Seadream’s twin luxury mega-yachts, Sea Dream I and II are the world’s highest-rated boutique passenger vessels. What sets them apart? Well, it’s true yacht-like cruising and, most importantly, these ships can go to small ports larger vessels can’t. On our Greek islands voyage aboard Sea Deam II we docked at ports with no other ships in sight. Secondly, they have their own “marinas” – water sports platforms with sailboats, jet skis, waterskiing and other water toys available off the back of the yachts at select ports. They also carry bikes, so guests who don’t want to join an organised land excursion can take off on a bike to tour a town. But the real difference for me was the outstanding service and food. It’s all-inclusive, so the only things you need to shell out for onboard are shore excursions. Special touches such as monogrammed pyjamas on your pillow, chilled champagne on arrival and chocolate strawberries were a surprising but most welcome touch.
With a maximum 56 couples to 95 crew, it’s small, intimate, and every staff member knows your name and preferences from the minute you step aboard. Order a favourite cocktail on the first night and the waiter (any waiter) will ask the next, “Another martini this evening, Ms Halabi?” While the service is impeccable, the food, under executive chef Tomasz Kozlowski, was wonderfully delicious and wine drinkers will love the selection that changes nightly – from Australian to French, South American and Californian, depending on the menu. Dinners, often served under starlight, featured an extensive à la carte menu that varied nightly, including delicacies such as Alaskan crab. An inventive vegan menu catered to a group that’s usually ignored. As we sailed into Greece, Chef Tomasz prepared a special Greek menu – gourmet reinventions of spanakopita and melt-in-the-mouth moussaka, for example – that were a slightly rustic change to our usual fine-dining fare and better than I found later during my two weeks in Greece. Cocktails were served till late and other drinks laid on throughout the day by the pool or on the top sunbathing deck. They’ll even bring you a cocktail to your huge Balinese-style daybed. I only needed to appear at breakfast and a fresh fruit platter of figs, watermelon, papaya, and a fresh omelette was on its way, no order necessary. As a solo passenger I was seated alone or with company, whichever I preferred. One highlight for me, apart from the food and the service, was the night I spent sleeping under the stars in my giant Balinese dream bed. The two sister yachts are owned by Norwegian Astle Brynestad, who started the Seabourn Cruise Line. Brynestad oversees them himself and treats his staff and guests like family. Hence the exclusive club, the high number of return visitors and the happy, smiling staff who are the best advertisement for the brand.
ABOVE: Intimate in scale but with every amenity, Seadream’s twin mega-yachts are big on service but small enough to go where large ships can’t.