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Christmas Cruise - any thoughts?

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My husband and I are new to Sea Dream, having worked our way from HAL to Windstar to now SeaDream.  We are considering a Christmas cruise next year to get out of rainy Seattle and would love any and all insights (both positive and not) to cruising with SeaDream over Christmas.  Many thanks in advance.

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We are dedicated SD cruisers, sailing once or twice a year for many years. We have not been on a Christmas cruise, but we did go on one New Year's cruise. We love SD. We did not love the New Year's cruise, basically because of the composition of the passengers. While the usual cruise is basically couples, this holiday cruise was mostly families. There were no little children, but the ship was full of teenagers. And teenagers, unlike little kids,  don't go to bed at night, so we had them 24/7. They took over spaces that we usually enjoy in the evening, like the Top of the Yacht bar. Now please remember that this was just one cruise. I don't know that this would be your experience on a Christmas cruise, or in fact any other New Year's cruise. But it was our experience, so I'm sharing it. When often travel on SD around that time of the year, but we generally take the cruise directly after the New Year's cruise. And we enjoy that greatly.

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Can’t go wrong with Zimmy and TrapperZimmy advice on all things SD.  Like them we do at least two cruises each year and have for 10 years now so we are up to 20 or so cruises with two long ones booked next year and even one already booked for 2020.  

 

All that said, while we have not been on a Christmas week cruise, we did do Thanksgiving once - emphasize once.  I would simply underscore that a holiday week cruise is not going to be the usual “couples” SD experience.  So if you are planning on going with your family that’s fine as that will be the passenger mix.  But if you were expecting the couples get away as advertised, I too would frankly think twice.  Just being honest.  We’ve been on with too many teens and teen-acting adults (which is worse than actual teens!) a few times and we are now more careful about the time of year to travel for the full amazing SD experience.

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The above is great advice from Zimmy, Trapper Z, and Jes.  While we have not sailed SD on Christmas we have sailed on larger ships at Christmas.  Always at Christmas there are lots of families (and kids) everywhere.  At least on the bigger ships there are things for the kiddies to do.  One of my only complaints about SD is that they allow children but there is nothing for them to do.  As has been mentioned above, the passenger mix  is critical on SD.  The crew is outstanding no matter the mix but much of your time on SD is spent interacting with other passengers so that mix really impacts the enjoyability of your cruise.  We have had excellent luck the week after Thanksgiving and the week after New Years.  This one time at band camp, we sailed over Easter.  It wasn't pretty.😳

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On 12/12/2018 at 8:56 AM, Zimmy said:

We are dedicated SD cruisers, sailing once or twice a year for many years. We have not been on a Christmas cruise, but we did go on one New Year's cruise. We love SD. We did not love the New Year's cruise, basically because of the composition of the passengers. While the usual cruise is basically couples, this holiday cruise was mostly families. There were no little children, but the ship was full of teenagers. And teenagers, unlike little kids,  don't go to bed at night, so we had them 24/7. They took over spaces that we usually enjoy in the evening, like the Top of the Yacht bar. Now please remember that this was just one cruise. I don't know that this would be your experience on a Christmas cruise, or in fact any other New Year's cruise. But it was our experience, so I'm sharing it. When often travel on SD around that time of the year, but we generally take the cruise directly after the New Year's cruise. And we enjoy that greatly.

How odd. We are just about to go on our 3rd NYE cruise with SeaDream and have never experienced anything like the situation you mentioned. 

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18 hours ago, Toryhere said:

How odd. We are just about to go on our 3rd NYE cruise with SeaDream and have never experienced anything like the situation you mentioned. 

I am glad that you have not shared our experience, Toryhere. As I said in my post, this was our experience on only one cruise. But it was our first holiday cruise and was enough to keep us from doing a second. On this cruise, there were really only about 8 couples who were traveling and not connected to families traveling together. I recall that for one couple, this was their first SD cruise. For them, it was enough; they had no intention of ever returning to SD.

 

But it is encouraging to hear that our experience is not the norm; perhaps we'll risk it again someday.  I hope that you  enjoy your upcoming cruise. Bon voyage.

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18 hours ago, Toryhere said:

How odd. We are just about to go on our 3rd NYE cruise with SeaDream and have never experienced anything like the situation you mentioned. 

 

Good to know.  We're about to do our 1st SD NYE cruise so glad to hear of your experience to date.  See you there!

 

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Hey ctbjr....We're doing our 2nd  New Years on SD....are you on the Dec. 27th cruise? We cancelled last year as schedules were up in the air. Excited to be going back!

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Thank you, all, for the excellent (and varied!) insights into Holiday voyages.  Our primary goal for this trip is to chill, lounge, sip bubbly, and chill even more.  Our schedules were fairly limited, so we are booked on SDI for the Dec 21-28th cruise...hurray!

 

Given that we are dedicated, one might even say professional, loungers who are epically laid back, except in regard to aforementioned bubbly, ...given all that... we're hoping to make the best of whatever situation comes our way.  Plus we are finally sailing with SeaDream!!!

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2 hours ago, laurelguy said:

Hey ctbjr....We're doing our 2nd  New Years on SD....are you on the Dec. 27th cruise? We cancelled last year as schedules were up in the air. Excited to be going back!

 

Hey and yes we're on the Dec.27th voyage.  This is the first time we've been able to do a holiday cruise so we're eagerly anticipating it.  Will look forward to seeing you there!

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My DW and I have done a SD Christmas cruise about 4 years ago and LOVED it.  In fact we are already signed up for the Dec 21 2019 St Thomas to PR cruise (I can't wait).

 

We can only get away with it infrequently because family puts up a fuss "don't you want to be here for all of the activity" they will say ( answer is on rare occasions "no" it is nice to get away for some quiet and relaxation ;-)

 

We hang our stocking on the cabin door (making sure to use command strips so as not to cause damage) and in general just have a relaxed time while all others at home are rushing about.

 

Having Christmas eve dinner at Bonito in St. Barths is just about the best experience you can imaging.

 

Although I will not guarantee that it is always the case, on our Christmas cruise the staff put on a little pageant that included an amazing dance by the spa staff and a truly hysterical rendition of "swan lake" by the engineering  staff including the chief dressed in a black tutu.  Still makes me smile.

 

We hope we will see you there!

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On 12/21/2018 at 7:50 AM, SchnauzerPup said:

My DW and I have done a SD Christmas cruise about 4 years ago and LOVED it.  In fact we are already signed up for the Dec 21 2019 St Thomas to PR cruise (I can't wait).

 

We can only get away with it infrequently because family puts up a fuss "don't you want to be here for all of the activity" they will say ( answer is on rare occasions "no" it is nice to get away for some quiet and relaxation 😉

 

Hi SchnauzerPup!  Thanks for the insights about Christmas cruising.  We're sneaking away for much the same reasons as you 🙂 

 

It sounds like we'll be on the same cruise (SD I), too.  We're getting in a few days early to both increase our chill time and to gingerly reacquaint our Seattle skin (fish-belly white) to the sun.😂  Any tips for fun things to do on St. Thomas?

 

 

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On 12/12/2018 at 10:04 AM, JES4845 said:

All that said, while we have not been on a Christmas week cruise, we did do Thanksgiving once - emphasize once.  I would simply underscore that a holiday week cruise is not going to be the usual “couples” SD experience.  So if you are planning on going with your family that’s fine as that will be the passenger mix.  But if you were expecting the couples get away as advertised, I too would frankly think twice.  Just being honest.  We’ve been on with too many teens and teen-acting adults (which is worse than actual teens!) a few times and we are now more careful about the time of year to travel for the full amazing SD experience.

FWIW, the teen and teen -acting adult quotient is very low this week on SD 2.  A couple very well behaved teens and (so far) no teen-acting adults. We are booked on the next 2 NYE week cruises so hoping this year is not an anomaly. 

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Great!  We will see you there.

 

We usually spent a few days at Frenchman's Reef but it was badly damaged by the hurricanes and is not scheduled to be opened until perhaps early 2020.  Frenchman's cove  is still open but not as nice in my view.

 

If I were going to spend more than day I think that would scoot over to St John (there is a ferry) and stay at Cruz Bay and enjoy the park.

 

We plan just go in the day before and stay at Windward Passage or Emerald Beach.  Nothing fancy but let's you put your toes in the sand and have a drink.

 

It is my opinion that that staying a couple extra days on the tail end in Old San-Juan offers more opportunities than perhaps St. Thomas does.   We have never really enjoyed St. Thomas and find it a bit frantic.  When possible we embark in St. Martin or Barbados and Disembark in St' Thomas or PR because that makes clearing customs so much easier, but that is not an option for the Christmas cruises.

 

In any event.  You will have a great time.  See you there.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hm. Going on SDII over Thanksgiving this year (2019) and now wondering. It's a wine voyage so I thought that might ward off some of the kiddos......

Edited by Cruise Critic Chris

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On 1/3/2019 at 2:42 PM, Cruise Critic Chris said:

Hm. Going on SDII over Thanksgiving this year (2019) and now wondering. It's a wine voyage so I thought that might ward off some of the kiddos......

 

I would not be concerned.

 

SD really does not tend to attract groups with children.  The majority of the time there are none at all.  

 

DW and I have been on many a SD cruise and have only once had even a small issue with youngsters (and oddly it was the owner's children and their friends who monopolized the staff's time and took over all the good gathering spots at the TOTY bar).   

 

Our general experience has been that the few children on SD are a pleasure.   

 

Enjoy your cruise !

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On 12/30/2018 at 9:09 AM, ctbjr1309 said:

FWIW, the teen and teen -acting adult quotient is very low this week on SD 2.  A couple very well behaved teens and (so far) no teen-acting adults. We are booked on the next 2 NYE week cruises so hoping this year is not an anomaly. 

I thought the passengers this year were a really great bunch. Didn’t the Captain say that 85% of us were Club members?

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3 hours ago, Toryhere said:

I thought the passengers this year were a really great bunch. Didn’t the Captain say that 85% of us were Club members?

 

Yes, I agree as to passenger mix.  I recall the number being 80%.  Biggest percentage of repeaters we've ever experienced.

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