Our experience with Cruising for the first time was wonderful. Seabourn Vessels are beautiful, the staff is amazing and food exceeded our expectations.
We were definitely of the younger demographic on this Seabourn Itinerary. We are 37 and 42. We love to travel and experience life to it's fullest. We have a lot of previous travel experiences all over the world. We have never taken the opportunity to Cruise and quite frankly we were very unsure if a cruise vacation was for us.
I have some motion sickness issues and we were not sure how we would feel about sea days. We knew going into a cruise that we did not want to be on a ship with 3000 other people. We also knew that we did not want a ship that catered to children specifically. We chose this itinerary based on sail dates and it going to some unusual locations.
We embarked in Dubai, U.A.E. - we stayed at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City. This hotel was fabulous. It is a bit of a distance to downtown and the old city, but the hotel is wonderful. Their breakfast buffet is probably the best I have ever had.
Embarkation was a breeze. It took about 45 minutes to get on board and we understood from others in this line that this was a very long wait compared to usual.
Seabourn Odyssey is a beauty. Again far exceeded out expectations. The MDR is gorgeous. It is fabulous to sit out on the Colonnade for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The Patio Grill is a wonderful more casual experience for poolside eats and fun. We never made it to Restaurant 2 so I can not comment. The Spa was wonderful. The Salon is very professional. The gym is very well equipped. We even managed to work out several times on the ship. There are several different entertainment venues all very nice.
The entertainment staff had an itinerary everyday for what the days activities were. We took part in several of them a few times. We did the golf putting challenges, trivia, watched tug of war, there were many lectures on the locations we were travelling to, there was Mah Jong, Scrabble, Shuffleboard. I understand there were many fitness classes as well, but we did not partake. There was a pre-dinner show every day and a after dinner show every evening.
The shows that were provided by Seabourn are clearly not intended for our age category. We went to several, but often just chose not.There was 2 acts that were really good in our opinion of course, but other than that we could have just opted out.
Wendy and the band were great and Derek the guitarist was wonderful to listen to at the Patio grill and the club.
The service that we received on our cruise was impeccable. The room steward was amazing. They all said hello and were friendly as you passed through the hallways. The service staff at restaurants were fabulous. Even the news ones in training sure did their best. The entertainment crew were hilarious. They kept things very fresh. The only thing that we noted on service was if you have the wine packages of wanted to order wine off of the wine list, it was hard to get to speak with a Sommelier. It appeared that there was too much demand at one time for the amount of Sommeliers. Once you had their attention they were great. Oh and the bridge crew, what little we saw of them was great, but we were on a very time intensive cruise for those guys and gals, so I was glad they were doing their job rather than socializing with us. Room Service was great, always very quick and really as good as room service ever can be. I just like having breakfast on the veranda.
Port Excursions - I organized most of our port excursions outside of Seabourn. They were fabulous. I did not line up a excursion for Israel before we got on the ship for various reasons, so we opted to go with a private tour though Seabourn. Not only was it quite a bit more expensive than I could have done on my own, they did not provide a driver and a guide, which the other company would have. The reasoning was that the guides first language was English. We are fairly sure his first language was not English and it is much better to have a driver and a guide as this way the guide can concentrate on guiding you and the driver can concentrate on driving. I would likely not recommend others to use this service. We did not go on any group tours.
Our stateroom was beautiful. My husband chose to upgrade us at the last minute to an owner's suite. It was amazing! We had lots of room to stretch out. The Balcony was beautiful. It was usually fairly windy, but I did get the chance to enjoy some amazing breakfasts out there. Also star watching at night was amazing. We entertained a few times. Would we do it again? If we were travelling with others, it would be good to have a bit of extra space to gather. If we were not we would likely not do it again.
Dining was fabulous. We were actually impressed by the way they were able to continuously change the menu so that the passengers did not get bored. Yes there was some overlap between restaurants, but after the galley tour we understood why this may happen from time to time. We do highly recommend the galley tour! It was fascinating. Those galley girls and guys are amazing! The only complaint that we would have for dining would be that we think that the dress code for men is a bit too much. out of 18 days there were only 3 nights were a jacket was not required for men. When you are out in the hot hot sun all day the last thing a man would like to do is go put on a suit. Now of course we think that being required to wear slacks and a shirt is totally fine, the jacket is a bit overkill. We ate in our room a few nights because of the dress code.
All in all we were amazed at how much we enjoyed our cruise. We had many days at sea, we loved them. We were never bored, there are always things going on. We had good water conditions from what I understand, so motion was not really an issue which I was very happy about. The people we met on our cruise for the most part were amazing and interesting people from all over the world. We did get a brief chance to chat with the Captain and he was intriguing and a great conversationalist. We loved not have to charge things to a room card, the all inclusive of Seabourn is a definite seller. We would not do a cruise without it. My husband loved to lock his wallet in the safe for 5 days.
We Disembarked in Civitavecchia (Rome), The process was smooth and simple. We were sad to see the ship disappear in the rear view window!
Would we do Seabourn again? YES! Would we cruise again? Yes!
Great Location, good for entertaining others, no noise unless the anchor is being moved, great balcony.
Arriving in Salalah Port was fun for us as this was our first port ever on a Cruise. We had heard all sorts of people complaining about how expensive it was to go into the town. We had a quick chat with the Seabourn official while waiting for the shuttle to take you to the port gate. She said the problem is that they want your business for as long as possible, so they take advantage if you ask for one way travel. So if you say I want to go to the Al Husn Souk, they will say $80. If you say I want to go to the Souk, be there for 2 hours and come back to the port, they will say $80. So that is what we did. Make sure you make them specify Dollars or Pounds or whatever you are paying in. We agreed on Dollars and then when he returned us to the port the taxi driver asked for Euros. We said no we agreed on dollars and he never questioned it after that.
The souk was fun, we bought incense and frankincense and a burner.
We loved Sorrento even in the pouring rain. We just too the tender in and wandered our way through the streets buying a few things and enjoying great italian wine and having some fabulous food. We would not have traded this day for anything, except maybe a touch of sunshine.
Rome itself is a great historic place to see. It just so happened the weekend we were there, parliament was being sworn in and it was a long weekend, so the crowds were quite crazy. We did not get a chance to go in the Coliseum or get near the fountain of Trevi for lack of wanting to fight the crowds. It was beautiful though.