We were looking forward to 20 days in the Med on the Encore after our previous experiences on Seabourn's 200 and 400 ships -unfortunately the reviews we read prior to leaving home were true. There seems to have been a fundamental shift in Seabourn's strategy, target market and service - saving money where ever possible - time in ports, tendering and fewer staff ( advertised as 465 staff in actual fact 416).
We were told by one crew member we we're on a "family " cruise -haven't seen that in the brochures!
Ship design is great as a hotel but not as a supposed single class ship.The pool area a total joke the pool is tiny and quite insufficient for 600 passengers. Really only good for standing still and dare not make any ripples in case you disturb the standing readers. Pool chairs booked early with towels like a cheap European beach -staff wont do anything about it despite there being clear guidelines. After 2 days we didn't even go to the pool.
The Retreat, a massive area on the top deck, is a mere $350 US a day !!! Always empty apart from -we were told by one senior officer- complementary to people who "provide constructive feedback"; which translated means complain and you can use it. But who would want to? A series of cabanas with loungers each with TV, champagne all day and personalised service. So whats the attraction?! You can have all hat anywhere in the ship! The Retreat is a shocking waste of space - enlarge the main pool area and turn the retreat a patio dining area.
Staff seem hugely over worked. Some returnees but many new, many of whom are somewhat unprofessional and wouldn't have been let near a Seabourn ship in the past: terribly slow and forgetful service, lack of ability to understand their customers needs. Even the cruise director seemed rushed
The Restaurant is a great design but too small -only seats 350 ( other ships can seat almost, if not all passengers).
Seabourn Square still a really nice area as is Colonnade and particularity good being able to use the outside area on level 8 for breakfast and lunch. Shame not also available for dinners when the Patio closed as was too busy and had to wait for a table
Once you scratch the surface even senior officers agree there is a real problem -not one person we spoke to in 20 days who had cruised with Seabourn before would go on Encore again.
In summary really disappointing staff quality and ratio resulting in poorer service, a huge area badly utilised and a pool far too small for the size of the ship.
OK design Cabin nice design seemed a bit smaller than other Seabourn ships
Shower leaked -was told it couldn't be fixed - so flooded bath room each time we used it Cabin creaked when underway