16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I've been on several Seabourn cruises in the past (this cruise put me over 100 days sailed with them) and while no cruise was perfect Seabourn in the past has been the best - for me. I like re positioning cruises (they tend to have a ... Read More
I've been on several Seabourn cruises in the past (this cruise put me over 100 days sailed with them) and while no cruise was perfect Seabourn in the past has been the best - for me. I like re positioning cruises (they tend to have a lot of sea days and I enjoy sea days). I saw one on the Sojourn going from Kobe to Vancouver. Bonus - its a short flight from Vancouver to San Francisco so I'd only have to do the long haul thing in one direction. Embarkation started almost precisely on time and aside from one passenger using his mass to knock people out of his way to be first was a nice and quick experience. Once on board I noticed that there was no one greeting passengers or directing them to any particular place. On past cruises staff was present to greet guests and direct them. After embarkation came the muster drill. Thankfully Seabourn doesn't require you to wear or even bring your brightly colored tripping hazard (life vest). The drill took place in the Restaurant and we didn't have to go out on deck and deal with the elements. In my suite I had a letter from Seabourn waiting for me. It informed me that there would be ongoing construction on the pool deck during the cruise and that areas would be closed off. So they're saying on a crossing/cruise with a large number of sea days the outside would be a loud smelly mess and that the Patio Bar/Grill (bar and restaurant for the pool area) would be unavailable some days. Wonderful. I was not given the option for a graceful exit from this cruise. The letter was more of a "SURPRISE" that you didn't want. This was not a good start to a luxury cruise. Even mid tier hotels will inform guests of any upcoming construction. I guess the small saving grace was that I couldn't hear the construction sounds or smell the odors they generated in my room. Others weren't so lucky. For this each suite was given $500. The dining experience had a few issues that would continue to be issues. The first was understaffing. I don't know if it was due to the launch of their newer bigger ship or a harder time finding crew or perhaps penny wise pound foolish but aside from the TK Grill the other dining venues seemed understaffed (when the restaurant manager is running around taking orders and the ships sommelier is busing tables - you're short staffed). Further a lot of the staff in both the Colonnade and the Restaurant were very green. How green? They'd bring the wrong food to passengers and then argue with them (in one instance eggs Benedict were served as Florentine. When the passenger complained after the argument they were given the Benedict - with strands of spinach still on the plate. Some would become irate if you didn't order your dessert with your appetizers/entrees. They'd start out with the word "NO" and then wait for correction rather than getting an accurate answer before stating something wasn't possible. Drink service in the Restaurant for dinner was the worst of any Seabourn cruise I'd been on. They no longer have the wine stewards and now rely on your overworked green wait staff to do most of the beverage work as well. Penny wise, pound foolish again. If your overworked servers were slow with the food, well now so followed your drinks. The food in the restaurant was to me for the most part: boring, unseasoned, bland and unadventurous at best. At worst it was the worst version of some dishes that I've ever had. Thankfully the Colonnade didn't seem to have the food issues (and a far lesser extent of service issues). However the only dining location on the ship that felt like it belonged on a luxury cruise was the TK Grill. Better ingredients, more staff per passenger, and probably because Thomas Keller insisted actual flavorful food. However the TK Grill (and TK night in the Colonnade) had its issues as well. When Michael Sandoval (one of Kellers staffers) was running things the food came out cooked perfectly. They day he left the ship (and on subsequent visits) all the Thomas Keller food was off. An exmaple of this would be the Ad Hoc fried chicken. Under Seabourn it was either rubber skin and raw meat or burnt skin dripping pools of grease. Under Sandoval it was crisp, moist, tender, flavorful and not overly greasy. I got the distinct impression that left to its own devices Seabourn can't meet the demands Kellers food requires. There were also reservation issues with the TK Grill. I had a reservation deleted and other passengers felt that staff was trying to coerce them into altering or giving up their reservations. The bars (especially Observation and Patio) along with their staff seemed to be the one area of the cruise experience that hadn't declined in quality. I generally don't partake in the ships entertainment so I don't have too much to say on that. I did play trivia and this time people seemed to actually treat it like a game rather than a deathmatch as on previous cruises. As this was a crossing (really a cruise to relocate the ship to its next seasonal AO) we didn't have that many ports. Seabourns shore excursions are rather generic. They do try to keep the number of passengers per tour down but don't offer lower limit tours like some lines do. My only issue with the tours was missing one because we ended up spending an extra day in Aomori (where they added but a single tour) - but you can't blame the weather on the line. We also lost a port because of that delay. We were supposed to visit Icy Point Straight but that was cut. Originally we were supposed to visit Glacier bay rather than Hubbard glacier. I don't know who didn't do what there but IMO Glacier bay is the far better glacier experience. Because to date this cruise was an aberration I did book a future cruise. Hopefully the ship will have righted itself and food/service will be back to their usual high standards. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”. When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”. When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. One glaring but understandable change was the dramatically reduced use of passenger’s names, it was a very common and pleasant feature on the smaller ships but it would be unreasonable to expect it to continue with 450 passengers names to try and remember. It was a bit disappointing that on a 21 day cruise the bar staff didn’t eventually pick up on at least a few of the names of the nightly regulars. The other disappointing aspect of the bar service was that regardless of how busy the the place was, the Observation Bar closed at exactly midnight, no excuses, no exceptions, we’re closed! The strict closing time of the Observation Bar meant having to relocate to The Club for late night drinks, but you needed to hurry because after midnight they close as soon as the guest count drops below six people. Also, late arrivals (11:30pm or later) were clearly not welcome, particularly if you were a medium sized group. The staff didn’t groan but the facial expressions and negative body language were unmistakable. The turning up the lights, the partial closing of the shutters and the mopping behind the bar were other less than subtle indicators that we should leave. Given that all drinks are complimentary, it did occur to me that Carnival’s bean-counters may pressure the bar staff to shut down early and that puts those otherwise good staff in the unwelcome position of having to turf out guests who are reluctant to leave. This repeated experience was in sharp contrast to the hospitality enjoyed on previous Seabourn cruises. Similar issues were noted in the main dining room which was clearly understaffed and where a number of servers seemed inexperienced and overwhelmed. Most of the obvious rookie staff maintained a very good attitude, trying hard to be polite and cheerful at all times. Unfortunately, some of the senior staff appeared to have difficulty handling the stress and could be quite sullen or irritable. Once again I suspect the bean-counters are responsible for this. The food in all of the restaurants usually varied between good and very good, with an occasional course which qualified as truly outstanding. I did have a couple of disappointing steaks but that was only due to being served “medium well” instead of the requested “medium rare”. In the past Seabourn has allowed me to go “off menu” on those very rare occasions when none of the night’s offerings appealed. This is no longer allowed without 24 hours notice. Unfortunately I don’t know what will be on tomorrow’s menu or what food I’ll be in the mood for. I understand that going off menu is not something they want to widely encourage but having that option available was one of the things which used set Seabourn apart. Whilst on the subject of food, the main restaurant’s attempt to produce a decent soufflé was pitiful. I ordered several during the first week of the cruise, each time hoping somebody in the kitchen would realize that sponge cake and soufflé are not the same thing, even if the sponge cake is hollow and you open up the thick sponge top-layer to pour in the sauce. This resembles assembly line food, not the “A la minute” preparation which they claim. And now for a slightly sad but still mildly amusing incident related to the faux soufflé. When served with a sponge cake masquerading as a Poire William soufflé, it arrived very obviously alcohol free. “No problem” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just order a shot of Poire William and add it myself”. The obliging young server went away to fetch some but returned with the news that there was none available anywhere on the ship. The server’s discomfort was palpable when I asked for a shot from the generous supply that the kitchen must have on hand for tonight’s featured soufflé. A few minutes later the server returned in the company of the sommelier who (with a straight face) informed me that for soufflé they only use Poire William powder, hence my request for a shot could not be fulfilled. I do enjoy an occasional bit of fun so I feigned great interest in the powder product and requested the name and address of the manufacturer so that I could order some for home use. I suggested a cellphone picture of the label would be perfect. Unsurprisingly, the sommelier did not return with the requested information and avoided me for the rest of the cruise. In summary, my wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise, thanks in large part to some wonderful fellow passengers and several marvelous crew members. We still think Seabourn rates highly but the cutbacks are evident, from little things like the reduced quality of the caviar to the more serious problem of understaffing and early bar closings. We have paid a deposit for a future cruise in the hope that smarter management will reverse the decline but, if the bean counters continue to cut corners, it will probably be our last cruise on this once great cruise line. Perhaps this is all part of a plan to move towards a younger and less demanding demographic with which to fill their much larger and more impersonal ships. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Seabourn is the ultimate experience. Worth every cent. Staff are superb and you just can’t go past Seabourn. It is the only cruise line for us now. I have never enjoyed a cruise or any holiday as much as the 21 days on Seabourn from Kobe ... Read More
Seabourn is the ultimate experience. Worth every cent. Staff are superb and you just can’t go past Seabourn. It is the only cruise line for us now. I have never enjoyed a cruise or any holiday as much as the 21 days on Seabourn from Kobe to Vancouver. The dining was perfect. Loved the patio area and the cocktails. Even on a cold night it was great and staff spoiled us with plush orange snuggly blankets and heaters. Day at Hubbard Glacier was one of those rare moments in life that remain with you forever. The Captain and crew made the day so perfect and Champagne to sip along the way. Sophie the cruise director was fantastic and like all staff knew our names within a day. Benita one of the wait and bar staff is to be congratulated for her attention and spoiling. Breakfast in the dining room with Marine was a superb way to start the day. Dritian and the 2 young girls in the coffee shop were lovely and knew our regular order and had it ready before we could blink. I can truly say that the cruise exceeded all our expectations. Seabourn organised the lot from airlines to transfers and not one hitch. Seabourn are heaven. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise (west coast repositioning, Vancouver to LA) for the price and itinerary. We were very pleased, Seabourn delivered what they promised. The itinerary was Vancouver, Seattle (1 1/2 days), Portland (1 1/2 days), San ... Read More
We chose this cruise (west coast repositioning, Vancouver to LA) for the price and itinerary. We were very pleased, Seabourn delivered what they promised. The itinerary was Vancouver, Seattle (1 1/2 days), Portland (1 1/2 days), San Francisco (2 days), Monterey (1 day), Santa Barbara (1 day) San Pedro (debarkation port for LA). 11 days for $4,495 per person, tips and beverages included. Embarkation was smooth but a little slow due to a behemoth ship also embarking at Canada Place. Other than that, no problems. Pre-clearing US Customs prior to boarding was great because we didn't have to be delayed once we reached the first port of call in Seattle. Our cabin was ready when we boarded about 1 PM. Lunch in the Collonade was relaxed and well prepared. Plenty of champagne available to celebrate. Cabin. #725. Veranda suite was about average and comparable to other cruise lines, except that there was a huge walk in closet. Bathroom had a separate tub and shower and two sinks. The only problem was the toilet not working on two occasions. The problem was resolved fairly quickly on both occasions. Our stewardess Vanessa was great and was always available for ice or any other request. Dining. First rate at all of the venues: The Restaurant, Restaurant 2, Collonade and Patio. The caviar was always available. It was not ossetra or other top notch caviar, but it was decent. I do not recall a bad meal. Dining room service was almost flawless, one or two hiccups not worth mentioning in detail. My wife did think that the menus sometimes had too many fish options and not enough meat, but she is a very finicky eater. Entertainment/Activities. Not a whole lot. We went to one ventriloquist show and a cooking demonstration. I did not get a chance to go to any of the lectures which is my fault. If you need a lot going on all the time this would not be the cruise for you. On the plus side there were no children, so poolside was relaxing without kids screaming and doing cannon balls in the pool. Excursions. Can't rate them as we do DIY excursions 99% of the time. All ports were good except for Portland OR. If you are a hipster who likes to smoke weed you would enjoy it. Otherwise it is a haven for wastrels, indigents, stoners and weirdos. The Japanese gardens and the rose test garden were nice. Downtown has zero to offer in my opinion. All the other ports were great, especially San Francisco. The extra time in the first three ports was great and expanded the possibilities for sight seeing. Service. A very high staff to customer ratio, and the very pleasant crew made service impeccable. Ship Maintenance/Cleanliness. Spotless. The Sojourn is seven years old but everything is in good shape and not run down. The decor is understated but very pleasant and relaxing. For this itinerary, price and what you get for your dollar I would consider this a very good value. We were very satisfied. Fellow cruisers. On the geriatric side. I think we were one of the youngest at 55 years old. Some very elderly and infirm. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
In summary, the service was impeccable. This was our first cruise on Seabourn and the service met and exceeded our expectations. That is not to say that there were items that needed to be improved but we would definitely sail again. ... Read More
In summary, the service was impeccable. This was our first cruise on Seabourn and the service met and exceeded our expectations. That is not to say that there were items that needed to be improved but we would definitely sail again. Our transatlantic cruise departed from Fort Lauderdale and contrary to our last embarkation it went were smooth. Maybe being the only ship in the port and a Tuesday was the reason for the speedy embarkation. In March, it had been two hours to get to the dock and on-board the ship. The ship was about 90% full with about 60% Americans, followed by British and German passengers. As expected, the cabins were not ready so we had lunch in the Colonnade on Deck 8. This was first experience with great service and the free flowing wine. It was definitely a first class buffet restaurant, with large comfortable chairs. There were some aspects of a standard cruise ship buffet but the layout for the most part made for rapid access. The only negative was the use of chafing dishes for "hot” food that actually was only warm. Also it was quite clear that the staff had excellent language skills and able converse in multiple languages with the passengers. With a few exceptions, most passengers were older than 60. The lunch did accomplish one critical aspect for the cruise, the decision on what complementary wines were worthwhile. Earlier reviews and roll call comments led me to believe that the free wines would not work out. This was not the case since we found 2 whites that were very good, one red that was very good and another red that was good. Our cabin was the standard veranda suite that was about 300 square feet, not counting the balcony. The cabin size for more than enough for 2 people and had plenty of storage space. The couch was uncomfortable, which is typical for a cruise ship. The only issues in the cabin were the shortage of electrical outlets and the relatively small size of the TV monitor. The balcony contained two mesh steel adjustable chairs and a similar table. Although the ship is relatively new the deck furniture was showing its age with peeling paint. For a high end cruise line I found the furniture to look cheap and not that comfortable. Also we noticed similar chairs in the pool area with the same condition. We really liked the marble and granite bathrooms, which included a full sized tub, and a separate, glass shower cubicle. There is a beverage area with a fridge stocked with preferred beverages. Prior to arrival we had specified the 2 bottles of liquor we wanted. When we arrived one was incorrect but it was quickly remedied. The fridge was well stocked with a variety of soft drinks and water. When we told the cabin attendant, what we liked for soft drinks, she quickly filled the refrigerator with the chosen beverages. As noted by other reviews, the fridge is inside a cabinet that really heats up. It took us a day to realize this and we learned to keep the cabinet door open above the fridge. Finally I would like to complement the cabin staff, they were always available to meet your needs and our cabin was made up quickly. Maybe it was the fact that our cabin was midway between the cabins they serviced and the cleaning equipment was always located outside our door. The ship offers four places to eat, as well as room service. We only used the room service for breakfast and always ate indoors. Although the seas were calm most of the days there was always a wind that prevented us from using the balcony as well as the uncomfortable chairs. Seabourn Sojourn offers four places to eat, as well as course-by-course room service which you can have on your balcony if you wish " all balconies are big enough for a table and two chairs. I can say that The Restaurant on Deck 4, was the best main dining room on any ship we have on to date. The Restaurant is a stunning space done out in cream, white and lavish textures of leather, crystal and soft gauze. Some find all those neutrals clinical but I'd label it ultra-stylish. Dining is open-seating and we never had to wait. We never tried breakfast in The Restaurant but had both lunch and dinner. The menus had some standard offerings but changed every day with new starters, main courses and desserts. The desserts were the only items that were subpar. You got to choose your wines from the standard list but the serving staff pushed a different wine at each meal. You could order from the special menu but I found the selection a little limited and the markups on par with expensive New York restaurants. The service in the restaurant was first class and periodically we were invited to dine with a member of the crew or entertainment staff. The Restaurant did impose strict dress code. Although daytime wear is casual after 6 p.m., Seabourn has three categories for evening attire: formal (optional), elegantly casual and resort casual. Formal dress occurred 3 nights and required tuxedos (about 20% of the people) or dark business suits with ties for men and cocktail dresses or formal apparel for women. Elegantly casual meant that men to wear a jacket, a collared shirt with or without a tie and women could wear most outfits but no jeans. The resort casual was about the same as elegantly casual except no jackets for men. One the first day they provided a schedule for the entire cruise. The only problem was they decided to change a resort casual to elegantly casual, so we needed to return to our cabin for jacket. Not a big deal since the ship was small. Restaurant 2 is characterized as Seabourn's attempt as tapas place. The decor seems to look like an overdone Chinese restaurant. It is very similar to Red Ginger dEcor on Oceania ships. You get to taste about 12 bites served in about 6 courses. The food is an eclectic mixture that seems to emphasize Mediterranean style cooking. For us the dining experience was a bust. The portions (bites) were spaced apart by 15-20 minutes. If you go to Restaurant 2 eat a large lunch or do what we did; book early and go to the Colonnade for more food. The Colonnade was described earlier for our initial lunch. In the evening the Colonnade becomes a more formal dining venue, with theme dinners roughly based on regions (Italian, French Indian, etc.) or surf and turf night or steak club night. They offer a unique menu each night that allows you to order items specifically cooked for you. I would say they got it right most of the time. The service also was great. The last location is the Patio Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves burgers, fries, pizza, salads. The cold food was fine but the hot food was cooked elsewhere (except for the fries) and served in chafing dish. In comparison to the Waves grill on the Oceania, the Patio grill was a distant second. The MDR was the best but on other ships the specialty restaurants were generally better than the food on this cruise. With the exception of the fruits and vegetables everything else was frozen. Finally if you like sushi this is not the ship for you. The one item they did poorly. On a transatlantic trip, you really get to know the ship since you have no place to go. The pool area was well done except for the quality of most of the chairs and the pool attendants did not set up your chair with towels, which I would have expected on this type of cruise line. There were other outdoor areas including the whirlpool at the bow on Deck 6 that was too cold and breezy on the cruise. The pool area at the aft on Deck 5, and the Sun Terrace on Deck 11 were better choices. Unlike other ships there were always available chairs on the sea days. During the day the major event was the noon time team trivia contest. Approximately 25% of the passengers participated and unfortunately some took the game to seriously. Most other activities were the standard shipboard lectures, tours, dance classes, etc. The two guest lecturers had a few good lectures but too many poor ones. One of the speakers, Graham Anthony had a hard time staying on the topic. The Seabourn Square on Deck 7 provided a place to get for coffee and pastries in the morning and catch up with limited copies of newspapers. It also houses a small library (maybe too small) and number of computers. The cost of 2 hour session was under $20 and was a real buy for a cruise line. This was especially important since we have a number of relatives in Boston during those tragic events. It also has multiple people serving as the ship's concierge. No long waits like on other ships for service, and they knew the answers to your questions. In the evening, there are three sources of entertainment: piano music and drinks before and after dinner in the Observation Bar, music and dancing in The Club with a singer and the ship band and finally a different show each night in the Grand Salon. The Observation deck was always crowded before dinner and you could not hear the piano player. The music and dancing in the Club were good and were not crowded at any time but the shows were almost the same each time. We normally do not attend many of the shows on cruise ships since they tend to be loud and not much else. This cruise featured a revue show that was very good. Good voices and only two dancers that did not get in the way of the singers and also danced to the music. The magician was more of a playing card manipulator but he was entertaining. The British comedian was called the "the clean comedian”. A better description would be the unfunny one. Finally there was the Casino, which was really small but was the right size since I never saw more than 10 people in the room. Most often it was 2 or 3. It was the only cruise I have been on where they had blackjack and poker tournaments and no one came! The highlight of the evening cruise shows was the concert pianist, Tomono Kawamura. She was outstanding. The Spa and fitness areas were small but useful. The only complaint was that there was only one recumbent bike and it was the only piece of apparatus that had a waiting line. The other item I found to be done right was that the crew repaired broken equipment. Twice I saw them repairing the equipment while on other cruise lines the "out of order” sign was there for the entire cruise. Treatment rooms were adequate but for some reason they always seemed to be short of supplies, one day it was towels, the next it was soap and finally cold water. This was the only area of the ship where service was lacking. If you read my other reviews then I really dislike the shore tours offered by the cruise line. With all of the drinks included it was hard to spend the cruise credits provided by the TA. Also with only two stops there were not too many choices. We took the standard Madeira ride on the cable car and the ride down on the wooden sleds. The excursion was fun but was not well run. Although there were two guides they did not make sure that everyone on the tour stayed with the group. Two people were "lost” but eventually they made it down to catch the bus back. To spend the credits we also signed up for the Lisbon tour of Lisbon and then a drop off near the hotel area. The embarkation was very smooth but ship announcements could have been done better. The Lisbon tour was well run and the guide made sure everyone was accounted for at each stop. They also were able to navigate around all the obstacles in Lisbon created by a marathon and a protest against the government that shut down many streets. My final comments are to the cruise passengers. Please pay attention to the tour when it says that there is a fair amount of walking on a tour. If you have problem getting on or off the bus then you should reconsider the tour. There were a number of concerns in choosing this cruise including the recent number of poor reviews. We were lucky and we did not experience the same poor service, in fact, it was the best. The other concern was the effect of free alcohol on the passengers. Maybe due to their average age, there were no instances of intoxicated passengers that I saw on the entire cruise. On other ships with the all you can drink packages, resulted in a large number of drunks. 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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