Seabourn really excelled on this trip. This was our first trip with Seabourn and I must say that we were completely sold on their service and excellence. It was evident that a lot of foresight had been invested in these 4 Antarctica sailings. From the overhead heaters installed throughout the outdoor spaces to the blankets and beanies, it seemed like everything had been thought of to ensure maintaining Seabourn's trademark luxury.
As most people mention, entering your suite for the first time is an experience. We have cruised on many different lines and were very impressed with the quality and décor of the suites. They are tastefully elegant and provide a nice sanctuary, specifically on a cruise of such length. The bathrooms are well appointed with double sinks, a separate tub, etc. The bedding is comfortable and cozy and the overall size of the suite is great. One of our favorite touches was the interactive tv system. While we made it to most lectures, sometimes we felt like relaxing and it was great that the lectures were recorded and available on demand in our rooms. This allowed us to not feel like we were missing something, resulting in a nice mix of education and relaxation. Of course, sailing away with a bottle of Champagne was a great way to start the relaxation :)
One of my favorite parts of this trip were the educational opportunities. I must take a moment to give credit to the top of the line Expedition team assembled by Seabourn. This group of 15 were the best of the best and were more than qualified to share their insights to Antarctica. The lectures were fantastic and we loved how approachable they were. All were willing to spend time discussing their favorite topics and in particular, we loved the two professional photographers. We learned so much from them and despite being on a ship with 400 passengers, it felt as though we had private photography coaches. Robin, the Expedition Leader, had so much experience and truly made the trip great. When it came time to disembark guests onto the zodiacs, the team was professional, organized and efficient. It couldn't have been easy with that many guests of differing abilities.
The food on board was outstanding. We often found ourselves eating dinner at the Colonade since we preferred the many ethnic themed nights. There were always plenty of options and in 24 days, we never found ourselves tiring of the food. We ate at the Patio Grill a few times despite the cold temperatures and were always comfortable. The main restaurant was delicious and the service excelled. My only complaint/comment here is that it appeared as though the design of the dining room captured noise, in particular if you were in one of the two large center areas. It was very difficult to hear your tablemates and we heard a number of people commenting on this. For the record, we are a couple in our late 20s so I don't think it was our hearing :)
Now, for Antarctica. I think it is important to remember that perception and expectation are a huge part of travel, especially when cruising to a place as rugged and remote as Antarctica. We had heard the stories of the Inaugural cruise just prior to ours and had been reading the Seabourn Blog. The Inaugural ran into weather, ice and other issues and were not able to get many of their landings on Antarctica. We had set ourselves with the expectation that if we could get to land just once we would be happy. As luck would have it, this trip would end up being a "brochure" cruise and would exceed every expectation could have dreamed of. We were fortunate enough to cross the Drake Passage in record time, land all 4 out of 5 times in Antarctica (the 5th was a zodiac cruise which turned out to be well worth it), land twice in South Georgia and even add a third "bonus" zodiac cruise due to our timely crossing of the Drake Passage! My point here is that it is all about expectations and Seabourn did a great job of setting us up for the worst and then over delivering on the experience. Each day we felt the anticipation and excitement build about the upcoming day and the Seabourn staff, along with the Expedition staff, did an outstanding job of managing those expectations.
Overall, this trip exceeded our every expectation. From the outstanding service to the accommodations, everything was over-delivered. We will definitely be back with Seabourn again and would recommend, in particular the Antarctica product, to anyone looking to experience the world while still maintaining a luxurious vacation.