We arrived at the port in Monte Carlo and our cases were immediately taken away and we were met by a uniformed Seabourn staff member, led into a room where our tickets were checked, then handed over to another staff member who took us up onto the ship. We were taken into the King Olav Lounge, handed a fruit cocktail, had our photos taken for our cards, given a glass of champagne and then led to our suite - all within 10 minutes! Very impressive. Our suite was on Deck 5 and there was a lovely bottle of chilled champagne waiting for us. Needless to say, we opened it straight away and then had a good look around. The suites are very spacious with a good bathroom, lovely toiletries, a walk-in closet with plenty of hangers and a very comfortable bed. Emily, our suite stewardess arrived with more champagne (a bit warm!), a plate of canapEs and the basket of soaps to choose which we wanted. Our onboard credit, courtesy of a friend in the next village to us, our Silver Wine Package details and an invitation to dinner with the duo, Everest, were on our dresser waiting for us. We had a lovely view of Monte Carlo harbour, being on the port side of the ship. It was very busy as it was the Yacht Show, so lots to watch. Our cases arrived within half an hour and the champagne got us through our unpacking! Then, up on deck to have a look around everywhere. The ship is beautiful - very well kept, clean, tidy and a credit to her crew who were always working hard and very pleasant whenever you passed them anywhere on the ship.
We decided to go to the whirlpool on deck 5 as it was such a beautiful afternoon. This is a lovely peaceful area where we would spend many a happy hour sunbathing and being provided with cold drinks, cold towels and a cold water spray to face and back when it was very hot! A couple of times the ice container and drinks tray were not stocked, but I'm sure this will have been rectified now, as the bartender was told. Sailaway was glorious, with the band playing, champagne flowing and the weather perfect. Thanks, Seabourn, for ordering such fantastic weather for us - it lasted all week.
We ate at our hosted table that night and met some lovely people who we then went to the Club with later to listen to Everest. They are brilliant - as are all the entertainers, with the biggest accolade given to Eric De Gray who is outstanding. What a lovely and very talented man - I wanted to bring him home with me but I guess I'd have to go to the back of the queue!
Marina Day was brilliant - the sea was warm and we kayaked, went on the banana boat and swam (in the sea around the ship when all the vessels had been put away). This is such a fantastic thing to be able to do and the size of the ship makes it all possible.
That evening we dined again at a table hosted by Staff Captain Andrew Pedder, who we discovered lives 10 miles from us! Another lovely evening spent with really interesting people with excellent food and wine to complete it. The Broadway show in the King Olav Lounge was brilliant -Eric excelled himself and showed off his skating skills! (I won't say any more or it will spoil it for others, but don't miss it!)
The highlight of the meals, for us, was the Tasting Menu in "2". This was one of the best meals we have ever had, anywhere, including in Michelin starred restaurants! We sat outside on the most beautiful, warm evening and enjoyed the food, the wine and the very attentive service. The ports we visited were well chosen, we think. Portoferraio, Elba, is beautiful. We hired a car and drove to Puerto Azzurro, where we swam and had pizza for lunch. The journey gave us fantastic views over the bays for some lovely photos.
We docked in Calvi, Corsica, as opposed to anchoring as per the schedule. Another beautiful town. We caught the train to Ile Rousse, just up the coast and enjoyed a lunch of moules-frites there before heading back and swimming again. The beaches are beautiful white sand and the sea is very shallow but warm!
The next day we had room service breakfast as we were off early to Florence. Impressed with breakfast - linen cloth on the table and everything we asked for - hot and well presented. We took the Seabourn transfer to Florence. The Italian guide, Marie Laura, was very knowledgeable and interesting and the journey passed quickly. We enjoyed Florence even though it was very hot. The David by Michaelangelo is worth seeing even if you don't have time to see anything else! We climbed up the 414 steps of the Campanile for fantastic views and cooled down with an ice cream just over the Ponti Vecchio. Our driver took us up to a viewing area for 10 minutes before we left Florence so we could all take more photos. Back on board we were given chilled bottles of water and I think every single one of us slept on the way back to Livorno (except the driver!) We were welcomed back on the dock with a cold towel, fruit punch and Seabreeze playing, then in our suite was a plate of sandwiches and cookies, saying welcome back!
Portofino was our next port. Captain Andersson had warned us that we were in for rain here, but apart from some very black clouds and two loud claps of thunder we had a pleasant day which got better during the afternoon. The tender journeys were quite interesting as it was a bit choppy! Portofino is beautiful but very expensive! We caught the bus to Santa Margherita Ligure (2 euros each, return) which is bigger with a long promenade so we walked miles (trying to work off all the food and drink we were having each day!)
We didn't go to the barbecue that night, but we had a look at the food and it looked spectacular. We ate in the restaurant with some friends we had made on board then we went to the Rock the Boat Show which was out on deck. Again, the entertainers were brilliant.
Our final day was spent in Portovenere, again a stunningly beautiful little town, our favourite, I think. We just had the morning here, giving us time for exploration of the castle, the church, Byron's grotto and a swim in the sea before tendering back. We had a Tuscan buffet lunch which was fantastic.
It's the little touches that make Seabourn so special - towels and water for you to take with you as you leave the ship; the waiters coming round with cold drinks and cold towels etc; the attentiveness in the restaurant and the buffet area - I never carried my own plate; the knowledge of the staff about their craft and the ports we were visiting; captain Andersson, who was one of the loveliest, most friendly people we have met - he joined us on deck at midnight one night when we were in front of the Bridge with not another soul in sight to chat to us and tell us about our arrival next day in Calvi and then he shook hands with everyone as they disembarked. Disembarkation was extremely well organised in Civitavecchia. The only problem was that we didn't want to leave!
We had a ball on our first Seabourn cruise. Thank you to all the staff and crew of the Legend - you do a magnificent job! We are sailing on her again in March in the Caribbean and we also put our £500 deposit down for another open booking. That says it all!!