This was our first Seabourn cruise. Our expectations were high ….some were met and others were not but overall we enjoyed the cruise very much.
Embarkation: This was probably one of the low points of the cruise for us. We arrived at the ship at about 4:00PM. Most of the cruisers had already boarded at this point. We went to the reception area where we were given our boarding cards and room keys----they didn’t seem very enthusiastic. Once we had our room keys we were expecting that someone would take us to our cabins as they always have on other cruises. Unfortunately, there was no one there so we finally asked a crew member where we would find our cabin and he pointed us in the right direction. When we arrived, our room attendant was nowhere to be found. We waited for our luggage to appear and after about a half hour when It hadn’t come, we called the reception desk and were told we would have it within 10 minutes. We also mentioned that we hadn’t seen our room stewardess. We were definitely not feeling the love from Seabourn. Our stewardess showed up within a few minutes and told us she hadn’t been informed of our arrival….she was great. Unfortunately, our luggage didn’t show up for another half hour even though people who had boarded after we did had their luggage before we did.
Ports: We chose this itinerary because we wanted to visit Vietnam. My husband is a Vietnam vet and wanted to go back. The itinerary included Bangkok, Komood Island, Saigon, DaNang, Hanoi and HongKong. We used private excursions which I had booked before the cruise so I can’t comment first hand on the ship’s excursions other than we didn’t hear any complaints about the excursions and heard some very positive comments. The Komood Island day was really fun and the crew went all out to make it a wonderful day. The only thing I would comment on is that this is not a good trip for anyone with problems walking or climbing. The crew was very helpful in boarding people onto the tender but it was not an easy board for anyone with physical problems. The only other port I would like to comment on is Hanoi. It is almost a four hour drive each way from the ship to Hanoi……and we spent about 4 hours in Hanoi. The distance isn’t more than 100 miles and the road was very bumpy and the traffic was horrible. We wouldn’t do it again for the short time in Hanoi. The only people that seemed to like the trip were those who spent the night in Hanoi and came back the next day. The trip to Halong Bay was spectacular and highly recommended.
Crew: This was a highlight of the trip. The crew was wonderful and very helpful. They seemed like a very happy group and seemed to enjoy what they did. We loved the captain and the cruise director.
Other cruisers: We are in our early 60’s from the US. Most of the cruises were probably in their 60s and from the US but there were people from all over the world and a variety of ages. We met people in their 30s as well as those in their 80s and we enjoyed all of them. One of the things we especially enjoyed were the dinners where we were invited to sit with crew members (including the captain) as well as the guest lecturer and performers. It was a great way to meet other cruisers and we enjoyed the hosts as well.
The ship: The Pride is a little tired looking. ….not horrible but definitely needs a little sprucing up. Our bed was really hard so we asked for something a little softer and our stewardess fixed it right up. The amenities were very good. We had two vases of flowers sent to us from the ship which we really enjoyed. We don’t drink wine but like Perrier which they kept stocked in our refrigerator. We wanted to be on a smaller ship, however, when we hit 20’ waves in the South China seas, we weren’t having a lot of fun. We were up most of the might being jostled by the ship hitting the huge waves. The cabin was very large (we had the least expensive cabin) with double sinks in the bathroom and a nice large closet...no complaints with the cabin.
Food: The food ranged from really good to very average. The lamb chops were outstanding but some of the fish was fishy. It definitely wasn’t 5 Star dining but it was good. One thing that bothered me was that I would have liked to have hot tea with my dessert. It usually came about 10-15 minutes after the dessert was served so by that time I was ready to leave the dining room. I asked about this and was told that they had to get the desserts out before they could start serving the tea. We had room service several times and it was prompt and the food was hot. The selection for the afternoon tea was pretty meager compared to other ships.
Activities: Onboard activities are fairly limited. There was a guest speaker on sea days and he was excellent. There was also a bridge lady who organized bridge games…..we don’t play bridge so we didn’t participate. There was also a Trivia game on sea days which we did enjoy. The gym was adequate and clean. I did the yoga and pilates classes when they were offered and they were very good but there were only 3-4 of us who participated. Personally, I would have liked more classes but being as they weren’t well attended, I could understand why they didn’t offer more. They also had an occasional movie….most were not current.
Spa: I had several spa treatments. The massage and facial were good….the pedicure not worth the high price. I noticed that the charge for the treatments was more than the amounts quoted on my confirmation. I showed the spa manager and she said that the prices had been changed last year and didn’t know why the prices were wrong on my confirmation. She gave me a refund which I thought was really nice. There was a sauna but no spa whirlpool or spa sitting area.
Entertainment: We really liked the entertainers and they did a great job….These were not productions but rather themed music in the evenings most of the time. A magician performed twice and my husband said he was very good. There was a guest pianist who performed twice and he was awesome. The only problem we had with the entertainment was that it didn’t begin until 10PM and we were usually too tired to go after a long day of touring.
Internet: There were several packages for internet use. The internet was slow but it worked every time I wanted to use it and there were enough computers where I didn’t have to wait for them.
Dress code: We had one formal night and several “elegant casual” nights where the men were supposed to wear a jacket. We carry on all of our luggage so my husband didn’t bring a jacket. It was our understanding that we would have alternative dining venues if he didn’t bring a jacket. On the formal night, the casual dining area was closed so his only option would have been room service. I called reception to inquire as to what he could do and they found a jacket for him to use throughout the cruise (he had a shirt and tie). I didn’t notice any men in tuxedos and most of the women just had on dressy dresses but not gowns.
Bottom line: We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise…we especially liked the crew and the other cruisers. Would we cruise with Seabourn again? Yes, if the price is right and if the itinerary goes where we want to go. We got a great fare but we would not have paid the brochure fare by any means. I don’t think it was any better than Oceania Cruises even though it has a higher rating.