Seabourn Pride - Southern Caribbean: Seabourn Pride Cruise Review by SantaAna,CA

Seabourn Pride 5
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Seabourn Pride - Southern Caribbean

Sail Date: December 2006
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Barbados

This is my review of a seven day cruise I took on the Seabourn Pride December 2-9, 2006. This was my second voyage with Seabourn; the first cruise I did with them was in April of 2006 on the Legend to the Eastern Caribbean (which review is also listed with Cruise Critic).

One of the nice things about Seabourns ships is that the layout of all three, More the Legend, the Pride and the Spirit, are identical. The only changes are the names of the lounges. Therefore, if youve been on one, you will easily find your way around all of them. Each Seabourn ship can hold 208 passengers. I was sailing solo in a cabin, as were several others, and there were 202 people on our ship. You will never feel crowded on a Seabourn ship. Except in the dining room, I never saw a large group of people in one place at one time.

Embarkation: Very easy. The ship sailed very late on the Saturday we left Barbados, at 11pm. I had been staying on the east side of the island, in Christchurch, at a lovely placed called Peach and Quiet. I would highly recommend this little hotel (only 22 rooms, no children allowed) for its incredible views, bargain prices, and excellent food. Two words of warning: the rooms are extremely basic (though large and comfortable, with a generous balcony or patio), have no A/C (only fans, and mine was sweltering), and I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. Also, you are on the side of the island that gets more clouds than the side the more expensive hotels are on. Also, there is no beach at P&Q, it is very rocky, but has the most fantastic view Ive ever seen. Extremely beautiful, with a pool right on the water. Uncrowded, quiet, all you hear is the ocean and the numerous, beautiful birds. The only two reasons I would not return were the lack of air conditioning and the mosquitoes.

Seabourn made it extremely easy to board the Pride, taking all luggage, and even helped me retrieve my laptop which Id left in the car I had hired to take me from the hotel to the ship. That was a bit of a panic for me, but the Seabourn staff handled it quickly and I got it back, even before dinner! Their service is without equal, as I will point out in this review over and over. I got to the ship in the late afternoon, so I was immediately escorted to my room after checking in, getting my shipboard security card and room key, and giving them an imprint of my credit card. To my great delight, they had upgraded me to a balcony suite. When I travel on Seabourn, I take run of ship; for a single traveler, this means you pay whatever single supplement is available on your particular sailing, and you are generally assigned a suite two weeks or so before you sail. I did not have the suite number before I boarded, so when the steward opened the door and I saw the balcony suite, I was very happy.

From the first day, I was called by my name by almost every crew member I came in contact with. How do they know who you are? How do they instantly remember the face and link it with your name? I have no idea. What I do know is that it makes you feel like you are at home and among friends. I cant express enough the warmth and gracious service that the crew of the Pride extended to me, and all the travelers on the Pride, the whole week. This is one of the reasons Seabourns ships have repeat passengers over and over and over again. They know how to make you feel like a duchess (or a duke, as the case may be!). Seabourn is an all inclusive ship; you do not pay for cocktails (unless you order premium wines at dinner, etc.) and there is no tipping required or expected. So the people who are serving you are not doing it hoping youre going to pay them for being nice to you. Their entire attitude is that they serve graciously because that is the Seabourn standard. They succeeded on the Legend in April, and if its possible to improve upon perfection, even more so on the Pride.

Cabins. As I stated above, I had been upgraded to a balcony cabin. Seabourns balconies, except in the most expensive Classic and Owners Suites, are called French balconies; they are only wide enough to step out on and lean on the railing. The window is ceiling to floor, with handles on each door that turn down and you pull open two sides of the sliders. Depending on the weather, you can just leave them open and have a lovely view of the ocean, hearing the waves breaking practically at your feet. On deck 5, the water is approximately 20 to 30 below you. Seabourn cabins are beyond beautiful. They have a nice bedroom area, and the beds can be made twin or queen. There is a sitting room with a sofa, two chairs and a coffee table that can be made into a dining table, and under the table are two stools that also have the capacity for some storage. Not that the cabins lack any. Drawers everywhere, and a walk in closet that any lady can appreciate that includes areas to put your shoes, hooks to hang swimsuits, a terrycloth towel for you, an umbrella if it rains, a safe, more drawers, even storage for your suitcases (under the bed is a good place for that, as well).

The bathroom is covered in marble, with a nice bathtub/shower and a handheld shower head that you can put up above, to have the water rain down on you. Lots of hot water, water pressure excellent. Two sinks on the Pride, big mirror, good lighting, shelves on both sides of the counter and down below, Moulton Brown products, in-room hair dryer, makeup mirror, Q-tips, cotton balls, plenty of clean towels. Your room will be spotless, the stewardess cleans it in the morning and in the evening.

The room includes a flat screen TV, a Bose CD player, and the ship supplies a few stations that you can turn music on if you dont want to bring your own. Seabourn has current movies running on its programming, along with tapes of their onboard speakers (if they have any) in case you wanted to hear the lecture, but missed it. They have various other stations available; CNN, TNT, etc. Ship to shore phone is offered (at extra charge if you use it) and WiFi is available in the room. Word of warning on this: depending on the day and location, it can be unreliable. I brought my laptop and regretted it; the WiFi connection was iffy and I was constantly being knocked off the connection. Seabourn also has a computer room on each ship. You pay for internet access (buying a package is a good idea), but because of the lack of good connection, I ended my trip with leftover time, since I couldnt keep my connection. This became very frustrating!

Restaurant. I always ate in the restaurant, although Seabourn has several places to eat. The restaurant is the more formal of your choices, and suited me best. One nice thing, if you are a solo traveler: Seabourn will give you invitations to hosted tables at dinner every single night. You do not have to accept them, but since I was traveling alone, I always did, and one of the highlights of my trip was having dinner with one of the engineers, or the cruise director, or tour director, or one of the entertainers, and eight other people every night. By the end of the cruise I knew almost half the people on board! And let me tell you about your fellow passengers on Seabourn: you will like them. They are well traveled, interesting, fun to talk to and learn from, and extremely friendly. A nicer, more interesting group of people Ive never met. This is one of the highlights of any cruise on Seabourn; the interesting group of people you will be with. And being a smaller ship, youll see them often! So you get to know names and can smile and say hi, what did you do today?  Its very nice!

Dinner is an elegant affair and you have much to choose from. I can honestly tell you in seven days there was not one thing I ate that I didnt like. The food is not only delicious, it is served in a way that is pure art! And the service is the restaurant is quick, efficient and charming. Ladies, you will be escorted to your tables by the waiters, who line up and wait for the passengers entering the dining room. Be prepared for them all to know your name and what it is you like, what it is you ask for often, and supply it for you without asking. Also noteworthy: Seabourn tends to be a dressy ship. Even on nights that were not formal, in the dining room people were dressed very nicely. If you are not into this sort of thing thats fine, the veranda or Sky Grill will suit you. Casual night in the dining room was two of our seven evenings.

Seabourn also has the veranda cafe, a buffet that is delicious, beautifully arranged and generous, for breakfast and lunch, and the veranda becomes 2 at dinner. This is aft on deck 7, and you can eat outside or inside. I never did dine at the veranda for dinner, so I cannot comment. But I was there often for breakfast and lunch. Room service, of course, is also available 24/7 and a room service menu is in your room. During dinner hours, if you want, you can have the same meal as being served in the restaurant served in your cabin, and course by course if you choose. Room service is quick and satisfying in its selections.

The Sky Bar also has hamburgers and hot dogs, and casual dinners, most nights. I was up there the last night of my cruise and they had lots of food and not much business! Seabourn goes the extra mile to give you many options, which is impressive considering the ship is so small compared to the behemoths out there with six or seven dining options.

Excursions. Being a scuba diver, I didnt do many of the ships excursions. The one I did was on Margarita Island and it was a lot of fun. We were taken to a very nice ranch and then horseback riding out in the beautiful desert-like surroundings of this island. We rode among the cactus out to the beach and across a sandy spot strewn with hundreds of pale pink conch shells, the kind you pay for at little souvenir stands! The horses were gentle and well cared for, it was a perfect day.

Getting on and off the ship is very easy, I never, ever waited in line. On a Seabourn cruise, sometimes you dock and sometimes you are at anchor. Of course most people who cruise prefer docking, because its more convenient. But Seabourn has tenders that take you back and forth constantly, if they are at anchor, and it is only slightly inconvenient, not like a big ship where you will be waiting behind hundreds of other people to get off. Another benefit of a smaller ship!

Things to Do. On Caribbean itineraries, they are usually port intensive; you rarely have a day at sea. Therefore, my days were pretty busy spent scuba diving in the morning, coming back and getting lunch, sitting out by the pool or in one of the several Jacuzzis, perhaps going into the gym for a walk on the treadmill for an hour, cleaning up for dinner, etc. There is a Sky Bar on deck 8 where you can get a cool drink and gab with your new friends, or sit in a deck chair and read your novel. Deck 7 also has chairs and the pool, and two very pretty Jacuzzis (deck 7 is surrounded by the lifeboats, there is not a good view out to the ocean from this deck), it also has the small salt water pool which unfortunately is in a position that doesn't get much sun. However, there is a lovely walk around deck on 7 that goes in front of the ship, by the bridge, and has a beautiful view. Take the staircase down to deck 5, and you will find another Jacuzzi on the bow of the ship. This is a very lovely place to sit and stare out at the ocean. Deck chairs here too, and often a crew member comes out with cool towels or ice water. Back up on 7, the gym is small but very well equipped with several treadmills, other universal weight machines, free weights, TVs, and a cooler with cold towels and ice water. The spa is on this level too, and you can get massages, and all beauty services (hair, nails, etc.) I very much liked the Prides spa staff, which I understand is contracted out. I used it just once, to get my hair done, and it was reasonable and the service friendly.

Seabourn has some fun things to do: trivia, puzzles, a nice library, CDs and DVDs you can borrow and play in your cabin. At night their cruise directors double as the talent and you may see a show with Broadway tunes, a one man performance of jazz tunes, etc. On our sailing we had a young man who was a classical pianist and everyone just loved him. They also have after dinner shows, and there was a good late night music duo up at The Club. Liars Club is another fun evening, with, for example, three cruise directors giving you definitions for words you have NEVER heard of, and you have to guess who is telling the truth. What is so fun is that there is such an intimate group of people at any gathering, you feel like its a group of your friends and neighbors, not just a lot of strangers. Truly fun!

Returning to Barbados, I had breakfast in my cabin and then left the ship and went to the Hilton in Bridgetown, where I had booked a dayroom before leaving on my afternoon flight back to LAX. I will return to this hotel for sure. It is fantastic! Beautiful room, overlooking an aquamarine sea, soft sand and their own expansive beach. Their pool area is great. It is extremely expensive but from my short experience, well worth it.

I had planned a trip next year on another cruise line, because the itinerary was one that Seabourn does not have. After my week on the beautiful Pride, I am re-thinking my choice. There is something enchanting about Seabourn. Sailing with them is a remarkable experience, and it will be uniquely special for each person. If it is possible to improve upon perfection, that would be my experience of the Seabourn Pride, after my equally wonderful trip on the Legend in April. We visited the ports of Tobago, Margarita Island, Grenada, St. Lucia, Mayreau, Grenadines, and St. Vincent. Even though my trip on the Legend to the eastern Caribbean was wonderful, the southern Caribbean was even better. The standard of service on Seabourn is without match. The ship is graceful and beautiful, getting into ports the larger ships cannot. When you combine the wonderful cabins, the exemplary service, the friendliness of your fellow passengers, and the natural beauty of the Caribbean islands, you will truly have the trip of a lifetime. And if you sail on Seabourn often, youll always have those kinds of trips! Less

Published 12/10/06

Cabin review: B2213

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