We are retired former business owners who have now completed 61 cruises aboard 10 cruise lines over the past 14 years. We live in Bromsgrove UK.
We flew to Miami on January 4th and transferred to the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was excellent and the ship's embarkation procedure undertaken by Seabourn's shoreside services was very professional. Our luggage was taken from our suite directly to the ship and after a leisurely breakfast we were taken by private limousine to Port Everglades.
The whole embarkation process was fast, efficient and friendly. A good start.
After a buffet lunch and an orientation tour of our home for the next 28 days we found our stateroom.
The balcony suite was quite comfortable with adequate storage. But we noticed immediately that it should have been a lot cleaner, there was not a flower in sight, glassware missing and the minimum of amenities in the bathroom. Having not received our luggage we attended the sail away party on deck. At 19.00hrs our luggage finally arrived, followed by our stewardess who handed us a glass of warm, flat champagne.
The dining on the Quest was an experience. It took us until day 10 to get hot food on a hot plate. We found it incredible that it was corporate policy to serve red wine in white wine glasses unless you purchased wines from the reserve wine list, then the appropriate glasses would be provided. For the duration of the cruise we did not get meat served at the temperature we ordered. Fish was always overcooked.
In the Colonnade's restaurant, we took breakfast and lunch. The breakfast offerings were very good.
The lunch offerings tended to be Asian influenced, the concept, we were very pleased with, the reality was that it was generally overcooked and luke warm.
We found that the main restaurant struggled to cope with 300+ guests arriving for dinner within a 60 minute period. Many dinners took 3 hours plus.
The pool side grill was consistently inconsistent.
The sports activities on Quest are restricted to shuffleboard, one golf driving bay and a golf putting area. The gym is adequate for a ship of its size. The walking track on deck 11 is small.
The guest lectures were varied and professionally presented.
The midday team trivia was very popular and hosted by John Barron, the CD and backed by his excellent team.
The bar staff are up there with the best we have experienced on any cruise line. The wait staff in the dining outlets were very professional, but we could see their disappointment in having to consistently remove cold and undercooked food from our tables.
Similarly, the bar staff were embarrassed at not having our beverages of choice because they were always running out of stock, which was surprising as this was the first segment of a World Cruise.
For a team of people, many of whom have been with Seabourn for 15+ years and have been personally responsible for developing the service levels which made Seabourn special, these experiences must be difficult to accept.
The service we experienced from our suite stewardess was haphazard to say the least. Following the completion of our interim guest comments card we were asked by the guest services manager to attend a meeting with the hotel manager. After writing a report detailing all of our experiences we met with the hotel manager and presented it to him. His response was surprising " if I had experienced what you have experienced I would not sail with Seabourn again". Apart from seeing a marginal improvement in the cleanliness of our suite, nothing else changed and for the remainder of the cruise the hotel manger did not contact us to determine our level of satisfaction.
The entertainment was very good and Seabourn have two aces in John Barron and his assistant CD Heather Clancy. In fact we would go so far as to say that John and Heather take the Quest from a four star operation to the six star it purports to be.
We only attended one shore excursion which was so badly managed that we decided not to risk any others.
Disembarkation in Cape Town was smooth. We said our goodbyes to the Captain, John and Heather and breathed a sigh of relief.
In summary our first cruise with Seabourn was a bitter disappointment especially when you consider that we were celebrating my wife's 60th birthday. Needless to say we have made our feelings crystal clear to Rick Meadows, President and Lynn Narraway MD UK Business, and we have received a substantial amount of rhetoric via e-mail. The last e-mail from Ms Narraway contained a paragraph which was crass and ill conceived. She wrote " I hope that despite the issues you raised, you will consider sailing with Seabourn again under more favourable circumstances". She is not in any position to have any influence in creating the "favourable circumstances". If it was possible to change things, the hotel manager on Quest should have done so. We can only conclude that now that Seabourn is managed by Holland America the Seabourn experience of the past will remain in the past.