April 7, 2014 by adannunzio
Dr. Michael Fopp has had a long and distinguished career in major museums. He has been the keeper of the Battle of Britain Museum, director of the London Transport Museum, and director general of the Royal Air Force Museum. After 22 years as the director general of the Royal Air Force Museum, Michael retired in 2010 to undertake a year as Master of the Guild of Air Pilots, a Livery Company of the City of London.
Michael is an aviation and social historian specializing in the 20th century. He is a light aircraft pilot with commercial and instrument licences and currently chairs two aviation charities concerned with flying scholarships and aviation safety. He has also been an expert witness in aviation safety. Michael has flown many different aircraft from antique and vintage machines to very modern, high performance aircraft – one of which he built himself.
Michael recently delivered the prestigious Cobham Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London which was repeated in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. This was on his specialist subject – the Battle of Britain; Michael is the son of one of the pilots who fought in that battle. Earlier this year, Michael also delivered the annual Probert Lecture at the RAF Club about the history of the Royal Air Force Museum and his years as its Director General.
Michael was previously president of the International Association of Transport & Communications Museums for ten years and chairman of the Museums’ Documentation Association for a similar period.
London Transport at War: 1938-1945
Join Dr. Michael Fopp for a fascinating look at the role of London’s transport company during the Second World War. London Transport not only ran the buses and trains of London throughout the Second World War, but they also carried out many other interesting and exciting tasks. Illustrated with photos and film from the famous London Transport archive, this story demonstrates how the men, women, and children of London reacted to the first persistent assault from the air in history.
“Got Any Gum Chum?” – The Social and Cultural Impact of the American GI on Britain During the Second World War
After two years of blackout, rationing, and deprivation, the arrival of American forces in Britain in 1942 had a huge impact on the cultural and social life of the British people, particularly those who lived close to American bases dotted all over the country. Musical and culinary tastes changed, segregation of black and white was questioned, and attitudes about many things altered – on both sides. This was a fascinating and life-changing time for all concerned. Its impact on British life continues today.
The Flight of the Mew Gull – London to Cape Town 1939
In February 1939 Alex Henshaw flew a tiny aircraft from Gravesend to Cape Town and back in a record time of four days 10 hours and 16 minutes. This record stood for 70 years and was only broken by a more modern machine with equipment and facilities unheard of in 1939. The story of Alex Henshaw himself and his record breaking flight to Cape Town is one of excitement, heroism, and wonder. The endurance and capabilities of the man and machine were – sadly – overshadowed by the imminent World War, but the achievements of Henshaw himself would continue. This talk concentrates on the man and his flying career, prior to the Cape Town flight and after as the Chief Production Test Pilot of the famous Spitfire. Dr. Michael Fopp was the director general of the Royal Air Force Museums, a personal friend of Alex, and incorporates video and personal memories of their time together in this talk.
Aerial “Policing” in the Middle East Between the World Wars
Following the end of World War I and the creation of the League of Nations, the victors were given “mandates” to help underdeveloped people cope with the “strenuous conditions of the modern world.” Much of this territory was previously part of the then-defunct Ottoman Empire and a large swathe of the Middle East came under British and French control. The British already controlled huge areas of the Gulf, Egypt, and East Africa and it now fell to them to control warring tribesmen in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine. Britain was bankrupt following WWI and the costs of this responsibility were not offset by any income derived from the areas themselves. This is the story of how the world’s first independent air force, which had only been formed in 1918, used air power in the role of “policing” this lawless area. The story is fascinating because of the primitive but effective methods chosen and the implementation of what was, in those days, a totally new form of military power.
The Arab Israeli War 1948
The foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 led to a series of conflicts with her surrounding neighbors which exist to this day. The early creation of the new state and its acquisition of a defensive air force is a story of smuggling and gambling, heroism and bravery, comedy and tragedy. The result was one of the most powerful and sophisticated air forces in the world today. This story encompasses the first conflict which occurred between Israel and her Arab neighbors in 1948 and the repercussions to the present day and sheds some light on the capabilities, equipment, and characters of the Israeli Air Defence Force.
The Suez Crisis 1956
The Suez Crisis was a diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 between Egypt on one side, and Britain, France, and Israel on the other, with the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations playing major roles in forcing Britain, France and Israel to withdraw. The attack followed the President of Egypt’s (Gamal Abdel Nasser) decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal, after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, which was in response to Egypt’s new ties with the Soviet Union and recognizing the People’s Republic of China during the height of tensions between China and Taiwan. The aims of the attack were primarily to regain Western control of the canal and to remove Nasser from power, and the crisis highlighted the danger that Arab nationalism posed to Western access to Middle East oil.
Underground London – The Secret Subterranean City
Take a look at subterranean London through the eyes of a transport and military historian. What is hidden behind those anonymous doorways in passages in the “Tube”? How did we carry secret messages across London during the Blitz? Was Parliament really connected to Downing Street by an underground walkway? This story tells the fantastic and, sometimes, unbelievable story of how London has been undermined by countless tunnels, passageways, and tubes to allow secret tasks to be carried out safely in times of war and peace. From World War II, through the Cold War and up to the present time, these hidden secrets are revealed. A visit to London will never be the same again!
March 27, 2014 by adannunzio
SEADREAM YACHT CLUB’s NEW WINE VOYAGES
- Four niche voyages offered in September and October 2014 -
SeaDream Yacht Club announces four niche Wine Voyages, including a special Wine Education Voyage, taking place from September 20 through November 8, 2014. These experiences add to the two mega-yachts’ innovative culinary and beverage program, which features the first and only full raw cuisine menu onboard as well as showcasing local delicacies from ports of call. SeaDream most recently introduced a new Scandinavian menu for summer 2014 Northern Europe voyages that features reindeer, moose and fish caught from local fisherman daily.
“The cuisine onboard SeaDream Yacht Club continues to receive rave reviews from past guests as our culinary team incorporates local ingredients of the ports we visit as only possible sailing with 112 guests,” shares SeaDream Yacht Club President Bob Lepisto. “Our new Wine Voyages build on this tradition by pairing legendary vineyards with expert instructors and winemakers to truly develop a one-of-a-kind experience at sea.”
SeaDream I and II will sail the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines on three Wine Voyages, visiting the most exclusive harbors in Italy, Spain and Portugal’s renowned wine country. Each voyage will offer heightened experiences for beginners and veteran oenophiles with itineraries that have been expertly developed by SeaDream’s Wine Director, Erica Landin, one of Sweden’s most internationally recognized wine writers.
Activities onboard the voyages include visits to high-quality vineyards in the world’s most exclusive wine destinations; informal and formal tastings of local varietals; wine master classes and a special Winemaker’s Dinner, in which a local grower or winery owner shares treasures from their own cellars. The exceptional Wine Education Voyage will take place during a 12-day transatlantic crossing from Lisbon to San Juan. This voyage will commence with a visit to Portugal’s oldest table-wine winery. The itinerary includes in-depth lectures, tastings and discussions with experts and special guest winemaker, Dorli Muhr.
Click here to view the Wine Voyage Brochure
Below is a listing of SeaDream’s Fall 2014 Wine Voyage itineraries:
Seven-day Rome to Athens Wine Voyage, departing September 20, 2014 aboard SeaDream I – including an overnight in Capri, and visiting Taormina in Sicily and the Greek isle destinations of Fiskardo, Itsa and Hydra.
Seven-day Monte Carlo to Rome Wine Voyage, departing September 27, 2014 aboard SeaDream II – visiting St. Tropez, Calvi and Bastia in France, and docking in Italy’s Cinque Terre, Elba and Porto Santo Stefano harbors.
10-day Barcelona to Lisbon Wine Voyage, departing October 18, 2014 aboard SeaDream II – including two overnights in Malaga and Seville, Spain. This voyage visits Ibiza, Valencia, Cartagena and Cadiz in Spain, as well as Tangier (Morocco) and Portimao (Portugal).
12-day Lisbon to San Juan Wine Education Voyage, departing October 28, 2014 aboard SeaDream II – commences with winery tour in Lisbon and includes an afternoon visit to the Madeira Islands before embarking on a transatlantic crossing that features an incredible schedule of wine programming.
March 26, 2014 by adannunzio
15 DAYS OF 5-STAR SEADREAMING FROM MUMBAI TO ATHENS
SeaDream Yacht Club has a whole 11-days at sea to indulge the 5-star lifestyle that’s earned SeaDream II the title of world’s highest-rated boutique passenger vessel – and by contrast take-in a time past in ancient Salalah, Oman and Santorini, Greece as part of a 15-day luxury voyage sailing from Mumbai, India to Athens (Piraeus), Greece.
Departing Mumbai on April 24, 2014, there’ll also be a-near full day transiting the Suez Canal, and with the fare starting from US$4,699 pp that includes all 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, use of a 30 championship course golf simulator, state-of-the-art fitness center, gratuities and more.
For full details see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In Salalah there’ll be the opportunity to visit the tomb of the Old Testament’s Job, the souq (market place) that still sells ancient frankincense (photo above), myrrh, incense and perfumed oils, the ruins of the old city of Sumahram dating back to 300BC, the century-old Taqah castle, and unusual coastal caves and blow-holes.*
And in Santorini, take part in a traditional Greek cooking lesson with lunch to follow, visit volcanic islands aboard a traditional “caique” (fishing boat,) take a winery tour, or see what archaeologists are discovering at ancient Akrotiri – that many believe to be the Lost City of Atlantis…*
*Shore excursions are at additional cost.
March 25, 2014 by adannunzio
SeaDream has just made available, a special 5-night voyage from Monte Carlo to Rome, sailing May 26-31, 2014. This voyage begins in famed Monte Carlo, Monaco, home of the Formula 1 Grand Prix. This years’ Grand Prix runs May 22-25; consider flying in to Nice, France early to catch the racing in Monte Carlo. Click here for Formula 1 Grand Prix information
This 5-night voyage offers stunning ports along the French and Italian Riviera (itinerary below).
||Monte Carlo, Monaco
||Embark (2PM – 4PM)
||St. Tropez, France
||Portovenere (Cinque Terre), Italy
||Portoferraio, Elba, Italy
||Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
||Disembark (8AM – 10AM)
The itinerary is ideal for golfers, starting with The Monte Carlo Golf Club. At an altitude of almost 3,000 feet above sea level, the course offers some of the most stunning sea and mountain views of any golf course. The Willie Park Jr’s original design has stood the test of time, creating an enjoyable and playable course that includes plenty of elevation change, rolling fairways and excellent quality greens. The views along the French and Italian Riviera and inland to the Alps will make for an unforgettable round of golf, no matter how your golf swing is performing.
Other great golf options during the voyage include The Acquabona course on the island of Elba, a rather hilly course with panoramic views over Portoferraio. The 9-hole course with double tees measures 5,144 yards with a par of 68. The course winds through a forest of oaks, pines and eucalyptus. The scents in the air, the silence, the birds of the Natural Park of the Elba, the views of the gulf and inland are the setting for an interesting and challenging day of golf.
From Portofino, play at The Rapallo Golf Club which was opened in 1931 and is situated in one of the most beautiful venues of the Tigullio region. It’s 18 holes offer a varied, stimulating game. This golf course is full of natural hazards and requires precision and strength. Surrounded by cedars, cypresses and pines this is a worldwide famous paradise for golf enthusiasts who are captured by the charm of the Riviera dei Fiori. The impressive cloister of “Valle Christi” overlooks the green of hole 7 and it is an example of the 13th century Italian art, right in the heart of Liguria’s nature.
From St. Tropez, play at Sainte Maxime. From its lofty perch, high above the town of Sainte Maxime, this immensely scenic and always testing golf course offers stunning views out across the bay and across to St Tropez. Transforming this hilly and at times difficult terrain into a playable layout was impressively accomplished by the Harradines (Don and Peter), although the accurate shot-maker will certainly fare better here than the wayward big-hitter; from the outset there are several tightish drives to make. The front-nine loop is played down into a valley, where villas flank the course perimeter, but rarely are they in range. Water threatens on only two occasions. At the downhill par-3 7th, an attractive pond dangerously fronts the putting surface. The same pond must be crossed again as you tee-off at the superb short par-4 8th, a hole which then requires an accurate uphill approach shot to a green encircled by small rocky cliffs. The more elevated and fabulously scenic back-nine retains many natural stretches, with wonderful views onto the Mediterranean, and inland to the forested hills and peaks of the Massif des Maures. First timers to the course may think the uniformly circular greens are generally quite flat, but beware, these perfect circles are often wickedly inclined. Between the 10th and 11th holes you’ll pass an old cable car that once ferried golfers up to the 11th tee; mandatory buggies now perform that task. Sainte Maxime’s spectacular views and challenging layout make this a must play course for visitors to France’s incomparable Cote D’Azur.
From Portovenere, play Versilia. In close proximity to the famous towns of Forte dei Marmi and Pietrasanta and with the great panorama of the Alpi Apuane there is on sea level a golf course that is exceptional in many aspects. As soon as you arrive to the resort you can sense that this will be something special. The course itself is relatively flat but very nicely arranged. Fairways and greens are best kept in all seasons. This, course also sports a number of water hazards some of which can be truly tricky, where a good golfer needs all of his concentration, the hobby-golfer might need a bit of luck. All in all, a course that has its challenges for any kind of handicap and that in any event will ensure the player a few hours in a best looked after environment.
If golf is not your bag, this voyage features lovely, guided excursions to the region’s most historically significant sites. Don’t miss this opportunity to sail at a great price. Contact your travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club at 800-707-4911, email@example.com, info-Europe@seadream.com, www.seadream.com
March 17, 2014 by adannunzio
Twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I & SeaDream II have planned a large selection of golf opportunities throughout 2015. The warm climate of the Caribbean in winter and the Mediterranean in summer, beckons boaters of all types. But it’s not just for yachtsmen anymore, our Caribbean and Mediterranean seasons are luring golfers too.
Teaming up great golf courses, SeaDream expects to draw guests who want both a warm water vacation and the opportunity to play great golf. Our voyages will feature beautiful and challenging golf courses. Play courses designed by big names like George and Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills, Greg Norman and Pete Dye.
Bob Lepsito, SeaDream’s President and golf enthusiast said “ Many of these courses are quite challenging. The scenery is incredible and the views are breathtaking.” Adding “We’ve got a 30-course golf simulator onboard for practice and eight massage therapists in our Spa to ease tired muscles.” Plan your 2015 golf voyage now:
2/7/2015: Voyage 11507 - 3 golf options plus embark and debark ports
2/7/2015: Voyage 21507 - 4 golf options plus embark and debark ports
2/14/2015: Voyage 21508 - 4 golf options plus embark and debark ports
2/28/2015: Voyage 21510 - 5 golf options plus embark and debark ports
3/7/2015: Voyage 11511 - 3 golf options plus embark and debark ports
3/21/2015: Voyage 11513 - 3 golf options plus embark and debark ports
3/21/2015: Voyage 21513 - 4 golf options plus embark and debark ports
5/1/2015: Voyage 11518 - 5 golf options plus embark and debark ports
5/1/2015: Voyage 21518 - 7 golf options plus embark and debark ports
5/9/2015: Voyage 21519 - 5 golf options plus embark and debark ports
5/16/2015: Voyage 21520 - 4 golf options plus embark and debark ports
7/29/2015: Voyage 11530 - 5 golf options plus embark and debark ports
9/19/2015: Voyage 21537 - 4 golf options plus embark and debark ports
March 13, 2014 by adannunzio
SeaDream welcomes Mr. Mark O’Sullivan as new Chief Officer aboard M/Y SeaDream I.
Our new Chief Officer, Mark O’Sullivan was born on the southwest coast of Ireland, in the picturesque city of Killarney, but for the last two years he has called Las Vegas his home. Coming from a fishing family, Mark has always known that his life was going to involve his love for the sea.
Studying in Maritime University’s in Ireland and in England, Mark commenced his maritime career aboard commercial cargo ships, trading all around the world. In 1999 Mark joined Holland America line as a 4th Officer and eventually leaving in July 2010, after serving as Staff Captain. During this time, Mark was involved in the building process of Holland America Line’s Vista class vessel’s and their signature class vessels in Venice, Italy. After spending more than ten years in the cruise industry, Mark was drawn to the world of luxury private yachts, where he severed as Captain on both 60 meter and 90 meter yachts.
Please join us in welcoming Mark to the SeaDream family!
March 12, 2014 by adannunzio
A YACHTING HONEYMOON IN THE MEDITERREAN – YOU’RE SEADREAMING
IMAGINE coming home to family and friends and boasting of a honeymoon of Champagne whenever you had the urge, of caviar and daily 5-star dining, and of someone seemingly always at hand to indulge your every need – and much in the fashion of a millionaire on their yacht in the Mediterranean.
Or, regaling them with tales of slipping into dreamy little ports, that because of their size, large cruise ships must simply sail by, but which those millionaires easily call home….And of perhaps laying back at night on a Balinese bed on deck, and counting the stars as a yacht’s steward offered yet another of your favorite drinks…Friends could be forgiven for suggesting you are dreaming. And, in truth, you can tell them they are right, for your honeymoon was seadreaming…
SeaDreaming the Mediterranean aboard one of the yachts of SeaDream Yacht Club, vessels that while called yachts are in fact mega motor-cruisers with just 56 staterooms for a maximum 112 guests looked after by a super-attentive 95 crew. And so pampered are these guests, that every year the SeaDream I & SeaDream II twins are voted by rating agencies and in cruise ship passenger surveys; world’s best boutique vessels for dining, service and value.
Yet, they are not the exclusive preserve of the millionaire classes, with prices for sailings in the Mediterranean starting from an affordable US$4,299 per person double occupancy for a 7-night voyage. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about that bane of the cruise-goer; additional onboard costs in bars and “alternative” restaurants that can just seem to add up and up. Because once aboard SeaDream I & SeaDream II, you can virtually put away the wallet or purse: included in your fare is all 5-star dining, wines with lunch and dinner, premium-label drinks from the open bars, nightly pre-dinner cocktail gatherings, use of a 30-course golf simulator and a state of the art fitness center… even crew gratuities.
They’ve also a whole range of complimentary power and sail watercraft, from jet skis to laser sailboats, catamarans, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water skis, wake boards, a banana boat and others that can be used where local authorities permit. Plus, if you are looking to a bit of exercise while enjoying local attractions in ports of call, complimentary mountain bikes for excursions ashore, as well as daily complimentary Tai Chi and Yoga sessions, or more quietly a library with over 1,000 books and magazines.
But if all this sounds like enough to be your kind of honeymoon, there’s one more thing that guests (an amazing 40% of SeaDream passengers are repeat guests) constantly cite as their greatest pleasure, and that is the crew. From the moment you board, being greeted at the top of the gangway by the Captain and one of his Officers, a steward with Champagne and others with canapés as you wait the just-few minutes to register and be escorted to your stateroom by your room stewardess, seemingly every crew member knows and remembers your name, and at the bars and while dining, your personal little favorites too.
Dining rates amongst the most-memorable of SeaDream’s experiences, with breakfast and lunch on deck, under shade cloths (weather permitting,) and dinners held in the Dining Salon but some on deck too. Though dinner is silver service, there is no call for ties, jackets or ball gowns: for men slacks and collared business or sports shirt (not golf) suffice, and for the ladies cocktail dresses, pant suits, slacks, blouses and the like.
SeaDream I & II each have an after-dinner piano bar and gaming table, movies on deck or in the main salon, and dancing to the music of a guitarist at the open-air Top of the Yacht Bar, but no floor shows or other form of entertainment. They do not encourage children under thirteen years of age, and advise families with teens that there are no children-specific facilities aboard, with the result few young families holiday on the yachts.
Each of the vessels has 54 ‘Yacht Club’ Staterooms approximately 18 square metres in size, an Admiral’s Suite of 35 square metres and an Owner’s Suite of 40 square metres; all are “outside” with those on decks 3 and 4 having picture windows, and those on deck 2 twin portholes. All have a hair dryer, refrigerator with complimentary drinks, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, entertainment center, dataport for email and internet access, and WiFi; there’s also 24hr Room Service available. And if the mood suits, each yacht has a number of Balinese beds on top deck 6 that can be made-up for you to sleep outdoors under the stars…
Optional shore excursions are available in ports of call and costs for these can be added to your stateroom account, and on most sailings Chef does at least one shore-side shopping trip, with guests invited to join-in and enjoy complimentary tastings from a range of local stores and markets Chef purchases from for dinner that night. One of the most popular of these is in St Tropez on the Mediterranean coast of France, where as Chef buys fruit, vegetables, local specialty cheeses and other goods, local providores offer tastings of their Rosé wines, cheeses, breads and even a traditional St Tropez onion tart.
SeaDream’s annual Mediterranean season from May to October covers myriad ports both large and small along Italy’s Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, Costa Smeralda, the French Riviera, Monaco, Spain’s Balearic Islands, the Croatian Coast, the Aegean and Ionian Greek Islands and Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, making for honeymoon opportunities that will become ever-treasured memories.
SeaDream Yacht Club has these unique free offerings exclusive to honeymooners:
* A private dinner on deck with personal wait staff to handle your every wish
* Signature stateroom door hanger souvenir; “Honeymoon in Progress”
* Surprise, loving swan towel animals with rose petals on bed at turndown
* A dinner with the Captain
* Honeymoon certificate presented and signed by the Captain
* An al fresco breakfast for two in a secluded deck location
* Chocolate covered strawberries at turndown
* Balinese Bed, strewn with rose petals, reserved for your sleeping under the stars
* A guitarist will visit your dinner table on deck for a special serenade
* Special “lovers” dessert will surprise you one night
Now just tell family and friends to forget the cookware and the furniture, you want a SeaDreaming Honeymoon in the Mediterranean for your wedding gift… and as discounts apply for small groups on some sailings, you may like to suggest several particularly close members of your wedding party may like to come along as well?
For more information about SeaDream Yacht Club’s itineraries and prices in the Mediterranean, as well as in the Caribbean and trans-Atlantic*, see travel agents, call 800-707-4911 and visit www.seadream.com
January 27, 2014 by adannunzio
— 21.3 MILLION people took an ocean cruise somewhere in the world in 2013 —
–by David Ellis
(STRUTH is an Australian-ism short for “It’s God’s Truth…” a word you use when trying to convince someone about the truth of an amazing story.)
In his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says an amazing 760,000 people cruised into and out of Australian ports in 2013, putting us at Number 5 in the world’s Top 10 cruise market areas.
The country to enjoy the biggest number of cruise-goers through its ports was the USA with a huge 11-million-plus in 2013, followed by the UK/Ireland with 1,719,000, Germany 1,637,000 and Italy 860,000.
And amazingly the 760,000 who sailed through our ports in 2013 also helped put us at Number 2 in the world’s Top Five cruise growth markets since 2008: Scandinavia/Finland enjoyed the biggest market share increase over those five years with a growth rate of 184.6%, Australia just over a 130% increase, and Brazil was third with an 84.8% increase in market share since 2008.
All up, according to industry body the Cruise Lines International Association, a total 21.3 million people took a cruise somewhere in the world in 2013, with this expected to increase to 21.7 million this year.
21.3 MILLION people took an ocean cruise somewhere in the world in 2013 on ships ranging from the biggest (like Oasis of the Seas) to the smallest (SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I) shown here together in St Thomas in the Caribbean.
January 24, 2014 by adannunzio
5-STAR CRUSOES – THEY’RE SEADREAMING
David Ellis with Frank Linn
Ask the all-knowing Mr Google how many islands there are in Asia, and you’ll get an answer akin to asking how long is a piece of string?
So when SeaDream Yacht Club decided to embark on a first-ever season in Asia with its luxury SeaDream II, and knowing past guests’ fondness for the serenity of remote islands away from the rat-race, they took to their charts and the tens of thousands of islands from India to Indonesia (plus for one itinerary across to Far North Queensland, PNG and the Trobriand Islands,) with a fervour akin to that of planning a Moon Landing.
For here they found islands with no more than a handful of subsistence farmers-and-fishers, others with a couple of thatch-roof “resorts” beachside for more-adventurous holidaymakers, plenty with flashy 4- and 5-star hotels, and some others simply devoid of any human life whatsoever.
“We had the perfect scenarios for all occasions,” says the company’s Director of Business Development in Asia, Richard Jones who was a driving force behind the decision for this first-ever venture, and who scouted-out the best of island offerings with the help of local tourism offices, tour guides, village chiefs, resort owners and anyone else who could give him input.
And their choices have proven winners with the hundreds of guests who’ve sailed so far on mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II, including colleague Frank Linn who, with a handful of fellow travel scribes, recently did a week from Phuket in Thailand to Yangon in Myanmar (Burma,) and another from there back to Singapore.
So this week it’s Frank’s turn to do the writing, and here’s his story:
While always a thrill to re-visit cities and towns across the region we’ve a fondness for from past meanderings – like frenetic Phuket, ever-delightful Langkawi, always-spotless Singapore, and Yangon (Rangoon) for a mind-blowing first-time experience – it was our days ashore on smaller and remoter islands that won our hearts.
For here were specks on the maps we’d in many cases never heard of, or if we had, never had the opportunity to visit previously: rarely-visited places like the Similan Islands in Southern Thailand, Nyang Wee and 115 Island amid the remote Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar, Ko Lanta Yai in Thailand…
And while there may have been only our fellow SeaDreamers and crew on their sands, rather than confronting on-the-knees picnic tucker for the day, we were ferried ashore by the yacht’s inflatable Zodiacs to find roaring gas barbecues under shady trees, prawns (and locally-caught lobsters on one occasion,) steaks, chicken, sausages and lamb chops already sizzling away, nearby trestles loaded with salads… and just off the beach, a surfboard “bar” from which crew were dispensing Champagnes, wines and caviar to guests thigh-deep in the water.
All this 5-star Robinson Crusoe stuff having been ferried ashore from SeaDream hours earlier.
And on tiny Nyang Wee the company’s first-ever Night-time Beach Party, complete with a serenading guitarist who had us toe-tapping the sands to John Denver and Beatles’ numbers as we tucked into a gourmet barbecue under flickering flares… the night ending with the lighting of traditional Lucky Lanterns that drifted heavens-ward with our secret wishes (apparently for most, for another week aboard SeaDream…)
Back aboard, the indulgences continued: 5-star dining with breakfast and lunch under shade on deck, no stuffy jackets or ties in the Dining Room for dinner (only “Country Club Smart Casual”,) no-charge drinks from the open bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of a 30-course golf simulator, a free state-of-the-art fitness centre, all staterooms with either a picture window or twin portholes…. and more crew (95) than guests (just over 70 on our sailing.)
And on two full-days at sea surprise midday poolside snack pass-around’s with Bloody Mary’s, afternoon movies (including The Lady, the story of Aung San Suu Kyi and her fight for Democracy in Burma….)
Subsequent sailings have taken-in Thailand’s Ka Tarutao, believed to have been a first by any ship to this-now National Park that in the 1930s was a penal settlement for political prisoners, and Ko Lipe with its extraordinarily sparkling green waters.
SeaDream II stays in Asia until April when she’ll sail 15-days from Mumbai to Athens; for still-available Asia itineraries and the sailing to Athens, see travel agents or visit www.seadream.com
January 13, 2014 by adannunzio
A SeaDream yacht is ideal for travel groups to come together in intimate style and luxury. Groups comprised of family members, friends & neighbors, business associates, philanthropic causes, alumni and more…all are sure to enjoy yachting together, experiencing great destinations, 5-star service and delightful cuisine.
When booking a specific number of staterooms on a voyage, you will earn added values for your travel group (varies by voyage)! Special fares and values are available for groups now for voyages sailing in 2014 & 2015.
SeaDream I & II, with just 56 staterooms has limited space for groups, so don’t delay. Talk with you regional SeaDream Business Development Director to learn more. www.seadream.com or 800-707-4911.