7 Seabourn Quest Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to South America from Santiago (Valparaiso)

This was a once in a lifetime cruise around Cape Horn starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, ... Read More
This was a once in a lifetime cruise around Cape Horn starting in Santiago, Chile….glacial cruising around Cape Horn, Antarctica landings, up the east coast of South America, ending deep in the Amazon in Manaus, Brazil. For booking, this cruise was forty-two days and technically two back to back cruises on Seabourn Quest. The ship is reinforced for Antarctica. This was the last summer trip to Antarctica for the season. We are somewhat adventurous active 60’s with a strong FOMO attitude. This was our second Seabourn cruise. Our first was around the boot of Italy and Croatia. We were so impressed this time that we have signed on for Seabourn’s 146 day 2020 World Cruise. A main difference for the Seabourn Antarctica cruises is their expedition style. The style during the six days of Antarctica landings is true expedition with professional naturalists, wildlife and geology briefings, safety briefings, equipment checks and lots of outdoor activities. But no doubt, Seabourn Quest is a luxury ship for around 450 passengers with fine dining, spacious cabins, inclusive beverages (even alcoholic), spa services and intuitive anticipatory service. The ratio of crew to guest is about 85 to 100. Food was better than cruise ship average but could still improve on spices and regional dish selection and variety. The main restaurant serves four courses with a variety of daily house wines. Premium wine is available at a premium cost. The Colonnade is buffet style with excellent salad and entrée choices with indoor and outdoor seating. Menu is often theme oriented. Patio/pool side dining has basic fare of burgers, pizza, grilled shrimp, tacos and grilled meat of the day. The Grill is an upscale “steak house” without added cost but limited seating requiring reservation. It is over the top service including some dishes prepared tableside. The menu has classic, timeless dishes like steaks, lobster thermidor, and Caesar salad. The menu has a varied “dish of the day” but other options remain the same. In suite dining is inclusive and includes the restaurant daily course menu as well as basics. Guests are regularly invited to share a table of eight to twelve hosted by a Seabourn Quest staff member or naturalist. We chose a Veranda Suite which is just less than 300 sq ft and well designed with a walk-in closet, small desk space (sized and plugged for charging devices). There is a queen bed, nice living area with full square table for eating and working. There is a small comfortable sofa, chairs, pull out TV and bar area. (We had our cabin stewardess remove the over abundance of decorative pillows). There are additional drawers and storage space in the TV and bar cabinets. The veranda has two chairs with a small table. Lay back loungers would have been a nice touch. The veranda is very private except in ports when moored beside other ships. Cabin service is unmatched. Cleaning service is at least twice a day. Stewardess is quick to help with special requests. Lots of towels and no annoying signs about laundry/water conservation. For well traveled passengers, it is implied. There are ample electrical plugs and lighting. Mini bar and house liquor,wine and glasses are promptly replenished. Ship facilities are large and spacious considering the number of passengers. Pools and pool areas are small but chairs are always available and area is swept and clean. Towels and drink service easily available. The Grand Salon has space for all passengers in a single sitting for information, lectures and entertainment. It has comfortable padded chairs and sofas for 3-5 people. But supporting columns are impossible to see around. So it was necessary to scope out preferred seats. Self serve wine/beer/soft drinks were available upon entry to Grand Salon. Full bar table service was also available but limited number of servers, so minimal attention here. Entertainment is pretty standard cruise ship style. In fact, we knew dancers from a previous (HAL) cruise. But the program on the first three week cruise was repeated exactly on the second three week cruise even though we were mostly the same guests. Regional programs brought on board were more enjoyable and unique even if not always in English. The Seabourn Quest (and sister ships) are small and easy to navigate with lots of elevators. Staff is friendly always saying hello and often calling us by name. The Seabourn Square is comfortable with a minimal library. Available snacks, specialty coffees, drinks are included. Bar and club entertainment is OK. Lots of seating and dance space. Small casino. Excursions are much improved from our first Seabourn cruise when more than half were cancelled. One of our excursions on this cruise went on even though there were only four people. Local maps and information for us independent types was available at least a day before. But we did wish for the HAL just in case card that had taxi ready port address and phone numbers in local language. The shore excursion staff will also make special personal arrangements. We used this service for opera tickets in Buenos Aires. Their follow thru determination included contact by fax for critical ticket timing and approval to a pre-cruise, on our own, resort without wifi. They arranged box seats and a driver to and from the Opera House. The Antarctica week of the cruise was amazing. It was certainly expedition style. Included in our fare were daily landing excursions off the ship for all passengers. There were zodiac rides, hikes and penguin encounters. Hikes were short or long by choice. Might be a beach walk or a mile hike up the hill. Only 100 people are allowed ashore at a time so we were divided into five groups with changing daily excursion time. Naturalists were waiting on shore as well as on the zodiacs. Zodiac landings were in groups of twelve. Of course, there was boarding assistance for safety and ease. This part of the cruise does require stamina for physical activity and cold weather. But unmatched geography, animals, and ice! A highlight was Deception Island. The captain maneuvered our ship inside this volcanic caldron. Even though the air and land temp was below freezing, the water was tea temp, approx. 90 deg F. Parkas are provided. Boots and walking poles are available to rent. So no need to take up packing space for these. Gloves, hats, scarves and extra layers are absolutely necessary. An excellent list is sent pre-cruise. Kayaking is available in Antarctica as an extra purchased excursion. This is an opportunity for a second daily landing, even for inexperienced kayakers. These are two person kayaks. The trips are well supervised by special kayaking naturalists. Kayakers get a special pass to join any zodiac group of the day for scheduling purposes. Each Antarctica day ends with a pre-dinner recap in the lounge by the naturalists. This includes the next day plan and special documentary topics. The rest of the cruise up the east side of South America was quite enjoyable but not nearly as unusual. Lots of beach and urban ports. We were able to take a Zodiac tour deep into the bays of the Amazon River. All in all, the perfect trip for FOMO adventurists with strong luxury ship preferences. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our second cruise with Seabourn. The first was fabulous, prior to the Carnival ownership change. The cabin was the same, but our steward was not there when we arrived. In fact, it took some time to find out who it was. She, and ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Seabourn. The first was fabulous, prior to the Carnival ownership change. The cabin was the same, but our steward was not there when we arrived. In fact, it took some time to find out who it was. She, and her colleagues appeared to be run off their feet. We asked a couple of times for additions to the bar fridge - one being sparkling water with a screw top (which we had when we arrived), so we could reseal it. Not available. This set the tone for the whole trip. A lovely rose at lunch lasted about three days and could not be seen again. A fine weiss beer, lasted about three days also. The dining room meals were around four selections, and incredibly repetitive. No more special meals on request; no more twenty page a la cart menu. Discussion with other loyal Seabourn clientele repeated similar opinions. Check the brochure - the passenger staff ratio, once proudly boasted by Seabourn, has disappeared. But that's not the worst bit, and I'm no snob. Evenings, particularly in the bars, a large number of the passengers felt the need to behave incredibly offensively. So drunk, so loud, obscene language; one women nearly broke my foot with her 15cm high heals then fell over with her dress around her neck. She, and her friends, thought it was hilarious. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The Antarctica was very high on our "bucket list"so glad we waited for the Seabourn experience to take this amazing adventure. We sailed on the last departure of the season...the best for last! Not only the wonderful Seabourn ... Read More
The Antarctica was very high on our "bucket list"so glad we waited for the Seabourn experience to take this amazing adventure. We sailed on the last departure of the season...the best for last! Not only the wonderful Seabourn treatment but an excellent expedition team lead by Robin West...we were really informed on the way down with wonderful interesting lectures...Geoff with his humorous take on history! Learned about penguin poo! Comes in different colors...watch your step! The actual embarking into the zodiacs was a well oiled machine...quick and helpful all along the way...amazing to move so many "older people" so quickly! We were really impressed with the attention to detail, way to go Seabourn! Capt Larsen was wonderful giving us so many trills like the whales that were all around us...so close you could smell their fish breath!!! Our 3rd time on deck 6...great location to everything..especially to the Grand Salon...cabin size is great, even with all the Antarctica gear we had plenty of space...bathroom is roomy....we had some Drakes Passage weather with wild seas but we were quiet comfy. This is an amazing cruise...not possible to tell in words you have to see for yourself! Make sure you have the Lobster Tempura!!!! a standout among standouts! Only problem was the 2 chain smokers at the end of the hall....stinky for the rest of us....BAN SMOKING SEABOURN!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Seabourn really excelled on this trip. This was our first trip with Seabourn and I must say that we were completely sold on their service and excellence. It was evident that a lot of foresight had been invested in these 4 Antarctica ... Read More
Seabourn really excelled on this trip. This was our first trip with Seabourn and I must say that we were completely sold on their service and excellence. It was evident that a lot of foresight had been invested in these 4 Antarctica sailings. From the overhead heaters installed throughout the outdoor spaces to the blankets and beanies, it seemed like everything had been thought of to ensure maintaining Seabourn's trademark luxury. As most people mention, entering your suite for the first time is an experience. We have cruised on many different lines and were very impressed with the quality and décor of the suites. They are tastefully elegant and provide a nice sanctuary, specifically on a cruise of such length. The bathrooms are well appointed with double sinks, a separate tub, etc. The bedding is comfortable and cozy and the overall size of the suite is great. One of our favorite touches was the interactive tv system. While we made it to most lectures, sometimes we felt like relaxing and it was great that the lectures were recorded and available on demand in our rooms. This allowed us to not feel like we were missing something, resulting in a nice mix of education and relaxation. Of course, sailing away with a bottle of Champagne was a great way to start the relaxation :) One of my favorite parts of this trip were the educational opportunities. I must take a moment to give credit to the top of the line Expedition team assembled by Seabourn. This group of 15 were the best of the best and were more than qualified to share their insights to Antarctica. The lectures were fantastic and we loved how approachable they were. All were willing to spend time discussing their favorite topics and in particular, we loved the two professional photographers. We learned so much from them and despite being on a ship with 400 passengers, it felt as though we had private photography coaches. Robin, the Expedition Leader, had so much experience and truly made the trip great. When it came time to disembark guests onto the zodiacs, the team was professional, organized and efficient. It couldn't have been easy with that many guests of differing abilities. The food on board was outstanding. We often found ourselves eating dinner at the Colonade since we preferred the many ethnic themed nights. There were always plenty of options and in 24 days, we never found ourselves tiring of the food. We ate at the Patio Grill a few times despite the cold temperatures and were always comfortable. The main restaurant was delicious and the service excelled. My only complaint/comment here is that it appeared as though the design of the dining room captured noise, in particular if you were in one of the two large center areas. It was very difficult to hear your tablemates and we heard a number of people commenting on this. For the record, we are a couple in our late 20s so I don't think it was our hearing :) Now, for Antarctica. I think it is important to remember that perception and expectation are a huge part of travel, especially when cruising to a place as rugged and remote as Antarctica. We had heard the stories of the Inaugural cruise just prior to ours and had been reading the Seabourn Blog. The Inaugural ran into weather, ice and other issues and were not able to get many of their landings on Antarctica. We had set ourselves with the expectation that if we could get to land just once we would be happy. As luck would have it, this trip would end up being a "brochure" cruise and would exceed every expectation could have dreamed of. We were fortunate enough to cross the Drake Passage in record time, land all 4 out of 5 times in Antarctica (the 5th was a zodiac cruise which turned out to be well worth it), land twice in South Georgia and even add a third "bonus" zodiac cruise due to our timely crossing of the Drake Passage! My point here is that it is all about expectations and Seabourn did a great job of setting us up for the worst and then over delivering on the experience. Each day we felt the anticipation and excitement build about the upcoming day and the Seabourn staff, along with the Expedition staff, did an outstanding job of managing those expectations. Overall, this trip exceeded our every expectation. From the outstanding service to the accommodations, everything was over-delivered. We will definitely be back with Seabourn again and would recommend, in particular the Antarctica product, to anyone looking to experience the world while still maintaining a luxurious vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The Seabourn Quest is an excellent sized ship and this Antarctic cruise was supreme . The ship is big enough to handle any seas on the way to Antarctica, but has a small enough customer population, and a big enough staff to make service ... Read More
The Seabourn Quest is an excellent sized ship and this Antarctic cruise was supreme . The ship is big enough to handle any seas on the way to Antarctica, but has a small enough customer population, and a big enough staff to make service quite personal. The excursions along the west coast of South America and in Punta Arenas were very well done. Locations were fabulous, and the hosts were very good at telling their story and even in sharing their families with us. The Antarctic excursions on the zodiacs were excellent. The expertise level of the guides and boat handlers was unexpectedly high (and I was in the Navy, and know good seamanship). The safety and weather preparations for guests and the sights made this portion of the cruise one of our best we have ever been on! The ship's dining, though, is aiming for way too high to be practical. First of all, this is the only ship I have ever been on that regularly refuses entry to clients not wearing certain clothes. Who works for who here?! I bring dark suits, a separate sport coat and a tux along, and always dress nicely .But getting off of a walk at 25 degrees on an iceberg, and then being kicked out of the dining room because today I didn't wear a jacket is really out of proportion. Aiming all dress requirements and menu selections at "haute cuisine " made the whole dining experience negative for me. Seabourn has gone so far the whole dining experience is now pompous, like someone who is pushing too hard. When I have to wade through artificial French names for everything and there are no real dishes that are recognizable, the menu is unacceptable. The chef's work and the food presentation is generally superior- don't get me wrong. I eat at fancy restaurants the world over, OK, but for a long cruise (like a month) I want a good selection of meat and potato standards mixed in with the attempts at winning rich clients over.. For one thing, never try to find a good steak on a Seabourn or Holland America line. They have no good cuts, and all meat is cooked rare or tartar If you want good steak, go to the Outback Restaurant. I will say this, their soups are consistently fabulous and the dining room staff is unparalleled for being friendly. The Antarctic excursions made this cruise worth it for me, but I the dining experience will keep me from going back to Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
News on Antarctic cruises tends to favour the report of problems, such as being stuck in the ice, or beset with bad weather in Drake Passage. No bad news for this cruise - quiet seas, excellent weather, five days in Antarctica and 3 days ... Read More
News on Antarctic cruises tends to favour the report of problems, such as being stuck in the ice, or beset with bad weather in Drake Passage. No bad news for this cruise - quiet seas, excellent weather, five days in Antarctica and 3 days in South Georgia - more landings and zodiac cruises than anticipated, more wildlife than could be imagined. Expedition staff include a number of scientists with considerable polar experience, a couple of professional photographers, and some very capable zodiac 'drivers'. This is our fourth Seabourn cruise, and going to Antarctic has not compromised all the usual pleasures - even managed to dine al fresco at the Patio Grill while sailing off Antarctic Peninsula, albeit with parkas and beanies. My only Seabourn gripe is the muzak - sailing through such grandeur demands better than the typical and pervasive fare, or perhaps even turn it off. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My husband and I researched all the Antarctic cruise choices thoroughly. Some ships are very small without stabilizers but they allow passengers to make zodiac landings. Other ships are large but because of the limitations of the IAATO ... Read More
My husband and I researched all the Antarctic cruise choices thoroughly. Some ships are very small without stabilizers but they allow passengers to make zodiac landings. Other ships are large but because of the limitations of the IAATO rules which state that only 100 people are allowed to go ashore at one time, they do not make any landings. We picked Seabourn Quest because it is mid-sized, offered zodiac landings in the Antarctic, plus we knew we would be more comfortable and we thought they would look after us well. The Antarctic is an unforgiving place, the Drake Passage is one of the worse bodies of water in the world, and we wanted a ship with a strengthened hull and good stabilizers. The itinerary was excellent: busy but with some days at sea to rest a bit. We began in Valparaiso and made our way down along the Western side of South America. The Chilean Fjords are lovely, and shore excursions there interesting and fun. But everyone started to get more and more excited when the captain announced that, because there was an opening with good weather, he wanted to make a run across the Drake to the Antarctic peninsula sooner than scheduled. We would be in Ushuaia a day ahead and then head south. At Ushuaia we took on an extra pilot with experience in ice filled waters, who had previously served with the US Coast Guard in Alaska. So now we had 2 pilots, plus there was a large expedition team of naturalists, zodiac drivers, and researchers on board to help. The Quest took about 400 passengers, so we rotated in groups to land once we arrived at the Antarctic peninsula, and it worked out very well. We were always carefully looked after. They helped us in and out of our gear, helped with antiseptic washing down of clothing, equipment and the like, and were scrupulous in efforts to prevent contamination of the environment. We had extra landings whenever the weather permitted, and went to South Georgia a day earlier than scheduled, so had more time there where we saw more amazing wildlife. Captain Larsen was very flexible with the schedule, and seized every opportunity he could to show us more and more places. But we had to be flexible too - one day we were out in zodiacs when he blew the ship's whistle and all the zodiacs had to hurry back to the ship. We had to leave there quickly, because the wind had changed direction and sea ice was starting to close in around the ship. (At about this same time we were getting reports of a ship trapped in ice in the Roth Sea, and icebreakers had been unable to reach it.) We had wonderful lecturers, many with years and years of experience in the Antarctic. Of course Seabourn serves great food and the liquor is all included, whatever you want. Yes, Seabourn is a luxury line and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. But I will remember this trip as the trip of a lifetime. It was worth every penny. I can not think of one "con" about this cruise. Everything was wonderful.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Seabourn Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 4.0
Service 4.5 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 5.0 4.3

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