We embarked at Athens and boarding was prompt and efficient commencing at about 12.30pm.
The ship is great, spacious and elegant and all we expected. The cabins excellent plenty of drawer space and the walk in wardrobe is excellent.
We had two 10 day cruises back to back and 20 days felt right, much better than 10. We felt 30 days would have been too long for us.
The captain (Erik) was excellent and had come out of retirement to help out and do these two cruises and was returning after to Norway. He was areal salesman never missing a chance to plug Seabourn in a nice way. He is very passionate about the company and its ships.
Much has been said about the ships and services, we felt they lived up to expectations. One point not covered (at least that I had seen) was the medical centre. Treatment for an infected throat was prompt and efficient with antibiotics dispensed and at a total cost of some $90 which I felt was very reasonable. I also felt laundry charges at some $3.50 for a t-shirt were reasonable and worthwhile.
Food and service were excellent and nothing was too much trouble to the staff who always went the extra mile.
The passenger make up was quite different for both cruises, of the 450 about 100 American the first and 200 the second Canadian about 25 both, European's much higher first and Sth American much higher second. Many of the Americans in the second were quite demanding and the crew seemed less relaxed the second cruise. I got the impression some passengers were impossible to please, in one case demanding cereal be replaced because too much milk had been added, another case huge complaints about the way eggs were cooked and the amount of milk in a coffee, seriously? There were also a lot of children on both cruises something others found very surprising.
Our room stewardess put a note in our cabin thanking us for being kind which I felt was interesting. Similarly a letter we sent mid cruise thanking some of the staff was responded to with a call thanking us and several of the staff mentioned specifically thanked us for the comments, so they were obviously mentioned. I think some genuine kindness goes along way and is small way of boosting staff's morale.
Ports we felt were good, we especially enjoyed the smaller ones. Some passengers complained they were chosen as they were cheaper and the company was saving money, I felt for us they were just right and I loved Ponza Island and Mennorca and would travel to both again.
The weather was hot, 30 degrees plus every day. We rose early and went ashore early, often we were the only ones in the first tender or first ashore. Ports were less crowded early and less hot, we spent most afternoons at the pool.
Negatives two come to mind.
The smoking policy was a surprise. It never occurred to me smoking would be allowed, it seems out of step with the world today. Especially as its allowed in every cabin and balcony. We had no smokers around us the first 10 days the second we did and on one evening the stench throughout our cabin (the aircon must recirculate) was horrific. The policy would be the most likely reason I would decide not to travel Seabourn again despite all the good things. It seems too risky to leave to chance. I would prefer they allocated just some cabins to smokers if they must. likewise with the observatory lounge having one side smoking and one not was not practical, when smokers lit up we had to leave.
The other thing I found tedious was the dress code. Whilst there was only one formal optional night per cruise (good) the requirement to wear a jacket at all restaurants on 5 consecutive nights was a pain to me. I don't want to have to play dress up on a cruise in peak summer. I don't mind occasionally but it was excessive to me. I understand some people like to play dress ups on holiday, I would have thought sections of the restaurants could be set aside for those who want to dress formally and those who would prefer relaxed smart casual.
Lesser gripes the shore excursion prices seem like all cruise lines extortionate and far higher than local tours. Cinque Terre I think the ship supplied ferry was $139 the local Ferry (same sort of boat from the same company same route etc) was Euro 17 about $20.
There was a guest speaker on board, conversations, we attended one and it was truly appalling. A series of home snaps and a rambling disjointed narrative with little care or effort made. The presenter seemed far happier enjoying the ships facilities, once was more than enough.
On the other hand the shore excursion manager went out of his way to give helpful local advice to us doing our own thing ashore and many of the local cafes etc he recommended were excellent.
Overall I would give Seabourn a 9/10. Many positives and just two negatives of any note. It certainly met my expectations that were high.
Would I travel again on Seabourn, I'm not sure.
If they modified the smoking policy and dress code the answer would be an emphatic yes, as it stands a definite maybe.