If the sub-head above seems odd, it is triggered by the disparity of reviews from the same cruise in which some are exultant and others reflect bitter disappoint.You will have to judge for yourselves whose judgments to trust.
This was our third Seabourn cruise--in chronological order, Odyssey, Legend, then Sojourn. It was in many ways the most satisfactory of them all, though perhaps nothing can equal the sense of discovered pleasure that one derives from your first Seabourn cruise.
But of course, how you feel about a cruise depends on your attitude, the behavior of other passengers, and the singular experiences which form happy memories or dreadful ones.
We found the food to be very good to excellent Dining room service was occasionally hurried, never uncomfortably so. We very much liked the tasting menu offered in Restaurant 2. We had pre-ordered venision and Dover sole, and were delighted that both were indeed available. The venison was great, the Dover sole was pleasant, buy no threat to Scott's in London. (It should be noted that Scott's can serve their sole as never frozen, while Sojourn obviously cannot.) And we found the breakfast served in the Colonnades to be a great way to start the day. Wines were better than other Seabourn experiences; cocktails were made with care. (Though no one on board could make a decent margarita.) Sitting at any bar, you could order caviar from room service (we did) and enjoy it with champagne.
The suites are essentially as pictured in the brochure. The bathroom luxurious for many hotels, and surprisingly so for a ship. Our stewardess was charming and responsive to our few requests.
We thought Seabourn Square was a great innovation, as it was on Odyssey. Essentially, it is a central area where the library, a coffee bar, and guest services are on offer.
The Show Lounge does suffer from a few pillars which do indeed obstruct a few seats. But we thought the entertainment--a quartet of very young British singers (who also danced a bit)--were very good. A comedian imported from the U.S. for a single night was reminiscent of bad television comics. There were also some special interest lectures which varied from dull to fairly interesting. Trivia was contested hotly by several teams of exuberant players. (None more so than that led by Host Dan of the Seabourn forum who happened to be aboard.)
And now to service. One could quibble about this or that crew member who wasn't quite as diligent as most, but it is the "most" who create the atmosphere you remember. And that atmosphere was one of smiling interest in your happiness. "Anything else I can do for you?" was perhaps the most repeated phrase during our voyage.
Fellow passengers included a large number of Cruise Critic members who with just a little encouragement would share their experiences on other cruises.( And a bit more. too; as did the lady who confided that she had been a Playboy Bunny in her youth.) And while the passengers were mostly Americans, we did discover a highly interesting couple from Belgium. We shared some dinners with people we met on board, and enjoyed the pre-prandial conversation over cocktails with many passengers.
So,. "big" Seabourn ships verses the lil' sisters? It depends on what you value most. The little ships are more of a club. They are, or perhaps one should say can be, a bit stuffy, as they tend top attract long time Seabournites who are devoted to the line, and to the smaller ships regardless of their deficiencies.(For example, older cabins, smaller bathrooms. an absence of balconies, fewer restaurants.)
They do offer a highly individual experience.
And so do the larger ships. Mind you, "larger" here means a mere 450 guetss--a half deck's worth of folks on a really big ship.The Sojourn seemed to ride the waves a bit more smoothly than Legend, and was in every way a memorable and satisfying experience. Note that that we had been to all of the islands that the cruise visited multiple times before,. So our real discovery was Sojourn herself.
And it was a pleasure to meet her.