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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
After reading many reviews of Seabourn I decided to book this cruise. The ship is smaller than the new floating Iran sprawl like tower blocks which was a real plus for me. The personal and attentive service by many staff was great but ... Read More
After reading many reviews of Seabourn I decided to book this cruise. The ship is smaller than the new floating Iran sprawl like tower blocks which was a real plus for me. The personal and attentive service by many staff was great but that seemed to magnify the faults when they showed. Breakfast in the collonade was an American buffet and options including none cremated bacon were available to Oder; however the staff never once got it right. On one occasion an English Breakfast with English bacon not crispy. Grilled tomatoes, eggs over easy and toast was served as two eggs served over easy. Seabourn need to encourage use of order pads or the tablets used at dinner to easily solve this issue, the food was good but similar in all venues on some nights which wffectively meant choose room service before 1900 or after 2200 to avoid the dinner menu. The bar was a popular area for many passengers and the unlimitedcdtinks were a major feature for some. The itinerary on the first week was much better than the second week and beach days which followed in succession were a bone of contention amongst many so spoke with. The cabins were comfortable (V6 grade) and a spacious walk in wardrobe was a great feature. We had issues with our steward who failed to deliver the daily programme, failed to replenish the soft drinks in the fridge or note our preferences but these were not so big an issue - because we had a steward did not mean we were unable to do things ourselves. The trip was very good but not exceptional and I think that if the company manages expectations rather than raises them with false hope they will continue to do well. It's very good and enjoy it but don't expect the earth - believe me the positives outweigh the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our third cruise onboard the Odyssey and we loved every moment of it! We embarked in St. Maarten after spending two days unwinding at the Holland House Hotel. The embarkation process was absolutely painless. Everything was run ... Read More
This was our third cruise onboard the Odyssey and we loved every moment of it! We embarked in St. Maarten after spending two days unwinding at the Holland House Hotel. The embarkation process was absolutely painless. Everything was run like a well oiled piece of machinery. We were in PH cabin 918, which was lovely. I'm afraid we were spoiled by the extra room and location of this cabin. We would definitely book a PH suite again. We found the food and service to be top notch and did not have one complaint about either. I did however miss the Patio dining for an occasional evening meal as I always loved their steaks and pork chops. Many passengers really enjoyed the recent change however and the food was quite good. As we have done the Caribbean a number of times, we elected to stay onboard for a number of ports. We preferred to enjoy the comforts of the ship at some of the ports. We did not do any of the ship's excursions so I am unable to comment on those. The beach BBQ was wonderful, as always. On our last day, Jost VanDyke, the water toys were brought out much to the pleasure of many of the passengers. It was great fun! We met some lovely new friends, Martin and Stella and were able to spend some quality time with them and some other friends, Debs and Mikey, that we had met on a previous cruise. We enjoyed this cruise and were not disappointed with anything! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with ... Read More
This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with a guarantee to upgrade to a min cat 3, and received a cat 6 up on deck 11. The room was perfect and spacious. Tons of room, excellent layout, with perfect service from our room stewardess. We had everything we needed in this room and loved the ability to split the room with blackout curtains in half so the early riser didn't disturb the other pax. Bedding quality very high. FINAL SCORE: A+ FOOD; DEFINITELY not 6 star. BIGGEST disappointment of the cruise! The menu in the main dining room was repetitive. Colonnade food comparable to HAL/Princess/Celebrity buffets. Nothing special, too many carbs/starches not enough high quality proteins or veggies. Sliced meats and cheeses were what you would find on other CCL ships. BALONEY served as a tapas? Yup. They also put it out on the buffet and the "Epicurean extravaganza". SERIOUSLY. We paid $450/pp/day to be served baloney? We did enjoy Earth and Ocean several times especially the smoked chicken starter. Fun place to dine weather permitting. TK grill was very good, but doesn't measure up to land based TK restaurants. This was still the best dining spot on the ship. Sushi was nice, pretty typical of what you find on land serving average sushi. But at lunch, due to penny pinching, they didn't serve raw fish. Our best meals were the TK special nights in the colonnade. They felt the most authentic and had cheeses you wouldn't find anywhere else on the ship. Main dining room has some outstanding nights, others it was OK. Just not consistent especially with beef dishes. Our last surprise when it came to food was the ship running out of standard menu items...60+ cruises never had a ship tell me they didn't have the item on the menu we ordered. IF you're a foodie, skip Seabourn and go with another cruiseline (Oceania, Regent). FINAL SCORE: C SHIP: was a perfect size, and never felt crowded. No lines for anything and the layout had great flow. The colonnade could get crowded in the AM requiring you to sit outside during peak hours. This tended to be the only time noticing how many were onboard. Lots of places to hang out and relax. High quality furnishing and art work. FINAL SCORE: A DRINKS: Bars had just about any type of premium liquor you could want. Beer selections were more limited. Want an IPA beer? Nope. How about a wheat beer? Nope. Craft beer? Nope.. You could find a nice selection of complimentary wines some better than others, the staff were more than willing to change out the wine if you were unhappy. Bar service overall was great. Servers couldn't remember what you ordered (they weren't allowed to write it down) and made multiple return visits either to ask again or brought your the wrong drink. This happened in the Observation lounge only. No problems in other venues. Coffee in Seabourn square is excellent. FINAL SCORE: B ENTERTAINMENT: Best was duet in observation lounge, Rachael and Vladi. The lounge band was also fun and played popular music from the 60-80's. They did seem to get a little repetitive in their playlists. CD Chris was prior west end actor/singer and had the best voice on the ship. Wish he would have sang more than twice during 15 days. The main shows were OK and geared towards the 70's crowd. We felt it lacked the energy and excitement of Oceania's ships. Very little stage magic, just singing with no sets or costumes. FINAL SCORE: C ACTIVITIES: Sorry this was sorely lacking. Sea days had very few options. One cooking demonstration in 15 days? Trivia, casino (which opened at 3pm on sea days), lectures or sitting by the pool were about all you had for options. A few games of corn hole (baggo). They did offer nice prizes of high quality. We were so looking forward to the brochure selling us on the "Marina" on the back of the ship. We had several protected bays during the cruise they could have deployed it in, but that never happened. How about the famous and well marketed "Caviar on the surf"? Yeah, never happened. We heard this sometimes turns into "Caviar in the pool"? Nope, Band played ONCE the entire 2 weeks on a sea day by the pool for 1 hour. Maybe a dance party under the stars? Nope, didn't have any. FINAL SCORE: D PORTS: The highlight of the NZ/Australia trip was seeing the Penguins march from the beach in Phillip Island...or that was the plan. Instead the captain decided 14 hours before arrival we would be leaving at 2pm vs 11pm. WHAT? "due to high winds" we needed to leave 9 HOURS earlier than planned! The seas were dead calm when we left the protective bay we tendered at... Like 1-2 ft seas. Barely a ripple in the water. I checked my phone, and the winds were going to pickup slightly in the afternoon (below 20mph). The REAL reason we were leaving early? Terrible seas the next day (sea day) w/25ft+ waves and big winds over 40MPH. We were putting along the entire time at about 12 knots riding the waves like a giant surfboard. Actually most of the time the ship moved it was slowly at 12 knots. We could have cut the crossing from NZ to Australia down to 2 days from 3. We could have skipped Eden vs leaving Philip Island early. Eden had very little to offer. FINAL SCORE: B SERVICE: Employees are the strong suit of Seabourn. Most knew our names after a few days. We were very surprised they could do this with 600 pax on board! They tried to bend over backwards and help with any request. They learned your drink or food preferences. It was the saving grace of our cruise. The people are what makes this ship stay afloat. We felt like we knew crew members on a more personal level too. I will say the officers were invisible most of the time. The crew were always present; ready, willing, and able to serve with a smile! FINAL SCORE A+ IF Seabourn improved the food quality/variety and entertainment/activities, we would consider returning and they could refer to this as a 6 star cruiseline. Until then, we have booked a Silversea cruise leaving in 60 days and will return to Oceania in the future. Food is subjective to a degree, but we have a good idea of what other lines offer and how it compares to Seabourn. I hope someone is listing at corporate office. FINAL SCORE B-. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The itinerary offered me the chance to hit 5 new countries, and I ended up getting my 100th country as a result. Embarkation was so smooth I almost felt like I'd not completed something. As it's a small ship, it's not ... Read More
The itinerary offered me the chance to hit 5 new countries, and I ended up getting my 100th country as a result. Embarkation was so smooth I almost felt like I'd not completed something. As it's a small ship, it's not necessary to be in a huge warehouse and standing in line for forever. My cabin was #916 and in a perfect location, IMHO. It was on the same level, although at the opposite end, as the spa. I never had to wait more than 30 seconds for an elevator and since the ship is small, you get to where you're going very quickly. Entertainment was good - typical cruise ship style - Service was outstanding. My cabin was spotless and my stateroom attendant was superb. The bed was very comfortable, the amenities in the bathroom were great, the cabin was spacious, and the balcony was nice. The casino was small (one table for blackjack, one for roulette and one for 3 card poker) and a few slot machines, but even if there's no one in there, the casino staff will happily open a table for you. They were all very nice and easy to talk to. The food, oh my gosh, the food was spectacular. I went to the buffet once only, had room service (very large selection) a lot and went to the dining room a lot. I also went to the "specialty dining" restaurant, but that was a waste because the dining room food was actually better. My only complaint, and this is not the fault of the ship at all, was the Noisy Nellies next door, who lived on their balcony and talked using "outside voices" and clinked their silverware against their plates A LOT. I could not go on the balcony without hearing every word clearly and they talked nonstop. There should be some sort of balcony etiquette. But this did not deter me from loving Seabourn. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Having cruised on larger ships (Cunard & Celebrity), we decided to try a luxury, mid-size ship and booked the Seabourn Sojourn for its 20 night cruise from Cape Town to the Maldives. On the plus side: 1) Our embarkation and ... Read More
Having cruised on larger ships (Cunard & Celebrity), we decided to try a luxury, mid-size ship and booked the Seabourn Sojourn for its 20 night cruise from Cape Town to the Maldives. On the plus side: 1) Our embarkation and disembarkation were managed efficiently. 1) The verandah cabin was a pleasant surprise - spacious with heaps of hanging/drawer space and an enormous modern bathroom. 2) The passenger-contact staff are extremely pleasant and helpful, especially our cabin stewardess and the dining room servers. Guest Relations were responsive to my concerns regarding the ship's patchy, frustrating internet access and often re-instated my lost time. The Cruise Director, Ross, was an energetic activities organiser, comedian and great singer - a real asset. Likewise the F&B Manager, Mario, who handled my complaints regarding several disappointing meals. 3) The entertainment and lectures that we attended were mostly of high quality, although the standard dropped off a bit towards the end of the cruise (the final 5 days at sea). 4) The daytime band, the Trio, were bland and uninspiring - they played mostly "elevator music". A pity the full rock band was not used more during the day and early evenings. The downsides generally relate to deficiencies with the swimming pool and gym (both are too small), inconsistent food quality and the poor management of "destination services" ie ship to shore transport and shore excursions. For example, the excursion to Addo Game Park was a debacle as nearly 20 passengers had to be transported around the park in small mini-vans, rather than the large, open 4WD trucks advertised. Plus the ship's transport from the port to the main town (Fort Dauphin) in Madagascar was irregular, resulting in delays, with no-one from the ship present (initially) on site to co-ordinate arrangements and inform passengers. Also, the ship does not adequately handle 1 to 2 metre ocean swell and, unlike our other cruises. I was sea-sick on a couple of bad weather days. Overall, it is doubtful that paying twice the nightly rate for a Seabourn cruise is justifed vs the larger ships, especially as both internet charges and shore excursions (which are expensive and problematic) are not included. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were on board for 36 days and had some really great crew members, but serious issues with many the didn’t have a clue what they were doing and some just plain overwhelmed. Our cabin stewardess was the worst I have had in 40 YEARS of ... Read More
We were on board for 36 days and had some really great crew members, but serious issues with many the didn’t have a clue what they were doing and some just plain overwhelmed. Our cabin stewardess was the worst I have had in 40 YEARS of cruising...clearly overwhelmed, everyday her service cart was the last to leave the passageway....where are the supervisiors to help with the proper training and make sure her staff have the tools they need to be successful. At one point it was suggested we keep a regular schedule by getting up in the morning at the same time each day!!!! Beverage service was so bad in the Grand Salon about 1/2 into the cruise they decided to go with premade drinks for the shows so the waiter didn’t have to take all those bothersome drink orders...some evening you had to ask several times for a beverage...Had to ask 2-3 times for a glass of ice, and we had to laugh one night in the MDR I asked for a wafer cookie for my ice cream....it arrived with ice cream on the pointy end, clearing taken from some other order....or previous order!!! Noticed little cheap things like no breadsticks on the table at lunch, at breakfast no little jars of jams, had big containers on the buffet to scoops out of...no hor’dourves at the formal night. If you want honey for your tea you have to scoop!!! In the Seabourn Square the honey was put into the cup, as they don’t have any little jars....guess one needs to bring their own from home....not exactly luxury! The food is for the most part quite good. However we were on 2 segments and the menus were the same for both segments. Ordered room service 2 evening when we were “fooded-out”, club sandwich which I have had in the past and was quite good...it use to be 4 sections this time it was only 2! To the good the nibbles up on deck 10 in the evening are excellent....noticed on some occasions the carpets were not cleaned of crumbs from afternoon tea!!! We did really enjoy our CD Ross Roberts, excellent...and the speakers and entertainment staff were good as well... This itinerary was very interesting but we would not go back to any of the ports except Cape Town and Singapore....if you are not a sun person you will find the the Indian Ocean really hot and humid! My only hope is that Seabourn gets it’s act together as this is the 3rd year the service isn’t what we expect....suggest more rigorous interviews and training on land and more extensive....before you subject paying passengers to amateur hour!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our 5th Seabourn cruise and every time I say 'this was my favourite'! We enjoyed every minute despite having some dodgy weather to cope with and missing a couple of ports because of that. We felt that this was the happiest ... Read More
Our 5th Seabourn cruise and every time I say 'this was my favourite'! We enjoyed every minute despite having some dodgy weather to cope with and missing a couple of ports because of that. We felt that this was the happiest cruise we'd been on, more or less everyone was cheerful and that was down, as always, to the superb Staff who yet again went over and above to make it as enjoyable as possible for the passengers. It was helped along by a fantastic Cruise Director and his two Assistants who were such fun and so hardworking. The Executive Chef was far more prominent than normal, with live cooking regularly on deck with the Head of Food and Beverage - what a team! They worked together so well alongside the Cruise Director. Service was perfect in the main Dining Room and Earth & Ocean was superb. Hardworking staff made the Colonnade enjoyable - the food offering in all restaurants could not be faulted. There was great fun crossing the Equator, I won't spoil it for anyone reading, it is an event! All in all, a fantastic cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. ... Read More
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. Classy cruising. Not. Two days earlier, a crewmember carrying a sharp-edged tray had accidentally slashed my wife’s arm badly when he bumped into her in the breakfast queue. And, as we approached our homeport, all power failed and the ship narrowly missed drifting into concrete bridge pylons. In 40-plus cruises over more than 35 years before and after that forgettable holiday, my wife and I in recent years have stepped up into the heady world of ultra luxury cruising –- a field that, despite the eye-watering cost, doesn’t always live up to its publicity. Until we joined the Seabourn Ovation on March 2, 2019 for a 14-night cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. Our wallet took a AUD21,000 (USD15,000) hit, but for the first time on this new (launched in May 2O18) absolutely beautiful mid-sized 600- passenger all-suite ship, it was worth every dollar. Nothing is perfect, so give or take a couple of petty whinges (no self-serve steamed rice and very average congee (Asian soup) while sailing in Southeast Asia, and a frosty reception in The Grill restaurant) Seabourn Ovation went as close as ever we expect to get. As sometimes jaded, increasingly grumpy and always critical travellers, it was a joy for us to start our cruise by first running an eagle eye over suite 726 on our arrival Yes, you can assume that boarding was faultless. Not one photographer on the gangway, or anywhere for the entire cruise. These days we notice things that niggle experienced cruisers on: A wall safe comfortably at chest height (it beats sitting on the floor) in a spacious walk-in robe with three dozen clothes hangers. Plenty of mirrors, a seriously cold fridge stacked with soft drinks, beer and a real bottle of champagne; plus a list of ‘complimentary’ (paid for in the fare) good quality wines. If you can’t find anything to satisfy your taste buds from Chile, California, Australia, Spain or Italy, there’s a lonely bottle of Petrus 1995 Pomeroz Grand vin from Bordeaux waiting for you in the glass-walled wine rack in the elegant main dining room ‘The Restaurant’ for USD4,500.00 (AUD6,348.00). The label is a bit scruffy so maybe the Sommelier might do a deal. In our suite there’s a lounge long enough for a rack-stretched basketballer or a third guest, a generous, glass-topped round table for 24-hour room-service-with-a-flourish (starched linen and folded napkins) and a king-size bed with a choice of six pillows soft, firm, extra firm. The TV set is on a trolley for manoeuvrability and there are plenty of movies on demand. In-suite announcements from the bridge are restricted to an average two a day -- weather and brief entertainment updates, or shore excursion boarding. No electrical engineering degree is required to operate the lights. Just click and press for a range of illumination levels from dimmed romantic to the blinding glare in the interview/confession room down at my local police station. One of Seabourn Ovation’s most remarkable (unique?) assets is its ubiquitous South African Cruise Director Andre Potgieter who recently received the prestigious President’s Award for Leadership from Seabourn Cruise Line president Rick Meadows. Andre, a softy spoken, articulate young man, emerges like a breath of spring each day in a different tailored jacket and slacks and a new spectacular bow tie with matching pocket-handkerchief. Wherever he goes, goggle-eye grandmothers swamp him with cheek kisses and embarrassing hugs. Which probably explains why, when the ship is in port, Andre trains for his favourite sport, marathon running. Of the 575 passengers from 27 nationalities on board -- average age around 60 -- there were 266 from the U.S, 112 the U.K, 46 Autralians, 34 Canadians and 33 Germans. In two weeks they demolished 2,272 bottles of red wine, 1,435 white and 633 bottles of champagne. And although there were no children on board, 390 litres of ice cream. A total of 32,826 breadsticks mopped up 21lbs of caviar. Two popular spots on the ship are the Observation Bar on the deck 11 which features high tea for an hour from 4pm then a friendly circular bar open until midnight; and The Retreat on the top deck (12) an exclusive enclave with 15 private cabanas, lavish amenities and an oversized whirlpool spa. Evening entertainment in the Grand Salon, often starring one of the slickest teams of ships’ dancers and vocalists we have seen on a cruise ship and backed by Seabourn Ovation’s highly professional orchestra, featured a range of top-class acts from a comedian and to an opera singer. A tip: For an unobstructed view, find a seat away from the intrusive supporting pillars. A shore excursion with a difference on Seabourn’s Asian itineraries is the idyllic day spent on the company’s picture-postcard tree-fringed private beach, ‘The Den’ on the exclusive Thai island of Kood. On a clear sunny day more than 400 souls disembarked from Seabourn Ovation tenders to discover rows of deck chairs under shade trees, a feast of lobster, steaks and salads, champagne on ice and a full bar. All of this ferried ashore from daybreak and served by the ship’s crew and a group of local Thais. With only a few days left and most passengers staying on board for the cruise to Dubai, we were wondering whether they still threw stowaways in the brig. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our third Seabourn cruise, second on the Quest and we chose this one because we wanted to see Antarctica. Once again, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with kindness and good humour by the hard ... Read More
This was our third Seabourn cruise, second on the Quest and we chose this one because we wanted to see Antarctica. Once again, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with kindness and good humour by the hard working staff and crew. However unlike our previous two Seabourn cruises, we were quite disappointed by the vegetarian food on offer. Cabin Our cabin was on Deck 6,and right up the front of the ship. We had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath, with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. However on the rare occasions we sailed through rough seas, we certainly rocked a lot. We will book a cabin mid ships on our next cruise. We like good air flow when we are sleeping and once again, the air conditioner did not meet our needs. The cabin was too stuffy and we had the same problem last year and on the Encore the year before. We solved this by bringing our own fan and we were very comfortable. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea. Dining My husband and I are vegetarian and although there was plenty for us to eat, a lot of the dishes were mediocre. They were very bland and often stodgy and we seemed to have those bland and stodgy dishes over and over again. However we often dined with passengers who chose the meat dishes and they reported that their steaks were succulent and their chicken and pork were cooked to perfection. It's as if Seabourn are ticking a box to say they cater to vegetarians but then fail to produce fine food. However the vegetarian options on the two occasions they held a Galley Market and the special Indian buffet dinner they held one night in the Colonnade were outstanding. We also placed a special breakfast order for vegetarian congee and this dish was also outstanding. The chefs can clearly prepare beautifully spiced dishes when necessary and I only wish they could do it all the time. Vegetarians on all cruise ships seem to be treated with the same contempt as someone who asks for an overcooked steak and I don't think we deserve that. There's a whole market of cashed up vegetarians Seabourn could attract if they really tried to cater to our needs. The waiters on Seabourn are the best of the best. Incredibly inspiring people, I may be in the minority here, but I don't like or understand Seabourn's practice of having the staff offer an arm to a woman, which the woman is then under some pressure to grab while they are escorted to their table in the Restaurant. It is not a custom I am used to and the feminist in me really objects. I always feel uncomfortable and I'm sure these busy young people have better things to do. We have dined in upmarket restaurants all over the world and have not experienced this practice anywhere else. Perhaps they could have an opt in policy for those who enjoy this experience and leave the rest of us alone. Drink The wine ranged from good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and they were plentiful. The bar staff were wonderful. Public Spaces Even at full capacity, Seabourn ships never feel crowded. We could always find a quiet spot to read or simply watch the world go by. On the other hand, if we wanted company or entertainment, there was always somewhere to go. The whirlpool on deck 6 was a haven for us and we usually had it to ourselves. It was the place to be when sailing away. . Fitness Centre My husband attended the complimentary stretch and exercise classes each day and found them excellent. The instructor was very capable and he gave my husband lots of advice on how to continue the program once he came home. Entertainment We were on the Quest last year, so this time when we went to the shows put on by the extremely talented Seabourn singers and dancers, we were surprised to find that the shows were exactly the same as last year. Even some of the costumes were the same. Seabourn encourages us to be repeat cruisers and we are very happy to oblige, but it would be nice to see something different. The entertainment on the whole was very good but tended to be middle of the road and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Seabourn's passengers are generally well educated and sophisticated, but most of the music would have appealed to our long deceased parents. For heaven's sake, we were alive in the sixties and went through one of the most profound musical revolutions in history. We can handle entertainment which is current and inspiring and multi-dimensional and I'm sure the talented entertainers onboard would have loved performing this type of material. On the other hand, we were huge fans of Josie and the trio in the Club and we usually ended up there every night. Now they really can handle modern music. We also enjoyed the various parties on the pool deck and in the Club. Jess, the Assistant Cruise Director is an outstanding entertainer. Staff and Crew Iggy and the expedition team were outstanding and I can't thank them enough for the wonderful experience they arranged for us in Antarctica. We always knew exactly what we had to do and when we had to do it and all the time they shared their incredible knowledge with us. They were always true professionals while being kind and warm and funny. The Captain was also a true professional and a wonderful communicator and we always knew we were in good hands. The weather is volatile going to and from Antarctica and each day he told us what the weather was doing and how he was going to deal with it. We were very impressed. The staff in every Department were well trained and incredibly good at their jobs. Seabourn only employs the best of the best and it shows. Excursions Antarctica was the highlight of this cruise and Neko Harbour was the highlight of Antarctica. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We were fortunate that the weather was perfect for the 6 days we were there, so we saw everything we set out to see. Only 100 people are allowed on shore at any one time and Seabourn's expedition team organised us like a military operation. We knew exactly what we had to do and when we had to do it. They helped us on and off zodiacs, even those passengers with disabilities, and helped us once we were on shore. They laid out trails for us and kept us away from the seals basking on the beaches and the penguins' walking trails, but we were close enough to see them. The penguins were lovely. The expedition team also made sure we cleaned our boots before we returned to the ship so we didn't cross contaminate the next place we went to. Otherwise we covered a large area of the continent of South America and the excursions were really well organised and great value. The outstanding sights were the fjords in Chile, the Falkland Islands, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and everywhere in Brazil. Passengers Mostly American with a few Australians and English but quite a few other nationalities as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly well educated, well travelled, lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. Internet Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package. In summary, this was a wonderful experience and going to Antarctica was life changing. Seabourn Quest is one of only a handful of small ships that can go there and we were very fortunate to be able to take this journey. I'm sure we will now all be ambassadors to make sure this remarkable place stays as pristine as it now is. Read Less
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