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LUXURY CRUISING


of the wonderful tapenade I had been devouring all week magically appeared in front of me. Not once were orders ever mixed up, nor were my water (or wine or champagne) glasses not topped off. Teamwork was evident, and tipping actively discouraged. As on many SeaDream trips, ports were often only a few hours apart. With little distance to travel, we remained at anchor until well after dinner, allowing us to dine on deck without any wind (imagine a large ship staying in port longer just to reduce the wind – it wouldn’t happen!).


O


n Caribbean itineraries, the focus is on small islands with beautiful beaches, water sports and yachty


beach bars. One or two organised shore excursions were offered each day, with the traditional ‘historical highlights’ coach tours nowhere to be seen. A rare disadvan- tage of SeaDream’s small size, however, is that tours will be cancelled if too few people sign up, as happened to our kayak excursion in St John. My favorite tours were a series of com- plimentary excursions called ‘SeaDream Active.’ Consisting of hikes or bike trips led by the Captain or Club Director, they provided an intimate way to see the islands with a unique guide and only a few of your fellow guests. Happily, the hikes were often a fair distance, providing both a good workout


and dramatic views. Even on days when organised tours were not offered, eight bikes were available for complimentary use in port.


After a morning hiking or exploring, I often spent the afternoon engaging in water sports from the small platform at the stern. Kayaking, sailing, banana-boat rides, jet skis, water skiing, wake boards, a floating trampoline and swimming are all offered. The logistics of getting into some of the boats can present a challenge and could be better organised, but the overall experi- ence is outstanding. During my week on board, the platform was put to use every day, allowing plenty of opportunity to try out every toy.


CABIN COSINESS


One of the few areas where SeaDream falls short compared to its competitors is in the cabins. When these ships debuted in the 1980s, the cabins were one of their most luxurious features.


Each was called a suite, and at 195sq ft, they were larger than nearly all the ships of their time. Now, 195 sq feet is about average for


new mainstream ships and, without any balconies, the cabins seem a touch old- fashioned. Nonetheless, they are comfortable, attractively decorated with a nautical warmth and well laid out. Wood accents running across the ceiling and on the large dresser, writing desk and cabinets lend a yachty ambiance.


On board, organised activities are


minimal. Yoga and Tai-Chi take place outdoors in the morning (or occasionally on a beach ashore), and full Spa treatments are offered in the only ‘Thai-certified’ spa at sea, which features six therapists, three treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room. In the evening, there may be a “movie under the stars” by the pool deck, com- plete with popcorn, or an outdoor dance party. After dinner, if you aren’t singing along in the intimate Piano Bar, gambling in the tiny casino, or socialising at the Top of the Yacht Bar or by the pool deck, you’re probably in your cabin.


Because SeaDream offers such an outdoor lifestyle, passengers tend to be active, fit couples in their late 40s and 50s,


52 WORLD OF CRUISING I Winter 2011-12


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