Passengers:112 Best for: Luxury cruisers looking for an active, yacht-style experience
Sails: The Caribbean, the Mediterranean
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing eighth in the Small Ocean Ship category. Like its twin, SeaDream I, the 112-passenger SeaDream II combines the best of a yacht and a cruise ship. Expect everyone-knows-your-name service, less-traveled ports, and luxe, personalized touches all voyage long.
Just like a luxury yacht, SeaDream’s ships often spend overnights at port and anchor at haute, celeb-loved destinations like St. Bart and Canouan Island in the Grenadines. And many itineraries go where the megaships don’t. For example, in the Caribbean, itineraries include less-traveled stops like Dominica, Guadeloupe, Saba, Anguilla, and Montserrat.
Yes, you could spend all day lazing on one of the ship’s popular Balinese daybeds for two. (Ask and you can even sleep under the stars on one.) But SeaDream II is really geared toward passengers who want to get out and explore. There’s a fleet of mountain bikes onboard and passengers can borrow one when they’re not being used for organized excursions. The ship also has a watersports marina that guests can use when the vessel is anchored. That means instead of going ashore, you can spend the day on the Mediterranean or Caribbean Sea on a kayak, banana boat, paddleboards, waterskis, or even a Jet ski.
No need to worry about being nickeled and dimed: gratuities and an open bar are wrapped into the fare. Also complimentary are the use of the ship’s bikes, water marina, and golf simulator, as well as crew-led excursions like hikes, bike rides, and walking tours.
Meals are served at the outdoor Topside Restaurant and the more formal Dining Salon. The menu emphasizes fresh, local ingredients, and in port you can join the chef when he goes shopping at the market. And there’s enough variety for passengers with even the strictest dietary requirements—raw, gluten-free, and vegan guests will all have plenty to choose from. Caviar lovers are also catered to; you can order it off the room service menu, sample some during a lavish pool party (on Mediterranean itineraries), or get some at the beach, where a waiter serves champagne and caviar via a surfboard in the sea.
Suites are warm and inviting, with a cushy bed, wood paneling, and a white-and-earth-toned palette. And while you won’t find balconies, you will see a window in every cabin. Sizes range from 195 square feet for a standard suite to 447 square feet for an Owner’s Suite with a separate living and dining room, a full bathroom with a tub, a shower, and a window.