SeaDream II Review – by Robin Maclear
The first SeaDream ship was launched nearly 30 years ago in 1984 with SeaDream II being launched the following year. During this time these two small boutique ships have developed something of a cult following, while remaining arguably the best kept secret in the cruise business. As a cruise industry veteran I would like to share this secret with you and try to explain why I think SeaDream is so special.
Google describes a dream as: a series of images, emotions and sensations; a day dream; a reverie; a state of abstraction; a trance; a wild fancy or hope; a condition or achievement that is longed for; aspiration; one that is exceptionally gratifying, excellent or beautiful. SeaDream is certainly all of these things, to which I would add that it is a higher state of mind.
In my opinion SeaDream is the best product currently available in the luxury cruise market. I hasten to add that this is my personal opinion but one that has recently been endorsed by Berlitz Guide who have voted SeaDream as the best boutique ship (under 200 passengers) interestingly ahead of Seabourn Spirit, Pride and Legend. For anybody who likes small ships rather than the larger cruise ship experience you need look no further.
Describing SeaDream as ‘Yachting not Cruising’ is to over simplify, but it does distinguish this excellent product from all the others that accommodate more than 200 passengers. This is a genuine yacht experience with the best part of cruising added on. The cabin size is larger than you would normally expect on a yacht but smaller than on other 6-star cruise ships. The cuisine is way ahead of the other cruise lines and is all cooked à la minute. The staff very quickly get to know individual tastes and nothing is too much trouble. The raw food menu was particularly interesting and while very creative, took a bit of getting used to. Eating raw vegetables while your fellow guests eat ‘surf and turf’ can be a challenge! The all inclusive arrangement particularly suited me and we found some really excellent wines.
My day normally started with T’ai Chi for an hour followed by a light leisurely breakfast which included freshly squeezed juice. Here SeaDream delivers its first ace of the day with your morning encounter with the various members of their charming crew. This experience continues throughout the day and is the key to the SeaDream experience.
Not only do all the staff display a genuine warmth but this spills over to all the guests who mix with one another to provide an old-fashioned house-party atmosphere. In between I would relax with a Thai massage, which is simply the best way of stretching but can be challenging; in spite of all of this and using the gym and sauna daily, I still managed to put on 4 pounds in the week!
We were blessed with perfect weather and after half a day at sea we stopped for water sports on a mill pond of a sea, against a clear blue sky. The back of the ship retracts to provide the more adventurous the opportunity to Jet Ski or other water sports, while the rest of us look on, enjoying champagne and caviar! As we all sat around the pool it was literally like turning the clock back thirty years and great fun was had by all, so much so that you simply felt thirty years younger!
Of course the other unique attraction about SeaDream is that you can visit the really small ports that any larger ship simply cannot. So after an hour or two allowed for water sports, the ship proceeded in to Bonifacio, in Corsica, which has to be the perfect port for SeaDream. The captain turned the ship around so we actually reversed in to this lazy sleepy harbour virtually unnoticed. If you are looking for a SeaDream cruise next year, be sure to pick one that goes in to Bonifacio.
SeaDream is an experience and an adventure on a classic Yacht, the like of which will probably not be built again. It is akin to Orient Express and will, I believe, come to be recognised as a ‘Classic’ in the travel business.
So the secret is now out…. SeaDream is a state of mind and the secret to feeling thirty years younger!! However, be warned you can so easily become addicted to SeaDream, but don’t worry as The Cruise Line is here to help you with this!