The Cruise Report
By Ralph Grizzle
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The Cruise Report, hosted by Avid Cruiser Ralph Grizzle and presented by Cruise Specialists, at www.luxurycruises.com.
||CleanSimply The Best?||After sailing on SeaDream II, I'm better qualified to answer the question I posed at the outset of my cruise, and that was: How do SeaDream's twin yachts, both more than 20 years old, outperform all others — at least to readers of Conde Nast Traveler. There were aspects of my cruise that were not unique to SeaDream, and you could argue that other cruise lines do the job as good as or better than SeaDream. Open-seating dining, the quality of the cuisine, and the fact that alcohol and gratuities are included mirrors what you'd expect on small luxury ships. SeaDream's ability to get into small ports, its wide expanse of deck space and its marina with all of the toys reminds me of a ship that sailed along beside us during much of the week: Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf, a special ship in its own right. But there are some areas where SeaDream stands apart. The company's late nights in port combined with outdoor dinners appears to be unique. And while at least one other cruise line offers opportunities to sleep under the stars, SeaDream makes a luxury experience out of it, even down to the custom-embroidered pajamas. Seabourn Cruise Line offers something similar to the Crew Shoreside Casual, but SeaDream takes it one step further with the Captain's hike. The pun was not intended, by the way. Nearly all cruise lines claim excellent staff and cuisine — they better; their reputations depend on it — but SeaDream II really did shine in these areas. The crew exhibited a friendliness and enthusiasm that went beyond what their jobs required. They had a sort of spirit. Moreover, wtith 94 crew members, the 110-passenger SeaDream II boasts a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. Should SeaDream should be the only cruise company in Conde Nast Traveler's top 100 travel experiences? My feeling is that several other cruise companies qualify for the list. That's not a knock on SeaDream, but rather a vote for cruising over other forms of vacation. After all, can you think of a hotel that can take you from one destination to another while you sleep? I can't. Nor is SeaDream perfect for everyone. Families traveling with kids are welcomed, but SeaDream is an adult-oriented experience. That said, families do charter the SeaDream vessels, and both yachts are chartered on a regular basis. The important question, however, is this one: Will SeaDream make your list of top travel experiences? Only you can answer that. To view video clips and commentary, visit www.avidcruiser.com/seadream.||5/27/2007||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSeadream Yacht Club: Interview With Larry Pimentel||In this week’s episode of The Cruise Report, we hear from Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Seadream Yacht Club. You may not have heard of this relatively new company. Operating two small ships, Seadream got its start in September of 2001, an inauspicious time for any company to be making its launch - especially a travel company. But here we are six years later, and the small Miami-based cruise line is doing extremely well. Actually, the company founders would not like to hear me call theirs a cruise line. Their company slogan is “It’s Yachting, Not Cruising.” Yacht or not, these are some pretty spectacular vessels, with “Balinese beds” for sleeping under the Mediterranean sky, an “inflatable island” for water sports, and lots of other toys. But it’s not all about play. Seadream offers one of the finest cruise experiences hands down. In 2006, Conde Nast Traveler’s readers gave Seadream the highest overall score of any passenger ship - large or small, and it was the only cruise line rated in the magazine’s Top 100 Best Travel Experiences in 2006. I am fortunate to be sailing on Seadream beginning May 19. Follow along by logging on to www.luxurycruises.com as I cruise - make that "yacht" - from Barcelona to Nice. Meanwhile, listen to our 15-minute interview with Larry Pimentel.||5/2/2007||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanComing Up In May||May is just around the corner, and I have an exciting month of travel coming up, on not one, but two cruises. I've already started packing for my flight to Rome on Friday of next week. That's where I'll hop on my first cruise on Princess Cruises' brand new Emerald Princess. Our 12-day itinerary takes us from the Eternal City of Rome, up the coast of Italy, through Greece, to Turkey and back through Greece to Venice. I'll post videos and commentary each day from May 5 through May 17, so I'll hope you'll tune in. Now Princess has just announced a number of new culinary enhancements, and I'll be reporting on those as well as providing details about the ship itself and the ports of call. I'll also cover christening events for Emerald Princess from Athens on May 13. So be sure to tune in. A couple of days after disembarking the 3,070-passenger Emerald Princess, I'll board the 108-passenger SeaDream II. What a contrast! I hope to convey the differences between big ship and small ship cruising through videos that I'll post each day between May 19 and May 26. We'll cruise from Barcelona, along the coast of France, to Nice. I'm really excited to learn more about this product. People tell me it's wonderful. Seadream received the highest overall score of any passenger ship - large or small - in Conde Nast Traveler's 2006 Reader's Choice Awards. What sets Seadream apart from the other cruise lines that like to think they're competing against it? Listen to my interview with Seadream Yacht Club President and CEO Larry Pimentel on Wednesday May 2. Meantime, bookmark this page and return often. I look forward to you "cruising" along with me. Reporting for Cruise Specialists, this is Ralph Grizzle.||4/25/2007||Free||View in iTunes|
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Like others in this podcast area of travel and cruises, the name and the description are the same. One of the oldest principles in marketing or selling anything -- give the consumer enough info so they don't have to waste time. Don't make consumers work for your info, cause they won't.