The glossy brochure cover featuring one of SeaDream Yacht Club’s two vessels, anchored idyllically in the Caribbean, hints that a unique experience is in store. Indeed, that expectation is confirmed on the next page, which shows a uniformed waiter serving champagne to a couple on a beach with SeaDream I anchored in the background.
Unlike many travel brochures, this one isn’t off the mark. Unexpected experiences are what SeaDream is all about.
The line was founded in 2001 by an entrepreneur who was no stranger to the ultra-luxury cruise market. In 1987, Atle Brynestad helped establish Seabourn along with a consortium of investors. Brynestad served as the company’s chairman for a decade, and also enjoyed a stint at Cunard Line as chairman.
Yearning For Yachts
In 2001, Brynestad’s goal was to develop a company that was not so much different from Seabourn but one that epitomized what would become SeaDream’s slogan: “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising.”
Started in the dark days that followed the 9/11 terror attacks, Brynestad and SeaDream President Larry Pimentel (now president and ceo of Azamara Club Cruises) would spend the next few years turning SeaDream into a niche operator within the ultra-luxury cruise segment.
In order to offer a luxury yachting experience, SeaDream acquired the intimate, 110-guest Seabourn Goddess I and Seabourn Goddess II from Seabourn. It’s worth noting that those vessels were built in 1984 and 1985, and while they are the oldest vessels operating in the luxury segment, both are exceptionally well-maintained. Indeed, SeaDream ranks as one of our top luxury cruise experiences.
SeaDream continues to keep its fleet small and intimate, choosing to focus on providing guests with some of the most unique amenities afloat. Perhaps the most commonly-remarked-upon features are the Balinese Dream Beds, which allow guests to sleep out on deck, under the stars.
Small, But Lacking Little
At 343 feet in length, these 25-year-old-plus yachts are small by passenger ship standards, yet lack for little in the way of amenities. Just as on big ships, movies can be watched poolside thanks to SeaDream’s Starlit Movies program, and guests can enjoy multi-course dinners, with all beverages included, taken out on deck in the warmth of the ocean air.
Like other ultra-luxury cruise companies, SeaDream offers an all-inclusive product.
SeaDream also caters to active guests with a Fitness Center, activities ashore such as complimentary bicycling tours and hikes with the captain and crew; and a retractable Water Sports Marina that is deployed whenever conditions — and local regulations — allow.
From the marina, SeaDream offers guests the use of motorized Personal Watercraft, laser sailboats, Hobie Cat Catamarans, glass-bottomed Kayaks, a Banana boat, tubes and wakeboards, water skis, paddleboards, or even a floating island and trampoline.
When it’s time to rest, return to staterooms and suites that are tastefully and thoughtfully appointed. Bvlgari bath amenities, Turkish cotton robes, Belgian linens, and even the choice between outfitting your bed with blankets or a down duvet are all included at every level.
Standard staterooms — known as Yacht Club Staterooms — aboard SeaDream I and SeaDream II measure a generous 195 square feet (18 square meters). At the top of the line is a 447-square-foot (41-square-meter) Owner’s Suite situated on Deck 3.
As striking as SeaDream’s yachts are, they go hand-in-hand with the company’s itineraries, which are designed to take cruisers off the beaten path — and not just to the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, either. In fact, SeaDream’s 2014 itinerary lineup for both vessels includes forays into Northern Europe, the British Isles, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, India and Australia.
While itineraries feature a mix of tried-and-true favorites like Athens and Istanbul, they also call on spots like Saint Tropez, France; Calvi, Corsica; Portovenere, Italy; Marstrand, Sweden; Sassnitz, Germany; Faaborg, Denmark; St. Heliers, Jersey; and Kuressaare, Estonia, to name a few.
In the Caribbean, you can expect to visit some off-the-charted-channels destinations. Have you heard of Culebrita before? How about Cruz Bay? For the cruiser who just can’t stand to visit St. Thomas one more time, SeaDream provides the antidote.
And if visiting idyllic Caribbean islands isn’t enough for you, picture this: That uniformed waiter wading ashore with a bottle of champagne. Lift your glass; he’s coming for you.