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Our score: 4.2/5.0

SeaDream 1

SeaDream Yacht Club

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Grant Holmes Avatar for Grant Holmes

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  • Detailed Review
  • Facts & Amenities
  • Deck Plans
Grant Holmes Avatar for Grant Holmes

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According to SeaDream’s marketing, ‘It’s yachting, not cruising’, and you should probably take note. For this is as close as many of us will get to life on a (slightly elderly) superyacht. This isn’t a cruise for sure; it’s something way better.

Ultra-personal, flexible, laid-back and luxurious, a stay on SeaDream is understated, sophisticated and oh so slick. By the second day of your voyage, every staff member will refer to you by name.

SeaDream has taken the extreme opposite direction from the rest of the luxury cruise industry. Apart from positioning itself as a luxury yachting experience (albeit on something closer to a ship), there is not a buffet, waterslide or martini bar to be seen.

Instead, these two identical ships (SeaDream I and SeaDream II) started life as the famous Sea Goddess I and II, which have, over the years, gone through a number of facelifts. These are not glamorous vessels by any means, but they are impeccably maintained. Both are all-suite accommodation, and the rooms are wonderfully comfortable and well appointed.

But let’s cut to the chase. You don’t come on SeaDream for the interior design; you come onboard for the exceptionally personal, almost curated, tailor-made experience. There’s faultless service; saying no to a guest request is something that rarely happens on SeaDream. There’s spectacular food, too, and a drop-down watersports marina with many toys, including jet skis, paddle boards and banana boats.

This is life on a luxury superyacht with up to 112 guests – many of whom you will feel you know quite well at the end of your stay; some may even become friends.

If you are expecting the full gamut of cruise-ship offerings you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a chic, all-inclusive, sublimely relaxing ‘yachting’ experience visiting small harbours and islands that larger ships can’t get near, you will have found your nirvana.

Baring All
  • Small, intimate, bespoke – everything that regular cruising isn’t
  • Food that will spoil you for life
  • Yes, the yachts are ‘elderly’ but no matter, the experience is utterly contemporary
  • Ultra-friendly and professional service that borders on faultless
Why we like it
Why we like it

The yachts (think small ships) are, how does one say it, most certainly ‘elderly’, but these perfectly maintained ladies actually feel like a ship, or rather how a luxury yacht should feel. With lots of polished wood, gleaming brass and spaces to hide away, they are incredibly easy to fall in love with.

And if that’s not enough, the faultless service, exceptional cuisine and that feeling of a personally curated vacation will win you over in a heartbeat.

The atmosphere is convivial and you’ll be chatting with everyone at the Top of the Yacht Bar before you know it. Keep in mind that you always need to allow extra time to do anything. I found myself stopping to catch up with new friends and acquaintances every step of the way.

And if you are feeling active, then the watersports offerings (like any superyacht worth its salt) will keep you smiling day after day. For who can’t resist an hour on a jet ski or a paddle in your very own kayak, not to mention the opportunity to jump overboard for a spot of swimming?

It’s incredibly fun and, personally, I loved every moment of my time spent on board.

Accommodation
Accommodation

Staterooms are more ‘suite’ in style. The queen-sized (which can also be a twin- bed configuration) bed is next to the panoramic windows to allow for optimal views, and there’s a separate sitting area with a couch and a bathroom.

Interiors are a little dated – think Eighties – with light wood, teal carpets and some striped cushions to add a bit of life. Cabinets house a safe and mini-fridge and there is a good-sized desk. Staterooms feature an HDTV and DVD player, and there’s a large selection of DVDs available. There is also ample storage space for bags and clothes, which your dedicated butler will help you to store and arrange for the journey.

Bathrooms are well appointed in marble but, prepare yourself, they are petite. They feature a large walk-in shower, but this comes at a price: there are no bathtubs.

While the staterooms are a little tired, they are very comfortable, with more than enough space to potter about in. And you won’t be in them much at all as you’ll soon discover that you will live your life onboard outdoors.

There are three suite categories available for those who require a little more space, but, except for the Owner’s Suite, I question why you would bother with the others.

Dining
Dining

Prepare yourself to be blown away as the cuisine onboard does indeed reflect yachting traditions – superyachts, that is. But before I send your taste buds into overload, you should know that dining with SeaDream is all about location, location, location. The point of the whole ‘yachting’ experience is that you don’t have a multiplex of dining options. However, what you do have is intimate, elegant spaces and, in the case of SeaDream I, it all very much depends on where you are and what the weather is doing. Essentially, life is spent on deck, and so goes the dining, with the Topside Restaurant hosting candlelit dining al fresco. When the weather isn’t so kind, it’s the elegant Dining Room, which glows with white starched tablecloths, sparkling crystal and mirror-polished woods. It’s just gorgeous.

Without exception, the food is the best at sea. And should you be vegetarian, vegan or a disciple of the raw food variety, you will be overjoyed as these preferences are elaborately catered for. The menus also feature classic dishes such as prime rib and Dover sole, which are always available, as well as the full daily offerings – the choice is extensive and everything is prepared exactly to your liking. Which brings me to another point: bespoke dining. No matter what meal at whatever time of day, guests can have whatever they want as long as it’s available onboard. I noticed this time and time again where guests mixed and matched dishes from different menu options or simply requested something they fancied. Never once was a request refused, and service did not miss a beat.

The approach to dining, the food itself and the service offered borders on magical. Forget any thoughts of dieting; believe me, you will succumb.

One thing you might, however, be able to resist are the wines provided onboard, which are included in the cost of the trip. During my cruise they were remarkably underwhelming, which was a shame. But fear not, the ship’s wine list is truly excellent and represents good value for (additional) money.

Just so you know
Just so you know

Remember the marketing line, ‘It’s yachting not cruising’? Well, if you are expecting a cruise experience, I fear you will be bitterly disappointed. However, if you have always dreamed of a week on a friend’s superyacht, then SeaDream is most definitely for you.

A tip when choosing your accommodation – all yacht class suites are identical (with the exception of Deck 2, where suites have two large portholes rather than a picture window), so it’s all about location. Plump for Deck 3 or 4 midship, which means you can skip easily up and down the yacht without having to bother with the lift.

And remember, SeaDream is all about you, so if you want something, simply ask. There is a 99% chance the incredible staff will deliver the goods in an instant.

Best suited for
Best suited for

There are happy couples, romantic couples, loved-up couples and couples with kids, although while there were a few (kids, that is) on my sailing, it tends to be rare.

For groups of people travelling together, whether that be a multi-generational family or a group of friends wanting to spend quality time together, SeaDream is the perfect option.

Better still, at around €90,000 per day, you and up to 110 of your closest friends can have the entire yacht to yourselves – not a bad idea for that very special celebration.

General information

  • Year built 1984
  • Last refurbished 2007
  • Tonnage 4,253
  • Registry Oslo, Norway
  • Length 355 feet
  • Beam 47 feet
  • Passenger capacity 112
  • Crew size 95
  • Total inside cabins 0
  • Total outside cabins 56
  • Suites 3
  • Table seatings 2,4,6,8
  • Seating assignments in main dining room Assigned
  • Dining hours Anytime
  • Onboard currency US Dollar

Amenities

  • Wi-Fi

    Wi-Fi

  • 2 Dining venues

    2 Dining venues

  • Gym

    Gym

  • Spa

    Spa

  • Golf simulator

    Golf simulator

  • 1 Bar

    1 Bar

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