The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we expected a little more. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is easy to get around in. The main dining rooms are attractive. The suites, while not huge, are very nice with a sofa, two chairs, a table, a comfortable bed, a walk-in closet, a tiny dressing stand, and plenty of storage space. Bathrooms include a tub and shower--small and barely adequate. The veranda is good for two people. The ship is well maintained. We had cabin 837, a perfect location. The staff was mostly friendly and outgoing, although the old Seabourn custom of remembering your name doesn't work with 600 passengers. Drinks are included in your fare, and waiters were anxious to keep glasses filled. Some of the food was good, some very good, and some excellent. Desserts and salads were particularly good. We only had a couple of dishes that didn't pass muster. The wine was just fine, although we're well aware it's not $50 a bottle wine. Service in the dining rooms could be good, or it could be slow. The wait staff didn't always appear organized, and some staffers were not very accomplished. One room service breakfast came 30 minutes late, and the waiter dropped a glass of orange juice at our front door. Not an example for the cruise pamphlet. The Colonnade sometimes had quirky and unappealing menus. Seabourn would do far better by returning to the Lido Buffet concept with buffets in the morning, noon and evening. The captain spoke to us daily, but if you missed his talk you were out of luck. The ship should do far better at providing details about the progress of the trip. Announcements over the loud speaker are strictly limited, which is good, but the television system should fill the blanks by providing lots of information for us to access when we want. It didn't. There were other examples of a less-than-luxury cruise. There is no free internet, and we were informed of that rather rudely when we asked. There is one room with five washing machines for all the passengers. Not very considerate. The dress code wasn't clear, and standards wasn't enforced. Unsupervised children needed to be called down by ship staff, but weren't. The Seabourn Square is a very pleasant place, but the “guest services” staffers frequently didn't have answers to questions. The destinations/shore excursion programs need an overhaul. One ship tour was inaccurately described. Once we were told a free shuttle would take us to the city center, but in fact it dropped us off a half a mile away. Shore excursions were overpriced, as on many ships, dnd didn't consider passengers with mobility issues. We needed more information, such as when we would cruise past the Rock of Gibraltar. It wasn't forthcoming. There were great unexpected touches. A flamenco show was added late in the afternoon before we left Malaga. But overall, while we had a fine time, we expected a little more from such an expensive “luxury” cruise.
Nice and attracive, but not well designed. Veranda good. TV picture good, but controls confusing. Impossible to tell which light switch turned on which light. Tub and shower too small for people of above average size. Could have been merged into one. Dressing table too small. Sofa not real comfortable. Walking space between bottom of bed and adjacent cabinet too narrow. Needed better room to room sound proofing.