Just came back from a 10 day cruise on Quest which left Athens and ended up in Monte Carlo. This was our second Seabourn cruise. Two years ago we cruised on the Legend, one of the smaller ships, and we were concerned we wouldn't be able to replicate the Legend experience on one of the bigger ships. We arrived in Athens from New York the night before the ship sailed, and visited the Acopolis early the next morning. Not to be missed is the relatively new Parthenon Museum....it has won several architectural awards, and the exhibits are amazing.
Boarding the ship was easy.....we arrived dockside at 2:15pm and were the only passengers there. Check in and security took 5 minutes and we walked right on the ship into our suite. Within a couple of minutes our room steward arrived with glasses of champagne and canapes, plus a choice of toiletries and shower soap. Our suite was on deck 4, as we don't see the value in having a balcony. It was near the rear exit to The Restaurant, but still in its own corridor, so noise was never an issue. A quick walk to dinner!
We explored the ship before the general muster, and still being a relatively small ship it didn't take long to get around. The ship is still in good condition two years after being launched.
There was a crew change in Athens, and in the coming week my wife and I felt that the rejoining crew were a bit rusty.....just little but noticable things that we didn't experience on the Legend. The edge seemed off the service a few times. One day on the pool deck we plainly heard four crew members arguing about something.
Of the 450 passengers, Americans were in the majority, followed by Brits then Aussies, the remainder being spread over several countries. Everyone was friendly and we had lots of tableside conversations with an interesting mix of people. It's amazing that so many were onboard for 20 or 30 day cruises.
We missed two ports due to the swell making tender operations difficult....the two alternative ports, where the ship could dock, were Cesmay in Turkey and Bastia in Corsica....both were kind of blah we felt and not really worth visiting.
The highlight was undoubtedly Kudasi, where we visited the Terraced Houses (a must see) and came back in the evening for the concert. The latter was wonderful, and the crew lined up on the dock to welcome us all back, which was a nice touch. A close second was the tour of Taormina and Mt. Etna, which included a very nice lunch..two kinds of pasta and lots of red wine!
We can now cross Santorini off our "must visit" list.....three ships were there, including the Quest, so it was very crowded. We took a local bus to some of the other villages, which were less crowded and more scenic, and to get away from the smell of donkey dung!
The food onboard was good, as well as the house ines offered. The Galley lunch was fun and allowed us a glimpse of the kitchens. We had lunch most days outside in the Colonnade restaurant, which was lovely. I enjoyed the meal we had in Restaurant 2 but my wife thought it was too rich. Although I don't mind dressing up on vacation, I though that the dress code was a bit excessive - jackets every evening in the The Restaurant except on the first and last evenings. A jacket free evening in the middle of the cruise would have been welcome. Same as our first cruise, we didn't open the liquor in our suite...I only had 2 beers from the fridge during the 10 days. Entertainment was low key, but we knew to expect that. It was disappointing that there wasn't more dancing after dinner.
When we got off the ship in Monte Carlo the captain was at the bottom of the gangplank to wish us farewell...another nice touch. All in all a great cruise, just some minor nitpicks on service. The bigger ship still felt small like the Legend. We put a deposit down for a future Seabourn cruise.