Simply The Best?
a long time ago.
Updated a long time ago.
After sailing on SeaDream II, I'm better qualified to answer the question I posed at the outset of my cruise, and that was: How do SeaDream's twin yachts, both more than 20 years old, outperform all others — at least to readers of Conde Nast Traveler.
There were aspects of my cruise that were not unique to SeaDream, and you could argue that other cruise lines do the job as good as or better than SeaDream.
Open-seating dining, the quality of the cuisine, and the fact that alcohol and gratuities are included mirrors what you'd expect on small luxury ships.
SeaDream's ability to get into small ports, its wide expanse of deck space and its marina with all of the toys reminds me of a ship that sailed along beside us during much of the week: Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf, a special ship in its own right.
But there are some areas where SeaDream stands apart. The company's late nights in port combined with outdoor dinners appears to be unique.
And while at least one other cruise line offers opportunities to sleep under the stars, SeaDream makes a luxury experience out of it, even down to the custom-embroidered pajamas.
Seabourn Cruise Line offers something similar to the Crew Shoreside Casual, but SeaDream takes it one step further with the Captain's hike. The pun was not intended, by the way.
Nearly all cruise lines claim excellent staff and cuisine — they better; their reputations depend on it — but SeaDream II really did shine in these areas. The crew exhibited a friendliness and enthusiasm that went beyond what their jobs required. They had a sort of spirit.
Moreover, wtith 94 crew members, the 110-passenger SeaDream II boasts a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio.
Should SeaDream should be the only cruise company in Conde Nast Traveler's top 100 travel experiences? My feeling is that several other cruise companies qualify for the list.
That's not a knock on SeaDream, but rather a vote for cruising over other forms of vacation. After all, can you think of a hotel that can take you from one destination to another while you sleep? I can't.
Nor is SeaDream perfect for everyone. Families traveling with kids are welcomed, but SeaDream is an adult-oriented experience. That said, families do charter the SeaDream vessels, and both yachts are chartered on a regular basis.
The important question, however, is this one: Will SeaDream make your list of top travel experiences? Only you can answer that.
To view video clips and commentary, visit www.avidcruiser.com/seadream.