This was our first Seabourn cruise. The ship is extraordinary: beautiful, functional, classy, very well designed. The food, crew and staff were as close to perfect as imaginable. The bathroom in our cabin was as nice as any 5 start ... Read More
This was our first Seabourn cruise. The ship is extraordinary: beautiful, functional, classy, very well designed. The food, crew and staff were as close to perfect as imaginable. The bathroom in our cabin was as nice as any 5 start hotel, including full bathtub and walk in shower, double marble sinks and (especially for a cruise ship) unbelievable water pressure.
The cabin had the ability to draw black out curtains between the seating area and the bed, allowing an early riser not to disturb a spouse sleeping in. We read about some early growing pains as the ship was only 6 months old. We saw none of those issues. Incredible. Incredible. Incredible.
Sushi restaurant was good. Thomas Keller Grill was extraordinary. They say you can only book once per week, but we secured reservations for two nights.
Only suggestion is to explore third party excursions as well as considering Seabourn's.
Very easy to meet and socialize with other passengers. Average age 45 to 65. No kids or teens on our cruise. Read Less
Based on prior Cruise Critic reviews, it appeared Seabourn Encore was off to a rocky start. I am here to report the crew have overcome most of their issues and are offering a top notch program with the exception of a few minor glitches ... Read More
Based on prior Cruise Critic reviews, it appeared Seabourn Encore was off to a rocky start. I am here to report the crew have overcome most of their issues and are offering a top notch program with the exception of a few minor glitches they are still working out.
The ship is amazing with beautiful and comfortable furnishings in all the public rooms. I thought the staterooms (I had a V6 cabin on Deck 10) felt a bit smaller than on Odyssey. The make-up table, in particular is so tiny, it can hardly be used. The shower also seemed smaller than on Odyssey, however, I could be wrong on that. The bed was comfortable, the towels and sheets were soft. The sofa was nice to sit or lay down on. You won't feel cramped in these cabins.
The service is basically up to the standards I expect from Seabourn. Many crewmen knew us by name within two days. The bartenders certainly knew our favorite drinks!
The only issue we had with slow service was the delivery of caviar on deck. The crew admitted they were still working out kinks with that and suggested to pre-order caviar if possible. However, I ordered caviar four times in the main dining room, as an appetizer, and it was served in a timely manner. The problem only appears to be on deck or in the lounges.
Main Dining Room menu was wonderful. They had a decent variety to choose from. I'm not a fan of Thomas Keller, the celebrity chef Seabourn is aligned with. His offerings were very hit or miss. However, the Seabourn standards were plentiful enough to satisfy me on the off nights. The salmon ,and the filet were 5 star yummy! The lobster tagliatelle was so good, one of our party ordered it every night as an appetizer.
The Thomas Keller Grille was also nice, although a bit noisy. Our table of four had trouble conversing over the sound of music.
As for service, in the main dining room, we had one amazing team, that could teach a course on fine dining service. We were overwhelmed by how good they were. Everything they did seemed designed to make us feel special. A second crew was a very good team and very efficient, but did not make us feel like special honored guests. Still, no complaints about them. . . And one team was very subpar. They couldn't take orders properly, fill water glasses or even deliver food in a timely manner. One night the maître d' actually came over and apologized for the poor service. I can understand anyone dining with this team writing bad reviews about the MDR. They were really bad.
The Colonnade dining room (Deck 9) was where we ate breakfast each morning. They had a wonderful buffet, although I ordered off the menu most of the time. Here's a tip: You can order almost anything you want for breakfast and they will try to make it for you. From corned beef hash to waffles. . . You can also order cappuccino of a latte.
The name brand entertainment on our trip was spotty. The magician/comedian was cute. The woman hired to sing show tunes was average. However, the standard shipboard singers and dancers were all wonderful. I thought they far out-performed the specialty talent. They all had great voices! The dancers were "Dancing With The Stars" caliber.
The piano player in the Thomas Keller Lounge (Deck 8) was perfect for pre-dinner cocktails. The duo in the observation lounge had great voices. The deck five band could crank it for a party. In fact, all the on board parties were fun!
The shore excursion crew did an admirable job of getting people off on a good foot. They also handled a problem many of us had with an unruly and reckless passenger on an excursion. Folks, the staff is there to help you. . . just speak up if you have a problem.
The gym and spa, if you use them are the best Seabourn has to offer. The gym, in particular, was pleasingly large and well equipped.
At the pool, there seemed to be plenty of deck chairs and eager attendants to shuttle cocktails. It never seemed crowded.
The casino staff was nice. My only complaint there was too many penny slot machines and none for a quarter or dollar.
If you've booked a Seabourn Encore cruise, don't worry. It is finally up to Seabourn standards. If you have not yet booked one, I highly recommend you do! Read Less
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship
I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn.
... Read More
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship
I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn.
Every aspect of the trip, the ship itself, the staff and the cuisine. WOW!
Everything about this cruise was excellent, (i.e., the ship itself, the staff, the cuisines and the wines!!!
There were several people from the Corporated office in Seattle, who supported all of the daily events. Guest chefs were brought aboard during the sail, all of home provided special regional dishes.The Wine Guys were also aboard. They are world class experts on wines, especially, Spain and the United States. They made our trip s m o o t h.............
I believe that the service on this particular cruise showed a level of excellence rising above what has always been wonderful. Read Less
Tale of Two Cruises.
We are frequent cruisers, last few years mostly on Seabourn - after in 2010 we got tired with the drip by drip slippage on Silversea, where we had started out in 1996 as our first high end cruise line. Total is now ... Read More
Tale of Two Cruises.
We are frequent cruisers, last few years mostly on Seabourn - after in 2010 we got tired with the drip by drip slippage on Silversea, where we had started out in 1996 as our first high end cruise line. Total is now about 35 cruises on a mixture of cruise lines. Mostly all high end, and a dozen on Seabourn, both the little yachts and the Odyssey class. So we have been around a bit and can make some honest observations that others might find illuminating.
This is going to be a review of our experience on the Sojourn on two of its 2017 cruises in Asia: early January and then again April. The "Viet Nam" cruise was the first one in January, and then an exhaustive China, Japan, and a touch of South Korea and Taiwan on the second in April and May.
Menu, Food and Restaurant Service:
We start this review with our restaurant experience on board, since this is for us one of the major reasons we choose a cruise line. We choose to eat all our dinners and many lunches and breakfasts in the main dining room a/k/a the Restaurant, because this dining venue is the most relaxing and enjoyable dining experience for us at sea. More like we experience in fine dining at restaurants home and abroad. Less casual. Lots of men wear sports jackets. We like the look and feel. We also dined on occasion in the more casual Colonnade for breakfast and lunch, and the outdoor grill for poolside lunch. We stay away from the alternative dining in Restaurant 2.
The biggest change we noticed from prior Seabourn cruises with the Restaurant on the January cruise was with the menu choices and food coming out of the kitchen. Portion sizes had decreased, they claim because people were complaining about the portions being too large. The menu choices of appetizers and main courses were now more limited, and a good number of the dishes prepared and served that we had were below the normal high culinary standards that we had experienced on all prior Seabourn cruises. Once it was the finest food at sea, giving Oceania a run for its money, but something happened we noticed in January that was apparent. While we would now call this cuisine on the whole still very good, it was not anymore the exciting, interesting and very tasty dishes we had gotten used to dine upon during our many prior Seabourn cruises.
We love good caviar, with a nice glass of champagne or chilled vodka, especially when its at no extra charge (beyond what we are already paying in our expensive cruise fares), and this is one of the reasons we gravitated to Seabourn five years ago. They like to show it off as one thing that they do that others don't offer anymore. The supply onboard had always been there, portions ample and the quality high.
Noticeably, on the January cruise, the Uruguayan caviar purveyor's first rate product had been replaced with a grossly inferior California based, fish egg product I am not even sure qualifies to be called caviar. Mushy consistency. Nasty tasting, yes. Inedible for us. After two or three unsatisfactory attempts to sample the new product and to find out whether we had simply gotten a bad batch the first time, or maybe we could adjust to it, we just dropped it. For us, it is better that Seabourn either brings back the excellent Uruguayan product or its equivalent or just discontinues serving caviar. People we talked to who appreciate good caviar were in complete agreement. We don't know whether this downgrading is just corporate cost cutting. Dining Room management said many other caviar fans had also complained - to no avail.
In early May there was a mysterious re-appearance of the good caviar product from Uruguay for a limited period toward the end of the cruise. It was like the good Caspian sturgeon were running again downstream to where we were in Asian waters. We enjoyed it at every opportunity until we disembarked, and the ship surely and sadly reverted back to nasty mushiness.
By the time of our April - May Japan and China cruise, there had been a definite improvement with the food coming-out of the Restaurant kitchen compared to January, even with the continuing, more limited, menu selections and portions control. It was noticeably better. I attribute it to some of the newer and lesser experienced chefs in the kitchen who joined the ship in December/January gaining more cooking experience or learning the Seabourn way and just doing an all around better job in preparing our meals. Restaurant kitchen seemed to be working better. The Executive Chef on board I think made a difference in running the kitchen, and the Hotel Director and F&B manager played roles. Special order requests improved. Quality and taste of the cooked Restaurant kitchen product was generally high, but we had to send our filet mignons back once or twice since the taste of the beef was just not there. The special Keller appetizer and main dish selections still had no fascination for us, and many others we spoke with.
The Encore of the Encore and its effect on the Sojourn:
The 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to reviewing Sojourn cruises in this January to May 2017 time frame is of course the coming on line of the new Encore in December 2016. To staff the new ship with the best and most experienced help above and below the decks to please the new ship's clientele on this, Encore's critical first cruises, a reasonable and obvious business objective, Seabourn's three other ships largely had to be stripped of 1/3 each of their best and most experienced people. Therefore virtually 1/3 of Sojourn's most experienced hotel, dining and ship management, restaurant and bar wait staff and dining room assistants, cooks, and stateroom housekeeping attendants, indeed even the unseen and valuable behind the walls administrative people in the guest relations and purser departments, and the below deck personnel who actually keep the ship sailing magnificently during thick and thin, were taken off in the months or weeks preceding the Encore's launch and sent to the Encore to crew up that ship. We lived through the effects of this in January.
These experienced people had to be replaced - largely with new or internally promoted people, whose old positions were then backfilled. And with the fierce competition world wide from other expanding and start up river and ocean cruise lines, there must be a real issue for the best people out there to be found, recruited, engaged and trained to become worthy Seabourn staff members.This finding of the best people and training them to develop the skills to do things the best way possible - the Seabourn Way - does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process for them and for the passengers, as we learned.
And so the passengers of the Sojourn on our January cruise, particularly the frequent Seabourn Sailers, experienced negative differences in a number of things directly attributable to the cannibalizing of its crew and replacement with new personnel. Things happened that shouldn't and never did before on any Seabourn cruise. These differences we experienced included kitchen, dining rooms, bars, stateroom housekeeping and administrative purser and guest relations areas. Fortunately for the below decks crew that keeps the ship running, we saw nothing in the new hirings that affected the voyage's safe and smooth sailing.
Many guests in January complained to other guests, out loud and in private to ship management. Ship management listened, in many instances acknowledged the problems and took corrective action on board to fix and improve, to the extent circumstances allowed.
By the time of our April-May cruise two and one half months later, with some new and inexperienced staff still joining and learning the Seabourn way, because there is always crew turnover, and promoted people stepping into their new jobs, overall it was a very noticeably improved and enjoyable experience on the Sojourn. People who recognized the differences between January and April spoke out how much better things had become, a return more to the normal. Restaurant kitchen in particular, and Dining rooms, bars and stateroom housekeeping personnel. While noticeably better for us in April and May than January, a number of the frequent Seabourners we encountered who boarded in March and April and confided in us, as guests always do, expressed their own concerns and reservations from what they observed, compared to their own past Seabourn experiences. New to Seabourn passengers we met had nothing to compare against.
While the food coming out of the kitchen on this April-May cruise was generally much improved, food and service had not gotten back to the old Seabourn standards, that used to be called the best at sea, by the time we off boarded in mid-May. Breakfast in the Restaurant, for example, still needed work, both food preparation and service. The Colonnade however, hummed along every day we went up there for breakfast or lunch - with a very good and varied buffet product and fine service. We never had dinner in the Colonnade. Restaurant menus need widening, and people get around the portion sizing by asking for doubles or seconds and are always gladly accomodated.
Scallops during April and May seemed to have become the chef's favorite offering at dinner time in the Restaurant. Usually on the dinner menu every second or third night in a slightly different incarnation. The Keller special dishes sometimes very good but mostly pretentious and a big dud most everyone agreed is a mistake. Beef filets sometimes not very tasty and returned to kitchen. Lamb chops excellent. Veal usually very good. Most fish dishes very good. Nice selection of veggies well prepared and salads, but cheese course selection needs improvement, recognizing we were in Asian waters and far from the fromageries of France.
Meals in the Restaurant ably supervised by dining room management and served well and efficiently by the veteran wait staff, and the learning, relatively newly engaged, new wait staff growing steadily in confidence, knowledge, ability, skills and the special, emerging personality and strong presence that has always made the Seabourn wait staff so very special in its relationship to the guests. This is the key to the recovery.
Some complain on these pages about long time gaps in the Restaurant between ordering time and being served on the Sojourn and the other Odyssey class ships. We never experienced that inn either January or April - May. Maybe because we get to the Restaurant closer to when it opens its doors and order before the kitchen and wait staff gets backed up.
There have been a number of complaints on these pages about the poor quality of the complimentary wines served on board Seabourn ships. I think this is overblown. Wines and champagne and booze of all sorts flow freely on board all day at all venues. Yes Seabourn does not spend a lot of money on these complimentary wines. Nor, as far as I can tell, does anyone else in the luxury cruise business who supplies these complimentary wines. And over time we have sailed with Seabourn the quality has improved. There were wines one could find that had had good structure and taste and were very enjoyable as an accompaniment to the food. Nicholas Feuliiette champagne from France is very nice indeed. Not a cheap champagne by any score and very delicious. Usually a very drinkable Pinot Noir or Zinfandel or Cab could be found on the daily selections. And Santa Margherita is a very nice Italian Pino Grigio, readily available. Some of the New Zealand's sauvignons blancs were not the sometimes thin whites. Lovely French roses from Provence or Italy. What we had to drink was not shabby at all. In fact I cannot think of one night or lunch that we had wines that we did not enjoy. And my wife and I have a lovely cellar at home. Nice Sauterne dessert wines too on board. The head Sommelier Jo is a real gem, as are many on her team.
Entertainment whether with the one time only magicians and comedians and concert artists, or with the six person song-dance team was generally somewhat above average for a ship of this size, although the Ukrainian dance duo of Yuri and Ilona is world class. The entertainment troupe was better in April than the troupe in January, when there was no dance team. Good band too in April, better than on the January cruise. Singers better too in their performing skills, but the production numbers are weak, and the few shows too often recycled. Who among the Seabourn core passengers can really get excited about the hyped Tim Rice special? Most of the songs I never heard before, but maybe the prevalent age group on board explains much of this. Hollywood musical themes and Broadway standard shows should be the mainstay. Lerner and Lowe, Rodgers and Hammerstein. Johnny Mercer. Cole Porter. George Gershwin. Dirty Dancing. What a wealth of vault material to choose from. R 'n R show fine, but numbers needs some better producing. Dance on Yuri and Ilona! The Cruise Director Sophie is very pleasant, very good at her job and a very talented occasional performer as well, with a deep stage background in London musicals.
The Destinations Services Department has a real gem with Ilona running it. She did an outstanding job under some very trying conditions. Hotel management also very much improved when Helmut a solid industry pro made his appearance for us as Director in April and the behind the walls people with time, are learning to practice their administrative trade better.
Captain Hamish Elliot is one of the best around. He is very approachable, as are all the officers, makes everything very personal and more interesting. He is dealing as best as he can with the transition issues of running his ship and bringing it back to the old Seabourn standards after the recent cannibalization of his crew, and the possible repeat of this process in May of 2018 when the Ovation comes on line.
Pool and Pool Deck:
The pool and pool deck were not much used on these voyages in the April - May mid and northern Asian waters. Quite lovely and nice size for 450 passengers, with proper shade areas under the overhangs we've experienced on other Seabourn cruises to warmer climes as was the January cruise out of Singapore where there was a lot more pool action. I have never experienced these chair hogs others talk about, even on the hottest days at sea. To me, seasoned travelers know how to get along. Pool attendants know how and when to enforce the posted 30 minute rule. My experience is that are always enough chairs available, and a person who puts down a book to hold a chair at 9 30am on a sea day while he or she goes to breakfast for 45 minutes is not to be castigated, when 95% of the deck chairs are wide open. Well maintained areas, and the bar servers make frequent rounds to satisfy all liquid tastes. The deck lounge chairs should have pads, as do Oceania's, and this Seabourn should do something about. Lying on the webbing is not that comfortable. Very tasteful pool music kept purposely low in volume so as not to be annoying like on some other cruise lines. This is the Seabourn way again. Class.
The Pool Grill serves its purpose for us at lunch in decent weather with its limited menu, although opened at night too. Nicely prepared burgers, salads, pizza and other assorted dishes more than one would expect at a pool grill.
The ship itself is beautifully designed and maintained, and sails exceedingly well even in rough waters, although scheduled to go into dry dock soon for a needed refreshening after 5 years in service. The public rooms and bars are elegant in design without being ostentatious and are well kept and spacious. Comfortable seating. The Club on Five for us just perfect, with the bar counter and convivial bar personnel and fellow drinkers, and the closed off casino and its machines not disrupting guests enjoyment boozing it up in the lounge. A haven for many people before and after dinner, with its pleasant cafe singer and musicians.
At 32,000 tons and 450 passengers, and with its footprint and profile, this is the perfect sized ship for us. Passenger density low, and crew to passenger ratio high. The crew gets to know passengers' names and after a few days they identify you by name as matter of course. Just like the old days. It is a pleasing experience to be identified by old and new crew by name - another Seabourn tradition that has been maintained. I am told they really work at this face and name identification. Some say the size of the crew has been downsized in recent months. We saw no proof of that and never suffered for lack of quick staff attendance for our needs.
The stateroom - which is the same standard size for the most part throughout the entire ship except for the suites - is very spaciously designed at 365 sq ft with the Verandah. Decor a little tired perhaps some say, especially the frequent Seabourn Sailers, and in comparison to the new Encore, with its 600 passengers. but comfortable and very functional, with plenty of drawer and cabinet space. Nice width and length. Nice TV placement. Nice liquor setup. Tables and chairs. Room quiet and no noise from adjacent staterooms. Mostly good internet, and the price is cheap enough. We hardly ever had connectivity problems in these waters. The walk in closet, with safe, nicely sized even for long cruise passengers with lots of clothing. The bathroom also nicely sized and twin sinks are a real plus for two people traveling together. Shower, and tub, and I have yet to find anyone actually using the tub for anything other than to hang laundry or keeping the keg of beer cold on ice. Shower wee bit on the narrow side, but one gets used to this unless really large and one learns to adapt. Stateroom temperature controls perfect. Verandah nice size and comfortable.
The Enrichment Lectures were numerous and all outstanding, more so on the China - Japan April-May cruise. The presenters gave us much information about the cultures and history of where we were going. Some political lectures too. Professor Paul Ropp from Clark University a real gem on Asia. Seabourn should hire him full time as the head of this program. He was so knowledgable and an excellent presenter, and having lived in the Far East for so many years made him so much more credible and interesting. Many rave reviews from the audience onboard and we agree he was the best of any we have ever had.
Excursions and Tours:
The ship's group excursions choices are the usual mix of too much or too little, with the usual complaints endemic to all cruise lines as too expensive and bus rides too long. Seattle can do better job in advance planning certain must-see group overnight excursions. Like Xian in China, which was put together for twenty odd of us by the ship's Destination Manager Ilona on the ship itself on very short notice.
And Okinawa, with its sad WW2 history especially for Americans, but also for the Japanese and natives who died in the biggest land battle of the Pacific, should get better programs designed from Seattle for those many passengers, mostly Americans, interested in seeing and learning more from the ground about what happened here. There are stone walls in the Peace Memorial and Museum with 13,000 American boys names on them. More names there than grave stones markers in Normandy. And other walls with the names of over 200,000 Japanese and Okinawans who also died there during the battle. A must see.
Ports and Cities Visited.
The ports and cities we visited in Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand on the January cruise and China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan on the April-May cruise were all interesting, and there were many. Although after a while everything begins to blur together. Vietnam especially appealing in its several cities visited, since it is still the old country on the verge of the conversion to a new China type building and culture boom. So much American history here with the War. Five years from now it will not be this interesting mix of old and new culture and society anymore: the conversion will have taken place. The ever present motorcycles and motorbikes will be replaced by autos. Ships tours that were arranged were excellent.
The building boom we witnessed in China is incredible, as was the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta warriors on the Xian overnight excursion expertly handled by the ship's personnel and the outside tour company. Hotels chosen first rate. Logistics superb. Shanghai amazing city we would like to visit again. Beijing very large and fascinating but bit overwhelming . The ship's overall itinerary of all four countries was well accomplished, with the ship darting back and forth from Japan to China and then onto South Korea and Taiwan, with a turnaround stop to the south in Hong Kong, before heading back north through the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa on the way to the main islands of Japan.
The many Japan stops beginning in Hiroshima and ending in Yokohama- Tokyo- Kobe cities after Mt Fuji stop were fascinating in its culture and scenery. Lovely and interesting stops and sights, and we did Kyoto on our own. Enchanting. So many temples and shrines everywhere, as in China. Transportation by air or the bullet trains on the tours and excursions very well done. The logistics for these various excursions and overnights is not that easy to accomplish, but the Destinations Services Department as previously mentioned did a splendid job. And lets face it - all daily tours are not created equal. Some are great, some average and others just bad. The full day tours were the most grueling by far, but there was much to see many of us elected this punishment anyway.
Seoul after we docked in Inchon, near where MacArthur landed, a very large very modern city and little scary with the threat of nuclear attack ever present, but the South Koreans seemed not to care nearly as much as we Americans did. Busan in the south very interesting stop and not nearly as crazy as was Seoul.
All in all, WE loved these two trips to Asia and this ship, although the ship somewhat less than in past 5 years. Our expectation is that Seabourn will learn from its Encore debut experience and plan a better launch for the Ovation next year that will not impact negatively on the other four ships in the fleet. And at the same time we believe it will improve those areas like food and service that have dropped a bit from the past. The Seabourn people who staff these ships make the difference, and these solid pros and new hires they have added will once again become the standard bearer for all that Seabourn greatness that once was. My wife and I believe in the Seabourn brand and its management. We are so confident Seabourn will raise its game to its old standards that we are booked already for a cruise next year. Once the best, it will be the best again.Or risk losing its loyal clientele. Read Less
This cruise makes one stop on the second day at Madeira and then goes to Ft Lauderdale FL We spent the 9th to the 19th crossing the Atlantic. The weather was very good although overcast for part of the time. Generally the temperature ... Read More
This cruise makes one stop on the second day at Madeira and then goes to Ft Lauderdale FL We spent the 9th to the 19th crossing the Atlantic. The weather was very good although overcast for part of the time. Generally the temperature was in the 60s and 70s. A little bit bumpy the first day going west from Madeira but after than pretty smooth. Not lake quality but by n means rough.
The ship and crew are marvelous. Food is just superb. Four restaurants and plenty of variety. Our cabin was very nice and good sized with a sitting area and a bed area. We were fortunate and had an outside porch area as well.
The ship had several speakers who did some very interesting talks, Several by Paul Deegan, Phil Bye and Tony ( Anthony) Cooke. Paul's discussion of Everest climbs especially appealed to me but they were all very good.
Staff were all extremely capable and made a point of being friendly. Watch for Johvan on the wait staff
The ship only carries about 490 people so there is no sense of being in a herd. If you want a very relaxing and low key trip by water this is perfect. Once more, the food was superb Read Less
I chose this cruise based on itinerary and the belief that Seabourn was a top of the line cruise experience. We were able to secure an upgrade an ended up with a Penthouse Suite. The accommodations are excellent. The room far exceeded ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on itinerary and the belief that Seabourn was a top of the line cruise experience. We were able to secure an upgrade an ended up with a Penthouse Suite. The accommodations are excellent. The room far exceeded expectations. The bathroom was large with a separate room for the toilet which included its own basin. Very private and nice. There was a jetted tube and the lovely Molton Brown toiletries. Our cabin stewardess was wonderful.
That being said the rest of the experience was not at all what we expected. From the wine selections to the food - very disappointing. The Thomas Keller restaurant where you could only dine twice was underwhelming. Lobster was under cooked. I only eat seafood and throughout the trip I always had to ask for something other than what was on the menu. The only fish they offer as an daily option is Salmon - my least favorite fish. The lobsters were unlike any I ever had before. I live in Miami and am used to fine fresh seafood. These were not either Maine or Florida lobsters. I don't know where they came from. Don't eat caviar yet found that those who do could get it any time they wanted. Why no decent fish available? They managed to find a piece of mahi once and a tuna filet.
The Seabourn Square served the same finger sandwiches everyday. Mostly bread with very little filling. Same cookies and cakes at the Square and for tea. The coffee was always luke warm and so strong it was undrinkable. I finally learned to order a pot of hot water to dilute it. I head the same complaint from others that I mentioned it to as well.
Unfortunately we took the last smoking voyage and paid the price. The observation bar with a wonderful piano bar could not be frequented after 8 p.m. due to the heavy smoke inside.
We heard from many the same disappointments.They said not to judge Seabourn by this cruise. I swore this would be my first and last Seabourn cruise, but heard the reason this one was so lacking was because the top crew members had been transferred over to the new Encore. Just found an itinerary I like for the Mediterranean so may give them a second chance.
I would never go on the Quest again. Read Less
This was our second time with Seabourn...and the second time with Odyssey. Originally this cruise was supposed to go from Athens to Istanbul but it was changed due to troubles in Turkey. Still it was worth it as we went to several Greek ... Read More
This was our second time with Seabourn...and the second time with Odyssey. Originally this cruise was supposed to go from Athens to Istanbul but it was changed due to troubles in Turkey. Still it was worth it as we went to several Greek Islands including Crete, Rhodes, and Mykonos. Ship: Just the right size with a super friendly staff. Not really any change than the first time we sailed which was during the summer of 2015. Cabin: Very nice and very roomy. Service in the cabin was extraordinary. Dining: Food is always excellent. We ate in Restaurant 1 and Restaurant 2. We also ate on the patio for lunch a number of times and in the buffet. We had room service for breakfast every day. Excellent service. Entertainment was fun and also interesting. They had a speaker who talked about the various islands we explored. As I said, service throughout was excellent. Ports were wonderful and the excursions were quite interesting. We'll be taking the Odyssey again this summer from Rome to Barcelona. Read Less
We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise ... Read More
We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise experience I had and plan on taking more Seabourn cruises in the future.
We arrived in Venice, Italy one night before embarkation. While we did have about a day to explore the city, in hindsight I would had liked one more day. We stayed at the Splendid Hotel in Venice which was a great location to see a lot of attractions in the heart of Venice. The hotel was great and our room was much bigger than expected. If you do stay here I highly recommend taking a water taxi directly to and from the hotel if you have a lot of luggage.
We did have trouble with embarkation. It started when we asked the hotel about the best way to get the port. They recommended a private water taxi for $100 Euro. They also told us we could take the water ferry from the Rialto Bridge for $15 euro per person. We cheaped out and that was a mistake. We asked the hotel which stop to get off and they said Tronchetto. We asked the people on the ferry and they said the same, which would have been correct if the ship was at the main terminal. But since the port was so busy that day, the Odessey was at the San Basillio terminal, which is a much different ferry stop. So after a lot of walking, some panic and a $20 euro taxi ride around the port, we got to the right place. Problem was it was late, a little after 4:00pm, and the Italians inside the terminal said the boarding process was now closed. After some more panic, and a lot of back and forth in English and Italian, they reluctantly let us on board where we started the check in process. It was a very tense hour and at one point we felt like we might actually miss the boat. But in the end we got on and the Seabourn staff were very welcoming.
Once we were checked in we immediately went to the mandatory safety meeting with the rest of the passengers in the main restaurant. It was there I realized that we were on a much smaller cruise. All 400+ passengers were there for the safety meeting. Once the meeting was over (about 15 minutes) we were allowed to go to our room.
Our room was great. Much bigger than some hotels I have stayed in Europe, New York or San Francisco. About five minutes after we got into our room, our stewardess came and greeted us with gifts. It was a really nice touch and made us felt welcomed. About five minutes after that, the ship’s on board guest services called to ask us about the embarkation. We told them what happened and they apologized. That night we sat in the observation bar and watched the ship leave the beautiful city of Venice. Then we went to the main restaurant for dinner and had amazing steaks.
I found the food at all of the restaurants on the ship great. We had dinner at all three during the course of the cruise. The main restaurant had a solid menu. The colonnade had different themes every night. And Restaurant 2 is defiantly worth a visit or two. We had lunch many days at the Patio Grill, which was very good. We hit the colonnade only twice for breakfast, but both times were good with a very large selection of breakfast items. I liked that you could hit the buffet or order items like eggs and pancakes to order. It might sound strange but I prefer to order my scrambled eggs fresh versus getting them from the buffet line. On our first full day on board we took a tour of the galley with the head chef. He was great and showed us where most all of the meals were cooked. He talked at length about the process they go through to insure the quality of the food. He even told us they fly all the meat served on board from the US to make sure the quality of the meat is the highest possible. The head chef also told us they do source seafood from local vendors at some of the ports they visit. What was also impressive is that the ship bakes all the bread and pastries daily on board, only bringing in gluten free products from the outside.
What we really took advantage of was the room service. We had breakfast in the room five of the days during the cruise. The night before we would fill out a card and leave it on the door before we went to sleep and the next morning the waiters were there with everything we had ordered. We even tried to stump them a few times with special orders, but they handled it flawlessly. I will say they were prompt. While the card gave 15 minute time frames for delivery, they were they a minute after the initial time. For instance the first day I asked for 7:00am to 7:15am. They were there at 7:01am, I had not even gotten out of bed yet. Every time we ordered that was the result. It was great.
We also ordered room service after a late night of drinking and dancing. I ordered a cheeseburger at 1:30am. I swear I had just hung up the phone and a waiter was there with a perfectly cooked cheeseburger. It was impressive.
As far as the alcohol and wine served on board, it is all top notch. They have a wide selection of beer and hard alcohol. The wine served at dinner was better than most restaurants. There are some premium wines and alcohol you can purchase, but honestly the regular selection is so good you really don’t have to spend extra money.
The pool area is not the biggest, but it is nice. So is the spa. I had a wonderful couples massage with a ritual bath after. The bath is outside in a private area that overlooks the sea. The Spa also has nice steam rooms and saunas to use after your treatment. I did not use the gym, but I did stop by. It is not very big, but it had a nice selection of equipment. They also offer different classes like stretching, yoga and palliates (free of charge) in both the morning and in the late afternoon.
The entertainment on board was OK. The shows were entertaining, but not spectacular. The best was probably the magician, who performed twice, each show was different. The club was OK, not too wild or crazy. The casino is small with only roulette, black jack, three card poker and some slot machines. One pro tip, You can take your winnings to Seabourn square (the reception area) and put your winnings (if you have any) towards your bill. I did not know that and cashed out at the casino receiving U.S. dollars. We didn’t really participate in any of the other activities so I cannot comment on them.
I will say the passengers on board were mostly adults, and most were of the retirement age. That’s not to say it was filled with retirees, but there were not a lot of families with children which was nice. Given the quality of the service and the time of year we traveled it was not a cruise for families.
The cruise went from Venice, Italy to Athens, Greece. Our first stop was Primosten, Croatia. We didn’t book an excursion and spent half the day walking around the small island. After a drink we opted to head back to the boat and spend the afternoon at the pool. It was truly relaxing.
Day two took us to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We booked our own tour online and took the shuttle bus from the port to the old city. Once there we went on a Game of Thrones tour which was great. If you’re a fan of the show I highly recommend it. Unfortunately it started to rain very hard so after the tour we returned to the ship and did not get to spend a lot of time in the old city.
Day three we went to Corfu. Once again we skipped the cruise excursions. We rented a car right at the cruise terminal from Hertz and drove around the island. It was a lot of fun and we got to see a couple of the villages and beaches around the island. We ended the day walking around the Old Town Corfu.
Day four was Nydri. We had an excursion booked, but it was canceled due to weather. I will say out of all the ports, Nydri was our least favorite. While we did get off the boat, I would of rather spent the entire day on the ship.
Day five was Olympia. That day we took the Seabourn excursion “Best of Olympia” tour. It was really wonderful and our guide was engaging and informative. We went to the birth place of the Olympics and to two museums to see some of the artifacts found at the site. The tour included a delicious traditional Greek lunch at a lovely restaurant just outside of the new city of Olympia. Then we had about a half hour to walk around and see the new city.
Day six was probably the biggest surprise, Monemvasia, Greece. Words cannot express how amazing and beautiful this small town really is. We had originally thought we would spend about two hours in the town and head back to the boat. We ended up spending almost the entire day exploring the town including a challenging climb to the top. It was a breath taking view on a sunny day. We had lunch in the old city which was quite good. My only regret about that day was not taking a bathing suit and towel for a swim in the Aegean Sea.
Our last stop was Athens. This is where our time on the ship came to an end. Disembarkation was a breeze. We had a transfer to our hotel arraigned by the Seabourn staff. It was simple and fast. It could not be better. Athens is amazing. We only spent a day there, but could have easily spent three.
Seabourn is not cheap, but you really get what you pay for. The nice part of the cruise was pretty much everything was included, our bill at the end was minimal. There was no extra charge for all of the alcohol, room service and coffee bar stops. Overall the service of the staff was top notch and I would highly recommend taking a Seabourn cruise. I plan to make my next cruise on Seabourn. Read Less
Our first Seabourn trip and without doubt the best cruise we have ever taken. Many, many positives and few negatives made it a very enjoyable 10 days. We also made friends with lots of fellow travelers and had a number of pleasant ... Read More
Our first Seabourn trip and without doubt the best cruise we have ever taken. Many, many positives and few negatives made it a very enjoyable 10 days. We also made friends with lots of fellow travelers and had a number of pleasant evenings in their company.
Embarkation in Barcelona at the World Trade Centre was very smooth and although our boarding time was stated as 2pm we arrived around 12pm and had no trouble boarding. This also gave us time for lunch at The Collonade restaurant while our rooms were being readied.
Food and service throughout was excellent. We confined ourselves to The Restaurant and The Collonade with a few snacks at the Patio Grill. We did book Restaurant 2 once, but cancelled as the menu did not look too inspiring. To be honest, we have had degustation in quite a few restaurants over the years including Michelin starred, and would much rather order a la carte. Consequently we didn't bother to book Restaurant 2 again. We tried a number of Thomas Keller dishes and not overly impressed. One smoked rib dish we ordered in The Collonade one evening was very dry. We also ordered room service a couple of times including breakfast everyday which was consistently excellent.
The overall service on board surpassed expectations. All of the crew were friendly, very efficient and they really looked as if they enjoyed what they were doing. The young lady who looked after our room catered for our every need and seemed to be always on hand with an hello and a smile.
We also very much enjoyed the entertainment offered. All of the bars and lounges seemed to have some entertainment or live music and every evening in the main salon there was a show around 9pm. Primarily provided by a young troop of singers and dancers who were London West-End quality. Our cruise director Sophie was also a very accomplished singer in her own right and she entertained us a couple of evenings. As a cruise director she was brilliant and her energy was astonishing.
The only negatives were 1. the exorbitant cost for a very slow wi-fi service. While I understand it is difficult to provide a fast service at sea, I believe it should be provided totally free with perhaps a daily data and access time limit; 2. The quality of the so called "complimentary" wine. No list of available wines was provided and we had to make a special request to eventually obtain one. There were some nice wines on the list, but these had to be requested from the wine waiter who often gave us a "how did you know about that one" look. They also seemed to push a particular wine each day and also push their premium wines (especially in Restaurant 2 we were told by other passengers) which are not good value. Considering Seabourn has fixed routes, which often pass through fantastic wine regions (ours went through Provence and Bandol), you would have thought it would not be too hard to source local wines as they passed through and also stimulate the local economy. If they want somebody to source local wine for them, I’m their man!
I would also look very carefully at the Seabourn excursions which in my view are expensive. We privately arranged two wine tours in Provence and Bandol which were both excellent very good value. We also did our own research on the places we visited which was fun and planned our own walking tours.
In summary, a great experience. I would highly recommend Seabourn and would have no hesitation in cruising with them in the future. Read Less
this is going to be a review of our most recent experience aboard Sojourn on deck 10 in a Penthouse Suite - Suite 1025. That suite was marked as "obstructed view balcony" on all of the deck plans, yet the price was the same as ... Read More
this is going to be a review of our most recent experience aboard Sojourn on deck 10 in a Penthouse Suite - Suite 1025. That suite was marked as "obstructed view balcony" on all of the deck plans, yet the price was the same as all of the other Penthouse suites. Before purchasing that suite, one of the few remaining, I searched high and low for someone online to give me the true lowdown on that suite without success. So I'll do so here, skip to the bottom if you want the succinct version.
My wife and I are experienced cruisers. We've been cruising for more than twenty years once or twice a year. We've been aficionados of Seabourn for the past sixteen years since our very first two week cruise aboard the Seabourn Odyssey in the Caribbean. We found it to be so far above our prior cruise experiences aboard other lines that we were frankly shocked at what we'd been missing.
Following that first cruise, we began doing Crossings to and from Europe twice a year (relatively inexpensive) and enjoying their ships as a destination - their incredible service, food and staff, as well as our fellow passengers (predominantly sophisticated, well educated and sociable). That no balcony, bottom deck experience was "relatively" inexpensive and MUCH cheaper than first class air fare to Europe and we always arrived without jet lag.
Over the years our tastes (and ability to afford higher levels of cabins) improved.
Aboard Seabourn ALL of the cabins, regardless of deck, are essentially the same (except for their true suites - Penthouse, WinterGarden, or Spa Suites). The cost of the traditional cabins increases as the decks get higher (which is strange because the higher the deck the more you feel it in rough seas). The lowest passenger decks - deck four has cabins without balcony, deck five has diminished views from the balcony as the material that is see through glass on all of the balconies is metal on deck five.
There are a couple of cabins designed to add on to the Winter Garden Suites on deck 7 as an extra bedroom. If Seabourn doesn't sell the Wintergarden Suite WITH the adjoining bedroom (cabin 745 & 746), they sell them as separate cabins. We were upgraded to one of those cabins and found it undesirable. The cabin itself is oddly shaped, the balcony is tiny and barely accommodates one person comfortably and the biggest detractor is that there is quite a bit of noise bleed through the wall and the adjoining door (think of an adjoining hotel room door) between the Winter Garden suite and these two cabins. On our experience there was a couple with an infant and the baby cried quite a bit during our cruise, making sleep difficult and quiet reading or discussions difficult as well. Those are two cabins to avoid.
Last year, in 2015, we were offered the opportunity to purchase a Spa Suite. the Spa suites are located on the aft of the ship. We had back to back cruises, a crossing then another ten days aboard in Europe. Midway, the hotel manager asked us if we'd like to pay the additional amount to move to a Spa Suite. It was the most enjoyable suite we've ever had aboard Seabourn. To describe the pros and cons:
PROs: 1. Panoramic view from the aft of the ship, no balcony can equal it (there are four spa suites, two on the side and two in the center 1090 through 1093). Our suite was 1093 on the starboard side and we had an incredible wrap around balcony with unrestricted views. The two center spa suites are not quite so lucky, but those two center suites have a crescent shaped extension allowing them to walk out for a fuller view. Unfortunately, that extension and their extended view infringed on the privacy of our balcony (the sole downside to that suite). 2. Unlimited access without additional fees to the Spa immediately below these suites (we're not Spa people, so we didn't avail ourselves of this). The advertising for this upgraded suite cites a Spa Concierge (no one aboard has any knowledge of this concierge - I've checked on two subsequent cruises while aboard and still no sign of a Spa Concierge. 3. Upgraded refreshments with healthy alternatives too numerous to mention. 4. A round, comfortable dining table with a magnificent view off the stern of the ship through floor to ceiling glass windows separating the living area from the balcony 5. a very comfortable arrangement of the sleeping area and living/dining area. 6. a very nicely upgraded bathroom with beautiful fixtures and separate rain shower and whirlpool tub.
Cons: 1. Accessible only via a steep spiral staircase located within the Spa. If you have mobility problems or your hands full, this is not the most convenient set up and could be frankly dangerous. 2. These cabins on the aft of the ship will be gyrating crazily in rough seas (think of the end of a teeter totter, the closer you are to the center fulcrum the less movement) luckily our cruise was on a pond-like ocean with barely a ripple for the entire trip. 3. No Concierge - they should take it off their advertising Frankly, you don't NEED a concierge aboard Seabourn. Everyone is treated as though they are royalty, even the least expensive cabins. 4. The beds are the same as all of the beds across the entire ship, i.e., stated as queen sized, but less than that in reality - a tight fit for larger folks.
Okay, returning to the penthouse suite on deck ten with the partially obstructed view. Penthouse Suite #1025. This Penthouse suite was disappointing after the Spa suite described above. The biggest problem was the noise, bleed through from the adjoining cabin (we could hear the television through the bedroom wall and for the first time ever, I had to call and complain to ask them to turn the volume down) and the door to the main deck was immediately to the left of our suite door. When there were activities and entertainment on the main deck, the noise bled into our cabin each time the door to the deck was opened - which was frequently, since at the other end of our passageway was the observation Bar.
The balcony was indeed restricted. It really wasn't that bad, roughly a third of the balcony was covered by a diagonal metal plate (photo attached). We could sit comfortably on the exposed portion with a good view, but for as the price for that suite was the same as the other Penthouse suites..... a full view would have been better. Food, entertainment, ambiance were all exceptional, as usual. This particular Penthouse suite as living accommodations was, in retrospect, a bad investment. Read Less
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in ... Read More
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in Estonia and Helsinki. We were very pleased with the knowledge of both guides.
The other reason we chose Seabourn was the Thomas Keller dining experience Seabourn offered, a foodie's paradise. We were totally blown away with the various Keller inspired dining venues. The chef and his crew did not disappoint in any of the exquisite meals prepared. The crew was friendly and knowledgable from how the food are prepared to explaining differences in caviar sourcing. Both galley and kitchen tours were informative and well presented.
What makes this smaller ship attractive is the size. There are no huge crowd during embarkation or disembarkation, no crowd dining. The ship is able to get into the smaller ports thereby closer to all attractions. In St. Petersburg, we were docked in the city. Most attractions were just a few minutes away by car. The larger ships must dock further away and sometimes 2-3 hours drive to any given destination.
The verandah cabins on deck 6 were spacious and very well appointed. We were able to have caviar in our cabin or outside deck most late afternoon before dinner. Deck 6 is also a central location for all the dining venues, pool, bar, library and salon. Overall, cruise service, cabin, lectures and dining were superb. Read Less
Having sailed on Silversea prior to this cruise, the standards were set pretty high. This was our first cruise with Seabourn and we were left rather dissapointed. There were some fine points and unfortunately far too many negatives for the ... Read More
Having sailed on Silversea prior to this cruise, the standards were set pretty high. This was our first cruise with Seabourn and we were left rather dissapointed. There were some fine points and unfortunately far too many negatives for the amount of $$$ paid.
The ship itself is very nice and cosy, clean and well maintained and spacious given the low number of guests onboard. Our Suite was clean and comfortable and looked after at all times by a very nice stewardess, although she seemed overworked at times.
The food standards did not meet our expectations given the amount of advertising dedicated to this segment. At best I would describe the overall dining experience as ordinary to just above average. The Restaurant did it's best to excel but fell below par due to some very rushed and casual service & repetitive choice of wines. On at least two occasions we were asked if we wanted the "white" or the "red" We then had to ask what was on offer. Something you may encounter at a bistro.
The Colonnade was as expected - casual dining. On an Australian themed night we ordered the meat pie only to be served a sheperd's pot pie. Only a few of the staff ever addressed us by name and very few of the staff seemed genuine. Most were going through the motions. Room Service was inefficient and one occasion my wife asked for soup from The Colonnade menu only to be told "we don't do that"
The cocktails were inconsistent depending on where you ordered them from. The barman at the bar on deck 5 was by far the best at his job and very friendly.
Poolside cocktails were hit & miss, although dinner there seemed to be ok given that ones' expectations are not that high for a poolside event.
Entertainment at the bars on decks 5 &10 was slow and at times extra slow.
The dress code in the evening fell short by some guests, but that may be a good thing for some who prefer a more casual environment.
Excursions were OK albeit a bit expensive.
Disembarkation was painless, however you got the feeling that they wanted you off the ship the day before.
One really noticeable fact was that a lot of attention was given to some regulars and if you did not fit that profile....well you work it out.
The overall experience was fair to average and that is because some of the staff made up for the shortcomings of others. Food, OK but not what the marketing department tells you.
Are we going to travel Seabourn again? Hmmmm, maybe if the service becomes a bit more personal. Silversea and Oceania were better. Read Less
This is your cruise line if you smoke! The CEO is a smoker, so smokers get special smoking places, you can smoke on your balcony, which means the neighbors get to smoke too! The balcony doors open outward & upwind so you will suck in ... Read More
This is your cruise line if you smoke! The CEO is a smoker, so smokers get special smoking places, you can smoke on your balcony, which means the neighbors get to smoke too! The balcony doors open outward & upwind so you will suck in all your neighbors smoke when you open the door, and sitting on your balcony if you are so unfortunate to have a neighbor who smokes is not possible. Smokers also get a large area above the pool next to the bar and another large area at the back of the ship, which was my favorite area but I never sat down there. When walking down the hallways you can smell smoke, and when changeover day happened the smell of smoke was overwhelming in some rooms, if I had been assigned a cabin which was smoke infested I would be beside myself.
The beds are HARD, but you can get a mattress topper if you ask, I had to get 2 because the toppers are one inch.
I think the word that Seabourn is smoker friendly has gotten out, so people who smoke increase with time. The risk of having a neighbor who smokes is too important to me, so I won't book again.
Rooms are good, but closet doors get in the way of the dressing table, so one cannot sit at the table if the other is going in the closet. The room girls say 2% use the bath tubs, yet all rooms have them, would be so nice to enlarge the tiny closet with the space of the bath tub. Room help says management don't listen to their ideas.
Seabourn is affiliated with Princess so you will get Princess email ads a few times a week and the only way to stop them is to keep unsubscribing - it took me 3 times.
Other than that it is a great cruise line, really loved the crew. Read Less
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star ... Read More
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star hotel with a nice breakfast. We took a taxi to the port, a few miles away.
The ship was familiar to the others in the fleet. Very well decorated and meticulously kept.
Our first stop when checking in was friendly and painless; we felt immediately at home. We met the Cruise Director, Jan, and her assistant, Ashley, who turned out to be the hardest working cruise staff we've seen. They were everywhere; and they were former singers who were also very entertaining.
Our suite was immaculate and included bottles of our favorite liquor as we started. The bathrooms were amazing; marble everywhere and a tub for soaking in the afternoon with a glass of wine.
The crew on this ship, as we had experienced on the Odyssey, was very friendly, unhurried, and welcoming. Everyone seemed to be very happy to see us, and it was infectious. Passengers coming from all over the world took the cue and greeted each other warmly.
The dining facilities were fantastic; Theme dinners in the Colonnade dining room and, in the main dining room; well prepared dishes with moderate portions served so that we had time to meet and converse with fellow diners. We met many people who became friends.
The ship's entertainment was much better than we'd expected; very talented singers, lounge acts and musicians. Dmitri and his small band sounded like a big band.
We participated in the Trivia and it was very entertaining, with Jan and Ashley officiating.
We used the gym and hot tubs daily. The gym was well appointed and you could always find a machine to use. We had breakfast delivered several time and it was surprisingly well done; white tablecloths on our verandah table and silver and all the appointments. The bar staff was always friendly and efficient.
We had a pianist, Rogerio, and a cellist, Andrew, who were fantastic. Very surprised and delighted to get such stars on a small ship.
The trip up the Amazon was not as exciting as we'd expected. The river is wide and muddy, with not much chance to see wildlife. We took a tour at Santarem to see a local farm and watch manioc and rubber preparation. The towns along the river were interesting but trashy.
Fortaleza had a couple of sights, including the market and Cathedral. One highlight, at Natal, was the dune buggy we booked on our own (picked up a dune buggy outside the port for a fraction of the ship tour price) Great tours of the local beaches and a real E ticket trip among the dunes.
We took the ship's tour of Recife/Olinda on buses. Nice tour but we think we could have done better with a private car, and for much less.
Buzios was nice, but it poured down hard and the ship almost pulled up it's anchor while we were in port. Several tours were cancelled and money was refunded.
Ilhabela was very nice. Great beaches and lovely places to drink Cerveza and enjoy the view.
Here's a tip: The ship had 3 fantastic guest lecturers. One of them, Dr. Roger Luckenbach, was an expert at all the ports. Before I left the U.S., I downloaded maps from CityMapstoGo, an iPhone app. When Roger mentioned a likely spot to visit in any city, I marked it on my map and was able to "connect the dots" on a walking tour. The iPhone has a native GPS built in and it only needs a local map for navigation. Wifi not needed. Great App! Plus, Roger was an entertaining and endlessly informative guide.
Two other lecturers added greatly to the trip. Dr. Ian Dalziel gave insightful lectures on the topography and underlying geology of South America. Dr. Don Goldsmith; who we had the privilege to dine with one night, is an amazing astronomer/astrophysicist. We had only a couple of nights of clear weather for southern hemisphere "stargazing," but they were highlights of the trip.
Rio was great. We succumbed to a "private car" from one of the jewelry companies in Rio (we met a rep, Christian, on the ship) After a tour of the store and a look at the jewelry (and a purchase, but that's not necessary) they provided us a driver and guide for the whole day. We were able to see the highlights of Rio, including a trip up Sugarloaf. We were a little disconcerted when we were told how much of Rio was considered unsafe for walking, but the city itself was amazing. We booked a ship's tour of a Samba show; the show itself was fantastic once it started. The trip to the show and the delay were worth it; but I think it was probably a $75 show that we paid $150 for.
Montevideo was a great town; we took the Alchemist/Tango show there, with highlights of the city and we were well satisfied. We debarked the ship at Buenos Aires (sadly) and spent four days touring this fantastic city before flying home. Disembarkation very unhurried and calm. One sad note; when you leave the ship at Buenos Aires; if you have private arrangements, you are steered to a taxi line which overcharges you. We paid 25 dollars up front for a four mile taxi ride to our hotel. Didn't seem to be any alternative.
In short; we LOVE this cruise line. They don't hassle you to buy anything; tips are not expected, everything is uncrowded and unhurried. The crew passes this relaxed vibe along to the passengers and everyone is well behaved and polite. You get the feeling you are on a private yacht that happens to have some other passengers on board. The sense of pride in the ship and the cruise line is palpable. Congratulations to all!
My recommendations: Book your own private car tours when possible, before leaving home. Get the CityMapstoGo app and mark your favorite spots. Read Less
I just completed two back to back cruises, 9/5-9/12 Piraeus-Istanbul (Greek Isles) and 9/12-9/19 Istanbul-Istanbul (Black Sea Odyssey)
This was my first SB trip. For comparison, I have done 8 prior cruises, most of them on luxury ... Read More
I just completed two back to back cruises, 9/5-9/12 Piraeus-Istanbul (Greek Isles) and 9/12-9/19 Istanbul-Istanbul (Black Sea Odyssey)
This was my first SB trip. For comparison, I have done 8 prior cruises, most of them on luxury competitor lines.
EMBARKATION was pleasant and efficient, took less than a half hour. We got on board on a very hot day around 12:30 for a 4 PM departure, then went to the nicely air-conditioned Colonnade indoor/outdoor venue for a sumptuous buffet lunch while the rooms were readied. Around 2PM we were notified our room was ready. My suitcase was there waiting for me from Luggage Forward, a company sponsored by SB, shipped from the US in advance, right on time.
Contemporary, well-kept ship, very clean, with obviously well-off passengers averaging 55-65. Overall, pax were younger than on Silver Sea cruises I have done, by about 10 years, though this may have been due to the itinerary. Passengers were mostly well-behaved, healthy-appearing couples with varying marital status, including a few gay couples, and a handful of singles (there seemed to be less of them here than on SS). Though there were a few people who appeared unhappy and were having problems they unrealistically hoped a cruise would solve, generally people seemed to be polite, well-traveled, reserved, and content to enjoy their trips and the company of their traveling companions without inserting themselves into conversations with strangers. At least a third seemed to be from non-English speaking countries (I heard at least Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, Dutch, Flemish, and Portuguese). The rest were English-speaking Americans (some originally from other countries), Brits, Canadians, Aussies.
Most of the port excursions on these cruises required a pretty good fitness level (cobblestones, hills, and/or walking and standing around in the heat for the majority of offered excursions), so not surprisingly I did not see any wheelchairs (though some pax had canes and were mobility impaired), or many pax who were young children. However, I heard from a crew member that a couple months before here had been an unusual group of pax on board with 50 children, so absence of children is not guaranteed on this line. Note for smoking phobics: there were a few small outdoor smoking venues which did not bother me at all but might bother some. Even though I am a non-smoker, I am not worried I will die from a few outdoor sniffs of smoke here and there, though I know some people are, and some perceive reactions to even small amounts. Smoking venues were on the starboard side of the 9th floor outside above the pool deck (five tables), and starboard side of SB Square veranda (a couple sofas and tables), plus smoking is allowed on verandas, but overall, VERY few people smoked, or even vaped.
FACILITIES were overall very nice, though the contemporary style modern furniture in most public areas was often uncomfortable for me (I have musculoskeletal problems) so I set up coping strategies (see below).
The ship had immaculate maintenance, tasteful art displays, a very uncrowded environment, and even at the pools on hot days it was tolerable and you could swim laps (there is also a smaller pool lower and aft). I could always find a place to sit in the public areas, including the wonderful Seabourn Square center aft where there are computers, printed newspapers, acceptable Internet, iPADs, easily available front desk personnel, coffees with snacks, ice creams, adjustable recliners, sofas, library books and games. Chairs and sofas in public areas were modern in appearance, some more comfortable than others. Poolside lounge chairs were uncomfortable for me without cushions. Chairs in the Colonnade were very nicely angled, padded, and comfortable, and this was my favorite dining venue (I love eating outside on a nice day). There were two modern styles of chairs in the main dining room: one style (rounded, yellow) was oddly shaped, such that I felt like I would slide off, whereas the others (white, more squared) were ok, though shorter than ideal on the backrest and with hard armrests, and thus not as cushy and plush as the main dining room chairs on competitor lines Regent or Silver Sea. I was a bit disappointed in the overall seating on this line (many hard seats and low backrests), but not enough to dissuade me from coming to SB again, as I can structure ways to get around these issues (e.g., target the venues or chairs that I like, and/or carry portable seating pads). Nothing looked worn out or tired.
Beautiful spa with views of the ocean as you get serviced, with pleasant staff, (Tijan the manicurist from Serbia is a delight to talk to) and a special serene sitting area where you can lie on hard warm rocks if you choose (I did not, too hard), or wade through a serene area pool. You can also rent by the day or by cruise regular access to the serene area. Though I did not use the gym, it looked uncrowded and had a variety of equipment options, also with ocean views, and a trainer was available.
ENTERTAINMENT: I went to several shows, which with the exception of a lovely and talented outstanding young classical pianist (Naomi Edemarian, whom I could listen to all day if offered), were nothing special, but I would never pick a cruise line for its shows. There were some competent Broadway-style singers and dancers, there was a magician, a talented and humorous female fiddle player, but unfortunately also a British comedian who was not too funny and a bit crude. Grand Salon is the main basic entertainment, gathering, and lecture venue, where attentive staff will bring drinks to your seats before and during the events if you want them. Chairs are a little stiff though padded, upright, not comfortable enough for me to want to lounge the evening away in them.
There are also many on demand movies you could watch in your suite, almost all only in English, as well as the usual array of varying and mostly sparsely attended on-board activities common to other cruise lines (cards, dance lessons, trivia, casino, etc). TV showed BBC news, Sky news, FOX news, CNBC, MSNBC, Sky Sports, some TV shows, a view from the bridge, and had an interactive channel where you could book excursions and spa appointments (there were a few problems). There was also a cruise director who was a beautiful young American woman who looked terrific in a tight evening dress and very high heels, and tried very hard to be pleasant and amusing, but who seemed to have a somewhat false manner about her and periodically made jokes that I did not consider to be funny (e.g., about a particular classical music piano piece reminding her of Bugs Bunny themes). But to me, cruise directors (or event entertainment offerings) do not make or break a cruise, so she was mostly irrelevant to my overall rating of this trip as 5/5.
ENRICHMENT lectures: not a strength of SB this journey; lectures were few and far between, weak and disorganized, with some misinformation provided on some topics (one British male speaker was particularly annoying in this regard, not sure if he is paid for his efforts). I would have been better off just reading about the referenced places and history on the internet or in books about the area I had brought on my iPAD, and watching online videos, rather than listening to the speakers with their poorly structured and barely legible slide presentations. But lecture availability does not determine my cruising choice or overall rating (here, 5/5).
FOOD and WINE: Very good to outstanding, all venues, all meals. This is very important to me on cruises. There was a wide variety of competently cuisine, and portions were sensible so you could try more things (considering the constant ongoing feeding), with daily special themes. Also, personnel brought daily fresh fruit specials to the suite daily. I did not have a bad or mediocre meal the entire cruise though some courses were better than others. My biggest ‘complaint’ was that the delicate pheasant one night had a little too much rosemary on it, and the borscht on the Russian food night in the Colonnadede did not taste very Russian. Though I had some mediocre coffee here and there, it was usually good, and always served hot and well-caffeinated, even at room service.
Seabourn Square personnel will make you espresso, latte, etc starting 6:15 AM, till 6:00 PM, no closures, and again 9-11PM, where you can also get little cakes, muffins, tiny sandwiches at will. Room service for breakfast was quick, (often arrived earlier than ordered) and except for one of the times I used it, the tray always had what I had ordered (the other time they had just forgotten to pick up the breakfast order from outside the door the night before). The included Nicholas Feuillatte champagne and international red wine offerings were decent to good, and though some of the included whites were not to my taste, personnel would bring me something different if I asked, also included in the basic fare (such as Stag’s Leap Chardonnay which drinks quite nicely with the wonderful assorted lovely fish dishes SB frequently offered). I did not feel compelled to constantly buy wine off the wine list in order to find something drinkable, like I did recently on SS. It was also not at all difficult to attract a waiter’s attention and the dining rooms appeared well-organized in true team efforts.
Though food in all venues was very good, my favorite was the popular Restaurant 2 (multiple small gourmet portions served in a small quiet room, reservations are required there but there is no extra fee). Restaurant 2 also offered wine/food pairings on one of my two trips there, which were outstanding. Though I am not a vegetarian, I noted on SB there were always vegetarian options, quite tasty, and gluten-free choices were also marked. The main dining room and Restaurant 2 were not open for breakfast or lunch, which some people did not like but I did not care as I knew how and where to eat to get enough tasty food 24/7. For breakfast, most people either used pre-ordered room service for breakfast or ate at the Colonnade (7:30-10). Lunchtime people either ate at the pool (1-4), the Colonnade (12-2), or were on excursions. An improvement would be if advance dining reservations, e.g., for R2, could be made on the internet before the cruise, as on SS or some other lines, to avoid rushing around the first day trying to get a reservation in R2 (they booked out).
SERVICE: Exceptional, and this is an important and distinguishing SB feature. Excellent, friendly and helpful staff everywhere I turned, and personnel did not seem exhausted or act overworked and annoyed with you: very good waiters and service in dining rooms, very good room stewardess (ours was the excellent Monica, from Slovakia). There were also helpful and readily available SB Square destinations and front desk service personnel, and computer tech support (e.g., Adrian — quietly competent and thorough). Personnel who interacted with pax front-line were from English-speaking countries of origin from all over the world, or from countries where almost all young people are required to learn English. I never had trouble getting front line personnel to understand what I was saying, and many were multilingual and picked up on pax language preferences if they were not English. Personnel were readily responsive to the few problems I had: e.g., I have a musculoskeletal condition which makes hard (i.e., new) mattresses difficult for me to tolerate, and my stewardess did not rest until she found a solution to my mattress and sleeping problem (an egg crate topper). Adrian the computer guy also came personally to my suite to help me with my internet and email issues (he resolved a very complex problem I had). I had a sense of “can do, no matter what” from the staff, as opposed to “not my problem."
INTERNET: not as good as I’d like (especially in my suite location), but it was reasonably priced for unlimited service and one way or the other, I was able to get on and stay on to get done what needed to be done. This is not a problem unique to SB.
I had a very forward PH Suite on the 9th floor, right behind the bridge. Surprisingly, I heard no bridge noise. There was a huge amount of storage space, and a luxury bathroom with a side-by-side modern shower and a whirlpool tub. Nothing was broken, but a minor flaw was that the bathtub had no rinse-off hose. There were deep double sinks, plus another sink in the separate toilet area which could be accessed either from the hall or from the bathroom. Though the stewardess was great, the suite overall turned out not to suit my needs: as noted, the bed with its new mattresses was, to me, too hard, and the very narrow living room sofa/chaise was even harder and I thought more appropriate for a dentist’s waiting room than a luxury cruise line. The Istanbul airport had seats more comfortable than this sofa. The sofa was too narrow to stretch out on (it was not wide, like in the picture I saw of the PH on the internet) and as there was also no comfortable recliner in the living room either, just a couple stiff chairs at the dining table, I did not want to sit in the living room/dining area at all.
Also, the suite had poor to non-existent wifi much of the time, though it improved after the internet team performed some upgrades later in the cruise (this was apparently just a bad location for wifi I did not know about in advance). So I had to go to SB Square or closer towards the other side of the ship to use my reasonably priced unlimited internet service plan. The deck in the suite was spacious, and the outdoor chaise lounge chairs partially reclined, but had no pads and were thus hard to sit on for more than a few minutes (I put pillows on them when I wanted to sit outside). The stiff chairs at the eating table on the suite's deck (identical to the pool area dining chairs) did have some pads but were upright and uncomfortable.
Lighting functions were confusing, i.e., the switches let the living room and bathroom be either totally bright or totally dark, no “mood” setting option except in the bedroom. In sum, in hindsight, the extra price paid to have a PH suite was not worth it to me as I could not comfortably use most of the space to lounge in the room that had the view. I typically wanted to leave the suite as much as possible to go sit somewhere more comfortable. I would have been better off with a simple veranda suite prepared in advance with just a bed with an egg crate mattress topper, which is what I have reserved for my next SB cruise to Norway in 2016, where I will be able to ignore the hard sofa but still see the ocean while lounging on the bed.
EXCURSIONS AND PORTS:
SANTORINI: a lovely, must-see, though very crowded, picture postcard island, tender required. We did the SB excursion to Mt Profitis Ilias and Oia Village, ending in Thira. It was a good overview of the area, though the trip up to Mt. Profitis, which was just a ride up a mountain and back yielded nothing to do at the top except look down at the rest of the island (there was some trash lying around, and a monastery you could not enter, no inn or place to sit or relax and enjoy the view). So next time we would probably skip this in favor of more independent time in Oia and Thira for browsing the interesting little streets and shops and enjoying some refreshments.
RHODES — a worthwhile port. We just wondered around on our own here rather than taking a tour (ship was docked right at the key tourist areas, hard to get lost, just follow the old city walls ), and we also toured the extensive Archeological Museum, definitely worth a long stop, it also has shaded gardens.
PATMOS — Nice. We did the "Patmos Highlights” excursion on a hot day, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse. This is an impressive very old religious site, and there was an active Greek Orthodox service ongoing. The tour included the 300-yr-old Simandris House, with the 90 plus aged female owner sitting there hosting as we toured, interesting, and then we went for a delicious plate of mezes, decent wine and Greek dancing at a local inn. A good tour, though quite strenuous going up the hills, especially if weather is hot, not for people who have trouble going up and down in the heat.
KUSADASI — definitely do the Ephesus Evening Reception complimentary classical music concert, quite beautiful (though the acoustics at the site did not do the musicians justice, i.e., their music got partially drowned out, but this is a visually special event not to be missed. We did a separate Virtuoso tour of amazing Ephesus on the second leg of the cruise out of Izmir so I cannot comment on the quality of the actual SB sponsored Ephesus excursions out of Kusadasi.
MYKONOS — I do not recommend the “Stroll through Mykonos.” The guide was boring, hard to understand, and we stood around in a poorly ventilated hot museum with no chairs to rest on, which had some interesting pieces but also a lot of echo. There was not enough strolling and too much standing. The ship is docked here, no tender, so you could do this high end town on your own. We bailed after the first 45 minutes and just wandered around independently, then ate at a local overpriced but pleasant inn on the water with a view of the interesting windmills.
LIMNOS— did the Highlights tour, which was an ok tour of this more primitive island, which has quite a bit of military installations, rough vineyards, poorer people. Definitely not Napa valley style wineries. They do not get many visitors. We toured the beautifully situated Poliochnis ruins from 4000 BC as well as the British Cemetery and World War I Memorial, both are worth a look, though a private tour might provide more timing flexibility to explore the island
ISTANBUL— we did the “Best of Istanbul” tour as this was our first time here and we were not sure what to expect. We would likely have done a private tour if it weren’t for the recent political unrest in the area. VERY CROWDED city overall, and this tour is not for the easily stressed or fatigued. The bus had stiff, closely spaced uncomfortable seats that did not recline. The palaces were packed, (though fascinating to view) as was the Hagia Sophia museum, (equally fascinating) and the lines were incredibly long at the Blue Mosque even for pre-booked big groups. The tour (at least on a hot day) was too tiring, with no significant rest or food breaks until close to 1:30 when we had an outstanding late Turkish lunch at a lovely air-conditioned upscale restaurant, Nar Lokanta. You may wish to skip the extra morning coffee that day if you are female, as the toilets offered in the area of the tour (other than later at the immaculate restaurant in the afternoon) were less than lovely, often the squat type (though western style at the Museum), with LONG lines as well, and at the Blue Mosque toilets some Muslim women were ritualistically washing their feet and bodies in the washroom sinks though posted signs said they should not do this there (there are other designated locations for this).
NESSEBUR: we did the pleasant Bulgarian cooking demonstration. Seas were too rough to tender off this ancient town, so we docked 16 km nearby at the modern port terminal in Burgas and were then bussed to the colorful UNESCO heritage site of Nessebur where we did a walking tour, then had a wonderful 5-course Bulgarian feast at a local restaurant (Gloria Mar) with a cooking demo before, and recipes provided to take home. Unfortunately the lunch was quite late (close to 2PM before we actually ate) and we were tortured with the preceding cooking demonstrations and aromas around us without having even a morsel of food on the tables for the hungry pax who had not had anything since breakfast to munch on. So, some pax were quite cranky and expressed themselves accordingly. I should have brought some snacks with me to eat late morning in the bus, or perhaps to improve the experience the restaurant could have served the first course salad while demonstrating the rest of the food preparations. If you do this excursion, it might be good to plan on either eating a big breakfast or bringing snacks for late morning, and/or planning skipping a big dinner that night as you will be very full from the lunch feast. As it was, we had to rush through 5 courses, and the last course (a plate of ripe fruit) was mostly uneaten.
VARNA, Bulgaria: a fairly large industrial port, not much to see in town other than a museum. We did the “Treasures of Varna” excursion, on which we saw some notable archeological treasures, also walked in soft sand through a petrified forest near the sea (interesting photo ops), then drove to a forest where we were saw some Bulgarian folk dancers perform (under a sign in German for some reason that said “Waldfest” , which means forest festival). Bulgarian music is not to my taste, too droningly repetitive, but the costumes were colorful and there was an audience participation option which some frisky pax took advantage of. We were offered a snack of lunchmeat and unremarkable cheese, one roll per person, and bad Bulgarian wine, while sitting on hard benches. The excellent, witty guide Elke (who speaks 8 languages) saved the day, though I would probably not do this organized excursion again.
CONSTANZA, Rumania: “Constanza Highlights” excursion — unfortunately, there was not much to “highlight” here. This is an industrial port, a rundown town in a poor country, that shows significant evidence of the damage that communism did over the years. The archeological museum had some interesting treasures and there were a few other historical ruins, ancient and communist, to see. The bus then took us to the “Rumanian Riviera” beach town of Mamaia, which was mostly deserted as the season had ended. We took a gondola across town with a coastline view of the mostly shabby hotels lining a wide, sandy beach. We then were given too much time to kill in an uninteresting location with a few tacky shops and unfriendly locals, and there was surprisingly quite a bit of trash on the streets. I would not do this excursion again.
IZMIR: we did a private group excursion to Ephesus. Ephesus is not to be missed, either from this end (longer drive) or from the Kusadasi access. The Terrace Houses were particularly interesting, fascinating history. Must be fit and able to go up/down uneven areas, best done when the day is not too hot (it was VERY hot, so I struggled). The additional Virgin Mary crowded site was not worth the trip to me but might be if you are a Christian following a pilgrimage route and must see this location.
DISEMBARKATION in Istanbul did not go as smoothly as I expected, likely due to local port issues rather than SB fault. We ordered an early private car through SB to pick us up at 8AM and take us to the airport and were told to wait to be called to disembark at 8. We were given early disembarkation luggage tags. However, the way things evolved, in the AM we did not see any groups gathering waiting to be called, and it was close to car pick-up time, so we left the ship at 7:45 to make sure we did not miss our 8AM pickup outside the port. We and another couple with a 7:45 pickup got stuck in a huge passport and customs line of thousands of disembarking Celebrity pax, with no priority line for us with our early cars, and our luggage was not prioritized (it seemed to emerge randomly), so it was not until 8:45 that we had our delayed luggage and were finally in the car on the way to the airport, when it should have been at 8. We did not miss our flight, not even close, but some anxiety was created.
CONCLUSION/SUMMARY: Despite a few minor glitches (I always expect something to go wrong when I travel) I had a very positive overall experience with Seabourn. My problems with hard mattresses and sofas are likely unique to me or a small minority of people. Food, wine, service, ambience, and a “can do” sense that everything is being taken care of in a professional manner, were and are the main features that I value (plus, of course, the itinerary). I had previously pre-booked a journey on SB with my husband on the Quest to Norway July 2015 (Copenhagen-Dover), and my current experience has reinforced my desire to retain that reservation (but with an eggcrate mattress pre-arranged with the future cruise services desk :). I definitely look forward to more SB excellence in the areas where it counts — cuisine, service, responsiveness, and class. I will also compare it with Hapag Lloyd’s equally highly rated but somewhat different style ultra luxury Europa 2 ship in December where I am booked with my husband as a new customer. Read Less
The ship is well maintained and the crew were very much better than average. That being said if unusual things came up then the service fell down, even after speaking with the manager of guest services. I had two major issues with the ship ... Read More
The ship is well maintained and the crew were very much better than average. That being said if unusual things came up then the service fell down, even after speaking with the manager of guest services. I had two major issues with the ship 1) the shower is way to small especially if someone is bigger than a small child/person. Nothing the crew can do to change that design flaw. I hope in their new ship someone corrects this, 2) The HVAC in our stateroom whistled and made a constant noise, like you would find in a motel room air conditioner (really annoying). That's when I found out there was no on/off switch. I called guest services and asked for assistance. The ultimate work around was for engineering to manually turn it off (some where they have the capability). The agreement was off at 9PM and back on at 7AM. This happened at best half the time. I made at least 4 calls to guest services to have it turned on or off. I also had the opportunity after filling out a on board survey to speak with the manager of guest services about the situation and he said he would take care of it. It didn't happen same problem some times off when it should have been on etc. I finally just gave up. Very disappointing, my expectations were not met. Some of the stops seemed like a waste of time for what was there.
Fix the design flaw of the showers being to small, at least on the next ship
Change the HVAC to not make the cheap motel sounds install on/off switches to each stateroom
Perhaps more sea days avoiding marginal destinations.
Something also needs to be done with the reservation system for Restaurant 2, when we called for a reservation we were informed that we would have to wait for 7 days? we called on day 2 Now I don't know what the system is or if people are just calling and making blanket reservations for every evening but something is not right here.
I listed a lot of negatives but I also want to emphasize the positives. super maintained ship, knowledgeable staff, very good restaurants and food quality excellent. Overall a delightful cruise. It comes down to expectations and perceived value. This is a upper end cruise line and therefore more expensive where one naturally has a high expectation level. Even being back home and having a few days to think about it I'm not sure if the value threshold has been met. I gave a rating of a 3 because the cabin issues were really annoying. If it wasn't for that I for sure would have given them a 4 star or perhaps a 5 star. Read Less
Every once in awhile, the stars all come together perfectly: on this cruise that is exactly what happened. The itinerary was exceptional: Lisbon, Rouen (Paris) overnight, Amsterdam, Antwerp (Bruges), Gibraltar, Kiel Canal (a day of river ... Read More
Every once in awhile, the stars all come together perfectly: on this cruise that is exactly what happened. The itinerary was exceptional: Lisbon, Rouen (Paris) overnight, Amsterdam, Antwerp (Bruges), Gibraltar, Kiel Canal (a day of river cruising), Porto, Cherboug, A Courna, and more. Every port was inviting, every day on board the ship was something to behold. We met so many wonderful passengers, including Cruise Critic posters. We all thoroughly enjoyed Heather, our cruise director, and the entertainment of Eliza (singer/piano player) in the Observation Lounge, Danny (singer/guitarist) in the Club, and the best mixologist on the planet: Martin.
The entertainment in the Grand Salon was also top notch - the diversity between the comedians, magicians, Craig Halliday (pianist), Seabourn's Signature Singers/Dancers, and the lecturers Norman Caisse, (Astronomer), Ian Cox, Rob Warne, etc. I am only naming a few because there were so many highlighters everyday. On this cruise we had a standard suite on deck 7. It goes without saying that we have already booked future cruises with Seabourn. The next one will be on Quest in October: Montreal to Fort Lauderdale. We can't wait to go back to our second home on the sea: Seabourn. Read Less
This was our first cruise with Seabourn so we were interested in seeing how the cruise experience compared to previous cruises. Overall, Seabourn has moved to our top spot but still has some room for improvement.
We loved the size of ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Seabourn so we were interested in seeing how the cruise experience compared to previous cruises. Overall, Seabourn has moved to our top spot but still has some room for improvement.
We loved the size of the ship (400 passengers on our cruise, but capacity is about 450), and the public areas, restaurants and pools were all great. We booked the lowest category verandah suite and it was of a good size and quality, well equipped, but bland in decor. Lots of beige. The marble bathroom was lovely and had two sinks and a large soaking tub and a decent sized shower. The king bed was very comfortable and quality linens. The living room had a table and chairs (used for early am room breakfast service) , a flat screen tv and sofa with table and bar area.
We thought the food was excellent and enjoyed all the restaurants, but didn’t care for the Restaurant 2 experience, which was the only one that needed to be reserved, and featured a set small plate meal. The service was uniformly excellent and the included wine selections were fine. I really liked that we could dine outside for breakfast, dinner and lunch at the Colonnade and for lunch and dinner around the Pool. Also around the pool, there was always some specialty tropical cocktail being served. Regarding the main pool, the first day people saved the lounge chairs while not there. After a notice went out in the daily paper that items would be removed after 30 minutes, this was no longer a problem. The spa was beautiful and I enjoyed a wonderful massage.
We loved when they incorporated local food or cultural experiences. The Colannade venue often offered the food of the region we were visiting and twice we had dance performances showcasing local Burmese and Southern Indian dancers.
The staff, including the cruise director, Handre, were great. We thought the quality of entertainment on a small-mid size ship was excellent.
Areas that could be improved: The fitness classes should be expanded beyond alternating Pilates or Yoga (once in the am) and a weight lifting class in the afternoon. The classroom was very small and it would’ve been fun to offer a Zumba or other dance exercise class in one of the lounges. I also didn’t think the instructor was personable.
This ties into my second major complaint: there wasn’t a variety of things to do on Sea Days, and we had seven out of 16 days at sea. Often there were 2 or 3 enrichment lectures (but who wants to listen to 3 lectures a day) and a daily trivia competition, a bago competition, sometimes a putting one, and that’s about it. There was one galley tour where they showed how to make breadsticks (I missed due to a shore excursion) but there should have been more actual cooking classes...perhaps a fashion show explaining local dress, etc. As far as the lecturers go, we really enjoyed two of them but the third, who was scheduled the most, was extremely dry, too detailed and boring. Tried two of her lectures and that was enough.
Another problem was the process of getting passports back to disembark the ship. We understand that this isn’t Seabourn’s fault, but a prior warning in the pre-cruise documents would have been helpful. The itinerary showed a 5am arrival in Myanmar so we arranged for a private 7am pickup, but the delay in getting our passports resulted in our meeting our guide and driver at 8:45am. Perhaps they could warn that it might take a while to be able to disembark and plan accordingly.
Regarding shore excursions, many of them didn’t appeal to me, especially in Kuala Lumpur. We chose to have them bus us in for KL on out own, but they dropped us at Lot 10, a not great shopping center. It would’ve been better to drop us in one of the historic areas where the sights were. I did book most of the excursions using local tour operators and were happy with those. The half day we booked through the cruise in Thanylin, Myanmar was disappointing.
I also thought the boutique lacked interesting items to buy. (I’m basing this compared to the Silverseas Spirit boutique, a comparable sized ship}
One incident that happened caused some concern among the passengers. When we were in the middle of the Indian Ocean, all of a sudden a fishing boat came along side us and the crew were up their masts yelling at the boat. Being on my verandah, at first I took a lot of photos until my husband said I could get sprayed with gunfire and went inside. The captain came over the loudspeakers and said that the passengers should move away from the starboard side, where they were located and of course each deck was loaded with passengers snapping pictures...that the ship was in distress as they had run out of food and water...and that we would be helping them. Eventually, the boat (a nice looking boat about 32’ and registered to Sri Lanka) pulled up right next our ship and large duffel bags of items were transferred to the ship on ropes. They were very happy and all ended well. However, in this day and age of piracy, and terrorists, it seems foolhardy to allow any boat to get that close. We did trust that our Captain had checked everything out beforehand, but even a registered boat could have been taken over and the owner forced by a hostage situation into becoming a Suicide Boat. Perhaps in helping future incidents, a life boat with food/water could have been sent out to them rather than allowing a boat to get close enough to touch our ship.
Despite the areas I’ve been critical of, we had a wonderful experience and enjoyed the cruise very much. I would highly recommend Seabourn and plan to cruise again with them in a couple of years. Read Less
This is a review about the newer ships, not the old, and specifically a magical 30 days cruise we took from Hong Kong to Mumbai late last winter. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise, and nearly 30 cruises overall on Silversea, Crystal, ... Read More
This is a review about the newer ships, not the old, and specifically a magical 30 days cruise we took from Hong Kong to Mumbai late last winter. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise, and nearly 30 cruises overall on Silversea, Crystal, Oceania, Cunard, HA, Celebrity and Regent. The three, soon to be five, Seabourn ships continue to be the best at sea today. Yes they are not the very intimate size of the old, now sold ships, but at 450 they are still small and just right, and the crew gets to know you by name after a few days just like in the old ships. The crew people are the best there can be, and particularly if you have sailed Seabourn before, you return as part of the family. Old faces of crew members circulated around the fleet quickly remember you and make one very welcome. Always a smile and kind word on Seabourn. Never a scowl we have experienced on other ships. Seabourn hires only the best, and we simply do not know how they manage to do this on every cruise we have ever taken with them.
The food and service in the main dining venue called The Restaurant remains the best on any luxury line, easily beating the old standard bearer Silversea, Oceania and on a par if not better than Crystal, which is nearly triple the passenger size. The food and presentation in The Restaurant is really the equivalent of any Michelin starred restaurant we have dined in around the world. Of course the 24/7 caviar makes Seabourn stand out uniquely among the top tier because no one else serves it any longer. Add to that the unlimited champagne, wines, and cocktails available at all restaurants and bars, and open swimming deck. The welcome addition of chef Thomas Keller as a partner will make it more varied and even better.
Some prefer the buffet dining room the Colonade, which is good for breakfast for us, and the outdoor grill, excellent for a burger and other fine treats at lunch, but we prefer whenever we can to dine in the Main Restaurant. The alternative fine dining choice Restaurant 2 is not to our liking. And we are pleased to learn that soon it will get a major motif, menu and directional makeover in the hands of consultant Thomas Keller.
The basic staterooms called suites are just lovely, mostly all with spacious verandas, and at 365 SF, with large walk in closet, much more than adequate. The baths all have double sinks and separate showers. Nicely furnished and comfortable staterooms and well maintained by the excellent service staff. Air conditioning works perfectly. Lovely linens and toiletries.
The public areas of the ship are very large, inviting and attractive, and the bars are magnets for people looking for new friends, just as it was on the old, smaller ships where intimacy prevailed.
There is now no smoking permitted in the staterooms, and only at a few designated areas around the ship. This is a vast improvement from the old days and bravo Seabourn for finally coming into the 21st Century.
The ship sails extremely well even in rough and semi rough weather. In our thirty days of cruising Asian waters, we only had one day I would consider rough, and this quickly passed with the normal ginger and crackers the restaurant managers gave me. The doctors on board were very capable and are there for harder cases, such as when my wife became ill. they did a great job treating her back to good health.
The Captain and Cruise Director, and the entire crew, do a very nice job. They are very friendly and always have the time to stop and speak to the passengers. Dining with them on the rare occasions at their tables is a real treat. The Executive Chef is very apparent, and the Dining Room Managers and Assistants always so helpful for special requests.
The ports of call in Asia were for the most part very interesting. The excursions the ship offers are just about what one would expect on any cruiseline and subject to all the normal criticism of being too expensive and not always so interesting, particularly in ports that themselves are not so interesting. We learn to work with, and around this issue. The ships's excursion people are very helpful. The pervasive and very apparent people poverty throughout much of the Asian emerging and third world countries visited is also something passengers have to learn to deal with, along with all the glitter of the pagodas and temples.
Embarkation and the reverse are a breeze. Getting off in Mumbai with luggage, however, is a real challenge, considering the very outdated port facilities there that Seabourn has to deal with. Maybe this will improve in the India of the future.
The average age of the passengers is, I would say late sixties and seventies, with some older. The passengers are upper end people, many retirees, and very interesting to talk to and associate with. Many Aussies and Brits.
The entertainment is very good for this size cruise ship, and the band of performers young, very likable, talented and fun to hang around with in the bars in the evenings. The few production shows were very entertaining. Excellent comedian Jeff Stephenson. Excellent pianists. The outstanding Ukrainian dance team is incomparable among all the nearly 30 cruises we have taken and dance teams we have seen, and deserve to be star billed one day on Broadway or in London.
All in all, the cruise on Seabourn was a real joy. And my wife and I look forward to our future cruises. Read Less
Our first experience with Seabourn was in 2009. Our Norwegian vessel was docked near a Seabourn ship. Seeing how the Seabourn guests were welcomed aboard was an eye opener. In 2014, we took a deep breath and book the Greek Islands ... Read More
Our first experience with Seabourn was in 2009. Our Norwegian vessel was docked near a Seabourn ship. Seeing how the Seabourn guests were welcomed aboard was an eye opener. In 2014, we took a deep breath and book the Greek Islands cruise on the Sojourn. A big step for us, but we wanted the all inclusive experience.
i don't have the time or patience to attempt a complete review, but I confess to being a true believer in the Seabourn experience.
I will never forget the staff members standing in front of the gangway cheering and applauding us as we came on board! So cool.
We loved our cabin! It was big, luxurious, had a walk in closet and a bathtub. The veranda was big and private, and there was a table and chairs for in room dining in style.
The staff were amazing. The first day I stopped by the Pool deck bar for a cocktail.
The next day as I walked by the same bar, the bartender asked if I wanted the same cocktail I had previously ordered. Every one seemed to know our names.
All the facilities were first rate, and the food was fabulous.
The chef hosted an event where he made a fabulous paella in front of us while he chatted away about Seabourn, food, and his life experiences.
We got to attend a shore event in the ruins of Ephesus where we were seated outside the coliseum and fed wine and snacks while being entertained by a string quartet...on the house.
Seabourn gave us the cruise experience of a lifetime. Worth every penny.
If you are considering stepping up from the more popular big ship cruises, we encourage you to consider going all the way to the finest...Seabourn. Read Less
We sailed to the Caribbean on Seabourn Quest December 2012 in a Penthouse Suite (one category above the Seabourn Suite with veranda.) Even though there were numerous positive reviews of the Quest, we still didn't know what to expect; ... Read More
We sailed to the Caribbean on Seabourn Quest December 2012 in a Penthouse Suite (one category above the Seabourn Suite with veranda.) Even though there were numerous positive reviews of the Quest, we still didn't know what to expect; however, within minutes after boarding we sensed that something was different. To start we were escorted to the Colonade for a spectacular lunch with fine wines. After selecting our "made to order" entrees we sampled their vino offerings that were included with our cruise fare: I chose the white and my husband chose the red. Both selections were excellent complements to the first of many outstanding meals. Afterwards we were escorted again, but this time to our wonderful suite that was awaiting our arrival with appetizers, a fully stocked bar and stocked refrigerator and a Bon Voyage bottle of French Champagne. The bathroom had dual sinks, a Jacuzzi tub and a separate glass shower surrounded by shades of brown and beige marble counter-tops. The walk in closet, which was very spacious, had more deluxe hangers than we could possibly use. The PH suite has a 42" tv with docking station for IPOD in the intimate living room area as well as a smaller flat screen tv in the glass enclosed bedroom. Each tv had a plethora of movies-on-demand which were complimentary - no pay-per-view charges at the end of the cruise. (One night we called room service and requested popcorn, which was freshly popped and promptly delivered.)
Entertainment varied from night to night, but consistently impressive. In the Observation Lounge a piano player plays your requests while you are having a cocktail and perhaps enjoying your order of caviar with all the garnishes. I ordered it several times and every time it was presented with a smile. Which brings me to Caviar in the Sea.... imagine standing waist deep water in your bathing wear, while the Seabourn staff are also waist deep, but in their Seabourn slacks. They are interacting with their guests, pouring us champagne and preparing caviar with our choice of condiments. It's one of the most memorable moments on the cruise.
The Seabourn Square became my husband's home away from home. There he read his daily newspapers, enjoyed his Double Espressos, checked emails, before heading off to the well-equipped gym for some much needed exercise.
On Seabourn you will not hear announcements or loud music on deck. There is a tranquility that you won't find anywhere else. There is no bingo, no art auctions, or photographers lurking around to take your picture. Simply stated, Seabourn Quest is subtle luxury, which suits us just fine.
We are booked for our second cruise in June - a 20 night Mediterranean cruise, again in a PH suite. This time I will bring enough clothes to fill those hangers. Read Less
We just returned from a 33 day two-leg cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn. We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale and disembarked in Buenos Aires. My husband and I have cruised a lot on many different cruise lines; however, this was our ... Read More
We just returned from a 33 day two-leg cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn. We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale and disembarked in Buenos Aires. My husband and I have cruised a lot on many different cruise lines; however, this was our fourth cruise with Seabourn and third on the Sojourn so we are very familiar with both the cruise line and this particular ship. Our first reaction after boarding the ship was disappointment that there were very few familiar faces among the crew. It seems Seabourn is no longer able to retain its staff as they had in the past. This should have been our first indication that things are changing at Seabourn, and not for the better. It would appear as though coming under the Holland America umbrella has caused Seabourn to become less flexible and a less desirable place to work. The good news is that the new staff is proof that the recruiters are doing a bang up job and the new staff is every bit as wonderful as the old. I wish I could say the same for the people in charge of provisioning. While I can understand running out of grapes and bananas when in isolated areas, I find running out of champagne, port, Macallum scotch, and Smirnoff vodka inexcusable. The food appears to have suffered too. While it is still good, it lacks the "wow" factor we had come to associate with Seabourn. On our cruise, we often found the dinners served in the Colonade to be more interesting and better seasoned. We also found the Colonade's chef, Roderick, to be accommodating and happy to cater to our wishes. But kudos go to the main restaurant service and especially to the Galley Kitchen lunch which we enjoyed twice.
Seabourn needs to do something about their smoking policy. Currently guests are allowed to smoke in their cabins, on their balconies,and on the starboard side of the Observation Lounge. The result is that the lounge becomes polluted by as little as one smoker and a balcony becomes unusable if the guest in the cabin in front of you is sitting on his balcony smoking. In 33 days, we were never able to use our balcony for more than a few minutes because "stinky" next door was forever lighting up. We feel very strongly that smoking must be relegated to the back of the ship and we do not intend to sail with Seabourn again until and unless this happens.
I also want to talk about the itinerary. Crossing the Panama Canal was a phenomenal experience. The on board expert who did a running narrative for us was brilliant. I wish I could have recorded his every word. Once through the canal, however, the itinerary became boring. Our stops in Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Chile yielded little of interest. I cannot recommend this leg of our trip. There has to be a better itinerary involving the Panama Canal. The second leg from Valparaiso (port near Santiago), Chile proved more to our liking. The scenery through the fjords is breathtaking. The ports in southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego were amazing. We saw different species of penguins in Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, and the Falklands. We were blessed with calm seas, even around Cape Horn, but we often had fog and rain. Late November is still springtime here. Perhaps summer would be nicer. The snow capped mountains and the waterfalls made up for the weather.
We had a wonderful member of the cruise critic group who generously organized a number of excursions in the various ports. Pat kept us organized and somehow managed to find some of the best guides in town. We were even able to visit a volcano outside Puerto Montt. Thank you, Pat!
Additionally, thanks to another cruise critic traveler, Stephen, we were fortunate to book a trip through Pira Tours to the Hamberton Ranch outside Ushuaia. It was one of our highlights.
Lastly I want to say a word about the cruise critic bunch on board. You were terrific! We had agreed through the cc roll call to meet for drinks shortly after sailing. Phillip had name tags for us but we quickly got to know each other. Many memorable evenings were spent with cc friends as well as experiences on the excursions. We will miss our wonderful cc friends but hope to see them on future trips. Read Less
We booked the Seabourn Quest, Greek Islands and Turkish Delight, sailing from Athens and disembarking in Istanbul. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, where we recruited another couple to go with us on a 2 week European ... Read More
We booked the Seabourn Quest, Greek Islands and Turkish Delight, sailing from Athens and disembarking in Istanbul. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, where we recruited another couple to go with us on a 2 week European vacation that included 2 days in Athens, Greece at the beginning, then another couple days in Istanbul and 3 days in Paris before heading back to the USA.
The ship was absolutely spectacular in every way! When we arrived in our stateroom there was a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us. On days where we needed to be up early, we arranged for breakfast to be served on our balcony. The staff gave us a special treat on the last night, where we celebrated our anniversary. Every need was met without even asking.
While there were 450 people on board, the ship never seemed crowded, nor did we have to wait for seating at meals. There are a number of places where you can feel like you have the ship to yourself, such as the forward deck on the 6th Level, where there is a hot tub and sun deck during the day, and a quite spot to be with that someone special at night. Read Less
Cruising on Seabourn is like being at a Ritz Carlton that takes you to various destinations. The service aboard is magnificent. Whether in the main dining room, The Colonnade, Restaurant 2 or even Seabourn Square, you are treated as if you ... Read More
Cruising on Seabourn is like being at a Ritz Carlton that takes you to various destinations. The service aboard is magnificent. Whether in the main dining room, The Colonnade, Restaurant 2 or even Seabourn Square, you are treated as if you are special. The staff is incredible and many even greet you by name. They always have a smile. Nothing is ever too much trouble and they never seem insincere. We enjoyed the 12 course-tasting menu at Restaurant 2 and loved our Indian dinner under the stars at the Colonnade.
The food is fabulous! The main dining room is like a 5 star NY restaurant and the wine and champagne flow freely. As a matter of fact we had a bottle of champagne, a bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine and a full bottle of Makers Mark in our room! The wines served at dinner were always good.There were always delicious drinks by the pool. It was so nice to sit by the pool and not have someone try to sell you an $8 pina colada in a souvenir glass.
Speaking of the pool, there were always chairs. While the pool is small and doesn't have the bells and whistles of the large ships, it is relaxing and luxurious. It felt very sophisticated with out being boring or stuffy. With only 450 people on the ship you got to know your fellow passengers. Everyone on the ship was so positive and truly enjoying the experience. There were no people complaining about anything because there was nothing to complain about.
The spa was fabulous and not that expensive. I had a great deep tissue massage and a scalp, neck and shoulder oil massage and treatment. It was delightful.
The cabin was larger than many hotel rooms I have stayed in. There was a granite bathroom complete with double sink, shower and separate tub. We had Molton Brown shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and lotion and Oatmeal soap for the shower. The towels were fluffy and soft and the sheets and duvet were Egyptian cotton. The bed was so comfy. And there is a walk in closet.
There was never a line for anything. Embarkation took about 5 minutes and they escorted us to the dining room for lunch. Our cabin stewardess greeted us with champagne and canapEs.
The ports were beautiful and the excursions were great. We had terrific guides and felt we got our money's worth with each one. We especially loved the Greek cooking demonstration in Santorini
The marina off the ship was a great experience. We took a paddleboat out and paddled around the ship. The marina was a little chaotic because there were mostly younger people on this cruise ( 40s, 50s and 60s and families). But still nothing compared to a ship of 3000.
The evening entertainment was fun. We even watched a movie under the stars. There were tons of movies available on demand in the room but we never watched any. We drank so much wine at dinner that by the time we got back tot he cabin at 11 or 11:30 we were ready for bed.
We worked out in the gym and I took a pilates class. They gym is small but I always managed to get on a bike or elliptical machine. They also had BOSU balls and weights
There was no pressure to tip and you never had to sign a bill for drinks. It was 7 days of luxury and relaxation. Really the only thing it has in common with the mainstream cruise lines, is that it is a ship. This was a trip we will always remember (and I have 400 photos to help us do just that!) Read Less
This is the second time I have sailed on Odyssey - the first time was the inaugral xmas cruise a year last December and I had some complaints! I am a regular Seabourn traveller and found a few things under par on the last trip! I am ... Read More
This is the second time I have sailed on Odyssey - the first time was the inaugral xmas cruise a year last December and I had some complaints! I am a regular Seabourn traveller and found a few things under par on the last trip! I am pleased to confirm that this last trip was absolutely wonderful! Everything back up to the high standards I had always previously experiencedTop top staff - nothing too much troublebeautiful ship - well maintained - nearly 2 years old and as new stillLovely suites and in suite room serviceGood food in all restaurantsThe only niggles We had were that I felt the fillet steak wasnt quite as good quality as I have had previously on Seabourn or Silversea and the choice of food in the restaurant wasnt as varied as previously mainly lots of different types of fish were no longer on offer as before but every night there was something in the main restaurant to choose from so not really a problemThey deliver a mid trip questionnaire to the suite which is very good as it allows passengers to express any little niggles they would like sorting out and they DO act of them too within 24 hours of receiving them which is excellentThe in suite entertainment package on demand is excellent! hundreds of films including latest releases to choose from at the times you wish to watch them - I pod docking stations too and a wonderful selection of in suite music to select from the home entertainmentI would personally like to see Restaurant 2 developed into something different to how it is now - perhaps like Signatures on Regent cruises or even a high class Indian restaurantThe indian night buffet in the colonade was excellentWe were surprised at the noise of the air conditioning in the suite which is on permanently and noisy especially at night and for some reason the in suite control for the air conditioning doesnt control it - the only way to regulate it was to get maintenance to come and manually take the system off every time it got too noisy which does seem very strange!?Being mid ship made a huge difference to my last trip where I was at the front of the ship - nowhere near the noise and vibration in the middle of the ship and none of the rattles that I experienced at the front of the ship on deck 5 and deck 10I would like to see the spa area included in the package as unless you pay to go into this area you cannot use the steam or sauna and on a high end ship I think use of the sauna and steam room should be included even if limited to certain lengths of time to allow everyone use at some point without it being too busyInternet is very very dear still on this cruise line and should be FREE - Regent offer it free to passengers after travelling for about 20 days and this really should be offered on a high end cruise free of charge with Wi Fi in the rooms FOCDaily newspapers to the room are very dear at $8 per day and they are in the Seabourn square too to read. It would be nice to have them to the room though at normal European prices of say 3-4 euros per paperThe loyalty scheme should offer more as Regent does for less days travelling to encourage loyalty from a much earlier point than at present which I think is 100 days or more which is a lot to achieve before getting some loyalty benefitsOverall we had a wonderful trip - I will be back for more and hope to see Seabourn continuing to improve and stay the bestThe staff are the best I have ever experienced - just SUPERB!! Read Less