We are repeat Seabourn clients. This was our first (and only) try aboard Seabourn's larger vessel.
Virtually none of the small-ship experience Seabourn is famous seems to have transferred to the much larger Odyssey class ship.
Visually the ship is beautiful.
Food was excellent with the notable exception of the morning galley chefs' treatment of eggs. Day after day the scrambled eggs in the chaffing dish was like a soupy swampy mess. It is unbelievable that any chef worth his salt could send this out for consumption. The scrambled eggs were so watery they should have been served with a ladle. I've seen egg drop soups that were more cohesive than the Seabourn scrambled eggs. Made-to-order eggs were no better. The key seems to have been to order eggs well done in order to receive an edible plate. Even then they had to be sent back half the time.
The coffee on Odessey was terrible. The coffee bar at Seabourn Square was better, but still nothing to write home about.
Beyond the coffee and egg issues, food over all was excellent. The restaurant 2 menu we had seemed a bit over the top in terms of making very unusual pairings for the sake of being unusual. One course was a corn meal, chorizo sausage, and lobster fritter. The inherent greasiness of chorizo combined with the corn meal to create a fritter of such heaviness with flavors that completely overpowered whatever lobster was in there. We commented on this and the server said even the chef wasn't pleased with this course. So why did he send it out then? Come on chef, don't insult your diners' pallets by sending out dishes you yourself agree are terrible.
Odyssey vibrates and rattles like no other ship I have ever been on. Fortunately the ship was not full and they were able to move us to another PH suite on another deck. The specific pipe rattle behind the wall in our first room was replaced by the clanking elevator shafts next door to the new room. It was however, much much better. Other guests we met said their rooms have wooden shims throughout the ceiling to quell vibration in their suites.
The staff... The Seabourn Stewardesses are amongst the most friendly and hardest working people on the high seas and it shows.
While the complaints on this voyage were numerous, most seemed to be associated with the apparent drop in what I will call the 'true Seabourn' experience. Aside from our stewardess, the only Seabourn staffer who used my name was a barista at the coffee bar, and that was on day 10.
Most of the staffers were friendly, but there were a couple whom you wonder how they made it past Seabourn charm school.
The dining staff in the restaurant ran either full hot or full cold with descent service followed by nights of long painful service. A table for two next to us was so frustrated one night they left midway through their entrees.
Food was a 10. Service was a 5 at best on good nights, and a 2 on bad nights.
One day I arranged to have the pastry chef prepare a special dessert that was supposed to be sent up to our suite the following evening. It never arrived. The staff was very apologetic and they did deliver the next evening, but again, it is so uncharacteristic for these types of errors to occur on Seabourn.
A very telling indicator of the degree of dissatisfaction is how many of us did not put down the $1000 deposit for the next Seabourn cruise. We had forged friendships with about 40 people on this crossing with whom we would like to see again. Additionally we also knew several people who were sailing on this trip. To my knowledge none of them put down a deposit either. Right then and there that is at least $20,000 of revenue lost, to say nothing of the cost of the itineraries that will end up being booked on Silversea or one of the other luxury lines.
Speaking personally, we love cruising; we don't love having so many little negative details adding up over the course of 12 days. It becomes annoying. It diminishes the overall experience to the point of wondering what is Seabourn going to screw up today? Vacations should not be dragged down with detail after detail being overlooked. One comes to Seabourn with certain expectations. Ours were not the only expectations not met on this trip.
We will sail with Silversea on our next cruise in early fall. Will we return to Seabourn? Perhaps yes on their smaller ships, but I will be keeping an eye on the reviews and first hand reports from friends. It would be a shame if this is indicative of where Seabourn is heading; however they will have to work harder to retain business.
Maybe Silversea will be better, maybe it will be lacking. But one thing is certain, our next itinerary will not be on Seabourn.