Some Guests Claim Its The Best At Sea: Is It? SeaDream’s Service & Dining

A Few Good Men: On SeaDream I, a small dining room staff, comprised of all men, takes pride in serving guests. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

This evening, SeaDream I docked in Lisbon, Portugal, ending a seven-night voyage that began in Barcelona, Spain. After overnighting on board, most of us will disembark for flights home or elsewhere. Several passengers are staying on board for the yacht’s Atlantic crossing, which begins Thursday.

Parting thoughts and observations?

It was my third voyage on SeaDream, and one that was different from all of the rest. Because it was late in the season, we were unable to use the marina (as we docked, instead of anchored in all ports); and evening dining outdoors, though the crew made valiant attempts to make it happen, had to be cancelled twice because of inclement weather.

However, sleeping out on deck was something that several passengers, including yours truly, were able to do on at least one night of the voyage; and the captain was able to take us out on a couple of bike tours.

All of these activities (and more) rank in Avid Cruiser’s Top Ten Reasons Why SeaDream Stands Apart, and a SeaDream voyage certainly is more enjoyable when the weather cooperates than when it doesn’t, but no matter what Mother Nature doles out, the highlight of a SeaDream voyage for many guests on this voyage was not only the relaxed yachting lifestyle but also the excellent dining and service.

In fact, some guests who often cruise with SeaDream and were particularly well-cruised on other lines told me that SeaDream’s service ranks as the best in the business.

Passengers I spoke with who were well-acquainted with cruises repeatedly told me that SeaDream’s staff was the friendliest and most professional. Pictured up front, Doramas Calderin from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Silvio Orak, Maitre d’Hotel on SeaDream I, has worked on a number of cruise lines, including fabled Cunard Line. Understandably, on a vessel as small as SeaDream I, the crew culture is different from what you’d find on Cunard, or even on large luxury vessels such as those operated by Crystal Cruises. “Our crew is definitely a happy crew,” Orak says. “They don’t need to put on an act when they are serving. It’s genuine, and they genuinely like the passengers they are serving.”

“Our crew is definitely a happy crew,” says Silvio Orak, Maitre d’Hotel (foreground), pictured with Pierre van der Merwe, Hotel Manager. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Of course, crew on Cunard and on Crystal are probably equally as happy, and those lines, particularly the latter, rank exceptionally high in the service category. It is difficult if not impossible to quantify levels of service, so trying to determine which cruise line offers the best service is an exercise in subjectivity at best. My feeling is that the distinctions between service levels at the top tier are often marginal and dependent on which cruise line the passenger is sailing at the time he or she makes an assessment.

That said, service on SeaDream I struck me as being not only highly professional but also pleasantly engaging and personal, just as it was a few years ago when I wrote Eggs and Sausage, Brian and the Tabasco Tango.

Serving complimentary wines, spirits and beers, the ‘SeaDrinks’ team: Sommelier Pablo Raschetti (foreground) with bartender Gideon Van Zyl. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

I’m not the one to draw a conclusion about which cruise line does the best job at service, but I can say that I am take pride in being involved in an industry where great service is the rule rather than the exception. Want to know which cruise line is best at service? You’ll just have to get out there and judge for yourself.

Be sure to see our full SeaDream Yacht Club review as well as reviews of SeaDream I and SeaDream II and SeaDream III (just kidding, but a third may be coming at some point – stay tuned.)

In addition to bearing a striking resemblance to Cassius Clay, Ferdie provides music as guests enter the restaurant on SeaDream I. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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