4 Seabourn Quest Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to South America from Manaus

This was a once in a lifetime cruise starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, this cruise was ... Read More
This was a once in a lifetime cruise starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, this cruise was forty-two days and technically two back to back cruises on Seabourn Quest, which is reinforced for Antarctica. This was the last summer trip to Antarctica for the season. We are somewhat adventurous active 60’s with a strong FOMO attitude. This was our second Seabourn cruise. Our first was around the boot of Italy and Croatia. We were so impressed this time that we have signed on for Seabourn’s 146 day 2020 World Cruise. A main difference for the Seabourn Antarctica cruises is their expedition style. The style during the six days of Antarctica landings is true expedition with professional naturalists, wildlife and geology briefings, safety briefings, equipment checks and lots of outdoor activities. But no doubt, Seabourn Quest is a luxury ship for around 450 passengers with fine dining, spacious cabins, inclusive beverages (even alcoholic), spa services and intuitive anticipatory service. The ratio of crew to guest is about 85 to 100. Food was better than cruise ship average but could still improve on spices and regional dish selection and variety. The main restaurant serves four courses with a variety of daily house wines. Premium wine is available at a premium cost. The Colonnade is buffet style with excellent salad and entrée choices with indoor and outdoor seating. Menu is often theme oriented. Patio/pool side dining has basic fare of burgers, pizza, grilled shrimp, tacos and grilled meat of the day. The Grill is an upscale “steak house” without added cost but limited seating requiring reservation. It is over the top service including some dishes prepared tableside. The menu has classic, timeless dishes like steaks, lobster thermidor, and Caesar salad. The menu has a varied “dish of the day” but other options remain the same. In suite dining is inclusive and includes the restaurant daily course menu as well as basics. Guests are regularly invited to share a table of eight to twelve hosted by a Seabourn Quest staff member or naturalist. We chose a Veranda Suite which is just less than 300 sq ft and well designed with a walk-in closet, small desk space (sized and plugged for charging devices). There is a queen bed, nice living area with full square table for eating and working. There is a small comfortable sofa, chairs, pull out TV and bar area. (We had our cabin stewardess remove the over abundance of decorative pillows). There are additional drawers and storage space in the TV and bar cabinets. The veranda has two chairs with a small table. Lay back loungers would have been a nice touch. The veranda is very private except in ports when moored beside other ships. Cabin service is unmatched. Cleaning service is at least twice a day. Stewardess is quick to help with special requests. Lots of towels and no annoying signs about laundry/water conservation. For well traveled passengers, it is implied. There are ample electrical plugs and lighting. Mini bar and house liquor,wine and glasses are promptly replenished. Ship facilities are large and spacious considering the number of passengers. Pools and pool areas are small but chairs are always available and are is swept and clean. Towels and drink service easily available. The Grand Salon has space for all passengers in a single sitting for information, lectures and entertainment. It has comfortable padded chairs and sofas for 3-5 people. But supporting columns are impossible to see around. So it was necessary to scope out preferred seats. Self serve wine/beer/soft drinks were available upon entry to Grand Salon. Full bar table service was also available but limited number of servers, so minimal attention here. Entertainment is pretty standard cruise ship style. In fact, we knew dancers from a previous (HAL) cruise. But the program on the first three week cruise was repeated exactly on the second three week cruise even though we were mostly the same guests. Regional programs brought on board were more enjoyable and unique even if not always in English. The Seabourn Quest (and sister ships) are small and easy to navigate with lots of elevators. Staff is friendly always saying hello and often calling us by name. The Seabourn Square is comfortable with a minimal library. Available snacks, specialty coffees, drinks are included. Bar and club entertainment is OK. Lots of seating and dance space. Small casino. Excursions are much improved from our first Seabourn cruise when more than half were cancelled. One of our excursions on this cruise went on even though there were only four people. Local maps and information for us independent types was available at least a day before. But we did wish for the HAL just in case card that had taxi ready port address and phone numbers in local language. The shore excursion staff will also make special personal arrangements. We used this service for opera tickets in Buenos Aires. Their follow thru determination included contact by fax for critical ticket timing and approval to a pre-cruise, on our own, resort without wifi. They arranged box seats and a driver to and from the Opera House. The Antarctica week of the cruise was amazing. It was certainly expedition style. Included in our fare were daily landing excursions off the ship for all passengers. There were zodiac rides, hikes and penguin encounters. Hikes were short or long by choice. Might be a beach walk or a mile hike up the hill. Only 100 people are allowed ashore at a time so we were divided into five groups with changing daily excursion time. Naturalists were waiting on shore as well as on the zodiacs. Zodiac landings were in groups of twelve. Of course, there was boarding assistance for safety and ease. This part of the cruise does require stamina for physical activity and cold weather. But unmatched geography, animals, and ice! A highlight was Deception Island. The captain maneuvered our ship inside this volcanic caldron. Even though the air and land temp was below freezing, the water was tea temp, approx. 90 deg F. Parkas are provided. Boots and walking poles are available to rent. So no need to take up packing space for these. Gloves, hats, scarves and extra layers are absolutely necessary. An excellent list is sent pre-cruise. Kayaking is available in Antarctica as an extra purchased excursion. This is an opportunity for a second daily landing, even for inexperienced kayakers. These are two person kayaks. The trips are well supervised by special kayaking naturalists. Kayakers get a special pass to join any zodiac group of the day for scheduling purposes. Each Antarctica day ends with a pre-dinner recap in the lounge by the naturalists. This includes the next day plan and special documentary topics. The rest of the cruise up the east side of South America was quite enjoyable but not nearly as unusual. Lots of beach and urban ports. We were able to take a Zodiac tour deep into the bays of the Amazon River. All in all, the perfect trip for FOMO adventurists with strong luxury ship preferences. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star ... Read More
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star cruise ship , my arrival was direct from the airport , the schedule washboard on April 7 and ship overnights 1 night in Manaus so touring Manaus was very helfull using the ship as a hotel with all its confort that really struck any pasta large cruise pax as my self . thus was my first small cruise ship and ohh my what a difference , on arrival to my cabin located on deck 7 , the cabin attendant welcomes us and in a tray she has a menu of different types of soaps to chose or select during your cruise , it seem like a different and very intimate gesture , after departing I notice that every thing was so near by and this made everything so nice , another unique appointment to me was that the ship has a suit tub in the bow and decently every night before 20:00 hrs I made my list and just sat there and watch the the amazon go by with a glass of Champaign served to me every Time , the food was just incredible , fool of taste a different and unusual flavors created every day , the observation deck was a magical plcace where the piano man sat and entertain all guest , the caves was always a must here before dinner here , I really think the ships from seaboard are very well thought through out and really can wait to be papers again , the bed linen and pillows where the best I have sleep on and probably made my rest the best on a vacation which I think I had deserve , what I think they could improve is ti have more reasonable priced excursion on the zodiac the where good bu hey USD 500.00 for 2 pax situation ..I ended fonding my own excursion in ports and was way luckier than the rest of the fellow passenger at least on adrenalin of the Amazon , hopefully I can afford to go to Antartica on the Quest ! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I picked this cruise because of the unusual and very interesting itinerary. I do not regret selecting this cruise. The crew was very interactive with the guests and catered to our desires. The size of the ship and the quality of the ... Read More
I picked this cruise because of the unusual and very interesting itinerary. I do not regret selecting this cruise. The crew was very interactive with the guests and catered to our desires. The size of the ship and the quality of the guests lead to a community atmosphere. I think by the end of the cruise there were more than 100 guests and almost the entire crew that greeted me by name. The hosted table option concept supported the interaction with different guests and crew members which was very welcome for me as a solo traveler. Dining was always good and sometimes great. There were several special events that kept the dining options from getting boring. I really like the "conversationalists". There were interesting and added to the enjoyment of the ports. Minor issues: Internet speed onboard was slower than other ships I have been on. This is a concern for me since I am still working part time and needed to stay in touch with clients. There were only four washing machines for guests to use for the entire ship. Many guests had laundry privileges due to their frequent travel status mitigating the issue somewhat. The pre-port briefs were a plus but the information and maps provided could have been lots better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star ... Read More
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star hotel with a nice breakfast. We took a taxi to the port, a few miles away. The ship was familiar to the others in the fleet. Very well decorated and meticulously kept. Our first stop when checking in was friendly and painless; we felt immediately at home. We met the Cruise Director, Jan, and her assistant, Ashley, who turned out to be the hardest working cruise staff we've seen. They were everywhere; and they were former singers who were also very entertaining. Our suite was immaculate and included bottles of our favorite liquor as we started. The bathrooms were amazing; marble everywhere and a tub for soaking in the afternoon with a glass of wine. The crew on this ship, as we had experienced on the Odyssey, was very friendly, unhurried, and welcoming. Everyone seemed to be very happy to see us, and it was infectious. Passengers coming from all over the world took the cue and greeted each other warmly. The dining facilities were fantastic; Theme dinners in the Colonnade dining room and, in the main dining room; well prepared dishes with moderate portions served so that we had time to meet and converse with fellow diners. We met many people who became friends. The ship's entertainment was much better than we'd expected; very talented singers, lounge acts and musicians. Dmitri and his small band sounded like a big band. We participated in the Trivia and it was very entertaining, with Jan and Ashley officiating. We used the gym and hot tubs daily. The gym was well appointed and you could always find a machine to use. We had breakfast delivered several time and it was surprisingly well done; white tablecloths on our verandah table and silver and all the appointments. The bar staff was always friendly and efficient. We had a pianist, Rogerio, and a cellist, Andrew, who were fantastic. Very surprised and delighted to get such stars on a small ship. The trip up the Amazon was not as exciting as we'd expected. The river is wide and muddy, with not much chance to see wildlife. We took a tour at Santarem to see a local farm and watch manioc and rubber preparation. The towns along the river were interesting but trashy. Fortaleza had a couple of sights, including the market and Cathedral. One highlight, at Natal, was the dune buggy we booked on our own (picked up a dune buggy outside the port for a fraction of the ship tour price) Great tours of the local beaches and a real E ticket trip among the dunes. We took the ship's tour of Recife/Olinda on buses. Nice tour but we think we could have done better with a private car, and for much less. Buzios was nice, but it poured down hard and the ship almost pulled up it's anchor while we were in port. Several tours were cancelled and money was refunded. Ilhabela was very nice. Great beaches and lovely places to drink Cerveza and enjoy the view. Here's a tip: The ship had 3 fantastic guest lecturers. One of them, Dr. Roger Luckenbach, was an expert at all the ports. Before I left the U.S., I downloaded maps from CityMapstoGo, an iPhone app. When Roger mentioned a likely spot to visit in any city, I marked it on my map and was able to "connect the dots" on a walking tour. The iPhone has a native GPS built in and it only needs a local map for navigation. Wifi not needed. Great App! Plus, Roger was an entertaining and endlessly informative guide. Two other lecturers added greatly to the trip. Dr. Ian Dalziel gave insightful lectures on the topography and underlying geology of South America. Dr. Don Goldsmith; who we had the privilege to dine with one night, is an amazing astronomer/astrophysicist. We had only a couple of nights of clear weather for southern hemisphere "stargazing," but they were highlights of the trip. Rio was great. We succumbed to a "private car" from one of the jewelry companies in Rio (we met a rep, Christian, on the ship) After a tour of the store and a look at the jewelry (and a purchase, but that's not necessary) they provided us a driver and guide for the whole day. We were able to see the highlights of Rio, including a trip up Sugarloaf. We were a little disconcerted when we were told how much of Rio was considered unsafe for walking, but the city itself was amazing. We booked a ship's tour of a Samba show; the show itself was fantastic once it started. The trip to the show and the delay were worth it; but I think it was probably a $75 show that we paid $150 for. Montevideo was a great town; we took the Alchemist/Tango show there, with highlights of the city and we were well satisfied. We debarked the ship at Buenos Aires (sadly) and spent four days touring this fantastic city before flying home. Disembarkation very unhurried and calm. One sad note; when you leave the ship at Buenos Aires; if you have private arrangements, you are steered to a taxi line which overcharges you. We paid 25 dollars up front for a four mile taxi ride to our hotel. Didn't seem to be any alternative. In short; we LOVE this cruise line. They don't hassle you to buy anything; tips are not expected, everything is uncrowded and unhurried. The crew passes this relaxed vibe along to the passengers and everyone is well behaved and polite. You get the feeling you are on a private yacht that happens to have some other passengers on board. The sense of pride in the ship and the cruise line is palpable. Congratulations to all! My recommendations: Book your own private car tours when possible, before leaving home. Get the CityMapstoGo app and mark your favorite spots. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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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