This was our first Seabourn cruise and only our second cruise ever. We planned this trip for almost a year. I had done a large amount of research before selecting Seabourn and had very high expectations based on what we read. I should also mention I am difficult to impress.
We choose the 7 day Caribbean Hideaways voyage as our first taste of Seabourn.
We are also not what we understand to be the typical Seabourn cruiser. I am 25 and my husband is 31. We were looking for a cruise that was not action packed and would allow us to meet different people. We enjoy socializing and excellent service. We don't enjoy drunken conga lines and the hairy chest contest.
We arrived at the Havensight pier in St Thomas around 1:45. Surprisingly, there were no lines to get in or masses of people wandering around. In fairness, the Legend was the only ship at the pier that day but it was nice to begin the trip without the hassle of a large crowd. Once we cleared security at the pier we walked a few hundred feet to the stairs to board the ship. Our carry on bag was immediately carried for us by a gentleman wearing white gloves (impressive). He introduced us to the cruise director and several other staff members on our way to the King Olav Lounge. We were offered fruit punch or champagne upon entering the Lounge. We were given a piece of paper with a number on it and were told they would call our number and we would receive additional instructions. As we waited, we were offered more drinks and sandwiches were available at the back of the Lounge. After 15 minutes our number was called and we made our way to the stage in the Lounge. Our credit card and passports were requested. The woman who checked us in explained that we would be taken to our room at 2:45 pm (about 30 minutes). Thus far the service was attentive. The embarkation process overall was pretty standard. It was nice to sit in a cool, comfortable lounge with a drink in my hand though.
Our cabin was fabulous. We had a standard suite on deck 4 but there was nothing standard about it. It was about the size of a hotel suite. We had a small walk-in closet and a full sized bathroom. I found the cabin more than spacious.
About an hour after arriving in our cabin our stewardess, Claire, brought us two glasses of champagne and salmon crostini. This was impressive. She seemed genuinely nice and helpful, a spirit I found common on Seabourn. Claire explained where everything in our suite was located. She also offered a basket of a variety of soaps. I loved this! Details like this really made us feel special on Seabourn.
We also found that in the bathroom there was a medicine cabinet stocked with all of the necessities one might need on vacation like an emery board, cotton balls, q-tips and even sunscreen. The bathroom also had very plush towels and Molton Brown products. My only complaint about the bathroom was the shower. The shower head is a handheld unit. There is a mounting on the wall but it's on the side shower wall and only about 4 feet up. There's really no way to position it like a true shower head. This was a very minor issue though.
There is a small refrigerator in the room that was full of soda, beer and bottled water. We also had two bottles of liquor that were in the room when we arrived. Several months prior to the trip we filled out a form online asking about our preferences while onboard. One question was what liquor we would like stocked in the room. We requested Jack Daniels and Captain Morgans. We received some brand of scotch and Absolut Vodka. The stewardess asked us of they were ok and I mentioned what we had requested. She said she would swap them out in the morning but that never happened. We really never drank anything in the room except water so it was not a major inconvenience. I am certain if we had mentioned it again it would have been rectified.
We could frequently hear the guests next to us slam there door. Most guests probably had no problem but our neighbors were a bit rude and did not observe the multiple notices asking for courtesy to your neighbors by gently closing the door. We could also hear the low hum of the engine. It was actually soothing to me, especially at night. We never heard anything else from the rooms on either side of us.
I found the ship to be clean and well-kept in all public areas. For example, the room where the computers are kept for internet access was well lit, decorated in blue tones with dark cherry furniture. Upscale, clean, luxurious but not stuffy and pretentious.
I could definitely feel the ship moving and rocking. It wasn't a violent movement in any sense but just the normal rocking of a smaller ship. I am very sensitive to motion though. When I was grabbing for a rail most people around me were standing fine. The average passenger would probably be just fine.
The elevators were very small. 2-4 person max I would guess.
The whirlpools, pool and deck always had vacancies. I hate to fight a crowd so this was a blessing for me. We did have a few instances where we couldn't find a waiter for a drink and after 10 minutes my husband went to the bar to get them for us.
Down a few decks was the marina and gangway to the tenders. The marina was one of my favorite features of the ship. We had a Marina Day the third day on the ship. Again, I was surprised at how few people were actually down there. They had banana boat rides, water skiing, kayaks, paddle boats and a caged area to swim in the water. They also had drinks and a spread to make ice cream sundaes. It was really a day in paradise. We greatly enjoyed Marina Day.
We visited the casino one night before dinner. We were the only gamblers for some time. The casino is actually a small glass partitioned area in the Midnight Sun Lounge. There are only a few tables but quite a few slot machines. It was obvious the casino was not a big draw for most passengers on the ship.
We also took advantage of the complimentary washers and dryers on the ship. It seemed to be a popular option as several times both washers and dryers were in use. In the typical Seabourn fashion, laundry soap was furnished.
Overall, we appreciated that the ship was smaller. We left with a very positive impression of the ships public rooms.
The next day's activities were communicated in the Seabourn Herald that was left nightly in our cabin. It also included the dinner menus in the Restaurant and 2.
Daily, there was Bridge, Massage Moments (on-deck complimentary chair massage) and Afternoon Tea. There was also an evening activity each night around 10pm. A few days there were additional activities during the day.
Our first full day on the ship was a sea day. There was a trivia game held in the Midnight Sun Lounge. We had cocktails, ate popcorn, socialized and played trivia for about an hour and a half. Out of seven teams playing, we some how ended up in second place. It was really a good time.
There was also a cooking demonstration earlier that same day that I did not attend. Everyone I spoke to who did attend seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
There was a presentation/ lecture about the ports we would be visiting. It was also broadcast on television for the next 6 days. We watched a rerun on TV the next day. It was very informative.
There is also a library that houses hundreds of CD and DVD's that can be checked out free of charge. There were quite a few newer releases. We appreciated the availability of the DVD's on the ship.
One thing I liked about Seabourn is that I never had a sense of not knowing what was going on. I think Seabourn did an excellent job of keeping us well informed through various mediums while on board.
We enjoyed almost all of the people we met on board. Most people were well traveled, 40-60 years old and repeat Seabourn passengers. We found one person who was very impressed with himself. Everyone else was there to have fun and not worried about who had the most money or prestigious job. The people we met were really one of the biggest highlights for us. The Seabourn passengers are some of the warmest, most interesting people we have ever met.
We were a little worried we may not fit in because of our age and lack of experience traveling. The fact is we were embraced by the other guests and truly enjoyed meeting everyone.
We only participated in two excursions: the Botanical Gardens and Rum Distillery in Guadeloupe and the Beach BBQ in Virgin Gorda that was complimentary.
The excursion in Guadeloupe only had Seabourn passengers and was a small group of 15 or so. It was a great excursion.
The Beach BBQ was beyond amazing. The food and service were excellent. The line for food at the beach was the only line we stood in the whole trip and it moved very quickly. There were indoor and outdoor seating options. Lots of lounge chairs for everyone. The Caviar in the Surf was awesome. Several crew members serve caviar on crostini on a surfboard in the water. One crew member also walks around the lounge chairs with a tray of small folded towels soaked in ice water and hands them to you with little silver tongs. We had become really spoiled at this point by the Seabourn service and details.
We found the excursions to be priced in line with what we had seen on our other cruise and read on other websites.
Several nights a movie was shown as the after dinner activity. One time it was shown in the King Olav Lounge and the other was shown outside on deck. We did not attend either so sadly can't comment too extensively.
There were also several nights of singing by various members of the staff. We did not attend but heard good thing about all the shows.
We did attend the Fruit FlambE on deck after dinner and saw the Rock the Boat Show. The fruit flambE was bananas foster and cherries jubilee. Both were great as was the show.
We felt that there was ample choice considering the size of the ship. Each day for breakfast you could order room service, go to the Restaurant or Verandah. For lunch there was usually one more option at the Sky Bar or on deck. For dinner you could dine in your suite course by course from the Restaurant menu, dine in the Restaurant or dine at 2. In the evening the Verandah became 2. 2 had a fixed menu nightly with little or no choices between course selections. The food at 2 was always different than what was served in the Restaurant.
We ate at the Verandah for breakfast most days but also ordered room service twice and ate in the Restaurant once. Breakfast in the Verandah was buffet style but certainly not the usual buffet fare. The quality of the food was exceptional. There were lots of fresh fruit (pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, blueberries, blackberries, plums, peaches, strawberries) cereals, hash browns, lox, various cheeses, sausage, muffins and pastries. We fell in love with the brioche and donuts. My husband liked the chocolate donut and I liked the cinnamon sugar. They were closer to a beignet in texture and the chocolate was more like a hard ganache. Very yummy. There was also a standing menu to order from that included omelets, waffles and pancakes. I ordered one each of the blueberry, strawberry and banana pancakes one morning and all were delicious. I also had the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and they were very good. Room service breakfast was just as good as the Verandah and always right on time. The morning we ate at the Restaurant it was almost completely empty. Most people ate in their rooms or in the Verandah for breakfast it seems. The food in the Restaurant was really the same as the Verandah just a higher level of service. We felt more attended to in the Restaurant. In fairness, the Verandah was much, much busier.
For lunch, we ate two afternoons in the Verandah and one day at the Sky Bar. All other days we ate in port. Lunch at the Verandah was also buffet style. One day was a Mexican themed day. Truly some of the best salsa I have ever eaten. I also had a made to order fajita that was very good. There was cheese, sliced meats and numerous salads on the buffet. There were also items to make your own salad, fresh fruit and a menu for made to order burgers, hot dogs and a pasta of the day. Both days we ate in the Verandah for lunch it was very busy and we waited at least 10 minutes before we were asked about a drink. The desserts in the Verandah for lunch were fantastic. Each day they had a special flavor of ice cream and fruit sauce. I loved the fruit sauces. I had pear, kiwi, peach and apricot over the course of the week. The apricot sauce over vanilla ice cream was heaven. The day we ate at the Sky Bar they grilled kabobs along with hamburgers and hot dogs. All were very good. They also had different salads, fresh fruit and cookies. The wait staff at the Sky Bar was very attentive and friendly.
For dinner we did the course-by course dining in our suite two nights, ate at 2 once, and the Restaurant the other 4 nights. The course-by-course dining was fantastic. Samuel was frequently the one who brought us room service items and he was very attentive and friendly. The food at the Restaurant was also very good. The presentation was very nice and the selection varied from night to night. Some of the salads were a little bland for my taste. My husband really enjoyed the soups. Before dessert was served each night, a small tray of tarts or some sweet was put on the table to share. These were all fantastic. Some of my favorite dishes were the goat cheese soufflE, Parma and shaved asparagus, filet mignon with peppercorn sauce and Concord grape cheesecake. The evening we ate at 2 the theme was "Steak House". This meal was one of our favorite. We ate outside over the water with one of our favorite couples and had a great time. The couple we ate with at 2 ate there almost every night while on the ship.
The Beach BBQ was on Sat (the day before disembarkation). We had steak, grilled jumbo prawns, fried turkey, prime rib, hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, corn on the cob and so much more. This was also a major highlight of the Seabourn experience.
Each night there was a different red and white wine served. We found most of the wines to our liking. We both had many mixed drinks, all of which were made to exactly to our request. My margarita was made with Grand Marnier at no additional charge. I also had a Kir Royale with dinner several nights that was fantastic.
A fellow passenger told me that one day on deck they were served vanilla ice cream with crème de cassis over the top. She raved about how good it was.
I also enjoyed the different flavored butter each night slathered over the yummy breadsticks.
I had heard that Seabourn will pretty much make you whatever you want within 24 hours. I asked Samuel (the wait staff captain) if this was true and he confirmed the rumor. I told him I would love to have some late night nachos and cheese. He simply asked me "What time?". At 11pm the next night my husband and enjoyed our gourmet nacho's and cheese and drank champagne. They also brought me some of that fabulous salsa. The nachos came on a huge platter, enough to feed 6 people at least.
This is really what Seabourn is known for. All of the waiters were very friendly and knew us by name after about the third day. They poured every sauce and syrup and carried every plate of ours. We were formally escorted nightly to our tables in the Restaurant.
The staff tries to anticipate any need you might have. For example, my love of the flavored butter became apparent pretty quickly and so when room service was delivered for dinner I received extra flavored butter without even requesting it.
Everyone seemed so kind and genuine. All of the small details really made for an overwhelmingly fabulous service experience.
We received a page of instructions on disembarkation several days prior to the end of the voyage. We were given color coded luggage tags based on our plans when leaving the ship. Our flight was not until late afternoon so we were able to disembark later in the morning. We were told to be at the King Olav Lounge at 7:15am to obtain our passports and meet with immigration. We were in and out in about 15 minutes. We had to vacate our room by 8:15. We did so and went to breakfast in the Verandah. We spent some time saying good-bye to our new friends and talking to pass some time before we finally left the ship. In my mind I was screaming "No, you can't make me leave!". It was sad to leave our new friends and the service we had so become accustomed to.
We are already planning our next Seabourn cruise. Seabourn is definitely not a line for children or college spring breakers. Seabourn caters to a more reserved crowd. On the other hand, there were still loads of fun to be had by everyone. Cruisers looking for luxury, relaxation, extremely high service and great food, Seabourn is the best bargain around.