We had our first "Seabourn Experience" December 06, our cruise was 14 days from Caldera, Costa Rica to Ft Lauderdale, Fl. This site has been of a lot of help for me in the past when planning my cruise vacations so I decided to write a review, I hope it helps others in their planning.
Our vacation started in San Jose, Costa Rica, after a short fly from Miami. We booked the Seabourn precruise tour of 2 nights in San Jose and 2 nights in Playa Herradura. Upon arrival we were transfer by a Seabourn representative to our hotel, a Marriott, transfer and check in process were prompt and very professional. The tour included an excursion each day what allowed us to experience some of San Jose's areas. I must add Costa Rica is a beautiful country it was great we expended some extra time there, I specially loved a visit to a Waterfall Garden. In Playa Herradura we stayed in a Marriott as well, where you can expect all the amenities you will find in any Marriott at home. Food in both Marriotts was excellent. In Playa Herradura we had a Canoe Tour included, though we did not go and a Sunset dinner at a beautiful small hotel with an amazing sunset. The transfer from San Jose to Playa Herradura was an interesting ride among the mountains and rain forest of Costa Rica, we stopped on the way to see Cocodriles.
Embarkation: Was prompt as we were only about 200 passengers, it was windy outside so we did not have the Seabourn welcome I had read about in this site, since a table outside will not hold to the winds, we were meeting as we came in with a welcome drink and sat in the lounge area for about 20 minutes, until we were called for picture, credit card process, etc. The lounge at that time did feel crowded as this is a small ship and we were all in that room with some hand luggage.
Our cabin: Right after embarkation we proceeded to our cabin, we had suite 01, which is a kind of mini owner's suite. I could not get to see any other cabins so I can't comment on it. Our cabin was nice in size, decor was a little bit outdated but without lacking elegance. At first in disappointed me a bit as we just were expecting something more wow given the cost of this cruise. We had a separate bedroom that will close with either draperies or French doors, a little balcony out of the bedroom with a limited view , and a separate living and dinning area with windows all around with a view of the front deck and some ocean view as well. Plenty of closet space. TVs in both dining and living room and a fact that I loved, indirect music with 3 channels, one of them instrumental or classic all the time setting a wonderful ambiance in our cabin.
Common Areas: The ship is not big so I can't say there are a lot of common areas, though it did not feel crowded at all. There is an area on one of the decks in the front (the one our cabin faced) with a Jacuzzi where at times you can be by yourself, also a good area to sunbath or read. The pool is very small, and a lot of people do go to this area to sunbath or read, Im not a pool person so I did not mind this at all, I did find this area a little bit crowded at times, specially on sunny days, though was still quite. There other 3 lounges if my memory does not fail! Where some activities and entertaining goes on and a small tiny library next to a little shop. In the main lobby you find a reception and a travel deck. Again the decor around the Legend is elegant but it shows its age, it does not have the glamour and shine of any of the newer ships in the market.
Dinning: You have two options here, the main dinning room or the cafe that at nights becomes 2. Main dining room is a classy elegant dinning salon, elegant decor, tables here are set to your preference, you can seat at all times, no exception in a two person table, 4, 6, 8 & they will accommodate to your desire. A waiter escort you to your table. The food is very good, the menu changed through all the cruise. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner here. During the cruise you will get invited to hosted tables, which you have the call to reject them if you please, hosted tables are great to get to know other guests and cruise officers. Then there is 2, my favorite one !!!! Every night they will have either a theme dinner or a tasting menu, tasting menus here were all the greatest!!! Husband and I are used to fine dinning and these dinner can compete with the best restaurants we have tried. The ambiance and service here I must say, was the best!!! It was more intimate, a bit more relaxed without lacking class and elegance, I felt as visiting a famous chef place rather than dinning in a cruise, all the waiters here are exceptional, I believe that due to the fact that they are more relaxed as this is a small place and they do not have the pressure of serving that many tables. I tried here in one of the tasting menus a potato mousse with caviar to die for!! just to give an example. Breakfast and lunch at 2 was not the same, it is not run by the chef that runs it at night I understand and it's just a good quality cafe with a good buffet and some a la carte choices. For lunch and breakfast I prefer the main dinning room.
Night Entertaining: it was very good, there are only 3 show professionals that do an excellent job as the show every night was outstanding. Some nights we had a stand up comedian presentation that will come on board. There was a good blend and variety in the shows. Do not expect a broadway or Vegas style show as in the mayor lines, but a nice great presentation from 3 entertainers that do the hell of a job.
Day Activities on board For myself this was a menus, on sea days I felt bored, there was only one fitness class in the morning, short and boring, trivia, for which I will count the minutes waiting since this was the best parts of sea days (not counting the food !!! ), and a few lectures about the ports of calls. There were also bridge classed, but I missed the first one and was very unwelcomed when I tried to join the group later, not because of the guests!!!! But the instructor, I hope she has not been brought on board any more!!!! Well, other than these I missed more fitness activities, more trivia games, more lectures, more enhancing programs and more space to move around on sea days, but we are very active, we are in our 30's, love to explore and learn and do not enjoy drinking during day hours so a bar was not an option for us nor it was sunbathing, so after reading for a couple of hours, doing sudoku, going to trivia, and working out in the gym for ½ an hour there was not much left to do.
Shore Excursions- There was a good variety of shore excursions and most of them were available even ½ hour before. We took one on every port we visited: Interacting with the Dolphins (great !! ), visiting a Sloth Sanctuary (fantastic), Cable crossing the jungle (adventurous ! ), White water river rafting, just to name a few that come to my mind. People of all ages will participate and they were all very safe and good. A bit expensive, some guests complained, but in my opinion well worthy as they were all very well organized and take out the headache of having to plan on your own.
Service : This is the most outstanding icon on this cruise, service is the best I have ever experienced on sea. The staff will try to please you at all times, no exception. They will go out of the way to make you happy and try to read your mind to guess your likes! i.e. I don't like pulp in my orange juice, first morning I order breakfast to my room and freshly squeezed juice comes with a lot of pulp, with a spoon I took it out and put it in little place, I did not said any thing, as I was planning to do the same every day , not a big deal for me, well, no need, they noticed and I never got an orange juice with pulp again! Impressive I must say. I could fill this page with little histories like this one but just better to say service is the reason why people cruise in Seabourn, it is by far more than excellent.
Passengers: They were all very friendly we met some very interesting and nice people. We did miss the fact of not having more people our age on board.
Overall this was a great cruise, I do not recommend it for people under 40 though, nor honeymooners. We had a good time and found it to be a good experience. Pros without any doubt are: 1- Service, 2-Food, 3-Not waiting ever in lines, 4-Being able to dine in a table for two every time we like. Cons were: 1-Lack of activities on sea days, 2-Not having a good real balcony, 3-Having to dress formal many nights (I don't mind 2 or 3 but this was almost every day! ) 4-I like more space in the ship to explore and move around.
I end my review with a sentence I read from someone in the Seabourn board:
Life is good in a Seabourn Cruise!!