117 Seabourn Encore Cruise Reviews

After four Seabourn journeys, I can say the experience is so enjoyable that I have no interest in trying other cruise ships. Comfort, food, service etc all first class. Furthermore I make three points: (A) whoever thought up and/or ... Read More
After four Seabourn journeys, I can say the experience is so enjoyable that I have no interest in trying other cruise ships. Comfort, food, service etc all first class. Furthermore I make three points: (A) whoever thought up and/or designed the Town Square concept should be given a double bonus; (B) the system operated by the banks where one’s account is automatically closed down after(about) an unused five minutes would go down well with those of us who forget to close off our wifi accounts; and (C) the talks by Captain Martin on early and very early and very very early exploration of Asia and particularly the Pacific were outstanding and informative. Is there a DVD? I will buy. Every Australian child should be sat down at school and at home to watch. I knew much, but doubt that my grandchildren know any of it. The decision to terminate in Adelaide rather than carry on back to Sydney as per our original itinerary, was the correct one. Sitting off Sydney with eleven other cruise ships would have been our experience. Well done Seabourn! I should add that I found the handling of the termination of our cruise was impressive. The Captain and crew kept us well informed of the situation, and handled efficiently and at short notice, all the arrangements associated with complicated and short notice re-bookings, and our departure. A key reason disembarkation went without complications was because there were (apparently) no illnesses on board, thanks to competent and active hygiene supervision by the crew, particularly in the dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was a lovely cruise experience overall. We were fortunate to have sailed on the Encore last year and so can offer a comparison. Briefly, we found that while still very good, there were a couple of areas where things were not quite as ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise experience overall. We were fortunate to have sailed on the Encore last year and so can offer a comparison. Briefly, we found that while still very good, there were a couple of areas where things were not quite as good as on our previous cruise. There seemed to be a greater number of new staff who clearly were getting up to speed with their jobs. They were doing there best but sometimes made mistakes with orders and didn't quite have the warmth of engagement which comes with confidence of your responsibilities. For instance, in the Observation Lounge, the resourcing seemed stretched compared with last year and the standard of the cocktails variable. Also, I was somewhat disappointed to find that the house champagne had been 'downgraded' to a different and lesser brand from the "Nicolas" label which the company had used for several years. I don't believe that was a sensible move, although I recognise it must have been driven by cost cutting demands. As for food, the quality remains first class in all outlets; but I personally found the menus more pretentious than last year--perhaps due to the ideas of the Chef, who was different from last year. Also it's disappointing to see foie gras still heavily featured when many companies are following a more ethical policy of withdrawing this cruelly produced food from regular menus. The internet service remains patchy. I fully understand and accept the technical issues that make internet provision difficult at sea. But then to charge hefty fees for its use is somewhat exploitative. This policy and pricing should be reviewed. Finally, lest the above comments come across as too critical, let me stress that they are written from a baseline of everything being highly satisfactory or better. None of what I have said would stop me recommending the Encore to others looking for a top quality cruise experience. And despite the loss of some experienced staff for whatever reason, temporary or otherwise, there are still "stars" on board who go above and beyond the call of duty. People who Seabourn can be very proud of like for example Inna and Mihaela in housekeeping; Bernard, Amil and Helena in the Colonnade Restaurant; Eunice in the main Restaurant; and Dragana and Nicola in the Square Coffee Shop. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first trip with Seabourn and we thought it was amazing. We liked that the ship was much smaller than ones we had been on before, and it is unlikely that we’d ever travel on the larger ones again. Obviously there are ... Read More
This was our first trip with Seabourn and we thought it was amazing. We liked that the ship was much smaller than ones we had been on before, and it is unlikely that we’d ever travel on the larger ones again. Obviously there are differences with the smaller scale. The restaurants all close at 8.45 p.m. and there’s not a continual buffet service available as on the huge ships, however for us this wasn’t a problem. You’re definitely not going to starve! We enjoyed all the dining venues, the food was fabulous and the staff charming. We also liked that all drinks were included in the fare. (There are some choices that can be purchased but everything freely available was very good) We’re not big drinkers but it’s nice not to have to think about that as an additional cost. And oh my goodness, the cocktails are amazing! I had assumed that the entertainment would be on a smaller scale too, but far from it. There were a series of excellent, polished and engaging performances in the Grand Salon (one night a film was put on instead of a show) Also there were other musical offerings in other venues throughout the ship, also excellent. We also went to the golf putting and baggo competitions a couple of times which are not wildly exciting but offer an opportunity to mix with fellow guests if you’re at a loose end. (I’d quite like to see some crafting activities available too. Nothing fancy but the chance to learn a new skill. There were knit and natter sessions, but as I didn’t know until we got on board I hadn’t brought any supplies) We joined in the Trivia quiz, ably hosted by Ross & Dave, which was a lot harder than we expected (despite being seasoned quizzers) and surprisingly competitive (We quiz for fun but it was apparent that it was definitely a matter of life or death for the majority of the attendees) I think the only thing I didn’t enjoy were the talks/slide show in the Grand Salon on what was available to visit at each of the ports. I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it, but for the fact that the person giving the lectures made derogatory remarks about the area of Bali that was our ultimate destination, after leaving the ship, Nusa Dua. (“I can’t imagine why any one would want to stay there”) I felt incredibly deflated and then quite angry. It’s tempting to expand on this point but I won’t, but would like to say we were very happy with our choice to stay in Nusa Dua. We also attended Herman’s 5 at 5, which covered all information necessary for the independent traveller along with a printout and found it very useful. There are chargeable items on board, of course. We didn’t use the Spa so can’t comment on that. I thought the WiFi was ridiculously expensive and didn’t avail myself of it but I think Seabourn could usefully explore lower cost options for basic WiFi usage. I don’t want any more than to WhatsApp family members, periodically. The WiFi in the terminal buildings of the ports we visited was mostly pretty good though. The trips from the ship are also very expensive. We chose not to go on them as we had 5 days in Bali to explore under our own steam. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have cruised on 2 other cruise lines ( Windstar and Ponant) over the years. I chose this cruise of 24 days from Singapore to Sydney due to the fact that many of the ports I had never visited. I had been on the Encore once before ... Read More
I have cruised on 2 other cruise lines ( Windstar and Ponant) over the years. I chose this cruise of 24 days from Singapore to Sydney due to the fact that many of the ports I had never visited. I had been on the Encore once before slightly over a year ago and really loved the ship and her crew. The food was excellent overall, and I mainly chose to eat in The Restaurant which I have always found to be predictably very good. The food on this cruise was outstanding in quality overall and presentation. The waiters, sommeliers and management staff ran a smooth operation, with most desires met before needing to ask. They work very hard to see you have a 5 star dining experience in all aspects. My suite on deck 8 was very clean and well laid out. My stewardess Yuliia went way beyond the basics to provide excellent service daily throughout the cruise. The entertainment I chose mostly for this cruise was the bar at Thomas Keller on deck 8. The evening piano/vocalist Gavin was amazing, and had a loyal following on the ship both before and after dinner. He is so talented and creative at the piano! He also has a perfect vocal range for the soft contemporary/old school classics he specializes in. Seabourn does an outstanding job in my opinion in all areas of upscale cruising. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose Seabourn again, because we had tried other lines - Silversea and Regent. On those other lines the excursions were great, but we were not impressed with the food or service. Seabourn had recently hired a new chef for the pool ... Read More
We chose Seabourn again, because we had tried other lines - Silversea and Regent. On those other lines the excursions were great, but we were not impressed with the food or service. Seabourn had recently hired a new chef for the pool deck evening dining venue - called Earth and Sea. Phenomenal food. Better than any restaurant we have in Seattle or anywhere else. After trying the other dining choices, all of which were good, we ended up eating at Earth and Sea every night. By the end of the cruise word had spread, and it was hard to get a table there. We weren’t impressed with the Thomas Keller dining room…oddly pretentious and mediocre food. They do offer exceptional wines by the glass and wine pairings at Keller, which is a nice addition. We had a much better steak at Earth and Sea. The cruise director was very entertaining and engaging. The staff was warm and attentive. The ship is beautiful - with staterooms larger than the ones on their former smaller ships. Most, but not all, of the land excursions were very good. Seabourn didn't offer an opportunity to rate the land excursions that the other cruise lines do. I think that's a missed opportunity to get valuable feedback, particularly where passenger safety is concerned. In addition to a pool and hot tubs, there are many activities offered throughout the day. The spa management seemed a bit disorganized, but the services were good. We have already decided to a Seabourn cruise for 2020 and 2021. Highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Smaller cruise line, very attentive crew, nothing was a problem,this was the second of the seabourn ships we have been on, the year before we were on the Oncore but prefer the Odyssey, so much so we have booked our trip for next year on ... Read More
Smaller cruise line, very attentive crew, nothing was a problem,this was the second of the seabourn ships we have been on, the year before we were on the Oncore but prefer the Odyssey, so much so we have booked our trip for next year on the Odyssey, she is just a bit smaller than the encore and we felt more at home. Our cabin on both ships was fabulous, really roomy and great bathrooms. We loved the selection of dining and ate at The Thomas Kellar when we were able, Could not fault the crew, always very happy and there for our enjoyment, ports and shore excurtions also great. We don't think it is a ship for children as there is nothing for them to do, which is another reason we chose Seabourn and have told so many of our friends all of the wonderful treats on board. The ship was very modern and very clean. Judi and Alan Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Because of the destination and the reviews is why we picked Seabourn .After sailing with Seabourn I will never go with another cruise. It was outstanding in every way. We have been with 6 other cruise lines in the past and Seabourn is far ... Read More
Because of the destination and the reviews is why we picked Seabourn .After sailing with Seabourn I will never go with another cruise. It was outstanding in every way. We have been with 6 other cruise lines in the past and Seabourn is far superior. The food in all the resturants was excellant. The staff could not do enough for you and there was a lot of them. From the embarkation to the disembarkation it was all far above what I expected. We loved the entertainment . We loved the size of the ship being not so huge. We used the pool area , fitness center and the spa and loved our experince at each one. Everywhere was spotlessly clean. Our cabin attendant was wonderful .We loved the layout of our cabin which was a regular suite with lots of room, walk in closet, bathtub, big shower, and nice size balcony. We loved all the ports of call on the itinerary . We hope to go on another cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for our honeymoon because of the raving reviews about the service and luxury of the ship and Seabourn. We were highly disappointed. Our room was probably the worst on the ship and this may be the main reason for ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our honeymoon because of the raving reviews about the service and luxury of the ship and Seabourn. We were highly disappointed. Our room was probably the worst on the ship and this may be the main reason for our disappointment. 843, next to a service area and below the pool bar service area. Crew started work everyday at 4 am. It was unreal as we woke up to horrific noise of dragging pool chairs and other noise we could not identify, every morning at 4 am. I am not exaggerating. We had to call and beg for the noise to stop and for work to start at a reasonable time. Seabourn did not care and did absolutely nothing to help us get rest or move us to an available cabin (the ship has vacant cabins). No one EVER returned our calls as we were told would happen or do anything to assist or make our stay better. I worked in hotels and resorts for over 15 years and there are many, many things that could have been done to make our stay more enjoyable. Our bathroom smelled like urine and items from the previous guest were still in the room including hair in the bath tub and shower. It was actually quite nasty as we were tracking where the long black hairs were moving around our bathroom each day as our room was supposedly cleaned. Our room attendant was really sub par and didn’t not respond to our requests. She actually asked us to leave 90 minutes before we were to vacate our room on the last day so someone could strip our bed. Come one! I mean we were already awake most of the nights as all of the luggage on the 8th floor was moved via the service elevator next to our room, and don’t forget the regular 4 am shift that was the loudest of the entire trip because Seabourn simply didn’t care as we were leaving in the morning. The coffee shop was wonderful! The Sushi restaurant food and service was wonderful and we ate there for lunch almost everyday. The Restaurant was excellent as well, for food and service. The entertainment wasn’t for anyone in our age range but it was excellent for the majority of the passengers in the 60+ age group. We knew this booking and it was okay because we wanted a relaxing honeymoon and quiet time together. Lots of puzzles, crosswords, and needlepoint workshops to do if you like that sort of thing. Seabourn could have selected better ports to visit as we were disappointed about the industrial working ports we visited on this cruise. More options for Marina days as there was only one and it was cancelled due to wind. I understand that most senior citizens may not be interested in marina day activities but since the rest of the voyage was really planned for them, have some options for active adults. The gym was small and had extremely limited options. We would have liked a peloton bike or two to use in the gym since there were no spin or fly wheel classes (or room for any). We did workout in the gym every day and did a 60 minute run off ship at the ports where we felt were safe places to run. Happy to be home and to get a good and full night sleep. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked a v2 suite (532) in June and not our normal guaranteed as there are a few v1 and v2 suites we really don’t like. Just over a week out British Airways pilots announced their strikes dates one of which was our departure day. ... Read More
We booked a v2 suite (532) in June and not our normal guaranteed as there are a few v1 and v2 suites we really don’t like. Just over a week out British Airways pilots announced their strikes dates one of which was our departure day. Seabourn quickly rebooked us on another flight on the previous day but unfortunately this was from Heathrow and not Gatwick (our local airport) as per our original flight so we had to rejig our airport transfer arrangements. We received no advice of this either from Seabourn or from our agent but we spotted it on our BA app. We checked with our agent and asked what the hotel arrangements would be but that was not resolved until 2 days before departure. Just under a week out we logged into our account with Seabourn and discovered we had been given an upgrade to a v6 on deck 10 again with no advice from the agent or Seabourn. The communication could have been much better on both these issues but I guess they were busy sorting out cancelled flights. On our new departure day the flights and transfers went smoothly and we had a nice hotel in Cannes. We transferred to the ship around lunchtime and were pleasantly surprised to find that our cabin was available. I fixed the Seabourn luggage labels to our suitcases before our transfer but of course the labels were for our previous suite having been posted to us around 6 weeks out. I did try to change them to our new suite number with some tape as they are difficult to write on. One suitcase arrived in our cabin very quickly but not the other. I enquired several times but was told on each occasion that they were still distributing the luggage. I also took a trip down to deck 5 to see if my bag was there but no sign. On our way to our muster station via the crew stairwell there it was!! Our missing suitcase was stuck in a corner… ..abandoned!! So eventually the missing bag arrived… 4 hours after the first one and just in time to change for dinner. The bar in our cabin was stocked with our selected spirits but as on our previous trip on Odyssey last year our chosen beer was nowhere to be seen and after some enquiries nowhere on the ship. I raised this a few times even with the hotel manager when we met him one evening but I got nowhere. So if you want anything just ask doesn’t work if you would like a proper beer!! Not sure why they have a free-form box for beer if they can’t provide it? We tried to order Dover sole for dinner one breakfast time but the chef told the maitre d’ that he needed 24 hours notice. Generally the food we found much better on this ship than on Odyssey though some nights we did struggle with the menu especially on the chefs dinner night. The portion sizes weren’t generous so we never felt as though we had eaten too much after most of the served meals. The buffet portions are of course down to you!! Most of the staff were excellent and many greeted us by name. Our cabin Steward kept the suite reasonably clean but marks on mirrors and glass doors never seemed to get her attention. She never re-organised the balcony furniture and small pieces of food we spilt on the balcony floor were still there several days later. She was also not so good at restocking our fridge with mixers or the cabin with drinking water. Our bathrobes were only occasionally properly wrapped up following use. Plastic disposable bottles of water have now gone from the ship and been replaced with reusable plastic bottles refilled each day. Many people complained about the quality of the water but we didn’t find it a problem. It would be a good idea to bring your own drinks bottle to take ashore as the supplied ones are not so good to drink from on the move. To secure your place on an excursion you need to book on line and pay with your credit card. If you wish to use any onboard credit you may have to pay for excursions you then have to visit guest services and have your payment credited to your shipboard account and refunded at the end of your cruise. Your refund won’t of course necessarily be at the same exchange rate as your original purchase. Our refund appeared on our credit card within a few days. We asked for a complementary wine list on board but as before the actual wines available didn’t match the list. Oyster Bay was the only NZ sauvignon blanc available and many of the wines came from the USA! We did find a nice Bordeaux and an Italian Valpolicello. Having our wine topped up was never a problem which is just as well as the standard wine glasses used for both red and white wines are not big. They were only filled to half way too so you do need a few top ups. We never found the ship was crowded even though it was supposed to be full except in and around the main pool. The outside area of the Collonade was also very popular so get there early. The layout of the Collonade we found was much better than on Odyssey. The bar service in the observation lounge was poor most times we visited so we abandoned it in favour of the grill bar. We called room service at 17.50 one night to order dinner in suite. They took the order and told us 18. 50 to 19.00. Nothing arrived by 19.15 so I rang again and was told they were very busy so be a few minutes. Nothing arrived by 19.35 so left to find food elsewhere. The Colonade has some themed nights some of which are reservation only but you only find out when the Herald newspaper arrives the previous evening – so even if you have a few drinks you must concentrate and read it!! This cuts your dining options if you don’t spot it. Other themed nights are just turn up and they also have an always available menu these nights. They do tend to keep the Colonade open beyond the stated lunchtime opening if excursions are late back but the restaurant staff are not always too happy about it. Some bar staff now seem to be using measures for spirits so don’t be surprised to receive a small cognac after dinner. The pool/sky bar seem to be the exception to this. On our last day on board we were advised that the Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc had run out? It is quite strange that the Stoneburn SB ran out at almost exactly the same stage on out last cruise on Odyssey? The alternative SB from Bordeaux was quite poor in comparison. We did spot some Oyster Bay at the pool bar but it could have been their last bottle. Another economy we noticed was when we ordered champagne and caviar in our cabin. Last year on Odyssey they always brought a bottle and would open it for you and pour two fresh glasses. This time they arrived with two glasses covered in cling film which they unwrapped for you. Is this the future of 6 star cruising. As has been said in other reviews the brand of champagne has changed but we certainly preferred the previous brand. In conclusion we enjoyed our cruise with Seabourn and preferred the larger ship. We would be happy to cruise with them again but I think we will try to cruise off season a bit more as it is normally quieter and the prices are lower. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were looking for a luxury cruise which would visit Spain and France and would be no more than 14 days. Having sailed on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean with our children many years ago, we were looking for a smaller ship with the ... Read More
We were looking for a luxury cruise which would visit Spain and France and would be no more than 14 days. Having sailed on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean with our children many years ago, we were looking for a smaller ship with the 'feel' of a Four Seasons resort. We found that Seabourn was a perfect fit for us. This was to be an 11 day cruise starting in Barcelona and ending in Monaco. The embarkation process was flawless. We boarded the ship around 2p and were welcomed aboard by very friendly crew. We went directly to our state room (754) and met our cabin attendant; she was awesome! She made us feel very welcomed and made sure that she knew what our preferences were(e.g. extra towels, hypo allergenic bedding, etc). Our cabin was beautiful; spacious and in great condition. The marble bathroom and double sink and separate stall shower were designed very well. The walk in closet provides ample space. And we liked the size of the balcony; we enjoy breakfast at sea on our balcony. We then began to explore the ship and were very impressed by the public areas and the ease of finding areas of interest. One recommendation we have is that Seabourn should improve the public areas by adding more artwork and by using lighter wood tones rather than the darker ones. We expected all of the public areas to have a luxury feel and that was the case in the Thomas Keller Grille, Seabourn Square, the Observation Bar and the Dining room. The other areas could benefit by my suggestions above. Dining: overall, the breakfasts, lunches and dinners were very good to excellent. The meals we enjoyed the most were at the Thomas Keller Grill, the Dining Room and Earth and Ocean. The Thomas Keller Grill was as fine as any restaurant we've ever experienced. Having been to the French Laundry, we had high expectations for the Grill and these were exceeded. The bar at the Grill was our favorite pre-dinner spot. The bartender, Diago, knew our names and knew exactly what we wanted every time. The maitre'd for the Grill, Luke, knew us well and made it very special for us to enjoy dining at the Grill three times, once to celebrate my birthday on the 7th of September. He even made sure a special chocolate cake was made. I would highly recommend that Seabourn introduce another fine dining establishment on the Encore class of ships. Perhaps an Italian restaurant at the same level as Il Milino in NYC and Las Vegas, and /or a Steakhouse. For this to be a true luxury experience, we believe having another fine dining venue is a must. Other experienced Seabourn cruisers felt the same way. The Colonnade for breakfast was very nice. However for dinner, our experiences(twice) were just average. Slow service, and quality of food was just good, not great. Earth and Ocean we had dinner there once and next time we would go a few more times as the food and service were very very good. Ports: we were very disappointed that our one Portugal stop was cancelled and replaced with a second stop on Morocco. The cruise line made up for this by offering a discount on our next cruise; they did this for everyone on board as many complained. Most of the ports were very interesting, for example Malaga and Valencia and Cadiz Spain; however, the once port in France, (Cavalier sur Mer) should be removed from future cruises and replaced with St Tropez. Other than one ship excursion(Tangier) we arranged our own tours privately and enjoyed every one of them. We tend to prefer private tours so that we have more flexibility. Entertainment: Overall, it was very good. The gentleman from England who was both a comedian and singer was terrific..The woman comedian bombed the first night she performed and came through on the last night of the cruise. We would recommend more variety of performances and more headliner acts. Also, unlike some of the other luxury cruises, Seabourn did not offer any guest lecturers, authors, etc of notoriety. This would be very much enjoyed by most. Overall, the service was excellent. The folks in guest services were very accomodating and pleasant. The servers at Thomas Keller, Earth and Ocean and Sushi were very friendly and attentive. The cruise director is a hoot! Best we've every encountered; a keeper for sure. One of our favorite venues on the ship is the The Retreat; a private area on deck 12 with 14 fully furnished and stocked cabanas for rent. For us, we enjoy sun and alot of shade so this is the perfect place to relax, read, and enjoy in a quieter area with outstanding service. A private bar(Diego the bartender)and excellent cuisine from fruit platters, steak sandwiches, chopped salads, and much more more including delicious hot fudge sundaes! For us, it was well worth the upcharge. For most, we find they enjoy the vibe and tumult of the main pool area. Also, Seabourn Square is the perfect place for coffees, teas, gelato and pastries all day long! In addition to the recommendations above there is one other thing Seabourn should do right away . offer to all cruisers the option of having bottled Evian or similar water instead of the ship filtered and bottled water which we found unappealing. We would absolutely cruise with Seabourn again. Our only hope is that the cruise line heeds all of our recommendations above right away. If that occurs, then our thought about comparing this line with Regent or Crystal would likely not occur. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just stepping off the Seabourn Encore in Barcelona I feel we got a lot of fresh new takes on cruising with familiar favorites. Having cruised a large major cruise line over the Fourth if July the not having to sign for drinks and having ... Read More
Just stepping off the Seabourn Encore in Barcelona I feel we got a lot of fresh new takes on cruising with familiar favorites. Having cruised a large major cruise line over the Fourth if July the not having to sign for drinks and having wait staff recognize and anticipate our orders was a breath of fresh air. We stayed in the Owners Suite so we had plenty of living room space, more choices of liquor at the in room bar than a reasonable couple could consume in 6 months and a separate bedroom with a large bathroom. A half bath off the living room area was a nice touch. The balcony had two entrances one from the living room and one from the bedroom and Seabourn modified the balcony wall with some glass so you can actually sit down on a lounger and have a view. Older ships have a solid metal wall that does not afford you a view when seated on the balcony or lying on the bed. Toiletries in the bathroom are Molton Brown and generously sized. More than a reasonable could possibly use in a week let alone a month. Double sinks with plenty of counter space and shelves along with a medicine cabinet insures plenty of space for a person to make home in the bathroom with no compromising for your partner. The tub is large with jacuzzi jets and there is a separate shower with great water pressure. All very bright, pleasant and comfortable. Dining options have been expanded with the addition of a sushi restaurant open for lunch and dinner which we particularly liked. Though the menu didn’t change daily we found some consistent favorites that didn’t fail to delight along with ordering different sushi rolls to mix things up. Service was the best in the Sushi restaurant and I am pretty sure we may have been their first frequent diners on a cruise but hey when you really like something why not go for it. We also found the Earth and Ocean outdoor grill by the pool a surprisingly excellent dining option. The grill is open later for lunch until 3 pm which is particularly helpful when shore excursions get you back at 2 pm with no lunch having been provided. But it’s the evening menu although limited to 3 staters 3 mains and 3 desserts, each time we went the food was exceptional. I had the best mushroom entree that I would die for again. I’m not a vegetarian but would be a convert if I could have that dish every night. My husband had a Nigerian Prawn dish that were as large as a lobster and served piping hot but not over done. Service was impeccable at this dining option as well. The Collanade restaurant was our go to for breakfast and it was reliably sticked with everything you would expect- fresh fruit, egg options, cheese, meat, nuts and other savories, breads and sweets. Hand sanitizers at the entrance were used regularly so no concerns in sanitation issues. I can’t comment on the main dining room as we never went as well as we didn’t get into the Thomas Keller restaurant. Other things of note were thoughtfully presented shore excursions which we did every day and the entertainment in the Sky Lounge daily was lovely- a mix of modern and classics by a singer accompanied by a pianist. What’s not to love about sailing out of a port to well made martini and lovely music? My only observation on the Encore that was different than other Seabourn cruises was that the cabin stewards seemed as a rule sullen and generally unhappy. Very few ever treated us and our own steward seemed to go out of her way to not greet us at any time. We had several instances of cabin crews coming into to our cabin later at night to close our curtains- apparently forward facing cabins must keep the curtains closed starting at 6 pm. Another night a storm threat caused another crusade of cabin stewards to pull in our deck furniture. I was in bed both times these occurred and my husband was in the shower. 5 minutes earlier or later and the cabin crew members would have gotten an eye full of something they probably din’t Want to see- ever. So to sum up Seabourn Encore lives up to it’s reputation for sophisticated elegance with a beautiful ship. Food, wine and drinks are superb. Shore excursions to some new not well known places were a pleasant surprise. Room intrusions and sulky cabin stewards was a surprise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Seabourn Cruise. We have been on Azamara twice. Regent twice. Silversea twice. We expected this cruise to be as 'luxurious' as our first Seabourn cruise but although enjoyable we felt the service and ... Read More
This was our second Seabourn Cruise. We have been on Azamara twice. Regent twice. Silversea twice. We expected this cruise to be as 'luxurious' as our first Seabourn cruise but although enjoyable we felt the service and food had declined. As far as 'inclusive' cruise lines goes Seabourn is less 'inclusive' than say Regent which is far superior in suites and food plus you get all excursions and internet thrown in plus sauna, steam room, cold room etc at the Regent Spa. Seabourn has an area called the 'Retreat' which is only accessible if you pay. Everything in their Spa has a cost. Internet is only available if you pay. If your only experience of luxury lines is Seabourn then you would not be disappointed. So to sum up the cruise was enjoyable. The food is not luxury even in the specialist restaurants. It's 4 star. The Encore has a very small main swimming pool although there is a small quiet area with a small pool at the rear of the ship. There doesn't seem to be any supervision in the pool areas so we did experience an American family that just let their kids run riot which spoilt the quiet area small pool. Note:- don't go in August LOL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and ... Read More
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and when I leaned over the handrail my arms were the covered in wet varnish.. The vase had no flower in and the fridge did not have our requested drinks, it was empty .The water bottle was half full and looked cloudy as if it had not been clean and refreshed. I went to Seabourn Square to speak to the someone about my problem, and was given an apology. On returning back to my cabin, I was informed by my husband that there was hair in the bath and the top of a razor on the shelf!! I went back to Seabourn Square and spoke to the head of housek,who apologised and said they would ensure that from now on she would ensure the rest of our cruise would be stress free. Restaurant Day one had to seek out a waiter and ask for a drink at lunch. Dinner asked if they had Pinot Noir and received a blank look? When my husband said he did not like the red, the waiter proceeded to put new wine in the same glass despite a small amount of the old wine still being in the glass. We had to ask for re fills. My lobster Thermidor was full of a brown mushroom sauce, with only a tiny bit of lobster Having made this dish numerous times I have never used mushrooms! We found the menu slightly repetitive and not their usual standard Extra Mile No Seabourn experience All in all very disappointed therefore I will be trying a new luxury cruise line Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
As a first-time cruiser I had little expectation of a cruise on the Seabourn Encore. Firstly the embarkation was extremely efficient and we were quickly ushered to our lovely cabin complete with a welcoming bottle of French champagne ... Read More
As a first-time cruiser I had little expectation of a cruise on the Seabourn Encore. Firstly the embarkation was extremely efficient and we were quickly ushered to our lovely cabin complete with a welcoming bottle of French champagne and a warm welcome from all crew members encountered along the way. The cabin was beautiful with a large walk-in wardrobe and double sinks in the marble bathroom. Every aspect of this ship was stunning from the restaurants to the Club Lounge with its excellent Club Quartet to the pool and outside restaurants and bars. Food in all of the restaurants was outstanding - we particularly enjoyed the Japanese Restaurant where the service and food were exceptional. The best entertainment was the comedienne Jo Little who, along with being very funny, had a magnificent singing voice. Enjoyed a shore excursion to Canne and it was excellent and well-organised. Service in every area of the ship was magnificent on every occasion and crew members clearly worked hard to ensure the guest experience was above expectation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise based on the recommendation of our travel agent who said it was the "best of the best" and it turns out they were very wrong on this cruise ship. Starting with finding a pair of dirty women's ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the recommendation of our travel agent who said it was the "best of the best" and it turns out they were very wrong on this cruise ship. Starting with finding a pair of dirty women's underwear on the floor of our cabin upon check-in, being served frozen steak in their "nice" restaurant, finding all 40 chaise lounges at the pool "reserved" while 3 people were in the pool, being ignored by bar staff and the very limited dining hours outside of the 24 hour room service which didn't offer a lot of choices. The entertainment wasn't well publicized and from what we heard from other passengers it was stale at best. We took one ship sponsored excursion that was shown as very strenuous that we ended up with 2 older couples that should have been asked to take another excursion as they held up the group considerably. The excursion guide, even though we were running an hour behind our lunch, forced us to a shop where her "friend" was working the counter where she obviously had a side deal going. Getting on and off the boat at the start and end of the cruise was very easy and the tenders at the smaller ports offered the same ease of use. The ports we stopped at P Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We recently completed an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens on the Seabourn Encore. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise; all previous ones were on the Quest and Odyssey. Having read many comments about the size of the Encore (many people ... Read More
We recently completed an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens on the Seabourn Encore. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise; all previous ones were on the Quest and Odyssey. Having read many comments about the size of the Encore (many people calling them “megaships” which we found amusing having sailed on ships carrying 3500 passengers vs. 600) we were interested to see how she compared to the smaller ships. We were very pleased with our experience. We sailed in a Wintergarden Suite which we have done on the smaller ships. There were a couple of minor glitches upon boarding (things not in the suite which should have been). These were quickly remedied and from that point on we had no other issues. The WG suite on the Encore is superior to the ones on the smaller ships in our opinion. The bathroom is greatly improved particularly with a much-improved shower. On the smaller ships it’s a circular one open on one side and we always had problems with water running everywhere. The one on Encore is larger and completely enclosed. The furniture is more comfortable as well. We loved the larger Observation Bar, also with more comfortable seating. The Thomas Keller Grill is a great space and the Colonnade is greatly improved with more seating outside and improved serving space. Seabourn Square was also larger and we enjoyed the space. There have been comments about the crowds on the larger ship. We never experienced that. We were always able to get a seat. In the restaurant we never had to wait for a table and we always choose a table for two. Service was always prompt with no delays between courses. We had two reservations at the TK Grill but we were able to walk in on two other evenings. At the Observation Bar we were always promptly served and after the first couple of nights the server knew what our choice of beverage was. We don’t go to shows so I can’t comment on them. The entertainment in the Observation Bar and the pianist in the TK Grill were very good. There were several lecturers on board and we enjoyed them very much. This was a cruise with many sea days and there were plenty of activities available, including art classes, bridge, photography and cooking demonstrations. We took several Seabourn excursions and enjoyed them. We did an overnight trip in Israel and thought it was very good despite the heat. In conclusion, we loved our cruise on the Seabourn Encore. We are booked on her sister the Ovation for our next cruise and look forward to that one. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with ... Read More
This was a special trip celebrating a milestone 50th birthday. We are well seasoned cruisers and have been on most of the lines except Silversea and Crystal with 60+ cruises under our belt. SUITE: We booked the lowest level suite with a guarantee to upgrade to a min cat 3, and received a cat 6 up on deck 11. The room was perfect and spacious. Tons of room, excellent layout, with perfect service from our room stewardess. We had everything we needed in this room and loved the ability to split the room with blackout curtains in half so the early riser didn't disturb the other pax. Bedding quality very high. FINAL SCORE: A+ FOOD; DEFINITELY not 6 star. BIGGEST disappointment of the cruise! The menu in the main dining room was repetitive. Colonnade food comparable to HAL/Princess/Celebrity buffets. Nothing special, too many carbs/starches not enough high quality proteins or veggies. Sliced meats and cheeses were what you would find on other CCL ships. BALONEY served as a tapas? Yup. They also put it out on the buffet and the "Epicurean extravaganza". SERIOUSLY. We paid $450/pp/day to be served baloney? We did enjoy Earth and Ocean several times especially the smoked chicken starter. Fun place to dine weather permitting. TK grill was very good, but doesn't measure up to land based TK restaurants. This was still the best dining spot on the ship. Sushi was nice, pretty typical of what you find on land serving average sushi. But at lunch, due to penny pinching, they didn't serve raw fish. Our best meals were the TK special nights in the colonnade. They felt the most authentic and had cheeses you wouldn't find anywhere else on the ship. Main dining room has some outstanding nights, others it was OK. Just not consistent especially with beef dishes. Our last surprise when it came to food was the ship running out of standard menu items...60+ cruises never had a ship tell me they didn't have the item on the menu we ordered. IF you're a foodie, skip Seabourn and go with another cruiseline (Oceania, Regent). FINAL SCORE: C SHIP: was a perfect size, and never felt crowded. No lines for anything and the layout had great flow. The colonnade could get crowded in the AM requiring you to sit outside during peak hours. This tended to be the only time noticing how many were onboard. Lots of places to hang out and relax. High quality furnishing and art work. FINAL SCORE: A DRINKS: Bars had just about any type of premium liquor you could want. Beer selections were more limited. Want an IPA beer? Nope. How about a wheat beer? Nope. Craft beer? Nope.. You could find a nice selection of complimentary wines some better than others, the staff were more than willing to change out the wine if you were unhappy. Bar service overall was great. Servers couldn't remember what you ordered (they weren't allowed to write it down) and made multiple return visits either to ask again or brought your the wrong drink. This happened in the Observation lounge only. No problems in other venues. Coffee in Seabourn square is excellent. FINAL SCORE: B ENTERTAINMENT: Best was duet in observation lounge, Rachael and Vladi. The lounge band was also fun and played popular music from the 60-80's. They did seem to get a little repetitive in their playlists. CD Chris was prior west end actor/singer and had the best voice on the ship. Wish he would have sang more than twice during 15 days. The main shows were OK and geared towards the 70's crowd. We felt it lacked the energy and excitement of Oceania's ships. Very little stage magic, just singing with no sets or costumes. FINAL SCORE: C ACTIVITIES: Sorry this was sorely lacking. Sea days had very few options. One cooking demonstration in 15 days? Trivia, casino (which opened at 3pm on sea days), lectures or sitting by the pool were about all you had for options. A few games of corn hole (baggo). They did offer nice prizes of high quality. We were so looking forward to the brochure selling us on the "Marina" on the back of the ship. We had several protected bays during the cruise they could have deployed it in, but that never happened. How about the famous and well marketed "Caviar on the surf"? Yeah, never happened. We heard this sometimes turns into "Caviar in the pool"? Nope, Band played ONCE the entire 2 weeks on a sea day by the pool for 1 hour. Maybe a dance party under the stars? Nope, didn't have any. FINAL SCORE: D PORTS: The highlight of the NZ/Australia trip was seeing the Penguins march from the beach in Phillip Island...or that was the plan. Instead the captain decided 14 hours before arrival we would be leaving at 2pm vs 11pm. WHAT? "due to high winds" we needed to leave 9 HOURS earlier than planned! The seas were dead calm when we left the protective bay we tendered at... Like 1-2 ft seas. Barely a ripple in the water. I checked my phone, and the winds were going to pickup slightly in the afternoon (below 20mph). The REAL reason we were leaving early? Terrible seas the next day (sea day) w/25ft+ waves and big winds over 40MPH. We were putting along the entire time at about 12 knots riding the waves like a giant surfboard. Actually most of the time the ship moved it was slowly at 12 knots. We could have cut the crossing from NZ to Australia down to 2 days from 3. We could have skipped Eden vs leaving Philip Island early. Eden had very little to offer. FINAL SCORE: B SERVICE: Employees are the strong suit of Seabourn. Most knew our names after a few days. We were very surprised they could do this with 600 pax on board! They tried to bend over backwards and help with any request. They learned your drink or food preferences. It was the saving grace of our cruise. The people are what makes this ship stay afloat. We felt like we knew crew members on a more personal level too. I will say the officers were invisible most of the time. The crew were always present; ready, willing, and able to serve with a smile! FINAL SCORE A+ IF Seabourn improved the food quality/variety and entertainment/activities, we would consider returning and they could refer to this as a 6 star cruiseline. Until then, we have booked a Silversea cruise leaving in 60 days and will return to Oceania in the future. Food is subjective to a degree, but we have a good idea of what other lines offer and how it compares to Seabourn. I hope someone is listing at corporate office. FINAL SCORE B-. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It is with great sadness that I am writing this review as I have never had to write a negative review before, however we have written to Seabourn since returning home and as they refuse to accept responsibility for issues then I feel it is ... Read More
It is with great sadness that I am writing this review as I have never had to write a negative review before, however we have written to Seabourn since returning home and as they refuse to accept responsibility for issues then I feel it is my responsibility to inform potential customers of potential problems.. We chose the cruise as part of a long holiday to New Zealand. We had travelled on Seabourn Encore the previous year to Australia and were mainly satisfied so we didn’t hesitate to book again. There was not much availability so our cruise consultant chose a cabin for us. Our cabin was appalling, ( see review below). We tried to change cabin, we were more than willing to pay to upgrade but the head of Guest Services said she would come back to us and never did.( we had already tried to get info about the cabin before leaving the UK) It was very galling to see the Seabourn Venture staff and even guest entertainers had cabins in better areas than we were allowed to purchase. Our first day was ok and then for some reason despite knowing of bad weather the captain decided to sail the ship to Norfolk Island. I had 4 days flat on my back with sea sickness as the swell was a constant 13-19ft and the ship was unstable, making it very uncomfortable to move around. At times it felt very dangerous. As expected we could not tender at Norfolk Island, In fact Seabourn have only tendered 2 out of the last 18 attempts!!!! Why did they attempt it knowing the weather was bad? And why do they not publicise how unlikely it is that the visit to the port of Norfolk Island will be successful? On the 6th day I made it out of bed and managed an excursion but then I started to feel ill. I was in agony. I was forced to see the ships doctor and found out I had streptococcal tonsillitis. Apparently there had been an outbreak on the previous cruise and a few of the crew caught it. We thought it was because nobody is asked to use the hand sanitizer anywhere on the ship and therefore hygiene standards are not as good as they should be. This was not the case when we were on the ship last time. Standards have definitely dropped over the year. I then spent another 3 days in bed, having to visit the doctor again to get stronger pain medication as I was in agony. It cost me 400 dollars through non of my own fault!!!! I have to say that Madeline our cabin attendant was fantastic and tried very hard to help me whilst I was ill. She was very sympathetic and genuinely cared. A credit to Seabourn. I recovered and then managed to enjoy visiting the other ports we did dock or tender at. The food standards have definitely dropped since the previous year. I can only describe the food as very boring, apart from the pool bar at night where at least the food had some flavour. We spoke to so many people who felt the same that we stopped speaking to people as we were not only bored with the food but bored with talking about it!! The entertainment was lack lustre and uninspiring. Cost cutting could be seen in all areas. On a positive the shore excursions were well organised and the staff very friendly. Please be careful when choosing a V1. It is very different to a V6 and I would hate anybody else to run off the ship at the end of a cruise as we did because we could not wait to leave. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose the Seabourn Encore for 2 reasons: we wanted to see New Zealand and after trying other 6 star lines we wanted to try another. The itinerary was great. We had to miss Phillip Island because of the weather. That was ok with us; ... Read More
We chose the Seabourn Encore for 2 reasons: we wanted to see New Zealand and after trying other 6 star lines we wanted to try another. The itinerary was great. We had to miss Phillip Island because of the weather. That was ok with us; we really appreciate the captain taking safety so seriously. The rest of the stops were good. Embarkation in Sydney was fairly easy. The ship is clean and well maintained. The cabin was beautiful, thankfully because we spent a lot of time there. We were surprised that there were no USP ports on a fairly new ship, nor did they have electric do not disturb signs. There were plenty of 220 and 110 outlets throughout the cabin; except for the bathroom. The sea days were boring to say the least. They had trivia at noon. There were a few “conversations” which were lectures not conversations. The onboard entertainers may have been good, but were so loud we had to leave to protect our hearing. The other entertainers were all very good and varied from singer to musicians to comedy. The food was uninspiring. The set menu was always a good option: Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, steaks and lamb. The wine was cheap and the champagne was awful. We expected better than we got. The service was slow. We always had to ask for more water, even after we complained. A few days into the cruise you can fill out a form telling them what was needed. After a few days the restaurant manager talked to us about our problems, but nothing was done either in the main dining room or the other dining places. The bar service was just as bad. I guess, if they ignore you they don’t have to serve as often. The bar servers were uninformed about what was available. Thomas Keller was the specialty dining place, but was a limited menu and not any better than the other restaurants. They did have a nice laundry with 4 washer, 4 dryers and 3 irons and ironing boards. The gym while small had plenty of machines. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were concerned about the larger Seabourn ships since we had only sailed on the smaller ones previous to this.We liked this better....never seemed crowded except for the pool deck during sail away from Sydney Harbor.The bigger ship gave ... Read More
We were concerned about the larger Seabourn ships since we had only sailed on the smaller ones previous to this.We liked this better....never seemed crowded except for the pool deck during sail away from Sydney Harbor.The bigger ship gave more options which we enjoyed.We were 2 couples neither of which had visited Australia and New Zealand so we thought this would be a good introduction.It was,indeed. We found the service at The Restaurant and at Thomas Keller to be outstanding! The bar service at the Keller lounge (and the piano man) also great. The only drawback for these venues was that caviar service was not available .A few of The Restaurant menu highlights included leek confit, grilled scallops, ribeye steaks, grilled scampi ,spring rolls, short ribs,lobster ravioli and lamb shank. At Thomas Keller we enjoyed Dover sole,Veal t-bone,roasted whole chicken(2 people), caesar salad prepared tableside, crab cakes. House Champagne is Nicolas Feuillatte which is a tad acidic for some tastes, is perfect in a Kyr Royale. Wines included with no surcharge included Tyrell's Verdelho, St Hallets Shiraz, Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, a good overall selection.The Seaboun Square which is not on the old smaller ships is a great addition...the coffee bar wins rave reviews. The lectures were diverse, interesting, well prepared and available for rebroadcast on demand on your suites' TV. The "Ventures" team was often scheduled on deck to answer questions when they were not leading an excursion. The tour highlight was a Zodiac trip in Milford Sound, NZ surrounded by thousands of waterfalls.The bridge instruction classes were outstanding, the trivia games a lot of laughs. The main entertainers appealed to us about 50% of the time. We did not miss a night of the piano in Keller's Bar. The one major complaint we have is that when we embarked we received a photocopied revised itinerary which eliminated the port of Timaru, substituting Lyttelton.Timaru is where in Feb 2017 the Encore broke loose and hit another vessel....since then the port has begun some repairs to allow cruse ships to again use the port but not yet. Seabourn,of course knew this long before sail date and you would expect out of common courtesy they would have informed all the guests. It was our only chance to get close to Mt Cook.Perhaps it's not bait and switch,but poor management. Whew,I should really point out the super high quality of every employee we interacted with on this sailing.We wish the on shore places we visit on a daily basis could take a lesson.THANKS! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our first cruise on the Encore class ships. We have previously sailed 8 times on Seabourn: 1 Legend, 3 Odyssey, 3 Quest, 1 Sojourn. We had read mixed reviews of the Encore and Ovation, and were hesitant to sail on them. ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Encore class ships. We have previously sailed 8 times on Seabourn: 1 Legend, 3 Odyssey, 3 Quest, 1 Sojourn. We had read mixed reviews of the Encore and Ovation, and were hesitant to sail on them. However, this cruise featured a good price on itinerary/destination we liked, so we decided to give it a try, and assess the mixed reviews about the Encore class. Based on this cruise, we would book the Encore class again. Unfortunately, on the first day, we almost felt that this would be our last Seabourn cruise. We had poor and inattentive service in the Colonnade at lunch, better service at dinner but miscommunication between servers and kitchen, so the food was not as we ordered. The next day, we met with Executive Chef Joseph to discuss our dietary needs (low-sodium). Chef Joseph met our dietary needs with the best food we have had on Seabourn; low-sodium but very flavorful. We pre-ordered dinner the night before, and our food in the Restaurant, Colonnade, TK Grill, and even in Sushi was prepared to accommodate us. However, the one large dining negative during the cruise was in Earth and Ocean on the first night it was open. We received an invitation base on our platinum status. Unfortunately, Chef Frank was apparently unwilling or unable to reduce the amount of salt in his dishes and did not prepare entrees we could eat, even though we spoke to him earlier in the cruise, pre-ordered the night before, and spoke to members of his team earlier in the day. The appetizers and desserts were quite good. Much has been written about the decline if the level of service with the launching of the Encore and Ovation, and the increase in general in the number of cruise ships competing for experienced crew. We have experienced occasional service problems of the Odyssey-class ships after the launch of Encore, and had occasional problems on board Encore. Service on the starboard side of the Colonnade was quite poor at the start of cruise; the port side team was much better. It appeared that the starboard side team was either new to Seabourn or newly working with each other. Their service improved after a day or two, and was at an acceptable Seabourn level. We encountered one of the servers in other places on the ship, and she always remembered what we preferred to drink and would search if it was not close at hand. By day two, almost all of the crew and many of the officers knew our names. Everyone was friendly and smiling. Our suite stewardess did an excellent job cleaning the suite, even with our changing daily schedule , which could have us out of the room by 7 AM or sleeping in until noon. She kept our refrigerator refilled. We attended and enjoyed the special wine tasting. We thought the sommeliers excellent, knowledgeable, friendly, and accessible. Natalia, assistant sommelier, would suggest and find a complementary wine we liked in the Colonnade or TK Grill. We do not understand the comments by other reviewers that they could not get a properly made mixed drink or cocktail. Drinks were well made and balanced. We had excellent, friendly, and professional service at the bars. Our favorites were “Jimmy” in the TK bar, Artem in the Club (and in relief at the Sky Bar), and Marcos at the Sky Bar. Fillippa was great in the Observation bar and as “fill-in”. However, as noted below, there were problems in the on board selection of liquors and wines. Apparently, various supplies were missing from the initial major resupply in Auckland at the start of the cruise. This included most Scotch whisky, Sauterne, and New Zealand wines and beers! We were very disappointed by the inability to resupply the missing beverages. We received no good answers to our questions from the F&B and Bar Managers as to why nothing could be obtained in the various ports we visited. The featured Bollinger Champagne was not available at the Retreat: we were told it had all been drunk on New Years Eve! (No, we did not pay for the privilege of sitting in the unattractive Retreat, there was an open “Bollinger party” on the first afternoon.) Space on board, even with 150 more guests, was not an issue. There were no problems at pool. As comes as no surprise, we found the Retreat to be a waste. After seeing it on the first day, we did not find it an attractive or inviting space, and would not have gone there again even if it were free. Differences from Odyssey class The Colonnade seemed much larger inside; outside is a bit larger than Odyssey class, but usually crowded. There is additional outside space on the deck below, which is accessed by a stairway; it appeared to be used by only a few people. The layout of the Colonnade is awkward. There is a large column in the narrow main corridor that everyone has to squeeze past entering and leaving, and getting food. The column is right in front of the main serving area, and the entrance to outside deck is through the narrow corridor. There was no prepared to order pasta at lunch, and no board listing the daily fish special. The stateroom lock is a very nice change, since the key card can be lplaced on the sensor pad without removing the card from the pocket folder. (A minor thing, but we always found it difficult to remove the card in order to insert it in the lock slot, usually several times to get the lock open, and then to fit it back in the pocket.) There is a nice night light in bathroom. The shower seemed to be slightly larger, Perhaps the toilet paper holder was meant to be “artistic” or something, but the paper roll continually fell off. Also, the paper itself could have been much better. (Or maybe we just do not like sandpaper?) The curtains in the suite were not as black out but were good enough. The Veranda suites are slightly longer and slightly narrower. Storage is arranged differently, overall better, with better storage including a shelf in the closet and larger storage over the tv. The vanity (?) at the foot of the bed is much shallower, and we found it pretty useless, nothing fit inside and the narrow top held much less. The television is much larger, as is the couch. The chairs are much more comfortable and easier to move. An interesting change is that all elevator buttons are on the left as you enter the car, rather than on the side between the two elevators. The Encore felt more stable, with no vibrations at stern and no ship noises in the suite. Shows in the Salon were negatively affected by noise/music from The Club on the deck below. Ports and excursions Our cruise was scheduled to call at Norfolk Island, an Australian territory, that required us to get Australian visas. We believe the Encore was required by New Zealand law to leave New Zealand waters after a certain number of days. Since the cruise before ours spent several days in New Zealand at the end of the cruise, and the following cruise would be spending several days in NZ bath the start, we were the one required to take a day in Australia. Before the cruise, we looked at photos of Norfolk Island and wondered how we would be able to land through the various coral reefs. When the Encore arrived there, there were 3 1/2 meter swells at the ship and 2 1/2 meter swells at the pier, and this was after going from the planned landing side of the Island to the “sheltered” side! After a while at anchor, we left and headed south. The Captain later announced that the conditions at Milford sound would prevent us from entering the fjords, and we would go between the North and South Island to have better weather on the voyage to Stewart Island. It seemed that many passengers were very upset that we would be missing a port and a scenic cruising day. We, however, have been in the Tasman Sea before, and were quite happy to avoid bad weather in the Sea! We also have enjoyed trans-Atlantic cruises, and were not really sympathetic to the complaints about being on a ship for four days without getting off. As a good will gesture, Seabourn offered everyone a credit equal to 20% of the base fare of this cruise, to be used on a future cruise that was booked during 2019, even if the cruise itself was after 2019. We thought this was extremely generous and not required, since weather-related changes are beyond Seabourn’s control, and really should not be a complete surprise to someone who takes a cruise. However, there were still many grumbles and claims of how this was the last Seabourn cruise they would take. We took two Seabourn shore excursions, in addition to the one cancelled on Norfolk Island. We also took two independently arranged tours. Stewart Island bird sanctuary by zodiac was nice; some birds, mostly hard to see, good presentation by local guide. Many blue penguins on zodiac ride along island and back to ship. At Tauranga we took the self drive train and thermal area tour. The train was fun, but the entire tour was cut short. The tour was scheduled for 8 1/2 hours but, due to the sailing windows resulting from tides, was reduced to about 4 1/2 hours. The Maori presentation was abbreviated and combined with lunch. The thermal area visit was greatly shortened and we found it poor, especially compared to our Seabourn tour last summer in Iceland. The up side was that we did not have to worry about the effect of the sulfur on asthma! Having spoken to the excursion staff on the dock before the tour, they were expecting us at Seabourn Square after the tour. They offered us a 50% rebate on the cost of the tour, which was larger than we would probably have asked for. They made us feel very satisfied. The ironic aspect of the day was that, due to high winds which delayed bunkering and impeded getting off the dock, the ship missed the earlier sailing window that the Captain had changed the sailing time to meet, and thus we actually left the port about 5 hours later, a little after the originally scheduled time. Overall, it was a very nice cruise, not perfect but very good. Seabourn handled the weather-caused problems well in our estimation. Beverages should have been resupplied better, but we still found plenty of excellent things to drink. We have two future cruise deposits, and we will certainly use them to cruise again on Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We were very interested in seeing both the North/South Islands and specifically Milford Sound. In fact we were one of the 25 passengers who booked the ship's excursion to get off the ship for thee days/2 nights and rejoin the ship in ... Read More
We were very interested in seeing both the North/South Islands and specifically Milford Sound. In fact we were one of the 25 passengers who booked the ship's excursion to get off the ship for thee days/2 nights and rejoin the ship in Port Chalmers so that we could really experience Fiordland National Park and Queenstown. This was the main purpose of choosing this cruise. Due to rough seas on the West coast, this was cancelled. A huge disappointment. To make it worse, the Captain came on the speaker system for no more than a minute to say that we would be skipping this port. [Found out later that skipping this port is not uncommon.] No detail information, no empathy expressed. This lack of communication from the captain was typical of him throughout the cruise. Other reviews have also commented on the lack of the other Officers presence, especially the Hotel Director. We agree. We had 5 full days at sea with lack of supplies. [eg. Bartenders were hiding supplies from each other, spoiled lettuce, no fresh berries at breakfast.] Overall service in the restaurants were mediocre. Poor training. Except for the waitress, Anjde, table 50, in the Compass restaurant who was excellent. Bar service in Club 5 [Artem, thank you] and Keller were excellent. However, we usually love the Observation Bar but the service was terrible throughout the cruise. Long waits for orders to be taken and many times not delivering what was ordered. [This was not due to overcrowds in the bar but just incompetence.] The ship did not staff the Guest Services adequately when the ship needed them to help passengers adjust tour/schedules when port changes were made. And Guest Services Staff lacked information on what was going on. Housekeeping was outstanding. However, on arrival, it was at least 6:00 PM and some luggage was missing. We walked up and down the halls and had to track down our own luggage. We have traveled on Seabourn for at least 80 days and are not sure we will travel with this line again. To top it off, we not only gave written feedback when we were actually on the cruise, but we completed the customer satisfaction survey after our return, providing our contact information. We provided the feedback that is stated above. Two weeks later, we then get an email from the President of Seabourn saying he hopes we enjoyed our cruise and hopes that we will sail with them again. Does this line not listen to the feedback? Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose tis cruise to see Milford Sound and Norfolk Island. You can imagine that we were suitably unimpressed, along with many others, when both destinations were cancelled due to weather. This resulted in 5 days at sea as there was no ... Read More
We chose tis cruise to see Milford Sound and Norfolk Island. You can imagine that we were suitably unimpressed, along with many others, when both destinations were cancelled due to weather. This resulted in 5 days at sea as there was no alternative plan in place. The general staff were terrific but the interaction of the Officers was almost non-existent, to the point that two officers standing with the Captain were incapable of acknowledging the guests or even making eye contact. Amazing! The Captain did make the time to speak with us and was very engaging. This Cruise Line is geared to Americans and their needs no matter their proportion of guests on board. We have has two delightful cruises with Seabourn previously and all that was good about them was missing from this cruise. One of the stops advertised was Christchurch, port of call was Akaroa, but there was no provision made for people to travel to Christchurch unless they paid for a tour. The line is no longer competitive in relation to its competitors and lacks the friendliness and ease of them. It is the small things that count and these, sadly, have gone. The icing on the cake has been the lack of response from our review and a subsequent email addressed to the President - Richard D Meadows. The obviously do not consider guest's feedback very highly. Unfortunately we, and others we spoke with, are not likely to cruise with Seabourn again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It appeared we would see all coasts and important ports of New Zealand - that was not the case. We missed 2 ports due to high seas. One was major. We did not see any of the western coast. We discovered later that the ship frequently ... Read More
It appeared we would see all coasts and important ports of New Zealand - that was not the case. We missed 2 ports due to high seas. One was major. We did not see any of the western coast. We discovered later that the ship frequently cannot go to the west coast. See we spent 4 days in a row at sea. We also went to two small dingy towns instead of staying longer in two quaint towns. We never stayed over night in any town so we’re unable to book nocturnal tours to see penguins or kiwis. Luggage handlers were painfully slow. Food was adequate, nothing special. There were only 4 restaurants. One required reservations to be made before the cruise. It was nothing special. One was poolside but closed for 3 nights. So it was sushi or cafeteria food. On arrival our room had a bowl of over ripe fruit. We had brown lettuce in our salad twice. Room service food was cold so we reverted to only ordering coffee in the morning. They could handle that. The bathroom outlets will not support any hair appliances. You must do hair drying and curling in a dim hallway outside the bathroom. Showers are very small. Entertainment offered was for for the over 70 crowd or lounge lizards. We contacted customer service day 1 of our cruise and have not heard from them yet even though we called our travel agent to nudge them. We were approached by some managers in the restaurant who apologized and asked how they could help. However it was in front of groups of people, so we were uncomfortable with trying to resolve issues in that venue. However the maids and waitstaff were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I chose Seabourn, when l gave up on Viking(10 sailings) failed to offer any loyalty program to those who had been loyal to them. $200 off, like anyone gets on 2nd voyage was not thrilling. Well, l am back to being a Viking loyal fan. ... Read More
I chose Seabourn, when l gave up on Viking(10 sailings) failed to offer any loyalty program to those who had been loyal to them. $200 off, like anyone gets on 2nd voyage was not thrilling. Well, l am back to being a Viking loyal fan. I have always thought that those who give low scores are just being jerks. NOT SO!! SEABOURN EARNED THIS SCIRE OF 1. Here's why: 1.5 hr wait at airport for transfer after 17 hr flight. 2. Captain skipped highlights if trip, Norfolk Island and Milford Sound. Made the decision to skip Milford 2 says ahead if time! 5 straight days at sea. 3. Activities during those days? Needlepoint and bridge, lecture on Sotheby's Auctions! Little on New Zealand. 4. 2 ports where 300 and 600 were number of residents. Residents if Dunnedin asked why we were stopping at Gisborbe, calling it a boarded up dump. They were right, though people were very nice. 5. Arrived 2.5 hrs late for Totorya, where we had full day tour. Tiur cut short by 3 hours, and when boarded captain delays sailing for 3 5 hrs because of the tides!! Arent tides posted a year in advance? 6. Grand salon has big columns that block views for good portion of the seating. 7. Service slow in restaurants. Coffee arrived 20 plus minutes after dessert every evening. Long waits once seated to be approached by staff. We traveled so far and saw so little. 16 day trip was a total disappointment! I would never travel with Seabourn again. Loyalty program not as important anymore, though l sure hope Viking will launch one to reward their most loyal travelers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Seabourn Encore Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 5.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 5.0 3.9
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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