First of all - I have cruised with Seabourn for several years now so I believe I am in an excellent position to offer these comments. I have introduced family and friends to Seabourn and will continue to do so in the belief that Seabourn is serious about making improvements whenever possible.
Having cruised on Seabourn Odyssey in June 2009 and Seabourn Legend in February 2010, it was interesting to compare Odyssey now it is one year old and also with one of original smaller yachts. Our two week Odyssey cruise was back-to-back from Istanbul, via Athens and on to Venice in August 2010.
First of all, it was our mistake to cruise during the school holidays. Surprisingly there were enough children and teenagers on our voyage that Seabourn introduced a children's club and employed staff to keep them entertained. Although very well behaved, it did change the sophisticated atmosphere somewhat, especially around the pools. For example, the so-called 'marina day' (in reality only a few hours) was swamped by so many children that I am certain it was off-putting for many adults.
Small, but nevertheless noticeable, cutbacks were apparent. The personalised soap service offered on previous cruises no longer is offered - this was one of Seabourn's "point of difference" it also provides an opportunity to be acquainted with your stewardess. The complimentary canvass beach bag has disappeared too. The generous bathrobes looked tired and shabby to us - probably as a result of too much laundering - they looked less than comfortable.
In my opinion the food on Odyssey August 2010 was not as good as June 2009 or on Legend Feb 2010. Of course this may be a reflection on the different Chef's preferences/abilities - or maybe the fantastically high standards of Odyssey's maiden voyage are now proving difficult to maintain? The Chef's Gala Dinner in The Restaurant did not seem to have the same 'occasion' about it - no silver cloches and co-ordinated waiter flourishes - the wow factor was absent.
In some areas it was evident that the more experienced staff had been transferred to Sojourn. I felt that some of the waiting staff needed more training (leaving dirty glasses on a table whilst serving fresh drinks for example). I believe Seabourn are aware of this. Service was patchy at The Colonnade - especially during the busy breakfast and dinner periods. One evening we waited 45 minutes for our first course - not what we have come to expect from Seabourn!
The relaxed dress code in my opinion is not an improvement. Some peoples' interpretations of 'casual' included jeans - OK at the Sky Bar Grill in the evening, but certainly not in The Restaurant? Seabourn are now reviewing Dress Code suggestions. No 'Black Tie' formal night on a 14-day cruise was disappointing.
The entertainment, whilst acceptable, is becoming predictable. This included the usual 4 person troupe - in a singing/dancing show - it was so familiar I thought I had seen it before! Of course on a 14 night cruise you get to see the same show twice over - if only it was that good! The Magician wasn't very magical - but he did manage to make us vanish before his act finished...
Despite, the above few negative comments it would not stop us cruising on Odyssey/Sojourn/Quest again (just not in the school holidays). However, with the upcoming launch of Quest, I wonder whether the super-efficient Seabourn staff will be too thinly spread to maintain the faultless, personalised service on all of its six 'yachts' simultaneously?.