seadream I - seadream yacht club - cruise ship review & photos

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SeaDream I - SeaDream Yacht Club - cruise ship review and photos

Be honest now. How often have you secretly dreamed of owning a super yacht? To invite your friends and sip cocktails on deck as your yacht anchors off some fancy Riviera town? Ahh...

SeaDream I anchored off Portofino, Italy
SeaDream I anchored off Portofino, Italy

Enter SeaDream I, one of two identical super yachts owned and operated by SeaDream Yacht Club. Dividing their time between the Mediterranean and Caribbean the two yachts each carry a maximum of 110 guests and a crew of 92 to cater to every whim. Luxurious? Absolutely! Stuffy? Never!

SeaDream I at Portoferraio, Elba SeaDream I at Portofino, Italy
Cruise Line: SeaDream Yacht Club
Built: 1984
Building Yard: Wärtsilä, Finland
Gross Tonnage: 4,253
Length: 104.8 m (343.8 ft)
Beam: 14.3 m (47.9 ft)
Passengers (norm.): 110
Passengers (max): 110
Crew: 92
Service speed: 17.5 knots

SeaDream Yacht Club was founded in 2001 when cruise industry veterans Atle Brynestad and Larry Pimentel bought Sea Goddess I and II from Cunard. These two small boutique vessels were originally designed to be the most luxurious cruise ships afloat. 

SeaDream I at Portoferraio, Elba
SeaDream I at Portoferraio, Elba

Under SeaDream management, a program of ongoing  enhancements turned the Goddesses into Dreams. Over the past six years, SeaDream I and II have steadily climbed up the cruise ship ladder and are now in the top league.

Relaxed boarding procedures SeaDream I at Portovenere, Italy
SeaDream gangway   SeaDream I at Portovenere,

An important part of the SeaDream success is the charter business and the two yachts are frequently chartered to companies and private parties (isn't that the ultimate luxury?). With a capacity for 55 couples and an all-inclusive drinks policy, the yachts are perfectly suited for any charter. In fact, the charter business is so important for the line that they have set up a special charter website. But apart from the charter business SeaDream also makes many voyages available to the general public. Like our week-long cruise along the Italian Riviera.

Click here for SeaDream I route map

Don't expect to cover long distances on a SeaDream voyage (except on transatlantic crossings). This is yachting after all... On our voyage, SeaDream I usually remains in port until the early hours of the morning, leisurely drifting to the next port of call which is just a couple of hours' sail away.

SeaDream I October 20-27, 2007
Saturday Civitavecchia (Rome)
Sunday Portoferraio, Elba
Monday Portovenere
Tuesday Portofino
Wednesday Livorno
Thursday Livorno
Friday Bastia, Corsica
Saturday Civitavecchia (Rome)

SeaDream is eager to point out that sailing on their ships is "Yachting, not Cruising". Still, the food, service, daily programs, Cruise Director (or Club & Activities Director as it is called here) and room service will remind you of any other upscale cruise line. What really sets SeaDream apart is the size of their yachts. They are compact and perfect for warm weather cruising.

SeaDream I at Portoferraio, Elba
SeaDream I at Portoferraio, Elba

With 92 crew member taking care of a maximum of 110 guests, you can imagine that the service level is high. But it is the attitude of the crew that really gives SeaDream a distinct edge. Always friendly and courteous but never stuffy, the mostly Philippine service staff create a feeling of camaraderie that is hard to beat.

SeaDream's funnel logo SeaDream I at Portovenere, Italy
SeaDream logo   SeaDream I at Portovenere,

On such a small ship (pardon me, yacht) it is very easy getting to know your fellow yachters. On our voyage, most of them seemed well-traveled, affluent but remarkably down to earth. The average age on our cruise hovered in the mid-forties and with 50% Americans and 50% Europeans, the atmosphere was very international. Add to that a relaxed dress code and a great all-inclusive policy (you only pay for spa treatments, vintage wines and shore excursions), most guests got what they were looking for - great food and service, relaxation and... the feeling of owning a super yacht!

SeaDream I at Portovenere SeaDream I navigational bridge
Feels like a private yacht   Wheelhouse


All photos and text: © 2007-2008 Bart de Boer -

First published on January 6, 2008

Amenities, decor, charges and services may have changed since this article was written

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