Having sailed on Silversea two times in the past year, I was anxious to see what Seabourn had to offer and how it compared in all of the usual areas. We were a family party of three occupying two suites (one being a solo traveler).
Embarkation: Arriving at the pier around 1 p.m., we were quickly processed and escorted to the Club Lounge where sandwiches and Champagne were being served and where met met several of our fellow passengers. We were told that the rooms were not ready and that we would be informed when they were. However, no one ever called us and as we noticed passengers departing the lounge, we followed. No escort to our room. Also, we were informed that lunch was not available for embarking passengers which we thought was rather odd.
Suites: We were booked in #617 and quite satisfied with the suite, amenities and location (and the fact that all of our onboard credits were properly provided). No problems at all. Our stewardess was prompt in introducing herself and ensuring our pre-ordered mini bar selections were correct and determining our preferences. She kept our suite spotless. However, our solo family member wasn't so fortunate. His room reeked of stale cigarette smoke which was unbearable. He had to go through several levels of staff personnel and management (hotel director) to resolve this situation. Suffice it to say, Seabourn handled the process of changing his suite in an extremely poor manner in every respect. It wasn't until 7 p.m. that he was able to check into another suite (and the ship was not full). Not acceptable when one has been traveling for over 24 hours to the destination. It took 3 days before the hotel director offered an apology.
Dining: We loved the dining room, food and service and eventually settled into the same table each evening. The wine steward, Jan, and sommelier, Timar, were outstanding, and we enjoyed wonderful conversations with each of them (both from Germany where we lived for 3 years). We enjoyed the wine selections and never had a "bad" wine. We did have dinner one evening in Restaurant 2 and although we enjoyed the various presentations, it was not our "cup of tea." The Colonnade provided an excellent breakfast and lunch buffet with a pleasant atmosphere for indoor our outdoor dining. The food was well-prepared with a different theme each day; not your typical cruise ship buffet selection. The table service was prompt and cordial.
Activities: Since this was the final leg of the World Cruise, there were "special" guest lecturers which included Ted Koppel and Carol Thatcher (Margaret Thatcher's daughter). We especially enjoyed their lectures and speaking with them as fellow passengers. There were also other excellent lecturers offered each day; very impressive and top notch in this category.
Seabourn Square: One of our favorite spots to relax, connect to the internet and enjoy wonderful coffees and teas. It is also where the focus of activity is for customer relations and shore excursions.
Shore excursion personnel were excellent in providing local port information even if one wasn't booking a tour. However, the customer relations folks are another story. I mentioned previously about the problem with one of our family member's suite upon embarkation which had much to do with miscommunication from this area. Although the staff were cordial and pleasant, they were not the most competent in handling a slightly complex problem to resolution. In addition to the "suite problem" and protracted resolution, these folks also were in charge of the on board accounts. Without going into too much detail, it took several days to resolve a simple OBC issue (that actually was in their favor). I had to bring, once again, the hotel manager, into the mix before it was resolved.
Of course, Trivia is popular on the Sojourn and we certainly participated on a team. However, the cruise director, Jan, I am sorry to say, was not the best at conducting the activity each day. In fact, she was quite annoying (not just during Trivia, either) and often had to retract answers due to inaccuracy. We weren't sure where she obtained her questions, but they were "off the wall" to say the least.
Entertainment: The Club offered several bands each evening who were very talented and diverse. This is where we spent our evenings after dinner so I cannot comment on other venues. We did attend several of the shows in the show lounge which consisted of a British comedian and various vocalists and dancers.
Spa: Except for using the gym facilities, which were quite adequate for the size of the ship, we did not use the spa services.
All in all, we enjoyed Seabourn's amenities and ambiance. The Sojourn is a beautifully appointed ship. The food and service are excellent and I would not hesitate to sail on it again. But I have to say that my preference in the luxury lines is Silversea, all things considered.