My mother would always ask our business and client guests, “Are you a mountain or sea person?” Growing up in this business, I am thankfully both, as is Kristene. As much as we love to be on (or in) the ocean, however, we never considered ourselves “cruise types.” When we get away as a couple, we appreciate our privacy and the freedom to explore. After having the opportunity to enjoy a few cruises through the years though, we have to admit that it’s a great way to travel. We love the experience.
There are cruise ships for every taste. Some love the gigantic mega-ships that are like a Las Vegas Hotel floating in the sea. Others like small expedition vessels. The good news is that there is something for everyone. Our job at Frontiers is to discuss your travel objectives and help you find the perfect cruise experience based on your personal preferences.
One of our favorite cruise lines at Frontiers is SeaDream Yacht Club. The clients we send all rave about the experience. Kristene and I are definitely small ship enthusiasts and we have been dying to book a cruise with SeaDream. This is the perfect winter to escape to the Caribbean. We chose an awesome itinerary from Antigua to Barbados. We have never been down through the Leeward and Windward Islands. This area also experienced Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We were also anxious to see how the region was coping after the storms.
Established in 2001, SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its two innovative cruising mega-yachts, SeaDream I and II. Both are intimate boutique ships that provide a unique traveling experience unlike any other cruise vacation. From May through October, both yachts sail the Mediterranean Sea. From November through April they visit the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
“It’s Yachting, Not Cruising,” defines SeaDream’s mission: to provide a casual yachting experience that will exceed their guests’ expectations. The expression “yachting” is not only a statement about size; it’s a lifestyle aboard their intimate vessels with the service of 95 crew members and 112 guests that make each guest feel like they are on their very own private luxury yacht. SeaDream’s 56-stateroom yachts are favored for their elegant informality, highly personal service, inclusive open bar and gratuities, all ocean views staterooms and suites, luxury accommodations and world-class cuisine.
We were aboard SeaDream I, which was a delight. Small ships have virtually all of the amenities that larger ships offer, including a spa, gym, casino, pool area, entertainment and a variety of shore experiences. The ship only seems small when it is docked in a large port with other cruise ships. The advantages, however, of small ship cruising are abundant:
- Small ships can access bays and ports the bigger boats have to avoid. This makes you feel more like a local ashore and you avoid the tacky and touristy ports that the mega cruises visit.
- SeaDream’s itineraries are designed to call upon the most intimate ports, harbors and yachting playgrounds that larger ships cannot reach.
- The staff to guest ratio is much better – providing an unparalleled level of personal service. We were amazed on board. The staff knew our names immediately and no request was too big!
- Dining is on your schedule. Aboard SeaDream, you can dine alone and ala carte each evening al fresco or in the salon. There are no assigned tables or times.
- Cruising aboard a small ship creates a sense of camaraderie with your fellow passengers. We were amazed at how warm and inviting the SeaDream environment was. There is indeed a feeling of intimacy.
The moment we stepped on board, we knew SeaDream was special. After we visited our stateroom and went through the safety orientation, we were off to explore the ship.
Our Cruise Director, Gareth was a delight. Being active is important for us when cruising and we were very impressed with the ship’s gym and active shore excursions.Gareth was hiking and biking each morning with a small group to some of the far reaches of the islands we were visiting. If you wanted to see the fort at the top of the mountain or snorkel on a remote Caribbean beach, Gareth would take you there with a huge smile. If you want to explore on your own, there were suggested hikes, beaches to visit and cool sites to see hiking off on your own. The ship also has a number of mountain bikes if you would like to head off on a ride in any port.
SeaDream is also unique based on its water sports program. Off of the stern they have a full marina with a wide variety of activities, including: snorkeling equipment, paddleboards, sea kayaks, sailboats, waterskiing, jet skis and sailboarding. It was great to enjoy the afternoon on board in the water!
The dining was very special. Coffee was always ready early in the morning at the Top of the Yacht Bar. Breakfasts were made to order, lunch paired with a Rosé tasting and the evening tasting menus were simply exceptional. SeaDream is dedicated to offering the best culinary experience possible for each of their guests.
We enjoyed all of the islands we visited. Other than some damage we saw in St. Barts, we were amazed at how well the islands had recovered from the hurricanes. All of the locals welcomed us and made us feel at home on their island. Some of our favorite stops included:
- A day at Shoal Bay Beach on Anguilla, one of the nicest and most highly ranked beaches in the world!
- A hike to Fort Karl with Gareth, followed by a swim at Shell Beach in Gustavia, St. Barts.
- Walking through the village at Port Elizabeth, Bequia, relaxing on the beach and a lobster pizza at Mac’s.
- Incredible snorkeling with sea turtles from Mayreau, Grenadines followed by an incredible SeaDream beach party!
It would be our pleasure to introduce you to SeaDream I and II where you will experience unprecedented levels of luxury and service. We promise that you will enjoy one of the very best vacation experiences at sea in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. We have access to some great specials and sales. Please contact us. We will go through the itinerary options and help you experience “Yachting” instead of “Cruising!” – Mike and Kristene Fitzgerald