The intimate, friendly atmosphere makes SeaDream yacht Greek voyage memorable
It’s a beautiful, starlit night on deck and I’m nursing an appletini, looking at the glassy midnight blue sea with the Greek island of Patmos twinkling in the distance. The sea breeze, however, is threatening to whisk away the apple garnish. Instantly, a pair of hands appear and a voice says, “May I help you, Miss Becky?” This is the SeaDream way, whether it’s remembering that you like your breakfast tea nice and strong, or rescuing you from imminent cocktail disaster. Nothing is too much trouble.
Our cruise would take us from Istanbul, where I boarded SeaDream I, down the coast of Turkey before hopping across to the Greek islands and finally Athens; with 78 passengers on board, we were to be looked after by a whopping crew of 95.
At just over 104m in length, SeaDream I is compact, but manages to squeeze a small salt water pool, hot tub, indoor and outdoor restaurants, several bars, a spa and gymnasium, and even a miniature casino into its six understated but elegantly adorned decks. Once you’re on board, everything is included. There are no charge cards and no signature required, so whether you fancy an afternoon G&T or a late lunch by the pool, it’s all included.
Staterooms are comfortable but not showy, with crisp, Belgian bedlinen, a small lounge area with fully stocked mini bar, bathroom with double width shower, Bulgari toiletries and an ocean view (none of the staterooms have balconies). On my first evening, I returned to my room to find a pair of monogrammed pyjamas neatly folded upon my turned down bed. This was just the start of the thoughtful gifts and I found myself looking forward to returning to my cabin to discover what goodies had been left for me: a bottle of Champagne; some delicious chocolates; a sweet little drawstring bag; and even a thick cream card printed with an inspirational quote.
Life on board is cheerful and easygoing. Everyone says hello and stops for a chat, and the genuinely friendly staff quickly learned everyone’s names. The dress code is cruise casual – no ties at dinner. The Dining Salon is warm and welcoming, glittering with expensive crystal and silver tableware and aglow with flickering candlelight.
Dinner is the main event and service is expertly attentive. Highlights included a crab salad with creamy avocado mousse, superb seafood and a fillet steak served with sweet potato fries so good I ordered it several times during our seven-day voyage.
The menu consists of four courses, all with several choices, plus a range of classic options that stays the same every night. There is also a healthy ‘Living Food’ section of choices which are plant-based, vegan and raw. Diners can pick and choose across all menus, and if you choose to go off piste and fancy something that’s not listed, Executive Chef Tomasz will try his very best to accommodate you.
Sommelier Robert chooses a different red and white wine to serve every night with dinner. The wine was consistently excellent, but there’s an extensive cellar should you feel like splashing out.
Meals are also served al fresco at the Topside Restaurant, which is just heavenly on a balmy evening.
Land excursions come at a small extra charge, but if you don’t wish to join an organised land excursion, you’re welcome to strike out on your own and the helpful staff will provide maps, advice, even recommendations for their favourite restaurants. Staff and guests often head out to shore together, plus there are mountain bikes on board if you fancy being a bit more adventurous.