By Bob Hoelscher
SeaDream Yacht Club isn’t your average cruise line. Numerous aspects of the company’s philosophy and travel experience are quite different than what you may have experienced with mass-market cruise lines. Here are some of the key differences.
• SeaDream goes to extraordinary lengths to prepare for an unusual itinerary like this Amazon cruise. For example, the captain and three colleagues spent four days and $2,500 to charter a jet boat in December to scout out the route in advance.
• Breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner in favorable weather, aboard SeaDream II are served al fresco in the delightful Topside Restaurant; the elegant Dining Salon is the primary dinner venue.
• Evening entertainment on this cruise was not extensive, but it didn’t need to be. Nice touches aboard also included a shoreside bonfire after dinner one evening and a world atlas, a DVD player, champagne and even personalized stationery in each good-size, 195-square-foot stateroom.
• The ship’s communication equipment was experiencing difficulties during our cruise, however, likely exacerbated by our remote location, that significantly impaired telephone and Internet service for several days and limited stateroom television reception to scheduled movies. However, once Wi-Fi access was restored, the captain showed real class by not charging guests for unlimited use of the system for the remainder of the trip.
• SeaDream II is frequently chartered by upscale corporate, professional and educational groups that appreciate the service, size and intimacy of the vessel. An identical one-week Upper Amazon cruise following our own had been chartered by Notre Dame University. Consequently, groups anticipated to be in the neighborhood of 100 guests are highly unlikely to find a better ship that they can have all to themselves and be assured of a truly topnotch cruise experience, virtually worldwide.