In May, 2013 my husband and I cruised from London The cruise crossed the North Sea to the Norwegian fjords, Oslo, Gothenberg and finished in Copenhagen. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7 and book some of the excursions but by no means all.
My booking process was most unfortunate. I was quoted a price for the cruise and for insurance and paid my deposit. When the time came to pay the balance the insurance price had doubled. I talked to three people and finally faxed a copy of what I had printed out showing the original prices. A booking supervisor called and left a message that they"could not replicate that quote in the system and therefore the new price was in effect." I bought my insurance privately and went to pay my balance and the booking supervisor had arbitrarily added the newly priced insurance into my balance. I then had to get that removed. I wrote a letter to John Delaney, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing protesting the level of customer service; he continued the same level of service by not bothering to reply to my letter. When I discussed this with those who actually work for Seabourn I was told they call this the "Carnival Factor". Apparently the level of service that is more common to Carnival is now prevalent in Seattle.
When we embarked in London our spirits were raised significantly by the efficiency of the process;from leaving our driver to walking onto the ship and being whisked off to lunch at the Colonnade took all of twenty minutes. It was cold in London and as we strolled the decks exploring the ships one of the bartenders noticed I was cold and asked if he could get me some hot tea. He then raced down a deck and came back with a tray of tea. The booking process was fast fading from our minds!
Our cabin was comfortable and was kept immaculate and well supplied by our stewardess Banita who was delightful. We asked for our double duvet to be exchanged for two singles and it was done immediately. The interior of the cabin was in surprisingly good condition with few "dings" & "knocks". The balcony furniture was in decidedly lesser condition. Beds (it is two singles on one headboard)were very good and the pillows (always a problem area) were quite acceptable. The bed is high enough to fit empty luggage underneath. The walk in closet and all the drawers and shelves in the cabin provided ample storage and the bathroom was well-stocked and with separate bathtub and shower was ideal for us.
We found the food to be almost always excellent. Now we were in Norway and fresh fish and seafood arrived daily and indeed one could shop the fish market in Bergen with the Chef. I do not eat much beef but my husband thought it was excellent and I do know we both enjoyed the lamb. We found that if a wine was not to our taste there was always an alternative or two and of course champagne. I liked that portions were not enormous but that there were enough courses to keep everyone satisfied. Service was exemplary and we found many of the wait staff remembered our names and preferences. The staff is friendly without being overly familiar and really strive to keep passengers happy.
The dining venues (we did not use Restaurant 2) allow you to dine as a couple or join others at tables for four or six. We met many of our fellow travellers and thoroughly enjoyed their company. About 50% were from the US, 25% from Australia and then a mix of quite a few other countries. A word about formal nights. There were a few dinner jackets and some suits but a pair of dark slacks, a dress shirt and tie and a navy blazer for my husband was more than acceptable. The ladies did dress up.
We did not avail ourselves of the evening entertainment so we have no comment there. Lectures we found interesting and worth attending.
There were two areas that did not meet expectations and this came as a suprise when compared to the rest of the staff. Security was very offhand and particularly when one was returning to the ship were not averse to keeping passengers on the ganplank (once in the rain) while they chatted with returning crew members. In addition the operators of the Xray machines are not trained and had difficulty recognizing simple items like an ordinary hairbrush. The other area of concern was the coffee service in the Seabourn Square. The main barista was brusque to the point of being surly. I thought perhaps I had offended him but after sitting with my coffee and watching him I realised that while he was serious but respectful with men he was demonstrably disdainful of women; I assume this was a cultural attitude. Fortunately his place was taken by a young Irishman on occasion and he had enough charm for both of them.
Excursions were rather a mixed bag. All of the guides were very good and the transport was comfortable and clean. Seabourn uses a tour company to set up the excursions and by the time they have added their "fee" and Seabourn has marked it up the net result is that the excursions are overpriced. Be aware of the fact that in some locations (Bergen and Gothenberg) the cruise line provides a free shuttle to the center of the town. We book excursions in four of the nine stops and in retrospect we could have skipped at least one more. This applies if your intention is sigthseeing. If you take the more active excursions such as sea kayaking or extensive hikes the above comments may not apply.
Disembarkation was handled as efficiently as embarkation.
This is a detailed review but a summation might be that we will cruise again with Seabourn if the itinerary is appealing to us.