I previously wrote a quasi review/compare contrast of Seabourn to Oceania. I want to expand a bit to be clear and fair. I also want to make clear that I am not writing as a snob or elite, but somebody who really enjoys the luxury travel experience and expects to get what we think we are paying for.
My biggest problem with Seabourn and the reason for the less than favorable review is based on advertising my wife and I were under the impression we were buying a luxury product on par with Oceania or Crystal or perhaps a Ritz Carlton/Fours Seasons Hotel experience. Our experience was a let down.
Although the ship is smaller than most with fewer passengers and an excellent passenger to space ratio (which is really nice) the quality of the food and soft furnishings is lacking and frankly poor beyond belief. My wife and I really feel that the food and soft furnishings are so mediocre - and so not even close to being on par with a shoreside semi-fine dining experience - that the Seabourn experience can be best summed up as an expensive sized down version of a Holland America cruise. Not to knock Holland America (as I have in the past), but at least HAL does not advertise to be a six star product and in many regards is superior at a lesser price point. We are very well traveled and enjoy luxury as much as the next luxury seeking traveler, but also expect to get what is promised and what is paid for.
A few examples include many unhappy crew members who are frankly rude. For example, Seabourn boasts "all inclusive liquor". We are not big drinkers, but I do enjoy good wine and in support of Seabourn their house wines are really terrific. However, their reds/cabs are served in the same glasses as whites. I asked one night at dinner for a proper cabernet glass and the waiter said "oh...you mean you want a revenue glass" in a very demeaning and disparaging way that myself and our table mates found very embarrassing and unacceptable. How awful, instead of just kindly bringing me the requested and appropriate glass.
Although room service is served nicely with table cloths the quality of the food is no different than HAL and Princess. Again, not to knock these products, but for the price we paid we expected more. For example, I orderd a "bowl of berries" that consisted of three strawberries cut in half and I kid you not one blueberry!
Deck furniture is worn and uncomfortable. The standard lounges are the exact same ones we have seen on Princess or the rear deck of HAL with the slingback without cushions. Again, nothing wrong with that, but for a luxury product we expected something more on par with Crystal, Regent, Oceania etc. Cushions with terry cloth covers would be terrific and certainly are found on the competition and when you are in the tropics do make a difference. This is what you also find at Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
Cabin towels are not of high quality and heavily starched. They are somewhat akin to what you might get at a Sheraton. Again, please don't be sensitive and take offense. Nothing wrong with Sheratons, but they don't boast to be a Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental. Multiple times towels actually had clearly visible brown stains. Again, for a product claiming to be of high caliber and price commanded - very disappointing and gross.
Another example of missing mark and our expectation is bar service. Bartenders seem non caring and simply go through the motions. When you dine at a fine restaurant or steak house it is not uncommon to have a special drink request. Such a request might be no sweet and sour, but fresh lime juice in my margarita. These requests are ignored and sweet and sour used severl times. Another for example, my wife ordered a mudslide. The only deviation she asked for was to have it served in a short glass instead of one of the large smoothie glasses as she preferred a high octane low volume drink. The bartender rudly made clear that this request was not possible. When she said "other bartenders on the ship have made it for me this way" his answer was "I'm not other bartenders do you want it my way or not at all". We were shocked! Again, in life not a big deal. However, on a "luxury" or even not so luxury vacation unnecessary and kind of upsetting to be treated rudly when you are guest with a not so difficult or demanding request.
The ship is only three years old and shows signs of aging everywhere. Much of the outdoor seating (not lounges, but wicker furniture) has ripped and stained cushions of poor quality. Our bedding was awful and sheets were balled. The bedding does not even come close to that of the Mariner Dream Bed on sister line Holland America or that of the Westin Dream Bed. Certainly, it cannot even come close to comparing to Oceania, Azamara, or Regent (fair competition). Again, for a six star product we expected better comfort and quality. In fact, other than the crowds and perhaps, respectfully, passenger demographics Holland America remains in hindsight a good value when a Neptune Suite is booked when compared and contrasted with Seabourn.
As previously stated in my comparison to Oceania and Azamara which in some regards is thought to be a near luxury product compared and Regent which is direct competition to Seabourn which is marketed as "luxury" there is simply no comparison and Oceania, Azamara, and Regent wins hands down and will be our choice consistently moving forward when looking for a luxury product as we do have a choice. My wife and I always enjoy our cruises and my critical critique is not meant to be demoralizing or demeaning to Seabourn in any way, but merely to express our disappointing opinion of where they miss the mark - which they consistently do in so many areas. We are glad we sampled Seabourn. That being said, again there is a lot to be appreciated about Seabourn including the smaller ship, lower than usual passenger count for a ship of 30,000 tons (only 425+), high passenger to space ratio, and high crew to passenger ratio. If things such as soft goods like bedding and quality of food and selection of food are not important and you are not a foodie I can see where Seabourn would be very enticing as their itineraries are fabulous. We just think for us better options exist. Its really an issue of value for the money and we feel other lines excel better at the same price point.