Seabourn Spirit - Asia: Seabourn Spirit Cruise Review by joolsb

Seabourn Spirit 5
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Seabourn Spirit - Asia

Sail Date: April 2006
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Singapore
After a couple of days acclimatizing ourselves to the temperature in Singapore, we embarked Seabourn Spirit on Monday, 3 April, 2006. This was a long-anticipated adventure for our Silver Wedding anniversary, our first cruise with Seabourn and our first trip of any length without kids in tow  so we were very excited!

Embarkation was very smooth, and the service started almost immediately. As soon as one of the ships staff caught sight of us, they immediately took our hand luggage from us (took my husband a bit of persuading to do that  I kept reminding him he had to chill out and switch off for the next 16 nights!), and we were ushered on to the ship and into the Amundsen Lounge for cool drinks and a short wait for check-in.

As expected, a white-gloved steward took us and our hand luggage (no fight given this time!) to our suite, where our luggage was waiting. Beautiful suite, just exactly as we had expected, with of course champagne on ice waiting for us. Our More stewardess arrived quite quickly with 2 glasses of champagne and canapEs for us  however the service we received from our stewardess was I think the only thing which we marked down on our end of cruise questionnaire. For some reason, this lady was based 2 decks above us, but had 2 suites to attend to on our deck also. This meant that we never saw her, and communicated constantly by note; she was always in a rush on the odd occasion we did bump into her  and this included the welcome she gave us; she obviously had to be somewhere else and we were a bit of a bother to her. Our soaps were practically thrown at us, and then she disappeared! Throughout the rest of the cruise, our suite was always clean and tidy  but we never had any extras  it sounds quite childish, but it was disappointing to return to our cabin at night and never discover the rose petals, towel sculptures etc that we heard friends talking about. Even on the actual day of our anniversary (which was obvious from the cards etc on display), we thought she might make an effort to see us, or do a little extra for us  but no.

With that off my chest, its time for the good bits  and every other part of this cruise was fantastic. As promised, by day 2 staff were calling us by name and already knew that if I asked for a glass of wine it was not to be Chardonnay! Service on deck in particular was wonderful  cold towels, fresh lemonade, frozen fruit kebabs, champagne sorbet  it just kept coming.

On sea days the Sky Grill offered a great casual dining venue, and the Verandah was heaven after a morning ashore! Breakfasts were usually taken in the Verandah where it was very difficult to stick to the healthy, low fat options we had promised ourselves we would have!

On the day of our anniversary we had breakfast delivered to our suite, with a bottle of champagne from friends. As we sat toasting each other the ship was just approaching Cochin, and from our window we could see beautiful white beaches, palm trees and the famous Chinese fishing nets; an unforgettable experience.

We also had dinner in our suite one evening (just the room service menu), which again was served with panache and style, and was a lovely way to spend a quiet evening. My husband asked for a glass of red wine to go with his steak, so they just brought the whole bottle! Room service also regularly delivered us mix for bloody marys and olives, for our pre-dinner routine!

Dinners, however, were usually in the Restaurant, where we were lucky to be invited to various hosted tables. Although we didnt accept every invitation (and we learned not to answer the phone at about 6.30 pm, and this was usually the Purser trying to fill up tables!), those we did allowed us to meet with some lovely people from all parts of the world and backgrounds. We also ate in the Verandah on a couple of occasions and it was beautiful sitting outside at the back of the ship just watching the stars and the ships wake  and of course eating fabulous food. Food was outstanding in every venue, and the chefs tasting dinners were wonderful in allowing you to choose every course, but not feel you had overdone it!

Entertainment was very good. We didnt usually get involved in the daytime activities (we prefer a shady corner with a book), but did attend some port talks, a cookery demonstration by the chef  and my husband golfed every day. In the evening the entertainment was diverse and very good on the whole; we had everything from a classical pianist to a magician, Broadway-style musical evenings to a cellist and a violinist playing classical and pop in the same show (String Fever). The Seabourn Spirit Orchestra was fantastic, and we will never forget the jazz set they did late one night at the Sky Bar. The duo who played in the club at night were also very good, and provided both background and dance music  although The Club was never busy, and most people had retired by around 11.30 pm. The age range of the passengers was quite wide, from a young honeymoon couple to some very elderly people (we are in our mid 40s). I think I heard someone say the average age was about 70  but hey! Age is just a number! It was a good mix and we very quickly made good friends and always found someone to chat to.

Ports of call were a heady mix of the exotic! Some we would never wish to visit again and others gave us memories to last a lifetime! We called at Penang (an unforgettable trishaw trip), Colombo (squalor, poverty  and the week after our visit, a suicide bomber), Cochin (a nice introduction to India  and an exciting tuc-tuc trip into town!), Mumbai (beautiful architecture  but oh, the beggars!), Muscat (awesome scenery and a wonderful picnic and swim at an oasis) and Dubai where we disembarked. Dubai was the setting for our Seabourn Experience, which all the staff had told us was one of the best  and they were right. Our kids couldnt believe the pictures of Mum and Dad on camels, getting a henna tattoo, smoking shisha pipes and sand-boarding down a sand dune! We didnt belly dance, but watched someone else doing it instead! Seabourn certainly did us proud; the drink flowed all night and the buffet was a nice mix of local and international to suit all tastes. A fabulous end to a fabulous cruise.

Disembarkation next morning was very easy; we were making our own arrangements so were allowed to leave at any time before 9.30 am. So after a leisurely breakfast in the Verandah, we finally left the ship and picked up a car to take us to our friends where we were to spend the next 3 nights before heading home.

We will definitely be back on Seabourn in the future  although of course it has to be without children; it did take a while to get used to the constant service and attention, but oh boy was it hard to get back to reality when we got off! I even had to open a door by myself! Less

Published 05/05/06

Cabin review: A108

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