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