You really are charged for caviar?????
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we did not want for anything and we are pretty demanding, the caviar was a dissapointment but the cheese plates we ordered were awesome, the 3 pm burger and fries by the pool, the cheesecake at 10 am....
this was a luxurious experience and i know we will return, I would not cancel your nov trip over the caviar, too many other things were great on this boat
one of teh problems with reviews is the tend to highlight the challenges and fail to really represent how good something can be
our trip was great and all four of us are dying to get back on, that is what it is all about.
the reason i am trying to write such a detailed review is to help manage expectations and allow all of us to have a great time on board
We also had different types of champagne on board and the crew would usually hustle to find you a new/different bottle if you didn't like what they were pouring. The same with the red & white wines - but if you didn't ask, you got the pour of the day.
My husband was disappointed by the upcharge for the single malt scotch he requested and the waiter filling in for the usual bartender didn't know that another single malt was available at no charge.
Sea Dream has an 8 page list of alcoholic beverages, which details those included in the rate (most) and those requiring an upcharge (only a few). Additional charges apply for example to Hennesey XO, Remy-Martins, Chivas Regal, Rozes Ports, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie (and all but one single-malt scotch required an additional charge), and Grey Goose.
The detailed review is great -- so far very consistent with our prior voyages.
James is indeed great and ranks a 10- especially with the events he had to deal with on our cruise (a wife throwing a drink on her husband in the casino - missing and drenching innocent passengers, etc). Does anyone knonw if he is still planning on leaving Sea Dream when his current contract expires - when we were on board in March, his baby was not yet born (his wife Maria was at home) but he was planning on not renewing his contract.
Seadream charges for caviar and Grey Goose. I was considering giving them a try in the future but that sounds like a hassle with the upcharges.
Even though the casual attire would have an appeal every once and a while.
Guess I will stick with Seabourn.
Seabourn the only way to cruise.
Sea Dream also adds a daily "service charge" of $34 per person per day on Caribbean itineraries and $39 per person per day on Mediterranean itineraries on top of their published rates. As their main competitors (SB and SS) do not do this, it appears that SD has mastered the art of nickel and diming a high-end product.
I agree that a thorough review (which CarlyleCat should receive an A+) may highlight challenges (criticisms) that are not intended to overshadow an excellent overall experience. However, the review brought to light Sea Dream's deceptive advertising. Hopefully their marketing/sales department will take corrective action so as not to deceive less-informed prospective passengers.
Sea Dream also adds a daily "service charge" of $34 per person per day on Caribbean itineraries and $39 per person per day on Mediterranean itineraries on top of their published rates. .Do you have a web reference for this or is it only in the catalog? I do know that they have a $25/day optional "cancellation insurance" charge which is added to your booking charge unless you have them take it off.
i am also wondering about the $34 pp/ per day charge mentioned for caribbean cruises- that is an additional $400 + dollars on an all inclusive trip
why is it not surprising that the better something sounds, the more disappointing it becomes?
I believe that what he is referring to are the government, port, document issuance, handling and service fees that are charged in addition to the cruise fare. All other cruise lines charge these fees also. Some include them in the fare and others add them to the fare.Seabourn and Silverseas include the charges in their published fares. Sea Dream takes the fine print route and adds them on top of their fares in order to "publish" a lower base fare. You can view them on their web site, $273 ($39 per day) extra per person for Med cruises and $238 ($34 per day) extra per person for Caribbean cruises (increasing to $252 for 2006 departures). This is irregardless of the ports or number of ports visited. Class action lawsuits put an end to exorbitant "port charges" for the large cruise lines several years ago; to my knowledge, no other cruise line charges such high "fees" for a standard seven-day cruise. My T/A said they do it in lieu of tipping (i.e. service fees), but if they market themselves as all-inclusive (excluding items previously discussed) why would that not be included in the base fare rather than as a non-optional extra? It must be a coincidence that their 10/26/2005 four-day Caribbean cruise has fees of $136 per person (still $34 per day).
This leads me to the issue of shore excursions. Do they charge a HIGH price for these in order to continue with the nickel and dime scheme? Do they dock in remote places, constructively forcing passengers to buy excursions in order to do anything on shore???We cannot support your viewpoint on this one.
Shore excursions are always a high profit item for ships. In our experience, two couples in a taxi can usually replicate or improve on any excursion at a much lower price. So we tend to avoid shore excursions in "safe" location such as the Caribbean or Europe.
Note also that all shore excursions are not equal...there is a "quality" issue ...comfortable (air conditioned) bus; capable (English speaking where relevant) guides; etc. And, since everything is concessioned out, the ship may have little control over or even knowledge of the quality of those excursions until the feedback forms arrive.
However, to answer your first question, we did not find SD's Caribbean shore excursion prices out of line compared to other ships (they are all too expensive).
Regarding docking, at least in the Caribbean, SD mostly anchors and uses tenders and the tenders go right to the middle of town along with other ships (such as Windstar). You can also be sure that whatever port that you arrive at almost anywhere in the world, the taxi drivers know you are coming and will be waiting for you!!
While waiting for tenders can be annoying (either leaving or coming back), it is probably more comfortable that standing in line with the hugh ships either to get off on the dock or to reboard, especially when 6 excursion busses arrive together.
Many of the luxury lines also have liquor/wine that is an extra fee, should you not wish to partake of what is being offered. On SD, there were a very few scotches that cost extra -- but it was only $5. There was at least one single malt available at no cost. They weren't charging for caviar on my Nov 04 cruise, but, based on a couple of other posts, that appears to have changed.
We never felt nickel-and-dimed -- and found the shore excursions to be priced in line with what we have paid on other lines (this is not to say that any of them are necessarily reasonable -- but you pay for convenience and the assurance that the ship won't leave without you :-).
There seems to be some SD-bashing on the part of a few -- which is unfortunate, because it presents a false picture. The main issue appears to be the children -- and I agree I don't want to spend my hard-earned vacation with a bunch of ill-behaved rug rats. But I don't think you will see SS or SB turning away kids, either -- an earlier poster may be correct in thinking the lack of formal dress on SD encourages kids in a way that SS and SB would not.
BTW, are there ever any art auctions on these other ships? Just curious!
I still believe strongly that if Seadream is seeking to attract sophistocated travelers by offering a "luxury," "all-inclusive" product, then they need to treat us like adults and not exclude/hide basic elements of an "all-inclusive" product as defined by the standard set by their closest competition (SB and SS) from the advertised fare. If I were interested in an "a la carte" vacation and being surrounded those who are also of that slant, then I would not be shopping for an "all-inclusive, luxury" cruise in the first place; I'd go mianstream. I am after the experience, not saving a few dollars.
BTW, are there ever any art auctions on these other ships? Just curious! VandrefalkNo "art" auctions. No gold-by-the-inch. No "special" $10.00 martinis. No "suggested" $50 bottle of wine at dinner. No Bingo. No constant hawking for the ship's excursions to try to make you feel like you cannot possibly survive on shore on your own. No charge for bottled water in your room. A very low key casino. No "voluntary" tip added to your bill. No lines. No crowds. No regimentation.
Many ships seem to price low with the expectation of raising the average reveue per passenger with multiple a la carte extras.
Since the ships (Seadream/Seabourn) mostly forego these profit centers, they need to make it up with higher front end charges.
That being said, I suspect many (but never all) of the cruisers on these ships are not extremely price sensitive. Without shore excursions and spa services, it is hard to envision a couple spending more than $1,000 per week on extras (moderate bottle of wine at dinner; 6 drinks/day each; some soft drinks; $10.50/day each tips.)
Clearly, you can visit the same ports, have better entertainment, larger public areas, a "midnight buffet" and more "glitz" on many ships at a fare much lower per couple than charged by SeaDream/Seabourn, even after deducting the $1,000 that the inclusions are worth. So people are paying more than they need to on SeaDream/Seabourn for the same basic trip that others offer for much less, even with full value on "all inclusive" because the the intangibles offered (or NOT offered).
Take away those intangibles (by adding groups, kids and extended families) and Seadream, which is not a bargain and not meant to be, becomes much less attractive.
OK, with all that said, Christophe, the crew, the service, and the food were very good. The itinerary was wonderful, save one port, Vlore, Albania. Many people complained about this port, and the captain announced that all excursions purchased would be refunded. then he brought out some caviar. I will be surprised if they go back there. We stopped in the middle of the Ionian Sea and jet skiied all day. Then leaving Sicily, the captain decided to take a tour around Capri, and slowly sailed by Stromboli for a few fabulous moments of volcanic activity. It is this type of "laid back" sailing that appeals to me so much. Pula, Croatia and Kotar, Montengro, were great. I'd book a walking tour if possilbe (not one from the ship) of Pula - it was fantastic. We needed to spend the night in Amalfi, so I hope they change this part of the itinerary.
I'd be interested to know if Seabourn has changed their policy about free caviar, and if it is the same quality as before.
Unbelievable that they did not share the info on the charge for caviar Talk about poor guest relations. As a matter of fact DH and I were talking with friends who we were out to dinner with last night about how much we enjoyed the caviar and no hassle of signing chits while we were on SD.
Did you have the champagne and caviar splash? I am wondering if they are going to do away with that altogether.
I will tell you that along with some of the other changes may sadly push us over to one of the other "luxury" lines.