This is our second cruise on Legend in as many months. The first was a surprise trip. A week long St. Thomas round trip for our anniversary. The second trip was just an indulgence as several of our friends were traveling on this particular itinerary. This review will cover both.
Both cruises were fantastic.
I was going to write about our first impression of Seabourn, but it occurred to me that there were several 'first' impressions. Filling out the online documentation a page devoted to 'In Suite Preferences' to assure our suite was stocked with enough, and the right kinds, of liquor, beer, and soda.
Then our tickets arrived... a beautifully done leather box with the Seabourn crest. Inside, an inviting leaflet saying 'your yacht awaits' and under that a leather portfolio containing the itinerary, all information, and luggage check tags, as well as pre-printed guest name tags for the four leather luggage tags.
Arriving at the ship there was a lineup of Seabourn staffers. Once our passports were checked, we were allowed to pass through the gate where the first in the lineup of Seabourn staff, Ryan, greeted us and took every piece of carry on luggage, and escorted us onto the ship and into the King Olaf Lounge where the rest of the embarkation process was completed.
On the St. Thomas trip, embarkation was quick and efficient. On our second trip out of Ft. Lauderdale we arrived at the same time as most of the other passengers and the process took a bit longer. No worries though, Seabourn had snacks and beverages set up in the lounge and there were the waiters with champagne.
St. Thomas, we boarded on the pier. Ft. Lauderdale, we boarded via the cruise terminal.
As we ascended the escalator in Ft. Lauderdale the usual line up of Seabourn staff was on hand. Instantly, a familiar face greeted us. Anthony, one of the Maitre d's remembered us and we were escorted aboard by none other than the one waiter on the ship we thought was a bit surly. No worries though, in a matter of moments we felt home again. We knew at the end of our last cruise two weeks earlier that several of the staff were completing their four months at sea and were headed home, but despite the new faces aboard, there were the familiar faces who still remembered our names. All who did, greeted us by name and welcomed us back aboard.
Our suite was just as before with one exception... On our last cruise I commented to Claudio, the ship's excursions officer, that I was shocked the ship didn't stock my favorite vodka. Well, we opened our refrigerator and there was my brand of vodka. Completely unexpected and one of those little personal touches that make Seabourn so great.
A word on the alcohol policy. Drinks on Seabourn are of course included in the fare. Not having to sign for each drink is excellent.
The passenger manifest was about the same on this sailing as our last with a variety of well traveled passengers and the occasional cruise novice. The small ship atmosphere meant that you can actually talk to your fellow passengers and have more than just a passing conversation. The first cruise we met so many wonderful people, some of whom we look forward to sailing with again.
There was also a fairly large demographic when it came to passengers' ages. Friends told us a prerequisite to sail on Silversea is that you have to be 90 years old. Seabourn on the other hand had a healthy mix starting in the mid thirties on up to a few in their eighties. And most were very enjoyable. The downside of the small ship, and we didn't experience this until our second sailing, was encountering an awful couple who swiftly got under everyone's skin. By the end of the trip many of us worked out a code and an avoidance plan. And it appeared many of our fellows felt the same way. A small hiccup in the vacation, but one that got a lot of mileage in the laughs department.
The Ft. Lauderdale cruise visited Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico for the first time. The overnight in Cozumel could have been shortened by about 40 hours. Although the waters of Cozumel are just beautiful and we even saw a pair of blue marlins swimming next to the ship in the harbor.
Progresso, Mexico had little to offer, except it was our departure point to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. About 20 of us from the ship went in four vans. Our guide was very informative, although the first half hour of the trip he went over the origins of the words Chichen Itza... if you ever saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the father dissected every word into it's Grecian roots, you know what I mean. It was hysterical and a few us us in the back of the van ended up in a panic of laughter about it. The ruins are over 2.5 hours away by van, so word to the wise, hand pick your van mates. We did, and we had a full van full of fun people. And we emptied two large water bottles and replaced its contents with fresh mimosa, so good time was had by all.
The ruins were still amazing, although you can no longer climb the pyramids anymore. A more than adequate lunch was provided and we ended up being away from the ship for almost 10 hours. The Chichen Itza excursion was the last back to the ship, and to our surprise was one of those little Seabourn touches, a welcome back party on the pier: Champagne, moist hand towels, and a band.
Having sailed many times on Celebrity, Holland America, and once on RCCL, I was a little worried the first time about the size of the ship. It took about three minutes on board before those concerns went out the window.
It was nice to get to know the staff as well as our fellow passengers. Our first order of business once shown to our suite on the second cruise was a call to room service, where a familiar voice, Ryan, answered. He happily brought us caviar to enjoy with our welcome champagne.
Having sailed only 12 days earlier on Legend, we found that we had more interaction with the staff this time. Partially because they remembered us, but also because we remembered them fondly and were happy to see them again. The bartender even remembered our drinks from last time. One stewardess from deck 5 from the first cruise even made a special trip up to deck six to say hello to us this time.
There is a definite 'Seabourn' experience. For us, it was a constant, from the moment we stepped aboard. For others aboard it was a constant comparison between this cruise line and that. And I'm sure for them, their experience was diminished. Sure, there are differences, but for the overall experience, I think Seabourn wins hands down.
I think it is the attention to detail and the overwhelming capacity of the crew to make sure you are happy. In short, it is professionalism.
During the first cruise, one of the crew, JR, a charming young man, received horrible news that his father has passed away. Everyone on the ship felt for his loss. One of the passengers started an impromptu fund so this boy could get home to Indonesia. On the second cruise we asked the hotel manager if JR made it home to his family safely. He remembered we made a contribution and told us the passengers drummed up more than enough money and that the excess went into the crew emergency fund.
We were sad to leave Legend. We felt like our voyage had just started. It goes without saying we look forward to our next trip on Seabourn.
As an aside, we are taking our family aboard Celebrity Summit in May. I am both dreading it and looking forward it. Dreading it because I know Celebrity is no Seabourn. But I am interested to see how it feels going back onto a large vessel after getting quite comfortable on Legend.
I look forward to a long travel relationship with Seabourn.