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Being avid Seabourn cruisers, I regret having to write up a negative review of our last experience on their new ship the Encore. However now that I am looking at the next cruise (yes, on Seabourn), I feel I have to get this clunker off my chest. A new ship (beautiful), a lot of new staff (many poorly trained). Very first night, arrived for dinner at the casual restaurant and were met by an imperious desk host who insisted we were not allowed to enter wearing jeans. Also this was told to the couple behind us. And rudely. I knew the rules and he didn't. I told the couple behind us to stay put, and flagged down whatever you call the "head" person (someone in a suit wearing a gold name tag). Of course we were seated. Not a nice thing to experience on the first night, just getting settled. No self serve laundry. Having a pre-trip as many do, I am used to having a self serve for ordinary basics like undies. Also sometimes you want to line dry an item, etc. This ship was designed with no laundry, and apparently a lot of complaints so they were trying to get one in but it's a big job and no way for this trip. So I filled a bag, and three days later had to go to Guest Services to track it down. They did compensate me for it. No newspapers in the lounge after a couple of days; the printer broke, and remained broke for the whole trip. Yes we had our iPad, but you know how wireless is on a boat at sea, and it costs you. They had a reader app on a tablet device, but it was all stupid stuff. LGBT Meetup, usually on a Tuesday, sprung up on Sunday and almost missed it, because the new format for the daily schedule is a cheap small foldout, small font, vs. the nice full page layout they used to have, and many of our fellow LGBT travelers missed it. Also it was not even sponsored! The next week we found out two women lawyers complained to make the next one happen, and were told (incorrectly) by Guest Services that it was an "upon request" event. Two of our excursions were nightmares. For Amalfi and Positano, we wanted to just go on a small boat to visit the harbors, have lunch, shop etc., rather than be on a bus for four hours to drive the coast. Reason: My husband has two new knees and the last thing we wanted to do is be stuck in a sitting position all day. However, due to ocean swells, we had to pull in at an alternative location. We were told our tour was still on, but had to take a bus first. You can guess where this is going. They swapped out our tour for the bus tour and did not inform us. We were literally trapped. Plus it was total pandemonium as to who was supposed to go where, what bus, etc. Another tour was Olympia in 3D. We had been there before to see the ruins, so thought the 3D experience would be interesting. But no, it was not virtual reality. First, we sat in a museum theater room and watched a film designed, I kid you not, for elementary school children. Then out at the site, we were given tablets that were pre-loaded with images of artist renditions (same as the movie we just watched) of how the ruins looked when new. You could be in a bathroom and see the same thing as you would out there, they were not context sensitive, as advertised. Many of the tablets simply did not work anyway. Fortunately we had by default admission to the excellent museum there and ditched the group (with many following us) for the museum. This was a new tour that Seabourn obviously did not vet beforehand. My final complaint before some kudos (yes I had a good time!) will explain why I had to give such a low rating, and I hope Seabourn takes notice. There was an announcement about drawing the curtains in the staterooms and not being alarmed about noises on the veranda, as a crew was coming through to clean them. We always draw the curtains anyway so thought nothing of it, and have experienced this on other cruises. Didn't even think about locking the veranda door, and never have. It just happened that on that day we had no excursions and luxuriated in sleeping in. Our inner (bedroom) curtains were also drawn (to block sunlight peeking through) but not completely. As I was waking up, I heard the sounds of furniture being moved on the veranda, and was not alarmed. But then I heard our veranda door being opened, and then the curtains being thrown open wide! I quickly sat up and looked out (peeking out between our curtains) at a workman in bright blue overalls beginning to step inside and looking shocked to see me, apologizing quickly and disappearing like a bat out of hell. I got semi dressed and ran to the veranda to see what was up. I was confused. The door had been propped open with a chair. There was some water on the floor, so at first I was thinking they washed the door maybe and needed to prop it open to dry? No way. (The glass balcony partition hadn't been touched, was completely filmed over.) After a couple of days I was so bothered I went to Guest Services and described the situation. I spoke with a very receptive and wonderful person named Michael who assured me this should never, ever have happened. Unfortunately, just enough time had elapsed that there was little chance the security camera would still have the footage. Michael escalated the concern, and a few days later I heard from someone (I wish I had taken down the name) at Guest Services that claimed "Sometimes they need to go through a cabin to access the hallway." Baloney! I checked back with Michael and he was really disappointed at that (obviously made up) response, but was powerless to do anything more. Should I have gone to the captain? I am still kicking myself for being so slow to jump on it (delayed reaction), and the response still bothers me. This was a serious breach of security. After telling the two lawyers we met about the response from Guest Services, and describing the accent of the agent that called me back, they said it sounded like the person who also made up the "by request" comment about the meetup. So, someone kind of childishly making things up because she really doesn't know the answer. Should not be in Management! A much hyped new addition that doesn't work: The Grill by Thomas Kelleher. Undercooked lobster, really? Overcooked steak? Pricey small glasses of wine that were nothing to write home about? The "Sommelier" was a day waiter in the casual restaurant. Which is fine, I'm just saying he wasn't really a Sommelier, and the whole thing was a lot of fuss and we couldn't wait for it to be over. Entertainment on the open deck continues to be at ear splitting noise levels, which is a shame. OK, Kudos: It is Seabourn, however, and I have never bothered to do a five star review for all our other cruises because there are just so darn many, why bother. But, given the nature of this review, I want to say I am still glad we were on a Seabourn ship, because we have had some pretty bad experiences on other cruise lines. Despite the clumsy new staff (our room stewardess had amnesia) there were a good handful of regulars to help things along. The new formal restaurant is way more appealing than on the older ships; they really got this one right. It is not all white, bright and garish. It is formal but has a welcoming warmth to it. They say no jeans but you can get away with really dark ones with monotonal stitching. And I got away with my all-black leather sneakers as well (leave the shoes at home!). Favorite restaurant continues to be the Collonade. So warm and welcoming, and relaxed. Common spaces on the new ship are a litter bigger and have a wonderful flow. There is a "living room" feel to whatever venue you choose. I love working out in a gym overlooking the ocean! I was so impressed with the yoga class instructor, I signed up for two personal sessions, and took home some valuable new techniques. And my husband had great deep tissue massage, and he is very fussy. So, quality people, it makes it all the better. Now that I have this fluke of a cruise off my chest, I'm ready to start looking at the next one. Seriously, if this had been my first cruise on Seabourn, I would not be returning. Nick Kouros

A surprising disappointment from our favorite cruise line!

Seabourn Encore Cruise Review by Nick185

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Being avid Seabourn cruisers, I regret having to write up a negative review of our last experience on their new ship the Encore. However now that I am looking at the next cruise (yes, on Seabourn), I feel I have to get this clunker off my chest.

A new ship (beautiful), a lot of new staff (many poorly trained). Very first night, arrived for dinner at the casual restaurant and were met by an imperious desk host who insisted we were not allowed to enter wearing jeans. Also this was told to the couple behind us. And rudely. I knew the rules and he didn't. I told the couple behind us to stay put, and flagged down whatever you call the "head" person (someone in a suit wearing a gold name tag). Of course we were seated. Not a nice thing to experience on the first night, just getting settled.

No self serve laundry. Having a pre-trip as many do, I am used to having a self serve for ordinary basics like undies. Also sometimes you want to line dry an item, etc. This ship was designed with no laundry, and apparently a lot of complaints so they were trying to get one in but it's a big job and no way for this trip. So I filled a bag, and three days later had to go to Guest Services to track it down. They did compensate me for it.

No newspapers in the lounge after a couple of days; the printer broke, and remained broke for the whole trip. Yes we had our iPad, but you know how wireless is on a boat at sea, and it costs you. They had a reader app on a tablet device, but it was all stupid stuff.

LGBT Meetup, usually on a Tuesday, sprung up on Sunday and almost missed it, because the new format for the daily schedule is a cheap small foldout, small font, vs. the nice full page layout they used to have, and many of our fellow LGBT travelers missed it. Also it was not even sponsored! The next week we found out two women lawyers complained to make the next one happen, and were told (incorrectly) by Guest Services that it was an "upon request" event.

Two of our excursions were nightmares. For Amalfi and Positano, we wanted to just go on a small boat to visit the harbors, have lunch, shop etc., rather than be on a bus for four hours to drive the coast. Reason: My husband has two new knees and the last thing we wanted to do is be stuck in a sitting position all day. However, due to ocean swells, we had to pull in at an alternative location. We were told our tour was still on, but had to take a bus first. You can guess where this is going. They swapped out our tour for the bus tour and did not inform us. We were literally trapped. Plus it was total pandemonium as to who was supposed to go where, what bus, etc. Another tour was Olympia in 3D. We had been there before to see the ruins, so thought the 3D experience would be interesting. But no, it was not virtual reality. First, we sat in a museum theater room and watched a film designed, I kid you not, for elementary school children. Then out at the site, we were given tablets that were pre-loaded with images of artist renditions (same as the movie we just watched) of how the ruins looked when new. You could be in a bathroom and see the same thing as you would out there, they were not context sensitive, as advertised. Many of the tablets simply did not work anyway. Fortunately we had by default admission to the excellent museum there and ditched the group (with many following us) for the museum. This was a new tour that Seabourn obviously did not vet beforehand.

My final complaint before some kudos (yes I had a good time!) will explain why I had to give such a low rating, and I hope Seabourn takes notice. There was an announcement about drawing the curtains in the staterooms and not being alarmed about noises on the veranda, as a crew was coming through to clean them. We always draw the curtains anyway so thought nothing of it, and have experienced this on other cruises. Didn't even think about locking the veranda door, and never have. It just happened that on that day we had no excursions and luxuriated in sleeping in. Our inner (bedroom) curtains were also drawn (to block sunlight peeking through) but not completely. As I was waking up, I heard the sounds of furniture being moved on the veranda, and was not alarmed. But then I heard our veranda door being opened, and then the curtains being thrown open wide! I quickly sat up and looked out (peeking out between our curtains) at a workman in bright blue overalls beginning to step inside and looking shocked to see me, apologizing quickly and disappearing like a bat out of hell. I got semi dressed and ran to the veranda to see what was up. I was confused. The door had been propped open with a chair. There was some water on the floor, so at first I was thinking they washed the door maybe and needed to prop it open to dry? No way. (The glass balcony partition hadn't been touched, was completely filmed over.) After a couple of days I was so bothered I went to Guest Services and described the situation. I spoke with a very receptive and wonderful person named Michael who assured me this should never, ever have happened. Unfortunately, just enough time had elapsed that there was little chance the security camera would still have the footage. Michael escalated the concern, and a few days later I heard from someone (I wish I had taken down the name) at Guest Services that claimed "Sometimes they need to go through a cabin to access the hallway." Baloney! I checked back with Michael and he was really disappointed at that (obviously made up) response, but was powerless to do anything more. Should I have gone to the captain? I am still kicking myself for being so slow to jump on it (delayed reaction), and the response still bothers me. This was a serious breach of security.

After telling the two lawyers we met about the response from Guest Services, and describing the accent of the agent that called me back, they said it sounded like the person who also made up the "by request" comment about the meetup. So, someone kind of childishly making things up because she really doesn't know the answer. Should not be in Management!

A much hyped new addition that doesn't work: The Grill by Thomas Kelleher. Undercooked lobster, really? Overcooked steak? Pricey small glasses of wine that were nothing to write home about? The "Sommelier" was a day waiter in the casual restaurant. Which is fine, I'm just saying he wasn't really a Sommelier, and the whole thing was a lot of fuss and we couldn't wait for it to be over.

Entertainment on the open deck continues to be at ear splitting noise levels, which is a shame.

OK, Kudos: It is Seabourn, however, and I have never bothered to do a five star review for all our other cruises because there are just so darn many, why bother. But, given the nature of this review, I want to say I am still glad we were on a Seabourn ship, because we have had some pretty bad experiences on other cruise lines. Despite the clumsy new staff (our room stewardess had amnesia) there were a good handful of regulars to help things along. The new formal restaurant is way more appealing than on the older ships; they really got this one right. It is not all white, bright and garish. It is formal but has a welcoming warmth to it. They say no jeans but you can get away with really dark ones with monotonal stitching. And I got away with my all-black leather sneakers as well (leave the shoes at home!). Favorite restaurant continues to be the Collonade. So warm and welcoming, and relaxed.

Common spaces on the new ship are a litter bigger and have a wonderful flow. There is a "living room" feel to whatever venue you choose. I love working out in a gym overlooking the ocean! I was so impressed with the yoga class instructor, I signed up for two personal sessions, and took home some valuable new techniques. And my husband had great deep tissue massage, and he is very fussy. So, quality people, it makes it all the better.

Now that I have this fluke of a cruise off my chest, I'm ready to start looking at the next one. Seriously, if this had been my first cruise on Seabourn, I would not be returning.

Nick Kouros
Nick185’s Full Rating Summary
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