David Powell reports on this elegant mega yacht ...
I recently joined SeaDream II for a voyage along the French Riviera calling at beautiful and iconic ports like, Antibes, Cannes and Monte Carlo. As SeaDream point out ‘this is yachting, not cruising’, and I agree, this is so different from big ship cruising. Being on this super yacht with a maximum of just 110 guests and a crew of 95 to look after you, cannot be confused with regular cruising. There’s no queue at the breakfast buffet, no waiting for a table at lunch ... come to think of it ... there’s no queues, crowds or waiting at all! Life on this ship is as active, casual or as romantic as you want it to be.
TWO ELEGANTLY CASUAL MEGA-YACHTS
The SeaDream Yacht Club with its two elegant mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II have received numerous awards over the years, most recently being voted by Condé Nast Traveler US readers, number one for cuisine in the small ships category. The two ships provide a yachting experience visiting small harbours and ports in Costa Rica, Asia, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Northern Europe on 7 to 15 night voyages. You’ll find SeaDream in the Med during the best times of the year, May through to October with an exceptional choice of itineraries.
IT’S LIKE BEING ON YOUR OWN PRIVATE YACHT WITH FRIENDS
From the moment of boarding at Sanary Sur Mer near Marseille, the crew were smiling and seemed genuinely happy and pleased to welcome myself and my wife. In no time at all, and without exception, they were referring to us by name, anticipating our needs and getting to know our preferences and it’s details like this that define the lifestyle aboard.
The SeaDream Yacht Club is all inclusive. My voyage included an ocean view stateroom, gourmet meals, wine with lunch and dinner, an open bar with select premium brands and champagne, use of the ships water toys, use of the mountain bikes, use of the Fitness Centre and golf simulator, gratuities and an extensive cd and dvd library. Our climate controlled stateroom on deck 4 featured a large picture window - this was our own private world of luxury. The bedroom, bathroom and open living area well appointed and comfortable with ample room to relax and refresh.
The marble-lined bathroom was equipped with a multi-jet shower massage with soaps and lotions from Bvlgari. At one stage it felt as if I had shower jets coming at me from all directions - wonderful! The refrigerator was stocked with complimentary beer, soft drinks and water, and the entertainment centre above the writing desk featured a flat screen TV, dvd/cd player and iPod docking station. The bed was really comfortable and every night sleep came quickly to me aided by the quality Belgium linen and the gentle rocking motion of the ship ... and perhaps, just perhaps, a result of the open bar!
OUT ON DECK
Deck 3 aft, yes it didn’t take me long to get into the nautical way of things :-), you’ll find the guest swimming area - swimming pool, jacuzzi and shower all within close proximity to the Pool Bar. Head to Deck 6 for the Top of the Yacht Bar and more relaxation space. There’s an abundance of sun beds on both decks. Now if I’m honest, I’m not that good with a lot of sun loungers, after 30 minutes or so, they have a tendency to seek out any weakness in my back - not so the SeaDream ones! I found them comfortable, and again a special touch, a fresh rolled up towel ready on the bed. Want another towel? ... no problem, brought with a smile and a question ... what would you like to drink Mr Powell?
Further along deck 6 forward I came across the Balinese Dream Beds. Essentially these are very comfortable double beds facing out to sea offering semi-private sun lounging - now this is the life! Incidentally, if one night you fancy sleeping on deck under the stars on one of these beds, this can be arranged!
There’s plenty of facilities on board. The Main Salon is a cosy lounge which is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails and the Captain’s Party. The Piano Bar and adjacent library offers a relaxing atmosphere for after dinner cocktails and the onboard Pianist has a large repertoire of songs and gladly accepts requests. Next to the Piano bar is the Casino should you wish to try your luck.
The Library has over 1000 books and its here you can catch up with your emails on the computers, alternatively WiFi is available throughout the ship. The Fitness Centre has a good range of personal fitness equipment and the added advantage of panoramic ocean views. There’s a Boutique on board, open when the ship is at sea, which offers a selection of designer items and is duty free. The Top of the Yacht Bar soon becomes a favourite spot - well it does have the benefit of the best view at sea.
DINING - Dream Cuisine!
Dining alfresco on deck either at the Topside Restaurant or in the elegantly appointed Dining Room, the food and impeccable service made dining aboard SeaDream II a wonderful and unforgettable experience. From early risers coffee and croissants, wonderful breakfasts on deck to open seating lunch and dinner, food preparation and menus were first class. The person preparing and selecting these wonderful meals was Executive Chef Tomasz Kozlowski. I spoke with him a number of times, and found him, friendly and ‘hands on’ and as he spoke I could sense in him a deep passion for his culinary art. At both lunch and dinner complimentary wines are selected to enjoy with the menus of the day.
THE WATER SPORTS MARINA
Can you imagine swimming off the back of a super yacht? This really is made possible on SeaDream - a retractable water sports platform is located at the stern and is unfolded when the ship is at anchor at a suitable location. Now you are welcome to play with the ships water toys. There’s jet skis, windsurfers, wave runners, water skiing, zodiac rides, banana boat rides, kayaks, snorkelling equipment, stand up paddle boats, tubing and a floating island and trampoline.
YACHTING LAND ADVENTURES
You’ll probably be keen to explore the many interesting ports of call SeaDream stops at,
I know I was. You’re free of course to make your own way ashore, however the SeaDream Yacht Club does offer a complete range of land tours and shoreside activities. An Activities Director was on board, James, and he gave an insight and briefing on all ports of call each evening before dinner, including shopping advice and other practical suggestions for the following day. The excursions offered are designed so you can experience the destinations to their fullest and can be purchased onboard. In some ports shoreside activities are offered led by members of the crew, such as walking, bike riding or, for instance, shopping for specialist foods with the Executive Chef at the local market.
At our Monte Carlo stop James led a small party through the harbour area and up to the Prince’s Palace in time for the changing of the guard. For me Monte Carlo was an incredible stop. Just pulling into the harbour on this yacht was an experience of a lifetime in itself. I walked through the harbour area, up to the Casino, walked part of the famous motor racing course and stood beside a sleek, brand new red Ferrari with triple exhausts parked outside the Café de Paris!
The Asian Spa and Wellness Centre is situated on deck 4. The Spa is Thai certified, a member of the Thai Spa Association and the only one of its kind at sea. A full range of massage and body treatments, scrubs and wraps are offered alongside a beauty and hairdressing salon where manicures, pedicures, facials and other treatments are available. My wife went for the back, neck and shoulder massage – and the verdict was: “excellent, all of the therapists were most welcoming and very professional. The massage was rejuvenating and I would certainly recommend a visit here”.
From the moment I was welcomed on board I felt relaxed and at home. The friendly atmosphere made for a wonderful voyage. The crew, without exception, were friendly, professional and went ‘the extra mile’ to provide an unforgettable service. As day turned to night, memories of pre-dinner cocktails with new found friends, the live sounds of a guitar and multiple course dinners served under the stars or in the beautiful Dining Room remain with me.
I now completely understand Seadream when they say ‘It’s yachting, not cruising. Enjoy the difference” - I did and I can’t wait to sail on her again.
SeaDream II will be in the Med commencing May 2014 -- 18 voyages.
SeaDream I will also be in the Med during September & October 2014 -- 5 voyages, prior to which she will be in Northern Europe – Baltic and Norwegian Fjords.
SeaDream II is currently sailing in Asia for the winter season You can experience a voyage like David’s: 7 nights departing 20th September 2014 from Civitavecchia/Rome and sailing to Monte Carlo. The voyage only fare leads in at £3437 per person and includes: accommodation, all meals on board, complimentary champagne and open bar, wines with lunch and dinner, together with gratuities, use of recreational and water sports toys (subject to local conditions) and Government, port and handling fees
David has produces a video review of SeaDream II on his voyage and this can be viewed at: www.YourHolidayTV.com
FOR RESERVATIONS contact a travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club on 0800 783 1373
See more at www.seadream.com