16 St. Thomas Luxury 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
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
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
We boarded the SeaDream II yacht/cruise ship around 2pm. After a greeting by the captain, we were directed to a lounge with hors d'oeurves and flowing champagne. We waited there while our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. We ... Read More
We boarded the SeaDream II yacht/cruise ship around 2pm. After a greeting by the captain, we were directed to a lounge with hors d'oeurves and flowing champagne. We waited there while our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. We met a few people there: a couple from Dallas, a couple from Toronto, and a mother/daughter traveling from New Jersey. Everyone was friendly and inviting. We then got our room keys, and were led to our room to unpack. The room was very small, 185 square feet. No rooms had balconies as this is a large yacht/small cruise ship. We had one large window. Though small, the room was adequate and what was there was very nice. The shower was especially nice and big enough (I am 6'3"). It had 3 sprayers and Bvlgari soaps and lotions. The room can equipped with soft linens and a tv which showed 2 or 3 different popular movies each Day in a loop along with CNN World and ship channels. All food and drink was included in the price of the cruise. The ship had a small pool and a hot tub. It had Balinese beds spread throughout the different decks for sunbathing and stargazing. Some people chose to 'sleep under the Stars'. We did not. There was an outside bar on the top deck which featured a guitar player in the evenings after dinner. There was also a piano bar with a pianist/lounge singer, karaoke, and a single black jack table. The food was remarkable. Even the 24 hour menu was delicious. Breakfast and lunch were served either on the deck or in your room. The Belgian pancakes were really good. Dinner was served anytime between 7:30 and 9:30pm each night. Two nights it was served in the formal dining room. The other 5 nights, dinner was served outside on the deck while the ship was anchored off the coast of a different Caribbean island. The dinner menu changes each evening. There was always a 5 course chef's recommended meal, but there were also 5 course vegan meals, and other alternative meal choices. We intermingled choices from different menus each night, and if something was outstanding, you could always have seconds or thirds. Of course dinner was always accompanied by paired wines or your choice of wine or cocktail. We only ate alone once. We shared dinner with at least one other couple most of the time, and when we did, we often ordered bottles of wine from the Somelier's extensive list. These were extra. Nearly every evening, there was some sort of pre-dinner cocktail hour. There was a captain's greeting, a fashion show around the pool with fresh sushi, and others we missed. The best part of the cruise was the people. On other cruises, we met people in passing. On this ship, we really got to know several different couples and crew. We spent a lot of time with a fireman/contractor and his travel sales wife from Long Island, NY; with an orthopedic surgeon and his pediatrician wife from Chicago; with a business owner and his wife from Toronto, and we enjoyed the company of many others from London, Norway, Sweden, and the USA. We especially enjoyed the Cruise Director, Pieter, from South Africa and our main waiter, Ponce, from Puerto Rico. Pieter is a bunch of fun. He led many shore expeditions, both day and night. He led hikes around islands, toured thru St. Barts, and even took a group of us to a Burlesque show one evening. We would have never done that on our own, but the experience turned out to be one we will never forget. These were not places the big cruise ships go. Of the different islands we visited, we enjoyed St. Barts and Jost Van Dyke the most. A day and a half was not long enough on the French island of St. Barts. We spent the day exploring the world class shopping and dining. We didn't get a chance to see the beaches or other renowned hotels, restaurants and bars. We are already ready to go back. Jost Van Dyke is a tiny island with an amazing beach. It is known for its beach and beach bars. The painkiller rum drink was invented at the Soggy Dollar bar there. The ship hosted a beach barbecue on the final day there. Waiters waded into the ocean in their full uniforms to serve drinks and caviar to waiting guests. It was the perfect beach experience. Other stops were to St. John, Anguilla, Tortola, Norman Island, and Virgin Gorda. We hiked Norman island. We went to the Baths at Virgin Gorda, which is a beach with huge boulders that the ocean flows and around. They are more like caves than Baths. We shopped and picked up a painting by a local artist in St. John's. We went to a white sand beach on Anguilla called Shoal beach. We were only in Tortola for one morning. We just visited the main harbor, did some shopping, and looked at the yachts in the Harbor. We went back aboard the ship for lunch and sunbathing on the top deck, enjoying the views of Tortola from our Balinese sun bed. Overall, it was a great trip. There was only one child on the ship and it was the most well behaved Swedish boy. Some people were there for two or three weeks. I don't know if my liver could handle that. So much alcohol... Many guests put a refundable deposit down for another trip within the next two years. That guarantees an extra 10% off. This experience will be tough to follow for sure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, ... Read More
My husband Ross and I spent 2 wonderful weeks on SeaDream II staying in the Admiral Suite. In the first week on board we renewed our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary, Officiated by Captain Lund, it was such a happy and fun experience, as everything was organised through SeaDream leaving Ross and myself to just thoroughly enjoy the whole ceremony, we were so impressed with the crew who did everything they could to ensure it all went smoothly for us, thank you again to everyone involved, love you all.... Back to the rest of our holiday I must say service was excellent in every aspect through the whole 2 weeks. We especially loved being in the Piano Bar every evening where Sammy on keyboard nicely urged passengers to take up the microphone for karaoke, lots of fun and a few of us danced the night away while Chief Barman Zoltan expertly served drinks with his quick wit and ever-ready cheeky smile.... all the crew had an amazing knack of of remembering all the guests names as well as their preferred drinks etc. Every meal was a 5 star dining experience and the chef was only too happy to cook up a favorite meal for you even if it wasn't on the menu. The shore excursions were terrific, I especially loved the ATV tours, first one for us was a tour staying mostly on the roads with scenic pit-stops, where we were able to take some awesome photos. In the second week we did another ATV shore excursion, this time it was off-road but still easy to manage and lots of fun.... the activities on-board were brilliant. I loved the jet ski and banana boat rides while Ross' passion was the little sailboat.... Our 'yachting not cruising' holiday was an exciting and memorable experience and we can't wait for 2016 doing the Mediterranean and Atlantic Crossing on SeaDream I.... Thank you to everyone on SeaDream II for leaving us with some amazing holiday memories.... Cheers Sandy Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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
Legend cruise had a less than perfect start but all ended well. My wife and I realize that there is no broadly accepted "6 star" standard but we do think it implies a better than average "5 star" experience and that ... Read More
Legend cruise had a less than perfect start but all ended well. My wife and I realize that there is no broadly accepted "6 star" standard but we do think it implies a better than average "5 star" experience and that is what we expect when paying "6 star" prices. Last October we experienced 10 wonderful days aboard the Seabourn Spirit out of Venice and we posted a glowing review on this forum. The Spirit mostly met or exceeded our "6 Star" expectations and we soon booked our second cruise, this time with the Seabourn Legend out of St. Thomas on January 26th. During the initial part of our cruise the Legend easily met "4 star" standards but, in my opinion, numerous minor deficiencies resulted in a failure to meet average "5 star" standards. Shortly after boarding we concluded that the ship was understaffed, some crew members were abrupt and surly, there were several minor maintenance issues and attention to detail was lacking. These initial negative impressions grew during the first two days of this 7 day cruise. It is important to note that on day three I had a conversation with the Hotel Director (Rico Taubert) who, to his great credit, took my complaints very seriously and made every effort to ensure that the remainder of our cruise was as good as it could possibly be. Here is a list of the initial shortcomings: The suite was generally in immaculate condition except for the fact that our bathtub appeared to have been recently refinished and large areas of paint were peeling off. Also, the Bose clock-radio did not work as a clock. The clock-radio problem was apparently due to electrical interference from the ship's PA system which made it randomly reset and start flashing. Our stewardess (who was very pleasant and attentive) pointed out the small wall clock, but this had no alarm and could not be read in the dark. She suggested that if the Bose flashing bothered us she could unplug it. The guest laundry room was out of service due to electrical compatibility problems with newly installed washing machines. These things can happen but I felt that an explanatory notice should have been issued to guests rather than just placing an "Out of Service" notice on the laundry room door. The do-it-yourself ironing facilities were also unavailable but they did press my shirts (free of charge) when I complained. I indicated that I needed one particular shirt pressed for that evening (two hours later) and was assured it would be done. Unfortunately it wasn't returned until late the following afternoon. The electronic door lock needed multiple swipes of our cards before responding. Reprogramming of the worst card provided only a small improvement. Crew cards always worked on the first swipe so I conclude our guest cards were "magnetically exhausted". The sail-away party appeared understaffed with waits of ten minutes or more for drinks service. Some cheerful staff did try hard to cope with a difficult situation, others appeared sullen and disengaged. On the first night the main dining room also appeared to be understaffed and a bit below the high standards we had consistently experienced on the Spirit. Our suite initially had no bathrobes and only one pair of slippers but this was promptly corrected by our very helpful stewardess. Our "personalized stationary" had the previous guest's name on it. On the second evening we were addressed by name for the first time. We think that occasionally being called by name is a pleasing marketing gimmick but it is unrealistic to expect it to occur frequently when a ship has 200 passengers. However, if staff in a 5 star hotel don't know your name they will routinely use "Sir" or "Madam". We do not consider this to be demeaning to staff, it is simply a common courtesy which sets the tone for a mutually polite and respectful encounter. Aboard the Legend the apparently deliberate avoidance of any salutation was conspicuous and jarring in a supposedly "6 star" environment. One officer explained that outwardly surly attitudes were common amongst staff from some countries and it didn't necessarily mean they were angry or resentful, apparently some just "appear" to be cold, inattentive and uncaring. I can't say that explanation made me any happier, particularly as that same unsmiling culture seemed to have infected some of the staff from other countries. I hasten to add that many of the staff were the opposite, they were wonderful and consistently displayed the same warmth and enthusiasm which seemed to be universal on the Spirit. The malfunctioning alarm clock made daily wake-up calls necessary but one wake-up call never materialized. Unlike the service in good hotels the telephone operator never answered with our name, which may account for the lost wake-up call. In summary, most of the deficiencies were quite minor but it was the frequency of them which mildly irritated us, primarily because of Seabourn's heavily promoted claims of "6 Star" service and because of our near flawless experience aboard the Spirit. We were very impressed by the remedial actions of the Hotel Director, within hours we noticed that some of the colder staff suddenly appeared happier and more courteous. Our names started being used frequently and the whole atmosphere was much more in line with our admittedly high expectations. We discovered that some of those previously sullen staff members were actually very nice people, perhaps a bit more training is all that is needed. Interestingly, the ship-wide aversion to the words "Sir" and "Madam" remained firmly in place but it no longer mattered because we had bonded with some great new friends, the food and entertainment were so enjoyable and most of the crew were now being very pleasant and accommodating. Before leaving the ship we demonstrated our renewed satisfaction by placing a deposit for our next Seabourn cruise and by making a donation to the crew welfare fund. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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 reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into ... Read More
I reviewed our trip last year on Seadream I (which is incorrecly listed as December, it was actually February) so I won't go over the same things I wrote about in that review. I will just add some different thoughts We flew into St Thomas on a Cape Air 8 passenger plane from San Juan. It was a $20 fare to the pier and took about 10 minutes. I didn't think the service was quite as good as our first trip, but that could easily be because of my extremely high expectations. It was still far better than any other cruise line I have sailed on. Some of the crew were the same we met on our cruise the year before. I would note that the crew turnover is quite low, no doubt due to how much they all like their jobs. I wanted to address the wonderful flexibility the Captain has. Our first full day on the cruise was in St John and it was the Sunday of the NFL conference championships. Many on the cruise wanted to be able to stay in town later than our 6:00pm departure to see the games so the yacht stayed at anchor until everyone could watch their games and get back onboard. Additionally, there was poor weather forecast the day we were to be in Anguilla so the yacht switched to St Martin. This type of flexibility ensures a great cruise. We did not experience any problems with the marina and have used the toys and swam on both our cruises. We have had some good excursions and some less so. For instance, on our snorkle trip in Virgin Gorda, the contract boat had no flotation devices, which I had never encountered before. There was one gentleman on this trip I would have preferred to see less of but you do run into the same people. On this trip there were only 72 passengers so it was an extra small group. Once again we found the people we met to be enjoyable travel companions. I like that the yacht is seldom at sail. It's especially important for those who think they might get seasick on a small vessel. Between the short sails between ports and the ability to not stick to an itinerary that might include poor weather, I would opine that the chance of getting seasick is limited. We had one evening eating out on the deck where it was chilly and windy enough I would not have wanted the ship to be moving on top of the conditions. This type of cruising is certainly not for everyone, but one last thing I would note is the volume of return customers. (which is not apparent from these reviews) I would say that over half of the passengers were return visitors, some had cruised on the yachts up to 20 times! That is a ringing endorsement. My husband and I look forward to our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 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
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and ... Read More
We recently returned from a seven day cruise on SD I. The cruise departed from St Thomas and ended in San Juan. St Thomas has to be the worst place in the Caribbean if not on earth for a cruise to depart from. The airport is horrible and doesn't even have jet ways. The taxis are ridiculously expensive and charge on a per person basis while they cram you into a big van with limited A/C. Of course they also gouge you for your luggage. We paid $26 to go from the airport to the Windward Passage which is no more than seven minute ride which would cost about $10 with tip for in normal tourist city. The hotel was fine and we knew what to expect. It wasn't luxury although it was nicely appointed with a friendly staff. The price was pretty good and we liked the fact it was within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. The hotel does have a nice courtyard, pool, free internet, small casino, nice outdoor bar, and other amenities. The Greenhouse and the Giggling Gecko were the two places we ate at and are both a short walk from the hotel. The food and service was fantastic at both places. We arrived at the cruise terminal (Crown Bay) at 1:45 pm and they already started the boarding process. The Captain, Hotel Manager, and other key staff were there to greet us. We were taken to the lobby where an amazing assortment of food was waiting for us to munch on. We relaxed and talked to some of the other guests before being informed we could check in. The staff was very pleasant and got us checked in right away. The rest of this review will discuss the categories such as service, food, and etc. Itinerary: Esperanza, Vieques, Cruz Bay, St John, St Barthelemy, Norman Island, Tortola, and Prickly Pear was substituted for Jost van Dyke (Champagne and Caviar Splash/beach party) Food: Everything was fantastic with only the finest and freshest ingredients. The Executive Chef and some of the other chefs frequently interacted with the guests. Presentation was also a strong point along with the quality of the ingredients. Bars/Service: The bar service was generally good all week at all the bars. My favorite bartenders were Matt and Konrad. They are both very personable and offer great service along with good suggestions on what to drink. They also always had a pitcher of punch or other drink out every day. The selection of alcohol was quite extensive and we never had to pay to upgrade drinks. The included wine and Champagne were also quite good. The Sommelier Tyler did an excellent job matching the wines to the meal and explaining them. Service: Sea Dream excels at service at all levels. The crew was like clockwork at all times and truly went out of their way to please. We made a few special requests during the week and they were instantly granted. I felt like they were a genie who could grant endless wishes. The Hotel Manager John was all but a "freak of nature" with how he was everywhere and always knew what was going on. I swear he had a couple of clones running around. The main concierge lady was a bit stressed and came across as brash and frustrated at times even over very simple matters. I knew before the voyage what types of extras to ask for and it made the trip that more special. Cabin: We booked a guarantee and were assigned cabin 212. We felt a few intense vibrations the first night while sleeping but it was no big deal. The cabin itself was very nice and the room steward La Rosa could not have been better. She was very nice, polite, stealthy, and took great care of the cabin. Activities/Water Sports: There was always plenty to do and very few announcements. The Activities Director Jeff was very outgoing and had a natural knack in observing who may want to participate in the activities. The water sports are one reason we booked Sea Dream and we were quite impressed with the equipment and water toys. It is awesome to ride Sea Doo's off the back of the marina and to swim behind the yacht. Colin and the water sports staff kept everyone safe and worked hard getting everything setup and ensuring everyone was safe. They even draped a towel over your back after getting out of the water. The free "shore side casuals" were also a real treat. I participated in most of the hikes and they all went to some interesting places. They also offered an advanced bike ride which seven guests went on and had a great time even though a few of them came back with bandages. The Yacht Overall: SD I is very quaint and enjoyable. You can always find a place to your own or somewhere in the middle of crowd (not that there is much of a crowd). My favorite spot is the aft of deck four overlooking the pool. It is shaded and close enough to the action. The bartenders also bring you drinks and the afternoon pass around treat which changes daily. The yacht is old and has a somewhat loud and intense vibration in certain parts of the dining room on deck 2. SD I is quite charming and I would sail on it again given the chance. Complaints: None, everything met or exceeded my standards and was as close to perfect as could be expected. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was my 1st Seabourn cruise. I have cruised on most of the major lines before, and truly, did not know if I would enjoy a small ship with 198 fellow passengers. Well, other than the Celebrity Alaska cruise I have already booked and ... Read More
This was my 1st Seabourn cruise. I have cruised on most of the major lines before, and truly, did not know if I would enjoy a small ship with 198 fellow passengers. Well, other than the Celebrity Alaska cruise I have already booked and paid for that is happening in July 2010, I will probably NEVER sail on a 'mega liner' again. The Seabourn experience starts off with several staff members welcoming you, dressed in their crisp, dark blue suits, with white gloves. You are invited into the King Olav lounge to fill out the minimal amount of paperwork, get your digital photo taken for your ship ID card (they take your passport, but don't worry, you do get it back when your cruise is finished) and then, one of the nice, well dressed staff, personally escorts you to your suite (they don't call them cabins on Seabourn!). We stayed in #125 on the Legend, and it was GREAT! We were midship, on the same floor as the self serve laundry, and on the same floor as the disembarkation for many of our ports. The cabin is well laid out, with a tub/shower combo (loved that!!), walk in closet, cocktail table that raises and turns into a dining room table, huge picture window, flat screen TV, BOSE CD player, safe, fluffy duvets on the bed, and on and on! If you use any electrical outlets, at all, YOU MUST BRING A POWER STRIP WITH YOU! Sadly, this cabin, as perfect as it is, only has ONE (yes, I did say one!) electrical outlet for those of us from the USA. Not sure why this lovely ship was designed with this, but that is definitely a flaw that can be easily corrected if you toss a power strip into your luggage. Also, if you are an adventurous 'foodie', you will LOVE the daily menus on Seabourn. If, however, you're a bit more on the conservative side and don't venture out more in regard to your food tastes and preferences than the Cheesecake factory menu, you will probably find this experience to be a bit challenging regarding the daily menu choices. I, sadly, am not a big foodie, so I was eating the chicken with mashed potatoes entrEe on a daily basis, or a pizza from room service. Of course, the chef would have made me something on a special request, but I never got around to making a formal request to the staff. The service and the kindness, is what the staff at Seabourn will bring to your party. What you must bring to this cruise are plenty of things to entertain yourself with (DVD's, books, etc.). As much as I loved this experience, and have already placed my $1K deposit down on a future Seabourn experience, they could use more activities. We were finally treated to a bridge tour and a galley tour on our 2nd to last day, and that was spectacular! We made a mention of 'wish there were more activities on board' on our survey, and Eric (the world's BEST and non-attitude-ish cruise director) took us aside as we were disembarking to leave our lovely journey and go to the airport, and told us that he was very sorry that he did not have more things planned for us. YIKES! Be careful what you write on your survey, as they are read before you leave the ship! Eric said that he had just transferred to the Legend and had been in constant performance practice/warm up sessions and had not had the needed time to put together a 'busier' itinerary. It was very, very nice of him to mention this to us, and I felt really crummy that I had even written anything down. BUT, it is important, that as passengers, there is more to do than just eat and drink. Bingo, port lectures, (there was no trivia on this cruise due to no at sea days). We would have loved to have a cooking class on how Seabourn makes those incredible, highly addictive breadsticks! I will definitely do a special request the next time I travel on Seabourn, for a breadstick class. You will meet some of the most lovely and non-uppity people on this ship. We were always greeted by fellow passengers with a big smile and a good morning/good afternoon/good evening. Also, the staff does their very best to greet you by name, a truly amazing touch! Also, I have always detested going to the shore excursion desk on any major cruise line. The staff is typically rude and pretentious, even though they are there to sell *me* something! Well, on the Legend, you will be AMAZED at Claudio, your shore excursion manager. He is so kind. He was actually on our 1st catamaran excursion with us, and was a blast! Each day, he would spend some time chatting with us and we so enjoyed his company and great stories! I would definitely recommend booking your excursions thru Seabourn, if at all possible. This allows you to meet so many of your nice, fellow passengers and really makes the cruise so enjoyable when you see familiar faces. Seabourn is very fair on their excursion pricing, so I will definitely be using them in the future. Also, our future cruise consultant, Charl, was the sweetest man, you would ever want to meet. He never 'sold' us on Seabourn, but just treated us kindly and expressed a genuine interest in us and the experiences we were having on our cruise. He gave us advise on different cruises that he thought we would enjoy. It's the little things, such as having breakfast in the Veranda Cafe and having the captain ask, very politely, if he can join us. NEVER, ever, on a mega ship, do you ever see the captain, except on the dorky 'meet the captain' party where everyone has to get dressed up like it's prom, and then stand around in a long line. Very demeaning!! Another nice Seabourn touch, is when you go into port, there is a Seabourn canopy with cookies, bottled water, soda, sunblock, etc. and a uniformed employee, standing by to take excellent care of you. WOW! This is such a nice thing to do. In regard to the dress code, be sure to bring plenty of dressy clothes. I would have preferred a more upper casual dress code, but that is not Seabourn. Women were always in dresses after 6:00 PM and men were in suits and jackets. This is not a Dockers/Tommy Bahama shirt (after 6:00 PM) cruise. In this world of rush, rush, rush - hurry up and wait, rudeness from the majority of the service people that you come in contact with, it is a blessing to know that a caring, wondering cruise line like Seabourn exists! Are there some things they could do a bit better, yes, but they do SO many of them right, that it is a shining star! I wish that Seabourn would offer more 5-7 day cruises for those of us who work and cannot take two weeks off to vacation. That is a suggestion that I also put on my comment card. I would love to see Seabourn do a Pacific Coast cruise, more East Coast cruises, and Alaska. All in all, this is a not to be missed experience. Just Book It! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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

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