Once we were 'checked in' (which took about 20 minutes), were were dealt with efficiency and courtesy. Met on the pier, welcomed, guided to our cabin, shown its facilities and made to feel special.
Our cabin steward quickly made herself known to us and welcomed us. Indeed, the most refreshing and positive aspect of the whole cruise was the professionalism, helpfulness and friendliness of the staff, who went out of their way to serve us in every way. However, the very helpful and friendly demeanour never strayed into over-familiarity and this must be down to training and company philosophy and is to their credit
Our cabin had a few housekeeping issues on arrival, which were dealt with immediately -â€“ thereafter our cabin was spotless, as were all visible areas on the vessel. Linen, floors and windows were all clean and very presentable. Having stayed in high-class hotels, we recognise the standards as equivalent to many, and a deal better than some.
The food. -â€“ Just too much, too often! And the drink -â€“ as much and as often as desired! However, we never saw any evidence of over-indulgence, although I often ended dinner feeling like a burst sofa. We were very impressed by the range of wines and drinks on offer, indeed we never at any time opened the courtesy spirits laid on in our suite. We have dined in some excellent restaurants throughout the world and, whilst there were odd courses or individual items which could have been hotter or more precisely cooked, we found the food to be of an excellent standard with good variety and options. My wife is a fish-eating vegetarian and (evening) dining room staff very quickly started to anticipate how her meal could be augmented on any given evening -â€“ very impressive.
The ship offered a good range of entertainment - individual, organised and self-organised and there was never any feeling of compulsion to participate unless we wished. The entertainment on board was good. Accomplished musicians were laid on for tea, functions and concerts and the standards were generally high and very acceptable, though it is never possible to cater for all tastes. We listened to a very knowledgable historian and our guides on the shore excursions were good - albeit an tad verbose and (well, Greek!) Most notably, Odyssey organised an evening visit and concert to Ephesus from Kushedasi for the passengers. Not only was the concert played in a magical and well-lit venue, we returned to the vessel to be met at 9pm by the whole crew of the ship lined along the pier with drinks, snacks and a vast 'welcome back' poster! - a very nice touch.
As staff came to know us, they called us by name and very quickly demonstrated their awareness of our preferences (e.g. my early-morning espresso was being made as I entered the lounge and the wait-staff knew we preferred a certain Shiraz!), this level of personal attention was impressive and very much appreciated.
We found the Odyssey an excellent size -â€“ big enough for comfort, yet small enough to feel a bit exclusive. We dressed (me in a dark suit and my wife in a dark trousers/top combo) for formal nights. It was optional but most people made the effort, we never saw any evidence of the crew 'streaming' guests according to their formality of dress - I think we all felt it makes you feel special, if you make an extra effort to look the part for the occasion.
So, to summarise -â€“ yes we LOVED Seabourn -â€“ an improvement on our recent experience of Norwegian Cruiseline and vast improvement on our much less recent experience of Carnival.