True Pride: Seabourn Pride Cruise Review by John Licharson
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Baltic Sea
Our first Seabourn experience, on the Spirit in April 2010, was truly magical and a delight from the time we checked in in Lisbon to the moment we disembarked in Venice.
Our second, on the larger Odyssey from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires in January-February 2011, was somewhat disappointing due partly to the itinerary, partly to new and ill-trained staff and partly to the 400+ passenger size of the ship.(Our own resolution, after the Odyssey, was never to go on any ship larger than 200+- passengers.)
But ships reflect their captains and in Ian McNaught (I hope I got that right)on the Spirit and in Eric Saaybe on the Pride, Seabourn has two of the bery best anywhere. Professional, in touch with everything on board ship, exacting in their expectations of service and performance, personable and engaging, they reflect everything a ship's captain More should be, and more.
Staff generally, service and food in both the main dining room and the garden cafe were consistently excellent. We had met many staff on previous cruises and they all, without fail, remembered us and our names. The bar staff make a point of remembering your favourite drink and bring it without prompting not long after one sits down.
I sometimes tend to look on the dark side and suspect that the overwhelming friendliness and concern for passenger satisfaction might be simply a facade or product of rote learning at a hospitality school, but for Seabourn staff it remarkably seems to be true and heartfelt.
We booked our own tour guide in St. Petersburg and were generally on our own by choice in the other ports. The steam train tour in Germany was poorly organized for someone who likes to take plenty of photographs, but I heard no complaints from other passengers who took the other Seabourn tours.
The ship is kept spotlessly clean and the decor is conservative, quiet and comfortable. People looking for flash and dash will probably want to go elsewhere.
Finally, I have noted several reviews that castigate the line, ship, crew, food and wine mercilessly. I cannot comment on their specific experiences, but in my own experience there exist passengers from hell, whose expectations are out of this world and whose ability to criticize far outweigh their ability to appreciate the unrivaled quality before them.
Unless you are one of those, the Pride (and the Spirit) are not likely to disappoint. Less