Based on prior Cruise Critic reviews, it appeared Seabourn Encore was off to a rocky start. I am here to report the crew have overcome most of their issues and are offering a top notch program with the exception of a few minor glitches they are still working out.
The ship is amazing with beautiful and comfortable furnishings in all the public rooms. I thought the staterooms (I had a V6 cabin on Deck 10) felt a bit smaller than on Odyssey. The make-up table, in particular is so tiny, it can hardly be used. The shower also seemed smaller than on Odyssey, however, I could be wrong on that. The bed was comfortable, the towels and sheets were soft. The sofa was nice to sit or lay down on. You won't feel cramped in these cabins.
The service is basically up to the standards I expect from Seabourn. Many crewmen knew us by name within two days. The bartenders certainly knew our favorite drinks!
The only issue we had with slow service was the delivery of caviar on deck. The crew admitted they were still working out kinks with that and suggested to pre-order caviar if possible. However, I ordered caviar four times in the main dining room, as an appetizer, and it was served in a timely manner. The problem only appears to be on deck or in the lounges.
Main Dining Room menu was wonderful. They had a decent variety to choose from. I'm not a fan of Thomas Keller, the celebrity chef Seabourn is aligned with. His offerings were very hit or miss. However, the Seabourn standards were plentiful enough to satisfy me on the off nights. The salmon ,and the filet were 5 star yummy! The lobster tagliatelle was so good, one of our party ordered it every night as an appetizer.
The Thomas Keller Grille was also nice, although a bit noisy. Our table of four had trouble conversing over the sound of music.
As for service, in the main dining room, we had one amazing team, that could teach a course on fine dining service. We were overwhelmed by how good they were. Everything they did seemed designed to make us feel special. A second crew was a very good team and very efficient, but did not make us feel like special honored guests. Still, no complaints about them. . . And one team was very subpar. They couldn't take orders properly, fill water glasses or even deliver food in a timely manner. One night the maître d' actually came over and apologized for the poor service. I can understand anyone dining with this team writing bad reviews about the MDR. They were really bad.
The Colonnade dining room (Deck 9) was where we ate breakfast each morning. They had a wonderful buffet, although I ordered off the menu most of the time. Here's a tip: You can order almost anything you want for breakfast and they will try to make it for you. From corned beef hash to waffles. . . You can also order cappuccino of a latte.
The name brand entertainment on our trip was spotty. The magician/comedian was cute. The woman hired to sing show tunes was average. However, the standard shipboard singers and dancers were all wonderful. I thought they far out-performed the specialty talent. They all had great voices! The dancers were "Dancing With The Stars" caliber.
The piano player in the Thomas Keller Lounge (Deck 8) was perfect for pre-dinner cocktails. The duo in the observation lounge had great voices. The deck five band could crank it for a party. In fact, all the on board parties were fun!
The shore excursion crew did an admirable job of getting people off on a good foot. They also handled a problem many of us had with an unruly and reckless passenger on an excursion. Folks, the staff is there to help you. . . just speak up if you have a problem.
The gym and spa, if you use them are the best Seabourn has to offer. The gym, in particular, was pleasingly large and well equipped.
At the pool, there seemed to be plenty of deck chairs and eager attendants to shuttle cocktails. It never seemed crowded.
The casino staff was nice. My only complaint there was too many penny slot machines and none for a quarter or dollar.
If you've booked a Seabourn Encore cruise, don't worry. It is finally up to Seabourn standards. If you have not yet booked one, I highly recommend you do!
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