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Griller

Considering booking T/A on SeaDream 1

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Hi, we have cruised quite a lot, 100 plus on bigger ships mostly, recently on Wind Surf which we loved.

I am expecting SD to be more or less comparable to WS. Is this correct?

 

My travel partner suggested next spring T/A on SeaDream 1 as a good introduction to the line but I can't find what I would like to know.

 

What's the grub like? European or American or what? I see that if on port intensive cruise then they will use local produce but on a transatlantic that isn't very possible. Can you get English style breakfast items?

 

Are the included drinks decent brands for liquor, and really good wines, not cheap like on Seaborne now, and are juices fresh squeezed? Diet soda available in various types? (Wasn't on Wind Surf, fountain diet coke or nothing)

 

I read that the cabins are on the small side but we are used to that, we are not suite folk.

 

How about entertainment? Is it a guitar player and a singer? Or more? We can make our own if necessary, and are pretty happy chilling out for a couple of weeks and reading our Kindle books.

 

What about laundry? Chargeable or included?

 

Any introductory discounts? Any benefits to being a repeat passenger?

 

Any other help gratefully appreciated, thanks, Griller

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It's been awhile since my last SD cruise, but when I was last on, the food was often Asian inspired. They also had a very extensive raw and vegan menu for those who are into that. Breakfast consisted of a variety of options. They put out continental items for early risers, then later, you could order anything from oatmeal to steak and eggs if you wanted to. If there's something you don't like, the staff will take pains to get you something you will. For example, on our last SD cruise, legendary SD1 waiter Jose noticed I didn't like the Morbier cheese course he brought out. I'm not really a cheese fan, especially when they're stinky. Without even asking, he took it upon himself to bring me a lovely salad. I'm by no means a vegan, but I really enjoyed some of the raw and vegan courses they offered. Someone who's been on more recently can tell us if they're still offering that.

 

As for the booze, I thought most of it was decent quality. Granted, I did notice that they traded prosecco for Champagne, but that doesn't bother me. The bartender didn't even mind making me a margarita with fresh lime juice instead of a mixer.

 

There is a piano bar, which I love. There's also a guitar player and sometimes the staff members double as entertainers. Last time we cruised, there was dancing one night. I think on the transatlantic cruises, they often have speakers who give lectures. I have also once seen karaoke on SeaDream, but to be honest, it was the worst karaoke show I've ever seen. I still participated, though, and ended up making friends! I think they also do movies under the stars. As for "shows" like what you'd see on a larger ship, I've never seen that. I think SeaDream's entertainment is mostly people getting to know each other and bonding.

 

Laundry is not free of charge. However, SeaDream is the only place I've ever had laundry done that comes back to me practically giftwrapped.

 

I'm not sure if they still do the pre-booking deal that allows you to book on the ship and lock in a discount. Someone else will have to answer that question.

 

I'd actually love to do a transatlantic cruise. I imagine it would be especially fun on SeaDream, but I realize not everyone can take being on a small ship for that long.

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Thanks for the info,its much appreciated, we have a hold on a cabin now.

 

 

The taxes and handling(that's what the SD lady Ashley called it) were a little bit of a nasty surprise though, this is only a 13 day cruise with only 2 ports apart from embarkation/disembarkation in San Juan and Malaga, and they want an extra $546 each.

 

 

That's more than the Panama Canal on other lines.

 

 

Are SeaDream noted for generally high extra charges?

 

Prosecco substitution for champagne is a bit cheeky...….. is that permanent or do you think they just ran out of the real stuff?

Edited by Griller

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The excessive "port taxes & fees" have long been a sticking point for us. Right you are that many more involved itineraries on other ships charge less. I prefer Viking Oceans method, it is included in the fare, no add on.

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The excessive "port taxes & fees" have long been a sticking point for us. Right you are that many more involved itineraries on other ships charge less. I prefer Viking Oceans method, it is included in the fare, no add on.

 

Overall the per diem including everything except airfares ( and spa/laundry) is $210 per person in the lowest grade cabin.

 

I can live with that happily, it will be our first time to try SD and maybe if we really like it then we would splurge a higher per diem on other SD voyages - which all seem to be way more than this transatlantic.

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Prosecco substitution for champagne is a bit cheeky...….. is that permanent or do you think they just ran out of the real stuff?

 

In my experience, Champagne is generally available if you ask for it.

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We were just on SD2 last week - our third time this year so we are very satisfied passengers/guests/family and wouldn’t think of any ship other than SDs. We haven’t done a T/A in our 10 years on SD but signed up for T/A Oct 19.

 

They serve French champagne again, not prosecco. Most of the liquors are pretty good but if you really want say a high end single malt Scotch or something you will have to order it extra. The “house” wines are generally good to OK, usually the whites are better than the reds so we end up purchasing a bottle of red off the wine list here and there. Wish the “house” wines were a bit better.

 

The food is outstanding. I’m not sure where the Asian-inspired comment came from though I can say there are options that have an Asian influence. I just wouldn’t one to think there are times when the only options are Asian or anything other single cuisine. The menu changes every night in terms of the suggested or special menu that evening, and even then there are several choices for each course - amazing how they do it!

 

There is usually one degustation dinner of smaller portions over multiple courses and also a “confluence” menu with choices from around the world each voyage. The vegan and raw options are still there. In addition to the menu options (multiple options per course) that changes every night, the right side of the menu has standbys always available - straightforward steak, chicken, salmon, etc. Same thing for breakfast and lunch - choices, choices and more choices! They will go out of their way to make you happy. Many of the breakfast juices are fresh squeezed including multi-ingredient healthy ones with carrot, ginger, etc. Or you can get “eye openers” with breakfast - Bloody Marys or Mimosas, etc.

 

Laundry is extra as is the WiFi, which while better than it once was still has its many glitches. Not sure how well it works on a T/A, though as a satellite system it should work to some extent in theory.

 

Yes, the excellent discounts for booking while on board are still offered - 15% off a single specific future voyage plus an additional 10% on top of a second 15% on a back to back of two voyages - meaning the second voyage if a back to back is almost 25% off. The excursions called “Yachting Land Adventures” are extra but of course N/A on a T/A.

 

As to future benefits once you sail on SD, in addition to the generous onboard booking discounts at some point there are spa and wine discounts and some amount of free laundry but I’m not sure after how many voyages those kick in.

 

Hope that helps! We had a relaxing and enjoyable time - no formal entertainment except the piano bar, a one table casino, and famed Top of the Yacht (A/K/A TOY) Bar - but there are free DVDs for the room and frequent movie nights, music, etc. You will find you can relax on your own or engage as you wish. We booked several trips for next year while recently on board to take advantage of the onboard booking savings.

 

Since we haven’t yet done a T/A I will leave it to the veterans of past T/As to share views on the motion in the ocean or lack thereof. It is a smaller vessel so I’d go prepared for handling at least some rougher seas along the way so as not to be disappointed.

 

 

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Thankyou for that amazing useful info, I think we will go ahead and book the T/A, everything sounds great, just what we like, we don't care about lack of big ship entertainment, we have had enough of that.

 

We're used to ship movement, used to sail on older ships without much stabilization. I like to feel some movement, with the big ships now you can easily forget you are at sea.

We will be on deck 2 anyhow, probably less movement down there.

 

In the Atlantic on QE2 30 years ago we used to have to hold on to our plates and glasses on the dining table at times, and sometimes they would wet the tablecloths in an attempt to stop things sliding around with the pitching at high speed.

All part of the fun.

 

We have over 70 cruises on Princess, but now they have just one small ship left of the 3 they bought from Renaissance, and we have done all the itineraries at least once. And they keep cutting back on onboard things, but for what we pay we don't complain.

We have a couple of cruises on Princess booked, a 25 day Baltic and a 49 day South America so we have not given up on them, as we like long voyages and frankly they are inexpensive if booked on a deal.

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My wife and I are regular TA cruisers on SD. I guess that we have done about 10 TA crossings over the past 5 years, and we have done them in both directions -- West to East and East to West. We are currently booked on the next 3 TA crossings on SD II. We always book on deck 2, and have only had one voyage where the seas were bad. And even then, they weren't awful, but interesting. My wife is prone to seasickness, and she takes bonine daily, and she has never had a problem.

We find the crossings very relaxing and often when they stop at a port (Madeira usually, but they are beginning to make a few changes here) we don't get off of the ship.

Food: We find that the food is excellent on all meals.

Breakfast can virtually be anything that you want it to be. They have a daily special, and a wide offering on the menu. They have cheese, fruit, and meats available at a small self-service station. They have a juicer, that many people love to have fresh vegetables juiced. I often order something that isn't even on the menu and they will do it. On one trip I ordered something similar to what Burger King sells in the US.(

CROISSAN'WICH -- basically scrambled eggs, cheese and ham served on a croissant

), and they did it. I wanted grits (yes, I am from the South) one day, and they had them. You asked about English Style breakfasts, and they have English Bacon always available, and on one day on every crossing, they have a English breakfast as the recommendation. I'd bet that they would do this every day if you wanted it.... Just ask.

Lunch also has several recommendations and a rather wide menu. And the same can be said for Dinner. We find that the dinner menu is always quite extensive with several variations. Again, you can order about anything that you want. If they have it on board, they will fix it. The chef has told us many times to let him know if you want something and I will do it. For example, my wife loves their Cherry Ice Cream. He always has it for her. On our last crossing, he did a special fish dish for me. One day she wanted a pizza for lunch on the next day. She asked him for it, and she had it the next day.

Drinks and Wine:

The bar level drinks are fine in my opinion. I am a vodka drinker, and Stoli's and Absolute are two of their standard vodkas. If you want something at a higher level, you can get it for an upcharge. My wife drinks Jack Daniels Whiskey, and that is included. She always requests in advance that they have the Honey Jack Daniels variety in advance, and they will comply if they can get it. The soft drinks are canned, and we always request diet & caffeine free, both in our room and at the bar, and they comply.

We find that the offered wines are quite acceptable. And if we don't care for the standard choices, the sommelier always finds something that we enjoy. We seldom purchase wine on the trip, but many people do.

Laundry and WiFi are extra, but reasonable. Once you cross over a certain number of nights (I don't remember the number), you will get 10 pieces of laundry at no charge.

Future Voyage Discounts: While onboard, you will be able to book future voyages with cancelable fees at discounts ranging from 10 to 15 %

Entertainment: As others have said, there are no large shows. My wife loves the piano bar after dinner, and I will accompany here there for a while, and then I will adjourn to the adjacent Blackjack table for a while. Then perhaps to the library that is also adjacent. There is always something going on at the Top of the Yacht bar. And on many nights, a movie is being played in the Salon. Also, on the TA crossings they usually have two guest speakers. On the last one, we had an astronaut. Others have included a forensic psychologist, rocket scientist, CIA agent, and other interesting speakers. They also offer minor games such as trivia, jigsaw puzzles, etc. Yoga is offered daily.

After you book your trip, you will have a chance to make special requests on your booking form. If you want something special, like the things that I mentioned above, make a request for it. Also, if you want something special for a meal, ask for it. They love to make you happy and give you what you desire, as long as it is reasonable.

You didn't ask about the number of passengers on the crossings, but we have had as few at 15 and as many as 80.

In summary, we love the relaxation offered on the TA cruises, coupled with the outstanding service offered by the crew. We can't say enough about the staff, because in spite of the many things that SeaDream offers, the service is totally over the top -- but not overbearing. By the second day they will definitely all know your name, and typically will know your preferred cocktail. Imagine someone coming by daily offering to clean your sunglasses. Well that is standard on SeaDream, along with many other special touches that they provide. You will also find that many of the travelers on board the crossings are repeaters -- we have made many friends on board and look forward to seeing them on future trips.

So, just load up your Kindle, look forward to meeting some nice people, and be prepared for two weeks of being treated like Royalty.

Let us know if you have other questions.

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Wow... 15 people on a cruise! That is amazing!

 

And I am also amazed about the grits. I remember asking about grits before our first SD cruise and people on this board kind of laughed at me! ;p

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I felt a bit strange about the Grits.. And I had to do some coaching about how to cook them (I don't like them watery). I asked Tomas, and he pointed out that they are on the menu... and sure enough, they are...

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I no longer live in the South and I am quite excited about the possibility of grits on board. Amazing! I am learning so much from all your information. Thank you!

 

 

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I live in Germany now and have them sent from a farm in South Carolina. Every Saturday, it's grits time... 30 minutes in salty water equals a taste of home!

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knotheadusc, would it be possible to obtain the name of that farm, if Cruise Critic permits such things? The grits I find here in the Pacific NW just aren’t the same consistency & flavor as I also once enjoyed in South Carolina.

 

I apologize for going off topic.

 

 

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knotheadusc, would it be possible to obtain the name of that farm, if Cruise Critic permits such things? The grits I find here in the Pacific NW just aren’t the same consistency & flavor as I also once enjoyed in South Carolina.

 

I apologize for going off topic.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Do ya think we can git turkey gizzards and hushpuppies on SeaDream?

 

And sweet tater fries, slaw and chikn fried steak?

 

Be great to spend thousands on a cruise and still be able to eat like we was at Memaws BBQ down the street at home, one of our favorite places but its closed down by the county right now due to excessive roaches and we are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Yes really.

Edited by Griller

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knotheadusc, would it be possible to obtain the name of that farm, if Cruise Critic permits such things? The grits I find here in the Pacific NW just aren’t the same consistency & flavor as I also once enjoyed in South Carolina.

 

I apologize for going off topic.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

The brand is Palmetto Farms. https://palmettofarms.com

 

You can also purchase them off of Amazon or find them at Whole Foods (according to their Web site).

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I definitely will stop at Whole Foods soon, then. Thank you very much, knotheadusc! Yum!

 

 

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Do ya think we can git turkey gizzards and hushpuppies on SeaDream?

 

And sweet tater fries, slaw and chikn fried steak?

 

 

If I remember correctly, sweet potato fries are available. And I'd bet that the chef could do slaw and chicken fried steak if that it what you wanted. Not sure about gizzards though... only because they don't have them on-board.

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