Seabourn Encore Cruise Review by rols
- Sail Date: August 2018
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Veranda Suite
The ship is beautiful as the Odyssey class ships were, very much the same style. The suite was super, everything on the whole ship was clean and maintained and to a very high standard.
Public spaces, the pool deck, the main restaurant, the theatre haven't been increased in size as much as the passenger numbers have increased. That led to the pool deck being pretty crowded on an afternoon when people came back from trips. The main dining room doesn't have the same feeling of space on the previous ships, it's ok, but some of the ambience is lost. The second restaurant, "The Colonnade" is much larger and brighter than before which is an improvement. Since now not everyone can fit into the theatre at the same time there are two shows a night instead of one, which does give you some choice.
Service has always been key to the whole Seabourn experience and is why we have returned again and again. Overall we received the same excellent Seabourn service from friendly, well-trained staff, there really isn't a bad staff member and many are very good at their job. We did have some lapses, the main dining room did not always work well when it was busy with tables left unattended for longer than you'd expect on a luxury line. There were other issues in other venues with forgotten orders, late room service. There weren't many lapses, but Seabourn usually hits 99% perfect service, here it was perhaps 90%.
Food. Everyone cares about food. This cruise it was mostly very good but with, for the first time on Seabourn, a couple of meals which were terrible, badly cooked, bad presentation. The choice was good, there was never a day you couldn't find a venue and menu you were excited about, didn't always deliver however. The ship now has the Thomas Keller Grill for which you can have one reservation per segment, and if you ask nicely and look hungry you might be able to add a second evening. The food there from the fixed menu was excellent. The ship also has a sushi restaurant we tried once, that was also very good indeed. We feel the food on Seabourn is usuall very good with occasional excellent, this cruise was very good with occasional excellent (in Thomas Keller) and a couple of meals which were dire.
Entertainment was as good as you can expect from a small cast on a smaller ship. We thought the shows were the best we've had on Seabourn. We were fortunate to have Jeffrey Archer on the ship as a guest lecturer and each of his talks were very well worth attending.
Overall it was Seabourn but a bit diluted. Ship is lovely but feels a bit crowded compared to the smaller ships. The staff worked incredibly hard but still the service and the food fell a little short of what we think of as Seabourn standard. We'll definitely continue to sail Seabourn but will favour the Odyssey class ships if we can and if Encore class, try to find cruises which are sailing less than totally full.
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