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SeaDream Yacht Club

A SeaDream Yacht Club - Cruise Line Review

Top Ten Reasons To Sail SeaDream Yacht Club

by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

SeaDream, Think Yacht, Not Ship
The phrase "casually elegant" gets thrown around a lot, but those words are truly right on the mark when it comes to describing the two intimate 112-passenger ships of Seadream Yacht Club.

The mostly 40- and 50-something couples who make up the bulk of their guest list appreciate the finer things in life - sans stuffiness. Dress codes are smart casual even at dinner and when not in port, daily life mostly revolves around hanging out on the mini cruisers' open decks as the ships makes their way to off-beat ports in the Caribbean and Europe.

The ships often stay late in ports, say in St. Barts, so passengers can check out the local restaurant and pub scene. Otherwise, on board, evenings are spent socializing and enjoying cocktails at the Top of the Yacht bar, as a guitarist or piano player provides the background music. Occasionally a local band is brought on for some evening entertainment and one night per cruise a movie is shown on a large screen set up on deck under the stars. There's also a tiny casino area with two poker tables and a handful of slots.

The expansive open decks sport queen-size sun beds, a pool and a hot tub, the later a great place to enjoy a complimentary order of jumbo shrimp cocktail and a glass of bubbly. All you have to do is ask. The doting crew of 95 is there to please.

The ships' two restaurants include excellent five-course dinners in the open-seating dining room and an al fresco restaurant on deck serves breakfast and lunch daily. Besides 24-hour room service, snacks served throughout the day may include homemade mini-pizzas. When in port in Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda, a highlight of the week is a beach barbecue where champagne and caviar are served in the surf, followed by a full lunch on tables set up in the sand. It's a blast. Other activities include having a go at the ships' golf simulator or when the ships are anchored in calm seas, heading for the retractable marina for watersports and swimming. There's also a spa and gym, and the ships each carry along 10 mountain bikes for use in certain ports.

SeaDream Yacht Club - Top of the Yacht Bar

Reason # 1 – SeaDream’s vessels are stylishly small, carrying just 100 guests and able to get into ports that cruise ships can’t reach, including some idyllic coves and harbors and uncrowded beaches. The twin yachts are positioned November through April in the Caribbean and May through November in the Mediterranean. Also, most of SeaDream’s Yachting Voyages feature late night stays in port so that you can enjoy the night life.

Reason # 2 – Small doesn’t mean sacrificing big-ship amenities. SeaDream vessels feature all ocean view staterooms with Bvlgari® bath amenities, the SEADREAM Spa – with 8 massage therapists and a member of the Thai Spa Association – the only one of its kind at sea, sauna, exercise room with the latest equipment and ocean views, beauty salon, casino, piano bar, library, large pool deck, Jacuzzi, boutique, 30 Course golf simulator, Top Of the Yacht Bar with 360 degree views, even a big screen under the stars and much more.

Reason # 3 – SeaDream vessels have something most ships don’t have. Outdoor dining or al fresco, open seating dining, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dining aboard SeaDream is defined as Cuisine À La Minute, made to order with only the freshest ingredients. Even the ice cream is “Yacht Made.”

Reason # 4 – SeaDream’s vessels feature an expansive marina at the back of the ship with lots of toys for enjoying the water when the ship is anchored, including:
• 2-man Ocean Kayaks
• Topper Sailboat
• Towable Banana Sled
• Windsurfer
• Wake boards & water skis
• (2) Yamaha Wave Runners
• Island trampoline
• Snorkeling & Swimming
For adventures ashore, SeaDream carries mountain bicycles.

Reason # 5 – On SeaDream, you won’t pay extra for alcohol, including fine wines and champagnes. The four bars on board feature select premium brands.

Reason # 6 - You can sleep under the stars on SeaDream’s signature Balinese Dream Beds. Just make the request and SeaDream staff will provide turn down service and your choice of pillows, Belgian linens and a cozy duvet.

Reason # 7 – SeaDream has a high staff-to-guest ratio, with nearly one staff person for each guest. Service is impeccable, with a maximum of 56 couples to 95 crew.

Reason # 8 – On board SeaDream, dress is resort casual and relaxed.

Reason # 9 – There’s caviar and more caviar. SEADREAM’S Champagne and Caviar Splash® is conducted on the beach in the Caribbean and is followed by a beach barbeque served on china — and around the Pool Deck in the Mediterranean.

Reason # 10 – In essence, SeaDream is yachting not cruising. There is a difference. Good things do come in small packages.

SeaDream's Smaller Ports

by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

SeaDream off Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

One of the advantages of small passenger ships – not only SeaDream I & II, but all small passenger ships – is the ability to call on small ports. For passengers, small ports often lead to more authentic travel experiences ashore – not to mention less-crowded touring.

When SeaDream II navigated into the harbor at Port Vendres, France, there were no other cruise ships in port. In fact, it would be hard to imagine more than one passenger ship docked at tiny Port Vendres. And I could never imagine a ship carrying, say, more than 1,000 passengers in this port.

I hopped on one of the Hummer bicycles that SeaDream makes available free of charge and pedaled through Port Vendres on the Sunday morning we were there. After pedaling not more than five minutes, I passed a group of fisherman who were cooking over an open fire sardines they had just caught. I stood around and watched for a few minutes before being invited to join in.

I then pedaled 15 minutes to Collioure, a charming village that is said to have inspired the painters Matisse, Picasso, Derain and others. Collioure was truly picturesque, and the fact that there were few cruise passengers in port elbowing for space made the village – and indeed the entire day – all that much more special.

Simply The Best?

by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

SeaDream Dining

After sailing on SeaDream II, I’m better qualified to answer the question I posed at the outset of my cruise, and that was: How do SeaDream’s twin yachts, both more than 20 years old, outperform all others — at least to readers of Conde Nast Traveler.

There were aspects of my cruise that were not unique to SeaDream, and you could argue that other cruise lines do the job as good as or better than SeaDream.

Open-seating dining, the quality of the cuisine, and the fact that alcohol and gratuities are included mirrors what you’d expect on small luxury ships.

SeaDream’s ability to get into small ports, its wide expanse of deck space and its marina with all of the toys reminds me of a ship that sailed along beside us during much of the week: Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf, a special ship in its own right.

But there are some areas where SeaDream stands apart. The company’s late nights in port combined with outdoor dinners appears to be unique.

And while at least one other cruise line offers opportunities to sleep under the stars, SeaDream makes a luxury experience out of it, even down to the custom-embroidered pajamas.

Seabourn Cruise Line offers something similar to the Crew Shoreside Casual, but SeaDream takes it one step further with the Captain’s hike. The pun was not intended, by the way.

Nearly all cruise lines claim excellent staff and cuisine — they better; their reputations depend on it — but SeaDream II really did shine in these areas. The crew exhibited a friendliness and enthusiasm that went beyond what their jobs required. They had a sort of spirit.

Moreover, wtith 94 crew members, the 110-passenger SeaDream II boasts a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio.

Should SeaDream should be the only cruise company in Conde Nast Traveler’s top 100 travel experiences? My feeling is that several other cruise companies qualify for the list.

That’s not a knock on SeaDream, but rather a vote for cruising over other forms of vacation. After all, can you think of a hotel that can take you from one destination to another while you sleep? I can’t.

Nor is SeaDream perfect for everyone. Families traveling with kids are welcomed, but SeaDream is an adult-oriented experience. That said, families do charter the SeaDream vessels, and both yachts are chartered on a regular basis.

The important question, however, is this one: Will SeaDream make your list of top travel experiences? Only you can answer that.

SeaDream II’s Staterooms

by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

A Seadream stateroom, deck 2

There are 55 staterooms, and all have been updated on this 20-plus-year-old ship.

Staterooms feature flat-panel televsions, DVD player, Sony entertainment system with CD. A selection of DVDs and CDs are available for use free of charge from the concierge desk.

Laptops plug into ethernet for (fast) internet access at $35 per day. Two terminals are available in the library for those who do not burden their vacations with their laptops. Internet access at the terminals is $5 for the first 10 minutes and $3 for each additional 10-minute period.

Refrigerators come stocked with beer and soft drinks (soft drinks and alcohol, except for select premium brands, are included in the cruise fare).

There is a large safe and plenty of storage. There are no balconies, though most of your time will likely be spent on deck anyway.

Other features: Comfortable queen-size beds with luxury linens. Sofa and dine-in table.

The bathrooms are a bit small, even by ship standards, but well appointed with marble tile floor and surround, three showerheads and Bvlgari amenities.

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The Grand Foyer on Celebrity Millennium by Ralph Grizzle. An award-winning travel writer, and recognized cruise ship expert.

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by Geoff Edwards. Geoff is a veteran radio and television broadcaster with an Emmy and an Emmy nomination.
This trip came together quickly.