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We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”. When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. One glaring but understandable change was the dramatically reduced use of passenger’s names, it was a very common and pleasant feature on the smaller ships but it would be unreasonable to expect it to continue with 450 passengers names to try and remember. It was a bit disappointing that on a 21 day cruise the bar staff didn’t eventually pick up on at least a few of the names of the nightly regulars. The other disappointing aspect of the bar service was that regardless of how busy the the place was, the Observation Bar closed at exactly midnight, no excuses, no exceptions, we’re closed! The strict closing time of the Observation Bar meant having to relocate to The Club for late night drinks, but you needed to hurry because after midnight they close as soon as the guest count drops below six people. Also, late arrivals (11:30pm or later) were clearly not welcome, particularly if you were a medium sized group. The staff didn’t groan but the facial expressions and negative body language were unmistakable. The turning up the lights, the partial closing of the shutters and the mopping behind the bar were other less than subtle indicators that we should leave. Given that all drinks are complimentary, it did occur to me that Carnival’s bean-counters may pressure the bar staff to shut down early and that puts those otherwise good staff in the unwelcome position of having to turf out guests who are reluctant to leave. This repeated experience was in sharp contrast to the hospitality enjoyed on previous Seabourn cruises. Similar issues were noted in the main dining room which was clearly understaffed and where a number of servers seemed inexperienced and overwhelmed. Most of the obvious rookie staff maintained a very good attitude, trying hard to be polite and cheerful at all times. Unfortunately, some of the senior staff appeared to have difficulty handling the stress and could be quite sullen or irritable. Once again I suspect the bean-counters are responsible for this. The food in all of the restaurants usually varied between good and very good, with an occasional course which qualified as truly outstanding. I did have a couple of disappointing steaks but that was only due to being served “medium well” instead of the requested “medium rare”. In the past Seabourn has allowed me to go “off menu” on those very rare occasions when none of the night’s offerings appealed. This is no longer allowed without 24 hours notice. Unfortunately I don’t know what will be on tomorrow’s menu or what food I’ll be in the mood for. I understand that going off menu is not something they want to widely encourage but having that option available was one of the things which used set Seabourn apart. Whilst on the subject of food, the main restaurant’s attempt to produce a decent soufflé was pitiful. I ordered several during the first week of the cruise, each time hoping somebody in the kitchen would realize that sponge cake and soufflé are not the same thing, even if the sponge cake is hollow and you open up the thick sponge top-layer to pour in the sauce. This resembles assembly line food, not the “A la minute” preparation which they claim. And now for a slightly sad but still mildly amusing incident related to the faux soufflé. When served with a sponge cake masquerading as a Poire William soufflé, it arrived very obviously alcohol free. “No problem” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just order a shot of Poire William and add it myself”. The obliging young server went away to fetch some but returned with the news that there was none available anywhere on the ship. The server’s discomfort was palpable when I asked for a shot from the generous supply that the kitchen must have on hand for tonight’s featured soufflé. A few minutes later the server returned in the company of the sommelier who (with a straight face) informed me that for soufflé they only use Poire William powder, hence my request for a shot could not be fulfilled. I do enjoy an occasional bit of fun so I feigned great interest in the powder product and requested the name and address of the manufacturer so that I could order some for home use. I suggested a cellphone picture of the label would be perfect. Unsurprisingly, the sommelier did not return with the requested information and avoided me for the rest of the cruise. In summary, my wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise, thanks in large part to some wonderful fellow passengers and several marvelous crew members. We still think Seabourn rates highly but the cutbacks are evident, from little things like the reduced quality of the caviar to the more serious problem of understaffing and early bar closings. We have paid a deposit for a future cruise in the hope that smarter management will reverse the decline but, if the bean counters continue to cut corners, it will probably be our last cruise on this once great cruise line. Perhaps this is all part of a plan to move towards a younger and less demanding demographic with which to fill their much larger and more impersonal ships.

Kobe to Vancouver - still good but clearly slipping.

Seabourn Sojourn Cruise Review by Cumry

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Suite
We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”.

When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. One glaring but understandable change was the dramatically reduced use of passenger’s names, it was a very common and pleasant feature on the smaller ships but it would be unreasonable to expect it to continue with 450 passengers names to try and remember.

It was a bit disappointing that on a 21 day cruise the bar staff didn’t eventually pick up on at least a few of the names of the nightly regulars. The other disappointing aspect of the bar service was that regardless of how busy the the place was, the Observation Bar closed at exactly midnight, no excuses, no exceptions, we’re closed!

The strict closing time of the Observation Bar meant having to relocate to The Club for late night drinks, but you needed to hurry because after midnight they close as soon as the guest count drops below six people. Also, late arrivals (11:30pm or later) were clearly not welcome, particularly if you were a medium sized group. The staff didn’t groan but the facial expressions and negative body language were unmistakable. The turning up the lights, the partial closing of the shutters and the mopping behind the bar were other less than subtle indicators that we should leave.

Given that all drinks are complimentary, it did occur to me that Carnival’s bean-counters may pressure the bar staff to shut down early and that puts those otherwise good staff in the unwelcome position of having to turf out guests who are reluctant to leave. This repeated experience was in sharp contrast to the hospitality enjoyed on previous Seabourn cruises.

Similar issues were noted in the main dining room which was clearly understaffed and where a number of servers seemed inexperienced and overwhelmed. Most of the obvious rookie staff maintained a very good attitude, trying hard to be polite and cheerful at all times. Unfortunately, some of the senior staff appeared to have difficulty handling the stress and could be quite sullen or irritable. Once again I suspect the bean-counters are responsible for this.

The food in all of the restaurants usually varied between good and very good, with an occasional course which qualified as truly outstanding. I did have a couple of disappointing steaks but that was only due to being served “medium well” instead of the requested “medium rare”.

In the past Seabourn has allowed me to go “off menu” on those very rare occasions when none of the night’s offerings appealed. This is no longer allowed without 24 hours notice. Unfortunately I don’t know what will be on tomorrow’s menu or what food I’ll be in the mood for. I understand that going off menu is not something they want to widely encourage but having that option available was one of the things which used set Seabourn apart.

Whilst on the subject of food, the main restaurant’s attempt to produce a decent soufflé was pitiful. I ordered several during the first week of the cruise, each time hoping somebody in the kitchen would realize that sponge cake and soufflé are not the same thing, even if the sponge cake is hollow and you open up the thick sponge top-layer to pour in the sauce. This resembles assembly line food, not the “A la minute” preparation which they claim.

And now for a slightly sad but still mildly amusing incident related to the faux soufflé. When served with a sponge cake masquerading as a Poire William soufflé, it arrived very obviously alcohol free. “No problem” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just order a shot of Poire William and add it myself”. The obliging young server went away to fetch some but returned with the news that there was none available anywhere on the ship. The server’s discomfort was palpable when I asked for a shot from the generous supply that the kitchen must have on hand for tonight’s featured soufflé.

A few minutes later the server returned in the company of the sommelier who (with a straight face) informed me that for soufflé they only use Poire William powder, hence my request for a shot could not be fulfilled. I do enjoy an occasional bit of fun so I feigned great interest in the powder product and requested the name and address of the manufacturer so that I could order some for home use. I suggested a cellphone picture of the label would be perfect. Unsurprisingly, the sommelier did not return with the requested information and avoided me for the rest of the cruise.

In summary, my wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise, thanks in large part to some wonderful fellow passengers and several marvelous crew members. We still think Seabourn rates highly but the cutbacks are evident, from little things like the reduced quality of the caviar to the more serious problem of understaffing and early bar closings.

We have paid a deposit for a future cruise in the hope that smarter management will reverse the decline but, if the bean counters continue to cut corners, it will probably be our last cruise on this once great cruise line. Perhaps this is all part of a plan to move towards a younger and less demanding demographic with which to fill their much larger and more impersonal ships.
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Cabin Review

Veranda Suite
Cabin V3
We had a veranda suite which was very nice. It was in immaculate condition and the stewardess was first class.
Deck 6 Suite Cabins