Editor's Blog

You must be SeaDreaming

When you're visiting the Greek islands, there's no better way to do it than by sea.

The coastline - with waters so blue it looks like an artificial painting - laps the beaches, offering the perfect contrast to the pretty, whitewashed villages dotted across islands. Yes, the sea is absolutely the way to explore these beautiful areas. And if you're going by sea, it has to be with SeaDream.

I have just finished a 10-day voyage aboard the SeaDream II, after being invited to try out their vessels (oh it's a tough job!). Mum also happened to have some availability as well.

In a nutshell, SeaDream is an all-inclusive, luxury way to spend a few days at sea. The company's tagline of 'yachting, not cruising' might sound a bit pretentious - especially given the two vessels are more cruise liners than yachts - but it serves a purpose, because SeaDream is really quite different to the bigger, more commercial cruise liners.

The biggest difference is the vessels' size - with a maximum capacity of 112 guests, it is ideal for a chartered corporate getaway or incentive. On the other hand, if you're joining a pre-organised charter, it's still the perfect size to meet fellow guests and get to know them. By the end of our 10 days, mum and I were giving emotional hugs of farewell to our new friends.

Another advantage for corporate groups is the accommodation; not only are the rooms immaculately kept, with generous amounts of space and, importantly, reliable air conditioning, the majority are the same standard and size. Apart from being on different deck levels (though none are below water level), it will avoid any unintentional rewarding of a portion of corporate guests.

A swimming pool and spa are positioned at the back of the boat, with deck chairs scattered around (one probably with my imprint still on it), while a spa and salon, a small gym and a variety of daily water sports will keep you busy should you decide to stay on board at the next port of call. I wanted to see if I could remember how to wakeboard and tested the patience of the sea crew, who happily took me out on a smaller speed boat for a few circles.

The facilities, the quality, and of course the cleanliness, of the vessels are absolutely first-rate. I couldn't fault it, or think of anything that was amiss. But that is all nothing compared to the flawless service and attentive levels of the SeaDream crew.

Honestly, the service is like nothing I've ever experienced before. It helps that crew numbers just about match passenger numbers; for every charter of up to 112 guests there are 95 crew. The crew's professionality was immediately apparent when mum and I embarked in Athens, and were greeted by the captain and two other staff; they had all had managed to know where we had come from, and enquired about our flight, without us saying anything. By the second evening, our favourite barstaff Severin and Doma had remembered our favourite cocktails, and began visiting us at our deckchairs at 3pm to ask if we'd like our first Aperol spritz of the day.

Each time we arrived for lunch, Silvio - the good-looking, flirty maitre d' from Croatia who made me and mum giggle like schoolgirls - escorted us with an extended arm to our table, telling us he had saved it particularly for us because it had the best views of the coast. He'd pull out our chairs and give a whispered recommendations from the day's new menu, while the on-board sommelier, Alberto, would fill up our wine glasses (and yes, he too knew our drink preferences after the first day).

Each time we'd begin to walk back to our table after filling our plates from the incredible buffet selection, one of the waitstaff would smoothly whip our plate from our hands and carry it back to our table for us. "How will we cope when we return home?" we began to jokingly wonder after a few days. "Who will carry my plate from the kitchen to the dining table?"

There is just one thing that just about overshadows the first-class service levels; and that is the food. Oh my goodness, the food. I've never eaten so well.

Each meal on SeaDream is a total feast for the senses; the food is laid out on plates like works of art and every dish I had was easily Michellin-starred quality. The range of choice from the daily menus is just mind-boggling, with fresh fruit and seafood offered daily, and cooked to perfection. I have been too nervous to step on a set of scales since...

In fact, the more I reflect on this, it makes me wonder if I've just been SeaDreaming the entire time... If so, excuse me while I go back to sleep.

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