I am wrapping up a 14 night sailing from Athens to Athens onboard the Seabourn Encore. I have always been a fan of Seabourn and feel comfortable on board. Cruising on Seabourn as a return guest is truly like "coming home". The best asset that Seabourn has is their staff. This sailing was no exception. Under the direction of Hotel Director Kevin Huxham guests enjoy a level of service unparalleled anywhere in the world. His team shines and is impressive. The list of staff members who have positively impacted the enjoyment of my cruise is too long to list. Additionally, all other departments on board that I interacted with were also impressive. Seabourn's relationship with Belinda King productions brings the finest entertainment to sea. Seabourn's entertainers are spectacular and extremely talented. The quality of all the productions blows away that of other lines - including the large Vegas style productions seen on mega ships. Not only are the production shows terrific, but all guest entertainers, bands, duets etc. were spectacular and amongst the most talented I have seen anywhere. This review would not be complete without kudos to cruise director Ross Roberts. Ross sets the tone for the cruise and one of the finest at sea. I feel this way about most of Seabourn's cruise directors. Ross is a seasoned professional who is truly one of a kind! We love him!
The reason for my four star and not five star reviews stems from Seabourn not measuring up to the competition in several areas. If Seabourn wants to be recognized as a luxury line they need to raise the bar. Competition in the luxury market is stiff. Innovation breeds competition and competition breeds excellence. When Seabourn was created there was very little competition in the luxury market. Now with lines such as Regent, Oceania, Explora Journeys, Ritz Carlton, Crystal (return of Crystal) and Silversea upping the ante prospective passengers have many choices. The competition offer physical plants (ships) and onboard luxuries superior to Seabourn.
Where Seabourn fails to measure up is in several areas including (1) ship itself, (2) outdoor experience and (3) dining.
Old. Bathroom not innovative or what would expect on a luxury line. Balcony furniture a joke - must share contracts for furniture with Carnival and HAL. Poorly laid out design. Color scheme outdated and depressing. Towels and toiletries (Molton Brown) nice.