• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
Seabourn Encore Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
116 Reviews

Heaven on a Stick

Seabourn Encore Cruise Review by Geraldine Butler

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2017
  • Destination: Africa
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Suite

We have been on several river cruises with Uniworld and had wonderful experiences and on a 2 week cruise with Blount on the Great Lakes in the USA, but apart from couple of cruises up and down the Norwegian coast on the Hurtigruten, this was our first sea cruise.

The moment we stepped on board in Singapore, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with good humour and kindness by the hard working staff and crew. We were drawn to Seabourn because the food at all the restaurants is included as well as drinks. We did not want to face a large bill at the end. We were also attracted to this particular cruise because it included a lot of sea days and although we wanted to see an interesting part of the world, we also really wanted to relax.

Cabin

Our cabin was on Deck 5 (the lowest residential deck), and we had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath (yay!!!!!), with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. Compared to the cabins on river cruises, this cabin was a mansion. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea.

Food

The food at the Restaurant, Sushi, the Collonade and the Patio was outstanding. There was plenty to choose from and everything we chose was well cooked and delicious.

We are big fans of Asian breakfasts, particularly Vietnamese. So when we boarded the ship, we asked the chef if he could cook us a Vietnamese Pho a couple of times a week for breakfast. And this he did. It was delicious and fragrant and we got many envious stares as it was delivered to our table. This was truly outstanding service.

We really enjoyed lunch at Sushi. The bento boxes were delicious and the staff were wonderful, particularly the lovely lady from the Caribbean who served the wine and sake.

The food at the Restaurant was outstanding. We had the best steaks we have ever had and their other dishes were also delicious and beautifully presented. The service was fantastic, particularly from Duane from Barbados and her colleague (also from the Caribbean). These two women were friendly, funny and incredibly efficient and helpful.

We ate at the Collonade often. The variety at the buffet was always fantastic and we could both always find something delicious to eat. We particularly enjoyed the congee for breakfast and that’s what we had on the days we didn’t have our Pho. We often went to the themed dinners and always really enjoyed them. The lovely lady from Portugal who was the hostess at the front desk was so helpful.

The Patio is an up market fast food joint and it was the place to go when we had a hankering for a hot dog, hamburger or pizza.

We were not impressed by the Thomas Keller Grill. I had the lobster thermidor and it was swimming in butter and all the food was far too salty. The Grill had all the pretentions of a fine dining establishment without the haute cuisine. The menu never changed, and, unlike the other restaurants, we could not request any changes to the dishes. Aparently the chefs knew better what was best for us. On the other hand, we had Thomas Keller inspired dishes at the Restaurant and the Collonade and they were absolutely beautiful.

We hail from a part of Australia that produces truffles and we love em. We were very excited to know that there were a lot of dishes which included truffles. Unfortunately the truffle was undetectable. The executive chef explained that they cannot get fresh truffles, so they use canned ones. These have very little aroma or flavour and I suggest they should leave the truffle out of the menu until they can get the good stuff.

Drink

The wine ranged from very good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and the lovely bar man in the Observation Bar always brought over our favourite cocktails as soon as we sat down. Great service.

Public Spaces

Even though the ship was nearly full, it never felt crowded. I love to find a quiet spot to read and I could always do that. The Observation Bar was pretty much deserted during the day and I could sit and read and watch the ship ploughing through the water. My only complaint was that each day at around 10am, a couple of blokes used to meet to have a very loud, shouty discussion on religious issues. Their conversation dominated that large space and I suspect they were trying to attract other participants. I was really not interested in their subject matter and I could not concentrate on my book. It appeared to me to be officially sanctioned, as one of the participants was a member of the clergy. The bar man told me he had tried to direct them to a private meeting room but to no avail. I am surprised the senior management didn’t insist.

Seabourn Square was always a great place to get to know other guests. It’s comfortable and welcoming and refreshments are laid on.

Entertainment

We really enjoyed the shows put on by the in-house singers and dancers. These people were very talented. We didn’t see all the guest performers but those we did see were great.

We also really enjoyed the guest lecturers and learned a lot about the Middle East and the Suez Canal.

We loved the cooking demonstrations by the Executive Chef Kurt Timmermans . What a clever man he is.

Staff and Crew

We found the Captain and his team to be personable, approachable and helpful. My husband had lots of technical questions and he went out of his way to answer them. The cruise director was a delightful woman, as was her assistant and the staff at the Square went out of their way to help us. We booked excursions as we went along and they always made excellent alternative suggestions if the one we wanted was booked out. Everyone we dealt with had clearly been through rigorous training and did their job beautifully.

Passengers

Mostly Australian and American with a few other countries represented as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. We found there were always passengers like this on river cruises as well.

Excursions

These were on the whole, enjoyable, with some that were outstanding. Our favourites were the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, shopping with the chef in Muscat, the incredible first sight of Petra and the cooking demonstration in Santorini. The Grand Mosque is gobsmackingly gorgeous, the visit to the market with the chef was really interesting and Petra is definitely one of those places everyone should see. The cooking demonstration at a small restaurant attached to a farm on Santorini was some of the most beautiful food we have ever tasted. What that woman could do with a fresh tomato was a miracle.

I was surprised that Seabourn didn’t provide passengers with audio headsets. Uniworld provide them for every passenger. On several tours, people got left behind and there was a great scramble to find them again. At Petra, it’s a long, difficult walk from the bus into the site and we lost the guide very early in the journey. It’s hard to get lost there, but it would have been nice to know what we were seeing.

Laundry

There is none and the cost of the laundry service is eye watering. However, being Aussies, we were well organised. We brought our own collapsible clothes line and a wonderful washing aid called a Scrubba. It’s a heavy plastic bag with a built in wash board and it worked a treat, although our room occasionally looked like a Chinese laundry. I understand they are going to provide a laundry soon and that’s a great idea.

Internet

Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package.

In summary, this was a wonderful experience. We both work and it was just lovely being waited on by friendly and attentive staff, to eat and drink deliciousness, to be entertained and to see really interesting sights. We have just booked a 45 day cruise on the Seabourn Quest in February, from Buenos Aires to Monte Carlo. Can’t wait.


Geraldine Butler's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Veranda Suite
Cabin V2 542

Our cabin was on Deck 5 (the lowest residential deck), and we had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath (yay!!!!!), with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. Compared to the cabins on river cruises, this cabin was a mansion. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Colombo

We took a bus tour through Colombo. Got a good overview of the city.

City Tour

We have been to Mumbai previously and it's a big, bustling fascinating city. This time we went to the Crawford Market and while going from the fruit and vegetables to the spice section we passed through the "pet market". This was animal abuse on display and we both found it very confronting. Our guide didn't warn us or even comment.

View All 31 City Tour Reviews
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Before we left on this excursion, the women were told to cover our heads, shoulders and legs, but unfortunately I had short sleeves and the morality police didn't like my elbows. I stayed on the bus with several other women who had offended them.

View All 13 Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Reviews
Grand Mosque

This Mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. This was an outstanding excursion

View All 15 Grand Mosque Reviews
City Tour

Dubai is extraordinary and the architecture is wonderful. Yes it's a display of incredible wealth but well worth seeing.

View All 43 City Tour Reviews
Petra Walking Tour

Petra is extraordinary.

View All 92 Petra Walking Tour Reviews
Bethlehem Walking Tour

Bethlehem was so interesting but the guide was terrible. She tore ahead of us in the tight little streets in the old town and became very grumpy when people complained.

View All 12 Bethlehem Walking Tour Reviews
Culinary Tour

This was the highlight of the entire cruise. We walked around Oia and then went to the home of a wonderful cook. She cooked lunch for us and used all her own produce, including the olive oil and wine.

View All 4 Culinary Tour Reviews
Salalah

We took the tender to the shore and back. Got some lovely photos of the Encore and we were sailing away


Previous ReviewNext Review
Geraldine Butler
3 Reviews Written
18 Helpful Votes
Never Miss a Deal!
Subscribe and Save
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More Seabourn Encore Reviews





Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.