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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to ... Read More
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to Seabourn. This cruise in the Adriatic from Venice to Athens was our chance to try the Seabourn Ovation which is the newest in Seabourn's fleet having only been launched this year. What makes a 6 star ship? It is not the price of the cruise. It is of course the food, the accommodation, the entertainment and above all the service. So how has our experience so far compared to that on say the Crystal Serenity? I am comparing a Balcony cabin on the Serenity with the entry level cabin on the all-suite Ovation (which are similar in price). Food - Both have excellent food. Caviar is served on both but on Crystal it is served a couple of times a cruise on special dinners. On Seabourn it is served on special dinners but can also be ordered anytime. I like caviar so Seabourn wins in that department. The food on both is excellent. I cannot fault either. I like the different themes on Seabourn with a degustation menu inter spread with the regular menu on different days. I prefer the breakfast selections on Seabourn in the buffet but I prefer that there is an egg station on Crystal. Seabourn has its eggs made to order and then served at the table. Both lunch buffets are fine. The Serenity has a better burger grill and the fries are always hot. The Ovation is a bit hit and miss, but if you specify that you want it especially hot they will ensure that it is done. The Thomas Keller Grill restaurant is great on the Ovation and you can book in as many times as you like without extra cost. The specialty restaurants on the Serenity must also be booked but after eating in each twice per cruise then a small charge is made for additional visits. Having said that, the Silk Road Japanese restaurant on the Serenity is far superior to the Sushi restaurant on the Ovation which has mainly sashimi and sushi without the great hot food items that the Serenity also offers. Food - its a tie. The Accommodation - The Seabourn Ovation is new. The Crystal Serenity is clean and tidy but is of course not new. The staterooms on the Ovation are truly beautiful. they are wide, spacious and very ergonomically satisfying with more than ample closet and drawer space. Crystal is okay but cannot match Seabourn. The bathrooms on the Ovation are also very spacious with both a separate shower and bath. They are much bigger and much better. The beds and bedlinen on both ships are superb. They are as good as each other. The sitting area on the Ovation is much larger with a much better working table and a larger television. Accommodation - Seabourn Ovation is better The Entertainment - There are many aspects to entertainment which are not just the nightly shows in the theatres. There is the enrichment programs, the trivia and games programs, and there is musical entertainment. The Ovation has primarily three areas to hear music. There is the Club which features two bands that rotate, there is the Observation lounge which features a pianist and singer and there is the bar in the Thomas Keller Grill featuring a pianist. Crystal serenity has an area similar to the Observation lounge with a live band, it has an area midship also with a band playing dance music and it has a very cosy piano bar. In addition there is live music before and after dinner in the Crystal Cove bar area. For music Crystal is better. There are more choices and the piano bar is an especially fun place to listen to music after dinner if you don't want to go to the show. The enrichment programs on Crystal are also much more extensive with a variety of guest lecturers and a lot of teaching programs from golf lessons to computers. Crystal has an extensive library with a dedicated librarian. Seabourn has a much more modest selection of books. There is a movie theatre showing current movies in the afternoon and evenings on the Serenity but no movie theatre on the Ovation. There are also other quirky types of entertainment such as the magic performances put on for small groups at a time by a member of the Magic Castle. These shows get to be known by word of mouth and are not generally advertised on the Crystal serenity (or Symphony). Shows are shows and both ships have good and bad productions. Crystal being a bigger ship perhaps has more capacity to put on more extravagant productions but those that we have witnessed so far on the Ovation are pretty good too. Both ships have duplicate bridge and lessons, but because the Crystal Serenity is larger there are more participants on that ship. The area that is always of great fun for us is the trivia. Serenity has teams of no more that six while Ovation encourages up to ten per team. The host on the Ovation is the Cruise Director, Handré, and he is fantastic! The prizes on the Ovation are much better too. Hands down Ovation wins. Entertainment - overall the advantage is still to Crystal The Service - This is the big one. A ship cannot be considered six star if the service is poor. Neither has poor service, but one has got it much more right. On both ships the drinks are complimentary although special wines can be purchased for an additional price. I prefer Crystal here as they seem to have the concept that since the regular wines are complimentary, when you order and pay for a special wine it should not be at full mark up. The bartending and wait staff on Crystal are also much better at attending to customers. There is never a long wait to either order or to be served. Sadly, I cannot say that about the Ovation. On more than one occasion the table service was so slow that I had to go to the bar to order drinks myself. On two occasions because of being busy our drinks order was forgotten entirely. Sadly this is not six star service. I can only hope that it is because the ship is new and there are still some teething problems. I will say that management truly has a desire to improve. We have already been given a mid cruise survey which we filled out with helpful feedback and which again I must say was taken very seriously. Unfortunately, the waiters in the outlets likewise do not appear to have the same training as Crystal gives their staff. It is the little things like reaching across dishes to remove or place glasses, forgetting to bring condiments and having to be reminded. Also it is the either over or under attendance of the waitstaff who do not yet have the correct pacing to their service. The staff on both ships soon know your names and it is always pleasant to be recognised and appreciated. Both ships do that well. Summary - These comments of mine might seem a bit pedantic to you, my fellow cruisers, but i offer them because I believe that when you are paying for cabins on a six star ship in excess of a thousand dollars a night that the service, food, accommodation and entertainment should rightly be expected to be of a much higher standard than normal. I hope that this review is helpful. In summary, both ships and by extension both cruise lines are wonderful to cruise with, but for my money Crystal still holds the advantage. I know that both Seabourn and Crystal have their loyal followers so what say you? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked a V1 suite but at the time they had an offer of a 2 suite upgrade to V3. We were advised that we had been allocated a V6 suite just under two weeks from departure. An up sell letter had arrived some 2 months from departure asking ... Read More
We booked a V1 suite but at the time they had an offer of a 2 suite upgrade to V3. We were advised that we had been allocated a V6 suite just under two weeks from departure. An up sell letter had arrived some 2 months from departure asking for £999 each for a V5/V6 so we were glad we hadn’t taken up the offer. Embarkation We received no help with the luggage at the airport. On departing the arrivals baggage hall we were met and moved to an initial holding spot while others joined the group. We were then moved to another holding spot further on which at least had seats. Ground staff didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what they were doing. Eventually we were marched on again hauling our luggage all the way to the coach which was a considerable distance. It was interesting that the 6* cruise line treated us this way when Cunard took their passengers luggage immediately after exiting the reclaim area. On arrival at the port we were surprised that we didn’t have to complete a health declaration form? Also surprising was that there was no pressure to use the hand wash on boarding. We checked in in the main theatre and headed for our cabin but there was nobody to direct us to our cabin so make sure you know where to go before you arrive on the gangplank. Likewise there was no information on what dining was available on boarding. Our Cabin Steward did meet up with us after lunch with the soap selection and a glass of champagne. Life on board The theme of very little information continued on board. There were few announcements from either the Captain or the cruise director but this did increase slightly towards the end of the cruise. I heard one crew member rather bravely tell the Captain that some passengers were asking if he had left the ship as they never heard from him!! Until almost the end of the cruise there were no announcements when the ship was cleared to go ashore or where the gangway was located (it sometimes changed from the Herald the previous night). When we left Naples, our first port of call, we should have been heading for Trapani in Sicily but the next day we found a letter outside our cabin saying we were not going to Trapani due to bad weather. There was no information on what the revised itinerary was to be. The senior crew were almost invisible on board particularly the captain and there were no photos of them published in the Herald to enable us to spot them. The Wi-Fi on board was expensive which is again surprising for a 6* line when it is now provided free on many other economy cruise lines. The Cabin was well laid out and well maintained although now showing signs of heavy use with chips and scrapes. There is lots of storage. We got a bit fed up with the push to release cupboard doors after a while. There is no real walking area on the ship and in better weather the top deck will be jammed with sun loungers. We are glad we tried a shorter cruise before we booked 21 days to Antarctica. Our one sea day was enough for us on this size of ship. Our cabin was on deck 7 below the patio grill so we experienced some noise from pool deck above. Bad weather also produced a few creaks and groans so earplugs were essential The weight of the bath robes we found a problem. They were both extra large size? Whilst good quality bath robes are nice we found these too heavy to use. Following the introduction of the larger ships other reviewers commented on the staff competence. Some staff are obviously still in training but we never found this to be a problem. In general the service was excellent even in the upper reaches of the pool area. Smoking made walking round deck 9 unpleasant likewise having a coffee outside on deck 7. The weather on our cruise was bad so we didn’t have the opportunity to walk/sit in these areas much but if the weather had been better if would have been a problem Food and Drink Having followed the boards on CC I made sure that I got the complementary wine list when on board but when I asked for some of the wines the sommelier didn’t recognise them? I let her see the list and she said they must have changed it without telling her. Subsequently I got another one but this was completely different (and different from the one posted a few weeks back on CC). We found it best to ask for what you want and see if they can find it. We found a French waiter who came from Bordeaux and we asked him if they had any nice French wines so he gave us some advice. They do push the cheaper “featured wines” such as Trivento Malbec or Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc but don’t accept them and they will find you something better. Wine glasses are the same size for red and white wines (unless you buy a bottle) and they carefully only pour to around a third full. They are quite small glasses so you don’t really get through a lot of wine at dinner unless you get multiple refills. We liked the Stoneburn Sauvignon Blanc but it seemed to be running out towards the end of the cruise and the Oyster Bay was being pushed again. We also tried the Trivento but it was poor but liked a French Merlot and Bordeaux. These were the only 3 wines we uncovered that we liked so the limited wine selection meant we got a bit bored with it. We asked for specific beers (mainly ales) in the preferences section online but nothing was provided apart from 2 cans of Becks. I raised this with the cabin steward and she said she would investigate but nothing appeared. I also asked the bar tender at the pool and the club but they didn’t seem to know what they stocked. I saw a John Smiths beer can on board and then found Old Speckled Hen in the pool bar but both soon ran out due to the number of British on board. After a week on board they found some more ales and my cabin fridge was restocked but it wasn’t with any of the ales I asked for. We found the seating arrangements in the Colonnade quite poor. It was difficult to get in and out as the chairs are big and heavy. There are few tables for 2 so people tend to sit on the outside of a table for 4 making it difficult to get a seat on occasions. It gets really busy when the outside area can’t be used. On our third evening and one subsequently the Colonnade became reservations only making the main restaurant even busier. We saw some couples waiting in the club bar most nights to get a table. One of the highlights for me on a cruise is to have a cooked breakfast which I never have at home. I was not impressed with the hot breakfast on this ship and only ordered it twice. The only bacon available was crispy American which is all fat, the sausages were inedible, the hash browns were partly cooked grated potatoes etc. I tried a different order next morning so asked for medium poached eggs on toast. They arrived partly raw and runny sitting on a small piece of soggy toast. So what can go wrong with pancakes? Well Seabourn can show you. Soggy partly cooked in the middle and again inedible. Fortunately the cereal and fruit selection (some canned) was ok as were the yoghurts. The croissants at breakfast were also poor and many people picked them up in Seabourn Square together with a fresh coffee and took them into the Colonnade. The MDR dinner portions were just adequate if you had all 4 courses (including a desert). Side orders are available but are not on the menu but provided if you ask. They don’t always come in a separate dish but are added to your main plate. We had dinner in the TK grill one night and it was just OK. The clam chowder was awful and not very warm and the lobster was tough but the Dover sole was excellent. The service was too fast and we were out in one hour! Contrary to other reviewers there was no attempt to sell expensive wine to us. Perhaps we looked too poor. The plates in all dining venues were cold which particularly in the buffet where the food was only warm to start with made it difficult to have a warm meal. On balance we preferred the lunch meals in the colonnade to dinner in the MDR. Somehow the choice of food suited us better. We had one formal night on an 11 night cruise which hardly justifies carrying your posh clothes. The dress code was not enforced. One chap seated at a hosted table turned up in the MDR wearing a scruffy long cardigan and no tie on formal night!! Some staff were pulled out of the MDR to do room service at the last moment one night just as we entered and this caused chaos as they main server wasn’t told. They had no help for almost half an hour so service backed up. In general however the service was good. We found a nice table with good serving staff on our first night and asked for the same table every night. The coffee shop was excellent and we picked up our morning coffee here every day. The staff provided a carrier for us to take it back to the cabin. The snacks here were difficult to resist on occasions especially the profiteroles! Disembarkation The Disembarkation letter arrived a few days out but is was very ambiguous and when we sought clarification from reception she kept saying it is a “standard letter”. When we pushed her she said “I am trying to explain it to you”!!! Not exactly friendly! Can’t Seabourn have someone who has English as their first language read such standard letters and check they make sense. Disembarkation was a bit chaotic as we were told not to leave ship early as the luggage may not be ashore but on the other hand we were told to allow enough time to get our luggage and get to the bus? Our luggage labels were number/colour coded but no announcements were made when we should head to the gangway (which was located near to the cabins on deck 5 – the worst possible place on the ship. Conclusion We enjoyed our cruise in spite of the bad weather – but it could have been so much better. The embarkation/disembarkation needs improving, communication could be much better, the food could be better, the ship layout needs some changes at its upcoming refit, the WiFi should be included and the complementary wines should be improved. On balance we prefer Regent ships, the included excursions, flights and transfers and the food and unless we see a special itinerary at a special price we probably won’t use Seabourn again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
7 Night Greek and Italian Jewels on Seabourn Odyssey Perspective: This was our 30th cruise. We were first time cruisers with Seabourn and received the first time OBC of $400, thanks to the Cruise Critic Seabourn Board. This cruise ... Read More
7 Night Greek and Italian Jewels on Seabourn Odyssey Perspective: This was our 30th cruise. We were first time cruisers with Seabourn and received the first time OBC of $400, thanks to the Cruise Critic Seabourn Board. This cruise had a port of call each day so we did not get to enjoy all that Seabourn offers. But they did take very good care of us.  Pre-Cruise: We booked airfare through Seabourn. They are a Carnival Corp line, so there was significant savings doing cruise air. We were booked on Delta with flights operated by Air France and Alitalia. The Air France flight used a Boeing 767, which had the least space of any economy seat we have ever experienced. Later, the Alitalia Boeing 777 economy class was fine, but the Air France 767 was miserably cramped. Will avoid the 767 in the future, just to be sure. On a positive note, there was no air deviation fee to book additional days before or after the cruise. We arrived in Athens 3 days before our cruise. Used a taxi to hotel because of luggage. Enjoyed sightseeing and dining in Athens. Started early and ended at about dusk. Fall is less crowded, so was able to keep a distance for safety. Never felt unsafe, but as in all tourist cities, DH always kept a death grip on his wallet and phone. Purchased the Unified Ticket to visit Acropolis and additional sites. Embarkation; We again used a taxi to the port to help with luggage. Arrived at port around 11:30. Seabourn waiting area was not open to passengers. Waited in the port area. At about 12, we were allowed into the Seabourn area where there was cold water available. Check-in started shortly before 1:00 and went quickly. Went onboard to the back area of the Colonnade for lunch. Rooms available at 2. Cabin: Cabin was an ocean view suite. Was setup with one requested liquor and cold Champagne. Was missing one liquor and sodas requested. Since we never drank any alcohol in cabin, we did not note the problem. We only drank bottled water in cabin. On arrival to cabin, safe was not working and there was leak under one sink in the bathroom. Both fixed by dinner. Cabin service was excellent. Even on short port intensive cruise the extra space in the suite was very nice. Room service breakfast was setup nicely with plenty of room to enjoy. Room to dress for dinner was excellent – makeup area, large closet, and room for two to sit, walk or stand throughout suite. Food: Beverages - We never purchased a beverage because the included options were excellent. We normally carry on wine to insure our favorites. Research on Cruise Critic revealed that the included wines by the glass would meet our needs, which they did. Wine service was prompt and thoughtful including finding our favorites and opening new bottles of the included wines from previous nights. Never had to wait on wine service. Enjoyed the cocktail service in the bars and on deck. Staff made sure to offer Thomas Keller cocktail the night we dined there. Observation Lounge seemed to be place for those who really are into mixed drinks. Bartender even visited tables to get feedback about drinks. Specially prepared cocktails were brought to the Patio and pool area in the afternoon, which were very hard to resist. Even had beverage service at the hot tub on the front of the ship. Coffee was excellent. Enjoyed espressos and cappuccinos in dining areas. The Seabourn Square provided barista prepared specialties as good as any coffee house. Also served light bites. For Breakfast, we used room service most days since we needed to be off the ship around 8. The Restaurant and Colonnade opened at 8am and 7am. Used door hanger to order. All our choices were present. Food delivered on time, warm, and setup nicely. Best room service ever experienced. Did one breakfast in The Restaurant which was perfect. Two breakfasts in the outdoor area of the Colonnade, used a mix of ordering from wait staff and buffet, perfect as well. For lunch, we were never back on ship by 2 so the choice was the Patio or room service. We ate every lunch at The Patio, always freshly grilled fish and comfort treat like slice of pizza or burger. Excellent table service for wine and food ordering. When they were crowded, they setup more tables. Dinners were elegant affairs for us. We dressed elegant to formal each night. We had Thomas Keller reservations the first night as it was the only reservation available ahead of time before 9pm. It was a good choice for the first night. Best meal on the cruise for our tastes. An officer had recommended the lamb and was correct. Lobster as the appetizer followed by lamb was one meal. Salad and New York Strip for the other meal. Cocktail and wine service was thoughtful and encouraged. Food was paced nicely. Waiter recommended the Coconut Cake and the Chocolate Cake, was served half a slice of each presented on two plates. Another night a couple tried to add us to their reservation and were told the restaurant was totally booked; so reservations can be tight. Two dinners at Earth and Ocean. – Quiet and casual. Portions are small and options are creative. Great choice for a lighter meal. Remaining meals at The Restaurant. – Ate 4 meals here. All were excellent. Service was slow one night; staff team seemed a bit new. Went to one hosted dinner which was very enjoyable. The only drawback was that the area in the middle of the dining room made it difficult to hear at this large table of 8. Table was hosted by two of the entertainers who were very social and made the evening special. Regarding the menu in The Restaurant, the descriptions and choices as read on the menu do not do justice to the wonderful food. The actual items served were very well prepared and presented. Entertainment: We did not participate in many activities since we were in port each day. Can not comment on any of the daily items such as lectures and trivia. We did go two shows, one was a fairly typical cruise ship style show and the Tim Rice show was fantastic. The lounges at night had very good music. The deck dance party had to be moved indoors to The Club. We enjoyed the music and dancing with the entertainment staff. Volume of the music was at a nice level for dancing and yet one could get farther away and converse over the music. Staff and officers were very friendly and mingled. The gym is nice. Good variety of equipment. On the Odyssey there is no charge for the locker/changing room, showers, steam room and sauna. They were very nice and clean. My one visit, I was the only one in the area. The hot tubs and pool usually only had a few users. Did not use the internet or casino. The one blackjack table was 6/5 BJ, even though multi-deck. Seabourn Square is very nice with the library and sitting areas. Middle area for excursion staff offices. Disembarkation; Prepaid for a shared shuttle to hotel in Rome, approx. 38 euros each. Left ship at 8:45, shuttle arrived at the exact time agreed 9am. Arrived at hotel at 10:45am. Lunch then Vatican Museum tour at 1pm. Stayed an extra day for the Borghese Gallery. Heavy rain in the AM kept us from touring the Borghese gardens. In the evening, we used the Rome metro to tour sites at night. Very nice to see the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, and Piazza Navona fountains at night. Summary: Seabourn is all that the marketing claims. We enjoyed their cruise experience so much that it now changes what we look for in a cruise. Having never to think about costs onboard was much more enjoyable than imagined. Small ship with great space ratio was a big plus. The Seabourn Service is incredible; the staff is professional and caring. Their service is based on training and pride; they have no expectation of compensation from passengers because the gratuity is truly included. In the future we will evaluate what cruise we book to get close to our Seabourn experience if the itinerary and value are there; otherwise we will book Seabourn. Can’t give a higher rating than that! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Having tried Seabourn's Odyssey last December in the Caribbean, we were blown away by how fabulous it was. We like sea days, and decided to try the Sojourn's 18 day LA-Hawaii-Tahiti cruise. We had some trepidation, because we thought our ... Read More
Having tried Seabourn's Odyssey last December in the Caribbean, we were blown away by how fabulous it was. We like sea days, and decided to try the Sojourn's 18 day LA-Hawaii-Tahiti cruise. We had some trepidation, because we thought our wonderful experience the first time around might have been a one-off. No worries. This was even better. This talented crew knocks themselves out for you. They want nothing more than to please you. Food, service, attention to detail, you name it. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give them a 22. It's difficult to believe a trip could be this good. Officers and cruise staff that remember your name from the very first day; interesting lectures (retired chief engineer of the space shuttle, as an example); Food and Beverage officers and staff that can't do enough for you; and the list goes on. You can't walk 10 feet without someone offering you champagne or a drink. Truly delicious food, the best we've ever had at sea, and with only 450 passengers we thought it rivaled fine restaurants ashore. We can't imagine ever taking another cruise line, and we're already booked on the Odyssey's Caribbean/transatlantic in March/April 2019. Kudos and high fives all around to Seabourn and the staff onboard the Sojourn Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, ... Read More
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, the itinerary lived up to its expectations, although we had to miss Portomao because of Tropical Storm Leslie so we remained in Lisbon for the second day. The only hitch we had for our own itinerary ashore as with the Alhambra. We had been wait-listed for a ticket package that included the Nesrud Palaces, a highlight of the Alhambra and, according to those who have been there, not to be missed. When it become apparent that we would not be getting tickets through Seaborn (they are extremely difficult to come by), even though we had been on the wait list over four months prior to leaving. A few people were lucky enough to get the Seabourn tickets, but more on that later. We told the guest services agent on board that we planned on using the ship's tour bus to the Alhambra (which did not include the Nesrud Palaces), as we had purchased our own tickets and would join up with the bus prior to the group leaving the Alhambra. Our tickets were from 11am to 2pm, meeting at 10:45pm exactly where the tour bus would be pulling into the bus parking lot. We informed the Seabourn rep of our plan prior to boarding the bus and she cleared it with the tour guide. We arranged with him to meet up with the group at a restaurant should we not be ready to rejoin the bus when the Seabourn group was ready to leave. All was going smoothly as we left the port around 8:35am. Unfortunately, the guide decided to announce that we would be pulling into a rest stop for bathroom use and also for buying merchandise. Had the stop been for ten minutes all would still have been fine, but it was closer to 25 minutes and we then had no chance to make our tour. The Alhambra was outstanding, but we will now never have the opportunity to see the Nesrud Palaces. Those who were able to secure tickets for the Alhambra and the palaces thought they were all set. Unfortunately, for some of them, since showing your passport is required at different checkpoints randomly and then, for the palaces, for everyone, when the group was asked to present their passports the list of passengers did not match the names on the passports. Some names were of people not taking the tour. The mix up caused some passengers to have to miss the Alhambra and the palaces. We had read on Cruise Critic that Seabourn's shore excursions are below average and had not encountered that when on a Quest voyage. This particular trip was excellent once in the Alhambra as the guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the buildings and the area. The guide on the bus, however, was constantly talking, was very redundant and seemed to be along for the ride. All of the other tours was above average, although the timing for a tour of Eze and the Rothschild Mansion in Cap Ferat gave too much time to the later and not nearly enough time to Eze. Also, this trip was extremely tiring because all tours, half day or full day, started early in the morning so you began to feel sleep deprived early into the trip. I think they should offer afternoon half day excursions to alleviate the fatigue factor when you are on a 10-day cruise with only one at-sea day. Others felt the same way. The cabins on the ship are up to Seabourn's standards. They are among the most spacious in the industry and our ship stewardess was outstanding. The room is well-equipped and pretty much anything can be delivered to your room upon request, including unlimited amounts of champagne. The food on the ship was excellent. No complaints at all. The service was another matter. The worst was the Observation Bar between 6 and 7:30pm. You had a tough time flagging down a waiter as there were often only one or two of them. Going to the bar yourself and carrying the drinks to the table was impossible on rough sea evenings. This problem with service in the Observation Bar continued throughout the cruise. Towards the end of the voyage, we went down to Bruno's lounge in the Thomas Keller grill and after a ten-minute wait, went up to the bar for a drink. For afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, tea was offered, but they didn't mention that scones, sandwiches and cakes were available at the self-serve area where tapas are available every evening. On the Quest a waiter brought these items around which is the way afternoon tea should be presented. Service in the Restaurant was fine, but not if you wanted to get to the 8:45pm show. Fortunately, my husband and I did not have that problem because we had caught two shows and didn't think they were very good so skipped them from that point on. The service in the Colanade was excellent except for the final morning which was an absolute zoo. It was so bad that we ended up getting a bite to eat at Seabourn Square. We were heading for the Restaurant for a nice relaxing breakfast before disembarking because we had to be out of our room at 8pm, but could stay on board until 10pm. The Restaurant was closed, however, although we had no clue that it would be. On the Quest the Restaurant is open for the final breakfast before disembarking. The Patio's food was excellent as well as the service, and there were an adequate number of waiters should you need a drink while relaxing by the pool. Thomas Keller Grill was an interesting evening. We were told by the waiter to look forward to enjoying a romantic meal. To me, that's leisurely, but he did not seem to understand that. After ordering our drinks, he immediately asked if we were ready to order. We said that we needed some time. He came back in five minutes and asked again and we told him we weren't ready as we wanted to enjoy our drinks. After a few minutes, the supervisor went up to our waiter and talked to him. I assume it was about their need to get our order in. The supervisor then came up to our table and asked if we had any questions and we told him we didn't, we just wanted to slow the process down. The meal was very good, though, and there was a good vibe. The best experience for us was Sushi. The food was excellent, there were nice tables for two and the service was what you expect from Japanese staff - respectful, courteous and timely. All in all the management of the Ovation has a way to go to beat the service on the Quest. I think they need some time to work out the glitches as the ship only had its maiden voyage in May. Hopefully, things will improve soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted something smaller and more upscale than Royal Caribbean, and with few or no children. Okay, here's the good, the bad and the ugly about Seabourn. Good: Boarding is a BREEZE. We walked straight on after checking in. ... Read More
We wanted something smaller and more upscale than Royal Caribbean, and with few or no children. Okay, here's the good, the bad and the ugly about Seabourn. Good: Boarding is a BREEZE. We walked straight on after checking in. Debarkation likewise, a breeze. Staterooms: amazing. Best beds I've ever slept on on a cruise. Bathroom roomy. Pillows! Food is mostly good. The Keller Grill is over rated and limited. Caviar is available anywhere on the ship except there. You could stand just outside the door and have it though. Teatime was a blast. Loose tea in little silver pots. Scones. Num. Coffee bar on deck 7 makes killer Irish Coffee. Good selection of in room TV channels. No children were aboard! Just OK: The bars. They close them up as early as 11, and they don't open again until 5. The Patio bar is open all afternoon, but that's rough in 32 degree weather. Sure, you can drink in your room, but I can do that at home. Deck 7, again, makes boozy coffee. Age group: The median age was 75. If you're not ready to sail with folks who were teens in the 50's, this cruise is going to be a bore. Dress codes for dinner: Toward the end of the cruise the "no jeans" rule sort of vanished. I think nice jeans should always be acceptable. Bad: One of the bartenders was overbearing and rude. He closed the bar on a Friday night at 11pm while the show band was still playing, then argued about it when I asked him the next day and denied doing it. Told me that 6 people in the bar wasn't enough to keep it open; I reminded him that each of us paid more than the regular client just to be there. He said that didn't matter. 10 couples walked into the bar while we were arguing, saw the lights on, and walked out. Stability. We had 60 mph gale force winds for 3 days and nights, even the waiters couldn't stand up straight. I was violently seasick 3 days. For queasy travelers, this ship is not a good option. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Several of us who debarked in Montreal ended up at the same hotel, close to port, and historic. Hotel St. Sulpice, right next to Notre Dame Basilica. Roomy suites, good rate. I recommend it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our first time on Seabourn, but will not be the last. The suites are expansive and well appointed. Our only complaint there would be the ridiculously small TVs that are in the cabin. Public spaces are well done for this size ship. ... Read More
This was our first time on Seabourn, but will not be the last. The suites are expansive and well appointed. Our only complaint there would be the ridiculously small TVs that are in the cabin. Public spaces are well done for this size ship. Th entertainment was excellent actually. The four singers and two dancers that were part of the Seabourn team were some of the best that I have seen on any Cruise line. The food was always top notch, we never had a complaint at any restaurant. Now the only complaint and it is minor. The Restaurant Wait staff always seemed a little out of sync. Many times throughout the cruise we heard "sorry we're a little busy", or " we'll be with you in a minute". Even at the signature restaurant The Grill, we waited quite awhile for any service. The maitre D finally came over and asked if we had any service yet.It wasn't awful just not what we expected from Seabourn, and we had this happen repeatedly. The clientele on our cruise was definitely well heeled, and well traveled, and tends to be older. This is NOT a cruise line for children. All in all it is a luxury experience well worth the cost. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in Lisbon and getting off the ship was very fast. For the first 24 hours, service in the Restaurant and Colonnade was slow and we got the impression that the servers and others were trying to figure out territories and responsibilities. Things seemed to improve thereafter, although we still encountered slow service in The Restaurant on occasion. Best service and food were in The Grill, but we only got in once. In The Restaurant, entrees are modest in size and so are the accompaniments. But ordering sides of vegetables or starches is easy. We ate all breakfasts and most lunches in the Colonnade and we very happy with the selection, which is so large that it can be hard to find things. Several of the employees there learned our names and made real efforts to be helpful and friendly. Saw the singers and dancers a few times. The Tim Rice show (he appears on video) was excellent while the others were fairly average. Went on three of the ship's excursions: (1) a sunny day and amazing array of flowers made for a great time at Monet's home and garden in Giverny and the guide did a good job; (2) Santiago de Compostela was an intriguing place and the guide knew her stuff and had a good sense of humor; and (3) it was a cloudy day in Porto, there was a lot of standing around and waiting, and the guide was just okay. Wanted to see both D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestries, not a combination offered by Seabourn, so we got a private guide and found another couple to join us and it worked very well. Noticed that there didn't seem to be a deck with an outside walking route as long as the ship, but weather kept us inside most of the time. Went to a number of functions where officers made an appearance and then vanished, but we (and probably everyone else) did get a couple of invitations to dine with officers or entertainers and we did have dinner with the head of human resources. Met a number of Seabourn veterans who were disappointed in the service in the dining venues, as we were. Was also surprised that we were asked to provide information about birthdays and anniversaries, but when our anniversary came there was no recognition of it. We also missed Regent's included excursions, Internet access, and phone call allowance. We expect two things from cruises (and land trips): (1) to get away from the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc. and the rest of the routine and (2) to see interesting places, either on excursions or independently. We got these on this cruise, met nice people, and were treated well by the crew. Did this cruise line and this ship and crew do this so much better than others? I would say not. Would we return? Probably yes, if we found an attractive itinerary and price. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London ... Read More
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London prior to driving down through Kent to Dover, an excellent way to start a holiday. We had booked a B&B in Dover but on arrival the host was most unpleasant so we ended up staying overnight at the Best Western in Dover, best move we ever made. There were many boarding the ship who stayed here. We left the hotel for the ship at about 12:15 and arrived at the ship a bit after 12:30. If it could be, I think boarding we quicker and simpler than our past cruises. We were on the ship in no time to be treated by the cruise director Handre who was the CD on 2 of our 3 previous cruises. He would have to be up with the best (and nicest) CD's going around. As we had done on previous cruises, we went to the Colonnade Restaurant for lunch while we waited for access to our suite. About 2pm our suite was available and our luggage was already in our suite. Within 15 minutes our stewardess arrived to introduce herself and to give us a welcome glass of champagne and canapés. there is a bottle of Champagne on ice but we didn't drink it, not being big Champagne drinkers and there is so many other options for drinking on the ship. The Ship The ship is in beautiful condition as you would expect for a ship with only 6 months of sailing. But throughout the cruise, we noticed many times, the ship being washed / painted / touched up by crew. No wonder the ship is in immaculate condition. We loved the tastefully appointed furnishings (not blingy but very nicely done) and the artwork around the ship is wonderful. I had read reports about the pool area being small for the number of guests. This is probably correct if you are the type to sit around the pool all day. We do not pay this amount of money to cruise to sit around a pool, we can do that on our beaches in Australia for free. So this is not a problem for us but it may be for others. Otherwise, the ship facilities are fabulous. The Cabin We love the layout of the cabin with so much storage we have never been able to fill all the storage locations (as we do not skimp on what we take). We asked our stewardess for more hangers for the walk-in robe and by the time we came back from muster, they were there. The TV looks like about 42" and it was used to watch some of the enrichment talks, look at our account, listen to the announcements and on the 3 sea days to watch some TV. For charging phones / tablets / cameras, I usually take a power board but didn't use it on this ship as there were adequate power outlets. There is a USA, European and a USB outlet on either side of the bed as well as outlets in the sitting areas of the suite. We love the layout of the cabin and were very comfortable living there for more than 3 weeks. Our stewardess (Jeanet) was so nice, looked after our suite so well and did everything we wanted. We also got to know the stewardess down the hall (Gilcelia) and she was also very nice, and we loved chatting to or having a joke with her. Dining First cruise we mainly dined at the Colonnade in the evening but on our past three cruises the main dinning room (MDR) has been our goto in the evening. In summary, it is for us mostly Colonnade in the morning and lunch (on deck if it is not windy or cold) and the MDR in the evening. The MDR was open every day for all three meal times but we noticed very few (maybe 10) in the MDR for breakfast. Apart from maybe one or two glitches (if that), the meals were exceptional. If I didn't want an entree or I wanted 2 mains, this was not a problem. Basically, you could eat whatever you wanted from the menu. If you want something special, you can get it if it is available or they will make sure you get it in the future. We always wanted extra greens with our evening meal and always got more than we needed. We dined twice in the TK Grill, it is a beautifully appointed area but while we loved dining there, we did not find the food any better than the MDR, just different. Dalia in Seabourn Square made our Lemon and Ginger tea each morning and is wonderful. We didn't get to know Gabor who was also there as Dalia was mostly working in the morning. Mostly these teas were made from real sliced lemon and sliced ginger (not tea bags) and were so nice. This time we did not dine in the Sushi Restaurant (we loved it on our last cruise) only because we did not get around to it. We dined at the Earth and Ocean (before the cruise we thought we would be dining here every night) once on the cruise and it was ok, but we still preferred the MDR (more about the service later). Entertainment We thought the groups (changed halfway though the cruise) in The Club were fabulous, just our type of music. This was our goto place for a drink before dining. Last cruise it was the TK Grill Bar and the cruise prior, it was the Observation Lounge. We just went wherever we preferred the music. Every few days we would go to one of the other areas for a change, it was nice to have that choice. It seemed that most guests go to the Observation Lounge as it seemed to be the busiest (and while the music was nice, the music in the Club was more our taste). The Seabourn Singers (2 male and 2 female) were fabulous and we loved any of the shows where they sang. In summary, we cannot do all the activities, just cannot fit them in. So to me that means there are adequate things for us to do during a day on the ship. We met some wonderful other guests who we dined with several times (a UK couple and a US couple). We loved going to trivia, Handre (CD) and Kobus (Assistant CD) make this "special". Service The crew are a real asset to Seabourn. There was not once on this cruise where we were not well looked after and made feel special. Each time we went to either the MDR or the Colonnade, either Roxanne or Erica (not spelled that way, but that's what we called her) were so nice and welcoming, always calling us by our name. But not just them, all the crew were the same, just wonderful. From the captain (Stig Betten) to the security when getting on/off the ship and the tender operators, all the crew were so nice and friendly and when you are away from family for 6 weeks, they became our family which "made" our holiday. In the MDR we loved Brandon, Reggie, Renzo, Sithabile, Genesis and all the others (too many to mention them all). In the Colonnade, we were always well looked after by Marko, Miguel, Trajcek (I think), Savannah and many more. Each crew member made you feel special and we loved chatting to them (although that time is not much because they are so busy). In summary, there was not one crew member who did not help us to have a wonderful time. the only issue we had was with Guest Services where while they tried there best and eventually did everything we required, I could tell they were inexperienced. But because we know how things worked, it was ok but for the non-Seabourn cruiser it may have been a problem. But that was not a real inconvenience for us. Children We did not have any children on the ship this cruise. It would not have mattered anyway, we have had children on previous cruises and that has not been any problem. Although in saying that, I do not think this is the type of cruise line to take most young children (i know there are exceptions). There are cruise lines we would take our grandchildren, but this is not one of them, they would be bored most of the time. Ports We did several Seabourn excursions and these were good. The guides were very good and there seemed to be always a person from Seabourn on the bus also, to look after any guests needs. I did notice there was not as much control over how many were on each bus. Normally Seabourn only half (about) fill a bus but this time it seemed there were more on one and less on the other. This was not any issue. We worked out early on in our cruise that all day excursions were not as enjoyable as they once were. Mainly because the all day excursions are to the popular tourist sites and these were overrun with tourists (of which we were two) even in October. We subsequently canceled some all day excursions we had booked, which Seabourn refunded immediately, so no problem there. We loved just wandering around the ports or organising some of our own excursions which we did on a couple of occasions, particularly the ports when departure was 11pm (3 of the 22 were late departures) and one (Rouen, France) we stayed overnight. Many of the ports we went to we would go to again which probably means we loved most of the ports. We are gym people and went to the gym several times but not as much as we thought as we were walking 12-15k a day in each port. The gym is well equiped and we always found we could use equipment we wanted. The free classes started at 7am and while these are good, not so useful to use other than port days as we wanted to get out and about in each port. In summary, we will certainly go on another cruise and I see no reason to change lines so I am certain it will be with Seabourn. ps: While it did not really affect us (we missed Portimao and spent an extra day in Lisbon, there are worse things that can happen than this), the weather in that region at that time was not good with some rough seas and high winds. The captain and the crew are to be commended for there professionalism in communicating with guests and looking after us in a safe manner. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the ... Read More
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the assistant director of the cruise, was incredibly generous, listening to our every detail. We also want to thank Frédéric for his impeccable service, his Francophonie, his smile, and his good advice. the cruise is rather romantic, cozy, hushed. We really appreciated the quality of the restaurants, the variety of menus, the freshness of the products, the talent of the chef. We did not take advantage of the pool which turns out to be quite small. The shows are of quality: violin, singing, magician ... the animation was perfect and Mr. Henry Halloy embodies this perfection. A lot of elegance! This first cruise in our life will remain etched in our memory, and the only desire is to go back on board! Read Less
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