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ctbjr1309

SD II March 4-11 Cienfuegos to Havana - Not a Review

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Posted (edited)

We are just home from Havana.  Had a great week on SD II.  I am not going to do a play by play review of the week since TrapperZimmy did such a fine job at that.  I am happy to answer specific questions to the extent possible.  I don't have any info or details about any of the specific shore excursions though.

 

As a start, I'll list some of the on board crew who we had the pleasure of spending time with: 

 

Captain Svein-Rune Stromnes.  Our first time sailing with him.  Fun to learn that he and I share the same birthday.  This was either the first or second time that I've had more nights on board than the Captain.

Hotel Manager - Jamie Macgregor.

Maitre d' - Nichola (from Sardinia).  He went on leave today.  Silvio back to work this morning.

Concierge Staff- Frud and Lucy

Sommelier - Eric.  Great to have him back on SeaDream.

Bar Staff - Sev and Tudor.

Wait Staff - Fernando, Emmanuel, O'Neal, Jesse, Carlos, Raja, Jerry and others who I can't currently recall unfortunately.

Head housekeeper - Arla.  Our housekeeper was Jessy.  She did a great job.

Chef - Jorg from Germany was in his 3rd week.  Executive Chef Tomasz from Poland was on board training Jorg.  Generally excellent meals.

 

The staff was top notch and as always made for a fantastic experience.  The wifi connection was tolerable.  Staff very excited (but unfortunately circumspect) about the upcoming announcement.  If I recall correctly, we were 96 passengers and 93 crew.  50 passengers were repeaters.

 

One interesting thing about the SeaDream Cuba experience was their difficulty in obtaining certain food and beverage items.  For example, the week prior they ran out of Bailey's and couldn't get more.  No lemons available during our week.  Initially I was told no Diet Cokes on board so I would need to drink the Cuban equivalent which was watery and not very carbonated.  Fortunately, Nichola found a modest supply of Diet Cokes that Fernando doled out to me throughout the week.

 

Yesterday was a sea day. The Captain stopped the ship in 2800 feet of water and let us go swimming in the Straits of Florida for an hour.  Great fun.

 

That's about it for this non-review.  I'm happy to answer specific questions about our experience so feel free to ask.

Edited by ctbjr1309

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A couple of additions:

 

Club Director - Matt.  Our first time sailing with him in this capacity.  He did a great job.

Activities Director - Toni.  She also did a nice job.

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I'll be doing the TA Bridgetown to Lisbon on SDII in April.  Tickets arrived a few days ago.  I'm looking forward to my first TA experience on a small ship.  Great to hear your glowing report on the crew.  Silvio was with us on SDI in the Caribbean a couple of years ago. He was always there to make it happen.  Our TA was cut from a 12 day cruise to a 10 day cruise because it is going into dry dock in Lisbon upon our arrival.  That coupled with the March 20th announcement raises many possibilities.  Any clues?  Was the yacht in good shape?  All things on board up to SD standards?     

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, back1817 said:

I'll be doing the TA Bridgetown to Lisbon on SDII in April.  Tickets arrived a few days ago.  I'm looking forward to my first TA experience on a small ship.  Great to hear your glowing report on the crew.  Silvio was with us on SDI in the Caribbean a couple of years ago. He was always there to make it happen.  Our TA was cut from a 12 day cruise to a 10 day cruise because it is going into dry dock in Lisbon upon our arrival.  That coupled with the March 20th announcement raises many possibilities.  Any clues?  Was the yacht in good shape?  All things on board up to SD standards?     

 

I believe I heard that the SD II TA is rather lightly booked.  I hope that you enjoy your first SD TA experience as much as we have.  The Captain was doing his best to promote the upcoming SD II Crossing.  I will be on the SD I TA in April so unfortunately, his entreaties were lost on me.

 

Silvio is great.  We're sorry that we missed him although we did have the chance briefly to say hi to him on NYE when he visited SD II for a crew party.

 

The crew was very circumspect about the upcoming announcement and I didn't push it so can't help with that.  The yacht is in generally good shape but given its age there is always the opportunity to spruce things up.  The staterooms are in need of refreshment but that's not in the cards for this upcoming dry dock.  I understand the reason for the change in length of the SD II Eastbound TA trip to be due to an equipment issue needing attention.

 

We enjoyed our week immensely.  No complaint from us as to the current status of standards on SD II.  I expect that you'll find things on board to be to your liking.  Have a great trip!

Edited by ctbjr1309

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Glad you had a great cruise, ctbjr.  And thanks for the compliment regarding my reporting.  We also had Jessy as our housekeeper.  She was both darling and efficient, but aren't they all?

 

Provisioning the ship was a problem.  Because of the embargo, they can't get anything from the States, so they either have to have things brought in from Europe of buy them in Cuba.  Because our voyage started in San Juan, they were able to provision the ship for several weeks of sailing, and I'm sure they had to estimate how much they were going to be using of each item.  I know that bananas were scarce after a few days, mostly because they are hard to keep fresh.  Had to eat my Cheerios without one.  Nevertheless, a banana was found when I ordered my BBC.  I am sure someone made an executive decision that it was more important to have bananas at the pool bar than at the breakfast buffet.

 

I noticed that you, too, distinguished maitre d' Nichola from our beloved Nicola, whose picture was still in the latest brochure.  I inquired as to how his wife and child are doing, but nobody really knows.  She doesn't speak English, so communication is limited.  Somebody told me he had spoken to Nicola's brother, who said things were as good as can be expected.  What I did hear was that the company provided well for them.

 

As I had noted, some of the staterooms were being painted during our trip from San Juan to Cienfuegos because the ship had only 60 passengers.  Still, some new furniture might look nice.  However, we were very happy with the way everything looked and worked (aside from the life boat that broke down).  Is the elevator working yet, or is it still Big Bang Theory?  This is important for people to know if they need to rely upon the elevator.  We had one passenger in a boot and was using a crutch, but she made it up and down the stairs like a trooper.  We felt bad for her, but she never once complained.  (Not an American, I might add.)

 

We also stopped in the middle of the sea (can't remember if it was the first leg or the second) for swimming.  Matt reported we were anchored in 2800 meters of water.  He later recanted, confessing that the vessel does not have a three kilometer anchor chain.  Took a bit of kidding for that gaffe.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sorry, I had intended to mention that the elevator is still out of commission.  The story I heard is that they are waiting for a part.  Not sure if it's an issue getting said part into Cuba or something else.  I have this nagging recollection that the elevator was not working over New Year's but won't swear to it.

 

We didn't hear much about Nikola and I intentionally didn't ask any of the crew.  I figured that we'd hear any news of significance.  Of course, among the passengers there was a fair amount of reminiscing about him and talk of how much he is missed.

 

For what it's worth, there was no shortage of bananas last week so clearly local bananas are not difficult to come by.  I was impressed with the quality of the food in light of the provisioning issues

 

 

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I'm on Deck 2.  Even at my advanced age the stairs are no problem.  Hell, I need the exercise getting to TOYB.  Maybe it's the coming down late evening that will be the problem.   And maybe we'll get a swim mid-Atlantic.  My hope is for smooth sailing and warm weather.   The Bridgetown to Lisbon spring crossing weather is a tough one to predict.  But no worries.  

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Thanks for the updates, CTBJR and Trapper!  We will be on the SD2 crossing, so hope some of the wonderful crew you mentioned will be on board.  Do not know the new captain.  We now have 200  nights on board and are adding another 15 with this trip (truncated crossing and follow-on cruise), but will never catch up to you-know-who!  will look forward to meeting you, Back1817!  You'll usually find me at the piano bar with Bobby's Girl 🙂

Will be difficult to be on board without Nicola -- we sailed with him last March -- last time we were on board 😞

Hope they get the elevator fixed (and hope that's not why we have to go into drydock!).  I usually take the stairs, but some 10 years ago, I broke my leg the day before embarking.  Was in a non-weight bearing cast, so would have been in a world of hurt without the elevator.  As it was, I got quite good at going down (and up) the gangway on my posterior!  Not something I want to do again.......

They better not run out of Baileys!!

Vandrefalk

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Likewise-we'll see you on the 22nd.  Did someone mention the piano bar?

image.thumb.png.850142cdb8c2bed99938df712edd5209.png

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Sorry to miss you on the Crossing, vandrefalk.  Many of the crew we sailed with will still be on board.  I know you'll have a great trip.

 

Elevator repair is not the reason for the unscheduled dry dock so with any luck it'll be repaired soon.

 

Oh, I just remembered why I booked the SD I crossing - Jost Beach Party on Day 1.  Is there a better reason?

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We rarely, if ever, take the elevator.  In fact, I usually don't remember there is one.  This trip, though, we were on deck 2, and because the elevator wasn't working, we felt like Leonard and Penny.  (While there is a physical resemblance between Zimmy and Penny, I don't want to hear any snarky comments (Jim) comparing me to Leonard.)

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13 minutes ago, TrapperZimmy said:

We rarely, if ever, take the elevator.  In fact, I usually don't remember there is one.  This trip, though, we were on deck 2, and because the elevator wasn't working, we felt like Leonard and Penny.  (While there is a physical resemblance between Zimmy and Penny, I don't want to hear any snarky comments (Jim) comparing me to Leonard.)

I would never.....  But this one time, on SeaDream, Lois did need the elevator.  Right before her ankle surgery.  It would have been tough without the little lift.  Only time I ever remember using it.

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Hey Lady "V" --   Glad to hear you'll be with us -- and your other buddies at the piano bar (my second home!)  Does anybody know if it will be George playing for us?  He did not answer my last email. Sometimes it's weeks before he gets back to me.  Our kids had Fred - whom I've met once before.  Great guy.  As always, can't wait to board!

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On 3/12/2019 at 6:24 PM, ctbjr1309 said:

 

Elevator repair is not the reason for the unscheduled dry dock so with any luck it'll be repaired soon.

 

Oh, I just remembered why I booked the SD I crossing - Jost Beach Party on Day 1.  Is there a better reason?

 

I booked SD1 crossing for the beach party as well. Gosh I love Jost Van Dyke! Mom and I will see you onboard! Already have our trivia team formed from those of us from last year who stayed in touch on FB. :D

 

Maria and Lorraine 

20180407_142600.jpg

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2 minutes ago, mcpepe said:

 

I booked SD1 crossing for the beach party as well. Gosh I love Jost Van Dyke! Mom and I will see you onboard! Already have our trivia team formed from those of us from last year who stayed in touch on FB. 😄

 

Great minds....Will look forward to meeting you both very soon.

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Just now, ctbjr1309 said:

 

Great minds....Will look forward to meeting you both very soon.

 

What's your name? Or will you just say to me "I'm CTBJR?" ha In the world of FB with real names it's so funny that CC is still so retro with people maintaining a certain anonymity.

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4 minutes ago, mcpepe said:

 

What's your name? Or will you just say to me "I'm CTBJR?" ha In the world of FB with real names it's so funny that CC is still so retro with people maintaining a certain anonymity.

 

My name is Charlie - at least that's the name I'll be using during the crossing :).

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1 hour ago, ctbjr1309 said:

 

My name is Charlie - at least that's the name I'll be using during the crossing :).

 

Well, come say hello when you see me. I'll be the one working the room introducing myself. Yeh, I do that. :D

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Posted (edited)
On 3/24/2019 at 2:26 PM, ctbjr1309 said:

 

My name is Charlie - at least that's the name I'll be using during the crossing :).

😂🤣Have fun Charlie! 

Edited by ohmiss

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5 minutes ago, ohmiss said:

😂🤣Have fun Charlie! 

 

Thanks, ohmiss.  Will give it my best shot!  Traveling with a long time friend this trip who we introduced to SD several years ago and has become a fan.  Mrs. CTBjr patiently waiting until October for her trip across the Atlantic!

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3 hours ago, ctbjr1309 said:

 

Thanks, ohmiss.  Will give it my best shot!  Traveling with a long time friend this trip who we introduced to SD several years ago and has become a fan.  Mrs. CTBjr patiently waiting until October for her trip across the Atlantic!

Say hello to P! May I join you and Mrs CTBjr in October?! I’m SO looking forward!!!😊🥂

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7 hours ago, ohmiss said:

Say hello to P! May I join you and Mrs CTBjr in October?! I’m SO looking forward!!!😊🥂

 

Yes, I will say hi to Dr. P.  Mrs. CTBjr and I took a vote and unanimously you are IN for October.  Can't wait!

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