If there was ever a year when people yearned to get away from it all for an extended vacation at sea, this might be it.
And despite all the current restrictions on cruising, the opportunity is there, with SeaDream Yacht Club now offering discounts on multiple sailings totaling 28 days or longer.
After a successful season in Norway, SeaDream will become the first luxury cruise line to resume cruises to the Caribbean. Sailings aboard the 112-passenger/95-crew SeaDream I — one of two mega-yachts in the line’s fleet — will begin November 7 out of Barbados.
The six- to eight-night cruises will stop at small, upscale ports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
“Our guests onboard have been asking us about extending their stay,” the company said in a presentation. “They are in no rush to leave the safety of our yacht and the pampering experience of SeaDream’s signature service. What better way to spend this winter season than sailing the warm waters of the West Indies onboard SeaDream.”
SeaDream’s ‘Residence at Sea’ Program is a limited-time offer for cruisers who wish to stay onboard for either four or more sailings or 28+ days.
Those choosing this option will qualify for sizeable discounts, including:
25% off the regular daily rate
25% discount on all premium liquor and wines
50% discount on laundry
50% discount on WiFi
2 weekly spa appointments (value up to $400 per stateroom)
This offer is valid for voyages sailing from November 7, 2020 through April 3, 2021 and is applicable to both new bookings and extensions to existing reservations.
Health & Safety
The itinerary planned by SeaDream is not subject to CDC regulation because it does not involve travel in U.S. waters, but health and safety will still be a primary concern.
Passengers will be required to post a negative test for illness just before flying to Barbados, and travelers from certain countries — likely including the U.S. due to high infection rates — will be tested again on arrival. All passengers would then be screened one more time as they arrived at the pier to board SeaDream I. Shore excursions will likely be more controlled and limited as well, to minimize potential passenger exposure.
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The company has purchased three Abbott ID Now testing machines that will each process four COVID-19 tests per hour. Passengers will arrive at the pier at staggered times to allow for everyone to be tested before departure and anyone who tests positive will not be allowed to board.
On the ship, the precautions will continue, with social distancing requirements and daily temperature-taking. But company officials say masks will not be required to be worn on the yacht, thanks to the extensive pre-departure testing designed to create a negative ‘bubble.’
SeaDream I recently completed a 15-day repositioning cruise from Norway to Barbados, during which time it introduced new technology which it says enables common areas and cabins to be regularly disinfected “to a hospital-grade level.”
Timeline: 2020 Cruise Industry Shutdown
Known as Altapure AP-4, the technology is described as “an enhanced, automated and touchless high-level disinfection sub-micron aerosol system that provides a safe process and rapid elimination of spores, viruses, and vegetative bacteria.”
As cruise lines scramble to find ways to operate safely during the global health crisis, they have to be nimble and creative. SeaDream’s recent Norway coastal cruise season was a case in point. The yacht stopped only at off-the-beaten-path locations and ports where local citizens had offered a warm welcome. The result was a success, as SeaDream began the series with just one yacht, soon added a second, and was oversold for some voyages.
Another Cruise Residence Option
Another option for those seeking life at sea launches on Thursday, when the gavel drops on an auction to sell staterooms aboard the MS Satoshi, a 30-year-old cruise ship formerly known as Regal Princess and Pacific Dawn.
The ship’s new owners plan to anchor the vessel off the coast of Panama and offer a living and working space for “digital nomads, YouTube influencers, and crypto-currency enthusiasts.”
The 777 cabins will be auctioned off as condos, with the first 100 staterooms opening for bids on November 5. Buyers will acquire full ownership of their cabins and pay a monthly fee to cover operating expenses. Tentative initial pricing is estimated between $25,000 and $50,000.