I just returned from our 7 day cruise of the Baltics. I have been on many cruises but this was my first with Seabourn. I wanted to share some thoughts while they are fresh in my mind.
First of all - I loved the experience. We will definately do another - we already bought the $1000 certificate for our use. The whole "all inclusive" thing was wonderful. I never realized how much I was aggravated on other ships by constantly pulling out my card to order a drink or sign little slips of paper all day long. The smaller ship was plenty stable and it was great that I could walk from our cabin to anywhere on the ship in less than a minute. I never waited ina line - except maybe a couple of times getting coffee from the onboard starbucks-like cafe.
Service: - Outstanding. From check in (we were litterally the first to board in Copenhagen at 12:05), the cabin steward, waitstaff. All were constantly smiling, many calling us by name by day 2.
Passengers: Not as old as I was expecting. Maybe because this was a port intensive cruise, I would say the average age was low to mid fifties. (We are 58) and not surprisingly obviously rather affluent. I would guess there were maybe 4 children under 10 and another 3 or 4 teenagers. That is about it. Extremely friendly - we made many friends at dinner, in the hot tub and in the caasino.
Food - Dining room: I am a bit of a foodie and loved it. Very good taste and well presented. Always served very hot. Dinning room food was limited at breakfast but a very nice variety at dinner. Beef wellington and lobster were favorites. Not a big dessert person but I enjoyed the cheese course most evenings. Strangely if I had a complaint it was that portion sizes at dinner can be a bit small - even considering you had three or four courses. (For me, two double lamb chops does not an entree make!) I would leaave dinner, go tothe show and casino and would be wanting a bite to eat about midnight with no real option (I know I could have room service, but a late night pizza or sandwich bar would be a nice touch).
Food - Colonade: Having been on cruise ships much larger, I have grown accustomed to avoiding the buffet. I am so glad I did not. The food was excellent at breakfast and lunch and the ability to also order ala cart was great (albeit limited).
Dining staff: Generally good, with just one less that excellent server. We ate a variety of ways....twice at a table for 2, twice paired up at random with another couple and twice at a large table with crew - once witht he ship's doctor and one with a singer. Dinning experience was great at all dinners.
Wines: I know wines and we have wine most nights for dinner. Most of the wines I had would be comparable with what we have at home on a nightly basis. I would imagine our typical "house" wines are in the $12 to $17 per bottle range and that is pretty much comparison for these wines. (Having said that, we will have much more upscale wines with company or a special dinner - so I know the difference) We particularly liked a Petite Chablis they served at lunch the first day and often asked for and received it during the week. There was also a nice bordeau blend and a couple of Sauvignon Blancs (some too light, some much fruitier.) I had the champagne, it was fine but I am not a big fan anyway. The Pinot was on the light side - they suggested it to pair with the prime rib - I opted for a syrah. I never felt the need nor desire to buy up to a better wine.
Casino: Small as expected - one each of a roulette, blackjack, three card poker and baccarat. The staff here were the only ones I found to be less than stellar. I got the impression that they hoped we would not show up or that we would go to bed early. Often, the casino would be advertised as opening at a certain time, and the staff would show up 30 minutes later. I also found it odd that they would accept - even encourage - gratuities.
Entertainment: The production shows were excellent. Very talented singers and musicians. Cruise director was fine - enjoyable but somewhat unremarkable. The female lounge singer was not very good...I ended up avoiding her where-ever she sang. The onboard activities were sparse and not well attended since this is such a port intensive cruise. We were (slightly) diappointed that the wine tasting (offered at $100 per person) did not attract the minimum 10 attendees and was cancelled. Only 2 couples attended the trivia (the four of us got prizes) and only 7 played in the blackjack tournament.
Pools: They were rarely used. High temperatures averaged in the low sixties so the hottubs were the only real options. There were rarely more than a few people a day partaking. (This was a very port intensive cruise) . I loved the drink service when in the hot tub - my drink waiter david was wonderful and attentive).