SEADREAM'S BLOG

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

Phones scarce in Caribbean paradise

February 11, 2015 by adannunzio

‘It is beautiful to do nothing … and then rest afterwards.’
-MALCOLM ANDREWS visits an island in the sun

Philanthropists: Laurance and Mary Rockefeller

Philanthropists: Laurance and Mary Rockefeller

Phones scarce in Caribbean paradise

No member of the general public – least of all any journalist – has the slightest idea as to the real worth of the Rockefellers, America’s richest family.

Are the Rockefellers, now in their sixth generation since achieving renown in oil exploration and production and the banking industry, secret about their immense wealth? Well, is Julia Roberts a ‘pretty woman’?

There are so many billionaires among the Rockefellers that it would take researchers decades to work out just where all the money is located, although we are sure the tax man has some idea.

One of the lesser-known members of the family was Laurance Rockefeller. Like nearly all of his family he gave back much of his immense wealth to the community as one of the world’s great philanthropists.

In his case he has been variously dubbed ‘Mr Conservation’, the “Father of Eco-Tourism” and the “President’s Man”, having advised all 10 American leaders from Dwight D Eisenhower in the 1950s to George W Bush (who held the reins when Rockefeller died in 2004 at the age of 94) on issues involving the protection of the wilderness.

Indeed, in 1991, the latter’s father, President George H W Bush, awarded Rockefeller the Congressional Gold Medal for his heritage work. It was the first time in the medal’s history (since its instigation in 1777) that it had been awarded for efforts in nature conservation. And largely thanks to Laurance Rockefeller’s efforts St John, one of the US Virgin Islands, is universally regarded as one of the most stunningly beautiful and least exploited tourist destinations in the world.

Laurence owned property at St John on which he and his wife (childhood sweetheart) Mary used to escape the hurly-burly of financial life on the US mainland. In 1956 they donated almost 70 hectares to the government to be used as a national park. More land has been added so that almost two-thirds of St John is part of the national park. In deference to Rockefeller’s view of life there are few television sets or telephones. And there is certainly no airport.

So if tourists want to enjoy the beaches around the largest settlement at Cruz Bay that are regularly voted among the best dozen in the world they have to come by sea. Not by mega-cruise ships with thousands of passengers. The intimate St John which is only 50 sq km in area with a population of around 4,000 could not cope with such hordes.

No, it is a case of come in by ferry from nearby St Thomas or on board intimate boutique cruise vessels such as the award-winning SeaDream I and II, with their maximum of 112 guests. They ply the Caribbean Sea from November to April each year before heading off to the Mediterranean for the European summer. SeaDream passengers have regularly voted the stop-over at St John as one of their favourite destinations.

They may not arrive in the massive numbers such as are attracted to other Caribbean islands such as St Thomas – but they are vital. In the 18th century, the economy depended almost entirely on the export of sugar cane, which grew in abundance in the hot climate and fertile soil. This was cultivated by slaves from Africa or the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean. At one stage, slaves outnumbered free citizens to the tune of five to one. But the industry collapsed when slavery was abolished in 1848.

The tourists and the world’s rich and famous who have holiday homes on the island love it for the outdoor attractions such as snorkelling from one of the seven faultless beaches around Cruz Bay or hiking along trails within the national park. There is also the fun of shopping for unique gifts in the architecturally picturesque Mongoose Junction shopping precinct. Maybe they are just happy to sip the island’s unique Virgin Islands Tropical Mango Pale Ale at one of the quaint bars. Or settle back on the pristine whiter-than-white sand while contemplating the Caribbean adage: “It is beautiful to do nothing … and then rest afterwards.”

At least, the locals on St John claim it is an old Caribbean maxim. And who are we to argue, even if we suspect we’ve heard the expression somewhere else in the past!

  • Malcolm Andrews is an Australian author and travel writer. He has been a regular SeaDreamer since his first voyage in 2006.

SeaDream II Transatlantic Voyage Features Guest Speaker

February 10, 2015 by adannunzio

sunrise seadream 2

SeaDream II Transatlantic Voyage Features Guest Speaker, Bill Lee

Reserve your stateroom aboard SeaDream II Voyage #21517 sailing this April 19 – May 1, 2015 and enjoy learning about physics with every day analogies.

Bill Lee has a BS and MS in physics from York University in Toronto, Canada, and he is currently completing his thesis to defend his Ph.D.  A high energy computer training professional with a unique ability to explain complex technical concepts using every day analogies, Bill provides thought provoking and amusing demonstrations.  His passions are science, technology, inspiring people, and having fun.

Bill’s career includes 22 years within the IBM software development lab before establishing his e-Innovations Inc., a Canadian company specializing in blended learning solutions where traditional stand-up lecture based teaching is combined with computer assisted self-educating segments.

His onboard Lecture Titles include:

What Time is It?: Nobody Really Knows
Does time have a beginning or end?  Why do we perceive time in only the forward direction?  Is time travel possible?  Take an exciting journey with Bill Lee to learn how leading physicists are trying to explain time.

What the Higgs!: Why All the Fuss and What is the Big Deal?
The recent Higgs discovery was predicated over 40 years ago.  It is a great scientific accomplishment when a mathematical prediction is proven with observable experimental results.  However, most physicists are secretly hoping the experiments will not match the predictions.  Learn why this scientific discovery is sensational and how wrong experimental results are even more exciting.

Einstein’s Biggest Blunder
Physics requires an observable event and re-creatable experiments.  What happens when elegant mathematical proofs predict events that can never be observed?  Should the mathematicians be collaborating with philosophers or physicists?  Learn about the wild liberties and assumptions made by physicists today and Albert Einstein’s biggest blunder.

Hollywood Science Fiction
Back to the Future, Star Wars, Star Trek, Fringe, and The Big Bang Theory.  Bill Lee will poke into the science fiction, fact, or fantasy seen on popular movies and TV shows.

Top 10 Stephen Hawking Fun Facts
Bill Lee will discuss the books from Stephen Hawking that everyone likes to buy but no one actually reads condensed and simplified, including ten fun facts from the books explained and his predictions of the strange observable behaviors in science and physics.

The Big Bang

What actually banged?  How did it bang?  Will it bang again or will there be big squish?  Bill Lee will explain the 13.8 billion year history of the universe in 45 minutes

NOTE:

This transatlantic voyage sails from Bridgetown, Barbados to Malaga, Spain with one stop in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Fares starting at $3,299 per person +. (subject to change)