We cruised for the first time on Seabourn. There were four of us in our group. All of us have cruised many times on many different cruise lines. The trip began in Istanbul. I was amazed by Istanbul. We arrived several days in advance and certainly were pleased that we did so. The city is just amazing. I know I could have spent a week there and still want to see more.
Embarking was incredibly easy. Of course there were not that many people to board. Our cabins were delightful. We were greeted by a lovely Swedish cabin attendant who offered us special bath products. Our room was stocked with our choice of alcoholic beverage. Liquor is included on Seaborn. We never even opened the two bottles provided for trip. Our cabin had a walk in closet. The bathroom was full size and included a bathtub. In retrospect, the closet was much more exciting than the tub since none of us ever took a bath. The rooms also had a sitting area that included a table where four could dine comfortably in the suite. There is a small French door that opens. It is not a real balcony. Any meal could be ordered from room service. We ordered breakfast for four several mornings.
I have read about the wonderful food provided by Seaborn. I found it to be somewhat disappointing. I have eaten in fine restaurants and I did not find the Sprit's food to be anywhere near the quality I was expecting. It was not bad. It just was not that good. Furthermore, we were told to ask for anything special that we might want. However simple items such as eggs benedict and escargot were not available and they attempted to make a poor version of each. In reality the only gourmet item there was plenty of was caviar, which is not one of my favorites. I would have liked to have seen pates, shell fish and other specially items.
The service is excellent throughout the ship. The dining staff was very attentive. The dining room was rather boring though. Actually the public rooms throughout the ship were rather mundane. The only entertainment was the cruise director and his wife singing. Most nights there was nothing to do. Since the average age of the guests was over 65 and probably over 70, most guests were asleep by 10 O'clock. Since we are in our late 40's and early 50's, we were bored by the lack of nighttime entertainment.
There was a historian on board from MIT and he was fabulous. As we sailed he would provide a narration of each location. Because the ship is so small, we were able to sail in areas that big ships could not. This was a great highlight of the cruise. We actually sailed through the Cornith Canal. The canal is so narrow that a wider vessel would never fit.
We took several excursions and they were all well organized and top notch. All tour guides spoke excellent English and were well informed. Our favorite was the tour to Delphi. Seaborn also offers a free tour on each sailing. We had a happy hour at the Doge Palace in Venice. This was a lovely tour, but in August, Venice is extremely hot. The party was outside and the temperature was over 90. We did get a private tour of the palace though and it was much more fun than the group walk through we have had there in the past.
We stayed in Venice for a few days after the cruise. I was able to book us into the Gritti Palace on the Grand Canal. This was a true delight. The hotel is amazing. We took the hotels water taxi over to the Lido and used the complementary facilities of their sister hotel(The Excelsior)there. This was a really relaxing and fun finale to our trip.
In conclusion: We had a wonderful cruise, but I would probably never sail on Seaborn again though. I did not think there was enough value to justify the high cost of the cruise. Several of the past passengers on the ship stated that Seaborn had been much better before Canard bought it. The original owners of Seaborn now have a new cruise line that is supposed to be as good as Seaborn once was. Perhaps we will try it (Oceania I think) when we get to be 65. In the meantime, when we go to Europe,we will sail on larger ships with more activities, or take land trips where we can explore at night and make our own fun. If I wanted to sit and read a book, I could have gone to the beach locally.