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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Having cruised on larger ships (Cunard & Celebrity), we decided to try a luxury, mid-size ship and booked the Seabourn Sojourn for its 20 night cruise from Cape Town to the Maldives. On the plus side: 1) Our embarkation and ... Read More
Having cruised on larger ships (Cunard & Celebrity), we decided to try a luxury, mid-size ship and booked the Seabourn Sojourn for its 20 night cruise from Cape Town to the Maldives. On the plus side: 1) Our embarkation and disembarkation were managed efficiently. 1) The verandah cabin was a pleasant surprise - spacious with heaps of hanging/drawer space and an enormous modern bathroom. 2) The passenger-contact staff are extremely pleasant and helpful, especially our cabin stewardess and the dining room servers. Guest Relations were responsive to my concerns regarding the ship's patchy, frustrating internet access and often re-instated my lost time. The Cruise Director, Ross, was an energetic activities organiser, comedian and great singer - a real asset. Likewise the F&B Manager, Mario, who handled my complaints regarding several disappointing meals. 3) The entertainment and lectures that we attended were mostly of high quality, although the standard dropped off a bit towards the end of the cruise (the final 5 days at sea). 4) The daytime band, the Trio, were bland and uninspiring - they played mostly "elevator music". A pity the full rock band was not used more during the day and early evenings. The downsides generally relate to deficiencies with the swimming pool and gym (both are too small), inconsistent food quality and the poor management of "destination services" ie ship to shore transport and shore excursions. For example, the excursion to Addo Game Park was a debacle as nearly 20 passengers had to be transported around the park in small mini-vans, rather than the large, open 4WD trucks advertised. Plus the ship's transport from the port to the main town (Fort Dauphin) in Madagascar was irregular, resulting in delays, with no-one from the ship present (initially) on site to co-ordinate arrangements and inform passengers. Also, the ship does not adequately handle 1 to 2 metre ocean swell and, unlike our other cruises. I was sea-sick on a couple of bad weather days. Overall, it is doubtful that paying twice the nightly rate for a Seabourn cruise is justifed vs the larger ships, especially as both internet charges and shore excursions (which are expensive and problematic) are not included. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We were on board for 36 days and had some really great crew members, but serious issues with many the didn’t have a clue what they were doing and some just plain overwhelmed. Our cabin stewardess was the worst I have had in 40 YEARS of ... Read More
We were on board for 36 days and had some really great crew members, but serious issues with many the didn’t have a clue what they were doing and some just plain overwhelmed. Our cabin stewardess was the worst I have had in 40 YEARS of cruising...clearly overwhelmed, everyday her service cart was the last to leave the passageway....where are the supervisiors to help with the proper training and make sure her staff have the tools they need to be successful. At one point it was suggested we keep a regular schedule by getting up in the morning at the same time each day!!!! Beverage service was so bad in the Grand Salon about 1/2 into the cruise they decided to go with premade drinks for the shows so the waiter didn’t have to take all those bothersome drink orders...some evening you had to ask several times for a beverage...Had to ask 2-3 times for a glass of ice, and we had to laugh one night in the MDR I asked for a wafer cookie for my ice cream....it arrived with ice cream on the pointy end, clearing taken from some other order....or previous order!!! Noticed little cheap things like no breadsticks on the table at lunch, at breakfast no little jars of jams, had big containers on the buffet to scoops out of...no hor’dourves at the formal night. If you want honey for your tea you have to scoop!!! In the Seabourn Square the honey was put into the cup, as they don’t have any little jars....guess one needs to bring their own from home....not exactly luxury! The food is for the most part quite good. However we were on 2 segments and the menus were the same for both segments. Ordered room service 2 evening when we were “fooded-out”, club sandwich which I have had in the past and was quite good...it use to be 4 sections this time it was only 2! To the good the nibbles up on deck 10 in the evening are excellent....noticed on some occasions the carpets were not cleaned of crumbs from afternoon tea!!! We did really enjoy our CD Ross Roberts, excellent...and the speakers and entertainment staff were good as well... This itinerary was very interesting but we would not go back to any of the ports except Cape Town and Singapore....if you are not a sun person you will find the the Indian Ocean really hot and humid! My only hope is that Seabourn gets it’s act together as this is the 3rd year the service isn’t what we expect....suggest more rigorous interviews and training on land and more extensive....before you subject paying passengers to amateur hour!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Our 5th Seabourn cruise and every time I say 'this was my favourite'! We enjoyed every minute despite having some dodgy weather to cope with and missing a couple of ports because of that. We felt that this was the happiest ... Read More
Our 5th Seabourn cruise and every time I say 'this was my favourite'! We enjoyed every minute despite having some dodgy weather to cope with and missing a couple of ports because of that. We felt that this was the happiest cruise we'd been on, more or less everyone was cheerful and that was down, as always, to the superb Staff who yet again went over and above to make it as enjoyable as possible for the passengers. It was helped along by a fantastic Cruise Director and his two Assistants who were such fun and so hardworking. The Executive Chef was far more prominent than normal, with live cooking regularly on deck with the Head of Food and Beverage - what a team! They worked together so well alongside the Cruise Director. Service was perfect in the main Dining Room and Earth & Ocean was superb. Hardworking staff made the Colonnade enjoyable - the food offering in all restaurants could not be faulted. There was great fun crossing the Equator, I won't spoil it for anyone reading, it is an event! All in all, a fantastic cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Everything, really everything was perfectly organized. Embarkation and disembarkation were organized. You have 5 restaurants for choice and only one of these five you have to reserve for. Service, food, drinks whenever you want, ... Read More
Everything, really everything was perfectly organized. Embarkation and disembarkation were organized. You have 5 restaurants for choice and only one of these five you have to reserve for. Service, food, drinks whenever you want, anything you might need, you get it. Champaign, caviar as much as you want. Excursions were well organized and at a reasonable prize Five restaurants at choice and you receive their menu every evening for the following day. You can order any wine , champagne, beer or water for your fridge, as much as you want. Room service works well and we had a table on our balcony set up with table cloth every morning for breakfast. You can also ask for a 3 or 4 course diner in your suite at the time you want. We can only recommend this company and we will certainly make our next cruise with them- We tried different other cruise companies , but his is the best. ......and when you think what you get for the price you paid it is not relly expensive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The itinerary was the reason I chose this cruise, but the on-board experience was the best of any of my 12 cruises, including Crystal, Azamara and 4 other cruise lines. The price was also very reasonable since there was basically no ... Read More
The itinerary was the reason I chose this cruise, but the on-board experience was the best of any of my 12 cruises, including Crystal, Azamara and 4 other cruise lines. The price was also very reasonable since there was basically no need to add any “extras.” Dining venues were excellent! Besides specialty restaurants, there was a sushi bar, grill at the pool, great buffet, and comfortable dining in the main dining room. Food was excellent, and all special requests were honored - off-menu items were picked up at the next port if not already onboard! Places to get snacks like in the spacious fest relations area were great! Enrichment talks were a favorite. The history of each area was explained with first hand stories and pictures by very knowledgeable and entertaining speakers. Entertainment shows were first class with a nice variety of comedy, dance, magic, etc. Hard to imagine a better experience! Californiajack Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Cabin and Sailing We both really enjoy sailing with Seabourn, however it must be said that we are starting to see a few cracks in the wall apart from the service which continues in our mind to be 110% Subsequent to our 2017 sailing ... Read More
Cabin and Sailing We both really enjoy sailing with Seabourn, however it must be said that we are starting to see a few cracks in the wall apart from the service which continues in our mind to be 110% Subsequent to our 2017 sailing in Alaska with the mini refit in December we were rather disappointed. The pool deck after we were advised had been replaced remained faulty and was at one time cordoned off. Dining wise, we found that although there was ashore, an abundant supply of salad vegetables, the buffet did not always reflect this. The main dining room experience was not that of a calmly run restaurant but one where all the waiters where walking at top speed all the time.That said the new Thomas Keller Dining experience was first class. We also noticed that on a considerable no. of times the guest services telephone just kept on ringing, one time in excess of 4 mins. Look all these things are not big deal but just drag down the whole perceived ambience and sailing experience with Seabourn. Lets hope our May sailing with Ovation provides for a better experience, at least the cabins should be top notch. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
When I got on board I thought gosh this is lovely this new ship, then after a few days I began to find design faults. You could not walk round the deck above the pool as there was not enough room from the end of the sun beds. The theatre ... Read More
When I got on board I thought gosh this is lovely this new ship, then after a few days I began to find design faults. You could not walk round the deck above the pool as there was not enough room from the end of the sun beds. The theatre had lots of seats with restricted views because of large pillars. I did not like where the piano bar was situated as you thought you were going into the Grill. The staff in the restaurant upstairs were very surly, and non smiling which is not good enough. I have not experienced this on other ships. I went on this cruise as I had done it before on the Odyssey and came off in Mumbai to fly up to Jaipur, Agra and New Delhi. I loved it so much I wanted to do it again. Well it was very expensive but a lovely experience again. We were given an eye mask and a plastic bag of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. What an insult. Everyone gets eye masks on aircraft and to give us these shower gels etc was not on. The beautiful hotels we stayed in gave us wonderful stuff. We had far better stuff the last time I went. Seabourn is definitely cutting back and it shows. It is not good enough as they would not cut the price of the cruise or give us FREE Wifi All the Americans get the perks, not the Brits. On the last morning I went down to the Square to query something on my bill. Well the guy was positively rude to me and I was so angry I walked away before I said something to him. Not good customer service. Dr Lawrence Blair was wonderful and gave very interesting talks. Well done to him. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the ... Read More
Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the sauce is served. Most sauces taste the same and have some strange taste; maybe there is Balsamic vinegar where none should be. Most sauces are the same dark color. Short ribs should be served with the reduced braising liquid, not the strange sauce which they called Jus. Princess always has appropriate and well-made sauces. Thomas Keller was very disappointing: roast chicken overdone, Dover Sole Meuniere spoiled with capers. Crab cakes were the best ever. Caesar Salad in the restaurant and the Patio are better. Several other guests shared our view of Thomas Keller. Fish for lunch on the Patio was always very good. Breakfast in the Colonnade was always very good with a nice selection of hot and cold meats as well as fruit. Coffee and service in Seabourn Square was excellent. Service in the restaurant was excellent: Melanie and her team and Eddie. Bar service was good but not as professional as other Seabourn or Princess. Likewise for room make-up. There were lots of activities on board, especially on sea days to keep us entertained. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Let me first state that I did not like awarding the scores set forth below. My wife and I had hoped for a far better experience. This was our first Seabourn cruise; the most recent ones before were on Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, ... Read More
Let me first state that I did not like awarding the scores set forth below. My wife and I had hoped for a far better experience. This was our first Seabourn cruise; the most recent ones before were on Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, respectively. Our cruise started in Singapore and ended in Dubai. Some elements of the Encore were lovely. The overall décor was most attractive, and the Seabourn Square set up was a delight. For the most part, our Verandah V5 cabin was well thought out (the closet could use some reconfiguration -- raising the hanging poles and sacrificing a bit of the shelf space above). It was impossible, however, to regulate the temperature in our cabin at a stable degree; at night, especially, the air conditioning, unlike the day, was ineffective -- with the room being so warm we discarded our covers. Our stewardess was absolutely terrific, and the other members of the non-food service crew were personable. So what wasn't so great? Primarily, it was the food -- especially in comparison to both the Oceania Marina and the Regent Explorer ships. With the exception of the Thomas Keller restaurant (the second time, at least) no meal was delicious, and several of the meals were plain disappointing. Bread was consistently substandard, as were most of the pastries. Beef was not as good as the lamb; chicken was overcooked. Fish, however, was well-prepared. The Restaurant's cuisine was not generally as good as the Colonnade's. Service in the Restaurant at dinner was really bad. Twice (once dining alone and a second time with another couple), we had to skip dessert to make the 8:45 pm show; in each instance we were seated at 6:45 p.m. That is inexcusable. Service in the Colonnade was, conversely, quite good at both breakfast and dinner. Daniel and Megan deserve special mention for their performance. As for Thomas Keller, the steaks the first time were terribly over-salted, and not just our table. The people next to us had the same complaint. The captain actually tried my wife's and readily agreed, and the manager subsequently invited us to dine in his restaurant again, promising a far better experience the next time -- which it was. The sushi restaurant was fine, with the lead server a true delight. The food was okay. It is impossible to see the chefs at work due to the configuration of the counter; its front should be all glass and the display of fish lowered so that the preparations can be viewed by diners, especially those sitting around where the chefs were working. We found the entertainment mixed. Wayne (the comedian on the cruise) was truly entertaining; on the other hand we thought the Tim Rice show to be a disappointment -- less due to the singers and more due to the choice of songs performed. The rest (we attended several) were so-so. The lecturers were distinguished. We would have preferred slightly more sophisticated talks -- and with more emphasis on the current states of the countries visited and less on their histories. We took several tours. The most disappointing to us was in Muscat, where we were left for 90 minutes at a mediocre, touristy souk and had only 15 minutes, in contrast, at a wonderful museum. The rest were okay, if over promised. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We have been on several river cruises with Uniworld and had wonderful experiences and on a 2 week cruise with Blount on the Great Lakes in the USA, but apart from couple of cruises up and down the Norwegian coast on the Hurtigruten, this ... Read More
We have been on several river cruises with Uniworld and had wonderful experiences and on a 2 week cruise with Blount on the Great Lakes in the USA, but apart from couple of cruises up and down the Norwegian coast on the Hurtigruten, this was our first sea cruise. The moment we stepped on board in Singapore, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with good humour and kindness by the hard working staff and crew. We were drawn to Seabourn because the food at all the restaurants is included as well as drinks. We did not want to face a large bill at the end. We were also attracted to this particular cruise because it included a lot of sea days and although we wanted to see an interesting part of the world, we also really wanted to relax. Cabin Our cabin was on Deck 5 (the lowest residential deck), and we had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath (yay!!!!!), with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. Compared to the cabins on river cruises, this cabin was a mansion. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea. Food The food at the Restaurant, Sushi, the Collonade and the Patio was outstanding. There was plenty to choose from and everything we chose was well cooked and delicious. We are big fans of Asian breakfasts, particularly Vietnamese. So when we boarded the ship, we asked the chef if he could cook us a Vietnamese Pho a couple of times a week for breakfast. And this he did. It was delicious and fragrant and we got many envious stares as it was delivered to our table. This was truly outstanding service. We really enjoyed lunch at Sushi. The bento boxes were delicious and the staff were wonderful, particularly the lovely lady from the Caribbean who served the wine and sake. The food at the Restaurant was outstanding. We had the best steaks we have ever had and their other dishes were also delicious and beautifully presented. The service was fantastic, particularly from Duane from Barbados and her colleague (also from the Caribbean). These two women were friendly, funny and incredibly efficient and helpful. We ate at the Collonade often. The variety at the buffet was always fantastic and we could both always find something delicious to eat. We particularly enjoyed the congee for breakfast and that’s what we had on the days we didn’t have our Pho. We often went to the themed dinners and always really enjoyed them. The lovely lady from Portugal who was the hostess at the front desk was so helpful. The Patio is an up market fast food joint and it was the place to go when we had a hankering for a hot dog, hamburger or pizza. We were not impressed by the Thomas Keller Grill. I had the lobster thermidor and it was swimming in butter and all the food was far too salty. The Grill had all the pretentions of a fine dining establishment without the haute cuisine. The menu never changed, and, unlike the other restaurants, we could not request any changes to the dishes. Aparently the chefs knew better what was best for us. On the other hand, we had Thomas Keller inspired dishes at the Restaurant and the Collonade and they were absolutely beautiful. We hail from a part of Australia that produces truffles and we love em. We were very excited to know that there were a lot of dishes which included truffles. Unfortunately the truffle was undetectable. The executive chef explained that they cannot get fresh truffles, so they use canned ones. These have very little aroma or flavour and I suggest they should leave the truffle out of the menu until they can get the good stuff. Drink The wine ranged from very good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and the lovely bar man in the Observation Bar always brought over our favourite cocktails as soon as we sat down. Great service. Public Spaces Even though the ship was nearly full, it never felt crowded. I love to find a quiet spot to read and I could always do that. The Observation Bar was pretty much deserted during the day and I could sit and read and watch the ship ploughing through the water. My only complaint was that each day at around 10am, a couple of blokes used to meet to have a very loud, shouty discussion on religious issues. Their conversation dominated that large space and I suspect they were trying to attract other participants. I was really not interested in their subject matter and I could not concentrate on my book. It appeared to me to be officially sanctioned, as one of the participants was a member of the clergy. The bar man told me he had tried to direct them to a private meeting room but to no avail. I am surprised the senior management didn’t insist. Seabourn Square was always a great place to get to know other guests. It’s comfortable and welcoming and refreshments are laid on. Entertainment We really enjoyed the shows put on by the in-house singers and dancers. These people were very talented. We didn’t see all the guest performers but those we did see were great. We also really enjoyed the guest lecturers and learned a lot about the Middle East and the Suez Canal. We loved the cooking demonstrations by the Executive Chef Kurt Timmermans . What a clever man he is. Staff and Crew We found the Captain and his team to be personable, approachable and helpful. My husband had lots of technical questions and he went out of his way to answer them. The cruise director was a delightful woman, as was her assistant and the staff at the Square went out of their way to help us. We booked excursions as we went along and they always made excellent alternative suggestions if the one we wanted was booked out. Everyone we dealt with had clearly been through rigorous training and did their job beautifully. Passengers Mostly Australian and American with a few other countries represented as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. We found there were always passengers like this on river cruises as well. Excursions These were on the whole, enjoyable, with some that were outstanding. Our favourites were the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, shopping with the chef in Muscat, the incredible first sight of Petra and the cooking demonstration in Santorini. The Grand Mosque is gobsmackingly gorgeous, the visit to the market with the chef was really interesting and Petra is definitely one of those places everyone should see. The cooking demonstration at a small restaurant attached to a farm on Santorini was some of the most beautiful food we have ever tasted. What that woman could do with a fresh tomato was a miracle. I was surprised that Seabourn didn’t provide passengers with audio headsets. Uniworld provide them for every passenger. On several tours, people got left behind and there was a great scramble to find them again. At Petra, it’s a long, difficult walk from the bus into the site and we lost the guide very early in the journey. It’s hard to get lost there, but it would have been nice to know what we were seeing. Laundry There is none and the cost of the laundry service is eye watering. However, being Aussies, we were well organised. We brought our own collapsible clothes line and a wonderful washing aid called a Scrubba. It’s a heavy plastic bag with a built in wash board and it worked a treat, although our room occasionally looked like a Chinese laundry. I understand they are going to provide a laundry soon and that’s a great idea. Internet Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package. In summary, this was a wonderful experience. We both work and it was just lovely being waited on by friendly and attentive staff, to eat and drink deliciousness, to be entertained and to see really interesting sights. We have just booked a 45 day cruise on the Seabourn Quest in February, from Buenos Aires to Monte Carlo. Can’t wait. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our second cruise on board Sojourn. Our first was an excellent experience so much so that we were a little nervous returning. Would this trip live up to the previous experience? Fireworks look amazing because you aren't ... Read More
This was our second cruise on board Sojourn. Our first was an excellent experience so much so that we were a little nervous returning. Would this trip live up to the previous experience? Fireworks look amazing because you aren't expecting them. You know you're going to see some and the organisers use flowery words like "extravaganza" in their promotional material but you aren't exactly sure what will happen in the sky. They light up the night sky, you see colours and shapes for a brief moment then it's all over and hopefully you walk away with a smile on your face and excitement in your voice. Having been on Sojourn last Christmas we knew what was going to happen. It was like knowing each firework in advance having seen it before. That,"startled in the headlights of luxury" feeling wouldn't be there this cruise. Would it all come crashing down when we knew the script? The answer is absolutely and unequivocally no. If anything I would say that knowing the ropes helped us enjoy our time on board even more. We didn't feel pressured to use the main dining room for evening meals choosing to take ourselves off to the Colonade a couple of nights for a delightful dinner. Sitting under cover on the back deck in particular was wonderful. The service was still just as sharp but this time we knew a lot of the people looking after us and more importantly they knew us. Even 12 months on there were a couple of times when we were amazed when a favourite item arrived without our asking. Vladan in the observation lounge remembering a cocktail, Temur and Paul remembering a wine choice. The food was excellent. Although we ate in restaurant 2 one evening it wasn't to seek out better offerings, merely for a change of scenery. The New Years dinner in the main restaurant for example was spectacular. Chef Neil and his team are at the top of their game and he was to be seen regularly doing the rounds making sure everything was in order. But the headline act onboard Sojourn is the service. Little moments like Antonio popping down to the square to fetch a coffee whilst I was playing cards by the pool in spite of my saying not to, I'd grab one myself later. At no time did the staff feel overwhelmed, not even one morning when the world and their mother descended on the Colonnade just before they closed. In fact at no time does the ship it's self ever feel overwhelmed such is the space per passenger ratio. Last year we had a problem during embarkation, they were so quick we didn't get to have a drink in the check in area! This year we got one but only just, once again the check in process could have been measured in seconds rather than minutes or the hours of some cruise lines. Speaking of other cruise lines the one area where Seabourn are scuppered from the start is entertainment. Where other ships have gargantuan theatres with hydraulic stages and flying gantries Sojourn has to make do with far more modest facilities. Once again though Handré and his team punched well above their weight. In particular we were delighted to see Sergii and Anastasia the two dancers on board again. They not only put on some amazing shows for us but also helped out around the ship and meeting up again was a genuine pleasure. The trivia quiz was, as expected full of controversy and inter team rivalry. Sadly we fell somewhere short of winning the key ring but enjoyed ourselves none the less. More successful was name that tune where we stormed to an unexpected victory amongst stiff competition. As per last year we had a V2 balcony cabin, or suite as Seabourn refer to them. To be fair size-wise it slots in between a Royal Caribbean Junior and Grand suite, worth bearing in mind when comparing prices. Ports of call this time were ok although we found ourselves in some pretty dire surroundings on a couple of occasions. The overnight stop at Richards Bay was taken amongst coal and scrap metal. Will be be coming back to Seabourn? Categorically yes. We paid a small deposit on board which gives a modest discount off the next cruise. Our concerns that the sparkle might fade on a second cruise were unfounded. If anything it might have been a better cruise. We met some great people as seems always to be the case on Seabourn. The ship helped us host our own table of new friends on New Years Eve, they even went to the trouble of printing out invitations for us then delivered them to cabins. Once again no additional charges were made. We met up with some people we had cruised with the previous year. Because Seabourn ships are smaller and there are fewer of them the guests form part of an elite club bumping into each other from time to time. This is particularly the case on special cruises such as the Christmas / New Year trip. Seeing familiar faces and trading stories from the moment you step foot onto the ship really helps you to get into the spirit of things. If I was to look for fault service in the main dining room was a little slow at times, but probably down to the individual rather than an institutional failing. The menu on the day, when we and other guests arrived probably all played a part and it certainly didn't detract from and otherwise tremendous product. I can't recommend the experience highly enough. Until the next cruise..... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2012
We are retired former business owners who have now completed 61 cruises aboard 10 cruise lines over the past 14 years. We live in Bromsgrove UK. We flew to Miami on January 4th and transferred to the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. ... Read More
We are retired former business owners who have now completed 61 cruises aboard 10 cruise lines over the past 14 years. We live in Bromsgrove UK. We flew to Miami on January 4th and transferred to the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was excellent and the ship's embarkation procedure undertaken by Seabourn's shoreside services was very professional. Our luggage was taken from our suite directly to the ship and after a leisurely breakfast we were taken by private limousine to Port Everglades. The whole embarkation process was fast, efficient and friendly. A good start. After a buffet lunch and an orientation tour of our home for the next 28 days we found our stateroom. The balcony suite was quite comfortable with adequate storage. But we noticed immediately that it should have been a lot cleaner, there was not a flower in sight, glassware missing and the minimum of amenities in the bathroom. Having not received our luggage we attended the sail away party on deck. At 19.00hrs our luggage finally arrived, followed by our stewardess who handed us a glass of warm, flat champagne. The dining on the Quest was an experience. It took us until day 10 to get hot food on a hot plate. We found it incredible that it was corporate policy to serve red wine in white wine glasses unless you purchased wines from the reserve wine list, then the appropriate glasses would be provided. For the duration of the cruise we did not get meat served at the temperature we ordered. Fish was always overcooked. In the Colonnade's restaurant, we took breakfast and lunch. The breakfast offerings were very good. The lunch offerings tended to be Asian influenced, the concept, we were very pleased with, the reality was that it was generally overcooked and luke warm. We found that the main restaurant struggled to cope with 300+ guests arriving for dinner within a 60 minute period. Many dinners took 3 hours plus. The pool side grill was consistently inconsistent. The sports activities on Quest are restricted to shuffleboard, one golf driving bay and a golf putting area. The gym is adequate for a ship of its size. The walking track on deck 11 is small. The guest lectures were varied and professionally presented. The midday team trivia was very popular and hosted by John Barron, the CD and backed by his excellent team. The bar staff are up there with the best we have experienced on any cruise line. The wait staff in the dining outlets were very professional, but we could see their disappointment in having to consistently remove cold and undercooked food from our tables. Similarly, the bar staff were embarrassed at not having our beverages of choice because they were always running out of stock, which was surprising as this was the first segment of a World Cruise. For a team of people, many of whom have been with Seabourn for 15+ years and have been personally responsible for developing the service levels which made Seabourn special, these experiences must be difficult to accept. The service we experienced from our suite stewardess was haphazard to say the least. Following the completion of our interim guest comments card we were asked by the guest services manager to attend a meeting with the hotel manager. After writing a report detailing all of our experiences we met with the hotel manager and presented it to him. His response was surprising " if I had experienced what you have experienced I would not sail with Seabourn again". Apart from seeing a marginal improvement in the cleanliness of our suite, nothing else changed and for the remainder of the cruise the hotel manger did not contact us to determine our level of satisfaction. The entertainment was very good and Seabourn have two aces in John Barron and his assistant CD Heather Clancy. In fact we would go so far as to say that John and Heather take the Quest from a four star operation to the six star it purports to be. We only attended one shore excursion which was so badly managed that we decided not to risk any others. Disembarkation in Cape Town was smooth. We said our goodbyes to the Captain, John and Heather and breathed a sigh of relief. In summary our first cruise with Seabourn was a bitter disappointment especially when you consider that we were celebrating my wife's 60th birthday. Needless to say we have made our feelings crystal clear to Rick Meadows, President and Lynn Narraway MD UK Business, and we have received a substantial amount of rhetoric via e-mail. The last e-mail from Ms Narraway contained a paragraph which was crass and ill conceived. She wrote " I hope that despite the issues you raised, you will consider sailing with Seabourn again under more favourable circumstances". She is not in any position to have any influence in creating the "favourable circumstances". If it was possible to change things, the hotel manager on Quest should have done so. We can only conclude that now that Seabourn is managed by Holland America the Seabourn experience of the past will remain in the past. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Just read the review by Terryhasgonecruising, and I'm not sure we were on the same ship. We had a totally different experience. This was our first time on Seabourn, but as regulars on Crystal we had certain expectations. And most ... Read More
Just read the review by Terryhasgonecruising, and I'm not sure we were on the same ship. We had a totally different experience. This was our first time on Seabourn, but as regulars on Crystal we had certain expectations. And most of those were met quite satisfactorily. Not that everything was perfect, but in general we had a wonderful cruise. We're roughly the same age as Terryhasgonecruising, and also business owners, but Americans and not yet retired. Maybe that accounts for the differences of opinion. Food - Excellent. Temperature, variety, presentation, everything was wonderful. We ate in the main dining room most of the time, with occasional excursions to the others, and found them all to be very good. Our only complaint was the noise level in the main dining room. Around the perimeter it's not too bad, but in the high vaulted center it's an echo chamber. More use of sound-deadening materials would make that more pleasant. Cabin - Great! Nicest cabin we've ever had on any ship. Separate shower and tub is a real luxury, and a bathroom big enough for both of us is unheard of aboard ship. Our stewardess was polite, friendly, thorough, and we had no complaints about anything. Amenities were complete and remained well stocked throughout our cruise. We had registered our drink preferences online before the cruise, and found the refrigerator stocked to perfection! Activities - Bridge was great! Wonderful instructors, great group of players, with both duplicate and social bridge tables in the afternoon. The rest - not so good. The theater is terrible! Fully a quarter of the seats are at least partially blocked by columns. Acoustics just the opposite of the main dining room. Worst theater we've ever been in, land or water. We found the cruise director John Barron to be a little infantile and annoying, but that is really a very minor complaint. Couldn't agree with Terryhasgonecruising more about his assistant Heather Clancy - she's wonderful and I look forward to seeing more of her. Wicked sense of humor, combined with a lovely voice. However, the entire ensemble of singers insisted in singing songs for which their voices were not suited. Sure, variety is good, but you need a variety of voices to pull it off, not just stick every singer with every style of song. Dancers were OK, probably college level. We traded singers and dancers in Rio with a Holland ship, and the second group was MUCH better, but still not great. Two local Samba troupes came aboard. The first rode with us down the coast of Brazil, and while technically quite good their act became boring and repetitive after the first few minutes. The second group, that just came aboard for one evening in Rio was fantastic, and I would go out of my way to see them again! We only went on one shore excursion, in Recife, and it was a normal bus tour, no better nor worse than any other bus tour on any other ship. The spa was a disappointment. It takes up an inordinate amount of space on the ship, and we found the service to be very friendly, but not very good. The pool is small and shallow, but at least it's filled with sea water, so was still relaxing. Overall the staff was incredibly friendly and professional. By the third day almost everyone knew our names, and serving staff knew our drink preferences. They must really study that in their off hours, as some knew us on first greeting. Impressive! The ship is beautiful. A few normal teething problems for a new ship, but no big deal. However, there was a vibration felt in many locations throughout the ship. Seemed worse when traveling at higher speeds. At times it felt like someone put a quarter in the bed, and while on the toilet it tried to shake the s**t out of you. Not as big a problem as I've probably made it sound, but it was there, and mildly annoying. Our biggest complaint aboard ship was the theater. Unless and until Seabourn can remove some of those columns we will think twice about going on Quest again. One other complaint we had, and this goes across the entire Seabourn line, was during the reservation process. We like to be as close to the water as possible. Even at the loss of the balcony, we're on the ocean, we want to be ON the ocean. Close enough to see flying fish out our window. So when we booked about 10 months prior to sailing, we requested deck 4. We were only going on the first 28 days of the world cruise, so they were holding a lot of those cabins for customers sailing the full length. Perfectly reasonable, we booked deck 6 and waitlisted deck 4. About a month before sailing they opened up deck 4 to partial customers like us. However, we were told that waitlisting meant nothing. The only way we could move down would be to cancel our reservation (with a 25% penalty), and rebook from scratch on deck 4. Several letters and phone calls from both myself and my travel agent got an upgrade to deck 8 and a nominal shipboard credit, but that was not what we wanted. Meanwhile, there were empty deck 4 cabins that we couldn't have. So while our deck 8 cabin was very nice, Seabourn wouldn't let us have the empty cabin we wanted, and left a very sour taste in our mouths in anticipation of future dealings with them. Read Less
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