“May I clean your sunglasses for you?” It was a simple enough question, but at the same time the offer was so unexpected that my wife, Louise, and I couldn’t help but share a smile as we conferred telepathically with one another: For real? “Why not?” we responded simultaneously, passing our sunglasses to the crewman standing graciously before us holding a small bottle of anti-reflective lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
That was just the latest among a growing list of “SeaDream moments” – pleasantly surprising highlights from our seven-day Caribbean cruise aboard the 344-foot luxury mega-yacht SeaDream I, a voyage that turned out to be as much about simply being on the ship as it was about going places.
Since 2000, Louise and I have cruised more than a dozen times aboard larger ships, from family holidays with our six kids to romantic getaways to the Mediterranean, North Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and beyond. But this holiday – a dual celebration of our 50th birthdays – was a particularly big deal for us. After all, turning 50 is an opportunity to reflect on your triumphs and travails, acknowledge the inevitable physical changes that come with age, and yet also appreciate that, in life’s grand scheme, there is plenty ahead yet to discover.
We splashed out on the SeaDream voyage on the recommendation of our Virtuoso travel advisor, David Lowy, in Vancouver, Canada.
David knows what we like. We’re down-to-earth people who’ve had a fair look around the world. We appreciate value and quality, and have been fortunate to enjoy our share of haute cuisine, fine wines, and the understated elegance of hospitality brands like St. Regis and Four Seasons.
Years earlier David had made a good impression by sending us on a Mediterranean cruise with Oceania; its country club-casual style, robust itinerary, and emphasis on fine dining were right up our alley. On another occasion when we planned a self-guided European tour, David not only landed us an unbeatable airfare to Europe, he also managed to source flights that matched our itinerary perfectly. As always, he looked after our interests.
This time around, we told David we wanted a January sun holiday, ideally in someplace we hadn’t been before. David cautioned us to avoid spending too much of our limited holiday time flying to new destinations. Instead, he pointed us to SeaDream Yacht Club, referencing the line’s slogan: “This isn’t cruising; it’s yachting,” he said. “The ships are small – only about a hundred passengers – and the service is like Four Seasons, except it’s all-inclusive. You’ll love it.”
SeaDream’s winter Caribbean schedule worked with ours, and while the cruise from Saint Thomas to Puerto Rico through the Virgin Islands aboard the blue-hulled SeaDream I didn’t travel a great distance, it elegantly ushered us into the world of yachting.
Surprising us by decking out our stateroom with balloons, ribbons, and handwritten cards, the crew helped make our 50th birthday celebration extra special. After a chef-prepared feast, we joined other guests at the Top of the Yacht Bar for some late-night starlit dancing – it was spectacularly fun.
Louise and I reveled in this extraordinarily satisfying holiday and plotted a future SeaDream voyage.