Style: Sophisticated, effortless chic.
Scene: Traditional itineraries: Northern Europe, Mediterranean, Greek Isles, Turkey and Black Sea, secluded Caribbean and Costa Rica.
Seen on Deck: Stylish, fit forties, fifties and sixties+
An aristocrat in every sense, luxury mega- yacht SeaDream II is sheer class, yet never a snob. She is a lady to the core - and yes, she and her sister SeaDream I do indeed have titles. Year after year, they top the charts as 'World's Best' in a variety of boutique cruise categories in influential publications such as Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards; Berlitz Ocean Cruising; National Geographic, and a plethora of others. You can't ask for a better title than 'World's Best'.
Preparing to board the sleek SeaDream II, I feel a frisson of self-doubt. 'Forget the title, will I measure up on board this famously fabulous yacht?' Dismiss doubts. All guests on SeaDream Yacht Club's vessels are immediately put at ease. They are welcomed aboard in an utterly genuine way without any fawning pretence. And if there is one over-riding impression you will carry away with you at the end (sob!) of a cruise, it is good manners - not just the crew's, but other guests as well. Good manners are the glue that keeps SeaDream Yacht Club at the top of their game.
So just what sets SeaDream Yacht Club apart? The two yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II are thankfully not precocious teenagers. They are not ín-your-face', nor glitz is in either their vocabulary or aesthetic. Both yachts have quite a few years maturity on them. It is probably this maturity, and the thoughtful management of these beauties that set them apart from any 'wannabes'.
SeaDream Yacht Club is a family-owned company founded by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad, who, earlier in his career, was the founder of Seabourn Cruise Line
and chairman of Cunard (think Queen Mary 2
and other royal liners) so he knows a thing or two about all ships great and small. Both SeaDream yachts carry a maximum of 112 guests and a 95-person, award-winning crew, and the mantra is: "It's yachting, not cruising".
We board SeaDream II in Yangon, Myanmar during a less-frequently visited destination in this part of the world. At the foot of the gangway we are welcomed by a drop-dead handsome, young South African crew member in shorts, sneakers, and a smile as broad as the Pacific Ocean. Our bags have imperceptibly been whisked away only to reappear in our cabin moments later.
'Chilled water, fruit juice or champagne perhaps'? he suggests. We opt for all three.
We proceed at a languid pace as our escort courteously navigates us through the ship - quietly drawing attention to some of the yacht's assets and clever appointments en route. Our gaze is arrested by the inviting wicker armchairs in the Top of the Yacht Bar which was, at this time of day, bathed in a golden glow equal to Yangon's masterpiece, the Schwedagon Pagoda.
As we pass the Balinese day beds on the upper deck, our new friend says "You can sleep under the stars if you wish. We make up a bed for you - with mosquito nets if you are worried about bugs. We even provide the pajamas". A quick viewing of the spa and fitness centre, down to the pool deck, then into the lovely lounge and piano bar, which was brimful of books, fresh flowers, beautiful cabinetry and plump, upholstered furniture - rather like the drawing room of a stately home - a sneak-peek inside The Restaurant and finally to our ocean view stateroom.
As promised, two pairs of neatly-folded pajamas monogrammed with our names were laid out on the bed. We chuckled at this humorous touch and wondered who would be sleeping under the stars on the first night.
Considering SeaDream is a yacht, we were happily surprised with the roominess of our cabin. Everything has been carefully thought through, and the detail is exemplary. But time now to unpack and dress for dinner.
What to wear? Informally elegant is the go. No shabby shorts or footwear in the dining room thankyou. Country Club Casual is another way of putting it. No jackets or ties required, definitely no tuxes or ballgowns, and ladies please don't float around in billowing caftans. The 'trip' potential - (yours or a guest's) could be a spoiler. But do wear something tastefully elegant that makes you glow.
It would be nigh-on impossible to fault the quality and presentation of SeaDream 's cuisine as readers of international Conde Nast Traveler magazine attest. In their latest survey, SeaDream won the highest score for cuisine in the Small Ships category from more than 80,000 followers. As we experienced on our 7 day voyage their Çonfluence Cuisine is creative, clever and exceptional Each dish is prepared a la minute, and where appropriate, fresh ingredients are sourced from top quality local markets. Chef Virender Singh often invites guests to accompany him to the markets, and gives cooking demonstrations from time to time.
You can dine whenever, and with whomever you choose. Table service is in the fine European tradition and good table wines are included in the fare. A separate connoisseurs' wine list (pricey) is also available.
So seduced were we by SeaDream's sybaritic lifestyle, going ashore on this voyage seemed less of a priority. We did show remarkable discipline however, by attending Tai Chi classes each morning on deck. Some chose yoga, others the gym - or when conditions permitted, kayaking, sailing, and other water-sports off the marina platform aft. As for us, we were happiest just seadreamin'...
a deux on deck (covered) overlooking the swimming pool aft.
|Most Indulgent Moment:
Chef's caviar-filled eggs
|Insider Secrets: Some seriously chic apparel from the Yacht's Boutique
|The Little Things:
A cool poolside attendant offering a fine spray mist to sunbathers.
|Junior Luxies: Not realistic for under 13 year olds
|Dress code: Çool cut, casual linens, sea dreamy silk tops
|Dent in the platinum:
|Luxury Cruise Link: www.seadream.com
SEADREAM Yacht Club has a highly tempting return-sailing from Stockholm to St Petersburg on June 21 this year aboard the world's Number 1-rated boutique vessel SeaDream I, including 2.5 days berthed just a few hundred metres from the centre of this extraordinary 'open air museum city' founded by Peter the Great in 1703. The current price starts from just US$4124pp twin-share is less than half the originally-advertised, including all 5-star dining with wines at lunch and dinner, drinks from the open bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of a 30-course golf simulator, fitness centre and power and sail water-sports (where permitted,) crew gratuities and port and government charges.For full details of this return-sailing from Stockholm on June 21 this year, see travel agents or visit
Maggy Oehlbeck, 7/2/14