2 Barcelona to Transatlantic Seabourn Quest Cruise Reviews

The Cruise .. We arrived at the terminal at about noon .. saw the luggage whisked away and took a seat. I suppose that there would have been about 100 passengers already there [ships accommodates 450] and boarding commenced at 12:15. I ... Read More
The Cruise .. We arrived at the terminal at about noon .. saw the luggage whisked away and took a seat. I suppose that there would have been about 100 passengers already there [ships accommodates 450] and boarding commenced at 12:15. I had seen some comments on CC Boards about early boarding and by 12:30 we were guided to the Collonade Restaurant for lunch, hand luggage stowed temporarily, until suites were ready at 2pm. By the time lunch was over we had met about 8 people that we knew from past cruises. Big Sister Experience .. Both of our previous Seabourn Cruises had been on the “Little Sisters” and we really did love the atmosphere and the service, so it was with anticipation that we took to sea on a “Big Sister”. Is it being unfaithful to say that the hardware that is the ‘big sisters’ is better than the little sisters. * In suites, the bathrooms have an improved layout with both shower and bath and the TV entertainment system has movies on demand, account checking, and heaps more. * Seabourn Square is a wonderful innovation, encompassing the Café, internet connections, iPads to read the latest newspapers, guest services [took me 3 days before I realized where they were], recliner lounges and a huge multi language library. * The Club has a proper stage and a bigger dance floor [?] but still has all the ambience of the original model. * The deck areas – Patio bar and grill and Sky bar are a great utilisation of space – and the pool is now accessible and in sunshine. * The on-board shop is a decent size and sold clothes that fitted me, as well as ladies clothing, jewellery and perfumes – apparently. * There are more Dining options, with Restaurant 2 and the Collonade both operating each evening. We tried the former but not the latter, although heard comments that it was also good. But in contrast the software was not as good as the little sisters even though it did get there in the end. Basically, I’m talking about the time it took staff to connect names and faces. On the Little Sisters [200 passengers] we were known in about 3 days, on the Quest I think it took more like 6/7 days before we were being recognized and as incomprehensible as it sounds, I think it may have taken the Head Waiter about 12 days. Am I not a memorable person, that eats every day ?? The service however was still very good .. and the breakfast waiter eventually did get the idea that I didn’t want to see salad items as a garnish. In whose reality does lettuce go with eggs and bacon ?? Big Sis Entertainment .. This is one area where there are significant differences .. some good, some bad .. * the Big Sis’s carry an entertainment staff of 7 singers and dancers, guest entertainers, lecturers, plus a Cruise Director and an Assistant – all of whom were excellent on Quest, I should add. They also had a band and a solo guitarist in the Club, both good but not great. * Lil sisters don’t have the entertainment staff [they have the rest] but do carry an extra Assistant [usually a guitarist] and the CD and his/her assistants are frequently on stage strutting their stuff. They also carry a band and a duo that play the Club. Here’s my gripe .. if I go for a pre-dinner drink and want to have a dance, it’s almost impossible with a solo guitarist .. but with a duo and a band, it works really well. It should be easy to fix, and yes I have shared my comments with Seabourn. Big Sis Dining .. We are laid back for breakfast, occasionally like to check out the dining room to see if it’s busy or not, casual for lunch – although the battered fries at the patio grill were enough for Robyn to make that her preferred location – but like to have dinner in the Dining Room. And yes, we do like to join ‘Hosted’ tables, because it’s a great way to meet people and to meet members of staff – mostly entertainers, some officers - who carried themselves very well and were a wonderful advertisement for Seabourn. Big Sis Events .. There were a number of extra ‘events’ that were staged during the cruise that were simply excellent, executed very well, obviously a lot of time and effort went into them, for example; * The Halloween Party in the Club. The entry was decorated in cob webs and other Halloween paraphernalia, whilst the whole entertainment team and CD’s were in fancy dress. This was the biggest night of dancing and jolliment that I saw all trip. * Crossing the Equator. Complete with dunking the crew and kissing the fish. * Caviar in the Pool. Traditionally Caviar in the Surf but as we weren’t stopping at these locations this crossing, a great compromise. * Staff Tug of War. An Atlantic crossing tradition, the staff provides all the entertainment and seems to enjoy themselves enormously. * Rock the Boat. An evening dance party held on deck. Fortunately this wasn’t subject to bad weather as a couple of the other deck events were. * Tea Dance. This saw the whole of the Club set for afternoon high tea with the traditional cakes, sandwiches and of course hot scones. And yes we got to Waltz. * The Epicurean Event. Did we really need more food ? Of course not but it was lovely. * Galley Lunch. An enormous amount of effort to enable guests to walk through the galley to collect their own food – of course someone will be at the exit to carry it back to your table for you. * The Laundry. I sent a suit to be pressed and it was a bit late being returned, so I rang and asked for a hurry up. The suit was delivered – which was then I realized that we had not filled in the form correctly and hadn’t actually requested same day service. Feeling guilty I went to guest services next day and confessed, wouldn’t want the boys and girls in the laundry to get in trouble on my account. Seabourn People .. I like the people we meet on Seabourn [most of the people most of the time] and like the fact that cruising is a bit of a ‘leveller’, and for that short period of time that we cruise together we are treated as [almost] equal. Seabourn Special Requests .. Seabourn are excellent at accommodating peoples requests once they are on board, for example special meals, champagne and caviar for breakfast, private tables, anniversaries and celebrations, etc. Before we set off I lodged a special request with Seabourn in Seattle, for a pre-mix vodka drink for my wife[Smirnoff Ice] and a particular beer for me [Kilkenny] and subsequently exchanged a few emails on the subject. It was a delight to find out that both of these drinks were provided and the staff was very helpful in ensuring that the bars in which we drank stocked the beverages. Rio de Janeiro .. I was awake about 5.30am and stepped out onto the balcony to discover the Sugar Loaf Mountain just there – in front of me. We had arrived in Rio de Janeiro. So naturally I woke my wife. Disembarkation went according to plan – Seabourn are very good at letting you off when you want to get off, you just have to make sure you ask before hand. In a Nutshell .. Seabourn is wonderful cruise line. The ship was in first class condition and was exceptionally well appointed. The staff excell at delivering a personal service. The experience was luxurious. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We boarded the Seabourn Quest in Barcelona on October 26. This was our 1st Seabourn cruise. We had previously sailed on many cruises on the "mass market” lines and had one Regent voyage about 3 years ago. We spent 18 days on the ... Read More
We boarded the Seabourn Quest in Barcelona on October 26. This was our 1st Seabourn cruise. We had previously sailed on many cruises on the "mass market” lines and had one Regent voyage about 3 years ago. We spent 18 days on the Quest ending our cruise in Rio. The following are my impressions of the voyage and ship. From the moment we checked in we felt this cruise would be an exceptional one and we weren’t disappointed. We had booked a Wintergarden Suite and knew it would be large. It exceeded our expectations! The suite is well-laid out with plenty of storage space, pleasing décor, an extremely comfortable bed and great living space. We had a couple of parties in our suite and there was plenty of room for entertaining. At the second party we had 26 guests and weren’t crowded. Our cabin stewardess Natalie did a fantastic job and was the best attendant we’ve ever had. I had been reading the Seabourn forum and did have some misgivings about the issue of smoking. Perhaps we didn’t have many smokers on our cruise, but the only time that I really smelled it was in the Observation Bar in the evening when we would go there for a drink before dinner. I didn’t find it to be overwhelming or enough to put us off going there. The other thing that seemed to be endlessly discussed on the forum was the quality of the included wines and champagne. We enjoy wine with meals but are not by any means oenophiles. We found what was offered to be quite good with a nice variety available. Based on the consumption we saw around us at lunch and dinner our shipmates must have felt similarly. We can’t remember ever seeing as much champagne being consumed as we did on this cruise. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in The Colonnade and enjoyed both the venue and the food. We liked that there were tables outside so we could dine al fresco if we liked. The buffet available was always tasty with lots of options and we liked the specials that would be cooked to order and served at your table if we chose them. We had lunch with our trivia team in the dining room one day and I had a ladies’ lunch there as well. They were both very enjoyable. One of the highlights on the last sea day was the Galley Market Lunch. For those who don’t know what that is, in the dining room at one end a buffet of salads, cold meats and breads is set up. In the middle of the dining room are tables with a large variety of desserts. For everything else you must go into the galley which has been set up with stations offering all sorts of foods. As we entered the galley we were offered a shot of ice cold vodka. The things available included fondue, crab legs and claws, large prawns, mussels, sushi, roast suckling pig, beef, lamb, veal, gratins of vegetables and seafood, sausages and sauerkraut, pastas, etc, etc. Everything we selected was prepared very well. We ate most dinners in the main restaurant and never had to wait more than a moment or two for a table. The room was in our opinion a very nicely decorated and lighted venue. On two evenings we were invited to sit at an officer’s table and we found the company very enjoyable. One evening we ate at Restaurant 2, the only place for which you must make a reservation. The menu there is a tasting menu which changes a few times during the cruise. We found the food to be very tasty and extremely imaginative and creative. The room is small and intimate and it was a nice experience. On the last two nights we ate outside at the Colonnade with a group of friends and we enjoyed those meals as well. Sitting with the sound of the wake and watching a far off lightning storm was quite magical. It had been many years since we’d been on a ship as small as the Quest and never on one with so few passengers. We wondered how we would like making a transatlantic crossing on a ship of her size. Well, we decided she is just about perfect. With 450 passengers and 330 crew members the ship never felt crowded and our every need was taken care of almost instantly. The crew was always smiling, friendly and eager to help with anything they could. It was amazing to us that after only one encounter with a staff member they would remember our names and greet us with them when we walked past. The future cruise consultant Sara was a delight. The Destination Services manager (shore excursions) Claudio was also amazing. I asked him a question about a tour in Cape Verde. He wasn’t sure of the answer but said he would find out for me (we were at sea for a couple of days). The next day he contacted me to give me the answer after calling the tour operator in Cape Verde. I was impressed. This was also the first time in many cruises that we knew who the Cruise Director was. Usually we have no idea and don’t really care. On the Seabourn Quest our cruise director Handre was always visible and very competent and engaging. The facilities on the ship were also very nice and more than adequate for the number of people onboard (we did have a full ship). We didn’t have a problem getting a seat in the theater or lounges for any event. There were always deck chairs available. We went to a couple of the lectures and found them interesting and educational. We only saw a couple of shows but enjoyed them as well. On sea days we played trivia and liked the format Seabourn uses. We met some wonderful people as a result of playing. In every port except one we took Seabourn shore excursions. We found them all to be enjoyable. I think the largest number of people we had was one with 34 people. The guides were all very knowledgeable and did a good job. The longest one we took was from Casablanca to Marrakech. It was a long day but well worth the trip. Our guide Mo did a great job of making sure we were all secure as we wandered the souks in the old city. A couple of our tours included lunches (including the one in Marrakech) and the food was all very tasty. We thought the tours were well-priced for what we received. In conclusion, we agreed that this was our best cruise to date. Seabourn’s attention to detail makes the cruise experience truly exceptional. We liked it enough that we have booked another cruise for next year.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Seabourn Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 4.0
Service 4.5 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 5.0 4.3

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