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Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med. It has been a while since we last sailed on a Seabourn cruise and it will be a while - if ever - before we try again. The interior of the Encore including the suites is fabulous, but we cruise where the weather is good and the outside spaces are crammed and chaotic. The pool deck (serving simultaneously as a bar, as a restaurant and as a sun deck is at least 30% smaller than on the Odyssey class - for 150 more passengers. You will have lunch (if you can find a table) less than 10 inches from a sunbed maybe inhabited by a very large person in a very small bathing suit. Even if the food was good you could easily loose your appetite: You reach for the ketchup and you wind up with a bikini top in your hand.... But this goes to the core of our grievances: The food is actually horrible at all of their restaurants. We did not have one good meal out of the 40 odd meals we had during the two weeks. We could not fault the main Chef (from Bologna). He did what he could with an insufficiant budget and inferior ingredients: Dry, tough and tasteless meats. Tired fish. Too few mushrooms to make the mushroom soup taste of mushroom - not dish water. Ill smelling and ill tasting pork belly with a scallop on top with the texture of jelly. Mushy berrys at the breakfast buffet way past their last selling date. Now they have the new specialty restaurant to which Thomas Keller has sold his name. Shame on him. We dined there four times with exacly the same result: The cook has a better budget hence better ingredients. But the guy on this particular cruise did not have any idea whatsoever how to prepare them: The cured salmon was so salty that your palate burned. It was uneatable so it did not matter, that he had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap from the dish. A “grilled” Rib-eye for two was burnt to a crisp on the outside. The proud cook pronounced that it weighed 900 grammes. He cut it up in 14-16 slices at the table and slammed half of the slices down on my wife’s plate and the other half on mine. The plates looked like what you would feed a very big dog. We tried all the sides during our four visits. All of them were seriously over-cooked. Mushy and tasteless. For the first time ever we had a sinewy Lobster Thermidor. It is beyond me how he accomplished that. Once before on all of our Seabourn cruises we have had food as bad as on this one. On that particular one the Chef had a nervous breakdown and was totally unable to function. They had to fly in a trainer/replacement. My guess is that Seabourn has now finally been 100% “incorporated” in Carnival’s HQ in Seattle and has been forced to “piggy back” on deals with the vendors supplying their 4 star cruise lines even though they still charge six star prices. Finally a word about the ratio between newbees and experienced staff. It is way too high. My guess is 80:20. In fact Seabourn rely on the guests to train the majority of the staff who are on their first contract. As a guest you need to in order to get what you want.....

High price - low budget

Seabourn Encore Cruise Review by Perhedegaard

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med.

It has been a while since we last sailed on a Seabourn cruise and it will be a while - if ever - before we try again.

The interior of the Encore including the suites is fabulous, but we cruise where the weather is good and the outside spaces are crammed and chaotic. The pool deck (serving simultaneously as a bar, as a restaurant and as a sun deck is at least 30% smaller than on the Odyssey class - for 150 more passengers. You will have lunch (if you can find a table) less than 10 inches from a sunbed maybe inhabited by a very large person in a very small bathing suit. Even if the food was good you could easily loose your appetite: You reach for the ketchup and you wind up with a bikini top in your hand....

But this goes to the core of our grievances: The food is actually horrible at all of their restaurants. We did not have one good meal out of the 40 odd meals we had during the two weeks. We could not fault the main Chef (from Bologna). He did what he could with an insufficiant budget and inferior ingredients: Dry, tough and tasteless meats. Tired fish. Too few mushrooms to make the mushroom soup taste of mushroom - not dish water. Ill smelling and ill tasting pork belly with a scallop on top with the texture of jelly. Mushy berrys at the breakfast buffet way past their last selling date.

Now they have the new specialty restaurant to which Thomas Keller has sold his name. Shame on him. We dined there four times with exacly the same result: The cook has a better budget hence better ingredients. But the guy on this particular cruise did not have any idea whatsoever how to prepare them: The cured salmon was so salty that your palate burned. It was uneatable so it did not matter, that he had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap from the dish. A “grilled” Rib-eye for two was burnt to a crisp on the outside. The proud cook pronounced that it weighed 900 grammes. He cut it up in 14-16 slices at the table and slammed half of the slices down on my wife’s plate and the other half on mine. The plates looked like what you would feed a very big dog. We tried all the sides during our four visits. All of them were seriously over-cooked. Mushy and tasteless. For the first time ever we had a sinewy Lobster Thermidor. It is beyond me how he accomplished that.

Once before on all of our Seabourn cruises we have had food as bad as on this one. On that particular one the Chef had a nervous breakdown and was totally unable to function. They had to fly in a trainer/replacement. My guess is that Seabourn has now finally been 100% “incorporated” in Carnival’s HQ in Seattle and has been forced to “piggy back” on deals with the vendors supplying their 4 star cruise lines even though they still charge six star prices.

Finally a word about the ratio between newbees and experienced staff. It is way too high. My guess is 80:20. In fact Seabourn rely on the guests to train the majority of the staff who are on their first contract. As a guest you need to in order to get what you want.....
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