I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise.
This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this. I have probably been on twenty ships from a dozen different lines over the years and I cannot think of a better one.
The ship is designed so that basically, all of the cabins are pretty much forward and all of the "activities" are aft. This way, there is nobody bouncing down your hall on the way to something 24/7. None of the cabins is far from some elevator. We were in 655 which was a "standard" balcony cabin on deck 6, but otherwise not at all "standard." While the actual size may be more or less the same as most other upscale ships, it seemed much larger and, for example, I know the bathroom was larger with separate full length tub and free standing shower and two sinks. Major storage everywhere, a pleasant seating area, fridge, dining table, balcony, furniture, set-ups etc. all of the first order.
Most of the "white suit" crew was the usual array of east/west European although not exclusively. Every single member of the crew warranted five stars for attitude and graciousness. The area called Seabourn Square on Deck 7 served as the concierge area, as well as home of numerous newspapers, a coffee bar, internet points and just a pleasant place to be. Never any lines at the various concierge desks.
The main pool deck is on 9, but we found a smaller haven on 5 aft with a pool, hot tubs and lounging chairs that was never crowded. There are sufficient bars on several decks and plenty of food when and where you want it. Thoughtful touches everywhere. Our little area 5 aft, for example, had its own little min fridge stocked with ice, soft drinks and, of course, anything you every wanted to order from "room service" which will deliver anywhere in the ship.
The Observation Lounge forward on deck 10 is lovely and you never waited for more than two minutes for someone to show up for your drink order. Plenty of space in the outdoor areas and the Thomas Keller bar was a great place to relax before dinner. The Restaurant was never crowded and had no "bad" tables - you were also given the option to sit with fellow passengers or not at any meal.
The Thomas Keller Restaurant on 8 had a superb menu - but I will follow anyone anywhere for a good Dover sole meuniere or a nice steak. You are guaranteed one sitting up there, but we managed three by hanging around the bar a lot and getting to know frequent Seabourn guests. Most guests on Seabourn are stuck on this line and never seem to go anywhere else. Many were on the cruise prior to ours and/or stayed on for the next 11 day cruise. We really didn't know how anyone could stand this kind of life without a coronary for more than the length of our cruise.
All of the drinks, sodas etc. were top shelf. Secret: just because it is not formally listed as available, doesn't mean it isn't. This is a "can-do" kind of place and we found many wines by the glass that were available for the asking.
The guests were of the elderly persuasion ( as am I), but there were a fair number of younger couples, families with teens and even a baby somewhere I heard of but never saw. Speaking of which, even though this ship was at capacity 600, you rarely saw more than a few dozen around except on deck 9 during the one ship day we had.
The ports were sometimes interesting, sometimes, throwaways, and we were content to rent a scooter or electric car or similar many times on the smaller islands just to see the sights from a different perspective. We took no formal tours. Many of the guests rarely left the ship - this is the kind of ship you sail on because it is so pleasant to sit in the sun reading a book or snoozing on a deck lounger. My companion hit the spa for a massage and found it up to snuff. The exercise area looked nice and perfectly adequate although we did not partake. There is a small casino that was virtually empty at all times.
OK, to preserve some credibility and to defer suspicion that I am a shill for Seabourn, I'll pick a couple of nits. Half the menu at the Restaurant never varied ( it was still quite good), but there could have been a little more variety on the other half. Many of the red wines by the glass (included) were, from my perspective, not up to snuff, but I gradually found several I liked "off" the list. The flat screen TV allowed only minimal controls ( ie. no CC) and bad volume ( even for those with good hearing like my companion) on several of the Movies/TV shows on demand - regular TV stations ( mostly news) were fine. The entertainment was nothing to write home about, but never is and we rarely even make the effort. And that's about it, folks.
I guess you can say that we have drunk the Kool-Aid and will, in the future, limit our cruises (except with little kids) to Seabourn (not much for little kids to do on this ship). We went ahead and paid the deposit which comes with a 5 % discount on a future cruise or your money back. I expect we will not be getting our money back. Happy Trails.