SeaDream’s award-winning mega yachts offer guests a more intimate and personal holiday experience
his year Miami-based cruise company SeaDream Yacht Club celebrated 10 years in operation aboard its boutique, twin mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II.
Luxury by TTN took the opportunity to speak to the company’s president Bob Lepisto about making a success in this niche market and sailing through the recession.
Your literature mentions that SeaDream is very much about ‘yachting’ rather than cruising – what is the difference?
The difference starts with our size. The intimate twin vessels, SeaDream I and SeaDream II have only 56 staterooms, accommodating a maximum of 112 guests. That allows for a very customised sea-going holiday. There are no lines, meals are open seating and cuisine is prepared ‘a la minute’. Again due to our vessels’ size, our itineraries feature many of the smaller, unique yachting harbours that big ships cannot visit. ‘Yachting’ is flexible, if the captain decides the water is nice, he may drop anchor for guests to take a sunset swim. ‘Yachting’ allows for personal choice, it is unregimented. ‘Yachting’ can be active, with complimentary mountain bikes to take ashore or the chef taking guests on a walk to the local market. Yachting can also simply be reading a good book, undisturbed on a Balinese bed on deck.
How has business been throughout the recent difficult economic times and how are future bookings looking?
Business has been going very well during the current times. We are seeing some clients booking closer in to sailing date than in previous years. Future bookings are on track with the current year activity, so we are optimistic about 2012 and 2013.
What is SeaDream’s primary market and do you have a geographic breakdown of guests?
SeaDream Yacht Club enjoys an excellent mix of guests from throughout the world. Our strongest market areas are North America, the UK, Australia, Brazil, the Benelux Countries, Scandinavia, Latin America and Germany. We are just now starting to see some business from Asia and the Middle East, however on a relative basis this is still a very small percentage of our business. Fortunately, we have sold some full- yacht charters to clients in Asia and the Middle East. We expect that to continue in the future.
Are there any plans to more aggressively market the product in the Middle East?
We have a new director of business development responsible for Asia and the Middle East, so we have greater focus now than in the past, to develop these markets.
The two yachts have received a number of international accolades; to what do you attribute this ongoing success?
The crew onboard is to be credited for our awards, accolades and high number of repeat guests. It’s the crew who take such great care in making each guest feel important and special. It’s in the details, such as addressing guests by their name, learning their preferences and anticipating their needs. The environment onboard is casual yet elegant, extremely attentive service without being stuffy.
There are a number of luxury companies operating at sea, how is SeaDream different from the competition?
SeaDream feels and looks like a large private yacht. From the moment you step aboard you get a feeling that you are among friends. Because of the casual dress code, no suits, no ties, no formal attire…people automatically relax and feel at rest. Due to the low number of guests (112) and high number of crew (95) we are able customise the experience for the guests, whether it is special cuisine needs, private dining on deck for two, or special requests for excursions.
What do you see as the future of the luxury sector in this segment?
I see nothing but growth for brands like SeaDream Yacht Club. The Middle East is really an emerging new market for the cruise industry in general, but specifically a great opportunity for the luxury cruise lines and niche products like ours. We see great opportunity for small groups as well as full-yacht charters for family reunions, weddings, birthday celebrations and corporate meetings and incentives from the Middle East. With only 56 staterooms / 112 guests we are perfectly suited for events such as this throughout those areas that we sail; Europe, the Caribbean and the Amazon. Private full-yacht charters of from four to 14 nights work perfectly with SeaDream Yacht Club.
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