Here at Sovereign we always want to be able to bring such experiences to life for you, and our Managing Director, Stefan Shillito, was delighted when his friend - and the CEO of SeaDream - Pamela Conover invited him to board a SeaDream yacht and see for himself what SeaDream was all about. We will leave Stefan to share his experience with you...
"Having been in the luxury cruise industry for over 20 years, I have lost count of the many ways that the luxury cruise lines will go to, to prove how their service, ship, cuisine or ambiance is the best. Do not get me wrong, it is a dynamic business with an array of splendid products that put many of the finest of luxury hotels in the world to shame. However, I had given up on finding something truly unique that would appeal to both myself and also too many of our well-travelled clients.
I had travelled before on this ship when I worked for Seabourn and the ship was then known as Seabourn Goddess II. I had also sold many cruises on the ship in its first guise, as the much revered Cunard Sea Goddess II. In both previous lives it was a typical very small luxury cruise ship experience. So I was unprepared for how SeaDream had completely changed the on board experience to suit the refined but unfussy style that the modern luxury traveller embraces.
The essence of understanding SeaDream is based upon knowing the difference between being fortunate enough to have a kind and well-heeled friend invite you to join them on their private yacht or you reserving a space on a small luxury cruise ship. There is a big difference.
So just what makes SeaDream so unique?
SeaDream is akin to a private yacht experience and is the closest one can get to it if one does not have one of the said well-heeled, kindly yacht owners among ones friends.
First, it is a yacht, not a cruise ship, with just 56 couples hosted by a truly amazing family of 95 crew members. Just think about that. That is nearly one crew member per guest and this impressive service ratio is just the start, as the yacht is just one sixth of the size of most small luxury ships. But that does not mean that one misses out on facilities.
Just like being on a private yacht, it is a very casual experience, with service that is personally tailored to you.
Unlike a small luxury cruise ship there is no afternoon tea, no gala black tie Captain's evenings and no formal entertainment. I did not miss any of that. I was too busy enjoying the complimentary water sports from the water sports platform - yes, some small luxury cruise ships have this facility, but they rarely deploy the platform, whereas SeaDream have the platform in use everywhere possible and they have my favourite - jet skis. I love jet skis, I am fairly useless at using them and I do fall off them a lot, but it does not stop me loving them. I am also a huge fan of the Balinese Beds - luxury double sun loungers that, if you wish, you can sleep out on any night you wish, they will make them up for you with fine bed linens and a hot chocolate if you wish. Another personal highlight was al fresco on deck dining every night that the weather permitted, which was very glamorous when we were moored off of Saint Tropez, watching our fellow luxury yachts come and go.
I also loved the complimentary mountain bikes. What a great way to explore a new place, or to see one you have been to before, but in a different way. Especially as I tend not to fall off those as often as I fall off jet skis. That is another bonus with SeaDream, the chances are that because the SeaDream yachts are so tiny they call in to the places that luxury cruise ships cannot or do not call into. In all my time in the luxury cruise business, I had never been to the French Riviera ports of Collioure, Sanary-sur-Mer or Pampelone Beach. SeaDream have unrivalled small port itineraries in The Mediterranean, Asia, The Caribbean, The Baltic and Costa Rica.
But of course just because I love SeaDream, it does not mean that you will. If you like formality or formal entertainment or are not really an outdoor type, then it probably is not for you. A small luxury cruise ship would suit you better. Also, whilst the staterooms are well appointed and tastefully decorated, just like a private yacht, they do not have verandas, but I can honestly say that there is so much outdoor space that I did not miss one nor need one and I doubt most people would. Also, at 195 square feet they are large enough for a couple for up to 10 or 11 nights, but for any longer I would recommend a larger Commodore Suite, Admiral Suite or for that decadent celebration splash out, the wonderful Owner's Suite.
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