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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We were on the Seabourn Sojourn with friends who were in suite 737. Their cruise was ruined by the constant loud noises from the patio bar on deck 8 above their suite. It ruined our cruise as well since our traveling companies were so ... Read More
We were on the Seabourn Sojourn with friends who were in suite 737. Their cruise was ruined by the constant loud noises from the patio bar on deck 8 above their suite. It ruined our cruise as well since our traveling companies were so upset. We visited their room to hear for ourselves. If it were my room I would have considered jumping overboard. Otherwise a very nice cruise. Seabourn does a great job in most areas so this room situation was a shock. The crew did manage to move them mid-way thru the cruise. I would not go on a cruise for free if I had to stay in Suite 737 on the Sojourn or sister ships Odyssey and Quest. Our suite, in contrast, was on deck 8 and was quiet and comfortable. The biggest issue we had on this trip was the last minute cancellation of a shore excursion due to the low number of people who signed up. We had no resources to research other options and were disappointed that Seabourn couldn't find a way to conduct the tour using a mini-van or car instead of the originally assigned bus. As expected, the food on Seabourn ranges from very good to excellent. Our dinners in the Grill by Thomas Keller were exceptional with professional, gracious service and superb food. We also noticed service improvements in the main restaurant and Colonnade. On our previous Seabourn cruise we noticed some service issues as many experienced staff were transferred to the two new and larger ships. We disappointed that the Patio Grill has been renamed Earth and Ocean which tries to offer a more upscale dining option. We much prefer the relaxed style and basic grilled foods of the Old Patio. There's only so much elegant food and service you can eat! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We're long time Seabourn cruisers who hadn't totally enjoyed our trip on Encore summer of 2018, finding the new larger ships lovely, but lacking the Seabourn service we'd come to love. This trip was on Sojourn, the only ... Read More
We're long time Seabourn cruisers who hadn't totally enjoyed our trip on Encore summer of 2018, finding the new larger ships lovely, but lacking the Seabourn service we'd come to love. This trip was on Sojourn, the only one of the Odyssey ships we hadn't sailed before. The ship is in fine condition, 450 people roam around it daily but it's constantly maintained and that keeps it looking fresh. Embarkation was the usual smooth process, met at the aircon end of the gangway by the cruise director Ross Roberts, we've sailed with him before, we knew entertainment was going to be .. entertaining. Ross is a Seabourn asset and we were very happy to sail with him again. Our Seabourn highlight has always been the service and they didn't disappoint on this cruise. Staff learned your name and your preferences within a day or two and literally nothing was too much trouble. Food is important on a cruise, the food on this one was top notch. The head chef, Lindsay, really had the kitchen humming and it didn't matter whether you ate at the main dining room, the colonnade or the new Earth and Ocean outdoor concept restaurant, which was superb; it was hard to pick a dining venue sometimes, they were all excellent. We're not great fans of the Thomas Keller tie-up and feel Seabourn's chef's offerings are just as good, if not better. We went to the TK grill twice, it was great service and wonderful ingredients, quite rich, and twice was enough. Our favourite venue was probably Earth and Ocean which served up a varied menu on deck each night. For a hot weather cruise as this it was nice to sit outside. Entertainment was fun. You're not getting a cast of 50 on a Seabourn ship but the singers and dancers were excellent. We've seen a lot of the shows before, however this time "An Evening With Tim Rice" actually had .. Sir Tim Rice who was on board and also performed in another show about his music. That was just luck and Sir Tim is a very nice man whom I wish had been on our trivia team. Best ports on this trip were Ho Chi Minh and Hong Kong, each of which were overnights. The small Seabourn ships can dock in the centre of HCM and at Ocean Terminal in HK and that was huge in terms of just getting off and getting around. There were other good ports on the itinerary, but those two made the whole trip. There were also a couple of .. hmm .. ports. Sianoukville was really a dropping off point for people taking two overland days to visit Ankor Wat, Sanya may be a lovely place to holiday but the cruise terminal abuts nothing exciting. Cruises in Asia tend to have a mixture of good and not-quite-so-good ports. We did no ship excursions on this trip. The places we really wanted to do something, either the ship wasn't doing it or it was very easy to fix ourselves. It seems Seabourn is trying to attract a younger crowd but the excursions still tend towards 'church,ruin,UNESCO'; they have started to add cooking and cycling tours but they're still mostly pitching the type of tours where you get on a bus at 9am and return at 4pm having seen a lot of not much. And the tours tend to be expensive, variety and cost of tours is something Seabourn could perhaps look at. We passed 100 days on Seabourn this trip, if they keep these standards up we'll pass another 100, although it may take us another 12 years to do it. Seabourn is still our favourite line, the Odyssey class still our favourite ships, this cruise it was very hard to find a fault with, we loved it. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. ... Read More
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. Classy cruising. Not. Two days earlier, a crewmember carrying a sharp-edged tray had accidentally slashed my wife’s arm badly when he bumped into her in the breakfast queue. And, as we approached our homeport, all power failed and the ship narrowly missed drifting into concrete bridge pylons. In 40-plus cruises over more than 35 years before and after that forgettable holiday, my wife and I in recent years have stepped up into the heady world of ultra luxury cruising –- a field that, despite the eye-watering cost, doesn’t always live up to its publicity. Until we joined the Seabourn Ovation on March 2, 2019 for a 14-night cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. Our wallet took a AUD21,000 (USD15,000) hit, but for the first time on this new (launched in May 2O18) absolutely beautiful mid-sized 600- passenger all-suite ship, it was worth every dollar. Nothing is perfect, so give or take a couple of petty whinges (no self-serve steamed rice and very average congee (Asian soup) while sailing in Southeast Asia, and a frosty reception in The Grill restaurant) Seabourn Ovation went as close as ever we expect to get. As sometimes jaded, increasingly grumpy and always critical travellers, it was a joy for us to start our cruise by first running an eagle eye over suite 726 on our arrival Yes, you can assume that boarding was faultless. Not one photographer on the gangway, or anywhere for the entire cruise. These days we notice things that niggle experienced cruisers on: A wall safe comfortably at chest height (it beats sitting on the floor) in a spacious walk-in robe with three dozen clothes hangers. Plenty of mirrors, a seriously cold fridge stacked with soft drinks, beer and a real bottle of champagne; plus a list of ‘complimentary’ (paid for in the fare) good quality wines. If you can’t find anything to satisfy your taste buds from Chile, California, Australia, Spain or Italy, there’s a lonely bottle of Petrus 1995 Pomeroz Grand vin from Bordeaux waiting for you in the glass-walled wine rack in the elegant main dining room ‘The Restaurant’ for USD4,500.00 (AUD6,348.00). The label is a bit scruffy so maybe the Sommelier might do a deal. In our suite there’s a lounge long enough for a rack-stretched basketballer or a third guest, a generous, glass-topped round table for 24-hour room-service-with-a-flourish (starched linen and folded napkins) and a king-size bed with a choice of six pillows soft, firm, extra firm. The TV set is on a trolley for manoeuvrability and there are plenty of movies on demand. In-suite announcements from the bridge are restricted to an average two a day -- weather and brief entertainment updates, or shore excursion boarding. No electrical engineering degree is required to operate the lights. Just click and press for a range of illumination levels from dimmed romantic to the blinding glare in the interview/confession room down at my local police station. One of Seabourn Ovation’s most remarkable (unique?) assets is its ubiquitous South African Cruise Director Andre Potgieter who recently received the prestigious President’s Award for Leadership from Seabourn Cruise Line president Rick Meadows. Andre, a softy spoken, articulate young man, emerges like a breath of spring each day in a different tailored jacket and slacks and a new spectacular bow tie with matching pocket-handkerchief. Wherever he goes, goggle-eye grandmothers swamp him with cheek kisses and embarrassing hugs. Which probably explains why, when the ship is in port, Andre trains for his favourite sport, marathon running. Of the 575 passengers from 27 nationalities on board -- average age around 60 -- there were 266 from the U.S, 112 the U.K, 46 Autralians, 34 Canadians and 33 Germans. In two weeks they demolished 2,272 bottles of red wine, 1,435 white and 633 bottles of champagne. And although there were no children on board, 390 litres of ice cream. A total of 32,826 breadsticks mopped up 21lbs of caviar. Two popular spots on the ship are the Observation Bar on the deck 11 which features high tea for an hour from 4pm then a friendly circular bar open until midnight; and The Retreat on the top deck (12) an exclusive enclave with 15 private cabanas, lavish amenities and an oversized whirlpool spa. Evening entertainment in the Grand Salon, often starring one of the slickest teams of ships’ dancers and vocalists we have seen on a cruise ship and backed by Seabourn Ovation’s highly professional orchestra, featured a range of top-class acts from a comedian and to an opera singer. A tip: For an unobstructed view, find a seat away from the intrusive supporting pillars. A shore excursion with a difference on Seabourn’s Asian itineraries is the idyllic day spent on the company’s picture-postcard tree-fringed private beach, ‘The Den’ on the exclusive Thai island of Kood. On a clear sunny day more than 400 souls disembarked from Seabourn Ovation tenders to discover rows of deck chairs under shade trees, a feast of lobster, steaks and salads, champagne on ice and a full bar. All of this ferried ashore from daybreak and served by the ship’s crew and a group of local Thais. With only a few days left and most passengers staying on board for the cruise to Dubai, we were wondering whether they still threw stowaways in the brig. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet ... Read More
We very much liked Seabourn. All suite cabins were great and Seabourn doesn't overcrowd their buses and tours. It seemed we could always find a seat where we wanted to go. That was very pleasant. Dining was great. You can buffet it or sit in the dining room - eat indoors or out. Service - especially bar service - was exceptional. We took the mid-cruise tour to Angkor Wat. It was very well organized with no waiting in line at check-in to a beautiful hotel. The guide was excellent and spoke understandable English. The temples themselves were amazing. Be prepared for a long hot day but totally worth it. We were disappointed Seabourn did not allow us to book any tours with them on the day of return from Angkor Wat to Saigon (even an evening tour) so we booked our own. My one complaint is that they were very stingy with details about flight times (until we were onboard) which made it difficult to arrange tour times with another company. We were not going to miss Saigon! We took a Saigon by Night Food Tour on Vespa bikes (professional drivers) and this was one of the best tour experiences our family has had! It is absolutely in the top 5 most memorable things we've ever done on a vacation. Saigon is beautiful at night and we zoomed along the river, through flower markets and ornately lit streets. We went to several night spots (one roof top, two with live music) and 2 restaurants. The food in Vietnam is delicious. I have to admit there were a couple of times we were going through an intersection and I just closed my eyes and hung on - you know what I mean if you've ever been in Vietnam. Traffic is controlled chaos. Our Vespa drivers were skilled and courteous and the bikes were easy to get on and off of. The guide was energetic and spoke excellent English. Again, a wonderful tour. If you are a little adventurous, this may be for you. In terms of complaints about Seabourn, we have a few. One - they have very limited laundry facilities. 5 washers and dryers for over 600 passengers - so don't plan on doing your own laundry unless you don't mind waiting a long time or doing it in the middle of the night. You can certainly have your clothes laundered but it takes 1-2 days to get them back and personally I prefer laundering my personal items myself - as do many people. Two - Seabourn schedules lectures and shows at 6 pm. They call these "pre-dinner" but some people have dinner reservations from 6-7 pm at the specialty restaurant, or are getting ready for dinner. We found this time caused conflicts and forced us to cancel a specialty dinner reservation - which we couldn't rebook - so we could see a show we wanted to see. The reservation was booked before the cruise and the show was added the day ahead so no warning ahead of time. Three - the community rooms and Grand Salon are poorly designed with large pillars blocking the view of the audience of the stage or screen. People were sitting down and then constantly moving because they couldn't see. Four - The disembarkation process was disorganized. We were told along with other passengers to get to immigration early because our flights were early so we could be first in line. But there was no one there to direct people so it was a free for all to get in line. We got behind 30 other people who came in after us. Immigration was fairly quick but Seabourn gets a D for disembarkation organization. They should stagger groups of people based on their flight times like Crystal Cruises. Finally, recorded lectures could not be replayed as promised due to another Seabourn glitch so we missed some lectures we wanted to see. Not a biggie but the little things add up. I would definitely take another Seabourn cruise though. Once you understand issues peculiar to them, you can work around them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally ... Read More
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally would prefer a lighter decor as on Ponant ships. The main dining room is not nearly as ‘clubby’ looking as the smaller Seabourn ships which is good! Shore excursions are too expensive, especially for Vietnam and Cambodia as our party travelled by land a year ago with 5 star accommodation and transport and the charges are Indochina are far less than Seabourn charge. Beds so comfortable with a variety of pillows to choose for personal comfort. While the air conditioning is adjustable in suits the dining ares are very cool for many passengers. Spar area offers fabulous treatments and very well supported as bookings are not easy—-I find the treatments expensive compared to Australia, not the Americans. I have cruised Ponant, Silver Seas, Regent and have to say Seabourn is far superior to those cruise lines in every way—- service, food, actual cabin, even the passengers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on ... Read More
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on the Sojourn and Odyssey. One problem was that the drawers in the furniture across from the bed were very hard to access and the space there has only enough room for one person to stand. The pool area was the same as the smaller ships and getting a place on sea days was difficult. The chairs are the same and not comfortable. Our one peeve was that now bartenders are instructed to measure out the amount of liquor for each drink. This on a ship that touts itself as all inclusive. We would have to tell them to pour doubles so we wouldn't have to come back. In the lounge outside The Keller Grill there was only one waitress and one bartender and it took 25 minutes for our drink to come. The comedians were all from Wales or UK and as Americans we could not understand them. Most of the musical shows were good and the singers and dancers were exceptionally good. The even sang opera at the pool and that was a real treat. We had a problem on one of the ship's excursions and it was not handled well. We were only told it would be reported and then never heard back. We agree with others that Seabourn, now having staff hired by Holland America, has gone downhill in service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is certainly the number 1 Cruise director.The Hotel Manager was Helmut Huber top guy and turned out to be a very funny man, actually hilarious!The Food and Beverage Manager was Ali who we have experienced previously he is just amazing he works very hard to please everyone. Our room attendant again was the best we have experienced Hayley was 1st Class. We have done many cruises on Seabourn and many other lines but Seabourn is outstanding, The special event on Ko Kood island was just an amazing experience we were so thrilled The Band know as Musical Society are fantastic and very personable, The deck parties are again outstanding and the ,say good bye ,to the crew on the deck is an emotional event most of the crew and Staff turn out to wave good bye while we drink and eat and have fun . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and ... Read More
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and crew are faultless. They deliver everything they promise. Their house wine list is just amazing, NO cheap plonk! Trips well organized and daily information is excellent. The service to and from the ship is first rate. Overall one of the best holidays we have ever had. Can't wait for another one.I cannot say anymore, I have run out of superlatives. We will never use another cruise line now. We found the restaurant staff great. One was called Cesar so I named him Julius. The others wanted a Roman names. I named one Titus and another Augustus. They loved it . We got Roman salutes each morning. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available ... Read More
The reason Sojourn gets even 4 stars from me is the staff - 5 stars, for sure. Outstanding service everywhere, consistently. The only exceptions were Head Sommelier and Somm in The Grill. Neither one were knowledgeable about available premium wines. When asked about a premium listing on the MDR wine list, Head somm replied, "I don't know. I've only been on board 2 weeks." Wrong answer....And The Grill somm couldn't manage to pour a wine without spilling on the tablecloth or give any other description than "it's oaky". Overall, though, it appears the staff has adjusted to being both wine server and food server. They presented their two bottles for the night (which according to those servers I asked, 80% of passengers accepted) and if we wanted something else (I managed to get a complimentary wine list after 1 week of asking), it was cheerfully found and presented. Although halfway through the voyage, they ran out of most of my favs. However, what was more disappointing for me was the food quality and the overall tired appearance of the ship. She is really showing her age. It's not a lack of cleanliness, it's a lack of freshness, of an updated look. The MDR looks like a canteen. Yikes. Everywhere you see signs of lack of maintenance, in carpeting, in furniture, on the balconies, the bathrooms. The food was pretty much a bummer. I've always loved SB (we're Platinum) but this first cruise after 2 years was an eye-opener and not in a good way. The food has slipped to just average, not suitable to a luxury line. In the MDR, where we ate about 80% of our evening meals, the descriptions sounded good but execution was lacking. Often, on busy nights when the kitchen was slammed, there was an hour or more wait before main course arrived. Then, the sauce was often coagulated, as though it was sitting under a warming light, waiting for the protein to be plated. The Colonnade dinners, with exception of Thomas Keller nights, were generally really bad. We had a Japanese theme one night. The Miso soup was NOT miso soup - no miso in it, a brown murky mystery broth with green vermicelli noodles and carrot pieces. When I asked our waiter about it, he said, "The chefs must follow the recipes from corporate. You should write corporate a letter." That same night, my tuna (med rare as requested) was so tough I couldn't cut it and my husband's teriyaki beef was so salty, he couldn't eat it - and he is very salt tolerant. To make matters worse, they ran out of a lot of stuff halfway through, because we didn't land in Mombasa (due to worries about political unrest and violence) and therefore were missing the container we were supposed to load there. Then they couldn't get the container across the border to any of our next stops. ???? That's their story and they're sticking to it. They did not choose to buy any of the gorgeous fruit available in all our ports; instead of nice ripe mangos, papayas, bananas, etc, we had oranges and grapefruit and grapes. People took to asking buffet staff to hide papaya and berries for them under the counter, until that supply also ran out. Same with greek yogurt - they began doling it out on an 'as requested' basis and finally ran out. Also ran out of romaine lettuce and many other items. The scrambled eggs kept getting whiter and whiter as the days went on (powdered egg added?) since they were saving 'real' eggs for poached and fried. The food simultaneously took a turn for the worse. Since they had the identical menus in MDR the second half of the trip(Seychelles to Capetown) as first half, Singapore to Capetown, it was easy to compare the differences. Maybe chef also changed? I don't know, but for example, we started getting fish raw and beef over done, and the sides were also not good. The Galley lunch first half of cruise was excellent, the second half almost everything was inedible, especially the sushi and sashimi. I must admit we did not resort to special orders. Some of our new friends were special ordering 3-4 course menus every night in MDR when they didn't eat in Keller. That seemed to work out well for them. Shore excursions: We booked all independently, as always. Prices are very high and people who took ship excursions were mostly disappointed. For example, we did a private tour to Addo Elephant Park for less than what the ship charged. We got a private vehicle for just us two, with game viewing AM and PM, lunch in between. Ship passengers got an AM tour with a big coach, lunch and then almost no time in PM for any more game viewing. Our cabin (730) was adequate, just very tired and worn looking. Our suite attendant was excellent and kept everything clean and our mini bar filled with our requests (lots of San Pellegrino and fresh limes). Storage space seemed tight, after other luxury ships we've been on in the meantime, but we made do, and found room for everything. So despite all of this, would we consider SB again? Maybe not on this ship, but yes, I think we would, because we met so many great people and the amazing service made up for a lot. Maybe that's how SB gets away with the slippage in food and not updating the older ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Our 7th. Seabourn cruise and the staff were the best yet. Nothing too much trouble and when we got off in the Seychelles and booked into our hotel what a difference, we really appreciated how we had been pampered on board. Just hope ... Read More
Our 7th. Seabourn cruise and the staff were the best yet. Nothing too much trouble and when we got off in the Seychelles and booked into our hotel what a difference, we really appreciated how we had been pampered on board. Just hope they replace Sophie the cruise director with someone as good. As she is leaving to get married. Would recommend taking breakfast in the restaurant or room service as the buffet can get busy. Like several other cruisers we met the preference is for this size ship and not the newer and larger ships. Indeed we tried The Encore fourteen months ago and found the service not as personal And very busy with little time to stop. All in all you pays your money and take your choice and which ever size ship you choose t will be good value for money with no tipping and all inclusive. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for ... Read More
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for the worse. Now in Asia, the Ovation is a bit better than the Encore but sorely lacking for an ultra luxury cruise line. The ship is beautiful and the cabins and housekeeping are great; that's about where it ends. Food and service keep getting worse each day. We had sushi for lunch one day and it was ok; they had a special omakase dinner one night which was completely inedible. The fish was old and smelled, even the salmon roe. Keller-food is ok albeit very boring; Service is terrible. They shouldn't include this as a dining option because you are only allowed to go twice per cruise. We ended up having room service 3 nights because it was the only way to best ensure a decent meal. Breakfast in the Colonnade was the same each day-marginal fruit, canned corned beef hash and the usual array of eggs, bacon, etc. Cooked to order omelets were lacking in filling and dry. We were trying to figure out the problem; I think they are making food for old American and British guests. It is completely lacking in flavor and variety; someone mentioned that they weren't allowed to make it spicy. Salt seems to be the key ingredient, rendering the food inedible at times. Not a good idea to try to get service at lunch time on the patio; they have a shift change at 12 and often there is no one around for drinks or the bar. Apparently they cannot take food orders if they work for the bar and vice versa. The best food and service was at Earth and Ocean (the patio transformed at night); portions are small though and it means you will be eating outside in often unpleasant weather. The best food we had the entire time was off the ship. They have an Italian chef, who didn't have an Italian night and there was very little Asian food, although the entirety of the cruise was in Asia. Be very careful of their shore excursions. They seem to be docking quite far from some cities, leaving you with a 3 hour drive each way to see a city like Bangkok; it isn't really worth getting off the ship as there isn't enough time in the cities. Also, their excursions are almost double of what you can find with Viator or Tours by Locals. We ran into the Silver Seas a few times and they docked in a much better location. Price perhaps? The stop in Cambodia was horrific. If I had know what we would encounter, we never would have left the ship. I don't think they are vetting the tour operators very well. Their descriptions of the tours paint a lovely picture, which often isn't the case, especially for people with mobility issues - getting into small boats, climbing over ropes, etc. Entertainment was below par-a magician and a cello. Boring. The show the singers and dancers did the last night was pretty good -Push the Button. We won't be sailing on Seabourn again; It isn't even the price that is the issue, it's the disappointment with the food, service and entertainment, which should all be top notch. They will say no, but I think this is a result of their purchase by Carnival. You can really see it in the cheapening of things like less crew, poorly trained crew, poor wines (like Sebastiani Chardonnay), and the quality of the food. This isn't the luxury experience you were anticipating. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night ... Read More
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night told there was a shortage of rollaway beds and that my dad may have to sleep on couch. Balcony door handle fell off twice during cruise couldn’t access balcony for nearly 2 days. Whilst experiencing very high winds and rough seas the voices creaking in cabin was so loud we didn’t sleep for 2 nights despite being midship. Service was lacking other than a few standouts (Krystel our stewardess, rhe art teacher. Maria). They held a few activities for kids which was good. Food in Collonade was average the fruit is often old rotten bananas. Food in Restauranr and Sushi good. Thomas Keller nice setting bit my steak was dry and slightly tough. Staff in food outlets didirb seem to have time or inclination to really connect with guests. I think there is less staff and they are under more pressure. If really showed. Lots of other things but having completed a Seabourn Criise around Pacifix last year which was great we were very disappointed. A lack of response by Seabourn again shows very poor service. We stopped at Bangkok Christmas Day and we were looking forward to shopping etc only to find it was a 2.5 hour car ride each way into Bangkok (false advertising). There seemed to be some general disappointment with Seabourn from fellow travellers. The word is Regent Crude line is a much better option. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed once on Regent and once on Viking Ocean and have an upcoming Crystal cruise. Before this cruise we had just completed 4 other cruises totalling 54 days. We flew from Miami to Dubai to take this cruise. Unfortunately I picked up the flu while onboard which did limit my ability to enjoy the cruise fully. Speaking to other passengers it sounded like respiratory (and some noro) had been common problems on the preceding legs. Unfortunately initial impressions were poor as the embarkation process was shocking. Taxis did not know where to drop passengers and so we had to drag bags a long way and then entered what can only be described as a bare shed with no air conditioning. The luggage collection process was the worst I have ever seen, no organisation at all, after waiting for far too long I gave up found a copy of the passenger manifest lying around and wrote out my own luggage tags and left out luggage in the middle of the shed and presumed somebody would eventually pick it up (obviously they did). We then joined another long queue (described by a fellow guest as an easyjet style check in). Eventually we reached the desk where we waited 20 minutes to get our key, others were getting theirs in 5 minutes. We asked to speak to the only Seabourn representative in the shed and she sped the process up. We were handed a keycard and nothing else, no information, nothing. Again nobody on the pier and eventually on entering the ship we found the CD Handre to greet us. We then wandered aimlessly through the ship until we stumbled across lunch. Thankfully things picked up after this underwhelming start. The ship itself is gorgeous inside and out (although you could tell some finishings were a bit poor). Modern art everywhere. Public areas like the Square and the Ovation lounge were lovely places to relax in. There are loads of small outdoor spaces for relaxing although many are marred by smoking areas. Also the private extra cost Retreat (which strangely is never mentioned or advertised) limits a lot of usable space. There is one self service laundry with excellent quality machines which is perpetually busy. Cabin - this is probably the major highlight of the ship. Our suite was large, modern, comfortable and stylish. We loved the walk in closet, there was more storage than we knew what to do with. The bed was comfortable although not as large as others we have experienced. The tv is large with loads of on demand options although there was functionality problems with both the music and the lectures. The lounge area is very spacious and the wet bar is great, although not set up on the first day as requested they added things daily. The balcony and furniture was great but it got dirty frequently and needed better cleaning. The bathroom was very spacious and sleek with separate bath and twin vanities. The shower was a little small but worked well. We loved getting caviar sent to the suite in the late afternoons and enjoying the sunsets. Dining - there are several venues although they don't differ significantly in style and cuisine (sushi excepted). A major plus was how visible the executive chef was. The major highlights were the caviar in the surf followed by an amazing lobster bbq on the beach (logistically very impressive), an amazing Indian buffet dinner which had amazing detail and superb curries, caviar anywhere anytime. Breakfast in the Colonnade featured great fruit and a good mix of buffet and a la carte options, unfortunately early service was slow and forgetful. Similarly lunch in the same venue featured great variety and quality and changed daily and has a lovely outdoor area but was marred by service problems, no drinks and main courses completely forgotten on consecutive days. A discreet word to the manager saw immediate improvement. Seabourn does have an issue with their failure to assign one server to a table which meant constantly repeating requests, wine and water being refilled with incorrect choices etc.A fellow guest who is a Seabourn regular was shocked dining with us that we had to reconfirm our water choice more than 8 times in one meal (we told her that was a nightly occurrence). We thought the patio (burger bar) option was very average for lunch and only ate here once. Sushi (and ramen) were a nice option for variety. We had dinner in a variety of venues. The mdr was very nice with good quality food. Service here was good without being great with the wine and water issues regularly raising their ugly heads. The earth and ocean concept is a good one and poplar but very inconsistent. Our first night was very slow with side dishes forgotten and staff not being able to explain dishes. Our second attempt was excellent as we ate much later and the staff was under less pressure. The Colonnade was good and provided great variety but was often understaffed outdoors which led to long waits. Sushi did a great formal night set menu, the small venue is casual, quality is solid without being great but provides some much needed flexibility. The TK grill is supposedly the speciality restaurant on board, the space is sleek and stylish, the adjoining bar has a piano player but service was again patchy and cocktails only average. The food was good quality but it was basic fare and never changed. What we really disliked was the service and ambience, they were clearly trying to be arrogant and intimidating but just come off as painful and rigid. Entertainment - The CD Handre is probably the best we have encountered, highly visible, busy, approachable, amusing and clearly talented as a musician. His trivia was a highlight, especially the final round! Sea days included loads of activities from games to lectures with the art and jewellery classes being a highlight. The shows were typical of those we have experienced on small ships, good without being sensational. The Tim Rice show was a little disappointing given the hype. The guest comedian Steve Stevens was a highlight. Seabourn did a great job with parties and events such as the Country Fair, Outdoor dance party, Captains farewell - all fun events. There was plenty of music options with the quartet being our favourite - the combination of Gary and Shae doing duets was a highlight and all of the band members hosted activities which were loads of fun. The other bands and piano player (could have been more engaging) were all very talented. Service - this is what we were most looking forward to. We had heard of the legendary service levels, name recognition and ability to fulfil requests. The reality was quite mixed. It was clear there was a lot of new staff, especially in the dining and bars and we often heard arguing and complaining amongst staff which should not happen. Guest relations were excellent both on the phone and in person. Housekeeping was good but they seemed paranoid and we often found the supervisor in our room and twisting our words to make it seem we were complaining (we did no such thing and were happy with our attendant). Bar service in the main bars was solid without being exceptional with Sasha being the standout. The Colonnade was marred by problems but management fixed it for us but others were constantly highlighting the problems. For us the biggest let down was the pool areas. Chairs were reserved all day on sea days and not policed. The small deck 5 pool had every chair taken one day (more than 20) with only 2 people actually there. Worse though was pool side service. My wife was routinely ignored to the point she refused to attend the pool area at all half way thru the cruise, at one point a server spilt a drink on her and didn't offer to help clean it up. My final day I spent 4 hours by the pool and never once was asked if I wanted something. None of the myriad of glasses and dishes (all self served) were ever cleaned up. The quality of drinks was so bad we actually made a server try the frozen margaritas they were sending out and he had to spit it out and apologise. Another server begged me not to order a cocktail and told me to pick my favourite spirit and mixer and even then said it was a risk. Most guests were giving up and just ordering champagne and wine. There was no beer list and the barmen would not tell you what was available - it was an absolute joke of a pool bar. The managers would try and improve it but it would only be a temporary solution. Ports- had been to most of them and with illness only got off twice. Port talks were offered but the information often had basic mistakes. Disembarkation was relaxed but as usual Singapore port was slow with long queues. Overall - a sleek ship with fabulous cabins, a great CD and activities. Service levels are patchy, smoking is intrusive, lack of outdoor walking areas. Would like to try their smaller ships if the price were right. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our 1st cruise on Seabourn. We had heard great things from people we met on other cruises about Seabourn and wanted to give it a try. We live in Asia so the 21 day Kobe Japan to Alaska cruise sounded great. We flew to Osaka and ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise on Seabourn. We had heard great things from people we met on other cruises about Seabourn and wanted to give it a try. We live in Asia so the 21 day Kobe Japan to Alaska cruise sounded great. We flew to Osaka and took the high speed ferry across to Kobe. Stayed one night in Kobe and headed for Kyoto the next day on the train. A little rainy but had a great time in Kyoto for 2 days seeing the sights and then back to Kobe. The next day we made our way to the cruise center where the Sojourn was patiently waiting for us. Check in was the best we have ever experienced. As we made our way into the building we were welcomed and directed to the checkin area. We had no wait time at all for the check in and boarded the ship. We were greeted by the Hotel Director and Cruise Director Sophie then offered a flute of champagne. We had 2 hours before our stateroom was ready so we had lunch in the Colonnade and explored the whole ship. I will say the ship is beautiful and well maintained. We were in 533 which was the most forward stateroom on deck 5. We had a wonderful balcony and the room was excellent. Large bathroom with double sinks, bathtub, separate shower and all done in marble / granite. A walk-in closet with personal safe and bathrobes and slippers. The bed was excellent, very comfortble. The living area, which closed off from the bedroom with heavy drapes, consisted of a sofa on one side and table and 2 chairs on the other. TV and the bar/refrig were situated between the two room segments. The bar & refrig had our favorite liqueurs, beers and sodas. A bottle of Champagne was on ice for us. All in all we loved the stateroom! Wandering around the ship we amazing at the beauty of the design and the quality of the materials to constructct it. Wonderful! We had a non-eventful safety briefing in the dining room and the ship departed for our first stop in Japan. Weather was a hit or miss situation during our Japan stops. We loved Japan and the friendly people. We plan to return soon. The Pacific crossing was 7 days and we definitely were happy to get off the ship in Kodiak. Kodiak was having their annual Crab Festival and the freshly cooked crabs were delicious. The weather in Alaska was excellent, we got lucky. Hubbard Glacier was on a perfect almost cloudless day and the captain rotated the ship a couple times so everyone could get a great view. Juneau was perfect weather too unlike the last time there when it was heavy rain the entire day. Mendenhal Glacier was well worth the time, especially Nugget Falls. The cable up to Mt. Roberts was a great view and mostly a gift shop and hiking trails on the top. Dining on the ship was pretty good overall. The Colonnade was alright but we thought it buffet area was too limited. In 21 days we only went here 3 - 4 times. Breakfast we normally ordered in the room. Lunch we like the patio or were off the ship. Dinner we dined mostly in The Restaurant and found it most of the time excellent. We had Evalu as our server who was outstanding. Seabourn was trying a new system which was the servers worked alone without an assistant but had fewer tables. I don't think it was as good & was harder on the server. They said it was a test. One thing we will comment on is the quality of meat in the dining room. ( We have noticed this on several different cruise lines.) Seems they reduce the quality of the steaks in the dining room and you need to go to the specialty restaurants to get truly good steaks. The meat seems to be lower quality cuts tenderized and this effects the taste of the meat. Any way this pushed us to go the Thomas Keller's Grill. Thomas Keller's had superb steaks and the lobster ( though I have seen shrimp bigger) and the service was second to none. Jonathan keep our glasses filled with our favorite beverage. However.... when it came to the Ceasar Salad it was the worst I have ever had, hard to recognize it as a Ceasar Salad. Too much olive oil poured over it as it was being mixed. Tried their Chopped Iceberg salad with blue cheese dressing. It was terrible. Half a head of lettuce with the center filled with olive oil and vinegar. Then you add the blue chees dressing?? The second time to TK I asked that no oil or vinegar be used and the salad was then superb. We ate 4 times at TK and was not impressed on the first visit but loved the last three because we asked that they alter the preparation. ( no salt or pepper on the steaks, all oils or any dressing on the side for the salads. It was funny in that the main chef brought my altered salad to me... probably wanted to see who was upsetting Thomas K. ) LOL Seabour Square was the meeting place with the coffee bar, Internet station, retail stores, future cruise & guest relations. Entertainment was good but we only went twice in 21 nights. Issues that tainted a perfectly good cruise: Our stateroom location was terrible. From the very first night we had noise all night. Not the neighbors but the doors. We were located across from a very busy crew access door and the heavy water tight doors were adjoining our room wall. We heard banging doors all night. After talking with guest relations they adjusted the crew doors and that fixed that part of the issue. However the water tight doors were closed every night at 11pm or 12am and anyone going down the hallway need to go through these doors. The doors automatically closed hard to insure they were tight. This issue never was remedied. Also the work being done on the pool deck was loud and the chemical / glue smell was terrible so nobody was able to enjoy the pool area or patio grill. They did give every cabin a $500 OBC and apologized which was nice but did not make up for the loss to the cruise experience. So bottom line is that we had a nice cruise which was marred by a few items. The first was cancelling Glacier Bay in Alaska which was the main reason we booked this cruise. Will we go on Seabourn again? Yes.... but we will be more careful on cabin selection and we will complain more forcefully if there is a problem. Seabourn ships are more like big Yachts and they are beautiful. Service is excellent. Food is excellent if you tell them how you want it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
A Seabourn on-board credit of $250 @ guest was provided for on-going pool deck area and pool repairs with patio restaurant interruption. In our opinion, the compensation offered was inadequate for the scope of repairs and interruption. ... Read More
A Seabourn on-board credit of $250 @ guest was provided for on-going pool deck area and pool repairs with patio restaurant interruption. In our opinion, the compensation offered was inadequate for the scope of repairs and interruption. Seabourn's response to our survey review on this inadequaecy included the following: "We ... apologize for the onboard maintenance on Deck 8 that disturbed you during your recent sailing. Because our ships sail continually, certain tasks and improvements must be performed while at sea. We attempt to accomplish all necessary work in a manner that is least disruptive to our travelers, and we regret any inconvenience you encountered. With this, we regret that the compensation offered to you did not meet your expectations. ... While we are unable to offer additional compensation in this situation, we hope you will accept our deepest regrets for your disappointment." The necessary deck area repair was mentioned in a February negative review. Had we known that this disturbance, disappointment and interruption would have occurred, we would have avoided this sailing. The amount of compensation provided by Seabourn was very inadequate. Food was overall great, drinks as well. Entertainment was excellent; service top notch. Thomas Keller was THE SAME; Seabourn needs to revisit their contract with Keller. Will not eat there any more. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”. When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of very good past experiences on Seabourn, particularly on the 210 passenger “little sisters”. When they introduced the larger (450 passenger) ships the loss of the country club ambiance was significant. One glaring but understandable change was the dramatically reduced use of passenger’s names, it was a very common and pleasant feature on the smaller ships but it would be unreasonable to expect it to continue with 450 passengers names to try and remember. It was a bit disappointing that on a 21 day cruise the bar staff didn’t eventually pick up on at least a few of the names of the nightly regulars. The other disappointing aspect of the bar service was that regardless of how busy the the place was, the Observation Bar closed at exactly midnight, no excuses, no exceptions, we’re closed! The strict closing time of the Observation Bar meant having to relocate to The Club for late night drinks, but you needed to hurry because after midnight they close as soon as the guest count drops below six people. Also, late arrivals (11:30pm or later) were clearly not welcome, particularly if you were a medium sized group. The staff didn’t groan but the facial expressions and negative body language were unmistakable. The turning up the lights, the partial closing of the shutters and the mopping behind the bar were other less than subtle indicators that we should leave. Given that all drinks are complimentary, it did occur to me that Carnival’s bean-counters may pressure the bar staff to shut down early and that puts those otherwise good staff in the unwelcome position of having to turf out guests who are reluctant to leave. This repeated experience was in sharp contrast to the hospitality enjoyed on previous Seabourn cruises. Similar issues were noted in the main dining room which was clearly understaffed and where a number of servers seemed inexperienced and overwhelmed. Most of the obvious rookie staff maintained a very good attitude, trying hard to be polite and cheerful at all times. Unfortunately, some of the senior staff appeared to have difficulty handling the stress and could be quite sullen or irritable. Once again I suspect the bean-counters are responsible for this. The food in all of the restaurants usually varied between good and very good, with an occasional course which qualified as truly outstanding. I did have a couple of disappointing steaks but that was only due to being served “medium well” instead of the requested “medium rare”. In the past Seabourn has allowed me to go “off menu” on those very rare occasions when none of the night’s offerings appealed. This is no longer allowed without 24 hours notice. Unfortunately I don’t know what will be on tomorrow’s menu or what food I’ll be in the mood for. I understand that going off menu is not something they want to widely encourage but having that option available was one of the things which used set Seabourn apart. Whilst on the subject of food, the main restaurant’s attempt to produce a decent soufflé was pitiful. I ordered several during the first week of the cruise, each time hoping somebody in the kitchen would realize that sponge cake and soufflé are not the same thing, even if the sponge cake is hollow and you open up the thick sponge top-layer to pour in the sauce. This resembles assembly line food, not the “A la minute” preparation which they claim. And now for a slightly sad but still mildly amusing incident related to the faux soufflé. When served with a sponge cake masquerading as a Poire William soufflé, it arrived very obviously alcohol free. “No problem” I foolishly thought, “I’ll just order a shot of Poire William and add it myself”. The obliging young server went away to fetch some but returned with the news that there was none available anywhere on the ship. The server’s discomfort was palpable when I asked for a shot from the generous supply that the kitchen must have on hand for tonight’s featured soufflé. A few minutes later the server returned in the company of the sommelier who (with a straight face) informed me that for soufflé they only use Poire William powder, hence my request for a shot could not be fulfilled. I do enjoy an occasional bit of fun so I feigned great interest in the powder product and requested the name and address of the manufacturer so that I could order some for home use. I suggested a cellphone picture of the label would be perfect. Unsurprisingly, the sommelier did not return with the requested information and avoided me for the rest of the cruise. In summary, my wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise, thanks in large part to some wonderful fellow passengers and several marvelous crew members. We still think Seabourn rates highly but the cutbacks are evident, from little things like the reduced quality of the caviar to the more serious problem of understaffing and early bar closings. We have paid a deposit for a future cruise in the hope that smarter management will reverse the decline but, if the bean counters continue to cut corners, it will probably be our last cruise on this once great cruise line. Perhaps this is all part of a plan to move towards a younger and less demanding demographic with which to fill their much larger and more impersonal ships. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I took the 10 day Gems of the Java Sea cruise on the Seabourn Encore on March 12, 2018 with a group of friends. We selected Seabourn as two of our group have cruised many times with Seabourn and raved about their service and quality. ... Read More
I took the 10 day Gems of the Java Sea cruise on the Seabourn Encore on March 12, 2018 with a group of friends. We selected Seabourn as two of our group have cruised many times with Seabourn and raved about their service and quality. Unfortunately, I had a very uneven experience with Seabourn both on the cruise, in the pre-cruise interaction with land based staff and the Seabourn website, and in the after cruise dealing with Guest Relations. Some things were really good as follows: 1. The boarding process was a breeze. There were lots of staff to handle the process and we were on board in minutes after arriving at the cruise port terminal. Our luggage was also delivered to our cabins very quickly. However this may have been due to the fact that we were very late boarders at around 4 pm in the afternoon after most guests have boarded already and we understand from staff that the turnaround for this cruise was particularly easy as a large number of passengers had chosen to do back to back cruises having done an 18 days cruise from Australia to Benoa, Bali and then continuing on with the 10 day cruise to Singapore. 2. The Cabins are very impressive. They look like luxury hotel rooms. Very bright, very modern, spacious, lots of storage cabinets everywhere, a bathroom with bathtub and shower (though the shower did have an awkward location in a corner of the bathroom that resulted in you exiting almost bumping into the toilet with not much room to manoeuvre) and double sink. There is a large walk in closet with mini safe, lots of hanging space and wood drawers and shelves, a large flat screen TV with lots of programming, a separate seating area with glass table and a good size verandah. The only complaint I have, besides the awkward shower location noted above, is that the light switches were a bit difficult to figure out but I had no more problems after asking the cabin steward (we were told to call them stewardesses) to show me how they worked. 3. We had some serious issues in the early part of the cruise and when it was finally reported to the Guest Relations Manager Tiaan Visser, he took extraordinary steps to make sure we had a great time the rest of the cruise including telling us to contact him for all further matters so that he could ensure proper communication and quality control, arranging to waive the charges on an additional private van excursion we requested, and sending some kind of notice to all staff that resulted suddenly in everyone in the restaurants and elsewhere knowing our names the next day and giving us extra attention to make sure we were well taken care of. He also sent each of us a personal letter apologizing for the shortcoming accompanied by a bag of gifts from Seabourn. 4. After a rough first night dinner in the main restaurant where service was chaotic and we seemed to be served by 4 or more different people who did not seem to have communicated with each other about what we ordered or wanted and a drinks server roughly telling one of my friends that it is the food waiter's job to get the hot water we requested but that she would go ask about it just this once, as if it was a special favour never to be repeated, we asked to be moved to another table and then had great service from Jose our waiter and Csaba his assistant for the rest of the cruise. Food quality was great except for a couple of cases of over-cooked fish (one was a swordfish filet that was really tough) in the lunch buffet restaurant and at the dinner restaurant. Soft fleshed fish seemed to do better on the cruise and meats were great. Particularly memorable were the Chefs dinner where the entire set menu impressed with its quality and the beef Wellington was asked to share as an extra main which made us very glad indeed we had asked to share a small slice each of the additional main. Jose and Csaba were particularly thoughtful when we asked to share things such as the beef Wellington by slicing up the meat into smaller slices and presenting each of us with a side dish with our share rather than forcing us to divide ourselves doubtless with less skill. Wines served each evening were good quality and liberally offered as well as pre-dinner cocktails and aperitifs (the special 30th anniversary drink with passion fruit flavour was a favourite, as was champagne before dinner). I must also mention the excellent service and always with a smile that we received from Ruslan in the buffet restaurant at breakfast and at lunch. 5. We tried the Japanese specialty restaurant for the bento box and ramen noodle lunches and they were great. We also had one dinner at the Thomas Keller Grill and it was truly a highlight dining experience on the cruise. Everything was very elegant and the food, spectacular. 6. The actual excursions we booked with Seabourn were very good quality. We loved the Pink Beach snorkel on Komodo Island and our private van tours of Candi Jabung at Probolinggo with Rudi, for shopping around town in Surabaya with Sherly, and to Borobudur from Semarang with Took were all very well arranged and our guides were all very good. I particularly loved Sherly in Surabaya because not only was her English very fluent but she was efficient and decisive and always pointed out to us better ways to do something or a better order of seeing things so as to be efficient and to avoid crowds. 7. The final night celebrations in the pool area was great. Not only were great finger food on offering at various stations in a special Epicurean event, but most of the crew came out on the upper deck above the pool to wish us well in a photo-friendly finish to the party. Well done and classy. 8. The entertainment and guest speakers were great. Dr. Lawrence Blair was fascinating as an authority on Bali and its culture. The 4 singers and 2 additional dancers put on three shows that were very high quality and impressive given the limited space and resource that a smaller ship such as the Encore has. The world champion harmonica player was a different kind of entertainment that was unexpectedly impressive with fireworks like technical dexterity display with a harmonica comparable to a top violinist. 9. I had a soft spot for the afternoon tea and was hooked from about mid cruise and went every afternoon I could. Food offerings were great and there were interesting organic tea offerings. I was also fond of the scone trolley wheeled about by Joao and enjoyed the warm raisin scones with clotted cream and jam. What makes this review an average (at least for a premium cruise line) rather than excellent were the off-setting bads, which I thought were really bad but also the more frustrating because they were incomprehensible as follows: 1. Prior to the cruise, we pre-booked two private van excursions one for $745 total and one for $945 total and shore side Seabourn excursions agreed it could split the charges for each private van excursion into 5 and charge to the on-board account of each of the 5 travellers in our group so we can use up some on-board credits that we received with our booking. Imagine my shock when a few days into the cruise and before any of the private van excursion tickets were delivered to us, I found out that for the $745 van Seabourn had carefully split the total into five charges of $149 but charged all of them to my account but more astoundingly that for the $945 van Seabourn had made it into 5 charges of $945 which were all charged to my account and then refunded $945 to the on board account of each of my friends. I ended up being charged $5,470 instead of my share of $338 and my friends were very happy as they each received a credit of $945 without having paid anything! The most surprising thing was none of the shore excursions staff we dealt with on-board seemed to be shocked at this and simply weakly offered that it was head office and they could not do anything about it. I took up the matter with front desk reception and Angeliki quickly worked her magic and wiped out the 4 excess $945 charges from my account but said dividing the remaining $945 charge into 5 would need a bit more work. I asked to speak to a manager about my unhappy experience and she also suggested I speak with the Guest Relations Manager Tiaan Visser. Tiaan promptly met with me the next day for over half an hour as I recounted my troubles dealing with shore excursion and other matters and he then took the actions that I mentioned in "good" above that righted the course of our cruise experience. 2. Billing was not the only issue for shore excursions as we also had problems arranging a third private van tour as a result of a change of itinerary where we would have an extra day in Surabaya. Notwithstanding our speaking with the shore excursions head Murat who was also responsible for private van bookings and then my carefully writing him a note detailing what we wanted, another excursions staff then asked me to fill in a form with the same information when I was following up with her about the wrong billing so I felt I wasted time dealing with shore excursions because they did not coordinate internally at all. The third member of the excursion team met me to say he could explain the wrong billing but when I did stop talking and let him talk, he did not explain anything as to what happened and in fact was not even clear on the nature of the error. All this is most perplexing as I had previously given the excursion staff photocopies of the private van confirmations sent to me by shore based Seabourn staff that detailed the cost of each van and how the charges were to be split into 5 and billed to the individual traveller's on-board account. 3. Shore excursions was not the only accounting problem on board. A few days before the end of the cruise, I noticed I received a credit of about $90 which when I asked, was told was a refund of port taxes as Seabourn had cancelled the port call on Celukan Bawang. However, none of my 4 fellow travellers received the same credit. Two of them finally got the credit in their final invoice after they vigorously protested on the final evening and the other two never got the credit and are following up with Seabourn post cruise. It is a mystery to our group how we can all take the same cruise with the same cancelled port, and yet some will have a refund for port taxes and others will not. 4. When we boarded the cruise on Day 1, two of my friends received a notice in their cabin that the itinerary had been altered, the port call on Celukan Bawang had been cancelled, the port call on Probolinggo was moved up a day in order to avoid a Hindu religious quiet day which would have resulted in no tours to Mount Bromo being possible had the ship called on Probolinggo as originally scheduled, and an additional day added in Surabaya to take up the day for the cancelled port call on Celukan Bawang. The other two of my friends received the same notice in their mail slot on Day 2 and I did not receive the notice in my mail slot until Day 3. It goes without saying that a notice of change in itinerary delivered on the third day of a cruise is completely unacceptable and while Tiaan agreed with me, no explanation as to how this happened has been offered. As an additional issue, all of us thought the handling of the change of itinerary was suspect. The Hindu religious quiet day is a well known fact that any internet search would have easily revealed and in fact, we knew about it from our pre-cruise preparations searching on the internet. Therefore it seemed less than competent for Seabourn to arrange a cruise where they would call on a port on a day that they should reasonably have known would result in issues arranging excursions but more confusingly, Seabourn's inability to arrange excursions to Mount Bromo (the volcano which is the top attraction near Probolinggo) would have been known to Seabourn months or at least weeks before the cruise as they went about arranging the excursions so we are at a loss as to why Seabourn failed to notify all booked guests of the change to their itinerary before the cruise so that for example, any guest who made private arrangements for tours for Celukan Bawang can cancel before cancellation penalties were applicable and guests would have time to consider what else they might want to do in Surabaya given the cruise was adding an overnight in Surabaya. The change did not affect us too badly as we had only planned to go on the bird watching and snorkelling excursion at Celukan Bawang with Seabourn and we did have another snorkelling excursion already at Komodo Island but other guests who may have chosen not to snorkel at Komodo Island thinking there was another opportunity at Celukan Bawang might have been more affected (there were no other ports that offered snorkelling in this cruise). 5. I was also disappointed with post-cruise dealings with Seabourn. In addition to the on-line survey, I chose to e-mail Seabourn both to make sure staff like Tiaan Visser received full recognition for their excellent service and also to raise concerns and questions about some of the things that went wrong, if nothing else in order just to get an explanation and an understanding why. I was surprised that I received a reply from someone with the title of special advisor office of the president who then meticulously referred to each of the things I complimented or complained about, offered apologies of course, but then offered no explanations or comments about actions taken to ensure some of the mis-happenings I mentioned would not be repeated. In fact, I expressly followed up with a question about how the billing error came about on shore excursions where I ended up being billed $5,470 instead of $338 and my friends all received refunds of $945. The reply indicates accounting staff mistook the $945 as a per person charge instead of a per van charge but the night audit manager caught this but mysteriously decided to refund $945 to each of my 4 friends instead of making 4 refunds of $945 to me. The reply indicates they have no idea why he did that and gave no indication of what, if any, steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again. I also received no explanation or response to my question as to why Seabourn did not notify passengers of the change to itinerary when the decision was made months or weeks ahead of the cruise, instead of by notice given to the passengers after they had boarded the cruise. 6. Not having cruised with Seabourn before, I thought the ceilings on all decks were noticeably low. Several other passengers I spoke with had the same impression. I am not tall at about 5 ft 9 and could easily reach up and touch the ceiling in the buffet restaurant without fully extending my arm. 7. The Encore, with 600 passengers, is significantly larger than previous Seabourn ships which maxed out at 450 passengers. It was evident Seabourn was still figuring out how to handle a larger ship with more passengers. Tendering was an issue. Passengers were told to meet in the theatre to take tenders for their tours but there was no system of tracking who arrived first or not and instead, when it was time to board the tenders, the shore excursions staff in charge simply arbitrarily counted off people in one side of the room causing others on the other side of the room who had waited longer to complain. Also more confusingly, we had booked a private van excursion for Probolinggo and should be able to get off quickly since we were a complete group already but instead, when we were sent down to the gangway by the shore excursions staff, we and others were then held back on the stairs by the entertainment director who said he had been told to only allow those on large bus tours to board the tenders. This created an unsafe situation lining up on stairs and again frustration as it made no sense not to board the private van tour with the complete group which clearly did not need to wait to be filled, and instead board large bus passengers who may have to wait for more passengers anyway to fill a bus. Tender back was also a problem as our tour ended around 2 pm but it was about 2:40 pm before we were back on the board the ship as there was a long wait for a tender to finally arrive. This was perplexing as the tender ride was only 10 min so if two or three tenders were operating, there should not be more than a 10 min wait for a tender. Back on board, again the failure to plan for larger crowds showed as most tours were delayed due to the tender inefficiency and large groups of passengers arrived back on the ship after all lunch venues had closed for lunch except for the patio bar and there was insufficient seating in the patio to accommodate all. I ended up grabbing food and taking it back to my cabin rather than wait for room service, which was available but again might be impacted by the large crowd returning after lunch service had closed. We had problems even when the ship was docked and not anchored off shore as there are two stairways at the front and middle of the ship and once again the entertainment director, acting as traffic controller, chose to let only those from the middle elevators/stairs file out the gangway holding back those waiting in the foyer and up the stairs of the front stairwell until I finally had to shout to someone in the front to let him know that he was creating a dangerous pile up with people lining up on the stairs in the front stair foyer area. Again, on other larger and more experienced ships, there was always an alternation between letting passengers from the front and from the middle out the gangway, and some system would be in place to assign places in the tender according to arrival at the meeting place. 8. There were some curious lapses in service throughout the cruise. On a couple of days, the face towels place in my room had unsightly brown spots on them. On another day, there was a noticeable hole right in the middle of my napkin at afternoon tea service and on the third day of the cruise, when we asked for one of the special organic teas that was listed in the tea menu and in fact displayed in a sample vile in a box containing examples of each of the organic tea blends, we were told they were out of that tea. It surprised us that they would run out of a particular tea on only the third day of a 10 day cruise. In fact, they kept listing that tea on the tea menu throughout the cruise notwithstanding it not being available. In summary, I found the cruise to have some really nice premium cruise qualities but then also some shocking and glaring lapses in service and response. While the Guest Relations Manager really made a difference for us after hearing our complaints, I do wonder though whether what we experienced for the rest of the cruise was the true Seabourn experience since he apparently tagged us for special notice such that I could then no longer tell what "normal" service would be like. (I knew he tagged us as I had never given my name or cabin number at the breakfast buffet each day but one day after meeting with Tiaan, the manager for the breakfast restaurant came by at breakfast, addressed me by name and asked if there was anything he could do). Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We wanted to see Bali and the Komoto Dragons.The Encore is only 6 months old,a real pretty ship,staterooms are quite large,double sinks in bathroom,big screen tv,good size balconies.If you are new to Seabourn,the Seabourn Square is a new ... Read More
We wanted to see Bali and the Komoto Dragons.The Encore is only 6 months old,a real pretty ship,staterooms are quite large,double sinks in bathroom,big screen tv,good size balconies.If you are new to Seabourn,the Seabourn Square is a new concept on deck 7, this where the reception and shore excursions are booked,they don't tell you this,you have to figure it out yourself.The gourmet coffee and ice cream shop is also there on deck 7.There are five places to eat on the ship,the food in general is good,although my wife got sick twice.The Grill,is the best and the ship restricts the number of visits to this reasturant.For more casual dining try the pool/ patio area.The bar man on deck 10 is the best,the worst deck 9.In general the service in all areas is not up to Seabourn standards,the service in the Main dining room is exceptionally spotty.The crew / passenger ratio on this ship seems to be out of whack.I would avoid this ship. Read Less
86 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and ... Read More
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and helpful The food was less than we expected for we always heard how great their food was. Very little deviation from Resturant to Resturant . The wine that is offered is very low quality. The alcohol is high quality offering many top brands The internet. They charge you by the minute for internet usage. Now this cruise line is the most expensive cruise line out there and then they want to charge you outraging prices to connect to the internet. The internet is slower than the old dial up. Really? The modern tech allows for high speed connections so this is pure and simple a way to drag more revenue from its passengers. The pool had the normal trolls who come out at daylight and put their stuff on chairs around pool leave and the pool staff did nothing. When I pointed out that the daily program told of the ships policy that chairs could only be left for no more than 30 minutes unattended they demurred and did nothing. The off shore excursions were absolutely terrible. For instance in Bangkok the ship ported 2.5 hours from Bangkok. 2.5 hour. There is a port closer to the city but they chose this one. Semi reap. This is for the 3 day 2 night trip to Angkor Wat. The first day was comprised of a day in Sinnaokville. This included a tour of a private residence , a school and a market. Total waste of time. Everybody's was disappointed Then we boarded a plane for Seim Reap. We were housed in a fine hotel. We were told that dinner was in a buffet and we were allowed 1 beer of 2 sodas. This is after we left a ship, which we paid for unlimited drinking privileges no credit given for those privileges. So we paid for drinks rooms and food on a ship and were given no such credit many of us ran our own hotel bar and Resturant tabs .The second day was great followed by a dinner program which was fun. We flew back to Saigon the next morning Next we took a day trip in haLong bay. This was a kayak excursion. Well we were put in a boat for the 1.5 hour ride to the kayak base. For the entire ride over we were subjected to,non stop soliciting by the boat operators to buy their stuff. We were captive. Then when we arrived at the kayak base we were offered equipment that was not safe. The life jackets were moldy the kayaks were trash paddles junk.They has holes in the hulls and loading was very difficult. There is a speed boat base very near the kayak base. Every minute there would be a speed boat with 24 happy asians flying by the kayaks. The waves were plentyful and large.It is a wonder that nobody flipped. In addition the guide was the last person so there was no leader. One of our party had the paddle break in mid trip and the guild had no substitute. The paddles were taped up with rusty nails exposed. There was no seaborn rep with our tour. We were served lunch on the boat which was cooked in the back of this boat. Again we were offered 1 beer. If we wanted more than one we to purchase for $4.00. Was it too much to ask for seaborn to throw on a case of beer? I guess so.we then went to visit the caves. Pretty awesome. It should be noted that this excursion requires a 250 step uphill climb to the cave entrance. While we had no problem others could not make it and had to remain on the junk. They said the program was not clear on the details required and they certainly would not have signed up if they had known of the climb The return to the ship. Again 1.5 hours of nonstop badgering by the staff to buy their junk. We went to complain about the whole mess to the tour director and she sat there stonefaced ,she did take ones The on board entertainment was very good and a joy to watch. Very professional After hoping for a great experience we walked away feeeling slightly fleeced but happy we safe after the treacherous kayaking mess. We were anticipating a first class adventure and ended up feeling like this was a budget job taking our money for slow speed internet and poor off ship excursions.which were not cheap. We were ready ,prior to the cruise , to sign up for an Antarctic cruise but there is no way we would trust Seaborne to deliver. They would more than likely charge up by the minute for jackets but offer the ice for free! We asked for a Seaborne rep to call but we exp Ct that will not happen l we have heard that since they sold out to whomever the service has declined. We talked with more than one other on the cruise that also was disappointed. One of those had Ben on 9 Seaborne cruises and said that this was their last. Too bad Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Very much liked the smaller ships. Would not go on the bigger ship again. Staff from our previous cruises tried hard, and were great. Too many inexperienced crew.Hygiene standards slipped badly. Guests not using the hand gel and abusing ... Read More
Very much liked the smaller ships. Would not go on the bigger ship again. Staff from our previous cruises tried hard, and were great. Too many inexperienced crew.Hygiene standards slipped badly. Guests not using the hand gel and abusing crew who asked them to do so. Hotel Manager and Captain should have done more. Thomas Keller Restaurant not good, food drowned in salt. The Restaurant and Colonnade consistently good. The suite was narrower and less practical than in the smaller ships. No laundry. Wifi poor and expensive. The ship was full from Sydney, Seabourn had been discounting the Bali to Singapore leg, which did not please those of us who had paid up ahead. Handre, the Cruise Director to Bali was, as always, excellent. Food and Wines were good, Sushi was great, which showed up the missed opportunity that is Thomas Keller. Do not see the point of The Retreat, Pool smaller ( I think), certainly less shade, and more passengers. I wonder whether Carnival really understand this market, which is very different from the rest of their fleet. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Wonderful cruise and could not find anything wrong (didn't try by the way!) This is only our second SB cruise and we felt we couldn't top our wonderful first experience, but yes we did! Maybe we knew our way round more and ... Read More
Wonderful cruise and could not find anything wrong (didn't try by the way!) This is only our second SB cruise and we felt we couldn't top our wonderful first experience, but yes we did! Maybe we knew our way round more and knew what we were doing and that was the reason, but whatever it was it matched and then exceeded our expectations! We had a wonderful Room Stewardess who was just so sweet and lovely and continually tried to second guess what we might want, we felt thoroughly spoilt. To me the staff seem generally happy and that shows in the service you get! We got to know more staff and they seemed to get to know us more too, in every which way the service was superb. We mostly did SB excursions with one of our own independently booked. All in all, they were OK with a couple of blips that didn't particularly concern us as we were looking at the whole picture and how much we were enjoying ourselves. Entertainment... club singers were just great and we often ended up there far too late. We went to the Grand Salon for a couple of shows that were very enjoyable. The ship was as immaculate as last time, nothing wrong there. Our cabin was great and was actually next door to our one from last year, good position. Dining.... where do I start. I almost felt that SB had upped their game - an extra course in the MDR that I couldn't resist, I love their soups which were often in this '2nd course". The food seemed even better than last year if that's possible. The Patio Grill was great too as was Indian Marketplace night in the Colonnade. Unfortunately we kept bumping into a 'serial complainer'. Isn't it always the way that when you try and avoid someone, they are there at every turn! On excursions, at breakfast, in the bar etc etc. Never happy, always moaning, complaining about nothing at every opportunity. We were on this cruise to have a blast, not to find fault all the time. All in all, a truly wonderful time - our first cruise last year was supposed to be a one off. We've just booked our next one which will be our third! Thank you Seabourn for a great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
This cruise and Seabourn especially was chosen based on recommendations from friends who were spot on. The ship, the food and drinks, the cabin and the entertainment were all top class. The female cruise director must be a gem for this ... Read More
This cruise and Seabourn especially was chosen based on recommendations from friends who were spot on. The ship, the food and drinks, the cabin and the entertainment were all top class. The female cruise director must be a gem for this cruise line. We started our cruise in Hong Kong and visited Xiamen, China, several ports in the Philipines including Manila. Thereafter Borneo, Singapore, Bangkok and several other ports in Thailand, Kambodia and Vietnam before leaving the ship in Hong Kong.Four weeks of top class cruising. The highlight of this trip was Vietnam were Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, which it is now called, was a big and positive surprise. The communists seem to have found the perfect blend of communism and capitalism; more or less like China. The food on the Seabourn Sojourn was excellent and varied. The top chef Henning made a very good impression, and we were lucky to be able to go with him when he went shopping for the freshest produce both in Saigon and in the Bangkok area. We are experienced cruisers and have tried 7-8 different ones. So far Seabourn are at the top of our priority list. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Originally, my husband and I were scheduled to cruise on Silversea on basically the same itinerary. That ship was chartered out (as ships have the right to do!), so we chose Seabourn even though we didn't really like the idea of six ... Read More
Originally, my husband and I were scheduled to cruise on Silversea on basically the same itinerary. That ship was chartered out (as ships have the right to do!), so we chose Seabourn even though we didn't really like the idea of six days at sea. We flew from L.A. to Singapore, spent four nights at the fabulous St. Regis Hotel, then boarded the Sojourn. This was our sixth cruise, the previous five being on Silversea and Regent. We are definitely discerning guests, and we must say that the quality of food/wine, entertainment, guest lecturers, activities, available excursions, attitudes of staff - simply exceptional! One amazing day we spent on a private island in Thailand (Ko Kood - sp?) with water toys and sports, over the top B-B-Q, available massages on the beach, champagne and caviar hour on surfboards (sounds corny, but fantastic). Our day in Halong Bay kayaking and hiking in caves was also fantastic. We had chosen the mid-ship two and a half day excursion to Angor Wat which was well worth the price. This was an extremely friendly group of like-minded people onboard (mostly 60's couples as ourselves), and we made fast friends for dinners and excursions AND for my husband's birthday dinner. Sure, there were a few little issues, but overall, we are absolutely sold on Seabourn! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Now that I got my land legs back and over a chest cold,I will tell you about my or our experience ,Hong Kong to Singapore .the ports we a visited where a grad experience ,the cruise line Seabourn left a lot to be desired ,we had a cabin ... Read More
Now that I got my land legs back and over a chest cold,I will tell you about my or our experience ,Hong Kong to Singapore .the ports we a visited where a grad experience ,the cruise line Seabourn left a lot to be desired ,we had a cabin for disabled on deck nine,the bathroom which is very important for a disabled person was very functional ,the front door dit not stay open by it self,you need to put a wedge under the door to get in and out,,needs to be looked at,the cabin itself very plain,but again functional . the ship itself lacks warmth and class,the staff are passionate and very obliging ,but again there all talk like a Seabourn manua ,not natu ,the goog,glorious food,,in the main dining room we found had never had the wow effect,and the menus kept repeating it self,the wines served at dinner were far to young and need to be stored a few more years ,the dining room in it self is a no event,very boring,again nothing special,we liked the way ladies were escorted to there tables by staff,mabe even officers,we arrived in a wheelchair and no one gave us a second look,much less show as to our table ,,nice one Seabourn , the pool deck is fare to small for all the people,that brings me to the Seabourn Square,which is a reception ,a library ,and a meeting place plus a coffe shop,it looks like a business class lounge in an airport,,very boring,we had pre dinner drinks in the piano bar,again staff were excellent ,the piano player,played the same tunes night afer night ,and had a break every thirty minutes,looking back which I don't like to do,I just like to forget about is overrated cruise line,I wound go on Seabourn if they paid me. Read Less
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