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The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available premium wines. When asked about a premium listing on the MDR wine list, Head somm replied, "I don't know. I've only been on board 2 weeks." Wrong answer....And The Grill somm couldn't manage to pour a wine without spilling on the tablecloth or give any other description than "it's oaky". Overall, though, it appears the staff has adjusted to being both wine server and food server. They presented their two bottles for the night (which according to those servers I asked, 80% of passengers accepted) and if we wanted something else (I managed to get a complimentary wine list after 1 week of asking), it was cheerfully found and presented. Although halfway through the voyage, they ran out of most of my favs. However, what was more disappointing for me was the food quality and the overall tired appearance of the ship. She is really showing her age. It's not a lack of cleanliness, it's a lack of freshness, of an updated look. The MDR looks like a canteen. Yikes. Everywhere you see signs of lack of maintenance, in carpeting, in furniture, on the balconies, the bathrooms. The food was pretty much a bummer. I've always loved SB (we're Platinum) but this first cruise after 2 years was an eye-opener and not in a good way. The food has slipped to just average, not suitable to a luxury line. In the MDR, where we ate about 80% of our evening meals, the descriptions sounded good but execution was lacking. Often, on busy nights when the kitchen was slammed, there was an hour or more wait before main course arrived. Then, the sauce was often coagulated, as though it was sitting under a warming light, waiting for the protein to be plated. The Colonnade dinners, with exception of Thomas Keller nights, were generally really bad. We had a Japanese theme one night. The Miso soup was NOT miso soup - no miso in it, a brown murky mystery broth with green vermicelli noodles and carrot pieces. When I asked our waiter about it, he said, "The chefs must follow the recipes from corporate. You should write corporate a letter." That same night, my tuna (med rare as requested) was so tough I couldn't cut it and my husband's teriyaki beef was so salty, he couldn't eat it - and he is very salt tolerant. To make matters worse, they ran out of a lot of stuff halfway through, because we didn't land in Mombasa (due to worries about political unrest and violence) and therefore were missing the container we were supposed to load there. Then they couldn't get the container across the border to any of our next stops. ???? That's their story and they're sticking to it. They did not choose to buy any of the gorgeous fruit available in all our ports; instead of nice ripe mangos, papayas, bananas, etc, we had oranges and grapefruit and grapes. People took to asking buffet staff to hide papaya and berries for them under the counter, until that supply also ran out. Same with greek yogurt - they began doling it out on an 'as requested' basis and finally ran out. Also ran out of romaine lettuce and many other items. The scrambled eggs kept getting whiter and whiter as the days went on (powdered egg added?) since they were saving 'real' eggs for poached and fried. The food simultaneously took a turn for the worse. Since they had the identical menus in MDR the second half of the trip(Seychelles to Capetown) as first half, Singapore to Capetown, it was easy to compare the differences. Maybe chef also changed? I don't know, but for example, we started getting fish raw and beef over done, and the sides were also not good. The Galley lunch first half of cruise was excellent, the second half almost everything was inedible, especially the sushi and sashimi. I must admit we did not resort to special orders. Some of our new friends were special ordering 3-4 course menus every night in MDR when they didn't eat in Keller. That seemed to work out well for them. Shore excursions: We booked all independently, as always. Prices are very high and people who took ship excursions were mostly disappointed. For example, we did a private tour to Addo Elephant Park for less than what the ship charged. We got a private vehicle for just us two, with game viewing AM and PM, lunch in between. Ship passengers got an AM tour with a big coach, lunch and then almost no time in PM for any more game viewing. Our cabin (730) was adequate, just very tired and worn looking. Our suite attendant was excellent and kept everything clean and our mini bar filled with our requests (lots of San Pellegrino and fresh limes). Storage space seemed tight, after other luxury ships we've been on in the meantime, but we made do, and found room for everything. So despite all of this, would we consider SB again? Maybe not on this ship, but yes, I think we would, because we met so many great people and the amazing service made up for a lot. Maybe that's how SB gets away with the slippage in food and not updating the older ships.

Only thing 5 Star was the staff - Sojourn is very tired

Seabourn Sojourn Cruise Review by MsSommelier

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Asia
The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available premium wines. When asked about a premium listing on the MDR wine list, Head somm replied, "I don't know. I've only been on board 2 weeks." Wrong answer....And The Grill somm couldn't manage to pour a wine without spilling on the tablecloth or give any other description than "it's oaky".

Overall, though, it appears the staff has adjusted to being both wine server and food server. They presented their two bottles for the night (which according to those servers I asked, 80% of passengers accepted) and if we wanted something else (I managed to get a complimentary wine list after 1 week of asking), it was cheerfully found and presented. Although halfway through the voyage, they ran out of most of my favs.

However, what was more disappointing for me was the food quality and the overall tired appearance of the ship. She is really showing her age. It's not a lack of cleanliness, it's a lack of freshness, of an updated look. The MDR looks like a canteen. Yikes. Everywhere you see signs of lack of maintenance, in carpeting, in furniture, on the balconies, the bathrooms.

The food was pretty much a bummer. I've always loved SB (we're Platinum) but this first cruise after 2 years was an eye-opener and not in a good way. The food has slipped to just average, not suitable to a luxury line. In the MDR, where we ate about 80% of our evening meals, the descriptions sounded good but execution was lacking. Often, on busy nights when the kitchen was slammed, there was an hour or more wait before main course arrived. Then, the sauce was often coagulated, as though it was sitting under a warming light, waiting for the protein to be plated.

The Colonnade dinners, with exception of Thomas Keller nights, were generally really bad. We had a Japanese theme one night. The Miso soup was NOT miso soup - no miso in it, a brown murky mystery broth with green vermicelli noodles and carrot pieces. When I asked our waiter about it, he said, "The chefs must follow the recipes from corporate. You should write corporate a letter." That same night, my tuna (med rare as requested) was so tough I couldn't cut it and my husband's teriyaki beef was so salty, he couldn't eat it - and he is very salt tolerant.

To make matters worse, they ran out of a lot of stuff halfway through, because we didn't land in Mombasa (due to worries about political unrest and violence) and therefore were missing the container we were supposed to load there. Then they couldn't get the container across the border to any of our next stops. ???? That's their story and they're sticking to it.

They did not choose to buy any of the gorgeous fruit available in all our ports; instead of nice ripe mangos, papayas, bananas, etc, we had oranges and grapefruit and grapes. People took to asking buffet staff to hide papaya and berries for them under the counter, until that supply also ran out. Same with greek yogurt - they began doling it out on an 'as requested' basis and finally ran out. Also ran out of romaine lettuce and many other items. The scrambled eggs kept getting whiter and whiter as the days went on (powdered egg added?) since they were saving 'real' eggs for poached and fried.

The food simultaneously took a turn for the worse. Since they had the identical menus in MDR the second half of the trip(Seychelles to Capetown) as first half, Singapore to Capetown, it was easy to compare the differences. Maybe chef also changed? I don't know, but for example, we started getting fish raw and beef over done, and the sides were also not good. The Galley lunch first half of cruise was excellent, the second half almost everything was inedible, especially the sushi and sashimi.

I must admit we did not resort to special orders. Some of our new friends were special ordering 3-4 course menus every night in MDR when they didn't eat in Keller. That seemed to work out well for them.

Shore excursions: We booked all independently, as always. Prices are very high and people who took ship excursions were mostly disappointed. For example, we did a private tour to Addo Elephant Park for less than what the ship charged. We got a private vehicle for just us two, with game viewing AM and PM, lunch in between. Ship passengers got an AM tour with a big coach, lunch and then almost no time in PM for any more game viewing.

Our cabin (730) was adequate, just very tired and worn looking. Our suite attendant was excellent and kept everything clean and our mini bar filled with our requests (lots of San Pellegrino and fresh limes). Storage space seemed tight, after other luxury ships we've been on in the meantime, but we made do, and found room for everything.

So despite all of this, would we consider SB again? Maybe not on this ship, but yes, I think we would, because we met so many great people and the amazing service made up for a lot. Maybe that's how SB gets away with the slippage in food and not updating the older ships.
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