The Seabourn Quest is an excellent sized ship and this Antarctic cruise was supreme . The ship is big enough to handle any seas on the way to Antarctica, but has a small enough customer population, and a big enough staff to make service quite personal. The excursions along the west coast of South America and in Punta Arenas were very well done. Locations were fabulous, and the hosts were very good at telling their story and even in sharing their families with us. The Antarctic excursions on the zodiacs were excellent. The expertise level of the guides and boat handlers was unexpectedly high (and I was in the Navy, and know good seamanship). The safety and weather preparations for guests and the sights made this portion of the cruise one of our best we have ever been on!
The ship's dining, though, is aiming for way too high to be practical. First of all, this is the only ship I have ever been on that regularly refuses entry to clients not wearing certain clothes. Who works for who here?! I bring dark suits, a separate sport coat and a tux along, and always dress nicely .But getting off of a walk at 25 degrees on an iceberg, and then being kicked out of the dining room because today I didn't wear a jacket is really out of proportion. Aiming all dress requirements and menu selections at "haute cuisine " made the whole dining experience negative for me. Seabourn has gone so far the whole dining experience is now pompous, like someone who is pushing too hard. When I have to wade through artificial French names for everything and there are no real dishes that are recognizable, the menu is unacceptable. The chef's work and the food presentation is generally superior- don't get me wrong. I eat at fancy restaurants the world over, OK, but for a long cruise (like a month) I want a good selection of meat and potato standards mixed in with the attempts at winning rich clients over.. For one thing, never try to find a good steak on a Seabourn or Holland America line. They have no good cuts, and all meat is cooked rare or tartar If you want good steak, go to the Outback Restaurant. I will say this, their soups are consistently fabulous and the dining room staff is unparalleled for being friendly. The Antarctic excursions made this cruise worth it for me, but I the dining experience will keep me from going back to Seabourn.