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13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Almost Perfection. Missing the laundromat, expanded sushi menu, longer swimming pool or endless pool to swim laps, and more than one night at the TK grill. Colonnade was an improvement over their smaller ships, the retreat was not ... Read More
Almost Perfection. Missing the laundromat, expanded sushi menu, longer swimming pool or endless pool to swim laps, and more than one night at the TK grill. Colonnade was an improvement over their smaller ships, the retreat was not utilized, Food was the best ever on any other ships (crystal, Celebrity, Cunard, Princess, Holland America, Windstar). Ship was spotless, service was flawless, Ports were great, tender service was a bit slow due to some long tender runs. Larger fitness area with more equipment was perfect. The ship is beautiful, morning coffee and pastries in the observation lounge for early risers was greatly appreciated. Now if they only could control the weather........ it was unusually hot 105-110F during the cruise which wiped you out after shore excursions, The pools were more like dunking spots filled with passengers after the excursions. AC in the ship worked great and provided relief from the heat. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We booked Owner's suite 701 having been told it was "subject to noise when anchoring". What we got nstead was and hour to an hour and a half of extremely loud banging, grinding, clanking and intense vibration. When we ... Read More
We booked Owner's suite 701 having been told it was "subject to noise when anchoring". What we got nstead was and hour to an hour and a half of extremely loud banging, grinding, clanking and intense vibration. When we reported this issue we were told that it was the thrusters not the anchor as the ship was not anchored and that we were to expect the same for the remainder of the cruise. We were also told that "at least" on our one sea day we could relax since the ship would not docked. That day we were woken to hammering and noise due to maintenance close to our suite. Even after complaining this went on for over one hour. It is clear to us that Seabourn sold us this suite with full knowledge of the existing problem and used deception to do so. Buyer beware that if you are going to reserve suite 701 and pay this much money you will subjected to a very stressful experience upon arrival at port and also departure which will make your vacation a very stressful one. Aside from this the Encore is understaffed, service is simply average and entertainment leaves a lot to be desired. We have been very disappointed overall with our experience with Seabourn and will not be sailing with them again. Seabourn is obviously only interested in making money without concern for providing their guests with the superior experience and service they advertise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 ... Read More
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 minutes to show up one night, and that I had already finished my first martini before it arrived. That is hardly anything to complain about. I was disappointed in the quality of the food in the colonade one night, and in the quality of the service in the Restaurant one morning at breakfast. Overall, however, food was outstanding. About the embarkation. We were on the 10th floor. We entered the boat, as did everyone else, on the aft side. The greeter told us to take the elevator to the 10th floor. The problem is that the aft elevator doesn't go there. Right when we were entering and did not know our way around the ship, we got bad instructions. If they won't let 10th floor guests enter in the front, they should let us know how to get there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Although there were boarding delays, it was not really the fault of Seabourn.The ship experienced unforseen issues from its dry-dock just before this cruise, and we all received an onboard credit to help ease this annoyance. Professional ... Read More
Although there were boarding delays, it was not really the fault of Seabourn.The ship experienced unforseen issues from its dry-dock just before this cruise, and we all received an onboard credit to help ease this annoyance. Professional service and excellent food have always been our past experience with Seabourn, and similary, was once again. Entertainment, lectures and on-board activites were either excellent or more than adequate. The Carambola Beach barbeque with grilled lobster, a fabulous food spread, exotic cocktails, wine, beer, Champagne and "Caviar-in-the Surf" was a highlight of the cruise. I'd go again just for this! Our other high point was the newly introduced "Grill by Thomas Keller". We had heard from several guests who went the first two nights the restaurant first opened, about mid-cruise, that there were some problems. However, we were able to book a table on the last night of the cruise, and everything seemed to have been resolved by then. The outstanding service, food quality and presentation, not to mention the excellent craft cocktails, wine selection (both by bottle and by-the-glass) were truly memorable. If you go, don't miss their fabulous unique version of Caesar Salad, done table-side. As usual, probably because this is a relatively small ship, it is easy to meet and make friends with others on-board. My wife and I have sailed on some 25 plus cruises on a variety of premium and luxury cruise lines over the last 20 years, and believe that Seabourn is definately our "top-notch" choice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
After tying other cruise lines, we happily choose Seabourn, with this being our third cruise with them in 2.5 years. The Encore is just a year old, but still looked new and stunning. It offered us beauty and comfortable elegance. Even on ... Read More
After tying other cruise lines, we happily choose Seabourn, with this being our third cruise with them in 2.5 years. The Encore is just a year old, but still looked new and stunning. It offered us beauty and comfortable elegance. Even on sea days, we rarely ran into other passengers, it was that spacious of a ship with one of the best space-to-passenger ratio in cruising that helped feel like it was our own ship. Service remained the same outstanding Seabourn quality. Yes, we had some new crew members that weren’t perfect, but they wanted to please and do a great job. We loved our room stewardess, who was both housekeeping and butler. For us, we prefered to have one person rather than a separate butler. This way she understood who we were and what we needed, with our needs met before we even asked. The room service staff were fantastic and made sure that my evening caviar arrived automatically at 5:00. (BTW, Seabourn is the only cruise line that automatically offers unlimited free-of-change caviar.) We thought our meals and snacks were fantastic. Yes, we had one meal the was just OK, but the majority of our food was great to fabulous. The chef even made us special sandwiches, for those day we wanted comfort food. Just for readers new to cruising, because of fire hazards, room service can’t use warming carts to keep food hot when delivering ... and that was not a problem for us. Both the ship-offered wines and the ones we bought were excellent. Also, the ship’s sommelier provided outstanding service and understood our wine needs. We booked ship excursions, which were superior to anything we could have done on our own. We had small number of people, small busses, and creative adventures. The ship also provided us with excellent private tours. As on our previous cruise, the Ventures staff provided great information, unusual activities and great support. We aren’t people who expect the ship to entertain us with a packed day of on-board activities, so we found what the ship offered was perfect. We don’t cruise to take foreign language courses or to learn the computer - we’re looking to explore the places we’re visiting or catch up on great books. Our only complaint is their WiFi service. Not only did we have to pay $399.00 for unlimited service, but the ship blocked video streaming. This was not Seabourn quality. Furthermore, on busy sea days, service was slow or nonexistent. In fact, internet was always slow. With all the complaints about the internet service, hopefully Seabourn will improve this area. We are scheduled for a 25-day cruise in nine months. For us, Seabourn remains a joy to cruise with and our only cruise line of choice. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with ... Read More
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with excellent speakers and restaurants.The food is varied and really good although it tended to be very salty and more information about fat content and better descriptions on the menu would have been appreciated. Some favourites were the soufflés and the Japanese restaurant. The Thomas Keller was rather disappointing as there was the same menu every time and the portions were enormous.Much too big. The entertainment was superb and all the singers and dancers excellent. Very enjoyable. The only one we were not enthusiastic about was the Piano player at the Thomas Keller. The new Seabourn ship is about to launch and consequently many staff have left for it so there were a lot of staff who did not know what they were doing. The beverage service was really slow and we had often finished breakfast and lunch at the patio before getting a drink.the staff were super friendly but rather disorganized. The cabin attendant was not as efficient as she could have been too and the carpet had stains on it when we boarded. Surely it could have been cleaned? The enrichment lectures we’re mostly interesting and sometimes excellent and it was great to be able to treat children them on the cabin TV. Some of the shore excursions were not very well described and not worth the money but others were really worthwhile.We loved the ventures trips. It was disappointing that we did not have a marina day as we had enjoyed those before but swimming in the ocean was limited due to jellyfish stingers and the weather. Altogether the fitness facilities were severely lacking. A huge amount of space had been devoted to a retreat to bring in more money. This could have been used for yoga or Pilates or running track. We definitely will sail again with Seabourn . Best cruise line we’ve been on. Complaints are just nit picking really. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (to see as much of NZ and Oz) the ship, and Seabourn service and it definitely exceeded our expectations. The itinerary was great although it was disappointing that we had two changes due to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary (to see as much of NZ and Oz) the ship, and Seabourn service and it definitely exceeded our expectations. The itinerary was great although it was disappointing that we had two changes due to the weather. Indonesia was a very pleasant surprise. We loved our stops there although again there was a couple of itinerary changes that were not great. It was our first time on a long cruise but we didn’t want to leave... The staff were wonderful although there was a high turnover as many were leaving to join the new Seabourn ship and there was a distinct lack of training and competence after a change. Entertainment fantastic and varied. Very high quality The ship was beautiful and well designed. The food variety was tremendous although very salty and lacking in nutritional information which was important to me. One feature we loved was the Ventures program and would highly recommend and the lectures were superb especially in Indonesia. The housekeeping was not as good as anticipated and I was surprised to see stains on the cabin carpet when we embarked and during our stay were not treated. The cabin itself was lovely.very spacious for a long stay. The Thomas Keller restaurant was rather disappointing too. The food was not as good as the main restaurant and unimaginative. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We are a couple late 50s from Toronto, Canada. Looking for a nice escape from the cold for a week and the smaller Caribbean Islands fit the bill perfectly. From the moment we arrived at the port (stayed at local hotel the night ... Read More
We are a couple late 50s from Toronto, Canada. Looking for a nice escape from the cold for a week and the smaller Caribbean Islands fit the bill perfectly. From the moment we arrived at the port (stayed at local hotel the night before) and were greeted by a smiling reception crew (just a few feet from where our taxi dropped us) we knew this was going to be a “wow”. The Seabourn Odyssey kept up this extraordinary level of service to the very last goodbye after clearing customs on disembarkation. Every one of our needs was eagerly anticipated and offered without having to ask! On arrival day we showed up 2 hours early thinking we may have to wait around. No. They welcomed us on board and hosted a wonderful lunch advising us that room may still take a couple of hours. We actually checked our room early and were delighted to find it was ready and suitcases had already arrived. We were set to go. Never a line up. The cabins are large and very well layed out. Ours (balcony 718) was nice with a beautifully appointed and spotlessly clean bathroom including a bathtub. Absolutely nothing to complain about and the room service was wonderful (thank you to Tanja!). On dining. As expected all meals were a 10. Even the buffet had tremendous selection of beautifully prepared food, lots of seating and never rushed. Always exceptional service and you just could not go long before a server was at your elbow for anything. They would even carry your plate from the buffet to your table. The Grill (featuring the menus of Chef Thomas Keller) was superb. We had an amazing meal with no complaints. One suggestion would be to offer 2 different size portions. It is a shame to have to leave 1/2 a beautiful steak uneaten! Reservations here, however, were another matter. They were always required and difficult to get. We only had one seating using a table of 4 (2 seats sat empty) that could easily have been shared. Many guests complained about this and I wonder whether this was done intentionally to keep up a synthetic demand. Everyone we talked to always mentioned many empty tables yet no waiting list ever offered! Hint to Seabourn...offer a wait list. Even for appearance sake, every table should always be occupied. On entertainment. Again, spotless! Shows exuded talent, were on time, varied, and enjoyable. Really liked Mark Donahue who was a multi-instrumentalist and singer. Did an amazing compilation of Western songs on his violin to a standing ovation. Some downsides. The onboard internet is hopeless. Caution if you are paying by the hour because what would take 5 mins on land took 45 mins onboard. Yes, I know issues with ship internet but I'm also pretty certain this could be improved. One major disappointment and where I think Seabourn blew it. We had several of our excursions cancelled when the ship had to be rerouted due to higher than usual swells which affected safe access to the tenders. This I understand. What was infuriating was to prepare for the excursion, pack night before, retire early, get up early, rush only to get a morning call saying cancelled with NO back up excursions!! What would it have taken to add another bus to another island tour? Nope. We were left 4 days basically walking through the Port area with very little to do. To me, this was so easy to avoid and inexcusable. The one excursion we managed was a "Jeep" tour of Tobago. This was a joke and should be taken off the excursion list. Four vehicles and in ours five of us huddled in the back of a crappy truck with side facing seats, flying down a highway, no seat belts, nothing even to stop us from falling out had we lost our grip, drove through one swampy creek, driver pointed out one lifeless cayman, and 4 hours later we were thankfully back on board. As decent excursions seems like an easy fix, I'm hoping never to have to encounter such experiences again. All considered, we are now Seabourn fans and, depending on itinerary, will now be our go to cruise line. Thanks to a great staff and management. RG Toronto Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Seabourn consistently delivers a luxury experience. The thing that sets Seabourn apart among so many cruise line options is that you never feeling like one in a crowd. Every staff member aboard treats you as though you are the most ... Read More
Seabourn consistently delivers a luxury experience. The thing that sets Seabourn apart among so many cruise line options is that you never feeling like one in a crowd. Every staff member aboard treats you as though you are the most important person on the ship and they deliver on nearly anything you might request either formally or in some cases a casual mention of something you enjoy will be noted and delivered as a surprise. The staff are the secret to Seabourn's success. We have been on numerous Cruises on a wide variety of lines. Seabourn is our go to, first choice because "Luxury once enjoyed becomes a necessity". Our favorite suites are Spa Suites. We're not Spa afficianados but the suites themselves are the best aboard. They are positioned above the Spa on the highest level of the ship on the stern. Your extra large balcony has a wrap around view of the wake of the ship and it's magnificent. There are no crowds, the ships total number of passengers result in the feeling of space throughout the ship. the only time we feel crowded is during the lifeboat drill, which unlike most cruise lines, is held in the dining room so everyone can sit while being instructed on safety procedures. they had a new chef aboard and his food was excellent. We were in France for a week prior to boarding and I've never had a bad meal in France (someday I'll get some bad food there, but it would be a national crime in france to ruin a meal). So after a week of culinary excellence and incredible meals... we were still impressed ...immediately at our first meal aboard the quest - lunch while awaiting our suite to be ready for occupancy. It was delicious, served buffet style in the Colonnade restaurant but everything was flavorful, savory and cooked perfectly. When you depart this ship, you feel like you're leaving family and the lap of luxury. It's not a good feeling to leave after your vacation is over. they had one last surprise for everyone as they disembarked. we are accustomed to arriving off of the ship into a luggage retrieval area where all of your bags are scattered around within some sort of color coded area. Seabourn has made baggage retrieval so simple by putting a sign with your name on the bags that are awaiting you when you disembark. It's a small detail but one that left us feeling pampered for a few minutes more as we left the ship (see the photos attached) Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday ... Read More
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday when we went for dinner we would see the pool lit up and just made us smile. it was truly magical. my husband described the feeling of being in the ship, like being in your country club. in our case, they knew our names, and greeted us all the time by our names. they knew our food preferences and always made sure we were accommodated. Thomas Keller Grill was superb. We found the dining room to be a little slow for our taste. if we wanted to leave by a certain time we would tell the maitre d ahead of time. we like to eat by 7PM and go to the show at 8:45PM. most of the time it worked perfectly. we ate once in the evening at the patio grill and it was great. I know of plenty of people that never got dressed up for dinner and just ate dinner at the patio and the colonnade. colonnade had a sit down area instead of buffet and also an outside patio. we chose to have cappuccinos in the morning in our suite but go for breakfast at the patio of the colonnade every day . truly delightful. we ate lunch most days either at the sushi restaurant or the patio. LOVED. excursions were great. we did 4 of them with the cruise. there was caviar on the surf at an island of Abu Dhabi . super fun. temperatures for this cruise is for people that like warm weather like I do. some days temps were 100 such in muscat. cannot wait to return. we did put a deposit for a future cruise , and this deposit will give us 5% in a future cruise that we book and we have 4 years to book or we get our money back. we know and saw lots of people playing trivia, and that a big thing. they had many teams, and it was competitive. also, bridge was big. art classes were busy, which I never went, and lots of guests went to the lectures . they were super interesting and you could watch them live in your suite, or later in your tv with on demand. we met Wonderfull people and there quite a diverse array of passengers from every country. met some nice single people and first time cruisers and they were all having a fabulous time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered ... Read More
Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered our veranda suite on deck 7. We were pleasantly surprised by the size and the look and feel off the suite. A bathroom with a separate bath tub and shower. Enough room for our clothes and belongings. And a nice sitting area. Our stewardess came to introduce herself and during our trip she was very helpfull. The experience on board in the fullest sense of speaking was great. The attention off the staff, the quality off the food and the surroundings of the ship were magnificent. We are experienced and demanding world travelers and this experience belongs to the best we have ever seen. We liked it so much that we already booked another cruise with the Encore. The excursions were so-so. Some off them were great some of them not. The in-room dinning experience was also below what you might expect of it. Overall it definitely was great and as indicated allready we go for a next time. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is ... Read More
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this. I have probably been on twenty ships from a dozen different lines over the years and I cannot think of a better one. The ship is designed so that basically, all of the cabins are pretty much forward and all of the "activities" are aft. This way, there is nobody bouncing down your hall on the way to something 24/7. None of the cabins is far from some elevator. We were in 655 which was a "standard" balcony cabin on deck 6, but otherwise not at all "standard." While the actual size may be more or less the same as most other upscale ships, it seemed much larger and, for example, I know the bathroom was larger with separate full length tub and free standing shower and two sinks. Major storage everywhere, a pleasant seating area, fridge, dining table, balcony, furniture, set-ups etc. all of the first order. Most of the "white suit" crew was the usual array of east/west European although not exclusively. Every single member of the crew warranted five stars for attitude and graciousness. The area called Seabourn Square on Deck 7 served as the concierge area, as well as home of numerous newspapers, a coffee bar, internet points and just a pleasant place to be. Never any lines at the various concierge desks. The main pool deck is on 9, but we found a smaller haven on 5 aft with a pool, hot tubs and lounging chairs that was never crowded. There are sufficient bars on several decks and plenty of food when and where you want it. Thoughtful touches everywhere. Our little area 5 aft, for example, had its own little min fridge stocked with ice, soft drinks and, of course, anything you every wanted to order from "room service" which will deliver anywhere in the ship. The Observation Lounge forward on deck 10 is lovely and you never waited for more than two minutes for someone to show up for your drink order. Plenty of space in the outdoor areas and the Thomas Keller bar was a great place to relax before dinner. The Restaurant was never crowded and had no "bad" tables - you were also given the option to sit with fellow passengers or not at any meal. The Thomas Keller Restaurant on 8 had a superb menu - but I will follow anyone anywhere for a good Dover sole meuniere or a nice steak. You are guaranteed one sitting up there, but we managed three by hanging around the bar a lot and getting to know frequent Seabourn guests. Most guests on Seabourn are stuck on this line and never seem to go anywhere else. Many were on the cruise prior to ours and/or stayed on for the next 11 day cruise. We really didn't know how anyone could stand this kind of life without a coronary for more than the length of our cruise. All of the drinks, sodas etc. were top shelf. Secret: just because it is not formally listed as available, doesn't mean it isn't. This is a "can-do" kind of place and we found many wines by the glass that were available for the asking. The guests were of the elderly persuasion ( as am I), but there were a fair number of younger couples, families with teens and even a baby somewhere I heard of but never saw. Speaking of which, even though this ship was at capacity 600, you rarely saw more than a few dozen around except on deck 9 during the one ship day we had. The ports were sometimes interesting, sometimes, throwaways, and we were content to rent a scooter or electric car or similar many times on the smaller islands just to see the sights from a different perspective. We took no formal tours. Many of the guests rarely left the ship - this is the kind of ship you sail on because it is so pleasant to sit in the sun reading a book or snoozing on a deck lounger. My companion hit the spa for a massage and found it up to snuff. The exercise area looked nice and perfectly adequate although we did not partake. There is a small casino that was virtually empty at all times. OK, to preserve some credibility and to defer suspicion that I am a shill for Seabourn, I'll pick a couple of nits. Half the menu at the Restaurant never varied ( it was still quite good), but there could have been a little more variety on the other half. Many of the red wines by the glass (included) were, from my perspective, not up to snuff, but I gradually found several I liked "off" the list. The flat screen TV allowed only minimal controls ( ie. no CC) and bad volume ( even for those with good hearing like my companion) on several of the Movies/TV shows on demand - regular TV stations ( mostly news) were fine. The entertainment was nothing to write home about, but never is and we rarely even make the effort. And that's about it, folks. I guess you can say that we have drunk the Kool-Aid and will, in the future, limit our cruises (except with little kids) to Seabourn (not much for little kids to do on this ship). We went ahead and paid the deposit which comes with a 5 % discount on a future cruise or your money back. I expect we will not be getting our money back. Happy Trails. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
After cruising with other lines we learned what we didn't like and what to look for in our next cruise. And trust me it was hard to convince my husband to take another cruise after our last disaster on another cruise line..Royal ###, ... Read More
After cruising with other lines we learned what we didn't like and what to look for in our next cruise. And trust me it was hard to convince my husband to take another cruise after our last disaster on another cruise line..Royal ###, I did my research and we settled on Seabourn. It was the perfect time of the year and where we and our friends wanted to travel. Upon checking in we were greeted with champagne, walked right up to the service desk, everyone was so helpful and friendly. There were 2 gentlemen checking in the same time we were, and they shared "how much they look forward to the this cruise every year". Upon entering the ship, our room was not ready we had the Spa Penthhouse Suite 1093, so we decided to have some lunch and drinks. During this time we got to the know staff and they us, the food at lunch was excellent. By the time we were able to check in to our room my husband Mike and Big Mike knew every staff member working the poolside...whIch I'm grateful because my husband had the darnest time finding our room and luckily 2 staff members knew where to take him. But that is another hilarious story. Our room was right on the back of the ship, the best view of all! It was spacious and contemporary design. The bathroom was enormous..and a walk in closet! Hello my friend! We did have small issue, one of our suitcases was damaged during the transfer, we shared this with our steward and right away Zonett took care of the issue and we were issued an onboard credit that afternoon. Our trip was amazing, personalized and the staff was amazing! The food was excellent, onboard live entertainment was marginal but I would rather be sitting on my back patio with my husband and friends having a very nice glass of wine discussing the day we had or what tomorrow will bring. We also met so many new friends, whom we still in contact with even today. Due to the excursions and activities on the ship you get to know everyone and by the final night we were sitting in the pool area for the open dance party, I think we pushed all the tables together to accommodate 26 people...we had so much fun that night! It was truly memorable. All the men went out dancing ...some sort of man dance like they were driving a car...not sure but it certainly had all the other guests laughing. It was so nice not to have worry about upcharges, or buying beverage packages or paying for specialty restaurants. I want to enjoy my trip not constantly think about pricing. With Seabourn, if you want Steak and Lobster, you get Steak and Lobster no extra charge. If you want 5 scoops of ice you can have 5 scoops of ice cream no question asked and never a bill! Plus the best part is no cheesy formal night photos. Our room steward, Zonett, was amazing, Every day she left little notes for us, and it truly made our trip extra special. By the end of the trip, we knew everyone and they became family. I was so sad to say goodbye to her. We and all of our friends were completely spoiled by Seabourn! And my husband has required we only cruise with Seabourn which I am booking now. If I could give Seabourn10 stars I would. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I just returned from 7-nights aboard the Seabourn Odyssey ship. We have been going on cruises for the past 20 years, and have been on virtually every cruise line. We started out in Venice, Italy and ended our trip in Athens, ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from 7-nights aboard the Seabourn Odyssey ship. We have been going on cruises for the past 20 years, and have been on virtually every cruise line. We started out in Venice, Italy and ended our trip in Athens, Greece. Our travel agent was wonderful and suggested that we go a few days early to enjoy Venice. We had a Seabourn agent meet us at the gate in Venice Italy airport, and escorted us to our private water taxi to our hotel. The hotel they recommended was pricey, but worth every cent-- the magnificent Bauer Palazzo. We enjoyed our time in Venice, and getting to the ship was also very easy due to the Seabourn touch!! Boarding was no problem, and we were always in the shade, in a small line, unlike other cruise lines. Our room was huge, and overall we were supremely impressed with all the fine details that Seabourn takes care of! You never felt crowded on this ship-- there are only 500 guests and all the common areas felt spacious. The main dining room was fabulous-- similar to the quality of most of the "extra fee" restaurants on the bigger ships. We dined in the Thomas Keller PRIME restaurant one evening, and it was magnificent!! If you want to have an extremely luxurious vacation- book it with Seabourn!! Also, I am on a gluten-free diet, and had plenty of options at every meal, plus I was impressed that the coffee bar even had fresh gluten-free danishes every day! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we ... Read More
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we expected a little more. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is easy to get around in. The main dining rooms are attractive. The suites, while not huge, are very nice with a sofa, two chairs, a table, a comfortable bed, a walk-in closet, a tiny dressing stand, and plenty of storage space. Bathrooms include a tub and shower--small and barely adequate. The veranda is good for two people. The ship is well maintained. We had cabin 837, a perfect location. The staff was mostly friendly and outgoing, although the old Seabourn custom of remembering your name doesn't work with 600 passengers. Drinks are included in your fare, and waiters were anxious to keep glasses filled. Some of the food was good, some very good, and some excellent. Desserts and salads were particularly good. We only had a couple of dishes that didn't pass muster. The wine was just fine, although we're well aware it's not $50 a bottle wine. Service in the dining rooms could be good, or it could be slow. The wait staff didn't always appear organized, and some staffers were not very accomplished. One room service breakfast came 30 minutes late, and the waiter dropped a glass of orange juice at our front door. Not an example for the cruise pamphlet. The Colonnade sometimes had quirky and unappealing menus. Seabourn would do far better by returning to the Lido Buffet concept with buffets in the morning, noon and evening. The captain spoke to us daily, but if you missed his talk you were out of luck. The ship should do far better at providing details about the progress of the trip. Announcements over the loud speaker are strictly limited, which is good, but the television system should fill the blanks by providing lots of information for us to access when we want. It didn't. There were other examples of a less-than-luxury cruise. There is no free internet, and we were informed of that rather rudely when we asked. There is one room with five washing machines for all the passengers. Not very considerate. The dress code wasn't clear, and standards wasn't enforced. Unsupervised children needed to be called down by ship staff, but weren't. The Seabourn Square is a very pleasant place, but the “guest services” staffers frequently didn't have answers to questions. The destinations/shore excursion programs need an overhaul. One ship tour was inaccurately described. Once we were told a free shuttle would take us to the city center, but in fact it dropped us off a half a mile away. Shore excursions were overpriced, as on many ships, dnd didn't consider passengers with mobility issues. We needed more information, such as when we would cruise past the Rock of Gibraltar. It wasn't forthcoming. There were great unexpected touches. A flamenco show was added late in the afternoon before we left Malaga. But overall, while we had a fine time, we expected a little more from such an expensive “luxury” cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Missed a prior cruise. Seabourn was good enough to let me apply that payment to this cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and a nice way to see some towns that would have been hard to fly to or drive to. Seabourn is very good about ... Read More
Missed a prior cruise. Seabourn was good enough to let me apply that payment to this cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and a nice way to see some towns that would have been hard to fly to or drive to. Seabourn is very good about almost always providing you service exactly when you want it. You eat when you feel like it, not at an assigned time, check-in to the ship usually only takes a few minutes. The crew is amazing about remembering your name. This was my first cruise with sea days, two of them out of a ten day cruise. Overall, my wife and I found it very relaxing although I missed the opportunity to go onshore every day. Food options are excellent and portions of most items small which allows for a multi-course meal without getting stuffed. For internet addicts, you will be able to use your phone as a hot spot (if you have the US-Canada plan) during almost the entire trip thru the St. Lawrence Seaway, in all ports, and usually for about an hour or so when leaving or entering ports of the Atlantic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Previous experience with Seabourn. Out of the blue my son said could we go on a cruise together just the two of us? We chose This one with Seabourn.Everything went without a hitch. Seabourn made all the arrangements and everything went ... Read More
Previous experience with Seabourn. Out of the blue my son said could we go on a cruise together just the two of us? We chose This one with Seabourn.Everything went without a hitch. Seabourn made all the arrangements and everything went like clockwork. Everything promised was as stated. We could not fault the inclusive wines (excellent list - always ask to see what the choice is and have your favourites). No need to spend more on food and drink. All bars are free and food is always available if needed. Our cabin maid was a young Russian lady who proved to be excellent. She was studying to be a Marine engineer so she was very bright. The ship is small and very well equipped and presented. All the crew were faultless. Food was always excellent. My son liked the Thomas Keller grill best, but then he is a meat eater and I am not. We met some lovely people and made several new friends. Don't miss the quizzes they are great fun. Never be afraid to ask if you want something done. The cruise director and her assistant were very professional. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first time on Seabourn, but will not be the last. The suites are expansive and well appointed. Our only complaint there would be the ridiculously small TVs that are in the cabin. Public spaces are well done for this size ship. ... Read More
This was our first time on Seabourn, but will not be the last. The suites are expansive and well appointed. Our only complaint there would be the ridiculously small TVs that are in the cabin. Public spaces are well done for this size ship. Th entertainment was excellent actually. The four singers and two dancers that were part of the Seabourn team were some of the best that I have seen on any Cruise line. The food was always top notch, we never had a complaint at any restaurant. Now the only complaint and it is minor. The Restaurant Wait staff always seemed a little out of sync. Many times throughout the cruise we heard "sorry we're a little busy", or " we'll be with you in a minute". Even at the signature restaurant The Grill, we waited quite awhile for any service. The maitre D finally came over and asked if we had any service yet.It wasn't awful just not what we expected from Seabourn, and we had this happen repeatedly. The clientele on our cruise was definitely well heeled, and well traveled, and tends to be older. This is NOT a cruise line for children. All in all it is a luxury experience well worth the cost. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted something smaller and more upscale than Royal Caribbean, and with few or no children. Okay, here's the good, the bad and the ugly about Seabourn. Good: Boarding is a BREEZE. We walked straight on after checking in. ... Read More
We wanted something smaller and more upscale than Royal Caribbean, and with few or no children. Okay, here's the good, the bad and the ugly about Seabourn. Good: Boarding is a BREEZE. We walked straight on after checking in. Debarkation likewise, a breeze. Staterooms: amazing. Best beds I've ever slept on on a cruise. Bathroom roomy. Pillows! Food is mostly good. The Keller Grill is over rated and limited. Caviar is available anywhere on the ship except there. You could stand just outside the door and have it though. Teatime was a blast. Loose tea in little silver pots. Scones. Num. Coffee bar on deck 7 makes killer Irish Coffee. Good selection of in room TV channels. No children were aboard! Just OK: The bars. They close them up as early as 11, and they don't open again until 5. The Patio bar is open all afternoon, but that's rough in 32 degree weather. Sure, you can drink in your room, but I can do that at home. Deck 7, again, makes boozy coffee. Age group: The median age was 75. If you're not ready to sail with folks who were teens in the 50's, this cruise is going to be a bore. Dress codes for dinner: Toward the end of the cruise the "no jeans" rule sort of vanished. I think nice jeans should always be acceptable. Bad: One of the bartenders was overbearing and rude. He closed the bar on a Friday night at 11pm while the show band was still playing, then argued about it when I asked him the next day and denied doing it. Told me that 6 people in the bar wasn't enough to keep it open; I reminded him that each of us paid more than the regular client just to be there. He said that didn't matter. 10 couples walked into the bar while we were arguing, saw the lights on, and walked out. Stability. We had 60 mph gale force winds for 3 days and nights, even the waiters couldn't stand up straight. I was violently seasick 3 days. For queasy travelers, this ship is not a good option. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Several of us who debarked in Montreal ended up at the same hotel, close to port, and historic. Hotel St. Sulpice, right next to Notre Dame Basilica. Roomy suites, good rate. I recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This is our fourth Seabourn cruise and the second time on the Odyssey. We knew that going late in the Fall, we could have difficult weather, but never expected a Category-2-force storm in the Med. Two of our ports became closed to us ... Read More
This is our fourth Seabourn cruise and the second time on the Odyssey. We knew that going late in the Fall, we could have difficult weather, but never expected a Category-2-force storm in the Med. Two of our ports became closed to us because of storm damage, but Seabourn found us alternative harbors that worked out perfectly. And Captain Emilian did an excellent job keeping us safe even if he couldn't stop the rocking in 80 mph winds and 24 ft swells. Our room stewardess (more about her later) kept us stocked with candied ginger and ginger ale. We had a large supply of Dramamine. So, even being on deck 10 aft, we never had a hint of a sea sickness. We embarked on a wet day with Seabourn checking us in at the grand salon so we could stay dry and there were people waiting by the curb for our bags. Nothing could have been faster or easier. As always, we loved our Penthouse Spa suite. It felt like home to us. Our room stewardess, Timea functioned as housekeeper, butler and friend. We loved her, both as a person and professionally. For us, with someone like Timea, we don't need an extra person to deal with in terms of a formal butler. She took fabulous care of us. I'd say that 90% of the time, we had outstanding food. We particularly loved The Earth and Sea on the patio. We had an amazing lamb shank dinner - went there every time it was offered. We also had a wonderful evening at Thomas Keller. I'm not sure why people haven't been happy with it in their reviews - we were thrilled with the decor, food and service. It's a delightful addition - and no extra charge with unlimited visits. We aren't big entertainment people, so I can't speak to this area. Our service in 99% of the trip was outstanding. Whether we wanted a special meal, extra candied ginger, room service or help on excursions everyone provided service with a smile and went out of their was to help us. Seabourn provided our shore excursions with a private car and guide. We had amazing people and saw the locations through local eyes. We always returned to the ship with appreciation and enjoyment of the place we were visiting. So, what didn't meet our standards. First, our veranda furniture was old and in poor condition. Timea found us some better cushions, but still not good quality. We could tell she was embarrassed by the poor quality. We found multiple rust stains on our veranda railings. Again, Timea tried to get this taken care of. Finally, they have a small putting area on the bow, but the golf clubs were left in the rain with the grips rotting. My husband returned disgusted with the horrible care. I'm afraid that Seabourn may have become as cash-cow for HAL and Carnival Corp rather than putting the money back into the ship. Even so with these issues, our cruise still exceeded expectations. And I've learned to live with the small imperfections in life. Just a side note, if you want glitz, glitter and glamor, Seabourn isn't the ship for you. It is understated elegance. We felt comfortable and at home - not in awe of the fancy decor. For us, it is our home-away-from-home. As I write this review, I'm trying to understand how come we had a better experience than previous reviewers - no answers yet. Our favorite hotels are Aman, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons and we found that our Seabourn cruise met or exceeded these luxury hotels/resorts. And offered us more for our money. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose the 7 day Yachtsman Holiday Cruise in the Caribbean aboard Seabourn Odyssey. Booked the Penthouse Suite on 10th floor. Hadn’t sailed with Seabourn in nearly 10 years...However, we’re seasoned cruisers: 14 cruises on Silver Sea, ... Read More
Chose the 7 day Yachtsman Holiday Cruise in the Caribbean aboard Seabourn Odyssey. Booked the Penthouse Suite on 10th floor. Hadn’t sailed with Seabourn in nearly 10 years...However, we’re seasoned cruisers: 14 cruises on Silver Sea, Viking, Holland America, NCL, Regent, QE2...other Cunard line ships, Windstar, Star Clipper, National Grographic, Private charters and cruised our own boat for many years. For this cruise (12/22/2018) We made our own flight reservations and arrived a day early to enjoy some time on St Maarten. Seabourn made the hotel & transfer arrangements. Hotel (Belmont de Samana, St Maarten) was pretty bad (no hot water, messed up the arrangements for transfer to ship, couldn’t sort out the dinner reservations and kept thinking we were different guests in a different room. Even so, beautiful location and we still enjoyed being there (though only being able to take cold showers was not that pleasant.) Embarkation went fairly smoothly- at first they couldn’t find us but then got us onboard and photos and told us our room would be ready in an hour or so. We had the buffet lunch and proceeded to our room. Penthouse suite was nice and roomy. Lots of drawers, big closet, luxurious bath. Room Steward offered champagne. I had arranged a dinner in KT Grill for first night to celebrate my husbands birthday. No mention of his birthday at restaurant or room ( I wasn’t expecting a big deal but perhaps a little candle would have been nice.) Dinner was ok - rather mediocre - very snooty attitude and you could observe disputes between the wait staff which didn’t add much of a pleasant environment. We use to love dining at The French Laundry - TK’s original restaurant in Yountville - I doubt he’d like what they’re doing under his name on this ship!! We won’t return. We also discovered there were no papers in our room with information about internet, itinerary, excursions, spa, in room dining or even a ship map. So, after dinner we went to the square and tried to track down some information. No staff were available and there seemed to be many passengers with the same problems trying to find out info. We gave up and strolled around the various decks trying to get oriented. The second day we were anchored off St Kitts. Planned to go ashore and do some exploring on our own. Stopped by the destination desk to get maps and some tips on taxis in to town, etc. Local woman was at desk and told us the only option was to stay at the Carambola beach club...saying everything was closed, no taxis, no shops, no touring, etc. we found out much later she was working for the Carambola Beach club and was not telling the truth but we never tried to go ashore because it seemed there would be no way to get into town. (She said it was not walkable). We decided to explore the ship and maybe have lunch at Pool Grill. Everything was closed except the buffet. Tried visiting the Spa - all personnel were at beach. In the end we had a quiet reading day in our suite. We got several phone calls in which various ship personnel kept asking my husband if he’d like to celebrate his birthday (since they had forgotten the day before). We decided we’d have his celebration with in room dining that night. So, when it was time to order, we called room service- there was no paperwork with a menu in our room so they couldn’t take an order so we had to track down our room steward to get the current menu. She insisted it was December 22 and gave us that menu (it was actually the 23rd) we called again to try and order. The kitchen said we had to use the menu from December 23rd. So we went back to the room steward and she gave us the menu for the 24th because she didn’t have the menu for the 23rd. Eventually we were able to order a couple of salads, a club sandwich and a cheeseburger. Food arrived about 40 minutes later. Cold burger & fries, barely edible salad, dry sandwich. 2 ice waters. Nothing indicating a birthday...we strolled the decks, nothing going on so returned to our suite, sat and watched the moon and had a quiet reading night. In general, I would say this is a rather boring cruise with very little information available to passengers. No announcements, no help with basics like internet, no orientation and late or nonexistent paperwork in the suite. We are fairly self reliant and creating our own shore excursions (there are NEVER any staff to help with booking). Since almost all the ports are anchor/tenders it is a bit more complicated than simply stepping off the boat on to the dock. We do miss the ship events, lectures, entertainment that we’ve enjoyed on other cruises (they seem to be nonexistent, cancelled at last minute or very badly organized on this cruise). A note on the (Penthouse Suite) on the 10th floor: DON’T BOOK it!!! Above our suite is the outdoor game area (shuffleboard, table tennis, etc. VERY NOISY starting early in the morning and lasting all day!! So in closing we are sticking with Silversea, Viking, Charters and anyone else but the CARNIVAL line and SEABOURN!! Cons: poorly organized, unprofessional staff, mediocre food and waste of time & money!! Pros: quiet, not too many activities, lots of time to yourself, some beautiful sunsets on this itinerary comfortable bed, spacious suite. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Seabourn is our cruise line of choice. The reasons are simple, it feels like you are on your personal yacht, the staff never uses the phrase "sorry, we can't do that", the cuisine is the best afloat on any ship sailing today ... Read More
Seabourn is our cruise line of choice. The reasons are simple, it feels like you are on your personal yacht, the staff never uses the phrase "sorry, we can't do that", the cuisine is the best afloat on any ship sailing today and last, but not least, you never feel crowded or rushed in any venue aboard. The odyssey is currently doing an itinerary that runs back and forth between Barbados and St. Maartin. The cruise was, as anticipated, wonderful and relaxing. HOWEVER, Getting to the ship to board and disembarking were rife with difficulty and unpleasantness. This was not just my bad luck, but prevalent among nearly all of the guests who we met aboard and shared stories with. After booking the cruise we discovered that you cannot get to/from these chosen ports before or after your cruise (Barbados and St. Maartin) in one day of travel. Unless you live in a city with a direct flight to the island (Miami, Washington DC, New York - basically the east coast major metros) you will have to overnight enroute in each direction. Airline costs to and from these ports and overnight hotel costs, in many cases, exceed the price of the actual cruise. Additionally, attempting to arrive or depart the same day as ships in port turn over their passengers will result in unmanageable crowds at the airports. (specifics about our experience below) St Maartin's airport was destroyed during the most recent Hurricane and despite what you may read about the Caribbean being ready for tourism and that everything is back to normal ... It is NOT. Let me recount our disembarkation experience in St. Maartin: The positive: our late afternoon airline departure time worried us. We were unable to arrange a "day pass" with any hotel on the island despite two weeks of trying prior to leaving home. With nowhere to go until our flight departure and Disembarkation from Seabourn Odyssey scheduled for 8:30 am, we were worried. Seabourn, graciously, permitted us to remain aboard the ship in comfort until after lunch. A real blessing considering what was to come. The negative: Upon disembarkation we took a taxi with our luggage to the airport thinking we could relax comfortably at the airport (a relatively short distance, but a long drive compounded by bumper to bumper, slow moving traffic - nearly an hour) our taxi driver described to us while enroute that after the hurricane so many cars were destroyed that there was a huge influx of new cars purchased with insurance money and that the old damaged cars were mostly repaired, sold and put back on the road... hence gridlock like Manhatten or Chicago during rush hour (but on single lane roads). He also informed us that we were LUCKY because up until just a few days prior, the airport operations and passenger terminal were being run from TENTS in the tropical heat. We arrived at the airport, part of the destroyed terminal building had been repaired and it was operating in compressed space. No assistance at the curb with bags, entered into the ticket area and found grand central station with hundreds of people in line for multiple carriers. We were flying first class so our shorter line took only 40 minutes to reach the front, check baggage and proceed. Next came the security and immigration line. We arrived and joined a single line in a large ante-chamber, with the line snaking back and forth to allow more passengers into it - no bypass for any sort of travel class division or TSA Pre-check thing available here. Another 45 minutes to proceed through this portion. As I approached the two clerks doing the pass along I thought it was the light at the end of the tunnel. We walked up a ramp to another level and there was another snake line with a few hundred people in it for baggage examination, x rays etc. Belts, shoes, computers everything off. One hour in THAT line and we thought "hooray, it's over" we were finally near the actual departure area. We walked about 20 yards around a turn and into a large space that was rectangular and about fifty yards wide and 25 yards deep roughly half the size of a football field. In a glass wall facing the fresh air and sunlight were several doors (no individual gate areas just some doors with a thousand or so plastic chairs arranged around the room). Every chair was occupied, little room between the rows, wheelchairs and luggage blocking everything and crowds of standing passengers waiting along every wall and every lane between chairs. these gates/doors were within feet of each other and each door was a "gate" with a number on it. This waiting area facing the gates would have been shut down by any decent fire marshall due to more than double the number of waiting passengers in that space than it was designed to accommodate. We snagged two chairs when a flight was called, and waited until our flight was ready. The boarding was called traditionally, by row number and class. We walked through the door and an airport employee gathered everyone into one disorganized group (defeating the prior procedure) and we waited in the sun for a people mover bus to arrive. When it did arrive, the bus was packed like a subway car at rush hour. If someone had died, they would have remained in a standing position. Our flight, United Airlines Flt # 1741 from St. Maartin direct to Washington DC is a daily scheduled turn around flight - fly in arriving mid day or a little later early afternoon, dump off the arrivals - load up and turn back around. The bus disgorged us and directed us to stairs leading up to the airplane door for us to struggle up carrying our hand baggage. Again no assistance for those needing it (the passengers assisted the elderly and disabled ourselves). Once aboard, we anticipated United Airlines would be a welcome change. The flight, while professionally flown, was improperly provisioned and there were inadequate meals and drinks for all passengers - Here's a bit of humor, the first class stewardess told us not to worry, delicious cookies were forthcoming. She then either burned all of the cookies or the oven failed - so half of the first class section who had no meal choices didn't even get a cookie on this 5 hour flight. But the pretzels were delicious. Arrived back into the USA and my Hartmann bag (advertised as nearly indestructible and a veteran of several international flights to Europe and Asia) was delivered for customs inspection with a wheel smashed off and rips in the side of the "indestructible" material. No doubt the same airport services staff in St. Maartin responsible for provisioning the airplane with food and drinks “loaded” the luggage, as well. My destroyed bag necessitated a LONG walk, easily a mile from the international arrivals area, through a nearly deserted late Saturday night Washington DC terminal to the United baggage claim office (would have been convenient if it was located near where their flights were arriving - alongside all of the OTHER airlines baggage offices). We made it to the hotel two hours later than anticipated, we were not allowed to check our heavy vacation packed bags through to our early morning departure flight, so we had to carry them with us to the hotel and bring them back for check in the next morning. 4 hours of sleep and back to the airport before dawn in Freezing weather, to board our final United Flight home (which was a delightful, problem free flight). IN retrospect, Seabourn's decision to necessitate boarding and disembarking at these 3rd world ports and airports is a decision that significantly diminishes the attractiveness and affordability of these itineraries. Seabourn has chosen to no longer originate or end their Caribbean and Transatlantic to Europe itineraries in US ports like Fort Lauderdale or Miami but choosing instead these awkward Caribbean ports. True, The St Maartin airport terminal was better than TENTS, however it is painfully obvious that the services that the St. Maartin Airport staff are expected to perform for this volume of passengers is significantly beyond their current capability to deliver. Hindsight is 20/20…If I had it to do over again, I would not have chosen this voyage simply because of the disastrous and unpleasant overall travel experience to and from the ship. I recently read a psychological study that evidenced that as Passengers/Customers, our remembrance of a vacation is formed in significant measure by what happens at the end of it. If things end with a pleasant experience - we will always remember that as one of our best vacations. If not... then it will be remembered as unremarkable or a disaster, as in our case. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This one fit a particular time frame .We only had the first leg of 11 days . Had never had a chance to take a Seabourn cruise before . Very happy .They couldn't do enough for us .Came up with an extension cord for the C Pap machine . ... Read More
This one fit a particular time frame .We only had the first leg of 11 days . Had never had a chance to take a Seabourn cruise before . Very happy .They couldn't do enough for us .Came up with an extension cord for the C Pap machine . Stocked fridge and bar had a full liter of good vodka .Svedka , I think . Mixers, beer , champagne . Room stewardess was always ready to go . Dinning room had some slow arrivals of food at times . But all the food was excellent .They could cook , fish , steaks , pasta . The Colonnade buffet on the back deck was always good .Pool bars and dining line was a great choice in the afternoon for a late lunch .Open to 3:30 . Used room service for breakfast 4 different mornings . Arrived in 20 to 25 minutes and hot .Transfers booked through Seabourn worked fine , even with a flight delay .They were there to meet us . We got our luggage frisked in Lisbon on disembarkation .The Seabourn Rep was on the spot to assure us we would get a cab to the airport when we missed the main bus with everybody else . Even sent a very sweet Portuguese woman ( cute as a button ) with us to make sure we knew where we were going inside the airport . Actually went in with us . Bar people , deck crew , waiters were all on top of it at all times .Entertainment was very good of what we saw . Did a special afternoon opera segment on the deck with the main show vocalists one afternoon . Pouring Patron Margaritas at the pool .l .All you can eat , drink and no tipping or bar bill at the end . But I did leave a small thank you for the housekeeping girl and a bartender .Not expected though .A great time . The best weather the crew had ever seen on this crossing . Just lucky . Read Less
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