I knew this was a luxury line, and having just sailed SeaDream Yacht Club in April, my expectations were high. And Seabourn lived up to them. On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a ten for sure. I had one negative but it's a ship design issue so I will leave it for last.
SUITE - We loved our spacious "standard" suite as it was comfortable, large, had lots of storage space, the wonderful bathroom and the walk-in closet. Although we didn't use the DVD and BOSE player it was a nice touch and I think on a longer voyage or one where the weather wasn't so perfect (yes!), it would have been great. (The library had a good selection of DVDs to borrow and there is a menu of CDs to order from the steward.)
And the bed was so comfortable and we slept well (always a plus!) The mini-bar refrigerator was pre-stocked with the selection we chose pre-cruise and we never used all that we were given. And I'd like to mention our Steward here - Dominika from Poland - who was not only friendly and personable, but efficient.
FOOD - We loved everything and we consider ourselves foodies. Every meal was delicious and the food was beautifully presented. I'd heard some negatives about the tasting menu at "2" but we ate there three times including our special, but sad last night and it was very good. The servings were tiny but each was amazing and beautiful and by the time the meal is over you are definitely not hungry. Unlike big ships where you feel the need to rush off to the shows, a long leisurely dining experience was part of the entertainment. And who can forget the caviar? Yes, the caviar is plentiful and you can order it delivered to your suite or to your table out by the Sky Bar. It's wonderful for those of us who love to indulge. We also thought the BBQ night out on the deck was special and delicious especially the giant grilled prawns. And it's a good thing for my diet that I didn't discover the delicious High Tea in the Discovery Lounge until the last day!
STAFF/SERVICE - Some may say it's obsequious but heck I love to be spoiled! From the greeting upon arrival to delivery of our bags direct from our stateroom to our waiting car, I loved it all. Yes, it was strange not to be able to carry your own plate from the breakfast buffet but it didn't take long to get used to it. (Go ahead &. spoil me!) I thought the majority of the staff was extremely friendly and personable and many knew our names like magic. And LeAnne, Craig, Silkie, Richie and just everyone were terrific. I loved that the head chef, Ioan took the time to do the galley tour himself which made it more fun and interesting.
My husband declared Craig to be the best sommelier he's had the pleasure of sharing wine with on a ship or a restaurant. I thought it was refreshing that Seabourn didn't nickel and dime us by charging corkage fees for the vintage wine we brought on board, but instead deemed it another way to make our cruise special for us.
I must admit that I was a bit too spoiled by SeaDream's fantastic bar staff, and didn't get the same friendly Cheers service.
OUR SHIP - This 440 foot yacht was a perfect size! Not too small and not too big and I loved it. I did miss having a balcony but it was so easy to get from our cabin to any outdoor space it was not really an issue. The layout was good and we enjoyed the view from the Sky Bar. As I said in the blog, the one design flaw was the afterthought of a pool. It was in a shaded area, with no decking and nowhere to put chairs so it certainly did not foster socialization. But there was a front hot tub on deck 5 that was accessible by going down a set of stairs from deck 7. It's the best kept secret of the ship and a pleasant place to relax even if whirlpools are not your thing
CASINO - I can't vouch for it personally but for a small ship, I heard that it was good. There were three tables for blackjack and poker style games and I thought it was nice that they were in an area partitioned off from a lounge so that couples who had one gambler and one not could still enjoy an evening together.
ENTERTAINMENT - So does Caviar in the Surf constitute food or entertainment? The answer is . . . . both! It was not the amazing experience it is when they do it off the beach in the Caribbean, but it was great fun and delicious. What's not to like about standing in luscious water with a glass of good champagne and having Karl popping caviar topped toasts into your mouth. David E, Jan and Marla were not the big Broadway style shows like on the big ships but they certainly entertained us. The nights they played outside on deck 7 were really nice and we enjoyed dancing to live music outside.
EXCURSIONS - Our expectation was that the excursions would be overpriced but they were not at all. Our guides were good and our groups were small and we really enjoyed them. For such a small ship, we thought the selection and diversity of possible excursions was quite good. Other than the one that ran a bit long in Mylos (and almost made us miss the Caviar Splash!) they were all quite memorable. And the Seabourn Experience included in the cruise fare is always something memorable and special.
SPA /GYM - It's a small ship so the Spa was small but there was a nice steam room and two treatment rooms along with a small salon which we did not use. My husband and I both had massages and mine was good but he said his was great (his therapist was actually the new Spa manager who had just come on board that day). The treatments were a little pricey but I had expected that. The gym also was small but well equipped and for the first time ever on a cruise ship (and I have been on lots) I never used the gym! The itinerary was so port intensive and we got up so early and only had one sea day so it was just not a priority. But my husband enjoyed it including the cold water and the chilled towels.
SURPRISES and EXTRAS: It's always nice to be treated as special and Seabourn does it well. The little touches were so appreciated. It began with the chilled champagne in the cabin and the hor d'oerves delivered to the cabin after we got on board. Several days coming back from long shore excursions, we were greeted by a welcome home note and a tray of mini tea sandwiches cookies and cake. One night it was a cute towel animal in our sink and one night a heart made of flower petals on our bed. Upon returning from our night at Ephesus, staff greeted us holding a bit Welcome Home banner. We also loved our Goodbye gift which was a soft leather toiletry kit that included such goodies as blow up neck pillows, on board toiletries, the recipe for the fabulous Seabourn breadsticks.
I appreciated the Guest Book that Seabourn printed up which made it easy to obtain email addresses and phone numbers.
NEGATIVE: as I said, the only negative was the pool. Hopefully the next Seabourn ship will be a design that includes a good pool area for socializing and fun.
Seabourn was such a great experience for the first time ever we booked our next cruise while on board (for the 5% savings) and I can't wait!