Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 431 out of 500
Accommodation: 173 out of 200
Food: 355 out of 400
Service: 370 out of 400
Entertainment: 84 out of 100
Cruise: 347 out of 400
Overall Score: 1760 out of 2000
SeaDream I Statistics
Size: Boutique Ship
Cruise Line: SeaDream Yacht Club
Former Names: Seabourn Goddess I, Sea Goddess I
IMO Number: 8203438
Builder: Wartsila (Finland)
Original Cost: $34 million
Entered Service: Apr 1984/May 2002
Length (ft/m): 343.8/104.8
Beam (ft/m): 47.9/14.6
Draft (ft/m): 13.6/4.1
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (3,540kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 5
Total Crew: 95
Passengers (lower beds): 112
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 37.9
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.1
Cabins (total): 56
Size Range (sq ft/m): 195.0-446.7/18.1-41.4
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 0
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 0
Wheelchair accessibility: None
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 1
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
Nice mega-yacht for informal but really stylish cruising
Overview. SeaDream I is for sophisticated, well-traveled couples who are typically over 40. Rejecting today’s huge standard resort cruise ships, they are looking for a small ship with excellent food approaching gourmet standards, and fine European-style service in surroundings that border on the elegant and refined while remaining informal.
The Ship. SeaDream I (and sister ship SeaDream II) were originally funded by about 800 investors, and operated under the Norske Cruise banner, and named Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II. They have an ultra-sleek profile, with deep blue hull and white superstructure, and the ambience of a private club. Purchased by SeaDream Yacht Club in 2001, they were completely refurbished, with many changes to public rooms and outdoor areas. Some new features were added to create contemporary, chic, and desirable, if aging, vessels.
A ‘Top of the Yacht’ bar, crafted in warm wood, was added to both ships. So were eight special alcoves set to the port and starboard sides of the funnel, equipped with two-person sunloungers with thick pads (and two equipped for one person); however, there is quite a bit of noise from the adjacent funnel. You are encouraged to sleep under the stars if you wish, and cotton sleep suits are provided.
At the front part of the deck there are more sunloungers and a couple of large hammocks, as well as a golf simulator with a choice of 30 courses.
Inside, there is a feeling of unabashed but discreet sophistication. Elegant public rooms have flowers and potpourri everywhere. The main social gathering places are the lounge, a delightful library/living room with a selection of about 1,000 books, a piano bar - which can be more like a karaoke bar at times - and a small casino with two blackjack tables and five slot machines.
All drinks (with the exception of premium brands and connoisseur wines), farmed sevruga caviar, and gratuities are included, but port charges and insurance are not. The price of a cruise is just that: the price of a cruise.
Accommodation. There are four types, and six price categories (depending on location, size, and grade): Yacht Club (standard) Cabin, Commodore Club Suite, Admiral Suite, and Owner’s Suite.
Yacht Club Cabins. Incorrectly called ‘suites’ in the brochure, the standard cabins are, more correctly, fully equipped mini-suites with an outside view through windows or portholes, depending on deck and price category. Each measures 195 sq ft (18 sq m), not large by today’s cruise ship standards; however, it is large compared to cabins aboard many private motor yachts, and extremely large when compared to oceangoing racing yachts. The sleeping area has twin beds that can be put together to form a queen-size bed, positioned next to the window or porthole so you can entertain in the living area without going past the sleeping area, as you must aboard the slightly larger Seabourn or Silversea ships. A curtain separates the sleeping and lounge areas. All cabinetry and furniture is of thick blond wood, with nicely rounded edges.
In the lounge area, a long desk has six drawers, plus a vertical cupboard unit that houses a sensible safe, refrigerator, and drinks cabinet stocked with your choice of drinks. There is also a 20in flat-screen television, CD and DVD player, and an MP3 audio player with a choice of more than 100 selections. The beds have the finest linens, including thick cotton duvets, and hypoallergenic pillows are also available. There’s little room under the beds for luggage, although this can be taken away and stored.
One drawback is the fact that the insulation between cabins is not particularly good, although rarely does this present a problem as most passengers are generally quiet, considerate types who are allergic to noise. Incidentally, a sleep suit is supplied in case you want to sleep out on deck under the stars in one of the on-deck two-person beds - but more of those later.
When the ships became SeaDream I and II, all the bathrooms were totally refurbished. The cheerful decor is chic, with soft colors and large (beige) marble tiles. The former tiny sit-in bathtubs were taken out - these are missed by some passengers - and replaced by a multi-jet power glassed-in shower enclosure. A washbasin set in a marble-look surround and two glass shelves make up the facilities, and an under-sink cupboard provides further space for larger toiletries.
However, the bathrooms really are small, particularly for anyone of larger than average build. Also, the bathroom door opens inwards, so space inside is at a premium. The toilet is located in an awkward position and, unless you close the door, you can see yourself in the mirror facing of the closets opposite the bathroom door.
Commodore Club Suites. For larger accommodation, choose one of 16 Commodore Club Suites. These consist of two standard cabins with an interconnecting door, thus providing you with a healthy 380 sq ft (36 sq m) of living space. One cabin is made into a lounge and dining room, with table and up to four chairs, while the other becomes your sleeping area. The advantage is that you get two bathrooms. One disadvantage is that the soundproofing between cabins could be better.
Admiral Suite. Added in 2008-9, this suite occupies space previously devoted to the ship’s boutique, and adjacent to the piano bar/library. It’s a little smaller than the Owner’s Suite, but is well laid out and extremely comfortable.
Owner’s Suite. For the largest living space, go for the Owner’s Suite. This measures a grand 490 sq ft (46 sq m). It’s the only accommodation with a bathroom that has a full-size tub; there’s also a separate shower enclosure and lots of space for toiletries.
Dining. The Restaurant is elegant and inviting, and has bird’s-eye maple wood-paneled walls and alcoves showcasing beautiful handmade glass creations. It is cozy, yet with plenty of space around each table for fine service, and the ship provides a culinary celebration in an open-seating arrangement, so you can dine whenever, and with whomever, you want. Course-by-course meals can also be served on the open deck.
Tables can be configured for two, four, six, or eight. They are laid with a classic setting of a real glass base (show) plate, Porsgrund china, pristine white monogrammed table linen, and fresh flowers.
Candlelit dinners and leather-bound menus are part of the inviting setting. There’s even a box of spare spectacles for menu reading should you forget yours.
The SeaDream Yacht Club experience really is all about good food. Only the freshest and finest quality ingredients are used. Fine, unhurried European service is provided. Additionally, good-quality Champagne is available whenever you want it, and so is caviar - American farmed Hackleback sturgeon malossol caviar, sadly - and not Russian caviar, whose purchase and supply today is challenging. The ice cream, which is made on board, however, is excellent.
Everything is prepared individually to order for dinner and the cuisine is extremely creative, and special orders are possible. You can also dine course by course in your suite for any meal, at any time during meal hours. The dining room isn’t open for lunch, which disappoints those who don’t want to eat outside, particularly in hot climates.
Good-quality table wines are included in the cruise fare for lunch and dinner. Real wine connoisseurs, however, will appreciate the availability of an extra wine list, full of special vintages and premier crus at extra cost. If you want to do something different with a loved one, you can also arrange to dine one evening on the open (but covered) deck, overlooking the swimming pool and stern - it is a rather romantic setting.
The Topside Restaurant is an informal open-air eatery with roll-down sides (in case of inclement weather), and is open for breakfast, lunch or the occasional dinner. Teak tables and chairs add a touch of class.
Entertainment. There is no evening entertainment as such (it’s not needed), other than a duo or solo musician to provide music for listening and dancing in the lounge. Dinner is the main event; videos are available to take to your cabin.
Spa/Fitness. The holistic approach to wellbeing plays a big part in relaxation and body pampering aboard SeaDream I. The Asian Spa/Wellness Centre has three massage rooms, a small sauna, and steam shower enclosure.