Living the SeaDream

Living the SeaDream

Get to know “the little cruise line that could

By Judi Cuervo

I was destined to fall in love with SeaDream Yacht Club.

In 1986, I’d already been cruising for nearly a decade when I was intrigued by two sister ships: Cunard Line’s Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II. Unlike the Carnival Cruise Line, Home Lines, and Holland America Line ships that defined my cruise history at that point, the Sea Goddesses were diminutive, 4,250-ton, 110-passenger yachts that were, with an emphasis on champagne and caviar, clearly the playground of an affluent and celebrity clientele and certainly not a 20-something budget traveler who typically booked an inside upper and lower.

Introducing SeaDream Yacht Club

Fast forward to 2001 and, with 25 years of sailing under my belt, cruising had become my obsession. I watched that year as the cruise industry headed in an extravagant new direction, churning out 100,000-gross-ton ships that accommodated thousands of guests and attracted families as well as the couples that traditionally characterize cruising’s target market.

Aboard these massive and opulent ships were private verandahs, alternative dining venues, wedding chapels, ice-skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, lavish spas, and vast children’s facilities. Eleven of these behemoths were to debut that very year so it’s not surprising that there was little fanfare surrounding the latest sale of the tiny Goddesses back to the yachts’ original owner, Atle Brynestad, and business partner, Larry Pimentel, who put them through an extensive dry dock and refit and re-christened them SeaDream I and SeaDream II under a SeaDream Yacht Club banner. (In 1999, Cunard’s Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II were transferred into the Seabourn Cruise Line fleet and renamed Seabourn Goddess I and Seabourn Goddess II.) …

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Photo: SeaDream Yacht Club

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.