6 Seabourn Ovation Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise for the itinerary which included a stop in the outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands. The ship is very nice though the design is odd. A good half a dozen times we encountered other passengers who joked about being ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which included a stop in the outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands. The ship is very nice though the design is odd. A good half a dozen times we encountered other passengers who joked about being lost / felt confused by the layout. The pool area creates a separation between cabins, and not in a good way. The enrichment activities on this cruises weren't good, particularly a featured speaker whose topics included the evils of globalization. Ironic in that he was speaking to a group of wealthy global trotters. Definitely a "clubby" atmosphere on board. The passengers love love love their Seabourn product. Amazing service throughout the voyage, start to finish. Good food though not a lot of fresh vegetables. At some ports, local musicians performed in the evenings-- marvelous. Embarkation and disembarkation were the smoothest we have ever experienced on a cruise. Bravo. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without ... Read More
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without rushing and it ended in Copenhagen where I did the same thing. It also included two overnights ( 3 full days) in St. Petersburg where there is so much to see. I have sailed on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and the now gone Renaissance cruises. Renaissance was actually a wonderful cruise line with beautiful small ships that was the closest to this experience. As far as the actual cruise I will say it was wonderful not having to wait and crowd into elevators, the ship was a great size not to large, not to small. It was great not having to fight for a pool chair or make reservations for everything. Loved not being asked to have my picture taken every five minutes, and not having shops with sales. The ship itself was new and immaculate. The suite with balcony was gorgeous. Bathroom was large, walk in closet with enough drawers and hangers was great. On the downside the entertainment with the exception of two shows was far from great and there was really no other activities. The service was great, the liquor flowed freely, afternoon tea was nice, tapas was great, caviar on request was a nice touch too. What was a huge disappointment was dinner in the dining room which most nights was fair at best. The Grille was only available for guests to reserve one night. It was excellent. The other nighttime restaurant was outside and it was too cold for that. Did not try the sushi restaurant. I was very surprised that the food in the main restaurant was no better than I had on other much less expensive cruise lines. The on deck cocktail party was wonderful, food was very good there. So was it worth the extra money. Not sure I could say yes. Given the intensive itinerary it was great to return to the ship and not have to wait for things and not have to rush and be able to be very comfortable in the room, but on another type of cruise I might have been bored and the lack of activities/entertainment combined with mediocre food would have been more problematic on a cruise with more sea says or less intensive itinerary. Did all private shore excursions or just the HOHO bus ship excursions were very expensive. Highly recommend Alla tours in St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet ... Read More
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet it or sit in the dining room - eat indoors or out. Service - especially bar service - was exceptional. We took the mid-cruise tour to Angkor Wat. It was very well organized with no waiting in line at check-in to a beautiful hotel. The guide was excellent and spoke understandable English. The temples themselves were amazing. Be prepared for a long hot day but totally worth it. We were disappointed Seabourn did not allow us to book any tours with them on the day of return from Angkor Wat to Saigon (even an evening tour) so we booked our own. My one complaint is that they were very stingy with details about flight times (until we were onboard) which made it difficult to arrange tour times with another company. We were not going to miss Saigon! We took a Saigon by Night Food Tour on Vespa bikes (professional drivers) and this was one of the best tour experiences our family has had! It is absolutely in the top 5 most memorable things we've ever done on a vacation. Saigon is beautiful at night and we zoomed along the river, through flower markets and ornately lit streets. We went to several night spots (one roof top, two with live music) and 2 restaurants. The food in Vietnam is delicious. I have to admit there were a couple of times we were going through an intersection and I just closed my eyes and hung on - you know what I mean if you've ever been in Vietnam. Traffic is controlled chaos. Our Vespa drivers were skilled and courteous and the bikes were easy to get on and off of. The guide was energetic and spoke excellent English. Again, a wonderful tour. If you are a little adventurous, this may be for you. In terms of complaints about Seabourn, we have a few. One - they have very limited laundry facilities. 5 washers and dryers for over 600 passengers - so don't plan on doing your own laundry unless you don't mind waiting a long time or doing it in the middle of the night. You can certainly have your clothes laundered but it takes 1-2 days to get them back and personally I prefer laundering my personal items myself - as do many people. Two - Seabourn schedules lectures and shows at 6 pm. They call these "pre-dinner" but some people have dinner reservations from 6-7 pm at the specialty restaurant, or are getting ready for dinner. We found this time caused conflicts and forced us to cancel a specialty dinner reservation - which we couldn't rebook - so we could see a show we wanted to see. The reservation was booked before the cruise and the show was added the day ahead so no warning ahead of time. Three - the community rooms and Grand Salon are poorly designed with large pillars blocking the view of the audience of the stage or screen. People were sitting down and then constantly moving because they couldn't see. Four - The disembarkation process was disorganized. We were told along with other passengers to get to immigration early because our flights were early so we could be first in line. But there was no one there to direct people so it was a free for all to get in line. We got behind 30 other people who came in after us. Immigration was fairly quick but Seabourn gets a D for disembarkation organization. They should stagger groups of people based on their flight times like Crystal Cruises. Finally, recorded lectures could not be replayed as promised due to another Seabourn glitch so we missed some lectures we wanted to see. Not a biggie but the little things add up. I would definitely take another Seabourn cruise though. Once you understand issues peculiar to them, you can work around them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed once on Regent and once on Viking Ocean and have an upcoming Crystal cruise. Before this cruise we had just completed 4 other cruises totalling 54 days. We flew from Miami to Dubai to take this cruise. Unfortunately I picked up the flu while onboard which did limit my ability to enjoy the cruise fully. Speaking to other passengers it sounded like respiratory (and some noro) had been common problems on the preceding legs. Unfortunately initial impressions were poor as the embarkation process was shocking. Taxis did not know where to drop passengers and so we had to drag bags a long way and then entered what can only be described as a bare shed with no air conditioning. The luggage collection process was the worst I have ever seen, no organisation at all, after waiting for far too long I gave up found a copy of the passenger manifest lying around and wrote out my own luggage tags and left out luggage in the middle of the shed and presumed somebody would eventually pick it up (obviously they did). We then joined another long queue (described by a fellow guest as an easyjet style check in). Eventually we reached the desk where we waited 20 minutes to get our key, others were getting theirs in 5 minutes. We asked to speak to the only Seabourn representative in the shed and she sped the process up. We were handed a keycard and nothing else, no information, nothing. Again nobody on the pier and eventually on entering the ship we found the CD Handre to greet us. We then wandered aimlessly through the ship until we stumbled across lunch. Thankfully things picked up after this underwhelming start. The ship itself is gorgeous inside and out (although you could tell some finishings were a bit poor). Modern art everywhere. Public areas like the Square and the Ovation lounge were lovely places to relax in. There are loads of small outdoor spaces for relaxing although many are marred by smoking areas. Also the private extra cost Retreat (which strangely is never mentioned or advertised) limits a lot of usable space. There is one self service laundry with excellent quality machines which is perpetually busy. Cabin - this is probably the major highlight of the ship. Our suite was large, modern, comfortable and stylish. We loved the walk in closet, there was more storage than we knew what to do with. The bed was comfortable although not as large as others we have experienced. The tv is large with loads of on demand options although there was functionality problems with both the music and the lectures. The lounge area is very spacious and the wet bar is great, although not set up on the first day as requested they added things daily. The balcony and furniture was great but it got dirty frequently and needed better cleaning. The bathroom was very spacious and sleek with separate bath and twin vanities. The shower was a little small but worked well. We loved getting caviar sent to the suite in the late afternoons and enjoying the sunsets. Dining - there are several venues although they don't differ significantly in style and cuisine (sushi excepted). A major plus was how visible the executive chef was. The major highlights were the caviar in the surf followed by an amazing lobster bbq on the beach (logistically very impressive), an amazing Indian buffet dinner which had amazing detail and superb curries, caviar anywhere anytime. Breakfast in the Colonnade featured great fruit and a good mix of buffet and a la carte options, unfortunately early service was slow and forgetful. Similarly lunch in the same venue featured great variety and quality and changed daily and has a lovely outdoor area but was marred by service problems, no drinks and main courses completely forgotten on consecutive days. A discreet word to the manager saw immediate improvement. Seabourn does have an issue with their failure to assign one server to a table which meant constantly repeating requests, wine and water being refilled with incorrect choices etc.A fellow guest who is a Seabourn regular was shocked dining with us that we had to reconfirm our water choice more than 8 times in one meal (we told her that was a nightly occurrence). We thought the patio (burger bar) option was very average for lunch and only ate here once. Sushi (and ramen) were a nice option for variety. We had dinner in a variety of venues. The mdr was very nice with good quality food. Service here was good without being great with the wine and water issues regularly raising their ugly heads. The earth and ocean concept is a good one and poplar but very inconsistent. Our first night was very slow with side dishes forgotten and staff not being able to explain dishes. Our second attempt was excellent as we ate much later and the staff was under less pressure. The Colonnade was good and provided great variety but was often understaffed outdoors which led to long waits. Sushi did a great formal night set menu, the small venue is casual, quality is solid without being great but provides some much needed flexibility. The TK grill is supposedly the speciality restaurant on board, the space is sleek and stylish, the adjoining bar has a piano player but service was again patchy and cocktails only average. The food was good quality but it was basic fare and never changed. What we really disliked was the service and ambience, they were clearly trying to be arrogant and intimidating but just come off as painful and rigid. Entertainment - The CD Handre is probably the best we have encountered, highly visible, busy, approachable, amusing and clearly talented as a musician. His trivia was a highlight, especially the final round! Sea days included loads of activities from games to lectures with the art and jewellery classes being a highlight. The shows were typical of those we have experienced on small ships, good without being sensational. The Tim Rice show was a little disappointing given the hype. The guest comedian Steve Stevens was a highlight. Seabourn did a great job with parties and events such as the Country Fair, Outdoor dance party, Captains farewell - all fun events. There was plenty of music options with the quartet being our favourite - the combination of Gary and Shae doing duets was a highlight and all of the band members hosted activities which were loads of fun. The other bands and piano player (could have been more engaging) were all very talented. Service - this is what we were most looking forward to. We had heard of the legendary service levels, name recognition and ability to fulfil requests. The reality was quite mixed. It was clear there was a lot of new staff, especially in the dining and bars and we often heard arguing and complaining amongst staff which should not happen. Guest relations were excellent both on the phone and in person. Housekeeping was good but they seemed paranoid and we often found the supervisor in our room and twisting our words to make it seem we were complaining (we did no such thing and were happy with our attendant). Bar service in the main bars was solid without being exceptional with Sasha being the standout. The Colonnade was marred by problems but management fixed it for us but others were constantly highlighting the problems. For us the biggest let down was the pool areas. Chairs were reserved all day on sea days and not policed. The small deck 5 pool had every chair taken one day (more than 20) with only 2 people actually there. Worse though was pool side service. My wife was routinely ignored to the point she refused to attend the pool area at all half way thru the cruise, at one point a server spilt a drink on her and didn't offer to help clean it up. My final day I spent 4 hours by the pool and never once was asked if I wanted something. None of the myriad of glasses and dishes (all self served) were ever cleaned up. The quality of drinks was so bad we actually made a server try the frozen margaritas they were sending out and he had to spit it out and apologise. Another server begged me not to order a cocktail and told me to pick my favourite spirit and mixer and even then said it was a risk. Most guests were giving up and just ordering champagne and wine. There was no beer list and the barmen would not tell you what was available - it was an absolute joke of a pool bar. The managers would try and improve it but it would only be a temporary solution. Ports- had been to most of them and with illness only got off twice. Port talks were offered but the information often had basic mistakes. Disembarkation was relaxed but as usual Singapore port was slow with long queues. Overall - a sleek ship with fabulous cabins, a great CD and activities. Service levels are patchy, smoking is intrusive, lack of outdoor walking areas. Would like to try their smaller ships if the price were right. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the ... Read More
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the Seabourn itinerary was sold out. Silversea fared quite favourably in terms of service and food but the Silver Shadow was badly in need of refurbishment. The Ovation is a beautiful ship and spacious. We rarely had difficulty finding a seat anywhere. The cabins are spacious, well designed and functional with great bath and shower facilities. Our stewardess Maggie was very good and unobtrusive doing most of the housekeeping while we were out of the cabin. She did a great job of tracking down the beers and wines that we liked best and kept them well stocked. Turndown was great with nightly chocolate. Overall food quality was very good however on several occasions in the Colonade, at breakfast and lunch, the staff was overwhelmed with the number of people they had to serve. Even in the Restaurant at dinner the staff was occasionally overwhelmed. No complaints about any individuals as most were friendly and worked hard BUT there was not enough of them to provide the level of service provided on the smaller ships. The Keller was a relaxing, quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Restaurant with great service however the limited menu and food was disappointing especially the lamb that did not come close to the lamb served in the Restaurant and Colonade. On the plus side the Dover sole was the best anywhere. The shore excursions to several less travelled ports were generally very good. Hamburg, Lubeck, Berlin, Klaipeda, Saarema, and Turku were outstanding. The sail away in Szczecin was fantastic with the 3 cannon, 3 volley salute from the Prussian guard. Peter Damisch enrichment lectures were excellent. Most annoying was the lack of USB charging ports in the cabins and slow internet service. Whoever designed the ship sure messed up on this. In addition, the price charged for the terrible internet service was outrageous. Time for Seabourn to include this in the cruise fare. Seabourn is the only "luxury" cruise line to charge extra for internet. Apart for the internet and occasional service gap a good cruise - definitely 4 star but not 5. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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
Sail Date June 2018
Seabourn Ovation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.6

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