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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
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
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
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. Caviar: 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. The Recovery: 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. Wines: 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: 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. Ship: 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. Stateroom: 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. Enrichment Lectures: 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
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
39 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
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
Seabourn Sojourn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 2.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.9
Service 5.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 5.0 4.0

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