The SeaDream slogan, "This is yachting, not cruising," becomes evident the moment you step up the gangway and are personally welcomed on board by the vessel's hotel director and captain. This is an intimate cruise experience where, in a few hours, you're addressed by name by the ship's extraordinary international staff and where, in a few days, you'll know the vast majority of your fellow passengers.
As you'd expect from an all-inclusive yachting experience, SeaDream tends to attract affluent, active and well-traveled couples of all ages, luring them with exquisite dining where the menu is often a mere suggestion and all requests for personal favorite dishes are honored.
Plush Balinese sunbeds instead of deck chairs, the "Champagne & Caviar Splash," "Water Sports Marina" and "Sleeping Under the Stars" are decadent SeaDream signatures that have contributed to the popularity of these two tiny 4,300 ton yachts that launched in 2001 while the rest of the cruise industry was focused on the megaship "city-at-sea" concept.
The SeaDream experience is one that is devoid of lavish entertainment, formal evenings, gimmicky activities, and gambling (in fact, one black jack table comprises SeaDream's casino, positioned like an afterthought alongside the piano bar). Devoted fans of the line prefer this laid back lifestyle, and consistently demonstrate that lively conversation against the backdrop of the open air Top of the Yacht Bar is the only entertainment they really need.
As befitting the finest yachts, SeaDream I and II are outfitted with a lot of polished teak, navy and white color schemes and fabrics, rattan, and brass detailing. In a nod to owner Atle Brynestad's Norwegian heritage, you'll also find a vast collection of original artwork and glass pieces commissioned from Scandinavian artists.
Interior public rooms aboard SeaDream I and II are closer to the atmosphere of a fine traditional home than to the extravagant ultra-modern designs of today's larger ships. A homey library with scattered overstuffed easy chairs, computer terminals and shelves of travel books and novels could be your comfortable living room, and the Main Salon, the largest public room on board, is saved from simplicity by the addition of its bar, a delightful corner nook that often feels like a separate and tres exclusive hideaway.
The true jewel in the SeaDream public room crown, however, is Top of the Yacht Bar, the circular social heart of the yacht. With a partial covering in the form of a canvas ceiling and abundant alcove seating nearby, this open air destination for social evenings is often used as additional breakfast, lunch or dinner seating as it is just steps up from Topside, the yacht's alfresco restaurant.
Located on deck 3, SeaDream's Dining Salon is a single level restaurant that offers seating options of two through ten. Most often used while SeaDream is at sea or when whether conditions render dining al fresco impractical, the Dining Salon is understated yet elegant, and features beautiful Hadeland Glassverk pieces displayed in spot lit shadow boxes throughout the room.
The most popular dining spot aboard SeaDream is Topside, the yacht's open air restaurant on deck 5. The yacht's breakfast and lunch destination, in the evening, Topside dons its yacht casual best, with teak tables draped in fine linens; china, glass and silver glistening in the moonlight.
Both restaurants offer open sitting dinner, allowing guests to dine when and with whom they choose.
Almost immediately, you are known by name by SeaDream's extraordinary staff who also appears to eavesdrop on conversations in order to learn guests' preferences. "I wish they'd have banana ice cream" will, doubtlessly, result in the presentation of a dish of banana ice cream the following day. A verbalized wish for pizza will result in a pie even quicker than that. Should you become engaged or married during your cruise, you might return to your suite to find a riot of rose petals covering the floor and red balloons floating across the celing. This extraordinary team, most from Europe and Eastern Europe, communicate well and exhibit a high degree of professionalism and courtesy while remaining friendly and approachable.
Gratuities are included in the fare. Tipping is neither required nor expected aboard SeaDream Yacht Club.
SeaDream fans shun the formal entertainment of other cruise ships, preferring conversation to production shows, relaxation to pool games. The ship's piano bar and its talented piano player is the extent of the live entertainment you'll find on board either yacht.
Instead of bombarding guests with multi-page daily programs filled with activities, seminars and educational offerings, SeaDream provides the resources that lead guests to create their own personalized forms of entertainment. On select days, the yacht's marina sport platform is lowered and water toys that range from jet skis to kayaks are made available free of charge to those who want to play in the ocean.
On many sailings, the "Champagne and Caviar Splash" is a high point. A decadent celebration that kicks off the ship's extravagant beach barbecue, don't be surprised if you find yourself wading out into the surf, waist deep, to accept offerings of tangy caviar and bubbling champagne from fully dressed-and drenched-waiters who have set up their wares atop a floating surfboard.
Another SeaDream option, and the most romantic one, allows guests to sleep under the stars atop a plush Balinese sunbed, made up invitingly with high-thread Belgian sheets, fluffy duvets and plump down pillows. The perfect opportunity to wear the SeaDream pajamas provided to each guest and embroidered with their first name, of course.
SeaDream offers 54 Yacht Club Staterooms that measure 195 square feet, 16 of which can be converted to 8 Commodore suites which are, simply, two Yacht Club rooms combined into one. One 447-square foot owner's suite and one 395 square foot Admiral's suite (currently available on SeaDream II and available in June 2009 on SeaDream I) round out the options.
All staterooms include flat-screen TV, DVD and CD, Belgian linens and 100% Turkish cotton robes and slippers. A mini-refrigerator is stocked with a selection of soft drinks, beer and bottled water. Yacht Club and Commodore bathrooms are snug but compensate for their size by offering a powerful multi-jet shower and high-end Bulgari bath amenities. Owner's Suite and Admiral Suite bathrooms are large and include full tubs.
No balconies are available aboard SeaDream.
SeaDream's fitness center includes 4 treadmills, 1 elliptical machine, 2 recumbent bikes and free weights. Flat-screen TVs and DVD players are available to make your workout more pleasurable and bottled water and cool, refrigerated towels help you cool down. The fitness center is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Additionally, Yoga and Tai-Chi sessions are offered free of charge.
The adjacent Sea Dream Spa is a full service one, offering an extensive range of massage, health and beauty treatments. Massage can also be arranged on deck in open air private cabanas.
Leave the tux and the gown at home. While gentlemen might wish to opt for a jacket when dinner is served at the Dining Salon, a tie is completely unnecessary. Relaxed and casual-though not sloppy-is the dress code in the evening and, at daytime, a bathing suit and cover up is the norm.
Best For People Who Want
A casual, social and highly luxurious all-inclusive cruise experience with the finest dining and service at sea.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
The megaship experience with round-the-clock entertainment, a lavish casino, balconied staterooms and a great variety of public rooms and lounges.
With each dish prepared to order, dining aboard SeaDream I and II is a celebration of regional and international cuisine starring the freshest ingredients, the most creative presentation and the most delectable tastes. While dinner and its 5-course menus is the most gala of the day's dining experiences, don't overlook the buffet selections and full menus available at lunch and breakfast. Pick up a yogurt and fresh fruit at the breakfast buffet and supplement it with eggs cooked to order with, perhaps, a couple of baby lamb chops on the side. At lunch, the buffet might feature fat New Zealand mussels, a choice of freshly made salads, soup, cold cuts and cheeses while the luncheon menu offers hot sandwiches, pasta dishes, burgers and seafood specialties. Low calorie and "wellness" options are available at every meal.