Seabourn Legend - Central America/Panama Canal: Seabourn Legend Cruise Review by CASHIPman

Seabourn Legend 4
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Seabourn Legend - Central America/Panama Canal

Sail Date: December 2005
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Other
Review of the Seabourn Legend (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Ft Lauderdale) 04-18 DEC 2005

Let me start of with the best part of the cruise&the people. It was delightful to meet folks from here as well as others. It was also great to get to know some of the crew of the ship. Without good people around there is no joy. The passenger complement ranged from an infant (yes, one of those very little people...and he was one of the best behaved passengers!) to folks enjoying their retirement. I'd hazard a guess and say that the average age was mid- to late- 40's.

Itinerary -- Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Belize. The highlights of this itinerary are twofold. The natural beauty of the Central American landscape and a Panama Canal transit. I was most looking forward to the transit of the canal. If you are into mixing ecotourism with luxury then this is the itinerary for you. There was a nice mix of port days and sea days. More

Embarkation/Disembarkation -- Embarkation was fine. One thing that was noticed by many passengers was that champagne was not offered to embarking guests. Fruit punch in champagne flutes was the drink of the day. If champagne was asked for a crew member would get it. Disembarkation at Ft Lauderdale was a breeze.

Entertainment -- Not a high point. The Legend Quartet and the tea-time pianist were fine but the duo singing in the Club was, to be kind, sub par. The chanteuse didnt have a pleasing singing voice. This view was almost universally shared. I didnt attend any shows so cant comment firsthand on those. I did attend one lecture on the Panama Canal which was very informative. I did hear from a few passengers that another lecturer spoke about terrorism&a charming topic&and apparently politicized it shamelessly.

Crew -- Starting at the top the Captain ( was truly a people person. He was always engaging and shared his infectious love of fun. It would always bring a smile to my face when Id hear him on the tannoy wishing us a very good afternoon aboard yerr Seabourn Legend. Joerg Grossman, the very capable hotel manager was also a very talented person well-suited to his role. He graciously accepted an invitation to a wine dinner my partner and I hosted on the ship for a small group. Joerg was very engaging throughout the dinner and was even gracious enough to send a thank-you note the next day. The cruise director left us a bit flat. He seemed more of a head entertainer than a cruise director. He wasnt as visible as other cruise directors weve sailed with. We had dinner with the cruise director and the conversation was stilted throughout. All the attendees at this dinner had special ordered veal piccata. It was completely incorrectly prepared and (according to staff) the CD should have said something to the restaurant staff but did not. Ive heard good things about him here but didnt always see this praiseworthy behaviour. Perhaps he was having an off cruise. Restaurant staff There were some problems in the restaurant and much to the waitstaffs credit they did their utmost to correct any issues and remained professional and friendly. There did seem to be a lack of communication within the restaurant team and between the restaurant team and the kitchen. We met with Luca (the maitre d) and he thanked us for feedback stating that he learned more from the four of us than from the 196 other customers on board. We were, at times, a demanding group and Luca and his team were admirable in their handling of us. Bar staff The majority of the beverage team was very good&Tibor at the Sky bar and public rooms manager, Sam, were knowledgeable and professional. Overall, the bar team seemed to take awhile to remember what passengers standard orders were. Cabin stewardesses Excellent. They were very engaging and very responsive. They were one group that consistently used passengers names. On past Seabourn cruises all staff seemed to know and use passengers names from very early on in the cruise. On the Legend this did not seem to be the case until very late in the voyage. Food -- At best, the food in the Restaurant could be classed as inconsistent. The soups were very good but the main courses that were offered on the menu were generally uninspired. One exception was the steak offered on the Classic Fare menu. Delicious! as was the goat cheese and garlic souffle. One evening, (the dinner with the CD) the group ordered veal piccata, (simple veal in lemon and capers). What the chef prepared was veal parmigiana without the cheese. On the flip side, two other special orders were excellent&a beef tenderloin and a cote de los. Outstanding! The chef was missing in action throughout much of the voyage. Unlike other trips where the chef would meander throughout the restaurant towards the end of most meals, this chef rarely left his kitchen. The poolside grill (for lunch) was great! Excellent burgers and hot dogs. I was surprised that the grill was not offered every day as it wouldve been nice to return to the ship after a tour and have the grill available for lunch. Oh&if you want a real treat, ask Luca (the maitre d) to make you pasta. Hes a true master of that art. On two evenings we partook in the "course by course" in suite dining. Both of these meals were delicious and the service from Gianni and Pasquale exceeded that of the dining room staff. I'd highly recommend this option. We did not eat in the Veranda for dinner.

Tours -- I did three tours offered by the ship -- the Canopy tour in Nicaragua , the aerial tram in Costa Rica and Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. The Canopy tour is where you zipline through the rainforest. It was great fun and exhausting! The aerial tram was interesting but it was nearly a two hour bus ride each way for an hour and ten minutes on the tram. In my opinion, not worth the time/expense. Others took an airboat ride and found that very interesting and it only had a 10 minute ride from the ship. The third tour I took was of the Miraflores Locks Observation Center of the Panama Canal. It was very good and informative. Privately, we arranged a one-hour helicopter tour over the Canal zone. That was great fun and offered a birds eye view of the region and the ship. The ship had its Seabourn Experience at Hunting Caye, Belize. This was extremely well organized and proved to be a great hit with passengers and crew alike. Kudos to the Captain and the crew for setting all this up as the weather in the morning was a bit inclement and it was hit-or-miss as to whether wed be able to have the beach barbecue but we did, and it was excellent.

Etc. (not covered above) -- Positives: The drink that I put down on the Guest Information form was Pepsi. The ship did put Pepsi in my stateroom. Another guest put down Diet Ginger Ale as his drink of choice, and that too was provided. The physical plant was in excellent condition, especially since the Legend is due in dry dock early in the new year. The ship did not carry cachaca (Brazilian rum used in Caiparinhas) but managed to source some at a subsequent port. The Seabourn vintage (wine) program is a good deal, (and we brought about 14 bottles of our own wine!). Different types of wines are well represented on the ships wine list at very reasonable cost. Needs improvement: The ship ran out of items by the end of the voyage. Blueberries, bananas, Pepsi, diet Ginger Ale and cachaca did not make it to the end of the cruise. Additionally, Louis XIII cognac was not on board.

Overall it was a very good voyage our fellow passengers, (and new friends!) made the trip memorable. I do feel that Seabourns service has slipped a bit. Fellow guests who very recently spent a considerable amount of time on the Pride remarked that the food and service on the Pride exceeded that on the Legend. Less

Published 01/24/06

Cabin review: 320

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