Just got off the Seabourn Ovation, it is a beautifully designed ship which was the perfect base for discovering Malta and the Greek Islands. Our first cruise on Seabourn, although we’ve traveled on Silversea, in Queens Grill on Cunard and various suites on other premium and luxury cruise lines (over 20 cruises to date). I was slightly concerned that we might be a little “young” for Seabourn as we are very active travelers In our 50s, but did not find this to be the case at all- we met many people of all ages, and found the other passengers to be very engaged and friendly. The ship strikes a nice balance to being small enough that we got to know many of the other passengers, but big enough that we had everything we needed, and enough variation of cuisine, public spaces and entertainment to be happy. Loved the dark woods and overall design of the ship. Below I include our impressions of our first Seabourn cruise and the Ovation.
1. Wonderful cabin design, not a space was wasted- great closet (50+ hangers!) and bathroom, liked the makeup table and the curtains between the sitting and sleeping areas offered complete privacy- the table and chairs were perfect for breakfast for 2 or for my husband to spread out while working. Lots of storage. We have booked a 18 day cruise on the Encore, and I am not at all concerned about the size of the room for a much longer cruise.
2. The Range of dining venues was very nice. The food at The Restaurant was wonderful, great space and felt intimate even though it is the largest restaurant on the ship. Earth and Ocean had great service and very pleased with the food, we enjoyed the Sushi restaurant which may have had the best service on the ship and the casual dining option at night in the Colonnade was a very pleasant surprise (we went there for Chinese night). It was great to not have heavy dining every night, and we appreciated the range of choices. Dinner at Thomas Keller was a mixed experience- my Dover Sole was fantastic, whereas my husband and our friends steaks were not as good as they got elsewhere on the ship.
3. Shore Excursions- We usually organize private shore excursions while in Port, but decided to go on the ones offered by Seabourn. The pricing was much lower then I have seen on other ships, and they appeared to cap the size of the excursion, such that we never had more then 16-18 in a group, which made a tremendous difference. The guides were very knowledgeable, there were no annoying “shopping” stops. One of our excursions, a Greek cooking class, was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.
4. Outdoor and indoor space use is extremely well thought out- We had beautiful weather on our sea day, but there were plenty of chairs for sunning or if you wished to be in the shade. Seabourn square was busy and lively (loved that they incorporated the library in this space), but you could almost always find a chair or couch. The bar areas were comfortable, loved Thomas Keller’s bar as well as the observation bar and both had live music in the evenings.
5. Entertainment- I am surprised to be writing this, but every show and entertainer we saw was quite good, as well as Katy who played the piano and sang in the Thomas Keller bar who was really wonderful. Did not expect this at all, but they appear to be putting effort into their evening programs and it shows.
6. Tenders ran quite often, we never had to wait long for one and made the whole process as easy as it could be. Made what is usually an often frustrating part of the cruise easy and painless.
7. “House” Wines and “House” Spirits, I was traveling with some folks very particular about wine and expected that we’d be buying bottles, as they wouldn’t be happy with the choices offered. In general the wines were quite good, they offered a new selection every night as well as some regularly available options which were good. We only bought a few bottles and generally found the quality of the spirits at the bar comparable to what we were used to at home.
8. Future cruise booking- we found Vincent to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable when it came to booking another cruise. He was informative and had some very helpful insight in deciding on what kind of cabin to choose. He seemed to be quite busy but always had time to explain things and understood the cruises and ships well. Information was passed through to our travel agent flawlessly for our next trip!
9. Exercise room- Very well equipped, took a class which was quite good- lots of different classes offered that would appeal to many on board. Was busy but never crowded, I went almost daily and was very happy with the facilities. Open from 6-10, kind of would have been nice to be open a bit earlier (5 maybe?)
Could use a little improvement.
1. Our room Stewardess was extremely new (2 weeks on Seabourn) and although she couldn’t be nicer, she didn’t seem to completely have it figured out. The cabin was tidy, but she frequently wouldn’t do things we asked for and I think could have benefited from more training- I honestly don’t think she really understood. The traditional model where there is a room steward and an assistant probably is a better one, as the assistants thoroughly learn their job before doing it on their own. We have had butlers on most of the cruises we’ve been on the last few years, which adds another layer of care- I’m not sure it’s always necessary but on a cruise like this excellent room stewards would be an expectation.
2. Remembering people’s birthdays/anniversary- A small thing, but a number of people we ran into were celebrating special events. Seabourn had asked before hand if you were celebrating anything so the information had been passed along- but they seemed to have lost this information. I heard this from a few people, so I think they need a better system to track this information and pass it on to at least the room stewards to do something special (and possibly the restaurants as well, they do ask for your cabin number when you walk in).
3. Laundry room- Could get quite busy on the first and last days onboard. They either need a second (or 3rd) laundry room or could offer having free laundry (or greatly reduced cost) on these days. I think this would be greatly appreciated, kind of annoying to have to walk down 4 decks with laundry to find the washers full.
All in all a fabulous cruise, in many ways far exceeded our expectations- look forward to cruising on Seabourn again!
Nice cabin- great location, did have a little noise from movement upstairs but all in all very happy with it!
Stayed at Xara Palace, which was lovely and enjoyed beautiful Medina. Lovely at night, had an amazing dinner at near by Bacchus restaurant. Toured a beautiful historic Villa, and went to the Blue Grotto, the cliffs and on to Valletta. Lovely island and beautiful weather.
Very pleasant unexpected surprise. We did the Corinth and Canal excursion but kind of wish we had just gone to Nafplion and spent more time. Had a wonderful lunch, didn’t have time to hike up to the fortress, but wish we did because it would hav been beautiful. The town was probably one of the prettiest we saw all week.
Delos is worth a visit if you get the chance. Fascinating history and such an important part of Greek civilization. Had a lovely day, not too hot and not too windy so felt very lucky.View All 97 Island of Delos Reviews