We have 46 cruises under our belts and chose the Seabourn Quest for the itinerary which was not the same old, same old Eastern Mediterranean and as a case of first impressions were impressed as the experience reminded us of the days of the old Song of Flower.
Our first cruise with Seabourn and what a wonderful experience!
Embarkation from Venice was organized and painless. After security photos were taken we were escorted on to the ship and taken to La Colannade for a buffet lunch that was beautifully presented with many items from which to choose.
At 2 pm our room was ready. Cabin 656 is mid ships, spacious, and nicely appointed. Our cabin attendant, Michelle, made us feel as a very welcomed guest. She was professional, friendly, appeared to like her job and not tired.
Staff & Service - Throughout the ship the crew all seemed happy, uniforms were always clean and pressed, and appeared not to be tired. Really outstanding service from all.
Dining - Menus are delivered to your cabin each evening for the following day.
La Colannade on deck 8 is buffet for breakfast and lunch and a sit down for dinner. The buffet changed daily, was beautifully presented, and had many items from which to choose. Tablecloths were used at dinner and the menu had a few items different from the main dining room which you could choose. Service was friendly, professional, and outstanding.
The Restaurant on deck 4 is the main dining room and has a contemporary feel. Here too the menu changed daily, service friendly, professional, and outstanding.
The Patio Grill's menu changed daily too, but you could always get a hot dog, hamburger, salad, and french fries that were really great! On most nights the Grill was open for dinner.
We did not try Restaurant 2.
Wine and drinks flow freely though a lot of the complimentary wines are from South Africa. I'm not a wine snob, but find some of the South African whites too fruity and was offered a really nice French Chardonnay.
Children's Clubs - None! The passenger compliment was over 40 with no children on board and hailed from the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, and the US.
Activities - Don't look for bingo, art auctions, movies under the stars, or the in your face photographers. Instead enjoy Enrichment Lectures.
Entertainment - Here again I'll go Wow! The small productions shows were very well done. There was a jazz pianist, classic and rock hits on an electric cello, and Kenny Smiles the comedian. Thankfully there were no jugglers and magicians!
Koper, Slovenia - We took a ship's tour to "Seaside Pirin & Taste of Wine & Olive Oil". We would have enjoyed seaside Pirin a lot better if it hadn't been raining, but you can't fault the tour for that. The wine and olive oil tasting at Santomas Winery more than made up for it.
Ravenna, Italy - A ship's tour of the "Amazing Mosaics & Dantes Tomb" was interesting. The mosaics are beautiful and well preserved. The guide provided us with "Whispers" so that everyone could hear.
Opatija, Croatia and a ship's tour to "Historic Pula". The Roman amphitheater was impressive as it was made of limestone and is still used today for the Croatian Film Festival. We enjoyed our walk through the old town and during our free time chose to view the mosaic rather than walk to the castle. If you go to the castle, you must have the Croatian kuna as that is all that is accepted.
Sibenik, Croatia - A ship's tour and long ride each way to Split and the Diocletian Palace. Split was very crowded and it was difficult to hear the guide. In Split there is a long promenade with seaside seating and many cafes where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Dubrovnik, Croatia - We took a private tour with Tanja B. who we found through www.toursbylocals.com. Tanja met us at the pier. Her English is flawless. We toured the old city then took the cable car up to where we visited the "Homeland War" museum and beautiful views of the city. After seeing the destruction caused by the war to Dubrovnik, we really appreciate the fact that the city is a UNESCO Heritage site.
Kotor, Montenegro - On your way in or out of Kotor, one should be out on deck as the views reminds you of the Norwegian fjords. Here too we took a private tour with Dragna Djukic who we also found through www.toursby locals.com. She lives in the old town and is really proud of her city. Her English is good. In the old city there are many shops and restaurants around the many plazas. From the old city, we drove out to the seaside town of Perast and took a short boat ride out to the "Church of Our Lady of the Rock". Just my opinion, but is a "must do".
Corfu, Greece - Here we took a private taxi tour. We found Spiros through www.corfutaxitours.com. He met us at the pier and will customize your tour to your interests. Of particular interest to us was the monastery, Achilleion Palace, and the thyme that grows wild. It was nice when viewing various sites to be told "Take your time. I'll be waiting for you here." At one point Spiros stopped and brought some bread and then stopped at "George's" where he used the bread to let us sample some olive oil, olives, and wine. The bread was really yummy!
Argostolion, Greece - A ship's tour of "Robola Winery & St. Andrews Monastery". The winery was disappointing, but the Monastery more than made up for it.
Pylos, Greece - A ship's tour "Nestors Palace & Neokastro Castle" was interesting and well worth the visit. From the castle, we could walk back to the town and pier.
Santorini, Greece - We booked a private tour through www.santoriniwinetours.com and Vaios who is a sommelier with a great sense of humor. Vaios met us at the bus station with a very comfortable van that seated 10 people. We toured 3 Estate wineries, Boutari, Estate Argyros, and Domaine Siglas. Each was different. Vaios give you a little booklet that tells you the history of Santorini's wines, the grape varieties, and a tasting form. The booklet is not only a nice memory, but a learning tool that one could use at almost any winery.
We're now at disembarkation in Piraeus. Even disembarkation was painless and well organized.
We did go on to spend 4 days in Athens at the King George Palace where service and dining is very good. The view from the roof top dining room, Tudor Hall, of the Acropolis is a nice way to start your day.
We can also recommend a private taxi tour with Lambros Petropoulos,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. His English is excellent. He has a great sense of humor and knows Ancient Greek history.