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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This 6 night cruise from Bali to Darwin was our 24th cruise with various Cruise Company’s. We had high (but not unrealistic) expectations for our 1st Seabourn cruise and the Sojourn excelled in every area. The Staff were the ... Read More
This 6 night cruise from Bali to Darwin was our 24th cruise with various Cruise Company’s. We had high (but not unrealistic) expectations for our 1st Seabourn cruise and the Sojourn excelled in every area. The Staff were the friendlies, whilst still being very professional, we have ever encountered. This made for a very relaxed and social atmosphere on board between the Staff and passengers. Our cabin 722 was a great haven to come back to with a lovely decor, plenty of storage and kept spotlessly clean by Tamzn. Every meal was consistently at a very high standard. It was like eating in a 5 Star Restaurant, accompanied by great wine, every night. The music and entertainment throughout the ship was very good. We booked a ship’s excursion for the only Port of call, Palopo in Indonesia. A 3 hour 3 wheeled rickshaw tour visiting the local sights. It was a lot of fun with the local community lining the streets waving and taking photos. Sojourn was just the 2nd ship ever to call into their City and it was a welcome like we have never experienced before. Being part of a group of 100 rickshaws and being so warmly welcomed was another highlight of our holiday. Management should be justifiable proud of their Staff and Ship. It was a wonderful experience Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with ... Read More
This cruise was a good way to see New Zealand and Australia and Indonesia in a short time. We visited interesting places and particularly enjoyed the Ventures excursions in zodiacs and kayaks and hiking. The ship is spectacular with excellent speakers and restaurants.The food is varied and really good although it tended to be very salty and more information about fat content and better descriptions on the menu would have been appreciated. Some favourites were the soufflés and the Japanese restaurant. The Thomas Keller was rather disappointing as there was the same menu every time and the portions were enormous.Much too big. The entertainment was superb and all the singers and dancers excellent. Very enjoyable. The only one we were not enthusiastic about was the Piano player at the Thomas Keller. The new Seabourn ship is about to launch and consequently many staff have left for it so there were a lot of staff who did not know what they were doing. The beverage service was really slow and we had often finished breakfast and lunch at the patio before getting a drink.the staff were super friendly but rather disorganized. The cabin attendant was not as efficient as she could have been too and the carpet had stains on it when we boarded. Surely it could have been cleaned? The enrichment lectures we’re mostly interesting and sometimes excellent and it was great to be able to treat children them on the cabin TV. Some of the shore excursions were not very well described and not worth the money but others were really worthwhile.We loved the ventures trips. It was disappointing that we did not have a marina day as we had enjoyed those before but swimming in the ocean was limited due to jellyfish stingers and the weather. Altogether the fitness facilities were severely lacking. A huge amount of space had been devoted to a retreat to bring in more money. This could have been used for yoga or Pilates or running track. We definitely will sail again with Seabourn . Best cruise line we’ve been on. Complaints are just nit picking really. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This is our second cruise on the Encore this year and the most disappointing. The crew was missing the usual spark and coordination that we associate with past Seabourn cruises. This was our 6th cruise with Seabourn and we found the food ... Read More
This is our second cruise on the Encore this year and the most disappointing. The crew was missing the usual spark and coordination that we associate with past Seabourn cruises. This was our 6th cruise with Seabourn and we found the food was lacking in variety and below the usual standard expected with this line. Rather than raising the bar I think senior management are cost cutting and lowering the standards . There are many cruise lines in the same category as Seabourn offering the expected service that is associated with a five star rating. The Encore has one more deck housing 150 additional people more than the three previous ships. The Thomas Keller grill is much larger and a small Sushi cafe has been added as well. While taking that into consideration you have 150 more people occupying the same passenger areas. We feel this ship and the yet to be launched Oviation are not up to the standards of the 3 smaller ships.The officers usually mix with the passengers, we found them very aloof with the exception of two restaurant officers. The entertainment was lacking in variety and quality. We feel Seabourn is heading in the wrong direction. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
When Diane Love and I completed the first segment of our 61-day journey near the end of Encore's inaugural year, we found that in many ways it delivers what Seabourn promises-- contemporary design, more dining and entertainment venues ... Read More
When Diane Love and I completed the first segment of our 61-day journey near the end of Encore's inaugural year, we found that in many ways it delivers what Seabourn promises-- contemporary design, more dining and entertainment venues than its other ships, more open deck areas for swimming and sunning, and the feel of an upscale resort. Encore and its sister ship due next year fulfill the company's commitment to pursue an exponentially larger customer base. Its three other ships launched in the last decade each carry 450 passengers. Encore, with 600 passengers, alone carries the combined capacity of all three of the previous fleet of Spirit, Legend, and Pride that was sold to competing brand Windstar. We found a mostly enthusiastic ship's company and many satisfied fellow guests. About half of the passengers are repeat-customers from its previous, smaller ships, members of what Seabourn calls its “Club.” This is an outstanding loyalty rate that testifies to the brand's historical appeal despite the conversion to nearly-mid-size ships. The ships are a size that it believes can better compete with on-board dining and entertainment offerings of Regent, Crystal, and some other top-rated cruise lines. New Seabourn passengers never sailed on the 200-passenger Spirit, Legend, or Pride. They never had what many considered the superior environment of “the Yachts of Seabourn,” the tag line of yesteryear's quite different experience. Before the Encore launch this year, Seabourn's 450 passenger ships still evoked some of that small-ship experience, or at least passengers like us pretended they did. These vessels-- the Quest, Sojourn, and Odyssey-- presented a challenge to Seabourn as it rapidly doubled and redoubled recruiting and training to staff the ships. The results were mixed, at least in our travels on each of the three, but they still triggered our memories of the Spirit. For us, the bulked-up Encore lacks this link to the past. The magic of the Spirit was created by mutual agreement between passengers and crew, all of whom embraced the fantasy that they were aboard a private yacht and all of whom behaved appropriately. Guests we encountered on three Spirit itineraries were self-assured, friendly without spilling their life story in the first five minutes of conversation, and had nothing to prove to fellow passengers. This self-confidence was perhaps most conspicuous in their dress, which was ironically not conspicuous. We all dressed like we were on a prosperous uncle's yacht. We remember no “formal nights.” In contrast, Seabourn's now much larger clientele includes many who would not appreciate the very old tuxedo joke: “Why would I want to dress like the maitre d'?” Today Seabourn makes social interaction a higher priority, which seems to be well-received by many new customers. But many of the tools used to facilitate instant friendships depart from the original small-ship experience. Early in each cruise there is a party of sorts stretched through all the guest decks and companionways. If you obsess about immediately knowing everything about everyone on-board, you may find it appealing to consume drinks and hors d'oeuvres in the confines of narrow passageways. We found it more like a college dorm party for new freshmen. Add the likes of a costume trivia playoff and passenger “glee club” performance and you get the idea. Love it or hate it. The crowd on our first segment from Civitavecchia to Dubai seemed a bit older than some past Seabourn cruises. We are not privy to the company's data, of course, but the need to fill hundreds more “bed nights” may have expanded Seabourn's net to older targets through different agent promotions and marketing channels. Public, unguarded conversations about options for hip replacement, the benefit of dying quickly if you have cancer, and extended family health histories made us sometimes feel we were on a Holland America cruise. Holland America, which attracts an older profile, has been the sister line of Seabourn since management of both was consolidated by big brother Carnival, the ultimate owner, a few years ago. Seabourn built larger public spaces to make everyone more comfortable, but also books many more passengers to fill the bigger ship. To manage poolside crowds, bulletins remind clients that sun bathing is available not just at the main pool midships, but at new locations fore and aft. In Encore's popular forward Observation Bar, the volume of passengers who have had a few pops sometimes results in increased passenger volume. That is to say that you may quite clearly hear gratuitously loud conversational outbursts in English or non-English languages, including German or New Jersey or Australian. Cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres and teatime treats (except the scones) are no longer passed in the Observation. You must choose from a self-service “tapas” buffet and cart everything to your seat. This provides a greater variety but less "luxury" than passed hors d'oeuvres, which are still offered in the Club lounge. New to us is a bar menu that includes additional charges for what Seabourn considers premium liquors. Seabourn has also been trying to sell wine tasting events from $99 to $500 per person, and individual vintage bottles at meals. All this in an all-inclusive format that promises no charge for fine wine and spirits throughout the ship and no requirement or expectation of tipping. The largest space is the “Grand Salon,” used for daytime lectures and demonstrations. The Encore's slightly larger stage makes space for more ambitious evening entertainment programs. This change has led Seabourn to present “production” events many nights, featuring four singers and two dancers. We found these evenings somewhat comparable to dinner theater, perhaps a reasonable alternative to the overwrought productions on the largest mainstream cruise ships. We would have preferred a jazz trio or a chanteuse. The Grand Salon and Encore's other lounges seem to us better suited to a cabaret duo (as practiced in the Observation) or jazz piano and bass, rather than a mini costume epic. Other nights entertainers come from the rotation of singers and instrumentalists and comics and the occasional magician that is familiar to regular cruisers on any cruise line. For Seabourn regulars, the Grand Salon is best known for numerous fat pillars that block views of the performers from many angles and only a slight rise in seating from front to back that likewise can compromise views. This invariably results in intermittent Jack-in-the Box moments throughout every performance as audience members jump up to try to find a better view. The problem has not been corrected on the Encore. The Restaurant, Encore's main dining room, proved the best choice on this trip and was consistently serving more interesting and better prepared food than our personal experience on Seabourn's 450-passenger ships. However, the “best” table on a particular voyage depends on rotating personnel and other factors, so next sailing you may prefer the poolside Patio, the Colonnade, the new Sushi bar, or the Keller Grill. The net of 1) a bigger ship, 2) ample passengers, and 3) broader demographic and social profile yields an environment akin to a country club or private beach club on a crowded holiday weekend. Whether that delivers what Seabourn advertises-- “ultra-luxury”-- is in the eye of the beholder and depends on the personal experience and preferences of each customer. If you have not stayed at l'hotel du Cap in Antibes or dined at long-gone La Cote Basque in New York or enjoyed a villa at the Four Seasons Jimbarin Bay in Bali or (fill in the blank with your own expectations), you may wrestle with an appropriate way to best characterize Seabourn Encore. Next we continued from Dubai to Singapore to Bali to Sydney. The final legs of our eight plus weeks on Encore were a vivid reminder of the overwhelming importance of people-- both staff and guests-- to the enjoyment and satisfaction of any cruise. About 95 percent of the original 600 passengers who boarded with us in Rome disembarked in Dubai or Singapore, along with a large percentage of the guest-facing staff. We found that we had set sail on a quite different experience onward to our final destination, Sydney. The crew and staff who stayed aboard continued to remember our names (a cornerstone of the Seabourn experience) and deliver the level of service we saw beginning in Rome. Some newcomers did not perform as well and there seemed to be a shortage of personnel during peak demand. Service deteriorated further after Bali. The new cruise director who boarded in Singapore was intent on amping up social events, which led to some odd results. Popular trivia contests appeared more often in the forward Observation Bar, sometimes overlapping afternoon tea or evening hors d'oeuvres. Some bean bag games, which had been played on a small outdoor space on Deck 7 aft of Seabourn Square, moved to the main pool. This necessitated closing one side of the pool sun deck to accommodate the dozen or so people who chose to toss bean bags, clap, and cheer, while the rest of us tried to read or sleep. Encore does offer a more serene escape from the main pool, The Retreat on Deck 12. Access, including a private cabana, is charged at about a $300 daily premium above the "all-inclusive" cruise fare. Caviar in the Surf, which Seabourn labels a "Signature Event," moves to the main pool when staged on a sea day. On one such occasion the cruise director apologized in advance for turning up the music, and then set it so loud that it could have been the ship's Life Boat Muster alarm. I took ear plugs to the next Caviar in the Pool. Sample lyrics: Mr. Worldwide to infinity You know the roof on fire We gon' boogie oogie oogie, jiggle, wiggle and dance Like the roof on fire We gon' drink drinks and take shots until we fall out Like the roof on fire Now baby get your booty naked, take off all your clothes, And light the roof on fire Tell her, tell her baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby I'm on fire I tell her baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby I'm a fireball Fireball Meanwhile, the wave of 500 plus new guests appeared more diverse in nationality and in language (good) and in savoir faire (bad). This diversity cut both ways, adding to the richness of many conversations and interactions, while subtracting from the usual impression of sophistication and civility among Seabourn passengers. At one port, the captain had to urgently announce over the ship-wide public address system that passengers must stop throwing soda bottles off their balconies to children in small boats 5 to 11 decks below. One can be forgiven for sometimes thinking they boarded the wrong ship after watching: a passenger prepare his caviar by mixing all the condiments into the central caviar bowl and eating it with a silver tablespoon, or a diner use his hand to grab a barbecue rib from the family-style serving platter, gnaw it down, and then pitch it back across the table into the platter. Such incidents were certainly not typical, but they were not unique or isolated. Between Dubai and Singapore we did get our wish for a charming chanteuse, British vocalist Laura Broad. Unfortunately, Grand Salon entertainment after Singapore became more and more narrowly targeted, to be polite. Two evenings the acts were the worst we have ever suffered at sea. Most every employee on a Seabourn ship does their best to satisfy, and so our thanks go to all of them. The following were special: Dimir, the Restaurant maitre d', whose attitude and extra treats kept customers happy. Slobodan, the ship's chief bartender, who not only appeared virtually simultaneously at all the ship's venues to smooth service, but also corrected any discrepancy he saw beyond the bars in his travels throughout the ship. Victoria, the bartender in the Observation, who understood that her job is performance art and deserves a standing ovation. Cindy, the server at a crucial corner of the Colonnade, who kept the entire buffet buzzing. Anarita and Bruno, the "Duo" in the Observation lounge, who every night performed outstanding, sophisticated music despite a sometimes raucous bar audience. Reflecting on all 61 days of our travels, Diane and I concluded that Encore is a substantially different product that has attracted many materially different customers, compared to Seabourn's other ships. The suddenly obvious difficulties of imposing the historical Seabourn ambiance and service on a 600 passenger ship suggest that the cruise line may have entered a less discerning customer segment that is at odds with its "ultra-luxury" aspirations. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We are pretty experienced small ship cruisers and we’ve cruised with Seabourn just 3 times before – Odyssey & Sojourn – and thought that everything about those ships was absolutely great – the best designed ships we’ve been ... Read More
We are pretty experienced small ship cruisers and we’ve cruised with Seabourn just 3 times before – Odyssey & Sojourn – and thought that everything about those ships was absolutely great – the best designed ships we’ve been on – great food – great service - pretty much everything great. So our expectation for the much heralded Seabourn Encore was pretty high – the reality was a big disappointment With a change in size from 450 guests on the smaller ships to 600 guests we were expecting everything to be scaled up accordingly but that is not what they have done. Unfortunately the statistics don’t tell the whole story as even though the quoted space per passenger is not that different the ship is a lot busier and seems much more crowded that the smaller ships. I think it's down to the layout with some areas being underutilised and if they were to exclude the space of the extra cost & hardly used Retreat the space per passenger figure would tell a different story. I can’t find any figures but staffing levels must be different as the service levels are noticeably worse than the smaller ships - OK in the restaurants but particularly noticeable in the public areas including the pool deck. No longer that feeling of luxury as waiters drift around taking orders – it was up to the bar myself on several occasions! Dining is generally good although service was patchy and inconsistent. We tried all venues with the most disappointing (in the context of the billing) being the Thomas Keller Grill – it’s a nice room and the service is pretty good, but it’s a very ordinary grill and having dined at Thomas Keller’s restaurants we were expecting something special. That said some great Thomas Keller dishes were an option from time to time in The Restaurant. Limiting guests to one reservation in The Grill on a cruise trying to create an air of exclusivity is a bit of a nonsense as twice we saw people turn up without a reservation being shown immediately to a table. We enjoyed Sushi very much – small venue so sometimes a wait, but worth it. We struggled with The Colonnade as at times it became overcrowded. That was mainly an issue at breakfast when the weather meant the outside tables weren’t usable. Even though there’s a Maitre D’ you are left to your own devices to find a table on this ship making it all a bit unseemly in the scramble when busy. Bizarrely, on such days, The Restaurant, also open for breakfast, is not geared for more than a few tables so we found the wait there even longer. We did enjoy dinner on the pool deck The entertainment is good but quite a big change with 2 shows a night as the theatre is too small for the number of guests. The theatre uses the space of 1 deck (rather than 2 decks on other cruise lines) so to give any sort of rake in the seating it ends up as small compared to the number of guests. So that changes the dynamics of the evening. If you dine as a couple then starting early you can make the first show but for a large group or for a later dinner it’s the later show, too late for many We certainly won’t be travelling on Encore again. Our bigger concern is that the approach adopted on Encore will permeate to the small ships that we love. I think we’re safer looking elsewhere Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Seabourn uses all manner of glorious adjectives to describe their cruises, and on our recent 17-day trip from Auckland to Sydney aboard Odyssey, they came close to their advertising. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is beautiful from the ... Read More
Seabourn uses all manner of glorious adjectives to describe their cruises, and on our recent 17-day trip from Auckland to Sydney aboard Odyssey, they came close to their advertising. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is beautiful from the outside. Inside, it's attractive, easy to get round in, and well-organized. The main dining rooms, with low ceilings, are not as well decorated as one might expect. Other public areas and outside decks are roomy. We were full, with about 450 guests, but we weren't crowded. We seldom waited more than a few seconds for an elevator. We always had space in the whirlpools and access to lounge chairs. The suites, while not huge, are very attractive and comfortable with a sofa, two chairs, a table, a bed, a walk-in closet, a very small dressing stand, and plenty of storage space. The bathrooms include a tub and shower, both small but adequate. The veranda is fine for two people. The ship, constructed in 2009, shows age in a few places but is well maintained. We had cabin 656, a perfect location. The staff, as billed, was friendly and outgoing. Some remember your name as the cruise goes on. Drinks are included in your fare, and waiters were anxious to make sure our glasses were filled. Waiters in the dining rooms were sometimes helpful, other times not. Service at dinner can be slow. The captain spoke to us daily, but if you missed his talk or couldn't hear you were out of luck. The ship should do far better at providing details about the progress of the trip. Announcements over the loud speaker are strictly limited, which is good, but the television system could fill the blanks by providing lots of information for us to access when we want. In fact, the TV was poorly utilized. Information about destinations wasn't always easily available. In Melbourne, we didn't know that hop-on hop-off buses were waiting at the end of the pier. Had we known that, we would have changed our plans for the day. Food, which has been criticized in some past reviews, ranged from good to excellent, sometimes even superb, in our opinion. The wine, also frequently criticized in reviews, was good, although we're well aware it's not $50 a bottle wine. The galley was open for tours and the chief was available to talk to. The fish, steak and pasta were excellent. You pick where and with whom you wish to eat. The main dining room, called The Restaurant, was more formal. The Colonade less so. The Colonade should be a buffet for all three meals, but at dinner it's not and sometimes it can have a rather restricted evening menu. There is also an outdoor patio grill with a limited menu for lunch and dinner, weather permitting. Seabourn touts its dishes by the famous chef Thomas Keller. It's an attempt to offer something unusual and different, and it doesn't always work. We found them to be sometimes interesting and sometimes odd. The ship perhaps should concentrate less on edgy recipes and more on providing consistently superb cuisine. Seabourn does offer a variety of special experiences. One day, on the wharf of a small town,we observed a ship official buying fish from a local fisherman. We were able to talk to both of them. The chef offered passengers several opportunities to accompany him on food-buying trips to local markets. While cruising through a beautiful New Zealand fiord, waiters bought special drinks to passengers gathered on deck. During the Super Bowl, the ship brought a television hookup to the main showroom so anyone could watch, and served a hot dog and hamburger lunch. There were misses, too. Daily newspapers were available electronically for the first half of the cruise, and then disappeared because of unspecified reasons. Shore excursions were overpriced, as on many ships, and sometimes not very well managed. The conclusion of the cruise, in Sydney, was bungled. We stayed overnight on the ship, but our dock was in a distant location well away from the central district of Sydney, the place everyone wanted to go. A free shuttle bus was provided to an entertainment area, but operated in hit-and-miss fashion without staff supervision. For how much we spent on the cruise, we deserved better at the end. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My husband and I were on a 16 day cruise from Auckland to Sydney starting February 7th. It was absolutely AMAZING! This was our 2nd Seabourn cruise. IT WAS PERFECT! (We used to sail with Silversea- Seabourn is far Superior in every way. ... Read More
My husband and I were on a 16 day cruise from Auckland to Sydney starting February 7th. It was absolutely AMAZING! This was our 2nd Seabourn cruise. IT WAS PERFECT! (We used to sail with Silversea- Seabourn is far Superior in every way. Seabourn is in a different class than Silversea- it doesn't even compare! ) Once you experience Seabourn you would never cruise on any other line. The service on Seabourn was outstanding! By the 2nd day everyone called us by our names. I do admit that I am very friendly and made an effort to get to know the crew members and talk to them and always thanked them for their great service! Every crew member had the best attitude, always smiling and attentive. The crew members work on short contracts. Four months on – 2 months off. Most other cruise ships crew work 9 months on- 2 months off. So Seabourn crew are refreshed! One of our waiters told us he only takes 1 month off because he can’t wait to come back to Seabourn. You can tell they all love their jobs on Seabourn. It didn’t matter what department a crew member worked in- every person we encountered had the same GREAT attitude! You wonder how does a cruise ship get every crew member to be happy, smiling and treat their guests like they are the most important people they have ever met! THAT IS SEABOURN! The food was FABULOUS! Chef Martin was the chef on board. He is truly fantastic! We would sometimes shake our heads and say how can food be this good every night and day! The food can rival any of the finest restaurants anywhere. We are from New Orleans and are accustomed to great food. Talking to many other passengers onboard they all felt the same about the food. We ate in the Main Dining Room – called The Restaurant- most nights. They waiters work in teams. They are polished and professional! The head waitress recognized us from our past cruise and we requested her team every night. She would make suggestions for all the different courses. If she felt there were 2 appetizers we should try, or even 3 desserts she would bring all of them out to us to try. The waiters have a tasting right before dinner, so they are able to explain to the guests about the food offerings that night. Every night I had a Mai Tai before dinner in The Restaurant. So there it was 1 minute after we arrived at the table- without even asking for it. Every course was plated beautifully. My husband loves fish and thought all the fish dishes were outstanding. The beef was tender and delicious. Always ask for double cuts. The filet double cut with Peppercorn Sauce was better than any steak restaurant we have been too. (It is available every night on the "Classic Menu".) They also had lots of Vegetarian dishes offered and were also outstanding. Chef Martin deserves a STANDING OVATION for the most amazing food! We also ate at the Colonnade for dinner for two of their special buffet dinners. (Don’t miss those special nights) So many choices of salads and the quality of the salads made us shake our heads again. Beautiful displays, amazing service again. Wonderful entrees and a huge selection. Outstanding Flaming desserts! We loved sitting on the outside patio of the Colonnade. If it was cool outside they provided cashmere blankets. Then we dined there two other nights when we had late tours in a port. We also ate lunch there many days for their great buffets. Chef Felix- head of the Colonnade was a pure delight and prepared great dinners and buffet lunches there! The Manager of the Colonnade, Yelena was exceptional! We frequently went to the Patio Grill for lunch by the pool- which has the most delicious hamburgers, fresh made pizza, and wonderful salads. The French fries are the BEST! They had a wonderful selection of ice creams and sorbets every day. One day at lunch there is a “Market Galley Lunch”- where you go through the galley and food is set up there. Then in the dining room they set up all the salads, sushi and desserts. It was the most amazing thing you will ever see! As I went through the galley line- I made a point to thank every crew member for their wonderful service -even the dishwashers- because it takes a full team to provide that kind of high quality service to their guests no matter what job that had on the cruise ship. Also on the last night- they had a special "Good bye Buffet" by the pool. Are you kidding me? One hour before dinner and there was the most Delicious Pre- Dinner Buffet with all the Chefs and Officers serving you! Seabourn does not spare any money when it comes to food! We used room service often to order Ice Tea or snacks. By the 2nd day they knew my usual order and I didn’t even have to ask what I wanted. We love the idea of being able to dine without making reservations. (We did not eat in Restaurant 2- which does require reservations.) Our Room Stewardess Bernadette was always so kind, with an amazing attitude. At night she took towels and made displays for us on the bed, or had handwritten notes waiting for us. Any request was granted! She was indeed a very special person! We met the most interesting people. Most had sailed on Seabourn many times. The ones that were experiencing Seabourn for the first time all said they were now hooked on Seabourn. We rarely made the shows at night, since we dined late and stayed at our table talking past the shows. We did go to see the Comedian, which we enjoyed. But I did hear the people who went to the shows enjoyed them. Seabourn Square is a lovely area on the ship that is staffed 24 hours a day to help you with your tours, internet or general questions. They also had coffee, tea, desserts and ice cream all day long. My husband would go there every morning at 6:00 am for coffee and read newspapers. The staff there is so professional and helpful! I want to personally thank some of the crew that made our cruise so special. Our stewardess, Bernadette. In the Restaurant, Anna, Bogdan, Marco and Lance who were exceptional and attentive waiters. Tarryn (I adored you) and Jill who greeted us at the door of the Restaurant and also The Restaurant Manager who was great! In the Colonnade, Jovan ( had my double ice teas waiting) and Anna ( who heated my croissants every morning) and Szilvester, Anthony, Luke, and Karlis. At the Patio Grill, Goran, Kevin and Venque. A special thanks to phone Guest Services- Lizanne, and Magali who answered all my questions everyday by phone. If you are looking for 5 Star Experience, then Seabourn is the FINEST CRUISE AT SEA! As I said, once you experience Seabourn you will not want to go on any other cruise line. It still amazes me how they produce such a PERFECT experience for their guests. My husband and I every night would go back to our cabin and say how can anything be so FABULOUS every day! We can’t wait until our next cruise with Seabourn. Thank you Seabourn- for the most wonderful 16 days of our lives!   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our second cruise but our first Seabourn cruise. We chose this cruise based on the destination and Seaboun's reputation. We were not disappointed in either. We traveled with two other couples, one who had been on Seabourn ... Read More
This was our second cruise but our first Seabourn cruise. We chose this cruise based on the destination and Seaboun's reputation. We were not disappointed in either. We traveled with two other couples, one who had been on Seabourn previously. We found the size and layout of the ship to be excellent. The public areas were comfortable and we always found someplace nice to spend some time both inside and out. We enjoyed all of the bars, however we found the Observation Bar too smoky after dinner. The service throughout the ship was excellent, whether it was help with the internet (which could sometimes be a problem), making shore excursion plans, or future Seabourn travel. Our room Stewardess was delightful. Food - fantastic! The Colonnade breakfasts were everything we could want. We had breakfast in the Restaurant one day and found the service slow. We had room service twice (breakfast and dinner) and found the service and food both good. Dinners in the Restaurant were outstanding. We booked Restaurant 2 for one evening and it was a special experience. The two dinners we had in the Colonnade were excellent as well. The special meals - Chef's Market Lunch and the "Crew on Deck" - were super. Lunches at the Patio Grill were good. Our only complaint was that there is often not enough seating (especially on "Team Trivia" days) and that on the few cold days when Patio Grill was our only option after a late tour, there was no place inside to sit where it was warm. Seabourn does a good job of providing varied activities. The all-inclusive nature of the ship makes it easy to socialize and participate in activities, whether it be the "Block Party", cruising Millford Sound where champagne and drinks are offered, or the early morning entrance into Sydney Harbour with, coffee, tea, juice, and pastries available. The six members of our group enjoyed Team Trivia, Bridge, golf, needlepoint, the magician's demonstration, and the fitness center especially. We only had two complaints about our Seabourn experience, both of which have been expressed to Seabourn. The first is the issue of smoking on the verandas. This was a problem for all of us in our group of six as smoke from a nearby cabin often prevented us from enjoying our verandas. We are aware that other luxury cruise lines have banned smoking on private verandas and we hope Seabourn will address this issue as well. The second problem was inadequate self-service laundry facilities. Four machines for 450 people for a cruise of this length and this distance from most homes was a problem. Many guests traveled before and after the cruise as well. Finding an empty machine was not easy. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise experience and we hope to be back on Seabourn in the near future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
The whole cruise started with a computer problem at check-in. We had to wait 2 hours in the cruise terminal without proper seating abilities and not even a single water, not to speak of Champagne was offered. After check in we had to rush ... Read More
The whole cruise started with a computer problem at check-in. We had to wait 2 hours in the cruise terminal without proper seating abilities and not even a single water, not to speak of Champagne was offered. After check in we had to rush to one restaurant, where people were fighting for space to get a bite of lunch, crazy !! Coming first time into our cabin, the luggage was not there. We had to do the safety drill drill first, returning to our cabin the luggage finally was there after complaining a number of times. The we had 60 minutes for unpacking and getting ready for dinner !!! The next couple of days were nice, pleasant staff and a good service. Then the disaster started. Bad weather, 5 days of heavy storm. Scheduled stops, the main highlights of the cruise, Milford Sound and Stewart Island were cancelled. Tours did not take place, we had lo sty in shelter instead of going to the Fjordlands. No proper explanations by the Captain, no excuses, even during the stormy weather social events, supposed to be a highlight, took place, while a lot of the guests could not leave their cabin. Then three seedays to Melbourne. Suddenly on the evening before arriving in Melbourne we were told at 9.00 p.m., that we would arrive 5 hours late and the visit would have to be shortened. Again no excuse, Seaborn just wanted to catch their schedule where they had arrangement with local tour partners as they did not want to pay cancellation fees to them and us. We were treated like children. Not worthwhile a single dollar spent. we left the ship 4 night early in Melbourne, tired of the service, the communication, changes of trips and a disastrous communication from the Captain and his staff. Never again a cruise with Seabourn !!!!! Go for Chrystal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We had been on the Odyssey in 2011 for cruise from Athens to Istanbul on Veranda 2 level. This time we asked for Veranda 2 but got room 503 Veranda 1. Very noisy at 4:30am when the anchor dropped since it was a floor or two below us. We ... Read More
We had been on the Odyssey in 2011 for cruise from Athens to Istanbul on Veranda 2 level. This time we asked for Veranda 2 but got room 503 Veranda 1. Very noisy at 4:30am when the anchor dropped since it was a floor or two below us. We wanted a balcony because we love eating on the deck. We had a balcony but it was only 1/4 glass and the rest metal as we were the first balcony. It got covered in salt and spray often. Next time will insist on Veranda 2 and more midship. Several days it was a rough ride especially between New Zealand and Sydney. Crew friendly. Felt the crew push liquor service a bit too much. It was free but we don't drink that much. Tours were not always done on vehicles that were not always in the best shape for bumpy roads on small islands like Bora Bora. Meet wonderful couples, Crew helped me plan a surprise 70th birthday party and closed Restaurant 2 for it.IN that experience they excelled in achieving their motto"JUST SAY YES. From putting friends invitations that I created in their mail slot outside their room to helping me choose a menu of our favorite meals. All 20 of our friends had a good time. The maître de at Restaurant 2 outdid himself in helping me before and during the party.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
Let me start out by saying my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our Seabourn cruise. For those Seabourn loyalist and those new to Seabourn you can take heart that Seabourn is trying very hard to maintain its quality in the present world ... Read More
Let me start out by saying my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our Seabourn cruise. For those Seabourn loyalist and those new to Seabourn you can take heart that Seabourn is trying very hard to maintain its quality in the present world economy. However, there still is much room for improvement to make this cruise line worthy of its six stars. I will give the good and not so good in this review, but lets start at the beginning. My wife and I looked forward to this trip for over a year, and we wanted to see both New Zealand and Australia. The 36 day cruise was a way to see both countries at the same time. I normally plan our own air arrangements, and this trip was no different. We flew out of Phoenix, AZ Sunday February 3rd on Hawaiian airlines with a 24 hour layover in Honolulu. We liked this idea as it broke up the normal very long and boring flight from LA to Sydney. I not only got a great price, but was able to walk the beach in Honolulu and relax before our next leg to Sydney. Our travel agent recommended the Parc hotel which was one of two recommendations our agent made that I wish I had not taken. I'll get to the second recommendation later. Our hotel was close to the beach, but our room was over a delivery area, and we had truck noise most of the night. The hotel catered to the Asian market, especially with the included breakfast buffet. it was composed almost entirely of soups, noodles, and other eastern delicacies. A nice looking hotel, but we will not stay there again. We arrived in Sydney on Tuesday ( we left on Monday February 4th from Honolulu with the international date line taking a day away on our flight). Our flight was smooth and turned out Hawaiian Airline was an excellent choice for us to travel to Australia. However, at Sydney we were bugged sprayed and had to sit at the gate for 10 minutes breathing the spray before we disembarked. There was a lot of coughing while everyone was inhaling the spray. I found out later that Australia still allows DDT for killing bugs, and my guess is that is what they used. Australia (and New Zealand for that matter of fact too) goes to great lengths to prevent any bugs from entering their countries. They are very protective of their produce, and want to make sure no diseases have a chance to decimate their crops. Since both countries are surrounded by water, they have a much better chance of isolating infestations entering than most countries with common land boarders do. We had one interesting experience to demonstrate the Australian's determination to stop any fruit or foods entering into their country. As we went through customs at the airport, we were directed to set our luggage on the floor and step away. They then had the cutest beagles sniff our bags. To our surprise, the beagle stopped by our carry on back pack and sat down. That we found out was the sign that something wasn't right. They went through our bag, but couldn't find anything that was a food. After about ten minutes and some questions, we figured out that my wife had put a ripe apple in the back pack when leaving two days earlier in Phoenix. She had eaten the apple before we arrived in Honolulu, but the smell was picked up by the beagles many hours after the apple had been taken out. So be forewarned not to bring any food items into Australia. There are heavy finds if they think you are trying to skirt the law. Thankfully, they let us go on through. After getting past the "beagle" test we had our first taste of Seabourn service. Happily as soon as we rounded the corner from customs, there was a man holding a sign with our names on it. Quickly we were whisked away in our private car to the Shangri-La hotel where we spent the next two nights before boarding the Odyssey. Exploring Sydney was fabulous, and while I won't go into any depth about our roaming the streets it is a city that I would highly recommend visiting and spending some time there. The hotel was a package we purchased from Seabourn, and the location and amenities (especially the buffet breakfast) made it a great choice. First impressions We were picked up by our private car around eleven thirty in the morning and driven to Glebe Island where the Odyssey was waiting for us. My first view of the Odyssey let me know we made a great choice. Not only is the ship beautiful on the outside, it has a great design on the inside. Add to this the fact that it is well cared for by the crew, and you have a great ship for a cruise. My favorite spot was Seabourn Square. You can't do the Seabourn Square justice with any description or even pictures. This was the center point for everything from coffee, tea, finger sandwiches, ice cream, computers, newspapers, books, guest services, and shopping. An array of tables and approximately 100 chairs including motorized reclining lounge chairs make this a favorite place for everyone. When you add in the outside deck area at the aft of Seabourn Square you have one of the best gathering place on any ship. Another of my favorites was the observation bar where we indulged in the afternoon tea. I loved the deck off the bar at the bow of the ship. This is a great space to watch the ship entering or leaving a harbor and looking at the scenery as you sail past islands. A third favorite was the Club. This is a very intimate bar and gathering place for trivia, dancing, and entertainment. The aft deck off the Club was also one of my favorite with a small pool and two whirlpools. A self serve drink station with ice, glasses, and a variety of soft drinks made it feel more like your back yard than a cruise ship. Finally, the Colonnade was our favorite place for breakfast and lunch. It has great seating (we especially liked the high top tables), and the veranda was large enough for several tables to accommodate anyone that wanted to eat outside. I'll mention other areas later that have their own special appeal when I discuss the food and spa venues. The Cabins Every suite up to the PH category is identical. They are very well designed except for the electrical outlets. We counted three single 120 v outlets (including one in the bathroom) and only one outlet was functional. The other two were either too close to the light switch for anything but the smallest plug-in to work or were in such a location to make it almost unusable. Bring a power bar or adapter to plug in for your computer and phones or you will have to rotate all of your rechargeable appliances. When you get past the outlets, the rest of the cabin is excellent. The shower and bath tub in a large room with two sinks feels spacious. There were plenty of drawers, and for the first time on a cruise my wife didn't fill all the shelves. The walk in closet was adequate, and had additional drawers and a safe. I will give one warning for those that might consider a guarantee v1 category cabin. This was the second travel agent recommendation I regretted as I was not upgraded. We were assigned v1 cabin 503, which was the furthest forward cabin on this level. What should have been an adequate cabin ended up in sleepless nights. In my opinion there was a design flaw with an adjoining hallway to our cabin. In the middle of the night I heard what I thought was some one entering our room. I found that the staff exit door latch closed on the same wall as our cabin. This made the same noise as if we opened and closed our own door. There were staff cabins behind this door, which added to the late night traffic. The result was that at all times of the night and early morning I was awakened with a noise that sounded like someone entering our cabin. We requested a different cabin, but since the ship was filled we toughed it out until the next cruise segment where we paid to change cabins. In the future I would never guarantee anything less that a v2 category. Food This is always the most subjective area of any cruise line. Two people on the same cruise can rate the dinning experience from excellent to poor. On this thirty six day cruise we had some excellent meals and service and at other times we left uninspired. There were four dinning areas (excluding the Seabourn Square) and each had its good and not so good points. We question the dinning hours as we preferred earlier times for breakfast and dinner. The earliest venue that opened in the evening was seven PM, with two not opening until seven thirty. In the morning we found that eight was the norm on most days with the Colonnade opening at seven thirty on some port days. We would have preferred standardized seven thirty morning hours (with some adjustment for early arrival on port days). For the evening dinning hours seven thirty is too late for our liking. We would have been satisfied with a seven PM opening for all the venues even though we would have prefer a six thirty opening for at least one venue. The Restaurant always opened at seven PM, so we found ourselves eating at this venue even when we would have preferred another venue's menu. I know this is not an issue with everyone, but it was our opinion that an earlier opening time would make the dinning experience better. I also have to mention that the ingredients used by all the food services were top notch. As an example, I asked our room stewardess to leave some tomato juice in our refrigerator each day. I was surprised that I found a glass of juice each day in the refrigerator with a cover over the glass rather than a sealed mini can. It wasn't until later in the cruise, that our stewardess apologized that she couldn't furnish the juice until after eleven AM because the restaurant was not going to squeeze the tomato juice until then. We found much the same attention to all of the food. The best quality food products available were used in the preparation. The Pool Grill - we enjoyed this venue for a casual lunch or dinner that combined table service with a buffet for appetizers, salads, and deserts. While limited in choices, they were always prepared and presented exceptionally well. We found the soup (many times a chilled fruit soup) a favorite that was not always available at the other restaurants. Desert was usually limited by visiting the adjoining Pool Bar for ice cream and cookies. However homemade ice cream is nothing to sneeze at. I should mention here that the bar service was outstanding at all of the venues. You never had to worry about your wine glass or drink getting too low. There has been expanded discussion on the quality of the wines, but no one should worry about the service or the staff's willingness to try to make you happy. The Colonnade- We ate all of our breakfasts and most lunches here except when ordering room service. Service was excellent, and could have been considered outstanding if not for occasional lapses of some of the junior wait staff. We especially liked sitting at the "high top tables" near the aft of the room and looking out over the terrace veranda. Their chocolate chip pancakes were great, and there was enough variety that nothing was repeated too often. In the evening when we didn't mind waiting till seven thirty (usually after we attended an early entertainment program) we liked the Colonnade for a more relaxing evening. There were a variety of theme dinners held at this restaurant. Sometimes we decided not to eat here simply because it didn't sound like a menu we would appreciate. However, when we did eat at the Colonnade we were very pleased. Portions at the Colonnade seemed much larger than at the other venues. Whenever I asked for a petite portion I swore they looked for the biggest piece of steak or fish they could find to serve me. The Restaurant - I should explain that normally we are not big fans of the more formal dining room. However, we did eat here on several occasions and we had some great meals. It was also here that we had some of our poorest meals. We talked with a few of the Seabourn regulars and they felt, as we did, that the service was spotty. Much of this seemed to be a function of too many inexperienced wait staff. Water glasses were sometimes not kept filled, and resulted in us asking for refills. This is the first luxury cruise line I had ever had to ask anyone to fill our water glass. Another example of inconsistent service was when my wife and I both ordered a special meal a day in advance. I ordered a fried calamari lettuce salad with fried onion rings, and she ordered a spinach salad as our main course. My salad and onion rings were excellent as I had spelled out exactly how I wanted it prepared, while her salad arrived plainly with nothing more that spinach leaves in a bowl. She was expecting some type of garnish to be included. To our waiter's credit, he brought strawberries and nuts to add to the salad when my wife told him she was disappointed. We thought the staff should have asked a few more question when she ordered her salad. Expectations were certainly not met, and we learned a lesson that if you want something not on the menu you better make sure the staff is aware of your expectations. The menu at The Restaurant was not as varied as much as we had hoped. Now that may sound strange if you saw the menu, as there were four pages listing various suggestion. However, one page was always the same "Classic" menu. Salmon, steak, and chicken. We seldom ordered off of this page. Several of the other menus had various suggestions of the same thing. As an example the Chef's recommendation might have sea bass with potatoes and vegetables, and the light fare might have the same thing listed with no potatoes. The only salad listed on the menu was a Caesar. At no time did they ever offer a mix salad or spinach salad. Therefore the reason we had a "special" order request mentioned above. On the positive side, proportions here were just to our liking, and the deserts were varied and excellent. We found an excellent waiter (Chris) that we usually requested, and enjoyed the service when we sat at one of his tables. Restaurant 2 - We ate here twice during our cruise, and might have made reservations more if the first meal had been as good as the last. I asked Guest Services how many different "tasting" menus the Restaurant used. We were told that they were using seven different menus that rotated every two days, but they had other menus that might be added on different itineraries. Proportions were small, but when you sum all of the courses up you didn't go hungry. We didn't hear too many positive comments from the Seabourn regulars we met. They mentioned the presentations were too pretentious. My own feelings are that I didn't mind the presentations, but how the wait staff explained the different foods did make a difference. On our first visit, I felt the staff was presenting a memorized script. However, on the second visit I felt they knew about the food they were presenting. Needless to say the second visit was much more appealing. I do think Seabourn should consider revamping this restaurant and go to something like an Italian or Asian theme restaurant. When one hears so many negative comments during a cruise about Restaurant 2, it is time for a change. Room Service - I have to mention that we were very pleased with room service even though room service is not considered a separate venue. The hot food was always hot when it arrived, and it was always on time. If you ask for a 7:15 breakfast it will be there no later than 7:15. Seabourn gets an A plus here. Shore Excursions We did use Seabourn for all of our shore excursions, and as mentioned by other Seabourn reviewers they are expensive. Expect to add at least four to six hundred dollars a port to your cost when using Seabourn(per couple). Some excursions were more expensive, but not very many were less than $200 a person. On two occasions we had less than adequate transportation provided. Once resulting in a disabled coach that caused the ship to be late leaving the port, and one coach that had a pipe dragging at the rear of the engine along with a terrible noise coming from the chaise that made us think we were going to be stranded again. On the latter one we were given a 30 per cent discount, but not because of the coach. The guide took us to the wrong restaurant because he didn't look over his itinerary and we were over an hour late for lunch. While no one starved to death by waiting, the restaurant had started preparing our food based on our guide's phone call saying we were almost there. It certainly did effect the quality of the food when we arrived. Seabourn doesn't get an "A" here. You might expect transportation in some parts of the world not be first class, but there is no reason Seabourn couldn't provide first class coaches in New Zealand and Australia. Other than these two excursions we enjoyed our trips. Guides were excellent on all but the one mentioned above. Don't miss a day on the Great Barrier Reef if you visit Australia! Even if you don't snorkel or dive, you should go on a boat or air tour as this is a great once in a life time experience. New Zealand's scenery is also something you should not miss. We especially like the Jet Boat excursion which was one of the highlights. Which excursion you take is a personal preference, but don't sit on the ship at port. Get out and see the sights and people in these two countries as they have a lot to offer. Spa - Despite being warned by other Seabourn reviewers, I decided to sign up for the Spa package for the entire cruise. This cost $300 per couple, and since we had 36 days with several sea days I thought it would be a good idea. In theory it was a great idea, but in reality we didn't get our money's worth. The spa package for those not familiar with Seabourn included two semi-private areas that included a hot tub, sunning and relaxing areas, a thermal pool, water-bed, a place where you could have tea and other drinks etc. The facilities looked great, and if the hot tub had been hot and the thermal pool had been functioning how we thought a thermal pool should work, it might have been worth the money. However, Seabourn has the most of the same facilities free and in abundant supply throughout the ship. There really is no need to sign up. I am guessing Seabourn is trying to figure a way to bring in more revenue with these areas, and they will be changes in the future. Other Spa amenities were very good, including the exercise gym, and locker room sauna and steam room. Final thoughts Seabourn has a great product to sell. The ship is outstanding, and the staff (for the most part) is outstanding. Pre and post cruise programs were top notch. Cabins (except as noted) were great. With all this going for it, Seabourn still needs some work. Food service is spotty, menus could be improved, Restaurant 2 needs revamping, and shore excursions need a boost. Would I book again? Certainly, but it has to be the right itinerary and the right price. If Seabourn improves some of the areas above, I would take a cruise just to take a cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
High on our "bucket list" down under was calling. We used Seabourn pre-pkg & air program. The only "glitch" was our car in SYD...no one was there! A lovely lady, Fay, finally came to our rescue and stayed with us ... Read More
High on our "bucket list" down under was calling. We used Seabourn pre-pkg & air program. The only "glitch" was our car in SYD...no one was there! A lovely lady, Fay, finally came to our rescue and stayed with us until the car arrived. About 90 minutes late! Oh well when we got to the hotel at 11:00am we were able to check right in! We enjoyed our 2 nights in Sydney, boarding the Odyssey was a breeze we had a delicious lunch in the buffet area. Loved our suite, walk in closet was wonderful and so many drawers,very comfortable indeed. Deck 6 is a great location nothing is very far...ship is a great size at 450 pax plenty of places to chill out. Really loved the Square and specialty coffee bar..relaxing spot with library, recliners, newspapers...and good conversation. The food everywhere is wonderful...famous bread sticks, they make 1250 per day! Pizza oven around the pool area...thin crust!We tried all the different "restaurants" for dinner. Restaurant 2 was over the top gourmet! I actually liked the MDR better, the Colonade for dinner is a nice option,as is the outdoor grille! We had some really stand out dinners like veal tenderlion with sweetbreads! amazing beef, so tender, and the sole, melt in your mouth...don't even get me started on desserts!! The portions are reasonable. Wine was good, if you didn't like what they offered they are happy to provide another wine. Service was friendly, and thoughtful, tho on a very few nights the kitchen seemed a bit backed-up and it took some time between courses, but staff was great about communicating. Activities were well thought out with excellent speakers, we learned a lot! and the entertainment was great! Our Cruise Director Susan, wonderful! as were Brett, Michelle, & Ashley...well done. Our fellow passengers were a very pleasant lot, friendly, interesting to talk to. We did have a mishap that caused the Wifi to be inop for 5 days...some pax really freaked out...and were very grumpy about it...remember when we didn't have it????? Shore excursions were for the most part well organized, tho suggest in New Zealand you book in advance. Some of the ports were quite hot & humid for us desert people...but on the up side we sweat off a lot of the free booze! Had a great time playing trivia with our fun team! Just needed more sea days! One crew member that really stood out Oala, from Poland but now living in Scotland! She is the very best. Just moved into the Seabourn Square as a Barrista We already booked our next Seabourn Cruise! We also sail with our family on Crystal, but like the cabins much better and the friendly staff on Seabourn! One last thing, disembarkation: we were on the air package so off on a bus to a hotel in Bali for lunch, then to the airport where we had a fellow with a luggage cart waiting for us, who stayed with us thru security, check-in, airport tax paying, all the way to the lounge...now that is Seabourn service! Well done, the Bali airport is rather a zoo! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Reading some recent entries on Cruise Critic about Odyssey and this cruise in particular, it makes me and my wife wonder whether we were on the same ship and cruise as these other people. To sum it up succinctly, this cruise line really ... Read More
Reading some recent entries on Cruise Critic about Odyssey and this cruise in particular, it makes me and my wife wonder whether we were on the same ship and cruise as these other people. To sum it up succinctly, this cruise line really leaves its competitors in this class of cruising far behind. In every possible way the Odyssey excelled. My wife and I picked up the ship in Bali and got off in Auckland, 32 days later. It was the longest cruise we have ever taken. And we were so pleased at every turn. Lets start with the ship itself. At 450 passengers and just over 30,000 tons, as I recall, it is the perfect size, at one third the passenger size of the new Oceania ships, so a lot more intimate. As is its reputation and why we took it. For the recent critic who said no crew person knew them by name, did they stay in their cabin all the time?? Having sailed Silversea many times, and Oceania, and Regent, we were blown away by the fact that it took only a few days of sailing and we were known by name on sight by countless staff throughout the ship. Of course this happens a lot easier as a process if one eats many meals in the main restaurant, but wherever we went we were greeted by our last names, always preceded by a very polite "good morning" or "good afternoon" Mr and Mrs. At the pool, where the attendants who mostly serve the drinks but also move some chairs around, they are not dressed in sloppy shirts or uniforms, as one critic recently noted. Sure they work hard, and in 95 degree heat and a blazing sun each can shed a drop of perspiration or two, but they were nice, well dressed, very capable and careful to please. Drinks galore, both alcoholic and non. Always coming around and asking for an order or replacement drinks. We have sailed on many cruises and cruise lines where we saw that it was not a happy ship or a happy crew. Not the Odyssey. It begins with the Captain and this feeling permeates its way down to all who work on board. Every one is always smiling and so pleasant. Always so willing to take the extra step. This is a very happy crew, and for some critics to say that some crew members expressed excitement about getting off the ship after many along months of basically 24/7 service, that somehow this is evidence that the crew does not like working on the ship is just foolishness. Crew and staff miss their families and are eager to get home, but most from my conversations with them want to come back on the Odyssey when their breaks are over and rejoin their Odyssey family. They say this, and I any my wife are convinced it is true. One becomes a pretty good judge of honesty at sea after completing as many cruises as we have and speaking with so many crew members. Lets go to the food. Outstanding is the only word that comes to mind. Most of my comments are addressed to the main restaurant. The meals are better on the average by far than most top rated restaurants in most major cities. Most people we talked to on board agreed with this. In fact we heard nothing but raves. Wide selection of specials each day, and if there is nothing there to one's liking, one can always order from the Odyssey menu from its standard dishes, which includes filet mignon and lamb chops daily, plus fish and many other dishes. Also excellent and different, tasty vegetarian selections.The dishes are very attractively plated and served from the kitchen with a lot of attention to detail. Labor intensive might be the better term. If the size of the portions is not to one's liking, a second ( or third!!) order of the same dish is happily accommodated from the excellent wait staff, although I would have to say the sizes were perfect in nearly every situation. American are too used to overwhelming portions, and thus overwhelming waistlines. These portions are more European in design, and very adequate. Caviar, and a very high quality of it, whatever its source, flows freely upon request, and is standard on some nights. If not Russian sevruga, it is of equal quality, and the servings are not skimpy. The dining service is excellent, with a captain and two assistants at each dining section, plus constant roving supervision from top flight Maitre D' Julian and his senior assistants. He loves to talk to guests, as do the rest of the management and service team and always with a smile and so courteous. Curtains break up the large room nicely, so it does not feel too large as is the case in many other dining rooms on other ships. The main dining room opens at 7 each night, despite the misinformed statement from another recent cruise critic. It closes to new guests at 9pm, although passengers finishing their meals can sit and enjoy food and service well past that time. The buffet is fast, tasty, comfortable inside or out, very varied and pleasant, with daily changes of hot dishes for lunch and dinner each day, plus special nights like "French" or "Italian" throughout each cruise. Breakfast is quick and substantial. Special hot dishes are available from the kitchen, and the pancakes are Divine. At night this becomes a sit down restaurant for a fare somewhat simpler than the Main restaurant, and in a more casual style. Again, the staff means to please in every way it can, with the same friendly and efficient service one gets in the Main Dining room. And speaking of casual, we happen to like the mix of formal nights and elegantly casual nights, with a few resort casual nights thrown in. We like getting a little dressed, and I wear a blazer or another jacket when not in tuxedo. It makes for a very handsome and elegant crowd. Most of the guests on board were nicely dressed for dinner in the main restaurant, with those not wishing to get "dressed" doing things more casually at the Colonade or the Patio grill. To each, one has a choice of attire and venue. The patio grill dining area on the pool deck is not too large, common with other pool grills on other cruise lines of comparable size, and they try to mix up the daily choices in addition to the standard fare of hamburgers, but for what it is it is more than sufficient, comments to the contrary from some naysayers notwithstanding. For those dissatisfied, there is the buffet Collonade a short distance away on the same deck.The patio grill is also open at night for those who prefer a more casual setting with more simple grilled foods and other selections. There is also an excellent coffee and tea bar off of Seabourn Square that is open for these fresh brewed specialty beverages plus croissants, light sandwiches, pastries, cookies, and ice cream from 6am to late each night, with a short closing at 6pm, so people who find the other restaurants closed during the day can get something to hold them over until dinner. Plus daily tea and pastry, sandwich service at the Tea. The one comment I saw from a recent cruise critic complaining about nothing open on the ship for people coming back late from excursions was just misinformation, plus Marcus in the Collonade keeps the place open after its scheduled closing time of 2pm if there are excursions still out there. We were amazed when we found this out that the ship accommodates its guests in this special way so no one has to walk away from lunch. We found the specialty restaurant Restaurant Two a little too fussy for our taste, although we very much like modern cuisine and the small plates concept. We would prefer this format be changed to either an Italian specialty restaurant or an Asian Fusion place. Throughout the ship in all bars and restaurants and on the pool deck is of course complimentary wines, champagnes and mixed alcohol drinks. The standard champagne Nicolas Feuillatte is of a very high quality. The wines at lunch and dinner both red and white were of an acceptable to good quality, with some better than others, like Santa Margarita pinot grigio daily, although we would have referred more Australian and New Zealand wines served earlier in the cruise. There is also a good sauterne dessert wine, which goes very nicely with the foie gras appetizer as well as with the fabulous desserts the pasty chefs prepare. Up to now my wife and I thought that Oceania food was the best we had ever experienced at sea, particularly on the new larger ships under Jacques Pepin's direction, but this cruise and the chef's creations have changed our minds about that. Gourmet fancier, or basic meat and potato person, this ship has it all on or off the menu for everyone's tastes. Lets say a word or two about fellow travelers on board. Generally, because this is a six star rated line and ship, one finds a more upscale, more affluent passenger than on other lines. Comparable to Silversea, Crystal or Regent passengers. Affluence as we all know does not always mean good breeding or civility, greater intelligence, knowledge, life experiences and make for more interesting conversations, but we found this generally more times than not to be the case in our travels. One goes traveling in the hopes of finding interesting traveling companions to share experiences, wile away the long sea days and dinners, and we felt Odyssey provided this opportunity better than others on which we have recently sailed with its passenger mix. Having said that, it is of course true that one can find intelligent and more interesting conversationalists in many places among many people of varied backgrounds. Now comes the Entertainment. It boggles our mind that recent cruise critics have labelled the entertainment aboard this ship as only 3's. We have to strongly disagree. It is a sure 5 plus. It was better on the second leg beginning in Sydney than the first leg, with a new troupe coming on board, but both were a solid 5. World class comedians, concert pianists, magicians, plus most importantly a group of six of the most talented singers and dancers we have ever seen in any stage or nightclub setting, whether or not at sea, these were amazing. What performances they put on, replete with great costumes and fabulous choreography. Great voices and excellent productions. And a terrific show band that provided the music throughout. And speaking of music on board, no loud, shrill, pulsating music played on the pa system on the pool deck that has been the cause of ruining other cruises we have been on over the years, particularly on the larger ships. The ship itself is nicely appointed throughout in all the public and private areas and venues. Yes it is true the interior decor of public areas does not match the artwork on the new larger Oceania vessels, but is very nice indeed although simpler. The standard cabin with veranda is a very healthy 365 sq ft, which is larger by far than most competitors, and as far as we know the largest cabin at sea for this standard cabin for this class of ship. Large separate walk in closet.......not found in comparable cabin on Oceania and Crystal. The bathrooms are a joy to behold, with double sinks and a bathtub and separate shower stall. Best we have seen. Some competitor which shall go nameless has only room for one person to be in the bathroom at one time, and are in fact claustrophobic. And the sitting area is large and very comfortable with a couch and two chairs. The veranda is larger than most we have seen. The excursions were for the most part good and interesting, and fairly priced. The tendering to go ashore on maybe six occasions on a 32 day cruise was not oppressive, as one recent cruise critic recently stated. We all wished this anchoring was not necessary, but with small ports having no docking facilities, this is to be expected. Some tender rides were of a longer duration that we would have preferred, but this also is not unusual and something the Odyssey Captain had no control over. And speaking of the Captain, for those of us who had the pleasure of getting to know him, he is a gem and a credit to this cruise line. Interesting and informative, and very gracious, he sets the tone for the ship and the cruise line he represents. It is a happy ship, with a happy staff and crew, beaming out positive vibes to the passengers on board, with the best cruise director, John Howell, we have ever experienced. We had some excellent lecturers on board, particularly the pair we picked up in Sydney. Two Australians with great knowledge and interesting and excellent presentation skills. The retired naval captain had deep knowledge of famous sea battles and commanders, like Admirals Horatio Nelson in Victory at Trafalgar, as well as the WW 2 Battle of the Coral Sea, through which we were sailing. and the MD imparted important information about our destinations in an interesting delivery style, although neither excelled in Liar's Poker, thank God - considering their occupations. To our amazement when we boarded, Smoking is permitted in the staterooms and in certain public venues. Only this cruise line and Crystal permit this, and we hold out a great deal of hope that this cruise line having heard the message from the vast super majority of its sailing passengers, gets the message and changes this. It is unhealthy and a nasty habit, that no one should have to endure from second hand smoke recirculated throughout the ship and in corridors. Fortunately on this cruise, it was not a problem for us, but it should be addressed and hopefully very soon. All in all, a marvelous experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We have always loved small ships for their intimacy and homely feel. We were led to believe this was the ultimate in luxury and were disappointed. First of all let me say, the suites, with super well appointed bathrooms, were first ... Read More
We have always loved small ships for their intimacy and homely feel. We were led to believe this was the ultimate in luxury and were disappointed. First of all let me say, the suites, with super well appointed bathrooms, were first class and so were the suite cleaning standards. There is no doubt all drinks were premium brands and no shortage of staff to offer cocktails or whatever you wished. The mainly European and South African staff were the most hard working I have ever seen on any cruise ship. They were so rushed that the pool staff shirts were soaked, these staff members also double up as pool attendants. I have never seen such untidy outfits. It was no wonder that virtually all of them talked of nothing other than the countdown of days till they got off the ship, and apart from two,not one of them said they would be renewing their contacts. I had heard beforehand the staff remember passengers names. Apart from one, this didn't happen and believe me I didn't expect it from such over worked staff. Because drinks are included it eliminates the need to present a card with your name on, so on other cruises we were always greeted by name. Whilst the food in the restaurants was of a good standard. The poolside restaurant at lunchtime was VERY poor. It consisted of the same 4 boring salads, miserable pizza, burgers, hot dogs and when advertised as Asian, there were 2 extra dishes. Bear in mind this restaurant closes at 4pm and the restaurants don't open till 7pm. So if you have been ashore or you want to eat between those hours you have to use room service! This takes us back to the 90's. there is no excuse that they couldn't do like P & O Ocean Princess's and leave open a little sandwich/pizza/salad bar. We were amazed for such a small ship that we needed to tender into almost every port. Some long journeys, up to half an hour into ports. The tenders were so hot, humid and not particularly clean. I believe that at one time Seabourn had a good name and unbeatable service, but really there are other lovely small cruise ships out there for a lot less money and far better food and service. Sorry but I would not pay the extra money to go back with Seabourn again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
We didn't actually board Odyssey in Singapore, the Cruise Critic review options didn't list Bali/Denpasar/Benoa where we had spent a very pleasant few days pre-cruise. Embarkation was as welcoming, comfortable and smooth as we ... Read More
We didn't actually board Odyssey in Singapore, the Cruise Critic review options didn't list Bali/Denpasar/Benoa where we had spent a very pleasant few days pre-cruise. Embarkation was as welcoming, comfortable and smooth as we have come to expect from our many Seabourn cruises. An added benefit is the now usual practice of allowing early arrivals to enjoy lunch on board before the suites are ready, in this case in fine weather on the Colonnade restaurant open deck. We shared a table with people we'd met on previous cruises, a happy discovery and a good start to the holiday. Our suite was ready by the time we had finished lunch, as usual we were greeted with more champagne, canapes and luxury soaps by our stewardess who was charming, obliging and efficient throughout the cruise. There were two splendid floral displays and a bowl of fresh fruits to admire as we unpacked and stowed our cases. There are distinct advantages to a penthouse suite on Seabourn. The suite is fifty percent wider allowing for two sun loungers, a table and two chairs on the balcony while the suite has two ocean view windows, dining table, armchairs, L shaped sofa, large screen TV and masses of storage space. The sleeping area is quite separate, with another TV, and leads to a large wardrobe area, the bathroom with larger shower, spa bath and a separate lavatory with hand basin. Bonuses of being on deck 10 were the short distance to the lift, a secluded sun deck aft and the Observation lounge forward. The Observation lounge has tea, coffee and pastries available from 6am which you could take back to your suite or balcony removing the need to order room service breakfast at a precise time. However, if you want truly delicious coffee a trip down to deck seven and Seabourn Square is worth the effort even if it means getting dressed. In the afternoon the Observation lounge serves up delicious special teas with cucumber sandwiches, cakes and pastries. In the evening cocktails can be sipped before dinner, brandy or liqueurs after dinner to the soothing sounds of the baby grand piano. From the sun deck it is only a few steps down to the Sky Bar on deck nine and a stroll across to the gym and spa. All these delights are included on Seabourn, no signing of chits or worrying whose round it is wherever you are, restaurants, bars, the square, sun decks, your suite, the casino and even the spa! Seabourn have found a new source of caviar, Uruguay. It is truly superb and we ordered it as a starter occasionally when nothing else appealed. Caviar was always a Seabourn speciality and it is great to see the tradition continued. The special treats on this Christmas cruise included fantastic gingerbread mansions placed on nearly every deck with an assortment of festive pies, cakes and confectionery for you to help yourself to whenever you fancied. The ship was lavishly and elegantly decorated and the crew went out of their way to encourage a festive feel. The Christmas day dinner was especially impressive with almost the whole ship gathered in the restaurant, a logistical triumph on behalf of the restaurant and galley staff. In addition there were four formal dinners, which we love, and two fabulous parties on the pool deck enjoyed as much by the staff and excellent entertainers as by the appreciative guests who celebrated well into the early hours. We even each had a gift of a sponge bag packed full of Molton Brown toiletries. All in all the cruise was up to Seabourn's usual high standard and we enjoyed it greatly, although the food provided some disappointments. At one port we spied a delivery van from Gate Gourmet so infer Carnival have opted for some preprepared airline type dishes at the behest of the accountants. This may account for the fact that when a dish of snails with chipotl sauce was on the menu my request for them just cooked in garlic and butter was refused, this refusal a first for me on Seabourn and a big surprise. Read Less
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