Built: 1985 Refitted: 2002
Gross Tonnage: 4,260 Passengers: 112
Location: Yangon, Myanmar
SEADREAM Yacht Club (SYC) [www.seadream.com] knows exactly
what they’re about. The company launched with two identical vessels
just a couple of weeks before the calamitous 9/11 event and founder,
Norwegian-born entrepreneur Atle Brynestad, thought he was doomed.
But against all predictions, not only did SYC survive, it flourished.
I’ve had my eye on these ships (whoops, ‘yachts’) for years and when
their ground-breaking Asian itineraries were announced, I pounced. It
was a bit of a risk for the regular Mediterranean and Caribbean-operating
line, which had come under increasing (gentle) pressure from their
growing legion of repeat guests to find new playgrounds to explore.
Long time SYC Club Director, now Business Development Director
Asia, Thailand-based Richard Jones, was behind the push and with his
extensive knowledge of the region, oversaw the 13 new itinerates that
include major ports such as Yangon, Singapore, Hong Kong, Phuket,
Langkawi, Bali, Bangkok and Cairns. After this exploratory season, SYC
will return to Asia for the 2015-16 southern summer, but will only travel
as far south as Bali.
Constantly lauded by the cruise industry’s independent arbiter, the
Berlitz Guide, SYC has consistently ranked at or near the top of the tables
for ‘Boutique Ships’ category (50 – 250 passengers) against some pretty
Chatting to some of the repeat cruisers, many of whom count their
days aboard in the hundreds, it keeps coming back to service. Being
treated like royalty with your every need predicted, without being
fawned over or stifled. Our sommelier, Frank, a dashing and lively
Hungarian of some ten years standing with SYC, would address us
cheerfully with ‘How ya going mayte” then proceed to elaborate on the
salubrious wine list for the evening’s fine dining menu.
Another of the things that topped many repeat cruisers’ favourite
things was the all-inclusive beverages. Super quality wines, aperitifs and
spirits are there for the asking. Okay, if you want Dom Pérignon, there’s
a surcharge but the included drinks would satisfy most discerning tastes
and many a late night was had at the Top of the Yacht Bar in entertaining
SYC might sound like a retirement plan for well-heeled and sozzled
seniors, but my experience did not support that myth. Most passengers
were middle-aged or older couples, some with tight families in tow
enjoying some true luxury time together. Active types can utilise the
water sport ‘toy box’ with jetskis, snorkelling, kayaks or hobbycats and
when aboard, there’s a golf simulator to keep you swinging, although the
a/c needs a tweek to keep it comfortable.
To find fault with this well-oiled offering is to appear churlish, but if
pressed I would say the bathrooms are a bit tight (especially if you’ve
been enjoying the cuisine) and more simple, included shore excursions
would be nice, such as a city walk led by one of the crew or staff. The
shore-ex on my itinerary were all add-ons ranging from Shwedegon
Pagoda ($49) to Bagan by air ($795). The only included tour was a tender
visit to the Sea Gypsy village.
Voyages are typically 7-days, with some 10 to 14 also on offer. Brochure
fares are around $1000pp/day but substantial discounts can be had for
For more information and reservations, contact SeaDream specialist
Cruise Express [http://www.cruiseexpress.com.au] on 1300 766 537.
Aboard SeaDream II by: Roderick EimeDecember 17, 2013