SEADREAM'S BLOG

Support raising the literacy levels of Caribbean children

May 18, 2015 by adannunzio
Bense Primary School, Dominica

Bense Primary School, Dominica

SeaDream supports raising the literacy levels of Caribbean children

During the relaxing transatlantic crossings, we do aim to get a little exercise in. Guests get together with crew and walk laps around Deck 6. 16 laps equals 1 mile. Nothing like a brisk walk and the fresh ocean air to get your blood pumping. It’s one way to burn off the heavenly chocolate croissants from breakfast. To make the walk a bit more meaningful, SeaDream selects a charity to walk for. Guests and crew are encouraged to donate money per each mile walked, and SeaDream matches their donation.

The most recent crossings, sailing from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, guests and crew walked for the charity; “Hands Across the Sea”. Since SeaDream sails the Caribbean every winter, it’s great to give back to the islands we visit. In total, SeaDream donated US$1,300 from the spring crossings plus $1,246 from the fall 2014 crossings, to “Hands Across the Sea”. We thank everyone who participated.

About the charity:

Hands Across the Sea is dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children

We work in six English-speaking island nations of the Eastern Caribbean: Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. The enthusiasm for reading in the region is very high, but the budget for literacy-building resources is very low.

Many children are growing up without access to new, relevant books and a lending library. Every year, we send thousands of great new books—over 143,000 since we started in 2007—that have been requested by educators via our Hands Wish Lists. We help schools (from pre-school to high school), reading programs, and community libraries—that’s 230 projects to date—create or rejuvenate lending libraries. And we work hands-on with our projects year after year—we’re with them for as long as they need our help. http://www.handsacrossthesea.net/index.htm

Gros Islet Infant School, St Lucia

Gros Islet Infant School, St Lucia

Judys Pre-School, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Judys Pre-School, St Vincent and the Grenadines

(5) OVERNIGHT STAYS IN PORTS WHEN SAILING ROME TO VENICE

May 13, 2015 by adannunzio

FIVE OVERNIGHT STAYS IN PORTS ON SEADREAM’S TEN DAYS ROME TO VENICE     

SeaDream in Kotor, Montenegro

SeaDream in Kotor, Montenegro

If 2016 is to be your Special Year, and the Mediterranean your dream of where it’s to be, let SeaDream Yacht Club make it all the more so with a 10-day sailing aboard SeaDream II from Rome to Venice – uniquely with (5) overnight stays in ports in Italy, Montenegro and Croatia.

SeaDream features an elegantly casual lifestyle. Although it is 5-star, there’s no call for jackets, ties or formal wear.

Departing Civitavecchia (Rome’s port) on July 23, 2016 for a day in fabled Capri, SeaDream II will then have an overnight stay in the medieval Italian city of Amalfi, then on to Taormina on Sicily (with stunning views of the active Mt. Etna volcano) followed by a whole day and night at sea for relaxing.

The voyage continues with a day and an overnight in the walled town of Kotor in Montenegro, an afternoon and overnight in Croatia’s Dubrovnik that’s considered one of the “ten best Medieval walled cities in the world,” little Korcula Island that’s long been a SeaDream guests’ favorite in the Adriatic, Hvar in Croatia for an overnight at this island of vineyards, olive groves and orchards, and a morning to explore Chioggia at the entrance to Venice.

Overnights in ports provide the opportunity to experience these interesting places by night and is something SeaDream guests particularly enjoy.

The 10-day sailing ends with SeaDream navigating her way through Venice’s famed St Mark’s Square and Grand Canal, one of the few passenger vessels small enough to be able to do so. Guests will love their final overnight in Venice aboard SeaDream II in the centre of this 5th century city of 118 islands.

SeaDream II voyage 21631

SeaDream II voyage 21631

Fares currently begin from US$6,499+, double occupancy including 10-nights’ ocean-view accommodation, wines with lunch and dinner, open bars with premium brands, gratuities, use of power and sail water-sports where locally permitted, mountain bikes for shore explorations, a golf simulator, and more.

Details from travel agents or visit www.seadream.com

AUSSIES TAKING TO SEADREAMING LIKE NEVER BEFORE

April 16, 2015 by adannunzio

Dining Salon

AUSSIES TAKING TO SEADREAMING LIKE NEVER BEFORE

AUSTRALIANS have taken with such a passion to the concept of “elegantly casual” small-ship luxury holidaying, that it’s put Australians amongst the forefront of guest growth aboard the world’s highest-rated boutique operator, SeaDream Yacht Club.

And so much so that company President, Bob Lepisto says Australia is now one of the leading markets globally in guest growth aboard its SeaDream I and SeaDream II in the Mediterranean during the Northern Summer, with over 10% of guests sailing that region now coming from Australia… and with sales in Australia for 2015 already up an amazing 13% on the same four months of last year.

The two SeaDream mega yachts each have just 56 staterooms for a maximum 112 guests served by 95 crew. Mr. Lepisto, who is soon visiting Australia, says one of the great attractions for Australians is SeaDream’s philosophy of “elegantly casual” that while 5-star, does not require suits, jackets, ties or ball-gowns at any time aboard.

“Since we began selling into the Australian market place 12 years ago, we’ve carried Australians in the Mediterranean, the Baltic and Northern Europe, the Caribbean, two great seasons on the Amazon and one in South-east Asia – and including five exclusive-use charters by corporates and individuals, as well as thirty-five major groups of 40 or more, and a third of whom have re-booked in subsequent years.

“Equally we’ve had individuals sail multiple times including one Sydney couple for a total to date of 157 days, another 142 days, and quite a number of guests for over 100 days. We’ve also had Australian adult families book up to 10 staterooms at a time, and couples who have enjoyed a special time renewing wedding vows aboard.

Mr. Lepisto said SeaDream’s growth in the Australian market had been driven by loyal travel agents as well as word-of-mouth by enthusiastic Club Members (past guests) to friends and relatives. “SeaDream likes having Australians onboard and they certainly seem to like us ….and I think they will also be especially interested in our upcoming new wine voyages” he said.

As well, Mr. Lepisto added, a wide diversity of small ports in the Mediterranean and Caribbean were particularly enticing to many guests because larger cruise ships simply cannot get into them. “Many have told us it’s these ports and the boutique and intimate nature of SeaDream that gets them aboard time and again.”

Also of definite appeal to Australians is SeaDream’s pricing that includes premium bar drinks and wines, a golf simulator with 30 international courses, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, mountain bikes for shore use, power and sail water-sports where permitted and crew gratuities.

Full details from travel agents or www.seadream.com

(TRADE PRESS: Full details Julie Denovan, Director Business Development Australia (02) 9958 4444, jdenovan@seadream.com  or www.seadream.com)                                             

SeaDream I earns a perfect 100 score in surprise U.S. Public Health inspection

April 13, 2015 by adannunzio
Captain Bjarne Smorawski

Captain Bjarne Smorawski

SeaDream I earned a perfect 100 score in surprise U.S. Public Health inspection

According to the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I earned a 100 mark in the late March surprise U.S. Public Health inspections.

The VSP inspections are required for all passenger ships that call at a U.S. port. The inspections are unannounced and are carried out twice a year for every cruise ship. The score, on a scale from 1 to 100, is assigned on the basis of a 44-item checklist involving hygiene and sanitation of food (from storage to preparation), overall galley cleanliness, water, shipboard personnel and the ship as a whole.

SeaDream I Captain, Bjarne Smorawski said “We are all very proud of  the perfect ‘100’, thanks to the excellent crew onboard.”

 

SeaDream II 2014 Employee of the Year

April 6, 2015 by adannunzio

Congratulations to SeaDream II 2014 Employee of the Year,

Roderick Alcantara. 

Roderick is the yacht’s Provision Master, in charge of ordering all supplies. He is awarded and recognized for his excellent performance throughout 2014!

2014 SDII Employee Of The Year

Make a Pilgrimage to Gallipoli

April 2, 2015 by adannunzio
ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey

ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey

Australian author and travel writer Malcolm Andrews makes a pilgrimage to Gallipoli

 THE BIRTH OF THE ANZACS 100 YEARS AGO

THE TEMPERATURE is hovering around 37 degrees Centigrade (over the century mark in the Fahrenheit scale). But despite the heat you shiver. The spirit of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) has affected you – just as it does the hundreds of thousands of folk from ‘Down Under’ who visit Gallipoli in Turkey each and every year.

The shivers and goosebumps are just part of the effect as you walk quietly past the neat white headstones in the small Ari Burnu war cemetery on a promontory between Anzac Cove and North Beach. Several highlight the story of the ill-fated World War I campaign that saw thousands of Australians and New Zealanders perish. The headstones regularly include inscriptions to the effect ‘Went away as a boy, died as a man’. Kids just 17 and 18, thrown by out-of-touch generals onto the narrow beaches as little more than cannon fodder.

We are in a tour group off the boutique cruise vessel SeaDream I. Most of those in the mini-bus that ferries us from battle site to battle site are Australians. But, strangely there are others, too.

The American couple who had studied the life and times of Winston Churchill and wanted to see first hand the site of his greatest folly – a campaign that cost him his job as First Lord of the Admiralty in the British cabinet. Then there was a SeaDream officer, who had been taught about the bravery of the ANZACs at school in Norway. I wonder how many Australian schools would teach anything about Norway, let alone the deeds of the country’s soldiers in a failed campaign.

A 17 yr. old ANZAC died too young

A 17 year old ANZAC died too young

The first Australian pilgrimages to Gallipoli came in the 1920s a decade after the Gallipoli campaign that was launched pre-dawn on April 25, 1915. Parents of the dead and former soldiers who had experienced the hell of the eight months there went to pay their respects to the fallen heroes.

One of the latter was Australian Prime Minister Stanley Bruce, who as Captain Bruce had fought at Gallipoli. An old T-model Ford helped ferry him around in 1924. But there was none of the bureaucratic camp followers that trail behind modern Prime Ministers when they visit ANZAC Cove.

Our mini-bus, with a Turkish guide, takes us from one historic site to another. At Lone Pine we see the memorial wall where the names of more than 4900 Australian and New Zealand servicemen whose bodies were never found or identified are inscribed. The cemetery at Lone Pine lies on top of 60 metres of ‘no man’s land’ where the ANZACs fought a bloody battle for five days, during which time 2273 ANZACs and more than 4000 Turks were killed. The lone pine on the battle field eventually died, but seeds had been taken back to Australia from which commemorative trees were grown. And a seed from one those trees went back to Gallipoli for the impressive pine that stands in the grounds of the cemetery today. Seven Australians won the Victoria Cross at Lone Pine – including five on the one day, August 9.

one Pine Cemetery pays tribute to the fallen

Lone Pine Cemetery pays tribute to the fallen

As we move around the area, names that are familiar to us are mentioned by our guide. Quinn’s Post. The Nek. Hill 60. Courtney’s Post (scene of the battle in which Lance-Corporal Albert Jacka became the first of nine Australians to win the Victoria Cross during the ill-fated campaign). We look with amazement at the remains of trenches – at times just 10 metres apart –  where enemy soldiers exchanged not only conversation but also cigarettes and food (thrown from one trench to the other during lulls in the shooting). It is hard to visualise these enemies becoming ‘friends’ for just a moment or two. At the Gallipoli museum, the shivers return when we see the skull of a soldier, with a bullet embedded between his eyes. Next to the skull is a muddied, mutilated boot, with the shattered remains of the bones of an ankle and foot still inside. And we wonder why, a century later, politicians are still sending young men off to war. Our tour shows the conflict from the perspective of both sides.

Opposing troops in trenches sometimes only a few metres apart

Opposing troops in trenches sometimes only a few metres apart

At Conkbayiri (Chunuk Bair), scene of one of the great battles, we gaze at the giant statue of the Turkish commander Mustafa Kemal (later to become Ataturk or ‘Father of Turks’, the first president of the Turkish republic) and read on the plaque about his lucky escape. On August 10 he was shot in the chest but survived because a pocket watch took the full force of the bullet. It is significant that the New Zealand Memorial at Gallipoli is only metres from the huge bronze statue – no more than the distance between many of the trenches during the fighting of 1915.

SeaDream Yacht Club has created a half-dozen-plus unique opportunities this year to combine a sailing aboard the world’s most-highly-rated boutique passenger vessels, SeaDream I or SeaDream II with a pilgrimage to Gallipoli for the 100th Anniversary Year of ANZAC. The voyages – ranging from seven to 12 nights in duration –all start or end in Istanbul. Five are to or from Athens, and one of 12-days to Venice.  

All sailings will have a day at Kepez in Turkey for an optional 4.5hr tour to the Gelibou (Gallipoli) National Park led by expert guides brought in from Istanbul by SeaDream Yacht Club, and will include the 1915 ANZAC landing site in Anzac Cove, Ari Burnu and Johnston’s Jolly Cemeteries, Lone Pine Memorial, Chunuk Bair’s ANZAC and Turkish trenches, and the Kabatepe Military Museum.

For full itineraries and sailing dates for these seven unique ANZAC 100th Anniversary Year sailings, see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com.

SeaDream Yacht Club Names Employee of the Year

March 30, 2015 by adannunzio

SeaDream Yacht Club proudly named Jose Pararay, Employee of the Year, SeaDream I for 2014.

Jose is recognized for his remarkable performance in 2014. He exemplifies dedication and professionalism. Jose is part of the Restaurant team and has been with SeaDream Yacht Club since it’s founding in 2001. Prior to that, he worked aboard these same vessels under the previous ownership, as then named Sea Goddess.

Congratulations!

SeaDream Yacht Club Names Manager of the Year

March 30, 2015 by adannunzio

Christophe Cornu

SeaDream Yacht Club proudly named Christophe Cornu, Manager of the Year for 2014.

Christophe, Executive Hotel Manager is recognized for his remarkable performance in 2014. He exemplifies dedication and professionalism. Congratulations!

The Best Small Luxury Cruise Ship Of 2015: SeaDream Yacht Club

March 12, 2015 by adannunzio

lifestyle

The Best Small Luxury Cruise Ship Of 2015: SeaDream Yacht Club

by Jim Dobson, Contributor

I have been fortunate to have experienced many cruise lines in my travels; from the mammoth 3,000 passenger ships to more intimate sailing schooners. I have never been a fan of large scale ships with their endless convention style buffets, constant loudspeaker announcements and crowded decks. I was able to experience the SeaDream Yacht Club over seven years ago and fondly remember the trip as one of my favorites of all time. Not just because of the quality of the ship but also due in large part to the crew and the passengers. Memories that were made for a lifetime. After my recent voyage I feel confident in selecting  SeaDream Yacht Club as the Best Luxury Small Cruise Ship of 2015.

The motto of Sea Dream is “It’s yachting, not cruising” and that is a fact. With only 56 couples and a crew of 95, you are treated to the ultimate in service and attention. The mega yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II have transformed the cruise industry into what pure luxury is all about.

SeaDream Yacht Club: The Best of 2015

SeaDream Yacht Club: The Best of 2015

I departed on my latest journey for a Christmas cruise that was to take me through the Caribbean islands, Anguilla, St. Barts, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. A relaxing seven days of sunshine and fine dining was the plan and SeaDream did not disappoint. We departed from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, an island I would prefer not to spend too much time on. It’s simply a convenient location for airlines arriving from the States.

Embarking I noticed a younger than usual crowd of passengers joining us for our voyage, from pro race car drivers to gay couples and single women on all girl vacations, this was going to be a motley crew for sure. Traditionally SeaDream is an over 50 crowd but lately small cruise lines, especially luxury ones, are appealing to a new generation of travelers and with a nice mix of international guests.

My only complaint about SeaDream is the size of the staterooms which are quite small without balconies and extremely tight bathrooms but I am almost glad that the rooms keep me out and about with the passengers because that really is what the SeaDream experience is all about.

The famed Caviar Splash and beach BBQ

The famed Caviar Splash and beach BBQ

One of the biggest advantages of cruising on a small ship are the ports you visit. Most large cruise ships would never be able to anchor outside of intimate coves and bays like SeaDream does. We felt like passengers aboard our own private yacht every morning as we woke to a new private beach or small island. Tenders are always available to take passengers to land for their excursions or simply sightseeing, shopping or drinking at a local bar. We chose to stay on board at several ports to enjoy the decadence of having first class service, high end gourmet meals and all inclusive cocktails and wine. There is also a small casino, piano bar, library and fabulous spa adding to the offerings on board.

The food is in fact the finest cuisine available on any cruise line in the world. Even your meals come covered and are revealed with dramatic flair by the waiters. It is a continuing feast not restricted to a single-sitting fancy dining room. You can even take your lobster tail and steak alfresco in the Topside Restaurant or while reclining on the amazing Balinese daybeds. Our amazing waiter Goran had prepped our favorite candlelit table outdoors under the stars every night and the sommelier even had my favorite Cabernet waiting. We never had to worry about getting a table or even the location we loved.

Gourmet meals are served with dramatic flair

Gourmet meals are served with dramatic flair

One of the few journeys off the boat was at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke for the traditional beach party that SeaDream is proud of. The most fun day of the cruise is spent on this intimate beach for a huge feast of BBQ ribs, chicken and enough food to last the week. Crew members greeted us with drinks as we stepped foot on the sand and the rest of the day was spent floating in the bathtub warm waters while being served champagne by the crew. The Caviar Splash is something everyone looks forward to. Caviar and champagne served on a floating bar IN the water, the crew fully dressed in whites submerged waist deep serving the passengers. Now this is decadent! Land-side expeditions open up small ports and towns accessible only to vessels of their small size while watersports – zodiacs, inflatable trampoline, water skis and kayaks – operate from a marine platform at the rear of the ships.

The spectacular top deck bar and lounge

The spectacular top deck bar and lounge

My fondest memories of the cruise are not only the amazing crew members who greeted me by name every morning with my coffee waiting but also the passengers who have now become lifelong friends. Al and Sara Catalano from New Jersey, Donna Rohmer and Kim Hester from California, Bobby and Theresa D’Andria from New Jersey and many more, and of course the amazing crew including the charming hotel manager Jamie McGregor, the handsome maître d Nikola Ivanovic, my favorite outrageous waiter Goran Sajkunic and the affable Norwegian Captain Terje Willassen. I look forward to visiting my SeaDream “family” soon on another adventure at Sea. Check out their amazing affordable upcoming voyages and enjoy your own fantasy vacation.

Al and Sarah Catalano, Matt McClellan, Donna Rohmer, Kim Hester and me

Al and Sarah Catalano, Matt McClellan, Donna Rohmer, Kim Hester and me

With hotel manager Jamie McGregor, maître d Nikola Ivanovic and Matt McClellan

With hotel manager Jamie McGregor, maître d Nikola Ivanovic and Matt McClellan

Article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2015/01/19/the-best-small-luxury-cruise-ship-of-2015-seadream-yacht-club/

More from Jim Dobson

Dessert wines…the finishing touch to a delicious meal

February 12, 2015 by adannunzio

Ferenc Kiss

Dessert Wines…the Finishing Touch to a Delicious Meal

Sweet wines have an undeserved weak reputation. Partially, it is because people tend to advance from sweeter, simple wines like a blush zinfandel to a better quality dry wine. But this is comparing apples and oranges. In saying you don’t like sweet wines, you miss some of the best wines in the world!

These seriously sweet classics are not sugared to mask faults, like a cheap off-dry or semi-sweet wine can be. They are sweet because the grapes have been dried on racks, harvested very late or attacked by something called “noble rot”, which leads to a much higher concentration of sugars in the wine but also an amazing intensity, concentration and complexity. It must be balanced by freshness, and when it is, it’s just a burst of flavors in your mouth!

The very best sweet wine in the world is a prestigious bottle of Sauternes from the castle Chateau d’Yquem. Of course, we sell this aboard SeaDream. It is a pricey tipple, but worth every penny. Try it with a good cheese, a gruyere or blue cheese, or a dessert. However, when you pick a dessert wine, make sure it is as sweet or sweeter than the dessert itself, to keep the balance right. Our sommeliers aboard SeaDream can help with that!

Some of my favorite sweet wines (in addition to the classic Sauternes from Bordeaux) include a good late harvest Riesling, the great Tokajis of Hungary and Straw Wine from Chenin Blanc. The rising star winemakers of South Africa, Chris and Andrea Mullineux make one of the best Straw Wines. They will both be aboard SeaDream II this spring, and you can be sure our pastry chef is preparing something delicious to match it! Nothing completes a dinner like a drop of sweet ambrosia! dessert