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Seadream I Seadream I Eastern Caribbean Flight to St. Thomas - US Virgin Islands

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Seadream Yacht Club Seadream I

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2005 Date: 3/25/2005

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Email: greg@cruisingreview.com

TEL: 608-238-6001

Air Travel Arrangements

Pre-Cruise Binder with Information

I started planning for this trip about two months in advance. Since I have all my frequent flyer miles on Northwest Airlines (NWA) I tried to get booking through San Juan and then onto St. Thomas. There were very few flights, and at very inconvenient times (required a stay over in San Juan just to get to St. Thomas, USVI). So I looked on Orbitz, Travelocity, and finally after a few hours of research, booked First Class through Expedia. They had the best prices (on same flights) and the best (most flexible) times. On the flights down it was Comair to Cincinnati, Delta to Atlanta, then Delta to St. Thomas direct. Since this was also Easter weekend, flights were getting full. Using my NWA frequent flyer number, I can print out tickets ahead of time on my home computer because they are part of the SkyTeam Network.

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Cruise Arrangements

Packing into Carryon

I tried to find Seadream Yacht Club on the major online travel agencies, but with no luck. I then went to the Seadream website and looked at itineraries and prices. Booking direct through Seadream, I did not save anything versus booking through a travel agent (Seadream gives travel agents a discount). When I requested a best cabin/best fare quote, they quoted me over $500 per person more than was listed on the website. When I inquired as to why this was, they lowered the quote to the published (internet rate). So it always pays to check twice on what people are trying to sell you (for exactly the same cabin class, etc.). Tickets arrived via 3-day select UPS a week before the cruise. Seadream has an online passenger information database into which you enter your passport and other data. I had no problem accessing it with my Mac Powerbook (other cruiselines do not support some browser types other than Windows specific).

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Cruise Tickets and Information

Wyndham Bathroom

Seadream provides a very professional leather-bound binder with removable information pages. Every question I had regarding the cruise was answered in the binder, along with maps, ship data and tours. So far, the most professional I've seen yet. This cruise requires a passport (as many do these days) even though it begins and ends in the US Virgin Islands.

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Flights To St. Thomas

Poor Housekeeping Upon Arrival at Wyndham

The Madison to Cincinnati flight departed at a very early 5:30 a.m. on a ComAir (Delta) Canadair (CRJ50) jet. It was cramped and uncomfortable with only Economy Class. Arriving at Cincinnati on time, we immediately sought out the Delta Crown Room lounge. Since Northwest has a WorldClubs reciprocity agreement with Delta, we can use their lounges. I have to say, they are so much nicer than the nicest of the Northwest WorldClubs rooms. We boarded a MD-88 for Atlanta and again stopped by the Delta Crown Room between flights. Finally, we boarded a B757 in Atlanta for St. Thomas. The First Class section on the 757 is 2x2 with very comfortable leather seats. The food was average - which seems to be the norm now on most carriers in First Class.

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Travel With Only carryon Luggage

Room

This trip, like all others, was with one carry-on piece of luggage. I actually found a smaller notebook-typeRollaboard with a top opening section that works just perfect for tropical travel. This cruise is country-club casual, so fancy clothes are not required.

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Landing St. Thomas

Room

We landed on schedule, around 4:30 p.m. to a sunny 80 deg. F St. Thomas. Not needed to collect luggage, we immediately went to find a cab. Generally, they pile in as many people as possible to a van, but still charge the same amount per person (the tariff is set at $15 from and to the Wyndham per person). After trying to cram in one cab, I request a private cab, and we had a van to ourselves for a $60 total fee. The windy road through the small mountains to the eastern side of the island (Sugar Bay) where the resort was located too about 30-45 minutes. Traffic will increase or decrease this time.

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Check-in at the Wyndham

View From Room

Check-in was smooth and efficient. We were taken to a out building of the resort (H) where we had a ocean view room (365). The view was fantastic-- St. Johns, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and other islands. We couldn't get into the room-- the key was not set, so I had to return to get the keycards validated. The room, when we finally got in was average, a bit run down. Not enough towels. However it was very clean. Again, an average room for about $380 per night.

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The Resort

Another View from Room

The Wyndham at Sugar Bay is a huge resort, with the hotel on a hill and the pools, outdoor activities and beaches at a much lower level. It's such a climb down to the beach that they have a shuttle to take you there that runs continuously all day long. The resort has a Jamaican feel to it with vibrant colors and colonial style architecture.

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Dinner

Love Shack

We had dinner at the reservations only Manor House restaurant which is just off the lobby in the main building. It turns out you really don't need reservations (especially if you eat after 8:30 p.m.) and the restaurant was more casual than the reservations-only might suggest. The good turned out to be really good-- I had a steak (filleted in strips and marinated) and the salad bar. Very reasonable prices. Most people here are on a all-inclusive package, which means you can have anything you want (you have to wear a small purple plastic wristband).

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Duffy's Love Shack - Red Hook - American Yacht Harbor

Drinks at Love Shack

After dinner, I wanted to go to a store and get some breakfast food and water, so we took a cab to the nearest village, about 10 minutes away (and $4 cab fare per person). It turns out the stores were closed around 10 p.m. so we went to Duffy's Love Shack for some tropical drinks. Outside of the port, this is the happening spot on the eastern side of the island. It reminded me alot of Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora (tropical drinks, etc.) albeit a more metropolitan version. They had a huge range of coconut and pineapple drinks, and an open-aire type dance floor with all the latest hits (from 5 years ago) spinning from the DJ.

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Saloon

Outside View of Duffy's During Daytime

After Duffy's went went over to the Saloon across the street to watch the final brackets of the college basketball tournament (UW-Madison) which was next to the marina, then took a taxi back. I got some more towels from reception and inquired about water-- there was no bottled water to be had. I checked the vending machines, and they were out as well.

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