Over the years, many friends I have met while cruising on other lines have mentioned SeaDream Yacht Club, consistently raving about how these small-ship voyages were among their favorite travel experiences.
These conversations made me eager to take a trip with SeaDream, and I finally sailed one of the line's two ships, SeaDream II, cruising in the Bahamas and to the Dominican Republic for a winter getaway in early 2022. The weather in January makes the conditions a little cooler in the Caribbean, so we faced days of choppy sailing and rain that limited some of the activities that we would have loved to try.
However, the service and cuisine stood out, and Colleen and I quickly realized why our friends love cruising with SeaDream Yacht Club. Within in moments of walking up the gangway to board the 112-passenger ship, Capt. Michael Macleod grabbed our luggage and said he would make sure it was delivered to our cabin. (Yes, the captain!)
Then, as we settled in for a drink in the ship's lounge while we waited our turn to check in, Frank, the sommelier and an 18-year veteran on SeaDream, joined to welcome us aboard and ask whether there was anything he could do for us -- like maybe have him give us a personal tour of the ship he called home.
This is how it went all week, with all staffers greeting us every day with smiles and fabulous service, never failing to make every effort to grant any and all requests. We saw it happening throughout SeaDream II for all of our fellow passengers, too.
Bartenders Gareth and Byron kept our glasses filled and passengers laughing with friendly banter and tales of their home country, South Africa. Hotel manager Jamie made a special run while ashore in the Bahamas to grab a batch of island brews -- Kalik -- for us after learning we were interested in a different variety of beers during the sailing.
It's a good thing that we could indulge a bit during our voyage without feeling too guilty. This is because the ship also features multiple ways to stay active and work out during your cruise.
That means SeaDream Yacht Club fits perfectly with our travel style, offering the ideal mix of food, fun and active adventures.
Here are six ways you can earn your extra calories on a SeaDream cruise:
Several cruise lines offer ships with a water sports marina that opens at the back of the vessel to allow cruisers to get on the water for sports like swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. However, SeaDream Yacht Club has the most-impressive lineup of activities we've ever seen.
We sailed in the Caribbean and would have loved to try all the toys that SeaDream II carries, but the choppy seas throughout our week meant that the activities team couldn't open the marina.
Here's what they offer, though. In addition to kayaks and paddleboards, you can go sailing on the ship's Hobie Cat catamaran, jet skiing, tubing, water skiing, take banana boat rides and use the floating trampoline, as well as swimming and snorkeling.
SeaDream II has a big gym. It's especially large, I think, for a ship that carries just more than 100 passengers. We were able to do everything in this fitness center that we could do at our gym back home. It's equipped with an elliptical machine, spin bike (we used our Peloton app to take a class), treadmills and a nice batch of resistance equipment.
We used the universal machine and dumbbells, as well as the kettle bells, yoga mats and foam rollers to get well-rounded daily workouts.
Tai Chi and Yoga Sessions
The daily program includes morning yoga or Tai Chi classes. Members of the spa team are self-taught in yoga and Tai Chi and lead these informal sessions for passengers outdoors on deck when the weather is nice (or inside when it's too chilly or raining), and these classes are a wonderful way to get the blood flowing and your mind right for another fun day of your voyage.
Though rough at sea, the weather was ideal for runs and hiking while ashore in the Bahamas (we visited Nassau, San Salvador Island and Compass Cay) and the Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata and Isla Saona). During the stop at Compass Cay, we went on a long hike and run along a beautiful and secluded sandy beach. This warmed us up nicely for a swim in the blue waters to cool off.
At San Salvador Island, we took a run to a beach, where again we were alone except for a couple fishermen. SeaDream Yacht Club sails to stunning small ports where you don't have to deal with crowds and can easily blend into the fabric of the daily life of the residents.
So, if you are an avid jogger, hiker or walker, there are brilliant opportunities to go out and explore on your own this way at your port stops.
SeaDream ships carry a fleet of about 10 bikes, so you can also check these out for rides around town. Some ports will be better for this than others. You can imagine riding along the waterside on well-developed paths in Europe, for example.
Snorkeling and Swimming
While you can jump in and splash around off the back of the ship when the marina is open at certain port calls, you also get excellent opportunities to swim and snorkel when you cruise with SeaDream Yacht Club.
We went swimming from the beach almost every day of our trip, and the ships stock snorkel equipment that you cab to use on your own whenever you get the urge to spend some of your time snorkeling at your destination.
We had a special time on our mid-winter trip, but there was no way to do it all. Now, we'll plan to get back on for another sailing to enjoy everything a SeaDream cruise has to offer.
Thanks for reading,