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How Good Is This for Service?

June 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

WE’VE just experienced yachting – not cruising – aboard SeaDream II from Malaga in Spain up to Nice in France.

And the first thing we noticed about travelling on a yacht was the fact that nothing was too far away. No need for a lift, although there was one – from our cabin on Deck 4 the top deck was only around 50 paces away. Downstairs to deck 3 and the Concierge’s little nook, took less than a minute.

And most surprising, was that within a few hours of going aboard, everyone knew guests names. Everyone. From the breakfast waiter to the Maitre d’hotel, the girls in the Spa, the cabins’ cleaning team, the restaurant staff, the bar staff.  And they didn’t forget…not once. Never.

Plus, we soon discovered, the level of service on SeaDream II is extraordinary. On our first morning down in the dining room for breakfast we quickly learned that despite how expansive was the menu, if nothing appealed we could, in the words of the waiter, “have anything your heart desires.” And when Fiona realised she had forgotten her glasses, so too did our waiter pick up on her problem – and without any prompting, within a minute had a box of off-the-shelf reading glasses on our table.

On another morning when SeaDream arrived at Spain’s walled city of Ibiza, we went down again to the dining room for breakfast, but as it was quite warm outside we asked of the possibility of breakfasting on the top deck. “Why not!” came the instant reply.  “Coffee, tea, fresh orange juice and water will go up immediately,” our flexible and ever courteous Maitre d’ Nikolas offered.

That top deck was only a short walk away and we quickly found a table languishing beneath a warming Ibizan spring sun.  The walled city hugged us close to its sprawling promenade and with no other diners for company, we spent a deliciously quiet hour enjoying fresh fruit, muesli, scrambled eggs and toast. How impressive the restaurant crew are: The orange juice was freshly squeezed, the eggs golden and fluffy, and the dark rye seeded bread toasted to my wife’s exacting specifications.

I tend to be very regimented re breakfast starting with cornflakes covered in plain yogurt, then fresh fruit followed by scrambled eggs and a slice of white toast. I only needed to order once – after day one everything arrived just as I prefer.

For cold drinks, Fiona doesn’t like ice but prefers her drinks chilled and with a wedge of lemon.  Her wish was their command, and the waiters worked out fast (within 48 hours) that she is also a real coffee snob and loves it being prepared in specific way.  No machine was going to give her the long piccolo she wants, but boy those waiters went close, determined to get it just right. 

And one overheard Fiona say she had spotted a new jar of Marmite lurking around.  That wasn’t enough for that waiter and Maitre d’ Nikola Ivanovic.  He knew we were Australians and while she might happily consume the tarry black spread of her English youth, he figured that Fiona might just want that strange vegetable extract called Vegemite – that no one but Aussies ask about. 

And he somewhere found a new jar of the stuff and brought it on day two at breakfast time. And without fanfare.  Just a grin and a nod.  Fiona was thrilled.

But perhaps the moment we realised just how far the staff will go to please a passenger is when a quiet and unassuming waiter called Pol offered Fiona an eclair at lunchtime. He watched her wrinkle her nose at the white chocolate icing.  “I don’t like white chocolate” she explained.  That night we found a small clutch of profiteroles awaiting us in our cabin after dinner – mini eclairs if you will – covered in the most scrumptious dark 70% Valrhona.  Delicious.  And it didn’t matter that we’d just arrived back from dinner including the dessert feast planned for that evening….

Sommelier Frank Kis is a man who knows his way around all the wines on board, and sized me up as a Grenache drinker. Apologising that SeaDream does not have Australian reds on board as the mainly American palates on board aren’t used to slam in your face Shiraz from our vineyards, he came up with a series of good Rosés for lunchtime and Grenache blends for dinner. And all very drinkable.

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