By way of introduction we are a couple in our 60’s and have been on more than 65 cruises. For the past ten years we have sailed mostly with Silversea, Regent, and Oceania. This was our first Seabourn cruise since being on the Legend when it was first put into service many years ago. I know many of the readers of this review will be seasoned “Sojourner’s” but here goes…..
Embarcation was a breeze in Ft. Lauderdale.
The ship is lovely. Very elegant and large enough for a variety of venues and settings yet small enough to feel intimate and comfortable. Nice art work, well-placed bars, restaurants, clubs, etc. Seabourn Square is brilliant. In the "Square" is the coffee shop where one can get all kinds of coffees, teas, and specialty drinks (prepared by real baristas) along with various snacks and ice cream. In the same area is what would be called a concierge center. Here you will find guest service personnel at desks where you sit to conduct whatever business you need (like the purser's office on other ships). The guest services center is flanked by computer banks on two sides which is the computer center. On one side of the room is the library and on the other side of the room are the shops. The excursions desk is also in the square.
Our Category V-3 suite was located on deck 6 and is indicative of the majority of the suites on the ship, save the Penthouse and Owner Suites. It was very nicely appointed and decorated. As you enter the cabin through a very narrow entrance there is a vanity area with lights and mirror. The verandah was large enough for two chairs, that have foot rests that can turn the chair into a 'chaise' and a table large enough for two to enjoy a meal on. However, the verandah furniture was worn and the mesh was uncomfortable. There were no cushions or head rests. The floor is teak and the glass railing provides for a lovely view of the sea and in port. (Suites in categories V-1 and V2 have partial metal railings and the views are obstructed.)
The living area had a sofa (very hard) and a table that is very comfortable for two to dine on. There are cabinets on each side which house the TV and the bar with the mini refrigerator. There is ample storage throughout. The sleeping area is separated by a curtain (if desired) and has excellent lighting for reading and/or relaxing. The mattresses were not as comfortable as I was expecting for a premium line. Perhaps they will be replaced soon. The walk-in closet is spacious enough with five deep built in drawers and a safe. There was plenty of room for hanging clothes. The bathroom was quite comfortable and well laid out. There is a twin sink vanity and a full sized tub as well as a small separate shower. While not loads of room for storage, there was certainly enough for us. Service by our stewardess was excellent. We hardly ever saw her, but our room was meticulously clean and refreshed twice a day. The towels were not of the quality one would expect from a premium cruise line and were a disappointment. Mostly they were scratchy and worn. Seabourn needs to address this.
We did have an issue — that was resolved on day 2 — regarding having a bottle of champagne in our suite. When we booked, we indicated that we did not want any bottles of liquor in our suite (as we prefer to have cocktails in the bars and lounges), but would rather have champagne (which we do enjoy in our suite). We called Seabourn directly to ask them about this, as we had read on the Cruise Critic Boards that one could only order glasses of champagne in their suites. The Seabourn office assured us, as well as our travel agent, that this would be no problem and to simply indicate our preference on our “suite bar preference request.” When we arrived, there was a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of vodka which we did not request. We informed our stewardess of our request and she said that we would be charged $35 for each bottle of champagne we ordered. We asked her to check with the hotel manager and to reference the pre-cruise request we submitted. The next day she informed us that she had, indeed, spoken with “provisions” and that she would replace each bottle of champagne as it was consumed. The issued was resolved and we had no problems getting our champagne, but we shouldn’t have had to make that request twice.
The menus were not very innovative or exciting, in spite of their wonderful descriptions. We found the food in the dining room to be just average to good. The service and the presentation however, were excellent. The “complimentary” wines were just OK. However, we were able to request different complimentary options other than the ‘wines of the day’ and we were accommodated with Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir instead of the standard Chardonnay or Malbec. The deserts were ordinary, at best, in any venue. However, the ice-cream was outstanding and there was a great variety of flavors as well as sorbets and frozen yoghurts.
This was no ordinary buffet/alternative dining option. There was both self-service and full table service for breakfast and lunch and full table service for dinner. For lunch and dinner there were excellent varieties of foods and the design of the room made for easy access to each of the food areas. For dinner, The Colonnade became a lovely indoor/outdoor bistro. The menus, though limited, were more imaginative. It was especially nice to be able to sit out on the back deck for an al fresco dinner.
The Patio Grill
By day, this pool side casual venue was quite popular, though we found it to be very bland and "perfunctory." The 'fast food' type lunch items were tasteless and the salads and entrees (which did change daily) were very bland and boring. At night, however, the Patio Grill was a lovely outdoor 'grill.' Steaks and seafood were well grilled along with a nice changing buffet of appetizers to match the theme of the evening. There are limited tables and on some nights people arrive very early to insure a seat!
We found Restaurant 2 to be a fun and inventive alternative. The pre fixe menus were imaginative and tasty. The service was extraordinary. While we enjoyed it, one visit in 10 days was amble for us.
We enjoyed breakfast in our suite almost every morning. Because we were vacationing and not on any set schedule (nor did we have any tours booked in advance) we waited to order breakfast when we awoke and when we knew what we were in the mood for, rather than ordering the night before. Our breakfast always arrived just as ordered and actually quite fast, usually in 15 minutes. The table was laid with a table cloth and linen and was set up just as you would find in the restaurant with every detail (salt, pepper, and appropriate condiments). On a couple of occasions we decided to have dinner in our suite (which we could order off the dining room or room service menu). These turned out to be two of our most memorable meals, accompanied by bottles of wines of our choice.
We enjoyed the service at all of the bars. Every bartender and all of the waiters were great. The pool service bar is quite fun to observe as they start "roaming" the pool area (both decks) with drinks of the day, cold towels, and even sun tan lotion. All the servers were friendly and accommodating.
Seabourn prides itself on their level of service and they do not let down. All service personnel were professional and accommodating. The only disappointment was that during our entire 10 days, not one crew member asked for, or called us by name. Not even the maître d's who asked for our suite number (not sure why) every time you entered a dining venue in the evening. This was not a deal breaker, but certainly a surprise. Our past experience with Silversea and Regent was to be addressed by our names starting from day one. They even had "cheat sheets" to help staff remember passengers. The disconcerting thing was that some passengers were addressed by name and somehow it made us feel “less than.”
Disembarkation was as easy and seamless as embarkation. It was well organized and just flowed. We enjoyed the ship enough that while onboard we booked one of the new Penthouse Spa Suites on the Quest for next year. So I guess that is enough of an endorsement!