Seabourn Odyssey Cruise Review by ceedee161257
- Sail Date: September 2014
- Destination: Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Veranda Suite
Let me start with the positives. (Seabourn) have a much more casual style, nowhere near as formal as Silversea. The main example of that is the evening attire. On Silversea, they have a mix of Formal, Informal (Elegantly Casual) and Casual evenings (Resort Casual), but it is probably on a scale of 2/3/1. On Seabourn, it is the other way around and even on Formal evenings, jacket and open collared shirt is accepted. On Silversea, if you don't follow the dress code, you can't access the main dining venues. The Seabourn approach suits my personal style, although I am sure many guests enjoy the formal aspect of Silversea. Seabourn Odyssey also has an informal cocktail bar right at the front of the ship, which has a pianist providing entertainment. That was a great venue for pre and post dinner drinks. Silversea provide a selection of printed newspapers daily in the library to read. Seabourn have this really smart system where iPads are set up in Seabourn Square with electronic copies of just about every newspaper on the globe, updated daily.
I would point out a few other differences in style and approach. The Seabourn Odyssey has a much more modern, clinical feel to it than Silversea. It felt more like you were staying in a luxury five star hotel, with lots of glass, chrome and marble. Silversea have a more classical style, more warmth, with teak and formal wall coverings. The staff on board Seabourn are mostly westerners from all parts of the globe. Silversea have a stronger bias to Asian staff. Both sets of staff are great, I have a slight preference for Silversea, where they just seem that little more eager to go the extra mile. The dining on Seabourn fits the more casual style. The main dining venue is The Restaurant which has a very similar approach to Silversea, with a constant menu which is always available and a daily menu which varies daily. Seabourn has a casual brasserie with different evening theme dinners and Silversea have La Terrazza, which is Italian cuisine in the evening, but offers a great buffet lunch daily. The buffet on Silversea offers much more choice than Seabourn, especially for salads. Both have other specialty restaurants that I did not frequent. Seabourn Odyssey has a great Show Lounge on the 6th Floor. What makes it somewhat unique is that the stage/performance area stretches out into the seating area, so you get up quite close with the performers. It also seems to be Seabourn style to get the entertainers to interact with the guests. The very first night on board, we were invited to a table with one of the male singers (and this was repeated with two of the female singers) and consequently got to know the performing group, which was a nice touch on the cruise. The standard of entertainment on Seabourn was exceptional throughout the cruise.
Now the areas where I think Silversea is a stand out.
1. Silversea have a Butler system, where each cabin is served by what seems to be almost a personal Butler, although I know that they cover more than just one suite. When you come on board Silversea, the Butler almost instantaneously greets you and offers a choice of luxury toiletries to be used and replenished throughout the cruise and wants to understand your likes and needs. From that point onwards, the Butler is literally only a push button on the phone away and if you make any request, be it for evening canapés or fruit or sparkling water, you can be assured that these requests will be taken seriously and followed through without fail or needing to be reminded. I expected the same on Seabourn and a lady arrived some time after we checked into our suite and I gave her a few requests, thinking that although she was dressed far less formally than the Butler on Silversea, that she was there to provide the same type of service. Lets face it, you are paying a similar price to Silversea. Well that was where the comparison ended. It quickly became apparent that our Suite Attendant was more of a housekeeper and we hardly ever saw her and things we requested were often not provided. Although Seabourn leave some toiletries in the bathroom, it is nowhere near the class and style of Silversea. On Silversea, no sooner do you put out the "please make up room" sign, the room is immaculately cleaned. On Seabourn, it drags on well into the afternoon before it is completed and all of the soiled towels and cleaning equipment clutter the hallways during that time. On many occasions, the Butler on Silversea stops by your suite to see if there is anything that he can do for you and frankly, you feel bad if you can't think of anything, because he is just that keen on service levels. To be fair, the service seemed to improve somewhat during the cruise after I had left a note listing some shortcomings.
2. Seabourn has completely underestimated the requirement of passengers to want to do self service laundry. On the Seabourn Odyssey, there were two laundrette's together on the fifth level with four ageing washers/dryers in total. The ship holds around 450 passengers and from what I can tell, was full. On Silver Spirit, which is a similar sized ship, they have laundrette's on every floor and two sets of machines per laundry. It was a complete bun fight throughout the cruise trying to get access to laundry facilities. People were literally queued up, sitting inside the laundry reading books, jockeying for access.
3. The Seabourn Verandah suite compared to the Silversea Verandah Suite feels smaller and far less appointed. The bathroom and walk in closet feel much smaller. On Silversea, there is a built in desk/wall unit which offers great storage facilities and a place to set up your laptop etc. On Seabourn, the suites are less appointed, with a table and two chairs where the desk is on Silversea. There are other cabinets, but small spaces and not that functional. The television is this small monitor in a cabinet between the bed and the sitting area that cannot swivel because of the set up of the cabinet, hence you can't easily watch the TV from the bed. On Silver Spirit, they have neatly placed the TV's in the mirrors, one facing the bed and one in the sitting area. There is a major design fault with the bathroom door, which opens out at the entrance to the suite. So if you enter the suite, and someone has left the bathroom door open, you crash into the door with the front door of the suite. Silversea also offer some nice little touches, like a set of binoculars in the suite which is great for checking out the scenery.
4. The in-suite entertainment provides lots of choices for movies if you want to take one in, but the TV channels are disappointing. There is no sports channel other than Sky Sports News, so any major sporting events happening are not broadcast. The Ryder Cup was on during our cruise and was not covered.
5. The food on board Seabourn is very good, but the food on Silversea is outstanding. Silversea focus on smaller portions, so it is normal to order several courses during a meal to taste the various offerings. Silversea serve a selection of hot canapés in the bar each evening which changes nightly. Seabourn have a buffet set up on the 10th floor bar with a selection of cold choices, but 90% were the same over a 14 day cruise.
6. If you are a smoker (and I am not), then Seabourn is for you. Silversea have really limited smoking to an area at the rear of the Observation Lounge or the dedicated smoking room. Seabourn still allow smoking after 8pm in dedicated areas of many of the bars and public areas and on the verandahs of your suite. I am really anti smoking and was quite surprised at the liberal approach of Seabourn versus Silversea, given current day attitudes to smoking in shared areas. To be fair, on the second part of the cruise, there were very few smokers, but if you were unlucky enough to strike a cruise with lots of smokers, then for me, this would be a big negative.
I would also comment on something that happened on the last day in port before we arrived in Venice. There was a notice in the morning to say that there would be repair work done on the pool level teak decking during that day and evening - "apologise for the inconvenience". I think that is unacceptable that resurfacing of the pool deck would take place during our cruise. It was like a construction site around the pool with large areas roped off. I cannot imagine Silversea doing the same. If significant maintenance needs to be done, then take the ship off line, but you cannot inconvenience passengers who have paid big dollars for these cruises.
I don't want to sound overly negative towards Seabourn. The itinerary from Istanbul to Venice was terrific. The staff went out of their way to make it a great cruise. As I mentioned at the start, the biggest issue is that I have experienced the Silversea standard and it is, in my opinion, a higher standard than Seabourn and better value for money, given the pricing is very comparable.
250,000+ people have entered their email