SeaDream Yacht Club review: a week of lapping up luxury while sailing the beautiful Caribbean
But what sets them apart? For starters, SeaDream don't have ships, just two immaculate mega yachts - SeaDream I and SeaDream II - and with capacities of just 112 guests, they are much smaller than your everyday cruise liner.
And with an almost equal number of top class crew, it means guests can enjoy a much more intimate experience while being showered with the most attentive service at sea.
It started the moment my wife and I stepped on board, when instead of being asked for paperwork and passports we were handed a glass of champagne, and with the glistening Barbados sun beating down, it was the warmest of welcomes.
The formalities were quick and easy and with fizz still in hand we were escorted to our 'Deck 4' stateroom where our bags were already waiting to be unpacked, with SeaDream's mission to make guests feel special plain to see.
All staterooms boast an ocean view and although there are no balconies on the yacht, it only takes a minute to walk out on deck. Stateroom features include a marble-lined bathroom with shower and a spacious living area with comfortable sofa, chair and cocktail table ideal for room service drinks and snacks.
There's plenty of storage space for clothes thanks to the built-in wardrobe and dresser which has a giant mirror perfect for the all-important pre-dinner spruce-ups. For entertainment, a large interactive TV is available to watch movies, check the ship's progress and peruse over the day's itinerary.
Our voyage - the Windward Islands Getaway - would take us on a trip round paradise from Bridgetown, Barbados via Trinidad & Tobago's stunning Man of War Bay, St George's and Carriacou in the 'spice island' of Grenada and two stops in St Vincent & The Grenadines, Bequia and the tiny island of Mayreau, which has a population of just 280 people.
Such idyllic destinations are unique to SeaDream as the yachts are able to anchor in small harbours bigger cruise ships can't reach, meaning guests are able to see more of the 'real' Caribbean minus the tourist traps.
Soon after setting sail our first cocktail was calling from the popular 'Top of the Yacht' bar, where for the next seven days we would keep talented bartender Tomislav busy shaking and mixing a variety of concoctions as well as enlightening us with his own impressive creations, although our favourites were two of the classics, the cosmopolitan and mojito.
On-board dining was an exquisite affair with the 'Dining Salon' and outdoor 'Topside Restaurant' boasting the most elegant of seating plans, not to mention serving the finest cuisine on the ocean. Food highlights were the succulent steamed black mussels in white wine sauce for lunch, dinners of delicious grilled rock lobster tail and beef wellington and for dessert the tongue-tingling pecan pie with rum and raisin ice cream.
Complementary wines were served by quirky sommelier Frank who was keen for guests to sample both red and white versions of his specially selected tipples which he personally matched to enhance the chef's mouthwatering menus.
Other food and drink options included 6am coffee and pastries for the early risers and for those hungry in between meals a selection of crudites, dips, fresh fruit and sandwiches were available from the Pool Bar. Tearing ourselves away from the sun loungers was never easy, but attending the early evening pre-dinner cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres was always a treat, where guests mingled in their evening attire.
For daytime fun full use was made of the yacht's water sports marina which lowered into the sea and allowed guests to swim, snorkel, paddle board and hop on the jet ski. A brand-new addition to the range of 'toys' is the large inflatable slide thrust over the side of the pool deck, which provided as much entertainment for onlookers as it did for the thrill-seekers participating.
In order to see more of the destinations SeaDream's itinerary of land adventures are worth the extra cost. In Grenada we enjoyed a trip into the hills for a tour of a herb and spice garden followed by a visit to a rum distillery with obligatory tastings, before winding down with a relaxing swim and rum punch at picturesque Morne Rouge Beach.
In Bequia we made the short walk to Princess Margaret Beach, but the real excitement came in Mayreau where we hopped on a catamaran to the world-famous Tobago Cays for an amazing experience swimming with the sea turtles.
For the more romantic types, how does a night sleeping under the stars sound? By reserving one of the yacht's signature Balinese beds, we had the best night's kip outdoors with only a fresh sea breeze and bottle of champagne to keep us company, only being woken by the beautiful Caribbean sunrise which we watched with a pot of English breakfast tea.
It's the little things that make a difference with SeaDream, like the personalised pyjamas, water bottles and other gifts left in our room each evening, giving us some lovely mementos to take home.
The big party came on the final day in Mayreau when guests were invited to join crew members on the beach for SeaDream's famous Champagne and caviar splash, which as well as free-flowing fizz and caviar, also included a steel band and delicious barbecue lunch.
Despite the blissful destinations and sumptuous food, SeaDream's lure is mainly down to its wonderful crew, as stated by several couples on board who were celebrating milestone voyages, including a British pair who had spent a combined 2,000 days at sea with the company.
It's clear that SeaDream thrives on guests returning time and time again, and not only that it seems the crew like to stick around too, and why wouldn't they? As the Captain said himself one evening, 'We are one big SeaDream family!'
Enjoy a boutique yachting experience with SeaDream Yacht Club calling on exclusive harbours and secluded ports around the world on seven to 15-night voyages. For more information about SeaDream visit the website or call 0800 058 4818. By signing up to the website you can also receive emails about current offers.
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