On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking ... Read More
On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking crew.
As others have mentioned, service was not perfect on this cruise, but, most of the time it was excellent. I choose not to dwell on a couple or three meals where there was chaos ruling (often due to language difficulties). The vast majority of the time, our food was served timely and well along with wine or other drinks that we ordered. The ship's crew included some superlative members who gave everything they did a personal touch. This is one reason we love Seabourn.
Any review of food is, necessarily a very subjective experience. The ship's passengers come from several continents and have different expectations when it comes to food choices and seasoning. What some would call bland, others would call just right. Personally, we found the food to be usually excellent. We ate mostly in the MDR (The Restaurant), but also enjoyed offerings at The Colonnade and Earth and Ocean (the new concept on the Patio in the evening). We also had three meals at the TK Grill over 21 days. We enjoyed the TK Grill, but found the chicken to be WAY too salty, while others thought it was perfect. Again, different perspectives on food. We loved the appetizer prawns the steak, mushrooms and especially the Dover Sole.
We enjoyed quite a number of room service breakfasts, but found the room service for dinner (tried it twice) to be very lackluster. I do not recommend it. Breakfast in the MDR was outstanding and such a peaceful experience.
Tea time at 4pm each afternoon was delightful. While you do have to go to a buffet for your sandwiches and other tidbits, tea service itself was prompt and cordial --along with refills if you wanted them.
We ordered caviar a number of times (usually sharing with others) and it was a fun experience.
The ports on this cruise were interesting--they included Hamburg, Wismar (Germany), Sceczsin (Poland), Klapeda (Lithuania), Turku (Finland), Saaramar (Estonia), Bornholm (Denmark), Stockholm, Tallin (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Helsinki. We missed Visby, Sweden due to rough seas. While some passengers complained about the Polish port (very industrial) and the port on the island of Saaramar, Estonia, I found the both to be memorable experiences. Neither of these ports are tourist meccas. That is one of the things that makes them interesting. We also enjoyed the island of Bornholm, even though our tour took in a lot of venues in just a few hours (one of eight round churches on the island, castle ruins, and glass making) Our tour guide on Bornholm, while a bit rough around the edges, was a proud Dane and gave us a real sense of what the local people are like. His English was quite good. We toured Tallin on our own--a wonderful experience. Our St. Petersburg guides were quite good---a lot of sightseeing packed into three days. We were in Helsinki a very short time (leaving at 2pm) but glad to have been there. A real highlight for me was Lubeck, Germany which we toured from Hamburg. I highly recommend going to Lubeck,
A word about the cruise director--Handre. He is EXCELLENT. Handre is a true asset for Seabourn and makes every cruise more fun.
Entertainment--The Seabourn Singers are excellent, but for me, the background music was way too loud. I would have enjoyed their voices being more front and center. The singers are delightful people. They mingled with the passengers and it was fun to talk to them. We enjoyed the Tim Rice Show, the Through the Decades Show, and the Nashville Show. The mentalist was very entertaining. We did not enjoy the comics, but once again, any attempt review entertainment is very subjective.
Enrichment--We attended four lectures by Peter Damslich on the Hanseatic League and the Romanovs. All were quite excellent with fabulous slides to go along with his talk.
Poolside dining--We enjoyed many lunches around the pool. I heartily recommend the Napa Burger. The Pool Bar staff is very attentive. The new Earth and Air venue around the pool in the evening is quite good--with excellent presentation.
This was our second Seabourn cruise (the first being on the Encore) and it was great fun. We plan cruise Seabourn again. Read Less