Cruise News

Feature: A Caribbean Dream you never want to wake up from

I have an aversion to filling in forms. Normally I can't interpret half of the questions, and then struggle to find an accurate answer for any them.

But the guest questionnaire that arrived at the end of my seven-day SeaDream cruise was the exception to the rule, and could have been completed with my eyes shut.

All I needed to know was the number 10 - which was, as you would expect, full marks - and enter it into every box.

SeaDream II in the Caribbean
SeaDream II transported us into another world

Very few things exceed one’s expectations. Travelling to Venice on the Orient Express was one. Cruising with SeaDream Yacht Club is another.

My wife and I were hoping for something special, and from the moment our feet touched deck three at the top of the gangway where we were greeted personally by the captain and a waiter brandishing flutes of champagne, we were transported into another world. The next seven days were the closest thing to heaven without popping your clogs.

The eight-hour direct BA flight from London had put us down safely onto the Caribbean island of Antigua, and a 15-minute cab drive took us to Heritage Quay where SeaDream II was awaiting its new cargo of normally well-heeled guests.

It was four o’clock by the time we reached our Yacht Club stateroom, having already enjoyed a glass or two of champagne and a welcoming buffet of light bites. Three hours later we were casting off and our Dream cruise was on its way.

Surprises come thick and fast. As we emerged from our stateroom for dinner, we were already being addressed as Mr and Mrs Simpson by members of the crew who we had not even spoken to or seen before. One of the first was the maitre d’, who asked if we would like a table for two or did we feel sociable? After a long day, we dined alone.

During this first meal our charming French waiter overheard me curse that I had left my spectacles in the stateroom. Moments later he arrived with a presentation case containing a variety of pairs of reading glasses to choose from.

Not that in the end it really mattered. I could have selected “blind” from the menu and had a perfect meal whatever came along. Five wonderful courses later the standard had been set, and not once did it falter, at either breakfast, lunch, dinner and many other occasions in between.

After our first dinner, we took a stroll to familiarise ourselves with our new home. It took all of 15 minutes. At 4,000-tons, SeaDream is compact. She is billed as a mega yacht and that about sums it up. She caters for 104 guests in supreme comfort and your every wish is fulfilled from deck three to six.

Over the next six days I would have

  • The finest massage of my life courtesy of a pretty Phillipine girl surprisingly named Jeremy

  • Struggle through the opening nine holes of Pebble Beach on the golf simulator (it has 40 courses to choose from)
  • Walk a few miles on the gymnasium’s treadmill
  • Raid the boutique for top quality SeaDream shirts, made exclusively by Tommy Hilfiger and for a fraction of the UK’s High Street prices
  • Lounge around the pool sipping cocktails of the day
  • Dine under the stars freshened by balmy breezes
  • Relax in our beautiful cabin sipping drinks from our complementary bar with Norah Jones crooning from the state-of-the-art entertainment center
  • And fly around various secluded bays on the ship’s toys.
  • SeaDrtea II of SeaDream Yacht Club
    Playing with boys’ toys is all part of the fun with SeaDream

    And that produced something special indeed. The captain also liked to skipper the banana as it was whisked across clear blue waters by one of the Zodiacs. And he took great delight in tipping accompanying guests off at the end of the ride. Add to that racing him on jet skis and it sums up perfectly how comfortable everyone was with each other - captain included.

    He deemed it his job to make people happy. It was contagious. It rubbed off onto his entire crew, all with smiling faces that never slipped for one moment. But there was nothing forced. It just came naturally.

    Hardly surprising then that it was quite difficult to venture ashore when we parked each morning at a succession of Caribbean havens. We shunned the excursions and stayed close to the ship while others went off in search of local experiences. We were living our Dream and didn’t want to miss a minute.

    The only exception was on the pretty island of Nevis where we grabbed a cab on the recommendation of a fellow passenger and visited Nisbet Plantation for lunch. Well worth the effort, and a place to mark for the future. 

    The SeaDream experience is an all-inclusive one. Everything you eat and almost everything you drink is in the price of the ride. Only if you wish to complement your meal with something special from the wine list will you be faced with an additional charge. And as a lover of fine wine, it was impossible for me to resist the occasional temptation. Such as the wonderful 1999 Chablis Grand Cru which remarkably cost just 32 dollars (£18). You can’t buy it in a High Street off-licence for that price.

    It was a vintage wine on a vintage cruise that lived up to its six star Berlitz billing. And I am reminded of the expression ... If God created anything better, He kept it for himself.

     

    Posted on 8th May 2011 at 07:08 am in Cruise News | Cruise Lines | Seadream Yacht Club |

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