SeaDream tells us that their sea voyages are ‘yachting not cruising.’ If you experience a SeaDream Yachting Adventure, you will attest to the fact that it is, indeed, unlike your typical cruise. For starters, your vessel will have a maximum of only 112 guests being pampered by an award-winning crew of 95; the level of attention and service that is paid to each guest makes yachting aboard either the SeaDream I or SeaDream II a true boutique yachting experience. Having a birthday or anniversary onboard? No need to even mention it. Somehow the crew will know, and that occasion will be celebrated enthusiastically – think a roomful of brightly-colored balloons and a gorgeously-decorated cake placed before you after dinner. Another charming feature: SeaDream’s itineraries are designed to visit the intimate ports, harbors and yachting playgrounds that larger ships cannot reach.
Voyage with the SeaDream I to Caribbean Ports of Call. As you board, there will already be a party in progress. Drinks and canapés will be served and as you sink down into inviting plush banquets, you’ll be serenaded by a guitarist and a pianist - all tres chic and a most splendid welcome!
Before setting out to sea, there is, of course, the mandatory lifeboat drill for all guests; this merely added to the excitement of being onboard and anticipating the wonders that
Await you. After unpacking, it will be time for pre-dinner cocktails, served nightly in the Main Salon, followed by dinner, a high spot of each evening. Just entering the dining room on the proffered arm of an elegantly-attired crew member makes you feel utterly special – and that mood continues through the entire gourmet meal. When dining, one can choose between “feeling sociable,” or not so much. So a table for two or, when you feel sociable, inevitably your dinner companions will be good and engaging company. There are choices to be made after dinner: a little casino-madness, dancing at the Top of the Yacht Bar, or just slinking down in a cozy seat to munch popcorn while enjoying a late-release film.
It seems that some of us are born with a love for the sea. Captain Bjarne Smorawski is the classic example of a person with a love-of-the-sea gene. He is in the enviable position of being the Master of our good ship, the SeaDream I and has said “This is the ultimate for me. I can watch the sea forever.” He goes on to explain that the guests and the crew are the extra ingredients that make his life at sea a joy. One can fully feel his joy and commitment - never more so than when, on your first night at sea, he will host a Welcome Cocktail Reception where he proudly introduces his Senior Officers. You’ll come away with the comforting realization that you are in very good hands, indeed.
As morning dawns, sun streaming through stateroom windows, you are in Culebrita, Puerto Rico. Wolf down down a quick breakfast so that you won’t miss the morning hike to Turtle Beach with Nat, the Club Director. It’s an easy hike to this spot that’s famous for the large number of turtles, both hawksbill and leatherback, that visit the island for nesting or feeding. Tread quietly and carefully as there are turtle babies covering the sand, trekking down to the sea. Such tiny babies, such an enormous sea….a daunting scramble, to be sure.
When you return to the boat, if you’re in luck, you’ll have glass-like seas and are able to use the Marina Platform to slip easily into the water (no “gal-overboard” entry for you) and spend a pleasurable hour on an inflatable floating island, bobbing gently in translucent, navy-colored water.
Setting anchor one day at Caneel Bay on the northwest side of St. John, US Virgin Islands, you’ll make your way to Trunk Bay which actually has a snorkeling trail with markers. Take the the plunge and find the marker explanations of the various fish species and coral formations - an added plus on your excursion.
Another port of call, Norman Island,Tortola. There are 24,000 residents on Tortola, the most populous of the British Virgin Islands. It’s a hilly landscape completely blanketed with frangipani and fragrant ginger. The prettiest beaches are at Soper’s Hole and there are decidedly more fish than people here. Marine birds abound, attracted, of course, to the natural buffet on offer. Capture some striking images of graceful herons and colorful frigate birds as they leisurely lunch just a few feet away.
Sandy Ground – Now doesn’t that phrase sound inviting? Walking barefoot on sandy ground is a favorite activities and here you are on this bright and beautiful morn: Sandy Ground, Anguilla. Take a tender to shore and then climb on bikes to tool around town. Lots of biking challenges. The houses here are vividly painted in primary shades of red, yellow and blue and the roaming wild donkeys only add to your playful adventure. Ride into The Valley section of town where you’ll find arts and crafts shops.
Ah - that most hoity-toity of Caribbean Islands – St. Barths; it’s French, you see. Its mystery looms large and you’re probably curious as to what you’ll discover. No surprise, it is, of course, beautiful - and pristine – which immediately sets it apart from some of the other islands. Window-shopping here is very entertaining – all the top designer boutiques are represented: Chanel, Dior…you get the idea. Pricey? Oh yeah, beyond the pale.
Residents here, mainly French ex-pats, like to say they’re but 4,400 miles from Paris. Okayyyy…
This island ranks among the world’s most treasured real estate, and you can check out the ever-changing scene by plopping yourself down at one of the many sidewalk cafes. We all know how easy it is to simply order a Chardonnay and just sip it ever so slowly – in that way drawing out a scant 20 minutes to, maybe, an hour. So - Cheers! Now you can say you’ve been to St. Barths and yes, even experienced it, in a fashion.
One of the highpoints of this memorable voyage is when you pull into the port of Nevis and then go ashore by zodiac for a wet-landing on the beach. What awaits you is truly something for the books. In advance of your arrival, the crew sets up a Champagne & Caviar Splash – an elegant beach party on Coconut Grove, a private island! Long tables covered in white linen groan under the weight of mammoth bowls of shrimp, crab and lobster. Magnums of Champagne are chilling on ice. At another table, the Chefs prepare aa barbeque. At still another area, all manner of picnic fare – and desserts! Everything has been thought of, including bringing over paddle boards, kayaks and snorkel equipment for added fun.
Later that evening (your last) there’s the highly anticipated and completely frivolous Dessert Extravaganza – more desserts than you’ve ever before seen – all lovely, all unique, all “just gotta try!” You’ll roll back to your room, a sated and very happy camper!
A SeaDream quote says: “It’s yachting not cruising. Enjoy the difference.” When you go, you, too, will say Vive La Difference!
FYI: There are two cruise lines that depart regularly from NYC: Carnival and Norwegian; from nearby NJ piers: Holland America, Seabourn and Royal Caribbean.
When You Go: