My wife and I have traveled extensively around the world. This was our first time on Seabourn. We love cruising but this was the longest cruise we have ever taken. The more we travel, the more we have defined our expectations. We are looking for luxury. Perhaps this ship was a little small for us on a cruise this long.
The ship is beautiful and well maintained. The passenger interfacing staff is great. For a small ship, the entertainment was very good. The productions were small but enjoyable.
Our cabin stewardess was extremely accommodating to both our requests and timing her visits while we were out of the suite.
We attended the several lectures on "The Amazon Basin" and the political history of the region. They were all of good quality. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstration.
It was a long tedious process to get aboard the ship. The representative at check-in made several errors which delayed our boarding. Our debarkation went much more smoothly.
The problems started even before we boarded the ship. We arrived and wandered around the airport looking for a sign with our name indicating our private transportation. Finally, we found someone with a "Seabourn" sign held low at their side who informed us that our private transfer was not there because they had been given the wrong airline, flight, and time. So we waited for a car to be sent for us.
After a Seabourn excursion, I attempted to come back on the ship, I had an issue with on-board security. My boarding card did not bring up my photo. We determined that my photo was switched with my wife's. So we were sent to guest services for new photos. We did that. Next excursion, we had the same problem. So again we went to guest services. A second and then a third photo session were required to finally resolve this problem.
The food warrants a special mention. The kitchen proficiency is a big failure. And meals are the biggest joy of a cruise. It was not even what could be described as good. In a fair estimation, 80% of the time the meals were not presented as ordered. The meat was frequently not cooked to the requested temperature. Order medium and we would get extremely rare. Hamburgers ordered medium-rare would be delivered well done. Fish was always cooked until dry. We ordered papaya and were served cantaloupe.
It took 18 days (yes eighteen) to finally get bacon that was not fried hard crisp. Every day the waiter would record how I wanted my bacon (soft American bacon) and every day the chef would send it out extra crispy; like it was cooked in the deep fryer. The waiter even tried underlining, circling, and using a green highlighter to no avail. Even the matre d' had no success in getting the chef to prepare breakfast the way I requested.
The Colonnade Restaurant would start to shut down the buffet 20 minutes before the posted closing time. Frequently, the main restaurant would only be open for 1 hour, 8:00 AM to 9:00 for breakfast. Also, there were days when the Colonnade closed by 10:00. If we wanted to sleep-in there were no breakfast venues open. We had to wait until noon for lunch. The coffee bar had pre-made sandwiches. My wife had a medical restriction that she could not eat seeds. She asked if she could get a tuna salad on white bread. She was told no, that all the sandwiches were pre-made. We walked away, but came back in a few minutes thinking she would just eat the tuna and not the bread. The sandwich was gone. So the waitress had to go to the kitchen and have a sandwich made up. Of course, the fresh- made sandwich was tuna on whole wheat, not on white bread.
The Brazilian Representative, who was at Seabourn Square to help passengers with port information, was flat out RUDE. He was rude to many passengers. When asked what we could see in port, we were told you should have taken the tour. If I wanted the tour, I would have signed up for the tour. For some passengers, he would mark up the local map for them. For the next in line, he might hand them a map and say ask the taxi.
We usually enjoy excursions. It is a good way to learn about the locale without having to do a lot of indenpendent research. Unfortunately, The excursion escorts were boring. Some people just left the excursion in the middle of it.
As first time cruisers to Seabourn, we were invisible to the senior "white suits". But they were very attentive to those who had been on Seabourn many times before. It appears that Seabourn is not interested in growing your repeat business.
The final and worst issue occurred on March 24th, and it will take a few minutes to describe. My wife and I were on a Seabourn tour to the Ariau Amazon Towers. There were about 80 of us on this one tour boat. The ship's newsletter, Herald, for March 24th stated that the ship would relocate at approximately 5:30 PM. At 5:00 our tour boat was about a mile from the ship. The bridge could see us! The captain raised the anchor and left; leaving approximately 17% of his passengers stuck on the tour boat. We literally chased the ship down the river for about an hour and finally boarded the ship after 6:00 PM. So for an hour, while other passengers enjoyed air conditioning, showers, and the bars, the passengers that were not important to the captain sat in an open tour boat chasing after the ship that we should have been on.
Boarding the ship after 6:00 pm left little time to shower off the grime of the day and get on a launch to go to the beach barbeque. My wife took a brief shower and complained of low water pressure. When I got into the shower there was NO water at all. By the time we got to the barbeque, all that was left of the fish were the heads and skeletons. Also, there were no steaks remaining when we went through the buffet line. I later spoke with the captain and without much concern, he wrote the incident off to "a miscommunication". His miscommunication was a major inconvenience to about 80 passengers.
All in all, the passenger interfacing staff did their best. But the other deficiencies just made this cruise a big disspointment.