We sailed from Ft.L on Dec 3-15. We enjoyed almost all aspects of the ship, save for one important exception.
Let's begin with the positives:
Check in was quite quick since there's only 450 passengers. Note that a slow check-in never bothers us much since the ship isn't going anywhere till be board. Once aboard we were very impressed with the beautiful architecture and furnishings of the common areas. Aesthetically, it's far beyond the look of every other (non-Seabourne) cruise ship. The cabin, starboard far forward, was roomy enough and storage and closet space abundant. The bathroom puts all others to shame for this level of cabin. My wife loves tubs, the shower is large enough for non-petite me. We didn't use the second sink, preferring to use the space for incidental storage.
The TV is tiny (I have the identical model in my garage workshop) and inconveniently positioned. The channel selection is "cruise ship scant" but reception was consistently good. I miss my home 200 channel cable package though the TV service has an extensive "on-demand" repertoire of movies and TV offerings . The veranda door opens outward and is difficult to prop open. The A/C worked well. The maid was efficient, unobtrusive, and friendly. We usually want absolutely minimal maid service. The elevator service was rapid and we often rode by ourselves. It's an easy ship to move fore to aft, being small and with simple architecture.
The internet service was fair, not up to level of Disney. I use only minimal email checking so I don't worry about anyone's high price. Note, being a retired computer professional of 50 years, don't believe the usual cruise line disclaimer of its internet service "it's the slow satellite to blame". The true issue is their servers are not technologically up to date. These things cost money and they go obsolete in 12-18 months. Disney realized this a few years ago as more passengers are wanting more stream based services. As us old geezers fade into history the generation behind us not only will demand a service speed comparable to land based systems, but won't want to pay too much for it.
The evening entertainment was quite good. The morning lectures were excellent as well. I usually suggest to every cruise ship that more movies would be nice, both late morning and early afternoon. Odyssey screened some movies at 9:45 P.M.! After a large supper and plenty of wine and after dinner drinks I could not stay awake past the opening credits. The tours were good enough, though we usually don't do much past the quickie photo op bus rides. The tender days were perilous, choppy water make them "1-2-3 JUMP" experiences. I'm getting too old and nervous to do this too many more years. The choppy water cancelled out caviar shore lunch. Wisely, it was rescheduled to poolside. Some of the port were not that exciting, Ile de Saints, Martinique, San Juan but staying aboard is always a viable option for this caliber of ship.
Now to the food, again positives first:
We started with lunch at the aft buffet "Colonnade" and we were impressed by the diverse selection. The wait staff and buffet cooks were rapid, efficient and friendly. We were impressed with their level of service. Only Azamara was comparable, so far. Our subsequent lunches were at the poolside "Patio Grill" about half the days. Likewise their wait staff were quick, efficient, and friendly. As burger joints go this spot excels. It's not a huge selection of food but diverse enough to satisfy the poolside crowd. There is a nice coffee shop "Seabourn Square" on the 7th floor, sharing the library and customer service area. The coffee here is excellent and a few snacks are available. This spot fills the gaps when the restaurants are closed. It's a nice touch.
Note that there are NO photographers on board and no semblance of a photography service. This cruise line is nicely low key in that regard. The daily feel and pace of the ship makes other cruise lines feel like a county fair on the water.
"Restaurant 2", the premium dining venue, was an interesting experience. The menu is a "tasting" of a number of gourmet-ish odd items. At least here we had a server who could explain what we were in for. Beware though, a definition of "tasting menu" is that the entire sum total volume of the 5 courses will fit I'm the palms of your hands.
Now to the food, negatives next:
The first evening things started to go awry. The main dining room "The Restaurant" is quite understaffed of waiters. We experienced 6-8 different waiters, all of whom seemed very rushed to take orders, with minimal explanation of entrees, and with good reason. The menu items that changed daily were described in an overblown terminology I'll call "Gourmet-Bizarre". Many items, their method of preparation, the sauces, were undecipherable to this layman. The waiters, mostly Eastern European, some with minimal English skill, were scant help because they couldn't understand the chef's gibberish either. Appetizers usually took 15 minutes to arrive, entrees an additional 45 minutes. Wine refills were prompt, though.
The four of us received at least 1 incorrect item delivered each of the 12 nights. 6 of the 12 nights at least one entrée was incorrectly customized (steak under/over done, sauce not omitted, etc). Soups were lukewarm as was the coffee. The waiters are all nice guys and diligent workers but they have to work too hard under excessive time pressure such that they have no time to explain menu items, give recommendations, and build a rapport with diners. The actual food quality was good though the recipes were "over gourmet-ed". This ship needs more waiters, simply put. We dined mostly at the MDR though in retrospect we should have had more evenings at the buffet "Colonnade" where the service was routinely excellent.
Sidebar cabin issue: Something about the shower plumbing allows sewer gas to back up into the cabin. We reported this and we heard other passengers with the same observation. After showering we would block the drain with a wet wash cloth (of course the maid would remove it). After maid service we'd run the shower and block the drain again.
Sidebar passenger issues (3) :
Heart attack in Guadeloupe, passenger evacuated.
Bleeding ulcer in Grand Turk, passenger evacuated..
A loud, nasty, profane drunk (2 PM!) in the pool, passenger not evacuated. Fortunately for fellow passengers his unfortunate wife dragged him off as an embarrassment.
Summation: Would we travel Seabourn again? Of course we would. The positives far outweigh our nitpicks. It's a stunningly beautiful ship, catering to a nice classy crowd, of which we made some nice acquaintances as well as lots of great conversation.
Easy check in process. Also the airport (FLL) is smaller than most and easy to get around.
We walked around a bit, took the free trolley bus to see the Old Town area. It was OK.
Hustle bustle. We should have taken a tour. What we did see was not all that impressive.
Fun, good sightseeing, great tour guide narration. Good photo ops.
The ship didn't stop there.8We didn't stop there.