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bytemewalker
April 11th, 2010, 11:50 PM
Hey, everyone!
I found this site when I was researching SD and found some great tips and insight here. I have never posted here but since I enjoyed reading others trip reports I thought I would share my experience on my first SD cruise.

We left St Thomas on 03-29 and sailed for 9 days on SD1. I can honestly say that this was the most fun I have ever had on a vacation. Even though I had a good idea of what to expect, the level of service and extraordinary ability of the staff to to make you feel welcome and comfortable was mind blowing.
I know the staff has extensive training in recognition but how they were able to call me by name within hours of embarking is a mystery to me! Also, there can be a fine line between excellent service and 'stuffiness', and these guys are masters. They seemed to know when and with whom they could be more playful as opposed to being in '5 star mode'. I am amazed that one company could find so many highly skilled and yet warm and friendly servers. They truly made this cruise a unique and wonderful experience. Without exception.
The cuisine was jaw dropping. My companion and I are both 'foodies' and know our way around fine dining, but I have never taken a picture of my plate until now...and I think I took 20 pics of the meals! Gorgeously presented, and layers of flavors and textures that will curl your toes, every time! Wow. Just, wow. I asked the chef if we could tour the galley and he agreed. He took a group of us (champagne and caviar in hand) through the kitchen and gave us an incredibly interesting look at the workings of the SD galley--including things I had never thought of, such as how the dishware has to be secured in cages so as not to fly about during swells, and how the garbage is a very big deal since they can't unload waste at our ports of call. Really interesting! I also loved that they provided copies of the menus (signed by the chef and sommelier:D) for anyone who was interested at the end of the trip.
Capt. Valter Berg is great. He pops up periodically to check on your dinner or to say hello poolside. He also moved the ship to open water one evening because there were 'too many bugs' in the harbor. Seriously? Hard to beat that kind of service!
Richard was our tour director and is also awesome. Along with his wife he made sure everyone had a great time on the excursions. He played a great practical joke on us for April Fools. He came on the intercom during breakfast and announced that a school of flying fish had hit the ship over night and some of them had landed in the pool...hurry if you wanted to see them as the staff was draining the pool! Well, all hell broke loose as we all grabbed our cameras and stampeded to the pool deck only to see one very confused looking passenger sitting by the pool looking up at us. That was hysterical. What a bunch of dufus's!
One note, however--I asked the concierge to remind the ladies that it often rains in the rainforest! (speaking of dufus's) Therefore, do not wear a thin, white t-shirt for the two hour hike through the jungle? I know, that was pretty dumb of me.:rolleyes:
The ports of call were interesting and fun. We often found beaches on our own instead of taking an excursion, although with the exception of the rainforest fiasco all of the excursions were a blast. Especially Montserrat--the devastion caused by the volcano is truly chilling; that was a really unique experience.
That said, I think the most fun I had on ship was with the water toys. The jet ski was a blast. The banana boat was so fun I was hoarse for a few days from screaming my head off. And the kayak and water trampoline and free swims...oh, my! Sigh...and their attention to safety was appreciated. We wore helmets for the banana boat and there was always a watchful crewmember in the zodiac when passengers were in the water.

I asked if we could tour the bridge and it was arranged promptly...while sailing, to boot! That was pretty interesting. While the guys were checking out the equipment I noticed the video monitor trained on the pool...hmm. I asked the chief officer if he was keeping up with the latest trends in bikini's? He immediately changed the view back to the side of the ship and said "No this is for docking and lowering the tender and so forth".
Riiiight. :cool: (LOL--after 4 months at sea who could blame them for that? I would have it trained on the pool, too!)

When researching this ship I thought the day beds would be a dream come true, especially since I love to sleep with fresh air and under the stars. Not so good. That mattress is rock hard. The hair blowing on my face was annoying and the 2 am sudden downpour put a (ahem) damper on things. I limped back to my room in the middle of the night and resigned myself to being rocked to sleep by the gentle swells in my nice, dry, Belgian linen. A few of us mentioned this to the Capt. and we suggested a yoga mat or something would be helpful for the overnighters. We'll see!
Bartenders--Alex is a rockstar. He put on a stellar bottle tossing show for us poolside during "Caribbean Night'. All of the bartenders were great. I learned to ask them to 'fix me something fun' and had some great new cocktails I would never have discovered on my own.
Our Sommelier, Michael, was my personal favorite, and not just because he is a fellow Canadian;). He spent a lot of time with us helping to discern our taste and answering our questions. One afternoon he even caught up with me to preview the dinner menu so he could offer the perfect wines for our dinner with the Captain. When I told him I had a friend who would love to bend his ear about his job he did not hesitate to offer his e-mail address so he could answer her questions regarding this career. What a sweetheart!
The other passengers really made this trip, as well. It seemed everyone was happy and relaxed and having a great time. People seemed to settle in to their own comfort zone, whether dining in intimate parties of two or four or gathering in a large table of new friends every night. The crew seemed very tuned to everyone's preferences and asked how we preferred to be seated every night. I am glad that we chose a 9 day cruise. It really took a few days to meet everyone and develop friends and 'acclimate' to the ship...I remember thinking on day 5 that I would be really upset if we had to leave now that we had just found all these great people! I definately recommend the 9 days if you can swing it.
In the end, I told SD in my comment card that I have been ruined for any other cruise line. Why would anyone choose a ship where you have to fight for a chair by the pool and where you are told when and with whom you are going to dine? Where you are herded like sheep on and off the ship? Where the officers are invisible and you have to take a taxi from one end of the ship to the other? Yuck! Never again!
I have never in my life felt so pampered and yet without snobbery. It was fantastic. From the little table with white linen and drinks/fruit that greeted us on the tender dock to the quaint gifts left on our bed every night, the details made me feel like a princess.
It was very hard to come home and pick up dog turds.
Thanks for listening. It's an honour and great pleasure to be a new member of the SeaDream Yachter's Club!
Kelly :D

knotheadusc
April 12th, 2010, 09:25 AM
Thanks for a fine review! Glad you had fun. Your comments are making me look forward to our cruise next week! Too bad it's only 5 days!

ctbjr1309
April 12th, 2010, 10:13 AM
Great review. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us. Nov. 8 can't get here soon enough!

njhh
April 12th, 2010, 12:20 PM
Thanks for taking the time to put us all in the mood to cruise.

zqvol
April 12th, 2010, 12:34 PM
Great review and welcome to the boards. You are right, it is hard to do the big ships after SD.

Oh well we only have 41 days until we board in Athens. :)

DisneyJen
April 12th, 2010, 01:49 PM
Welcome to the world of posting and SD Kelly:D

Thanks for sharing your experience on SD1 with us! It is always wonderful to read trip reports, especially from first timers! Helps with the SD withdraw:eek:

I agree Ctbjr ... Nov. 8 can't get here soon enough!!!

Jim Avery
April 12th, 2010, 03:09 PM
bytemewalker:
Sounds like you had the basic, normal, run of the mill SeaDream trip.:D You are now officially ruined for anything less. You might try something else from time to time, but you will run back as fast as possible.:eek:
Jim.

DisneyJen
April 12th, 2010, 04:12 PM
bytemewalker:
Sounds like you had the basic, normal, run of the mill SeaDream trip.:D You are now officially ruined for anything less. You might try something else from time to time, but you will run back as fast as possible.:eek:
Jim.

Does that mean you will be coming back to SD after your trip on Seabourn:p Yes, I saw you posting over there:eek::p

Jim Avery
April 12th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Does that mean you will be coming back to SD after your trip on Seabourn:p Yes, I saw you posting over there:eek::p

Oops! Busted! Ganttc made us do it, even Lazy Seadreamer.:eek: Yes, of course we will be back. Have one picked out, just waiting for James C. to call and make me an offer I can't refuse. Gantt is supposed to be working on a CC cruise. Just could not pass up the rate on this one.
J.

Jim Avery
April 12th, 2010, 05:20 PM
Does that mean you will be coming back to SD after your trip on Seabourn:p Yes, I saw you posting over there:eek::p

Besides, you are not supposed to be lurking over there. You will get SeaDream demerits.:eek:

DisneyJen
April 12th, 2010, 06:54 PM
Oops! Busted! Ganttc made us do it, even Lazy Seadreamer.:eek: Yes, of course we will be back. Have one picked out, just waiting for James C. to call and make me an offer I can't refuse. Gantt is supposed to be working on a CC cruise. Just could not pass up the rate on this one.
J.

There are some very good rates on SB right now ... I have been tempted but DJ's DH will NOT step foot on SB again ... too formal and big for him when he is in "chill" mode:p

I think it will be a good experience for you and Lois:D

Besides, you are not supposed to be lurking over there. You will get SeaDream demerits.:eek:

Not lurking ... spying ... so that means I get SeaDream kudos/points/rewards:D:p

Of course we ALL will be expecting a FULL compare and contrast trip report!!

Ragnar Danneskjold
April 12th, 2010, 07:47 PM
Maybe if Mrs. Danneskjold wears a soaking wet thin t-shirt back from a shore excursion the crew will give us extra-special service too :D

bytemewalker
April 13th, 2010, 11:07 PM
Maybe if Mrs. Danneskjold wears a soaking wet thin t-shirt back from a shore excursion the crew will give us extra-special service too :D

Ragnar--
Riiight...perhaps 20 yrs ago I could've given someone a thrill--as it was it was more like a horror show!!:eek: (speaking as a 48 yr old)

Meanwhile, Bon Voyage to everyone booked for the coming cruises. Thanks for your comments and have a GREAT time!
Kelly

ganttc
April 14th, 2010, 09:28 AM
Disney Jen...Funny that you busted Mr. Jim. I love that. And he can blame me all he wants, BUT...there was no arm twisting. The deals are there for sure. If you'll just join us we'll have a swell time. None of us are formal! It is a great itinerary and super-duper pricing. I'm mega excited about SD1 in 44 days! YEAH! And yes, we'll be back again to SD "empty my bank account again" - hopefully in January with Jim and Lazy...IF we get along on the SB trip. That's very iffy.

Jim Avery
April 14th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Disney Jen...Funny that you busted Mr. Jim. I love that. And he can blame me all he wants, BUT...there was no arm twisting. The deals are there for sure. If you'll just join us we'll have a swell time. None of us are formal! It is a great itinerary and super-duper pricing. I'm mega excited about SD1 in 44 days! YEAH! And yes, we'll be back again to SD "empty my bank account again" - hopefully in January with Jim and Lazy...IF we get along on the SB trip. That's very iffy.

I do blame you. You and your formal speedos. Besides, we are not "iffy", you have already sailed with us "stone statues by the pool".:D

Jim Avery
April 14th, 2010, 03:14 PM
Hey Gantt:
I'm impressed, you even put us on your countdown clock. I can't seem to make them work through Firefox/Mac.:eek: Thanks for the mention.
J & L.

DisneyJen
April 14th, 2010, 10:46 PM
Disney Jen...Funny that you busted Mr. Jim. I love that. And he can blame me all he wants, BUT...there was no arm twisting. The deals are there for sure. If you'll just join us we'll have a swell time. None of us are formal! It is a great itinerary and super-duper pricing. I'm mega excited about SD1 in 44 days! YEAH! And yes, we'll be back again to SD "empty my bank account again" - hopefully in January with Jim and Lazy...IF we get along on the SB trip. That's very iffy.

Sounds like a great itinerary but the timing won't work for us ... too close to our Fall Crossing on SD2.

Would love to join you but I don't see it in the cards for us this round ...

Cammiem
April 19th, 2010, 09:00 AM
Hey Gantt:
I'm impressed, you even put us on your countdown clock. I can't seem to make them work through Firefox/Mac.:eek: Thanks for the mention.
J & L.

Yeah - he put you & Lois, but not me & Doug. Guess I know where I stand...:eek:

Jim Avery
April 19th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Yeah - he put you & Lois, but not me & Doug. Guess I know where I stand...:eek:

I would really make him pay for that. Maybe when you guys go to dinner. Make him pay and order the steak and the lobster.:eek:

DisneyJen
April 19th, 2010, 04:11 PM
So you're jumping ship too Cammiem???

Cammiem
April 20th, 2010, 05:45 AM
So you're jumping ship too Cammiem???

Um, it's *all* Gantt's fault! :eek: He could probably sell me & Jim swamp land in Florida! :rolleyes:

I view the SB cruise as a compare-and-contrast kind of thing. I'll be blogging it (it'll have it's own website; blog goes live 9-26-10)...Rate was fabulous...I'm curious...

I'm such the cheater. LOL :)

Cammiem
April 20th, 2010, 05:53 AM
I would really make him pay for that. Maybe when you guys go to dinner. Make him pay and order the steak and the lobster.:eek:

Mmmm, no worries, Jim. I'll be stealing his silver spoons Saturday evening. ;)

I am a *very* expensive date. He has no clue what he's in for. :D

Maybe you & I should be emailing to strenghten our defences...HA!

I think we're hijacking this thread. Sorry Host Dan.

ganttc
April 21st, 2010, 07:19 AM
Okay Cammiem and Mr. Jim...
To clear my good name, I'll state here and now to at the SD croud that you required no arm twisting to hop on this deal (a great deal to boot!). It will be interesting to see if Cammiem's SB blog will be as good as her SD blog (www.lazyseadreamer.com) and a comparison on each, I know, would help lots of people decide between these two great lines!

The More the Merrier - so anyone that wants to hop the SPIRIT on 9/25 - c'mon!
We will have a fabulous time I know!

Right now counting the seconds until our May departure. Jim - we opted for electronic documents this time to get a shipboard credit. There's definitely something lost in the translation with not receiving the pretty paper ones....but figure we have our luggage tags and wallet from December and I'll use my shipboard credit to pay for some internet usage.