As first time cruisers my wife and I had many reservations about this type of holiday. We knew we would be highly intolerant of crowds and/or line-ups, we are used to "fine dining" and doubted it would be possible on a large ship with thousands of passengers. We are child-free and like it that way, tolerating children would be another issue, particularly at dinner or in other shipboard confined spaces.
After much research we came across Seabourn, it appeared overpriced but it did seem to offer relative freedom from the concerns we had about larger cruise ships. A few quick calculations convinced me that the Seabourn premium shrinks dramatically when you compare suite type/size and the "all inclusive" prices.
The only new concern for us moderate income earners was the possibility of having to endure the presence of lots of arrogant, boastful passengers displaying an exaggerated sense of their own importance. This fear was dispelled within hours of boarding. Yes there were plenty of "high net worth" types on board but the overwhelming majority were warm, friendly and not the least bit pretentious. A very small number of self-conscious, name-dropping phonies were there but they were easy to identify and equally easy to avoid. Overall the atmosphere was how I imagine it to be for guests on a large private yacht where you have the opportunity to meet some wonderful new friends and acquaintances - which we did.
Virtually every aspect of the cruise met or exceeded our expectations and after all of our pre-cruise research into Seabourn those expectations were high. The food was consistently good or excellent, usually the latter. The suite was spacious, comfortable and in very good condition. The service was of a very high standard and the on board entertainment was (to our surprise) very good.
Although we had no previous cruising experience to measure Seabourn against, we were able to seek comparisons from numerous seasoned cruisers, some of whom spend several months a year cruising. Most had been on many different cruise lines and every single one said Seabourn has consistently exceeded the experiences they had on other lines.
If you want a child-free cruise in surroundings of understated elegance, enhanced by the presence of very attentive and professional (but not stuffy) staff, Seabourn probably has a cruise for you. By day four of our ten day cruise we had committed to our next voyage with them and happily put down a fully refundable "book on board" deposit in order to secure a 5% discount on that next trip. We can hardly wait to get back aboard and, coming from a pair of previously skeptical cruise customers, that is high praise indeed!