Seabourn staff onboard takes very good care of you. As I stretch out on my chaise lounge, one waiter comes by with a refill of my favorite sunning libation, an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade). Another comes by to spritz your baking body with a mist of cold spring water while offering a choice of sunscreens. The Spa sends out a girl for complimentary Massage Moments on deck. The Water Sports Marina at the stern is opened up for sailing, kayaking and a swim in the ocean. I awaken from a nap to find another waiter handing me a goblet of fabulous raspberry sorbet topped with a dash of champagne. It is a rugged existence, but sometimes you have to take one for the team.The Beach BarbecueOn all Seabourn cruises, there is a unique event scheduled which varies according to where in the World you happen to be. On Mediterranean cruises, for instance, there is a private classical music concert among the ancient Roman ruins at Ephesus. On Caribbean sailings like ours, there is the Beach Barbecue featuring Caviar in the Surf held on Prickly Pear Island. The Maitre'D and the restaurant staff, wearing their dress whites, go waist deep in the surf to serve caviar with all the trimmings and champagne from what appears to be a surfboard, or the body of a Sunfish.The barbecue is not your usual beach fare, either. Served off porcelain Dinner plates with linen napkins and real silverware, you are treated to steaks, barbecued ribs, lobster tails, a whole sucking pig and a potpourri of salads, fruits and desserts. Strolling waiters serve trays of beers, cocktails of all descriptions and soft drinks. There is a banana boat and water skiing, as well as an outdoor massage salon and live music. It is quite a party and Prickly Pear has a lovely white sand beach for swimming.Essential FactsThe Yachts of Seabourn is the Carnival Corporation's entry in the ultra-luxury cruise category. Before you think Carnival Cruise lines, understand it is the same parent company but a very different product. Carnival Corp. owns Seabourn, Princess, Holland America, Cunard, Carnival Cruises and Costa, as well as a host of lesser-known, fast-growing cruise lines all over the world. As such, Carnival Corporation transports almost half of the world's recreational cruise passengers. The Seabourn Legend and her two small sister ships, the Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Spirit sail all over the World, carrying 210 passengers and 200 crew. Seabourn has recently introduced three stunning new ships which carry 460 passengers and around 400 crew.The Seabourn Odyssey and Sojourn are already in service, while the brand new Quest is due to make her maiden voyage in May, 2011. If there is virtually any place on Earth you want to sail,Seabourn can take you there is the lap of luxury. Well, maybe not anywhere. I think Yemen, Libya and Somalia may have been given a "time out." But take a moment, and do your research, as this is a must do travel experience. We think Seabourn is as good as cruising gets. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I'm so pleased that Cruise Critic is now allowing Arabella passengers to submit reviews about this wonderful ship that offers the perfect sailing cruise yacht experience. We sailed Arabella for the first time in Sept/Oct 2010, ... Read More
I'm so pleased that Cruise Critic is now allowing Arabella passengers to submit reviews about this wonderful ship that offers the perfect sailing cruise yacht experience. We sailed Arabella for the first time in Sept/Oct 2010, for a New England cruise, and again in Feb 2011 for what the Arabella team calls "the Spanish Virgin Islands," out of St. Thomas. The ship herself is gorgeous, with beautiful woods throughout, a comfortable lounge area with a beautiful polished wood bar and tables, plus large picture windows, while on the deck are many places to go to enjoy the sailing experience, by yourself or with your new friends (both passengers and crew). Arabella has what you'd call "cozy" cabins. While they are small, they're not too small if you heed the request to pack lightly. Those sailing on Arabella don't spend much time in the cabin anyway! You're either out on deck, savoring the experience, sharing time with new friends, even learning some sailing techniques and lore, or you're enjoying the crystal clear waters or exploring the smaller ports not available to the large cruise lines. Arabella's A and B cabins (the only ones I have experience with) are designed very well, with four large and deep drawers beneath the large (and comfortable) beds (queen sized in A cabins), a rack that holds a few hanging clothes (but who needs something that must hang?), and a bathroom with shower and toilet, with the sink just outside the bathroom, in your cabin. This actually is an excellent arrangement, so that while one in the couple is showering, the other can be using the sink/mirror comfortably. You really only need casual clothes: swimwear, shorts, tees, tank tops, lightweight pants and maybe a casual jacket and/or sweatshirt. On board, most, including the crew, go barefoot. But I suggest you bring a pair of sandals and/or water shoes, as well as a pair of walking shoes for exploring in port. Arabella focuses on the sailing and water experiences. She sails each morning, and drops anchor mid-day. When she is underway, her sails are up unless there just simply is no wind. After lunch on board, tenders run into/from port every hour, usually until midnight. Kayaking, snorkeling, beaching, exploring the port, sampling the local brews and cuisine are what most everyone will be doing, or maybe just continuing to relax onboard. An amazing New England lobster bake on the beach is included on that cruise! An abundance of lobster, chicken, corn, potatos, shrimp....yum! Food on board is plentiful, varied, enticing and delicious! Served buffet style and all-you-can-eat. It's amazing what Chef John can do out of a small galley. That small galley is why most of Arabella's dinners are on shore. On the New England cruise, your cruise fee includes one dinner, the lobster bake. You're on your own for the rest, but that's because the Arabella crew discovered that most passengers wanted to sample the cuisine of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, etc. For Caribbean itineraries, all but one dinner is included...and those dinners are in port, where the crew has made arrangements with restaurants or at popular local beach all-you-can-eat buffet barbecues. The restaurants were excellent with great options, and the barbecues were bountiful and delicious, with passengers and crew enjoying them together. Arabella's crew is fantastic: both the onshore and onboard crew members! Personable, professional, attentive, knowledgeable, helpful, fun! We had Captn Sandy for our NE cruise and Captn John for our Caribbean sailing. You couldn't do better than these two! Especially loved Captn Sandy's salty tales! Fellow passengers: on both of our cruises, they ranged in age from 30s to 80s...all active folks who love sailing and exploring...and enjoying meeting new people. Age was of no matter...everyone just had a great time together. We were all new friends within the first 30 minutes of boarding, as we shared rum punch plentifully provided by our crew. Those who want entertainers, climbing walls, swimming pools, multiple restaurants offering assorted cuisines, extensive shore excursions, crew members in white jackets, luxury cabins and don't enjoy mingling probably won't enjoy this type of cruise/ship. My husband and I are the opposite: small, well-appointed intimate ships with sails (and preferably wooden hulls) is what we look for. We've sailed Windstar, Star Clipper and Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and discovered Arabella when Windjammer went outta biz. We especially loved "barefoot sailing" on the Windjammers and once in awhile enjoy sailing the more upscale and little larger Windstar and Star Clipper ships. But Arabella's size, yachting experience and itineraries suit us best....we've booked her again for Feb. 2012! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We met the ship in St Thomas and were greeted at the brow with a handshake from the Captain, a cool towel and then a glass of champagne. Hors d'oeuvres and more champagne in the main salon while waiting to check in, which took all of ... Read More
We met the ship in St Thomas and were greeted at the brow with a handshake from the Captain, a cool towel and then a glass of champagne. Hors d'oeuvres and more champagne in the main salon while waiting to check in, which took all of 2 minutes. We were escorted to our room where our luggage was already waiting. The room is small, but very nice, as is the bathroom which includes Bulgari toiletries. We were introduced to our room steward, who immediately took the drinks we don't drink out and brought in more of what we do drink for the refrigerator in our room. She asked us if we wanted OJ in the morning, we were thinking the little cans, but it was a small pitcher of fresh squeezed which appeared every day. At 7 we went up for more pre-dinner hors d'hoeuvres and drinks. During this time every day the ship's cruise director discusses the next day's port visit and ship activities. For dinner we opted to sit with a group. The meal and service were fantastic. We were tied to the pier overnight and left about 7 in the morning and were at St John at 8:30. We went to breakfast out on the deck, ate our egg-white omelets and were just amazing at how wonderful it all was. The service everywhere is impeccable. By the time we finished breakfast the waiter knew our names (somehow). We took a 9:30 launch to shore and took a jitney to Trunk Bay for snorkeling and laying on the beach. In the afternoon we sat out on the pool deck for a while, then they opened the "marina", aka the toy deck operated off the back of the yacht. My husband and I went on a banana rocket ride, which was hilarious. I wish someone would have been videotaping! They also have jet skis, which we will try next time. The weather was just perfect 85 and just a few clouds. The water is about 82. We were situated in the middle of a bunch of islands so as the ship travels around the anchor there is just a different island to look at. As we were sitting around the pool they brought out home-made ice cream sandwiches and then came around and cleaned our sunglasses. The people we met were all great and really made the trip. The group is actually younger than I expected, patrons ranged from 30-80. TUESDAY - We arrived in Anguilla about 9 in the morning. We had wanted to borrow 2 of the ships bikes but they were taken by the time we got around in the morning. Another couple heard this and offered that they would ride the bikes TO a resort and we would ride them back. That really worked well. We took a cab to the resort and sat out under an umbrella for about an hour at a magnificent beach and then the other couple arrived and we rode the bikes about 45 minutes back to the pier. We were back in time for a late lunch. Dinner was served outside on deck. The entertainment on board for the night was a screening of a Beyonce concert under the stars on a big blow-up screen. Instead we we ashore in St Barths, which was really dead. We reserved an outside Balinese daybed to sleep under the stars that was ready for us upon our return. I lasted out there for about an hour before deciding to come back inside. The never-ending glasses of red wine had gotten to me! WEDNESDAY - Had an 8:00 appointment for body scrub, massage and facial, all of which were wonderful. My husband went to the gym and had room service waiting when I was done. We then took the launch into St Barts and did some shopping (looking) and walked to a beach made of shells, vice sand, which was nice. No celebrity sitings. We were back to the ship for a late lunch. I sat by the pool and swam in the ocean. Dinner consisted of a set 10 course meal. This is how good the service was...Tuesday night our group was a little crazy and loud so the staff set up a large table for us out on the deck under the stars even though they were serving dinner in the dining room. THURSDAY - Anchored off Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. Took a zodiac into shore for a BBQ. The staff served champagne and caviar off a surfboard and lunch included BBQ shrimp, pork, lamb, roast beef, grouper, and chicken. We mostly just stood in the ocean and drank champagne for 6 hours. My husband went to get me a glass of champagne about an hour before we had to get back on the ship but they were out so they actually drove out to the ship to get a couple more bottles for us! Got into port in San Juan PR at about 9 am Friday and our flight didn't leave until 9 pm so we wandered Old San Juan, had a nice local lunch and sat in a park for a while, (jealously) watching people get on the ship for the next cruise. We were very pleased with all the food, drinks, and above all, the service! Even though they have a "no tipping" policy, this was one trip where we felt extra was warranted. We won't go back to the big ships unless we are forced to based on destination. The ship is the destination. It's just so easy for us to get to the Caribbean that these ships are where we will be when we just want to relax. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of ... Read More
Shhh, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I just turned 50...yikes! The funny thing is I didn't even mind. My sister had arranged for my siblings, in-laws and a cousin to celebrate with me on SeaDream I the week of December 5-12, 2010. Some background: my sister, cousin and I have been cruising together for close to 20 years. It started out as an annual cruise and as the years have gone by has turned into a 2-3 times a year getaway. In the past we have sailed on the mass lines: Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity and Holland - with Celebrity and Holland being our favorites. This past June we decided to take a leap and try the small lines. We booked a back-to-back Mediterranean cruise starting on Seabourn Legend and ending with SeaDream II. We were underwhelmed with Seabourn, although I will give their staff high-marks for friendliness/helpfulness. The funny thing is as soon as we stepped on SeaDream II we gave each other a look knowing that we had found something special. Unfortunately, a family emergency forced us to leave 4 days into our June cruise, but we knew, in that short time, that we had found a new addiction. Six months later we were packing for St. Thomas, ready to board SeaDream I. Our itinerary was to be: December 5, 2010 - Depart from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas U.S.V.I. December 6, 2010 - Esperanza, Vieques Puerto December 7, 2010 - Cruz Bay, St John U.S.V.I. December 8, 2010 - Gustavia, St Barts French West Indies December 9, 2010 - Norman Island B.V.I. December 10, 2010 - Virgin Gorda B.V.I. December 11, 2010 - Jost Van Dyke B.V.I. December 12, 2010 - Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas U.S.V.I. Dock 8:00 Am There was some revision to the schedule once we got onboard. A container of food hadn't reached St. Thomas by the time we were to depart, so it was decided to swap St. John and Vieques. After spending the first day in St. John, we returned to St. Thomas in the evening to load the container. We spent Day 2 in Vieques. Day 3 and 4 were spent in St. Barts. We were originally supposed to be anchored one day in St. Barts. It was never clearly explained why Norman Island was eliminated to add the extra day at St. Barts. First we were told it was due to the weather. Then we were told it was because Norman Island had suffered too much hurricane damage. This was a bit disappointing as I'm not a big fan of St. Barts and love the beauty and seclusion of Norman Island. What I didn't like was the way it felt like we were being given different story by the staff. Other than those 2 changes the itinerary went as planned. I was a little hesitant departing from St. Thomas as I had read horror stories on Cruise Critic about the St. Thomas airport, and it had been years since I had flown into that airport. To be honest, there was no problem arriving or departing from St. Thomas. The airport is small, but customs and security was well-staffed and didn't have long waits. The only negative I have with sailing from St. Thomas is that there are no direct flights from the Washington, D.C. area to St. Thomas. We stayed at the Morning Star section of the Frenchman's Reef Marriot for the 2 nights before and the 1 night after the cruise. Morning Star is located directly on the beach. The location and view of the beach was fabulous; the rooms just OK. The concierge and hotel staff were extremely helpful and pleasant. We had decent breakfasts and drinks at "Coco Joes" a few times during our stay. This open air restaurant directly on the beach was a nice place to watch the sunset and the cruise ships sail out. We had dinner 2 nights at Morning Star's onsite restaurant "Havana Blue". The food and drinks were fabulous, the dEcor was modern and gorgeous, our waitress was very good - the only negative was that the numerous hostesses seemed to have an attitude both nights. We also had dinner one night at "Windows on the Harbor" the Marriott restaurant located at Frenchman's Reef. The food and service here was mediocre, but the view of the Harbor was spectacular. DECEMBER 5TH - ST. THOMAS: We arrived with excitement at the dock around 2:30 to board SeaDream I. We were met by SeaDream staff and porters immediately. Hotel Manager John and Activities Director Colin (who happened to be our favorite bartender when we sailed in June - congrats Colin on your promotion) were there to greet and welcome us. We received our champagne and were checked in within minutes. We immediately took a tour of the ship and found the Top of the Yacht Bar. We were served our first drink by Konrad (great guy) and could tell immediately we were in for a great week! After unpacking we started what would become our routine for the week: cocktail hour, dinner, after dinner drinks at the TOY bar - life is good. A few nights we mixed it up with some gambling, singing at the piano bar, or just wandering around to see what was going on. At the first cocktail hour we were told by our captain that the sailing had 47 passengers and 97 crew. Wow! SeaDream II was departing with us from St. Thomas but their ship was full. I think that was due to their trip being 9 days compared to our 7 days. Dinner the first evening was in the Salon, the food was fabulous, and our cruise was underway. DECEMBER 6TH - ST. JOHN, USVI: We did a little shopping and then took a taxi to Honeymoon Beach. The taxi dropped us off at Caneel Bay Resort. We then had to hike about ½ mile to the beach. The sand and water was breathtaking, very secluded with no more than 20 people on the entire beach. Other people traveling with us went to Trunk Bay and Water Lemon key, they gave high marks to both beaches. Dinner that evening was again in the Salon. Our party of 8 was invited to dine with the Chief Officer Albert from Sweden. He was very interesting and personable and we had a lovely evening. A sidenote: our captain was very visible throughout the entire cruise and was always willing to chat and answer any question we had. DECEMBER 7TH: ESPERANZA, VIEQUES: The day was a little cloudy. We stayed at the pool during the day, did some swimming off of the marina, and jet-skiing. I love that the marina was opened almost every day. Dinner was served outside to the early diners, but as the rain came we were escorted to the Salon for dinner. DECEMBER 8TH & 9TH - ST. BARTS: The first day at St. Barts was off-and-on rain but we headed to the beach anyway. We stopped at St. Jean's Beach and when the rain started we popped into the beachside restaurant, "The Pink Parrot", for lunch and a drink. It had a very French vibe, and we enjoyed ourselves. For dinner that evening, we were served topside - nothing more decadent than being served a 5-star meal with views of St. Barts surrounding us! Wonderful evening. The second day at St. Barts offered the ATV excursion. Four of our group took this excursion and voted it the best experience of the cruise. They also stopped at Governor's Beach and thought it was breathtaking. From here on out, the weather was perfect- sunny and warm. DECEMBER 10TH: VIRGIN GORDA: We've tried to visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda on a few of our previous cruises, but it had never worked out. Finally, we were able to take the ship's excursion on this cruise and experience the baths. It was spectacular. The views were amazing, though we were told by the staff that it was a very easy tour and felt that it would have been difficult for anyone who is not fairly active The boat was anchored off Bitter End Yacht Club in the afternoon with tenders to the beach - very nice. Dinner was served outside again, and I know I'm sounding redundant, but it was delicious and the ambience perfect. The chef setup a Dessert Extravaganza on the pool deck after dinner, while a large movie screen played a Chakira concert. The boat had been repositioned to Leverick Bay for the evening which allowed us to tender to Jumbies Beach Bar. The majority of the passengers seemed to tender over to the bar. It was nice to see a lot of the crew enjoying themselves as well. DECEMBER 11TH: JOST VAN DYKE: Caviar Splash + Beach Barbeque + Degustation Menu = Heaven! A truly special day from beginning to end. Starting with the speedy Zodiac ride to the beach, hearing the blowing of the ship horn to signal the start the Caviar splash, enjoying the fabulous beach barbeque, walking to Soggy Dollars Bar, having champagne delivered to us while floating in the Caribbean, and then ending the day with the Chef's 7 course Degustation Menu for dinner - it was a day that we will remember for a lifetime! DECEMBER 12TH: What a fast week! We had our last, leisurely breakfast before departing a wonderful vacation. We said some thanks to the crew which had treated us so well. We left knowing that we would be returning to SeaDream in the not-too-distant future, as we had taken advantage of the onboard booking disount! FOOD: Overall excellent. Here are some of our favorites: Mushroom Soup, Mussels, Duck, Indian Salad, Grand Marnier Souffle, Indian Salad with Chickpeas, the Pea Risotto served with the Lobster (I didn't think I liked peas or risotto, but OMG it was delicious!), Pistachio Cookies, all 7 courses of the Degustation Menu. Also, all of our requests were easily accepted: crispy bacon, steak cooked to the proper temperature. ACTIVITIES: We enjoyed the daily cocktail hour, the blackjack table, the piano bar, the disco night, the staff afternoon with mini massages/crepe demonstration/fashion show, disco night. WATERSPORTS: Loved that the water sports were available every day! Swimming off the back of the yacht was lovely and the water temperature was perfect. The jet skis were available a few days (they are not allowed in the British Virgin Islands) and were great fun. Other passengers used the sailboat and kayaks during our sailing. STAFF: The staff is what makes SeaDream. Everyone seemed sincerely happy to be making our vacation special. Some of our favorites were: the Captai, Chief Officer; Hotel Manager, John; Activities Manager, Colin; Concierge, Nina; the Casino Dealer (her name escapes me, but she was very patient with us!); Sommelier, Tyrell; Bartenders, Konrad and Pablo; Waiters, Felix, Olivier, and Mikee, along with adorable Assistant Waiter Placido. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but as I mentioned I've turned 50 so my mind is not what it used to be. PASSENGERS: The fellow passengers are also a big part of what makes us love SeaDream. Everyone was friendly and not pretentious, as was the case on our other small cruiseline experience. With the ship being only half full, it seems like we interacted with everyone onboard. The age range for the cruise was mostly 40s/50s with a few younger and a few older. CABINS: We had 4 cabins on level 2. The cabins are small, but not a problem for us. The storage area was adequate and we had plenty of hangers in the closet. The bathroom is small, but oh that shower pressure and constant hot water was fabulous! The cabin dEcor is the only place where I see some need for improvement from SeaDream. The dEcor seems dated and could be easily and inexpensively updated. Color scheme, art, wood drawers could all be modernized. Plus, I hate the plants on the ledge...yes a little picky, but they seem tacky. SPECIAL MOMENTS: • The "Voila" moment at dinner in the salon. Makes me happy everytime! • Early on in the cruise we were served a homemade ice cream sandwich poolside. Pistachio cookies with homemade cherry ice cream -- they were amazing. A few days later the waiter came around with fruit kabobs. One of us said "what no ice cream sandwiches" and the waiter said "I'll make some for you, how many do you want?" Five minutes later he was back with a tray of freshly made ice cream sandwiches! • My brother and sister-in-law had the large bali bed reserved one night. They decided they would take a photo to use for their Christmas card. I thought they were crazy when they asked the concierge if they had a Santa hat they could borrow. 10 minutes later 2 santa hats were delivered to their cabin. • Jost Van Dyke! MISCELLANEOUS: • Love the casualness of SeaDream...no formal nights, yippee! • Love the shower...it's small but powerful. • Love the Bvlgari shower products. • Loved entering a cabin filled with balloons and decorations on my birthday. • Love the way that SeaDream allows the staff to actually enjoy themselves with the passengers. At Jost Van Dyke and Jumbies Bar the staff was able to have some fun. • Love cocktail hour...martini and crab claws before dinner, yummy. • Love the poolside pass-arounds. • Love the sunglass cleaning. • Love the alfresco dinners with perfectly set tables...casual and elegant at the same time. • Love swimming off the back of the boat. • Love the overall atmosphere. • Love getting to know the passengers and staff...so many interesting stories to hear. • Love being called by name as soon as we board...how the heck do they do it? • Love SeaDream I just as much as SeaDream II. I was a little leery after reading some cruise critic postings that SeaDream I wouldn't match up with II. I'm happy to report that the two ships seemed identical in looks and atmosphere. • Love that we took advantage of the open booking discount onboard and that we'll be returning to SeaDream. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Sea Dream Yacht Club - Casual, Luxury Small-Ship Cruising Posted February 4, 2011 by wjudson461 Categories: Cruise Travel Sea Dream Yacht Club- A Different and Unique Cruise Experience Sea Dream Yacht Club operates two ... Read More
Sea Dream Yacht Club - Casual, Luxury Small-Ship Cruising Posted February 4, 2011 by wjudson461 Categories: Cruise Travel Sea Dream Yacht Club- A Different and Unique Cruise Experience Sea Dream Yacht Club operates two 344 ft. mega-yachts offering all-inclusive, luxury cruises to the Caribbean in the winter and the Mediterranean in the summer. Accommodating 112 passengers with a crew of 95, these ships call on the smaller, unspoiled islands the bigger cruise lines are unable to reach. As most of these islands lack an airport, their natural beauty lies, in part, in the fact that they are difficult to get to. Not terribly easy to get home from, either. Tiny gems like Saba, Montserrat, Jost Van Dyke and Anguilla. If you've ever daydreamed about cruising the Greek Isles on your own private yacht, this is about as close as most of us will ever come. That being said, Sea Dream is most certainly not for everyone. It is very casual, laid back and geared to adults comfortable with entertaining themselves. Who Should Not Book a Sea Dream Voyage? OK, let me try to cull the herd as quickly and ruthlessly as possible. If you are traveling with your small children and looking forward to picking them up from the supervised Kid's program so you can feed them at the Early Seating and put them to bed with a babysitter in order to don your tuxedo and eat, take in a Broadway-type show before catching a Comedian in one of the many lounges and partying until the wee hours of the morning in a Casino with craps, roulette and all the bells and whistles, you are definitely in the wrong place. It is not happening. None of it. Not on Sea Dream. You are likely to find a larger crowd enjoying early morning coffee to watch the sunrise than you will in the Casino at 11:00 PM. The Sea Dream Passenger The Sea Dream experience attracts guests who are not only able to entertain themselves, but prefer to do so. The intimacy of the yachts is conducive to meeting people and getting to know them. Even if you are naturally shy, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid eye contact when you are running into the same people over and over. You cannot be a face in the crowd, since there is no crowd. So you break down and introduce yourself, and are usually rewarded. Usually, but not always. Sea Dream can scan your bags, but has not perfected scanners for personalities and social skills. Seriously, I have found Sea Dream passengers to be the most interesting, educated and friendly, and the least pretentious. We have a group of former cruise mates who we keep in touch with and sail with every year. Many of them are Sea Dreamers. Some Sweet Suites Most of the suites are Yacht Club Staterooms averaging about 195 sq. ft. and equipped with queen -sized beds, sitting area, refrigerator, fully-stocked refreshment bar, flat screen TV, DVD player, CD player, robe, slippers, etc. The suites are very nice and you would be hard pressed to come up with anything Sea Dream has forgotten. The bathrooms are small, definitely one person at a time affairs. When sitting on the throne, I usually locked the door, not because I had a sudden attack of modesty but because I've already had my nose broken several times. If you are over 7 ft. tall, I would imagine you would need to be pretty limber. Of course, you could always use the facilities in the public rooms, but if everyone did that, no one would do that. If you are a jockey, there should be no issues with the bathroom dimensions. I happen to really like the Sea Dream bathrooms. The multi-jet shower is really cool with good water pressure and the Bvlgari toiletries and soaps are fabulous. If you plan your vacations solely by the brand of shampoo provided, you may have found your niche. I also like the way Sea Dream has the sitting area by the entrance and the bed by the window. Most cruise lines have it the other way around, ostensibly so you can look out the window from the sofa. The Sea Dream arrangement works if your Spouse gets up earlier than you and orders coffee. The room service girl can drop off the tray in the sitting area without coming through the sleeping area. If you really want to try something different, ask to have one of the ultra-comfortable Balinese Dream Beds ( pictured below) made up with linens, pillows and duvets and sleep on Deck under the stars. Cuisine and Service Both are among the best available at sea. If you call for Room Service, you might as well not sit down again. These people are good. Our Cabin Stewardess was remarkable. I would get up in the morning, put out my "Make up Room" sign on the doorknob and go up to the Concierge to get my daily paper of choice. I would take it out on deck to glance at the headlines and return to the cabin, this whole exercise having taken maybe ten minutes. The suite would be completely made up. Our room was always made up and I never saw our Cabin girl in it or even near it. Another neat trick was that within two hours of embarkation, crew members who had never seen me before were greeting me by name. I assume they are given pictures and names and expected to memorize them. But it was a really nice touch. If you travel under multiple aliases, it may take a little longer. The Best and Only Licensed Thai Spa at Sea In terms of massage, Sea Dream has no peer in the cruise industry. Although I'm sure Swedish massage is offered, skip it and go with the Asian Blend massage. These girls are incredibly strong and good sports as well. They don't gloat about having twisted you into a pretzel-like shape that would make an Olympic gymnast green with envy despite giving up 100 lbs. I have always thought Swedish massage to be the spa equivalent of elevator music. You are oiled up like an Oven Stuffer and given a rub that is mildly enjoyable but forgotten the moment you walk out the door. The Asian Blend massage actually has results you can feel, although if you have never had Thai massage, it may take a little getting used to. Sometimes it hurts, although your masseuse will lessen the pressure if she hears you whimpering. Is she really climbing onto my back? Yes, she is. You have a pocket of tension in your back and kind of hope she'll miss it, as kneading it out can be painful? Forget it. These girls take massage very seriously and they miss nothing. But that evening, or maybe the next morning, you'll realize that nagging pain you were so used to is just not there anymore. The Water Sports Marina The Water Sports Marina really sets Sea Dream apart from any other cruise line. Other lines have them, but none have the toys that Sea Dream does, like Hobie Cat sailboats, kayaks, jet skis and even mountain bikes to take ashore and ride around the often mountainous ports of call. Please note that while I strongly encourage taking the mountain bikes ashore for a good workout, I personally have nothing to do with them. I prefer to be driven where I want to go. In order to use the Water Sports Marina, guests must sign a waiver relieving Sea Dream of any culpability should you become entangled in a submarine propeller or eaten by a giant squid. In exchange for your signature, you receive a brightly-colored wristband which entitles you to use all the toys. When they take in the toys, it is time for the afternoon swim. While the shipboard pool is fine, there is nothing like swimming out at sea. But it might be a good time to realistically appraise your swimming strength. If you're turning 60 and you swam competitively in your teens, you have to remember you are not that kid. The ship is a long way from shore, the water is deep and there are currents. Sometimes, they are very strong currents. There is ample supervision, both on the platform and in a motorboat that watches over you. A line attached to floating buoys is extended out from the platform so swimmers can grab on if they need to. Staying fairly close to that line is not a bad plan. In a good current, you can stroke very hard and find you've gone nowhere. So use your head. Is There a Sea Dream Cruise in Your Future? I have provided you with the basics of the Sea Dream experience. It is a unique one, suited to a certain type of passenger. The best way to find out if this is for you is to get out and do it. This is really true of almost anything. Having read my piece, if all of this sounds fabulous, you simply have to experience a Sea Dream cruise. If some of it sounds appealing, perhaps you should try a Sea Dream cruise. If none of it sounds the least bit enticing, I don't know what to tell you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
The ship is huge. Food is not great. Good size portions of food for normal size diners. Staff not as friendly as on other ships. Ships signage is very good. There are 16 elevators, eight on each end for 14 floors and 4,100 passengers. You ... Read More
The ship is huge. Food is not great. Good size portions of food for normal size diners. Staff not as friendly as on other ships. Ships signage is very good. There are 16 elevators, eight on each end for 14 floors and 4,100 passengers. You may wait as long as seven minutes for an elevator. Dining service was very good. a major problem is the lack of enforcement of stated policies, such as: theater seats CAN NOT be saved, deck lounges CAN NOT be reserved. Let me assure you that these two policies were not enforced. Even with the ships stabilizers deployed the ship rolled 10 to 14 degrees in 7 to 9 foot seas which we experienced. Music consisted of a lot of Latin type music, party music, piano music, classical music and almost no traditional(slow and swing)dance music. Smoking is permitted supposedly on the starboard (right) side of the ship. Smoke in the Casino was unbearable. Food in the unscaled Chops Restaurant was no better than the dining rooms. However, the service at an extra charge of $25.00 plus was very attentive. The stage shows were good. Remember the ship is in business to make MONEY and very few thing are complimentary. If you are not very careful you will spend money you did not think you would have to spend. Due to weather didn't get to visit St. Martin. No big loss. St. Thomas was busy with three of the worlds largest ships. Over 15.000 passengers on the three ships in St. Thomas at one time. Ride to the town was $5.00 per person each way, plus an expected tip. Speaking of tipping, the ship suggest tipping certain crew members a total of $64.75 per passenger for the seven day cruise. They will gladly add the suggested tip to your departure bill. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Eastern Carribbean Nov 21st Our first Impression was fantastic and how quick we boarded at 12:30pm, no lines, no waiting.... we literally walked on. We went directly to our room and received our luggage later when expected just as ... Read More
Eastern Carribbean Nov 21st Our first Impression was fantastic and how quick we boarded at 12:30pm, no lines, no waiting.... we literally walked on. We went directly to our room and received our luggage later when expected just as promised. We then proceeded to Register our credit card. We got in a line with two people in front of us, they spoke Italian. They obviously were having trouble even with assistance from the cruise person. Suddenly out of nowhere, 7 or 8 other people joined them in front of us ( Cut in )and took about 10 minutes, then they all left with no cards being registered. The cruise person said nothing and about the line cutting, then we did our cards in 30 seconds. No idea what that was about. I took it as rude but moved on. Positives of the cruise: - Fast boarding - best entertainment we've ever seen. - Staff and restaurant waiters excellent. - All minor problems handled immediately and friendly. - Buffet and Dining room meals very good for what served. - All tenders were at Docks - 500 kids on board, well looked after by staff ( none ours ) - Lots of other cultures onboard, made it interesting. - All ports and excursions as expected, got soaked in the "Rain Forest". - Lots of Places onboard to get privacy and seating. - Lots of onboard stuff to buy..... boarderlining on Flea market - Georgeous Dancers, lots of leg kicks and splits. - Inside Stateroom well equipped and usable. - 2 for 1 drinks twice a day. - Free Gym and Hot tub in Gym Negatives: - No real Great Room, Grand Staircase as we're used to. - Pools close about 7:30pm.. too early, too crowded in daytime, never swam. - People coming in late to shows and leaving early... distracting and rude ! - Lines at service Counters too long, need more staff when busy. - Too much late night Pizza, food not available as in other Cruises. - Desserts are limited and small. - Ice cream machines, out of milk, runny, broken... never did have any good icecream. - All announcements in 5 languages, but also a positive, hey... learn another language. - If you didnt Dine in Dining Room at 6pm, you had to wait til 7:30 for Buffets. - NO good Pineapple !!!!! - Overall food not as good as other cruises but acceptable for price. - Some pushing and confusion, first day only. - People cut into lines at theatre some nights. - 2 for 1 Drinks cause crowds, Bartenders do not keep track of "Who's next". Overall 8/10, We'd go again, nice to share other cultures. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Absolutely loved this cruise. It was the epitome of luxury and great service. Check in was simple at the pier. They took our bags, checked our passports against the passenger list, we boarded the boat and were handed a cold towel and a ... Read More
Absolutely loved this cruise. It was the epitome of luxury and great service. Check in was simple at the pier. They took our bags, checked our passports against the passenger list, we boarded the boat and were handed a cold towel and a glass of champagne. Several days before the cruise we were given the option to upgrade to a suite for a nominal fee which we chose to do. Good decision since cabins tend to be pretty small anyway. The Commodore Suite which we upgraded to is basically two cabins combined. The wall adjoining them is opened up to about an 8 foot opening. We chose to have the second cabin set up with a table for seating four people. What we loved was having two bathrooms, two closets and two sets of drawers, etc. It made it very easy for both of us to get ready in the morning or evening at the same time. We appreciated the Bvlgari toiletries in the cabin, the robes, fridges loaded with beer, water and soft drinks, the flat screen TV, and comfy beds. We did have to call our cabin attendant the first night to have her replace the two twin duvets with one queen size one since the former didn't make snuggling very easy. The next morning we found that the others in our party had the same problem. Later, I ran into our attendant and asked her to fix them up with the proper sized duvets as well. The cabin attendants were outstanding and nice tempered. They never missed a beat. You left your room for breakfast and when you returned, it was made up. Same for dinner or mid afternoon. It was like they had eyes in the back of their heads. One of our favorite things was returning the first night to retire and finding the famous custom embroidered PJs laying on top of our bed with our names on them. Sweet. I had read about it but forgot about it. YOU MUST DO THIS: There is a collection of what they refer to as "Bali Beds" outside on Deck 5. These are great for lounging during the day. But, at night, if you ask your cabin attendant, they'll make one up for you with sheets and duvets so you can sleep outside under the stars.   CUISINE: Fabulous. Thomas, our chef, is a true artist. Every meal was excellent from breakfast which offers a fruit and cereal bar as well as an excellent breakfast menu that is made to order. The scrumptious dinners were nothing short of magical - 2 of which were served outside on the top deck - great idea. The wait staff gets great kudos from everyone in our party of six. They couldn't have been nicer or more professional. The thing that surprised and impressed us most was the "beach party" they held the last day at Jost Van Dyke. We were told they were serving us champagne and caviar at noon. Well, they did - and served it "in the surf." ENTERTAINMENT: Although my boyfriend and I didn't really participate in it, others in our group did and enjoyed it very much. The piano was a lovely place to hand out after dinner as was the mini casino though a bit too much Caribbean poker and not enough blackjack was played. A couple of evenings they played DVD concerts outside on a large screen. PORTS: We sailed from St. Thomas to San Juan and stopped at St. John, St. Barths, Anguilla, Jost Van Dyke and San Juan. Loved every port but particularly the last three. It seemed to us that the USVI were dirty, full of litter and the people not always so friendly - about 50% of them seemed to not like you being on their island. In contrast, the BVI and St. Barths people were friendly, the area clean and free of litter. A cab driver in St. Barths told us that the trash is picked up twice a day there. Anguilla apparently has three of the most beautiful hotels in all of the Caribbean. Didn't go there but did go to a beautiful and secluded beach. ONBOARD SPORTS: We always went ashore during the day but many people chose to just stay on the ship. All the watersports are free so you can water ski, jet ski, swim, snorkel, banana boat, etc. off the back deck of the boat when it is in port. OVER THE TOP: Another service that wow'd us was, upon returning from our shore excursion, we would shower and hang out at the pool. The wait staff there would come around and offer to "Clean Your Sunglasses." Simple but very very nice, helpful and thoughtful. SPA: The spa is run by three wonderful Thai ladies. They are tiny but ferocious. If you have never had a Thai massage - this is the time to try it. These women are incredible. Strong, smart and sweet. When you lie down on the massage table, through the face hole your gaze settles on a bowl of water filled with beautiful flowers. We got a massage the second day and came back for two more days in a row!. Every day these ladies make an offering and say a prayer for smooth sailing. The captain credited them for our smooth trip. The gym is small but adequate and one never needed to wait. HOOKED: By the end of our trip, we were all already talking about when and where to book our next trip on Sea Dream. We just loved everything about it and every staff person from the captain down to the guys who do all the upkeep. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin ... Read More
My husband and I just got back from a seven day cruise on Wind Star. We had not been on the ship before but have cruised on Oceania and Royal Caribbean. As with any cruise there is the good and the bad. The good news was the cabin was nice. The bathrooms were clean and the shower had two heads. The bose ipod speaker was great and the plasma tv was nice. The only really bad thing about the room was that it was so dark! We asked our room attendant about some holes above the mirror in the room where it looked as though there had been a light above. He informed us that yes, there had been a light, but the lights had all been removed because they got too hot. Regardless, lighting was minimal. The bad news is that the ship was rusting away. The outside of the ship and the outside deck was dirty and covered in rust. The plastic lounge chairs had not had a good scrub down in I don't know how long. The sails were very dingy looking. The captain informed us that they would be working on the ship during their two week transatlantic, but it is going to take a lot more than two weeks to get the ship looking good. The service was not even comparable to the Oceania ship. The food during dinner wasn't bad, but we sat outside one night where they grill for you separately and unfortunately the dinner was bad. The lunch buffet was pretty much the same every day, but the salads were good and the breakfast wasn't bad. The other good thing about the ship is because there are only 150 passengers on board, you easily meet one another and everyone seemed to be friendly and happy. My last comment has to do with the noise on board during the early hours. We were on the second level and I heard the first level was worse. Whenever they were preparing to ready the tenders or whatever they were doing, there was this loud noise which would awaken you at 6:00 am. This happened about 2-3 times during the cruise. Anyway, I've never been in a cabin that was noisy, but maybe my cabin was in the wrong spot, which was in the middle of the deck. I enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of the places before, so didn't really do any tours except for a snorkel and the Americas Cup Race, which were good. Oh, the only other thing was that the itinerary stated that you arrive back in St. Thomas at 6:00 am, but we found out later that it was 7:00 am. We had booked a flight for 7:45. I will give great credit to the crew, as they allowed us to leave right at 7:00 and we did manage to get on our flight. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We sailed Seadream for our "babymoon" (I hate that term actually). At almost 7 months pregnant, we did not do many rigorous activities at the ports of call. Our room (standard window) was furnished cleverly, with many shelves ... Read More
We sailed Seadream for our "babymoon" (I hate that term actually). At almost 7 months pregnant, we did not do many rigorous activities at the ports of call. Our room (standard window) was furnished cleverly, with many shelves to put things on, and felt large enough. The lavatory was large enough for us, but I could see someone who is not petite being in tight quarters. Food was great. Service was fabulous. I met a woman on board who loved having fresh coconut juice, so the kitchen made sure to stock up in the ports and served the coconut right up! Dinners were good. We usually prefer to dine alone, and although we had the ability to every night, actually sat with other on a few occasions and had a great time. Movie night out in the open with the blankets and popcorn was awesome, something that sticks in my mind every time my mind wanders about cruising. We had massages in the spa, and while I felt fine my husband stopped his halfway - the rooms are quite tight and the boat was rocking a bit. The pool area was great, and I spent many days right on the deck with my feet in the water reading a book. The area is really open and the views from the pool are great. One night we slept outside on the beds up on top. It was a really beautiful night, but I will say that it depends on the winds, and sometimes we got a really strong wiff on the engines. I would also suggest to pick a night when the boat is docked - we did it the night we were anchored at St. Barths, it feels much less rocky! My husband enjoyed the watersports (I stayed safely on the boat!). I would recommend Seadream in a heartbeat, and we will definitely try a cruise with them again. I liked that the atmosphere was not stuffy, there were no formal dinner nights to worry about (this would have been a huge concern for me being so pregnant), and the people in general were laid back and friendly. We actually made some friends we are still in touch with! BTW, I also apologize for my use of "boat", instead of "yacht", as I know some people are sticklers about that! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was my first cruise on Seabourn. I had previously cruised on Holland America's Amsterdam to Alaska, and wanted to try a smaller ship. These are my impressions of Seabourn's Legend. I was on for 14 days to the Caribbean. ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Seabourn. I had previously cruised on Holland America's Amsterdam to Alaska, and wanted to try a smaller ship. These are my impressions of Seabourn's Legend. I was on for 14 days to the Caribbean. Embarkation: Came aboard in St. Thomas, absolutely no one in line when I came to the ship. I was sailing with my sister and brother-in-law and another lady friend of ours, we had three separate cabins. The embarkation was very easy, they were very friendly and had us wait in the King Olaf lounge since we were a bit early, the cabins were not quite ready. We were given cold drinks, and there were finger sandwiches available. We were given our shipboard card, with a picture taken onboard for security purposes, our room key, they took an imprint of a credit card, and then a steward whisked us off to our cabins. I had four pieces of luggage, one of them a dive bag, and all of them showed up in the cabin in short order. Cabins: Beautiful. I had a cabin by myself and had asked for "run of ship" (single), which means you take what they give you usually 30 days before sailing. I was assigned deck 5, room 201, which is right next to the Classic Suite, which is the forward-most cabin on this deck. I was very happy with this location, as I wanted to spend time on the Legend's bow. There is a beautiful hot tub on the bow, and hardly anyone was ever out there. More later on this part of the ship. We had a couple of rough sea days, and there was a lot of movement, but it didn't bother me at all, I sort of liked it (being so forward on the ship). The cabin has a HUGE window, and a tiny "window seat" which you can "perch" on and watch the world go by. Word of warning; my cabin was on the starboard side of the ship, and this particular cabin must have been directly over the anchor. Every time they dropped it, or pulled it up, I could swear it was going into my closet, very loud. I didn't care though, it was sort of funny. Nice queen size bed, very comfortable duvet cover, loads and loads of storage space in drawers, and a great walk in closet, even with space for your shoes. Nice safe in the closet as well. Flat screen TV and DVD player, Bose CD player, and they had a few channels of music, my favorite being soft jazz. Put on mood lighting in your room, the radio playing "you give me fever", dress for your formal night dining, I felt like I was in a movie. You can put your suitcases either in the closet or under the bed. A little sofa and two chairs complete the sitting area, along with a nifty coffee table that can pull up and become a table if you want to dine in your cabin. The large mirror, which amplifies the space in the sitting area, doubles as the place you can check out your outfit before walking down the hall to dinner. The bathroom was gorgeous. Lots of space, a huge tub and hand held shower, but you could fix it into the holder above you to have it rain down on you; lots of hot water and excellent water pressure. Moulton Brown shampoo, conditioner and lotion have now spoiled me for life. Marble everywhere, and lots of towels that were constantly replaced and folded up for you. A makeup mirror, appreciated, and a good hairdryer!! Lots of storage space on the sides and under the counter for all your little things. A mini fridge in the room had soft drinks and mixers, and I asked for bottled water, as I don't really like wine. Drinks are included on Seabourn and they made a very good Pina Colada up at the Sky Bar. Dining: It was like eating at an exclusive restaurant at every meal. I only went to the dining room for dinner; breakfast and lunch I usually had at the Veranda cafe (stern of the ship; outside or inside seating, gorgeous view, buffet, very good food), or on the run, since I am a scuba diver and was either grabbing breakfast before I left, or a quick lunch upon returning from my dive. The dining room was lovely and had a real energy to it; you'll get invitations to dine with various officers once in awhile, they leave printed invitations on your door and when you get to the table, little placecards with your name on it. The food was not only delicious, it was done like a work of art. Don't get me started on desserts. My favorite was the creme brulee...three of them....different flavors, at one sitting! One afternoon there was a "galley brunch", you wandered through the galley picking out dozens and dozens of different foods, then back the dining room for your table, where a display of desserts also awaited you. Spectacular. Tea was served almost every day in the forward lounge, a huge display of delicious sandwiches, scones, usually a hot appetizer or dessert, and white gloved waiters offering a variety of teas poured from silver pots. Charming and delicious. Nice places to hang out: My favorite being the bow. A very nice hot tub, a few deck chairs, and just forward of the hot tub is a sloping cover that you can perch on, at the very front of the ship, and get a feeling it's you, the sky and the sea. Very, very wonderful, I spend a lot of time sitting there. A small pool, surrounded by a nice sitting area, but not anywhere that you can actually see out to the ocean. The bridge deck had most of the deck chairs, but this deck was blocked in view by the lifeboats. To see the sea, you needed to grab a chair on deck 8, where the Sky Bar was. Events and Entertainment: On my two week cruise they had a deck barbecue and also a special night of desserts "under the stars"...just about every dessert you can think of. The entertainment was lots of fun; being a smaller ship, the cruise directors on Seabourn also double as the talent. One night they had a "rock the boat" show....songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's with the four cruise directors attired in decade-appropriate clothing. Another night was Broadway tunes sung by the talented cruise staff in the show lounge, and they also had a brilliant pianist on board, David Howarth, whose CD I bought and am playing to death, he was spectacular. Shore excursions/Complimentary: Seabourn has complimentary shore excursions on each cruise. We were on two weeks, and the first week in Nevis we were taken to the botanical garden for a show of local dancers. This wasn't much to my liking, we were sitting under a large tent and it was rather stifling; the dancing didn't interest me much, sorry to say. They also had a "fashion show" which consisted of local outfits, cute...but I rather have spent the day diving, which I gave up to take this excursion. The second week was the beach barbecue on Virgin Gorda, a complete blast with Seabourn setting up an entire beach with chairs, an enclosed bar/dining area, a buffet lunch with every food under the sun, and waiters in the surf giving you caviar off a bobbing surfboard (umbrellas in hand to keep the sun off you). I enjoyed the banana boat rides which dumped us into the ocean consistently. Tenders came and went from the Legend all afternoon so you could come and go as you please. They also had windsurfers available and water skiing. Gym: Small but very functional. I was on those treadmills almost every day, you have to be if you don't want to gain a hundred pounds. In a refrigerator they had cold towels and ice water in bottles; thank you! They had cycles, free weights, and other "universal" weight machines. Spa: I had one massage which cost $110 and I wouldn't do it again, just too much money. I also had a manicure which was fine, but the person doing it kept trying to sell me stuff for my skin. Up to you, but I'd just as soon pass on this section of the ship! Shore Excursions/Arranged: The one mix up I had was a day in St. Maarten. After missing my first dive boat (my error), a shore excursion person set up an afternoon dive for me on another boat. Unfortunately, I was not given thorough directions as to where to pick up the boat, and never found it. After writing on my comment card that better directions were needed, never heard back from Seabourn. Disappointed about this, but it was the only problem I encountered the entire two weeks. My impression of the Legend was that it is a beautiful ship with a stellar crew and wonderful food...the cabins are about the best around, and if you are looking for great service on a line that tends to be dressy...a small, intimate, friendly experience, this is for you. I would sail again with them anywhere, anytime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which ... Read More
Having cruised a number of times before (10+) and having cruised on Wind Star previously (two times), we approach this review with a non-biased and (hopefully) open mind. We made our reservations through Cruises of Distinction which doesn't really have an interactive web site, but, rather, relies on telephone service. They are great to work with and have rates that match or beat any we could find on the internet. We were with two other couples, one of whom was on our Wind Star cruise in Tahiti and the other who had never cruised on Wind Star previously. We all flew into St. Thomas one day ahead of the cruise and stayed at The Green Iguana. The cruise departed from Crown Bay March 11, 2006, and took us to St. John, St. Martin, St. Barths, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda. Our embarkation at 3:00 pm on Saturday was typical Wind Star ... smooth, personal and enjoyable (the Captain was even there to greet us). All the cabins on the Wind Star and Wind Spirit, save the owner's cabin, are identical in layout and appointments. We were pleasantly surprised at the changes that have been made since our last Wind Star cruise ... flat screen T.V., comfortable beds, DVD/CD players, and even iPod docking stations (you can check out a pre-programmed iPod at the desk). We immediately noticed that our itinerary had changed somewhat so that our arrival and departure times on some of the islands was shortened considerably. Many of the excursions originally offered had been eliminated with no explanation given so this meant that we would be "on our own" more than anticipated if we didn't choose to participate in the one or two excursions offered. We arrived in St. John on Sunday which wasn't conducive to shopping as most stores are closed; however, we had opted for a bus tour and snorkeling so that didn't bother us. Our tour guide was interesting enough, but he felt he had to stop at every rock and tree to explain something or another ... to the point where the passengers revolted when he tried to cut our snorkeling short with "just one more stop". We managed to get in about an hour's worth of snorkeling at Trunk Bay which was very nice but I'm not sure I'd put it on the "world's top 10 beach list" touted by National Geographic. It's a National Park so it's well maintained and has a concession stand, nice restrooms and a great shower area (even though the water was cold). Our St. Maarten tour was actually quite nice. The bus took us around the entire island and our guide gave us insight into the pros and cons of living on both the French side (St. Martin) and Dutch side (St. Maarten) of the island (I think I'd take the French side). On St. Barths, my husband and I opted for the "Independent Explorer" which gave us a car and a map and sent us on our way. St. Barths has a number of steep, windy roads and many interesting beaches. We didn't spend the entire five hours driving and swimming (the water was a little rough that day), but we did enjoy seeing the island. (However, for the price, I wouldn't do it again.) Having spent time on Tortola during a previous trip, we weren't thrilled with the prospect of driving around yet again. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find we were anchoring at the West End, just off Sopers Hole. We strolled through the charming shops (not many of them) and enjoyed a few Painkillers at Pusser's. Had anchored off Jost Van Dyke on a previous small ship sailing but never made in on shore. Found out that I hadn't missed a thing! Foxy's was the "highlight", and that isn't saying much. We had also previously visited (and stayed on) Virgin Gorda but we took the tour/snorkeling trip with the rest of our friends anyway ... and fell in love with Virgin Gorda all over again. The Baths were magnificent (calm waters so we were able to swim and snorkel) and the area around the Baths had been cleaned up considerably. We have always found the food on our Wind Star cruises to be far better than any of the other cruises we've taken. The wait room staff was friendly and very attentive (and, yes, we were in Daddy's area). We did bring our own wine and were quite thankful since we found that the prices on the wine list had increased significantly since our last Wind Star cruise (Note: we paid a $10 corkage fee for each bottle). Our cabin was fine; however, this was the first time I had booked a cabin on the "B" deck and I probably won't do it again. We encountered some pretty severe weather one night and the splashing of the waves against the hull was quite loud. (Not to mention our friends who were in the cabin next to us were a bit unnerved by the fact you could look out your porthole and actually be "under" water at times.) Now for the few cons ... and I am writing a letter to Wind Star. - We were disappointed in the docking time changes and the elimination of most of the tours. - The drinks were a bit overpriced. $5.00 for a can of coke was "over the top". - The meager excursions were overpriced and, for the most part, boring. It would be better if they just offered buses to take you to and from popular snorkeling areas. - The much-touted "swim platform" at the back of the ship is rarely ever lowered due to "weather" conditions. In fact, on all three of our trips on these ships, it was only lowered once during each cruise. - We were never really under sail until the last day when a substitute Captain came on board while our regular Captain attended a meeting offshore. Being under sail on a Wind Star is a wonderful experience and, I'm convinced, our substitute Captain was less "leery" of turning off the engines and letting this magnificent ship "do her thing". - The disembarkation was horrid. During our Tahitian cruise, we were able to eat a leisurely breakfast and disembark at around 10:00 am. This cruise we were told to have our bags ready by 6:00 am and present ourselves to the customs officials by 6:15 am. Even though our bags were ready to go the night before, this meant getting up by 5:00 am to get ready to go. Breakfast was rushed and there was no service to speak of. We had to chase down servers to get coffee and, except for a few exceptions, there wasn't a smile or "good morning" to be had. - But, to top it off, we found out, by talking to several passengers standing around waiting for taxis, that there had been an outbreak of an intestinal virus on board that left a number of passengers ill and one cabin "quarantined". Luckily, none of our party became ill but, had we known there was a threat, you can be sure that we would have been more diligent in taking our Airborne and vitamins. Will we take another Wind Star cruise? Probably, but there are many other ships to try and other places to see. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006

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