21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Seabourn Ovation is brand new and is the most luxurious and stylish ship - we were in awe! The entertainment is world-class - both the onboard singers and dancers and the visiting entertainers, who were incredible. We feel very lucky to ... Read More
Seabourn Ovation is brand new and is the most luxurious and stylish ship - we were in awe! The entertainment is world-class - both the onboard singers and dancers and the visiting entertainers, who were incredible. We feel very lucky to have seen such top-class entertainment in our intimate venue on a cruise ship. The service is second to none and the staff are attentive, caring, friendly and genuinely interested in our cruise experience. We left Barcelona and ended in Lisbon. Destinations (except Casablanca) were well-chosen, with interesting excursions and cultures. More time in Gibraltar was needed, though. Our V2 veranda cabin space was generous and the balcony was far bigger than we were expecting. Even though the ship was fully-booked we kept wondering where everyone was (even on the day at sea!) because there were always empty sitting spaces across the entire ship. Staff are so attentive in the outdoor eating area that we never waited more than two minutes before being asked if we wanted a drink. Excursions are well-organised. Embarkation was easy - no queues and our bags were delivered promptly enough. Disembarkation was easy and our bags were taken off the ship on time. Overall the whole experience was magical. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the ... Read More
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the Seabourn itinerary was sold out. Silversea fared quite favourably in terms of service and food but the Silver Shadow was badly in need of refurbishment. The Ovation is a beautiful ship and spacious. We rarely had difficulty finding a seat anywhere. The cabins are spacious, well designed and functional with great bath and shower facilities. Our stewardess Maggie was very good and unobtrusive doing most of the housekeeping while we were out of the cabin. She did a great job of tracking down the beers and wines that we liked best and kept them well stocked. Turndown was great with nightly chocolate. Overall food quality was very good however on several occasions in the Colonade, at breakfast and lunch, the staff was overwhelmed with the number of people they had to serve. Even in the Restaurant at dinner the staff was occasionally overwhelmed. No complaints about any individuals as most were friendly and worked hard BUT there was not enough of them to provide the level of service provided on the smaller ships. The Keller was a relaxing, quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Restaurant with great service however the limited menu and food was disappointing especially the lamb that did not come close to the lamb served in the Restaurant and Colonade. On the plus side the Dover sole was the best anywhere. The shore excursions to several less travelled ports were generally very good. Hamburg, Lubeck, Berlin, Klaipeda, Saarema, and Turku were outstanding. The sail away in Szczecin was fantastic with the 3 cannon, 3 volley salute from the Prussian guard. Peter Damisch enrichment lectures were excellent. Most annoying was the lack of USB charging ports in the cabins and slow internet service. Whoever designed the ship sure messed up on this. In addition, the price charged for the terrible internet service was outrageous. Time for Seabourn to include this in the cruise fare. Seabourn is the only "luxury" cruise line to charge extra for internet. Apart for the internet and occasional service gap a good cruise - definitely 4 star but not 5. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking ... Read More
On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking crew. As others have mentioned, service was not perfect on this cruise, but, most of the time it was excellent. I choose not to dwell on a couple or three meals where there was chaos ruling (often due to language difficulties). The vast majority of the time, our food was served timely and well along with wine or other drinks that we ordered. The ship's crew included some superlative members who gave everything they did a personal touch. This is one reason we love Seabourn. Any review of food is, necessarily a very subjective experience. The ship's passengers come from several continents and have different expectations when it comes to food choices and seasoning. What some would call bland, others would call just right. Personally, we found the food to be usually excellent. We ate mostly in the MDR (The Restaurant), but also enjoyed offerings at The Colonnade and Earth and Ocean (the new concept on the Patio in the evening). We also had three meals at the TK Grill over 21 days. We enjoyed the TK Grill, but found the chicken to be WAY too salty, while others thought it was perfect. Again, different perspectives on food. We loved the appetizer prawns the steak, mushrooms and especially the Dover Sole. We enjoyed quite a number of room service breakfasts, but found the room service for dinner (tried it twice) to be very lackluster. I do not recommend it. Breakfast in the MDR was outstanding and such a peaceful experience. Tea time at 4pm each afternoon was delightful. While you do have to go to a buffet for your sandwiches and other tidbits, tea service itself was prompt and cordial --along with refills if you wanted them. We ordered caviar a number of times (usually sharing with others) and it was a fun experience. The ports on this cruise were interesting--they included Hamburg, Wismar (Germany), Sceczsin (Poland), Klapeda (Lithuania), Turku (Finland), Saaramar (Estonia), Bornholm (Denmark), Stockholm, Tallin (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Helsinki. We missed Visby, Sweden due to rough seas. While some passengers complained about the Polish port (very industrial) and the port on the island of Saaramar, Estonia, I found the both to be memorable experiences. Neither of these ports are tourist meccas. That is one of the things that makes them interesting. We also enjoyed the island of Bornholm, even though our tour took in a lot of venues in just a few hours (one of eight round churches on the island, castle ruins, and glass making) Our tour guide on Bornholm, while a bit rough around the edges, was a proud Dane and gave us a real sense of what the local people are like. His English was quite good. We toured Tallin on our own--a wonderful experience. Our St. Petersburg guides were quite good---a lot of sightseeing packed into three days. We were in Helsinki a very short time (leaving at 2pm) but glad to have been there. A real highlight for me was Lubeck, Germany which we toured from Hamburg. I highly recommend going to Lubeck, A word about the cruise director--Handre. He is EXCELLENT. Handre is a true asset for Seabourn and makes every cruise more fun. Entertainment--The Seabourn Singers are excellent, but for me, the background music was way too loud. I would have enjoyed their voices being more front and center. The singers are delightful people. They mingled with the passengers and it was fun to talk to them. We enjoyed the Tim Rice Show, the Through the Decades Show, and the Nashville Show. The mentalist was very entertaining. We did not enjoy the comics, but once again, any attempt review entertainment is very subjective. Enrichment--We attended four lectures by Peter Damslich on the Hanseatic League and the Romanovs. All were quite excellent with fabulous slides to go along with his talk. Poolside dining--We enjoyed many lunches around the pool. I heartily recommend the Napa Burger. The Pool Bar staff is very attentive. The new Earth and Air venue around the pool in the evening is quite good--with excellent presentation. This was our second Seabourn cruise (the first being on the Encore) and it was great fun. We plan cruise Seabourn again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This is our 4th Seabourn Cruise and I have noticed as the ships get bigger the service get skimpier. On this cruise this was especially true in the dining areas (The Restaurant, Colonnade and the Observation Lounge at Tea). The staff is ... Read More
This is our 4th Seabourn Cruise and I have noticed as the ships get bigger the service get skimpier. On this cruise this was especially true in the dining areas (The Restaurant, Colonnade and the Observation Lounge at Tea). The staff is as friendly as ever, but there are not enough of them. They are trying hard, but rushing around and making mistakes. This leads to frustration on the part of the staff and the customers. It should not take 20 minutes to get coffee in the morning nor 25 mins to get the wrong desert order at dinner. The other downer was some of the port of call selections. We made a stop in Szczecin. Poland which sort of reminded me of Cleveland, Ohio back in the 70's before it's renaissance. We also docked at Saaremaa, Estonia and the dock was a 45 min drive to nearest small town in the middle of nowhere. Missed a port call at Visby, Sweden, because it was too windy to dock. (However, I think that was a good safety call). We also had a horrible tour guide when we stopped at Nekso, Denmark. (Tour was rushed at 4-5 sites and would have been much better to go more in depth at just 2 or 3) On the positive side, the staff on Seabourn are great and try hard, the entertainment very good and the food is wonderful. We ate twice at the Thomas Keller venue and the service and food were outstanding. No complaints about the food in the Colonnade, Patio Grill or the Resturant, just the service levels. My recommendations for Seabourn are: 1. Take a hard look at staffing in the dining areas, your turning loyal customers off. If you had fixed the staffing on this cruise it we would have rated it as 4.5 instead of a 3 even with some of the other issues. 2. Vet the Ports of Call and the Tour Operators better. Some were great (like the Village Life in Kalbedia tour in Lithuania) and some are marginal like Saaremaa and Szczecin. 3. Look in the rear view mirror, because other small ship lines are about to eat your lunch. Overall this trip was just okay and did not make it a knock your socks off experience like our trips on the Spirit and the Sojourn, which is a real shame. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had ... Read More
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had a day in Tallin ,Estonia and a half day in Helsinki, Finland, with one day at sea.Embarkation was easy at 2 pm, with a delicious buffet lunch waiting..We had a verandah suite on deck 7. On arrival, I noticed that the floor had not been vacuumed and they were hairs in the bathtub. When I contacted housekeeping this was quickly rectified. The suites are well thought out with lots of storage space, but if the bathroom door is open and you open the front door, they smash together. I had chosen to be in the middle of deck 7 as I wanted a quiet room away from any high traffic areas. However, the poor internal design of the ship meant the doors slammed, which could be heard at all hours, footsteps from above caused loud noise and strong vibrations in the room, and people could be heard in the next cabins. Several people I spoke to who,unfortunately were given rooms that interconnected with others had it even worse and made complaints. What a shame that the latest luxury liner did not use the latest technology for soundproofing. On the positive side, all the staff were exceptional in all areas. The food was of a very high quality, and I recommend the afternoon tea scones as well as the gelato. However, a lot of the food felt somewhat old fashioned, and I think they would benefit from some more modern cuisine, such as Asian fusion. The guest entertainers were excellent, including a mentalist and an award- winning pianist. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! ... Read More
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! The Thomas Keller was one of the worst restaurants at sea i have experienced. Decor was lovely but the food has been better at Denny's. The additional 150 passengers totally changes the feeling of the ship. This may have also have been impacted by more European passenger makeup but the ship was full of a bunch. of snobs. No sense of comradery. The Japanese Restaurant food was OK but far from good. The Retreat is a joke - expensive and seldom used. In general the crew was good - a great captain, bar tenders and pool side servers were excellent but our cabin stewards was poor at best and the waiters and management ti the main dining room were not ally ways helpful. New tenders ware great - much improved access. The itinerary was great- we attended most of the enrichment lectures and they were lacking. Olive oil lecture was a waste of time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething ... Read More
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething problems still being addressed as one should expect with a great team working hard to make sure everything was as it should be. The ship is visually very impressive and beautifully appointed. A delight to be aboard! Suite - The standard ‘verandah suite', was well appointed with everything you need and has good space considering we didn’t really spend much time there. Of course it's always nice to arrive to a bottle of Champagne on ice. The bathroom was excellent with dual basins, fitted out with bath as well although I do wonder how many guests actually use the it. I suspect it becomes a good hand-washing drying space as there is a very well positioned pull-out clothes line above. The housekeeping staff work hard and try very hard to make things perfect. No, there is not a butler which may be nice for some, but I’m not sure we needed or wanted one - maybe just for initial meet and greet. Again its your individual perspective on what a cruise ship should provide that makes it difficult for any company to provide a complete package for all. Food - The food on board was generally very good - there is always something one can criticise -but for me, the quality was mainly very good or better. I have to say that the Thomas Keller Grill experience is really very good - ahh those yummy prawns - and not being from the US and albeit a ‘foodie’, the name Thomas Keller was unfamiliar to me. I like the fact you can book this venue and I understand exactly why, but this appeared to annoy some of the ‘experienced’ cruisers who just seem to want to breeze in to any dining venue at will. Controlling your daily reservations flow also helps control service and food delivery but the smaller restaurant capacity also dictates how many times a passenger may potentially dine there. Except to say bookings were strictly controlled and I did strike some attitude trying to make a booking of 4 to invite others to dinner without knowing our guests suite number. The Grill service was excellent though with exceptional wait staff and an appealing environment with lovely quality simple food executed very well. We loved Thomas Keller themed nights in Colonnade too as they were ‘help your self platters’ in centre of table - good food, well executed - billed as ‘American Home Style’. Again others said it was too casual but I thought it was a perfect balance to the more formal restaurant environments and it was only one night a week I believe with a la carte menus available at other times. I suppose I see a ‘changing of the guard’ with more modern food service style options appealing to a slightly younger range of people. But some customers prefer a more traditional formal food service in all the venues it seems. A great addition to Seabourn ships is the Sushi restaurant. A good place for a simple dinner/lunch option and it was popular. Service was excellent with bubbly friendly staff, food was acceptably good, but not quite where it should be - but we’re tough Asian food critics too. Room for improvement there but more with their ‘formal night’ ‘Kaiseki-ryōru menu which fell well short of what it should be rather than the more simple menu offered day to day. We loved the Patio dining option - a relaxed casual on deck dining space beside the pool with good variety seven day menus at night, small buffet salad and meat options for lunch. Service was generally always friendly, welcoming and attentive. I imagine this area is very popular on the warmer cruises but a number of people like us didn’t mind the cooler experience on deck some evenings and the staff had blankets wraps available to keep us all warm on the cooler nights. The Restaurant was a mostly a good experience too except there was a hiccup on the first formal night where some food and or service issues were obvious and staff were stressed, under the pump and some customers were complaining. We were in and out early that night but I could feel the stress of the evening unfolding. Subsequent Restaurant dinners experiences were mostly very good especially considering the concentrated volume they contend with on a nightly basis. The Restaurant has diverse and different menus every day supporting the ‘Classic’ fare which were welcome. The Souffles I must say are a very popular dessert as there were always plenty going by. Breakfast in the Restaurant was a nice quiet option too, compared the much busier and livelier Colonnade. Both offered good breakfast options. Standouts - The standouts for me were firstly the Cruise Director - well known and loved by regulars. Handre was excellent and a master in that role keeping everyone happy and making them all feel special. Very polished. I certainly hope that Seabourn are paying him plenty. As well as a being on a brand new ship, the live shows in my opinion were very very good and again it’s subjective but mostly all were excellent or at worst, very good. Seabourn Ovation has these very expensive new ‘LED walls’ which which make up the whole rear of the stage and they can do some spectacular high resolution visuals. The excellent and fun 'An Evening with Sir Tim Rice' show was a great example of using this technology as Sir Tim ‘interacted’ with the live show from the side or behind on these Led panels. The performers on board were all better than very good and sang/danced/played their hearts out. That includes entertainers in the piano bar in The Grill and Observation Bar. All excellent. The band in the Club at night probably could have been much better in hindsight and I felt this space was dreary during the day with the dark sun filter curtains and not welcoming for me. Trivia was always fun - although our team never seemed to win the wonderful prizes on offer. Crew - were generally very good to excellent. They all try very hard to make everything perfect for the guests and it’s a hard gig I understand - but it was warming to genuinely hear some crew actually say ‘I love my job’. That alone helps set the attitude for everyone else on board and helps put things in perspective when considering first world problems. Let’s not forget the wonderful Captain, officers and non service crew who were constantly around the ship interacting with all their guests. As well, you get to meet some interesting people on a cruise like this - people from all walks of life, often with fascinating stories to share enriching the experience. Generally, what a great experience it was. Traveling the world is never going to be perfect as you and I know, except to say these competitive Cruise companies put themselves out there saying it’s 6 star/fine dining/inclusive this and that with stunning marketing machines generating fantastic slogans and photos promising the earth- charging high end fees - so I suppose the customer has a right to say when they feel something is not quite up to the mark. I also understand that regular cruisers have a different expectation than we did with our L-Plates and I can say it appears to be a very diverse and difficult customer base at times. But the expensive and annoying Internet charge was a common topic for some used to free Internet on other cruise lines. A moot point indeed and something Seabourn should address sooner than later. No you won’t see every port/city/town in detail but we did get to go to a lot of places we wouldn’t have even considered like lovely Arendal in Norway, Ventspills in Latvia - so nice being the only cruise ship in a small town unlike stunning Tallinn, Estonia, where we shared the over-run town with about 20 onshore tour groups from the three other bigger cruise ships. But that is the value of cruising on a small ship in the smaller ports, and I have no desire to go on the bigger ones at this stage- as nice as they may be with more onboard activities etc - sometimes they just flood the smaller towns with tourists. I think the emerging market is definitely ports of call that the big ships cannot get to. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, ... Read More
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, Seabourn and their staff ensured everything went extremely smoothly from the very start. Check-in and boarding in Stockholm took 5 minutes, very different from experiences we have had in departure ports like Seattle and Istanbul. Our cabin (Veranda Suite on deck 9) was well equipped, and a little larger than we have experienced on other ships. I would not say the Seabourn Ovation has a great “wow” factor - no large Atriums or glass elevators, BUT the attention to detail from the staff, and the fact the ship is designed to never seem crowded, more than made-up for it.....it very quickly felt like home. The food was excellent in all restaurants. We particularly liked the Sushi restaurant and the excellent waiters/sushi chefs, as well as The Grill (reservation needed, but no extra fee to pay). The Collonade restaurant provides buffet breakfasts and lunch, with a themed menu dinner service. The found the quality of food just as refined as in the ships main restaurant ( called The Restaurant). We noticed two things with the Seabourn staff, that added to our experience; they were happy to engage in conversation with the guests and we particularly had the impression they were proud to work for Seabourn. This pride showed in the way they treated all the guests and took care of every detail. I need to mention two staff by name, Danielle, oiur excellent cabin steward that always seemed to be available right outside our cabin and always with s mile, and Tibor in the Patio Bar, who decided his mission was to introduce my non-alcohol drinking wife to cocktails of her choice. We only used the Seabourn shore excursions in St Petersburg as we did not have independent visas for Russia. All the trips were well organized and not too expensive compared to other cruise lines. We also noticed that Seabourn seemed to ensure each group was quite small, so never any waiting around. Finally dis-embarkation in Copenhagen could not have been easier. No immigration, no queues for luggage or for taxis.....just a smooth as the start of the trip. Insider tip - if you like good croissants for breakfast, go to the coffee shop in the Seabourn Square. They make their own, and they are a little more “French” than in the restaurant. Thank you Seabourn! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was entirely the opposite. Three years ago we chose a Norway cruise in late June. The weather was OK but we were a little tentative about heading that far north that late in the season (departure Sept. 1), but we decided to give it a go with the new Ovation. From the moment we arrived we realized that Seabourn had gotten things correct. The ship is brand new and service was excellent. We had not a single service exception whereas we experienced many last November aboard Odyssey. Our cabin was excellent. It was indistinguishable from the standard veranda suites on the older Odyssey class ships. We booked a V1 and ended up with a V5. There is absolutely no difference between the standard staterooms other than floor location, with the exception of the 5th deck rooms not having a full glass view below the railing on the veranda. I would never recommend paying for a different standard suite as they are all entirely the same with the curtains drawn. Seabourn will charge up to 2 to 4 thousand PP additional for a V6 vs a V1 on the average 2 week cruise. Clearly not worth it as it doesn't provide any additional benefits other than location. We found the food to be excellent. Jacques was great on all fronts, but we weren't left wanting more nights as other venues did such a good job. Up to this cruise (well over 100 nights) we had never dined in the Colonnade for dinner on any Seabourn ship. We tried that on several nights including one special Colonnade night where they featured Ribs by Thomas Keller. One word to the wise - reservations are required on the special evenings. We almost didn't get in as we didn't realize (our fault for not reading the instructions) that these occasional special evenings required it. Seabourn deserves credit for another new touch since our last cruise. On return from tours in Alesund, a large percentage of the crew, lead by the captain, were out to greet all returning passengers. The music played contemporary, upbeat music, and the crew applauded the returning passengers as they walked between lines of the crew. Champagne and hot chocolate toddys were available and every guest had a big smile from a special event that must be a real pain for the crew members to put on. Our captain was far more than a safety specialist and ship driver. He regularly interacted with passengers and was eager to hear about experiences. On that note, our staff captain recognized my wife and I as soon as we boarded., (staff captains, AKA 1st officer,) are not known for being passenger oriented, but Stefan sought us out and even invited us to dinner one night. Norway is an excellent location for a cruise. You are not greeted by hoards of locals trying to sell you a tour or a trinket. In my opinion, the scenery is better than Alaska, where I lived for 2 years. Several highlights stick out: Trollfjord is truly amazing. The ship enters a 1-2 mile fjord that looks way too small for the ship to fit into. It does fit and the entry is timed during cocktail hour providing an experience that is almost worth the price of the cruise. Weather towards the top of Norway was beyond Excellent. In Tromso, we experienced a chamber of commerce day with warm temperatures and blue skies. That night as, promised, the captain woke the ship around midnight to alert everyone of the presence of northern lights. We were forewarned of the coming announcement and we never heard a single complaint as everyone wanted to see the northern lights. In Honnisvagg (Nordcap) we had a clear day again. We were told that this was the first day in 3 weeks that they had seen the sun. We took an excursion to Nordcap which was great given the weather. Interestingly, Seabourn organized a crew excursion with several buses of crew. Crew members were obviously appreciative for their time out and many greeted us by name, even though they were on their own time. My guess is that this is how they get employees with positive attitudes. The rain did arrive by the time we got to southern Norway but we knew we had to pay the piper at some point. Seas were calm crossing the North Sea and arrival into Dover was uneventful. If I had to voice one complaint (obviously for corporate) it would be with the suite allocation of the new Encore class ships. My wife and I previously booked or upgraded to a Penthouse suite. The new ships have fewer of these larger rooms than do the smaller ships. At the same time they rose prices on the premium suites to an exorbitant level. On our cruise, the Penthouse, with 50% more square footage cost 3.5 times what we paid for our V1 (remember all V suites are essentially the same). These price increases had the net effect of driving us back downstairs as the standard suites are just fine with around 300 square feet. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in Lisbon and getting off the ship was very fast. For the first 24 hours, service in the Restaurant and Colonnade was slow and we got the impression that the servers and others were trying to figure out territories and responsibilities. Things seemed to improve thereafter, although we still encountered slow service in The Restaurant on occasion. Best service and food were in The Grill, but we only got in once. In The Restaurant, entrees are modest in size and so are the accompaniments. But ordering sides of vegetables or starches is easy. We ate all breakfasts and most lunches in the Colonnade and we very happy with the selection, which is so large that it can be hard to find things. Several of the employees there learned our names and made real efforts to be helpful and friendly. Saw the singers and dancers a few times. The Tim Rice show (he appears on video) was excellent while the others were fairly average. Went on three of the ship's excursions: (1) a sunny day and amazing array of flowers made for a great time at Monet's home and garden in Giverny and the guide did a good job; (2) Santiago de Compostela was an intriguing place and the guide knew her stuff and had a good sense of humor; and (3) it was a cloudy day in Porto, there was a lot of standing around and waiting, and the guide was just okay. Wanted to see both D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestries, not a combination offered by Seabourn, so we got a private guide and found another couple to join us and it worked very well. Noticed that there didn't seem to be a deck with an outside walking route as long as the ship, but weather kept us inside most of the time. Went to a number of functions where officers made an appearance and then vanished, but we (and probably everyone else) did get a couple of invitations to dine with officers or entertainers and we did have dinner with the head of human resources. Met a number of Seabourn veterans who were disappointed in the service in the dining venues, as we were. Was also surprised that we were asked to provide information about birthdays and anniversaries, but when our anniversary came there was no recognition of it. We also missed Regent's included excursions, Internet access, and phone call allowance. We expect two things from cruises (and land trips): (1) to get away from the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc. and the rest of the routine and (2) to see interesting places, either on excursions or independently. We got these on this cruise, met nice people, and were treated well by the crew. Did this cruise line and this ship and crew do this so much better than others? I would say not. Would we return? Probably yes, if we found an attractive itinerary and price. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
To begin, this wasn't my first cruise, just my first Seabourn cruise. The Seabourn company makes booking, travel, embarking, etc. very easy and organized. From the second you arrive, you'll realize this is no ordinary cruise ... Read More
To begin, this wasn't my first cruise, just my first Seabourn cruise. The Seabourn company makes booking, travel, embarking, etc. very easy and organized. From the second you arrive, you'll realize this is no ordinary cruise ship. The entire staff, without exception, is friendly, polite, knowledgeable, professional, and most importantly when on a cruise, looking to pamper and attend to your needs. To put it simply, everyday, the entire staff is looking to please you. The service on this ship is excellent. I will say that this ship rivals any 5 star resort, hotel, or restaurant, except you have an ever changing view of coastlines! This is an exquisite ship, beautifully decorated, with lovely touches throughout. Our suite was spacious with a sitting area, deck, table and chairs, and was very well attended. The bathroom was quite large and mostly beautiful marble. Our room attendant kept out room well stocked with luxurious treats, drinks, and the next day's info. Our room, and the entire ship is pristine gleaming clean. "The Colonnade" serves all meals, but we mostly ate breakfast here. You can order, but the buffet quite literally has more variety than I have ever seen. "The Grill by Thomas Keller" is a first rate, wonderful choice. FYI; it's reputation is well known so make reservations before you board. There is also a wonderful poolside option with pizza, pasta, and more casual great food. Any one of the choices offers amazing food with excellent service. There's also a variety of wonderful nightly entertainment. After seeing some of the world's most beautiful cities while on various well planned amazing excursions throughout Europe, coming back to this beautiful ship every evening made for the most luxurious trip we have ever been on. If you're looking for luxury and the best service, Seabourn has perfected every detail. We can't wait to sail with "Seabourn' again! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships ... Read More
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships are lovely, as are the cabins. The cabin stewardess was excellent. The cruise director was excellent - but the apparent problems are far from his control. Sadly, the service throughout the remainder of the ship fell far short. The service on Seabourn has continually degraded since its office merger with Holland America. In the Restaurant and in the Colonnade, service was extremely slow. The norm to wait for coffee or a glass of juice was often 15 - 20 minutes. The staff were excellent - there were simply too few of them. The clear way to improvement in this area is to hire more staff and to train them well in the Seabourn manner. The spa is beautiful but it, too, seems understaffed. The major problem there is with scheduling. Armed with a page outlining my requests for dates and services, I was told they were unable to fulfill these requests. For guests who are aboard for two or more As for the decline in entertainment, that area, too, needs a huge overhaul. How long can two ships live on one show? The Tim Rice show is well done - but for two years now, it's the only show onboard that's been worth seeing. Seabourn no longer offers the exclusive service and the personal touches that originally made it shine, and which were the basis for Seabourn ships and cruises consistently ranking #1 in the industry. It's a sad realization, but Seabourn is no longer great; it's not even good. It has removed services, diluted service in public areas, reduced the numbers of staff (pre-dinner in the Observation Bar, it was next to impossible to get a waiter), and in general, the attitudes of the service staff have been reduced to that of the mid-range ships. For example, one morning, we were leaving the ship for an excursion and waiting for approval to debark. Three staff members were on duty in that area, and one was vocal about how badly the company treated its employees. This kind of attitude was also displayed by some staff members in the Colonnade. Two extremely large spaces on this ship and its sister ship, Encore, sit empty most of the time. The retreat (why in the world would someone PAY to sit in an area that's already available FREE?) and the beautiful deck area outside the Grill, under the Colonnade deck. We were told that Thomas Keller doesn't want his food served cold. If that is the reason, it is ridiculous. In the Mediterranean, the weather is balmy and the temperature outside is warmer than inside. The number of steps from kitchen to table is the same. Whatever the reason for this space sitting empty, it has involved very poor planning. Yes, guests could walk down all of the steps to get there from the Colonnade - but very few actually do it. The space sits empty. Whether the overall problem is lack of planning, lack of training training, hiring of so many new staff due to the two new larger ships, or to something else - is all irrelevant. Seabourn has lost its shine. No wonder its 2018 rank sank to #4 - another new low. The ports were fine, but the shore excursions, too, reveal that Seabourn is looking for a bargain - not for quality. Excellent tour guides still live in all of the ports; we didn't encounter any except on tours that we privately ordered. The ship's tours were fair - but did not begin to equal what Seabourn has offered since its inception. Too much emphasis on economy and Thomas Keller, and not enough emphasis on the guests. We will not likely return. Many other regular Seabourn guests shared their disappointment. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London ... Read More
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London prior to driving down through Kent to Dover, an excellent way to start a holiday. We had booked a B&B in Dover but on arrival the host was most unpleasant so we ended up staying overnight at the Best Western in Dover, best move we ever made. There were many boarding the ship who stayed here. We left the hotel for the ship at about 12:15 and arrived at the ship a bit after 12:30. If it could be, I think boarding we quicker and simpler than our past cruises. We were on the ship in no time to be treated by the cruise director Handre who was the CD on 2 of our 3 previous cruises. He would have to be up with the best (and nicest) CD's going around. As we had done on previous cruises, we went to the Colonnade Restaurant for lunch while we waited for access to our suite. About 2pm our suite was available and our luggage was already in our suite. Within 15 minutes our stewardess arrived to introduce herself and to give us a welcome glass of champagne and canapés. there is a bottle of Champagne on ice but we didn't drink it, not being big Champagne drinkers and there is so many other options for drinking on the ship. The Ship The ship is in beautiful condition as you would expect for a ship with only 6 months of sailing. But throughout the cruise, we noticed many times, the ship being washed / painted / touched up by crew. No wonder the ship is in immaculate condition. We loved the tastefully appointed furnishings (not blingy but very nicely done) and the artwork around the ship is wonderful. I had read reports about the pool area being small for the number of guests. This is probably correct if you are the type to sit around the pool all day. We do not pay this amount of money to cruise to sit around a pool, we can do that on our beaches in Australia for free. So this is not a problem for us but it may be for others. Otherwise, the ship facilities are fabulous. The Cabin We love the layout of the cabin with so much storage we have never been able to fill all the storage locations (as we do not skimp on what we take). We asked our stewardess for more hangers for the walk-in robe and by the time we came back from muster, they were there. The TV looks like about 42" and it was used to watch some of the enrichment talks, look at our account, listen to the announcements and on the 3 sea days to watch some TV. For charging phones / tablets / cameras, I usually take a power board but didn't use it on this ship as there were adequate power outlets. There is a USA, European and a USB outlet on either side of the bed as well as outlets in the sitting areas of the suite. We love the layout of the cabin and were very comfortable living there for more than 3 weeks. Our stewardess (Jeanet) was so nice, looked after our suite so well and did everything we wanted. We also got to know the stewardess down the hall (Gilcelia) and she was also very nice, and we loved chatting to or having a joke with her. Dining First cruise we mainly dined at the Colonnade in the evening but on our past three cruises the main dinning room (MDR) has been our goto in the evening. In summary, it is for us mostly Colonnade in the morning and lunch (on deck if it is not windy or cold) and the MDR in the evening. The MDR was open every day for all three meal times but we noticed very few (maybe 10) in the MDR for breakfast. Apart from maybe one or two glitches (if that), the meals were exceptional. If I didn't want an entree or I wanted 2 mains, this was not a problem. Basically, you could eat whatever you wanted from the menu. If you want something special, you can get it if it is available or they will make sure you get it in the future. We always wanted extra greens with our evening meal and always got more than we needed. We dined twice in the TK Grill, it is a beautifully appointed area but while we loved dining there, we did not find the food any better than the MDR, just different. Dalia in Seabourn Square made our Lemon and Ginger tea each morning and is wonderful. We didn't get to know Gabor who was also there as Dalia was mostly working in the morning. Mostly these teas were made from real sliced lemon and sliced ginger (not tea bags) and were so nice. This time we did not dine in the Sushi Restaurant (we loved it on our last cruise) only because we did not get around to it. We dined at the Earth and Ocean (before the cruise we thought we would be dining here every night) once on the cruise and it was ok, but we still preferred the MDR (more about the service later). Entertainment We thought the groups (changed halfway though the cruise) in The Club were fabulous, just our type of music. This was our goto place for a drink before dining. Last cruise it was the TK Grill Bar and the cruise prior, it was the Observation Lounge. We just went wherever we preferred the music. Every few days we would go to one of the other areas for a change, it was nice to have that choice. It seemed that most guests go to the Observation Lounge as it seemed to be the busiest (and while the music was nice, the music in the Club was more our taste). The Seabourn Singers (2 male and 2 female) were fabulous and we loved any of the shows where they sang. In summary, we cannot do all the activities, just cannot fit them in. So to me that means there are adequate things for us to do during a day on the ship. We met some wonderful other guests who we dined with several times (a UK couple and a US couple). We loved going to trivia, Handre (CD) and Kobus (Assistant CD) make this "special". Service The crew are a real asset to Seabourn. There was not once on this cruise where we were not well looked after and made feel special. Each time we went to either the MDR or the Colonnade, either Roxanne or Erica (not spelled that way, but that's what we called her) were so nice and welcoming, always calling us by our name. But not just them, all the crew were the same, just wonderful. From the captain (Stig Betten) to the security when getting on/off the ship and the tender operators, all the crew were so nice and friendly and when you are away from family for 6 weeks, they became our family which "made" our holiday. In the MDR we loved Brandon, Reggie, Renzo, Sithabile, Genesis and all the others (too many to mention them all). In the Colonnade, we were always well looked after by Marko, Miguel, Trajcek (I think), Savannah and many more. Each crew member made you feel special and we loved chatting to them (although that time is not much because they are so busy). In summary, there was not one crew member who did not help us to have a wonderful time. the only issue we had was with Guest Services where while they tried there best and eventually did everything we required, I could tell they were inexperienced. But because we know how things worked, it was ok but for the non-Seabourn cruiser it may have been a problem. But that was not a real inconvenience for us. Children We did not have any children on the ship this cruise. It would not have mattered anyway, we have had children on previous cruises and that has not been any problem. Although in saying that, I do not think this is the type of cruise line to take most young children (i know there are exceptions). There are cruise lines we would take our grandchildren, but this is not one of them, they would be bored most of the time. Ports We did several Seabourn excursions and these were good. The guides were very good and there seemed to be always a person from Seabourn on the bus also, to look after any guests needs. I did notice there was not as much control over how many were on each bus. Normally Seabourn only half (about) fill a bus but this time it seemed there were more on one and less on the other. This was not any issue. We worked out early on in our cruise that all day excursions were not as enjoyable as they once were. Mainly because the all day excursions are to the popular tourist sites and these were overrun with tourists (of which we were two) even in October. We subsequently canceled some all day excursions we had booked, which Seabourn refunded immediately, so no problem there. We loved just wandering around the ports or organising some of our own excursions which we did on a couple of occasions, particularly the ports when departure was 11pm (3 of the 22 were late departures) and one (Rouen, France) we stayed overnight. Many of the ports we went to we would go to again which probably means we loved most of the ports. We are gym people and went to the gym several times but not as much as we thought as we were walking 12-15k a day in each port. The gym is well equiped and we always found we could use equipment we wanted. The free classes started at 7am and while these are good, not so useful to use other than port days as we wanted to get out and about in each port. In summary, we will certainly go on another cruise and I see no reason to change lines so I am certain it will be with Seabourn. ps: While it did not really affect us (we missed Portimao and spent an extra day in Lisbon, there are worse things that can happen than this), the weather in that region at that time was not good with some rough seas and high winds. The captain and the crew are to be commended for there professionalism in communicating with guests and looking after us in a safe manner. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, ... Read More
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, the itinerary lived up to its expectations, although we had to miss Portomao because of Tropical Storm Leslie so we remained in Lisbon for the second day. The only hitch we had for our own itinerary ashore as with the Alhambra. We had been wait-listed for a ticket package that included the Nesrud Palaces, a highlight of the Alhambra and, according to those who have been there, not to be missed. When it become apparent that we would not be getting tickets through Seaborn (they are extremely difficult to come by), even though we had been on the wait list over four months prior to leaving. A few people were lucky enough to get the Seabourn tickets, but more on that later. We told the guest services agent on board that we planned on using the ship's tour bus to the Alhambra (which did not include the Nesrud Palaces), as we had purchased our own tickets and would join up with the bus prior to the group leaving the Alhambra. Our tickets were from 11am to 2pm, meeting at 10:45pm exactly where the tour bus would be pulling into the bus parking lot. We informed the Seabourn rep of our plan prior to boarding the bus and she cleared it with the tour guide. We arranged with him to meet up with the group at a restaurant should we not be ready to rejoin the bus when the Seabourn group was ready to leave. All was going smoothly as we left the port around 8:35am. Unfortunately, the guide decided to announce that we would be pulling into a rest stop for bathroom use and also for buying merchandise. Had the stop been for ten minutes all would still have been fine, but it was closer to 25 minutes and we then had no chance to make our tour. The Alhambra was outstanding, but we will now never have the opportunity to see the Nesrud Palaces. Those who were able to secure tickets for the Alhambra and the palaces thought they were all set. Unfortunately, for some of them, since showing your passport is required at different checkpoints randomly and then, for the palaces, for everyone, when the group was asked to present their passports the list of passengers did not match the names on the passports. Some names were of people not taking the tour. The mix up caused some passengers to have to miss the Alhambra and the palaces. We had read on Cruise Critic that Seabourn's shore excursions are below average and had not encountered that when on a Quest voyage. This particular trip was excellent once in the Alhambra as the guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the buildings and the area. The guide on the bus, however, was constantly talking, was very redundant and seemed to be along for the ride. All of the other tours was above average, although the timing for a tour of Eze and the Rothschild Mansion in Cap Ferat gave too much time to the later and not nearly enough time to Eze. Also, this trip was extremely tiring because all tours, half day or full day, started early in the morning so you began to feel sleep deprived early into the trip. I think they should offer afternoon half day excursions to alleviate the fatigue factor when you are on a 10-day cruise with only one at-sea day. Others felt the same way. The cabins on the ship are up to Seabourn's standards. They are among the most spacious in the industry and our ship stewardess was outstanding. The room is well-equipped and pretty much anything can be delivered to your room upon request, including unlimited amounts of champagne. The food on the ship was excellent. No complaints at all. The service was another matter. The worst was the Observation Bar between 6 and 7:30pm. You had a tough time flagging down a waiter as there were often only one or two of them. Going to the bar yourself and carrying the drinks to the table was impossible on rough sea evenings. This problem with service in the Observation Bar continued throughout the cruise. Towards the end of the voyage, we went down to Bruno's lounge in the Thomas Keller grill and after a ten-minute wait, went up to the bar for a drink. For afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, tea was offered, but they didn't mention that scones, sandwiches and cakes were available at the self-serve area where tapas are available every evening. On the Quest a waiter brought these items around which is the way afternoon tea should be presented. Service in the Restaurant was fine, but not if you wanted to get to the 8:45pm show. Fortunately, my husband and I did not have that problem because we had caught two shows and didn't think they were very good so skipped them from that point on. The service in the Colanade was excellent except for the final morning which was an absolute zoo. It was so bad that we ended up getting a bite to eat at Seabourn Square. We were heading for the Restaurant for a nice relaxing breakfast before disembarking because we had to be out of our room at 8pm, but could stay on board until 10pm. The Restaurant was closed, however, although we had no clue that it would be. On the Quest the Restaurant is open for the final breakfast before disembarking. The Patio's food was excellent as well as the service, and there were an adequate number of waiters should you need a drink while relaxing by the pool. Thomas Keller Grill was an interesting evening. We were told by the waiter to look forward to enjoying a romantic meal. To me, that's leisurely, but he did not seem to understand that. After ordering our drinks, he immediately asked if we were ready to order. We said that we needed some time. He came back in five minutes and asked again and we told him we weren't ready as we wanted to enjoy our drinks. After a few minutes, the supervisor went up to our waiter and talked to him. I assume it was about their need to get our order in. The supervisor then came up to our table and asked if we had any questions and we told him we didn't, we just wanted to slow the process down. The meal was very good, though, and there was a good vibe. The best experience for us was Sushi. The food was excellent, there were nice tables for two and the service was what you expect from Japanese staff - respectful, courteous and timely. All in all the management of the Ovation has a way to go to beat the service on the Quest. I think they need some time to work out the glitches as the ship only had its maiden voyage in May. Hopefully, things will improve soon. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to ... Read More
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to Seabourn. This cruise in the Adriatic from Venice to Athens was our chance to try the Seabourn Ovation which is the newest in Seabourn's fleet having only been launched this year. What makes a 6 star ship? It is not the price of the cruise. It is of course the food, the accommodation, the entertainment and above all the service. So how has our experience so far compared to that on say the Crystal Serenity? I am comparing a Balcony cabin on the Serenity with the entry level cabin on the all-suite Ovation (which are similar in price). Food - Both have excellent food. Caviar is served on both but on Crystal it is served a couple of times a cruise on special dinners. On Seabourn it is served on special dinners but can also be ordered anytime. I like caviar so Seabourn wins in that department. The food on both is excellent. I cannot fault either. I like the different themes on Seabourn with a degustation menu inter spread with the regular menu on different days. I prefer the breakfast selections on Seabourn in the buffet but I prefer that there is an egg station on Crystal. Seabourn has its eggs made to order and then served at the table. Both lunch buffets are fine. The Serenity has a better burger grill and the fries are always hot. The Ovation is a bit hit and miss, but if you specify that you want it especially hot they will ensure that it is done. The Thomas Keller Grill restaurant is great on the Ovation and you can book in as many times as you like without extra cost. The specialty restaurants on the Serenity must also be booked but after eating in each twice per cruise then a small charge is made for additional visits. Having said that, the Silk Road Japanese restaurant on the Serenity is far superior to the Sushi restaurant on the Ovation which has mainly sashimi and sushi without the great hot food items that the Serenity also offers. Food - its a tie. The Accommodation - The Seabourn Ovation is new. The Crystal Serenity is clean and tidy but is of course not new. The staterooms on the Ovation are truly beautiful. they are wide, spacious and very ergonomically satisfying with more than ample closet and drawer space. Crystal is okay but cannot match Seabourn. The bathrooms on the Ovation are also very spacious with both a separate shower and bath. They are much bigger and much better. The beds and bedlinen on both ships are superb. They are as good as each other. The sitting area on the Ovation is much larger with a much better working table and a larger television. Accommodation - Seabourn Ovation is better The Entertainment - There are many aspects to entertainment which are not just the nightly shows in the theatres. There is the enrichment programs, the trivia and games programs, and there is musical entertainment. The Ovation has primarily three areas to hear music. There is the Club which features two bands that rotate, there is the Observation lounge which features a pianist and singer and there is the bar in the Thomas Keller Grill featuring a pianist. Crystal serenity has an area similar to the Observation lounge with a live band, it has an area midship also with a band playing dance music and it has a very cosy piano bar. In addition there is live music before and after dinner in the Crystal Cove bar area. For music Crystal is better. There are more choices and the piano bar is an especially fun place to listen to music after dinner if you don't want to go to the show. The enrichment programs on Crystal are also much more extensive with a variety of guest lecturers and a lot of teaching programs from golf lessons to computers. Crystal has an extensive library with a dedicated librarian. Seabourn has a much more modest selection of books. There is a movie theatre showing current movies in the afternoon and evenings on the Serenity but no movie theatre on the Ovation. There are also other quirky types of entertainment such as the magic performances put on for small groups at a time by a member of the Magic Castle. These shows get to be known by word of mouth and are not generally advertised on the Crystal serenity (or Symphony). Shows are shows and both ships have good and bad productions. Crystal being a bigger ship perhaps has more capacity to put on more extravagant productions but those that we have witnessed so far on the Ovation are pretty good too. Both ships have duplicate bridge and lessons, but because the Crystal Serenity is larger there are more participants on that ship. The area that is always of great fun for us is the trivia. Serenity has teams of no more that six while Ovation encourages up to ten per team. The host on the Ovation is the Cruise Director, Handré, and he is fantastic! The prizes on the Ovation are much better too. Hands down Ovation wins. Entertainment - overall the advantage is still to Crystal The Service - This is the big one. A ship cannot be considered six star if the service is poor. Neither has poor service, but one has got it much more right. On both ships the drinks are complimentary although special wines can be purchased for an additional price. I prefer Crystal here as they seem to have the concept that since the regular wines are complimentary, when you order and pay for a special wine it should not be at full mark up. The bartending and wait staff on Crystal are also much better at attending to customers. There is never a long wait to either order or to be served. Sadly, I cannot say that about the Ovation. On more than one occasion the table service was so slow that I had to go to the bar to order drinks myself. On two occasions because of being busy our drinks order was forgotten entirely. Sadly this is not six star service. I can only hope that it is because the ship is new and there are still some teething problems. I will say that management truly has a desire to improve. We have already been given a mid cruise survey which we filled out with helpful feedback and which again I must say was taken very seriously. Unfortunately, the waiters in the outlets likewise do not appear to have the same training as Crystal gives their staff. It is the little things like reaching across dishes to remove or place glasses, forgetting to bring condiments and having to be reminded. Also it is the either over or under attendance of the waitstaff who do not yet have the correct pacing to their service. The staff on both ships soon know your names and it is always pleasant to be recognised and appreciated. Both ships do that well. Summary - These comments of mine might seem a bit pedantic to you, my fellow cruisers, but i offer them because I believe that when you are paying for cabins on a six star ship in excess of a thousand dollars a night that the service, food, accommodation and entertainment should rightly be expected to be of a much higher standard than normal. I hope that this review is helpful. In summary, both ships and by extension both cruise lines are wonderful to cruise with, but for my money Crystal still holds the advantage. I know that both Seabourn and Crystal have their loyal followers so what say you? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Fellow Cruisers, It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the ... Read More
Fellow Cruisers, It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the staff and fellow guests get to know you and vice versa in a short period of time. This makes for a more congenial and friendly family type atmosphere. Since my last review, it seems that the service on board still remains a challenge in some areas of the main restaurant and for a couple of waiters in the various bars. But in general I am much happier with the Seabourn Ovation now. The Cruise Director, Handré is perhaps the best that I have come across in my 40 or so cruises. He is extremely hard working and can be heard making the safety and shore announcements from the bridge, overseeing the trivia, announcing the entertainment and generally coordinating all the various events. He then still has time to perform (he is a gifted pianist and composer) and conduct personalised small group enrichment programs such as “how to tie bowties” and “how to fold a pocket square correctly”. Another shipboard star is the Executive Chef, Jes Paskins, who is a true talent both as a chef and as a fun loving foodie. His caviar in the surf (and pool) as well as his many theme nights are delightful fun. For a small ship, the Seabourn Ovation makes use of all of its spaces. The deck parties are amazing and the shows are very well done by the resident entertainment team and the guest artists. Of course, once in a while, there are some duds such as the quartet of ladies known as “Ida” who perform in the style of the Three Tenors or El Divo. Sadly they miss the mark. Did I mention the trivia? Handré and his team bring this iconic cruise staple event to a new level of entertainment with fun twists and prizes galore (sometimes for every participant and not just the winners). The cabins are amazing and the housekeeping staff a pleasure. In the “old days” Seabourn only hired pretty young Scandinavian room stewardesses but today they hire from around the world and I am pleased to confirm that they are still pretty, young and charming. But, lest you get the wrong impression, nobody is flirtatious, just pleasant and friendly. This is definitely not a Frat ship. It is a 5 star floating luxury hotel. Keep this ship in mind and on your short list if its itinerary suits. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed once on Regent and once on Viking Ocean and have an upcoming Crystal cruise. Before this cruise we had just completed 4 other cruises totalling 54 days. We flew from Miami to Dubai to take this cruise. Unfortunately I picked up the flu while onboard which did limit my ability to enjoy the cruise fully. Speaking to other passengers it sounded like respiratory (and some noro) had been common problems on the preceding legs. Unfortunately initial impressions were poor as the embarkation process was shocking. Taxis did not know where to drop passengers and so we had to drag bags a long way and then entered what can only be described as a bare shed with no air conditioning. The luggage collection process was the worst I have ever seen, no organisation at all, after waiting for far too long I gave up found a copy of the passenger manifest lying around and wrote out my own luggage tags and left out luggage in the middle of the shed and presumed somebody would eventually pick it up (obviously they did). We then joined another long queue (described by a fellow guest as an easyjet style check in). Eventually we reached the desk where we waited 20 minutes to get our key, others were getting theirs in 5 minutes. We asked to speak to the only Seabourn representative in the shed and she sped the process up. We were handed a keycard and nothing else, no information, nothing. Again nobody on the pier and eventually on entering the ship we found the CD Handre to greet us. We then wandered aimlessly through the ship until we stumbled across lunch. Thankfully things picked up after this underwhelming start. The ship itself is gorgeous inside and out (although you could tell some finishings were a bit poor). Modern art everywhere. Public areas like the Square and the Ovation lounge were lovely places to relax in. There are loads of small outdoor spaces for relaxing although many are marred by smoking areas. Also the private extra cost Retreat (which strangely is never mentioned or advertised) limits a lot of usable space. There is one self service laundry with excellent quality machines which is perpetually busy. Cabin - this is probably the major highlight of the ship. Our suite was large, modern, comfortable and stylish. We loved the walk in closet, there was more storage than we knew what to do with. The bed was comfortable although not as large as others we have experienced. The tv is large with loads of on demand options although there was functionality problems with both the music and the lectures. The lounge area is very spacious and the wet bar is great, although not set up on the first day as requested they added things daily. The balcony and furniture was great but it got dirty frequently and needed better cleaning. The bathroom was very spacious and sleek with separate bath and twin vanities. The shower was a little small but worked well. We loved getting caviar sent to the suite in the late afternoons and enjoying the sunsets. Dining - there are several venues although they don't differ significantly in style and cuisine (sushi excepted). A major plus was how visible the executive chef was. The major highlights were the caviar in the surf followed by an amazing lobster bbq on the beach (logistically very impressive), an amazing Indian buffet dinner which had amazing detail and superb curries, caviar anywhere anytime. Breakfast in the Colonnade featured great fruit and a good mix of buffet and a la carte options, unfortunately early service was slow and forgetful. Similarly lunch in the same venue featured great variety and quality and changed daily and has a lovely outdoor area but was marred by service problems, no drinks and main courses completely forgotten on consecutive days. A discreet word to the manager saw immediate improvement. Seabourn does have an issue with their failure to assign one server to a table which meant constantly repeating requests, wine and water being refilled with incorrect choices etc.A fellow guest who is a Seabourn regular was shocked dining with us that we had to reconfirm our water choice more than 8 times in one meal (we told her that was a nightly occurrence). We thought the patio (burger bar) option was very average for lunch and only ate here once. Sushi (and ramen) were a nice option for variety. We had dinner in a variety of venues. The mdr was very nice with good quality food. Service here was good without being great with the wine and water issues regularly raising their ugly heads. The earth and ocean concept is a good one and poplar but very inconsistent. Our first night was very slow with side dishes forgotten and staff not being able to explain dishes. Our second attempt was excellent as we ate much later and the staff was under less pressure. The Colonnade was good and provided great variety but was often understaffed outdoors which led to long waits. Sushi did a great formal night set menu, the small venue is casual, quality is solid without being great but provides some much needed flexibility. The TK grill is supposedly the speciality restaurant on board, the space is sleek and stylish, the adjoining bar has a piano player but service was again patchy and cocktails only average. The food was good quality but it was basic fare and never changed. What we really disliked was the service and ambience, they were clearly trying to be arrogant and intimidating but just come off as painful and rigid. Entertainment - The CD Handre is probably the best we have encountered, highly visible, busy, approachable, amusing and clearly talented as a musician. His trivia was a highlight, especially the final round! Sea days included loads of activities from games to lectures with the art and jewellery classes being a highlight. The shows were typical of those we have experienced on small ships, good without being sensational. The Tim Rice show was a little disappointing given the hype. The guest comedian Steve Stevens was a highlight. Seabourn did a great job with parties and events such as the Country Fair, Outdoor dance party, Captains farewell - all fun events. There was plenty of music options with the quartet being our favourite - the combination of Gary and Shae doing duets was a highlight and all of the band members hosted activities which were loads of fun. The other bands and piano player (could have been more engaging) were all very talented. Service - this is what we were most looking forward to. We had heard of the legendary service levels, name recognition and ability to fulfil requests. The reality was quite mixed. It was clear there was a lot of new staff, especially in the dining and bars and we often heard arguing and complaining amongst staff which should not happen. Guest relations were excellent both on the phone and in person. Housekeeping was good but they seemed paranoid and we often found the supervisor in our room and twisting our words to make it seem we were complaining (we did no such thing and were happy with our attendant). Bar service in the main bars was solid without being exceptional with Sasha being the standout. The Colonnade was marred by problems but management fixed it for us but others were constantly highlighting the problems. For us the biggest let down was the pool areas. Chairs were reserved all day on sea days and not policed. The small deck 5 pool had every chair taken one day (more than 20) with only 2 people actually there. Worse though was pool side service. My wife was routinely ignored to the point she refused to attend the pool area at all half way thru the cruise, at one point a server spilt a drink on her and didn't offer to help clean it up. My final day I spent 4 hours by the pool and never once was asked if I wanted something. None of the myriad of glasses and dishes (all self served) were ever cleaned up. The quality of drinks was so bad we actually made a server try the frozen margaritas they were sending out and he had to spit it out and apologise. Another server begged me not to order a cocktail and told me to pick my favourite spirit and mixer and even then said it was a risk. Most guests were giving up and just ordering champagne and wine. There was no beer list and the barmen would not tell you what was available - it was an absolute joke of a pool bar. The managers would try and improve it but it would only be a temporary solution. Ports- had been to most of them and with illness only got off twice. Port talks were offered but the information often had basic mistakes. Disembarkation was relaxed but as usual Singapore port was slow with long queues. Overall - a sleek ship with fabulous cabins, a great CD and activities. Service levels are patchy, smoking is intrusive, lack of outdoor walking areas. Would like to try their smaller ships if the price were right. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night ... Read More
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night told there was a shortage of rollaway beds and that my dad may have to sleep on couch. Balcony door handle fell off twice during cruise couldn’t access balcony for nearly 2 days. Whilst experiencing very high winds and rough seas the voices creaking in cabin was so loud we didn’t sleep for 2 nights despite being midship. Service was lacking other than a few standouts (Krystel our stewardess, rhe art teacher. Maria). They held a few activities for kids which was good. Food in Collonade was average the fruit is often old rotten bananas. Food in Restauranr and Sushi good. Thomas Keller nice setting bit my steak was dry and slightly tough. Staff in food outlets didirb seem to have time or inclination to really connect with guests. I think there is less staff and they are under more pressure. If really showed. Lots of other things but having completed a Seabourn Criise around Pacifix last year which was great we were very disappointed. A lack of response by Seabourn again shows very poor service. We stopped at Bangkok Christmas Day and we were looking forward to shopping etc only to find it was a 2.5 hour car ride each way into Bangkok (false advertising). There seemed to be some general disappointment with Seabourn from fellow travellers. The word is Regent Crude line is a much better option. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for ... Read More
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for the worse. Now in Asia, the Ovation is a bit better than the Encore but sorely lacking for an ultra luxury cruise line. The ship is beautiful and the cabins and housekeeping are great; that's about where it ends. Food and service keep getting worse each day. We had sushi for lunch one day and it was ok; they had a special omakase dinner one night which was completely inedible. The fish was old and smelled, even the salmon roe. Keller-food is ok albeit very boring; Service is terrible. They shouldn't include this as a dining option because you are only allowed to go twice per cruise. We ended up having room service 3 nights because it was the only way to best ensure a decent meal. Breakfast in the Colonnade was the same each day-marginal fruit, canned corned beef hash and the usual array of eggs, bacon, etc. Cooked to order omelets were lacking in filling and dry. We were trying to figure out the problem; I think they are making food for old American and British guests. It is completely lacking in flavor and variety; someone mentioned that they weren't allowed to make it spicy. Salt seems to be the key ingredient, rendering the food inedible at times. Not a good idea to try to get service at lunch time on the patio; they have a shift change at 12 and often there is no one around for drinks or the bar. Apparently they cannot take food orders if they work for the bar and vice versa. The best food and service was at Earth and Ocean (the patio transformed at night); portions are small though and it means you will be eating outside in often unpleasant weather. The best food we had the entire time was off the ship. They have an Italian chef, who didn't have an Italian night and there was very little Asian food, although the entirety of the cruise was in Asia. Be very careful of their shore excursions. They seem to be docking quite far from some cities, leaving you with a 3 hour drive each way to see a city like Bangkok; it isn't really worth getting off the ship as there isn't enough time in the cities. Also, their excursions are almost double of what you can find with Viator or Tours by Locals. We ran into the Silver Seas a few times and they docked in a much better location. Price perhaps? The stop in Cambodia was horrific. If I had know what we would encounter, we never would have left the ship. I don't think they are vetting the tour operators very well. Their descriptions of the tours paint a lovely picture, which often isn't the case, especially for people with mobility issues - getting into small boats, climbing over ropes, etc. Entertainment was below par-a magician and a cello. Boring. The show the singers and dancers did the last night was pretty good -Push the Button. We won't be sailing on Seabourn again; It isn't even the price that is the issue, it's the disappointment with the food, service and entertainment, which should all be top notch. They will say no, but I think this is a result of their purchase by Carnival. You can really see it in the cheapening of things like less crew, poorly trained crew, poor wines (like Sebastiani Chardonnay), and the quality of the food. This isn't the luxury experience you were anticipating. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and ... Read More
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and crew are faultless. They deliver everything they promise. Their house wine list is just amazing, NO cheap plonk! Trips well organized and daily information is excellent. The service to and from the ship is first rate. Overall one of the best holidays we have ever had. Can't wait for another one.I cannot say anymore, I have run out of superlatives. We will never use another cruise line now. We found the restaurant staff great. One was called Cesar so I named him Julius. The others wanted a Roman names. I named one Titus and another Augustus. They loved it . We got Roman salutes each morning. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is certainly the number 1 Cruise director.The Hotel Manager was Helmut Huber top guy and turned out to be a very funny man, actually hilarious!The Food and Beverage Manager was Ali who we have experienced previously he is just amazing he works very hard to please everyone. Our room attendant again was the best we have experienced Hayley was 1st Class. We have done many cruises on Seabourn and many other lines but Seabourn is outstanding, The special event on Ko Kood island was just an amazing experience we were so thrilled The Band know as Musical Society are fantastic and very personable, The deck parties are again outstanding and the ,say good bye ,to the crew on the deck is an emotional event most of the crew and Staff turn out to wave good bye while we drink and eat and have fun . Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on ... Read More
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on the Sojourn and Odyssey. One problem was that the drawers in the furniture across from the bed were very hard to access and the space there has only enough room for one person to stand. The pool area was the same as the smaller ships and getting a place on sea days was difficult. The chairs are the same and not comfortable. Our one peeve was that now bartenders are instructed to measure out the amount of liquor for each drink. This on a ship that touts itself as all inclusive. We would have to tell them to pour doubles so we wouldn't have to come back. In the lounge outside The Keller Grill there was only one waitress and one bartender and it took 25 minutes for our drink to come. The comedians were all from Wales or UK and as Americans we could not understand them. Most of the musical shows were good and the singers and dancers were exceptionally good. The even sang opera at the pool and that was a real treat. We had a problem on one of the ship's excursions and it was not handled well. We were only told it would be reported and then never heard back. We agree with others that Seabourn, now having staff hired by Holland America, has gone downhill in service. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally ... Read More
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally would prefer a lighter decor as on Ponant ships. The main dining room is not nearly as ‘clubby’ looking as the smaller Seabourn ships which is good! Shore excursions are too expensive, especially for Vietnam and Cambodia as our party travelled by land a year ago with 5 star accommodation and transport and the charges are Indochina are far less than Seabourn charge. Beds so comfortable with a variety of pillows to choose for personal comfort. While the air conditioning is adjustable in suits the dining ares are very cool for many passengers. Spar area offers fabulous treatments and very well supported as bookings are not easy—-I find the treatments expensive compared to Australia, not the Americans. I have cruised Ponant, Silver Seas, Regent and have to say Seabourn is far superior to those cruise lines in every way—- service, food, actual cabin, even the passengers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet ... Read More
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet it or sit in the dining room - eat indoors or out. Service - especially bar service - was exceptional. We took the mid-cruise tour to Angkor Wat. It was very well organized with no waiting in line at check-in to a beautiful hotel. The guide was excellent and spoke understandable English. The temples themselves were amazing. Be prepared for a long hot day but totally worth it. We were disappointed Seabourn did not allow us to book any tours with them on the day of return from Angkor Wat to Saigon (even an evening tour) so we booked our own. My one complaint is that they were very stingy with details about flight times (until we were onboard) which made it difficult to arrange tour times with another company. We were not going to miss Saigon! We took a Saigon by Night Food Tour on Vespa bikes (professional drivers) and this was one of the best tour experiences our family has had! It is absolutely in the top 5 most memorable things we've ever done on a vacation. Saigon is beautiful at night and we zoomed along the river, through flower markets and ornately lit streets. We went to several night spots (one roof top, two with live music) and 2 restaurants. The food in Vietnam is delicious. I have to admit there were a couple of times we were going through an intersection and I just closed my eyes and hung on - you know what I mean if you've ever been in Vietnam. Traffic is controlled chaos. Our Vespa drivers were skilled and courteous and the bikes were easy to get on and off of. The guide was energetic and spoke excellent English. Again, a wonderful tour. If you are a little adventurous, this may be for you. In terms of complaints about Seabourn, we have a few. One - they have very limited laundry facilities. 5 washers and dryers for over 600 passengers - so don't plan on doing your own laundry unless you don't mind waiting a long time or doing it in the middle of the night. You can certainly have your clothes laundered but it takes 1-2 days to get them back and personally I prefer laundering my personal items myself - as do many people. Two - Seabourn schedules lectures and shows at 6 pm. They call these "pre-dinner" but some people have dinner reservations from 6-7 pm at the specialty restaurant, or are getting ready for dinner. We found this time caused conflicts and forced us to cancel a specialty dinner reservation - which we couldn't rebook - so we could see a show we wanted to see. The reservation was booked before the cruise and the show was added the day ahead so no warning ahead of time. Three - the community rooms and Grand Salon are poorly designed with large pillars blocking the view of the audience of the stage or screen. People were sitting down and then constantly moving because they couldn't see. Four - The disembarkation process was disorganized. We were told along with other passengers to get to immigration early because our flights were early so we could be first in line. But there was no one there to direct people so it was a free for all to get in line. We got behind 30 other people who came in after us. Immigration was fairly quick but Seabourn gets a D for disembarkation organization. They should stagger groups of people based on their flight times like Crystal Cruises. Finally, recorded lectures could not be replayed as promised due to another Seabourn glitch so we missed some lectures we wanted to see. Not a biggie but the little things add up. I would definitely take another Seabourn cruise though. Once you understand issues peculiar to them, you can work around them. Read Less
Seabourn Ovation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.6

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