EMBARKATION. This was our first Seabourn Cruise. The Virgin Atlantic flight to Dubai was quite satisfactory and the Seabourn Agent at Dubai airport was efficient and informative. We arrived in Dubai at 8.50am. There were 25 guests on our flight and when we were all gathered together with our luggage, to our great pleasure, we were taken on a coach to the Armani Hotel for breakfast. This is the tallest building in the UAE..... at the moment!
The breakfast buffet there was excellent, and afterwards we spent a short time waiting in the comfortable lounge, before being taken to the ship about 1.30pm Check-in on Legend takes place in the show lounge and on arrival we were served a choice of fruit juice, coffee, tea, champagne and canapes. Check in was quick and was the usual photo taken and plastic key card handed out. We got the cruise card with the photo on it later in the day. All the guests began to arrive from their various flights and by 2.30pm we were taken to our suite. We were not permitted to carry our hand baggage ourselves.
THE SUITE. Our A1 suite was on deck 4. Decks 4, 5 and 6 are passenger accommodation decks. The suite was spacious and well appointed. We had a large window. The bathroom has a full length bath tub and shower over. There is one wash basin. The bathroom is white marble, with plenty of storage. There is a walk in wardrobe, ample hangers and a safe.
There was a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket, fruit in a bowl and soft drinks and wine in the refrigerator waiting for us in the suite. The stewardess was soon on the scene showing us round and also offering me a selection of luxury soaps. I don't know what they all were but I chose the L'Occitaine. The other toiletries are Molton Brown, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
Our first "meal" was afternoon tea. This is taken in the observation lounge. Cakes, scones and sandwiches are set out for self service. It is very informal with easy chairs and low tables. A waitress pours the tea for you, but she did not tell me it was Earl Grey. The result was that I agreed to have milk, but of course what I subsequently got was a cup of warm watery milk! I did better the next time.
DINING. On the first evening we chose to eat alone, but the Maï¿½tre'D always asks if you would like to join other passengers. You are formally invited to join a table of ten sometimes, however, the dining room has a very low ceiling and it rather noisy. This makes it difficult to hear what is being said around such a large table. We asked if we might join smaller groups and often this was accommodated. The food was exemplary; the service exquisite. It is definitely "fine dining" every night. I cannot praise the waiting crew enough. All guests were addressed by name, the crew soon learned all your little foibles and endeavour to make you happy all the time! There is an alternative evening dining restaurant designated "2", which is the buffet transformed into an specialty dining room.
Other meals ..... Breakfast is taken in the buffet/veranda restaurant (or in the MDR). The tables are laid up so you do not collect your cutlery etc. When you are ready to take your plate to your table a waiter is there to take it for you. Hot breakfast is cooked to order and served to your table, so it is really a "semi" buffet. Lunch is taken in the buffet, the MDR, or, a small barbeque is set up in the Sky Bar, serving hamburgers, prawns, chicken pieces etc. and salads.
Room service is available 24 hours and you can choose anything from any of the menus to be served in your suite. Morning tea is delivered each day on request.
1. On our first morning we woke up to the sound of running water in the bathroom! On opening the door we found two inches of water which spilled over into the bedroom. Our frantic phone call brought the housekeeper and three plumbers to the suite. To cut a wet story short, within 45 minutes, the water was pumped away, the faulty valve replaced and a hot air blower installed. In order that we did not have to walk on a damp carpet, several bath mats were strategically placed. We were very happy with the response to this "disaster", and they "followed up" several times to ensure all was going well.
2. After our all day tour to Petra, we were returning in the bus, and the guide told us we would be stopping for a photo opportunity. We drew up outside a gift shop which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. There was indeed a spectacular view, BUT, also, there were Seabourn crew waiting to serve us Champagne and caviar! A lovely surprise and a lovely gesture.
3. We were transiting the Suez Canal at breakfast time and Michael, the Maitre'D rushed in from the Veranda shouting "Quick, quick, bring the camera, there is a whale!!" Now, of course we all knew that there are no whales in the Canal, but like lemmings many of us we ran out to see. There was no whale. It was April 1st. Well it made us cross, and it made us laugh and we felt very stupid. Michael was delighted.
4. We had very warm and sunny weather and flat seas which meant that there was much sunbathing on deck. Drinks and smoothies were brought to the sun beds, if you did not like the first one offered, then something else would be forthcoming. Sun screen of various strengths were offered, you did have to put it on yourself however!! Then a little sunglasses cleaning towel was brought and you did not have to clean them yourself they did it!!
5. Because we were sailing through the dangerous Arabian waters there were four gun toting Security Guards on board from Oman to Egypt. These guys were very approachable and chatty so we never felt threatened by their presence, but we did feel safer. As far as I know no pirates were seen!
There were 59 Americans, 58 Brits, 22 Australians and a selection of other nationalities making up the 199 guests on board Legend.
Captain Erik Anderssen was excellent.
The only downside to this cruise was the fact that we had to leave the ship at 9.30am.on disembarkation day. We arrived inside Istanbul airport with all the luggage at 10.15am. The check- in was not open and we had to wait until 12.30pm. to check in. Apart from that annoyance we cannot fault Seabourn. This was a great holiday.