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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and feel I have a critical but fair eye. I had high expectations of this line and particular ship from word of mouth recommendations and other favorable reviews. I was quite disappointed and will list out all of my reasons while still making sure to give credit where credit is due. I will start with the positives first. My overall summary of the below is at the bottom of this review. Cabin: Our cabin was very nice and spacious. Bed and pillows are comfortable, ample room with a nice walk in closet and separate seating area. Bathroom has a double sink which is very nice, shower is marble and still small but pressure very good. Bathtub a waste of space in my opinion. Balcony nice size and overall room very spacious. We were in cabin 651 on the 6th floor located toward the center of the ship which was great. Molton Brown products in the bathroom and a selection of body soap offered on the first day. Room stewardess was attentive and did a very good job. Only complaint on the first day is that the room wasn’t cleaned well. The soap in our bathroom which was a body wash had been used and there was a lot of dust and finger prints on the table in the room. Otherwise, cabin was excellent and gets high marks from me. I believe we were in category V5. Ship: the ship is beautiful. Modern, clean, more yacht-like than cruise ship. A lot of wood paneling. 600 people but still felt very quiet even on sea days. Our favorite place to relax was the cappuccino lounge on floor 7 where they had tons of seating and recliners. Decor of the ship was very simple yet elegant. WIFI: very good! Much better WIFI than any other ship I’ve been on - in room technology good. Service: this is where our experience goes down the tubes. The service on this ship was HORRIBLE!! The staff do you a major favor and if asked for something that requires them to go out at all of their way, they are rude. We had some staff that were nice (mainly in cappuccino lounge and main dining room - except for maitre de) but all and all, the service sucked. Management lacks tremendously, customer service is non existent and the staff seem poorly trained, disingenuous and disinterested. I’ve really never experienced anything like this before - had we not met several other couples who also shared the same sentiment, I would have thought I was going crazy!! A few examples - almost every meal without fail we waited 10 minutes before getting anything to drink. If we needed a sauce to accompany a meal, we waited 10 minutes. In fact, we stopped ordering sauces because it was such a lost cause & by the time it arrived our meal was over. I asked for cream with my coffee - by the time the cream came, my coffee was cold. We were almost always at a meal with an empty drink that needed refilling. No accommodating what so ever. My husband likes the salmon in the colonnade - we asked if it could be served on the patio 20 feet away and they said no, they prefer not to. At dinner in the main, I asked if i could have a croquette that came with a different entree than what I ordered and was told no, they only had a certain amount and could not accommodate me. I mean, come on! I tried to move my Thomas Keller reservation because my husband wasn’t feeling well and was told with 11 days left on the trip that they couldn’t accommodate us. Finally, after getting the guest services manager involved, we got one at an undesirable time on a different day but at this point, we took what we could get. These may seem Iike minor gripes but we encountered them several times per day and was a major turnoff and took a lot away from the experience. The overall staff attitude was rude and requests of them felt like inconveniences. This in itself was bad enough to never return to this ship. As I said previously, several other couples experienced the same rude service. My husbands Camera was lost day 1 and finally arrived at our cabin with a cracked and dented lens. We requested compensation for the lens. Seabourn asked us to provide the link to the lens - which we did directly from the website - to prove it was $500. They tried to tell us it was a $200 lens (they had the wrong lens) and refused to refund us. We have yet to resolve this issue with them. Food - We are major foodies and we’re quite disappointed in the food on this ship. I will say that the quality is there in a lot of areas (not all) but the execution is not. Breakfast was good but the same every day. Not a bad thing, but boring after a while. A decent selection and probably the best meal. Lunch was a mixed bag. Salad bar always had nice items and the grill items - fish, burgers, hot dog, etc always very tasty and fresh. Meat quality good, fish quality good. My only complaint on the fish was it never had any seasoning or flavor - this was a major theme for most items on board - but I would still prefer to add salt vs. having the sodium and preservative packed food a lot of ships have, so this wasn’t a major complaint. All lunch hot food served in the chaffing dishes were slop and never hot. We almost never ate any of the prepared food served at lunch because it was room temperature and unappealing. Dinner : main dining room was respectable but not great. We didn’t have one meal there that was really delicious. Temperature was an issue and seasoning was non existent. I’ve never put so much salt on my food in my life. Service mixed. Our first night there we waited about 15 minutes before anyone came to our table. Finally the waitress comes over with an iPad looking down and says “what can i get you” - no greeting, no introduction. Very impersonal feeling. Sushi was nothing to write home about. A lot of rice and uninspired. I actually overheard someone say “it’s not as bad as gas station sushi” - I’ll leave it at that. The colonnade was OK - probably our least favorite. They do special nights like rib night or clam bake night and they look beautiful but just don’t quite execute it well. For example : rib night - the ribs came out in a beautiful Staub cast iron pan presented family style and looked delicious. Unfortunately, the ribs were dry, cold and had clearly been sitting on a heat lamp for an hour +. We sent it back and got a new rack that was the same dry and Luke warm ribs this time with some bbq sauce slathered on top. To put the icing on the cake, the assistant maitre de came over and instead of apologizing that the food came out lacking temperature and dry, explained that the ribs weren’t Texas style but st.louis style and weren’t supposed to fall off the bone..I mean ..really ? I’m not expecting anything more than a simple apology or some sort of follow up to see if the second round was better. Instead, I was blamed for expecting them to fall off the bone and they didn’t. I didn’t need ribs that fell off the bone, just didn’t want to eat something as dry as wood. The Patio by the pool in our opinion offered the best most innovative meals but even those fell short on flavor and execution. We also had a Northern Europe itinerary with a lot of rain and cool weather and found ourselves eating outside in the windy cold weather because the patio was the best choice. Thomas Keller which is the specialty restaurant was very good for a steakhouse on a cruise ship. I would say this is likely the best option on board. Food delicious but once again, service lacking. Not attentive and seemed to do you a big favor. We found in all restaurants that the deserts were mediocre and most didn’t taste cooked on board. I don’t think I had one desert I loved. I also found the breads were uninspired. In summary : good quality ingredients (for the most part ) that aren’t executed well. Oceania food trumps Seabourn by a landslide. A few other items to note: Older crowd, no children. Except for us (in our early 30s), most people were 65+. Not good or bad, just our cruise demographic. Free laundry was a nice feature with Miele commercial washers and dryers and complimentary detergent. Gym was small but clean, coffee on board was very good. Entertainment was respectable. Nice job at including different daily activities. Excursions - expensive but well organized. I read the ship docs at ports further away from the destinations to save on docking fees. Not sure if this is true. We did a few excursions - food provided on them was mediocre and limited and tours very pricey. Spa - didn’t use but quite expensive. Very few discounts offered throughout cruise. They had a “promotion” that if you do 3 treatments from a select number of services you get 10% off first, 20% off second and 30% off third. Note this is per cabin and not per stateroom. I know all cruise spas are expensive but this was more than canyon ranch on Oceania. I may have left stuff out but to summarize my overall impressions: cabin and ship top notch and classy, food better than the celebrity level lines but nothing special. Service was so bad it border-lined on offensive and as a result, I will likely not return to Seabourn. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are long time Seabourn cruisers recently off a 16 day cruise on Quest. Last year on an 18 day trip on Ovation we noticed many changes, not for the good. This trip, it’s clear the product has sunk far below what it once was. ... Read More
We are long time Seabourn cruisers recently off a 16 day cruise on Quest. Last year on an 18 day trip on Ovation we noticed many changes, not for the good. This trip, it’s clear the product has sunk far below what it once was. 1. Dinner Service in the Restaurant/Colonnade. Three dinners where we casually appeared between 7:30 and 8:30. Result: At least a half hour between courses. Water and wine filled once and never again. This situation was a topic of discussion around the ship and some had figured out that if you go right when they open, you will have decent service. So for all the next dinners we raced to get in line before 7 so that we could have a decent dinner. Many times the line at 6:50 snaked to the back of the ship. 2. Service in the Observation Bar. This was a cold trip so the Sky Bar and Patio Bar were useless. The Observation Bar was the only bar open before 6:30 P.M. and since we had to be in line before 7 P.M. to get a decent dinner, you had to be in the Observation Bar for a pre-dinner drink. It was packed. People would get there at 5:30 and put clothing on seats. At 6:15 there would be massive groups circling for a seat. And getting a refill or second drink - forget it. We, and many others, asked for the Club to open early. It never did. So now if you wanted to be at the Observation Bar you had to rush to get up there by 5:30/5:45 or you weren’t getting in. Now we are rushing to get a drink and rushing to get dinner 3. Service in Housekeeping. Hand towels missing, called Guest Services, called Housekeeping, three days later hand towels. Same with bath towels and a bath mat on different occasions. One night came back from a show, took a shower and did not notice until exiting the shower – no bath towels. Loved drying my long hair with a hand towel. They have taken away bottled water in the room and now have a jug. But that only works when you have glasses which we had only twice. 4. I could go on including waiting for tables at breakfast because there were no clean ones. The major topic everywhere in the ship was complaints and horror stories about dinners and shore excursions and such. That old thing about “have dinner when you want with whom you want” is a joke. Our whole schedule was about getting to the Bar and one of the Restaurants when they opened so we could get a seat. Ugly. They have removed the good champagne and replaced it with a very poor version. The Patio Grill buffet at lunch is half what it was. The great cranberry nut cookies they used to have on all ships are no more because “cranberries are too expensive”. This is not a luxury experience anymore. 5. We spoke to many staff about what had happened and the answer was they have gone from the former ratio of 2 guests to one staff to three guests to one staff (150 crew on Quest versus the former 225). It shows. I can’t imagine what would get us, long time Seabourn cruisers, back on board. Sorry to see Seabourn become what they have become. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Great itinerary. Lots of stops in Ireland. One really gets a feel for the country and island. Northern Ireland was also very interesting. Most of the excursions were satisfactory but tame. We did some trips on our own (such as to Bushmills ... Read More
Great itinerary. Lots of stops in Ireland. One really gets a feel for the country and island. Northern Ireland was also very interesting. Most of the excursions were satisfactory but tame. We did some trips on our own (such as to Bushmills Irish Whiskey Distillery and Antrim Coast), Limerick, and other places where we wanted to spend more time. But many of the ship excursions were half day and we felt there would not be enough time at the locations to really experience them. We felt the dining experience was overly formal for our tastes- not including the formal nights which we did not go to. There was only sit down service available in all the dining venues. Staff was very attentive and helpful and the food was good. But no buffet was available. As a result dining took 2-2 1/2 hours each night. The ship also changed the time of departure in several ports which upset our plans when we were doing activities on our own. No explanation was given for such changes. The cruise director had no interest in coordinating what passengers could do on their own with local services and transportation. For example, in Foynes, Ireland, the last shuttle bus from town to the ship was scheduled to leave before the local bus from Limerick to Foynes would arrive in Foynes even though the ship would still be in port. That information could have easily been ascertained and the shuttle bus coordinated with the local bus times from Limerick to Foynes. When this lack of information was pointed out to him he was disinterested. The cabin was generous in dimensions, had good storage space, a comfortable bed and in general, nice appointments. However, the tv was a small tv that fit inside a cabinet with doors that rolled out (circa 1980). I would have expected a big screen tv mounted on the wall, maybe 2 tvs. The on demand selection was good. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation ... Read More
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation was boring and bland. The dress code is not policed and many evenings gentlemen turned up to dinner in polo shirts. The shore excursions were expensive and sometimes involved long journeys presumably because Seabourn do not wish to pay more expensive docking fees. The pillows and mattress had the consistency of a marshmallow. Despite firm pillows being offered our steward could not find any which wasn't great. The one female hairdresser on board was awful and the service generally slow. My husband ordered roses for our anniversary and they turned up at 10pm that night. The entertainment was boring and very few enrichment talks compared to Cunard. We could seldom have breakfast in the restaurant as we were on excursions and it did not open until 8am. The Colonnade was like a zoo. Very very disappointing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful ... Read More
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful and private area. We noticed the massage/treatment cabana setup and was excited about getting a massage while there. Unfortunately, the massage/treatment area was for show only. There were no available treatments for anyone in The Retreat, except for maybe a manicure at 7:30pm. Perhaps it is our fault for not booking everything in advance; however, when you're actually in The Retreat it puts you in a different mindset. I believe the spa should have a dedicated masseur/masseuse available at some point for guests of The Retreat. Also, food service took forever and I had to go downstairs for a bite to eat and bring back some proper chocolate chip cookies. It's a great concept, just get it right! In regard to onboard dining, the food was absolutely delicious. We were very impressed by The Grill (Thomas Keller). We tried it onboard Seabourn Odyssey and wasn't overly impressed but Seabourn Ovation got it right! WELL DONE! Our verandah suite was perfect at all times, and we loved our stateroom attendant. Since we wanted to go to Moscow, we did book a private tour for the entire time we were in St Petersburg. We would have purchased through Seabourn but the Moscow excursion wasn't available in advance (or maybe I missed it). Moscow was absolutely INCREDIBLE! It should be a must while you're in Russia. The Entertainment was great but I believe it's time to replace the Tim Rice show. It was great but not one you want to see on every cruise. In regard to the staff, they all get 5 stars! It was sad to leave the ship but we are looking forward to our next Seabourn cruise. Also, a special thank you to Shoreside Guest Relations for solving our issues. Well done to them, too! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I have sailed before on Windstar, Ponant and Seabourn. From boarding in Dover( a dream of ease ) to disembarking in Copenhagen, both were effortless and lovely experiences compared to air travel these days, that I refer to as "combat ... Read More
I have sailed before on Windstar, Ponant and Seabourn. From boarding in Dover( a dream of ease ) to disembarking in Copenhagen, both were effortless and lovely experiences compared to air travel these days, that I refer to as "combat travel"! They know your name within a day or two, and the service is remarkable from all departments! They enable you to note your preferences before hand as far as the stocking of your bar and type of soft drinks you would like. Preferences for bedding conditions are all taken into consideration, which is great for us with back issues. The food that is overseen by Thomas Keller went from very good to excellent in all dining venues. The Sushi restaurant is a great lunch choice as they have very good bento boxes! They have enough dining spot choices, without having too many, that seems to lessen the food quality on other luxury cruise lines. From breakfast in my suite daily, to most of my meals in The Restaurant in the evening were terrific. An example of how great they are is how the chief chef Jes Paskins was relayed a passing comment that I love mussels. Within a few hours he appeared at my table in The Restaurant and asked when I would like them? (lunch or dinner the next day), He also asked me how I would like them prepared. He prepared them as requested in the French classic style, which then was reduced with cream. Incredible result the next evening at dinner! He is an enigma, and has a personality you won't forget! The tour director Chris Harley was great and very caring. He also is a super talented singer from the London West Inn and made my visits to their Grand Salon very memorable. All performers were not your typical seafaring talent! The bartenders, stewardesses, guest services staff are beyond professional and caring. You can feel they actually care about your welfare and comfort at all times! The entertainers in the Observation Lounge on deck 11, Rachael & Vlad are quality light jazz performers! The bartender on deck 5 Vanessen with a great personality, makes the best "sour margarita" i have had on a ship! They almost perceive what you need before you ask, which is uncanny. I have thought of cruising on other cruise lines, but this last cruise on the Ovation has "sealed the deal" for me, and I already look forward to my next booked cruise for Nov. 27th of this year for 24 days with anticipation of returning to their wonderful care! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was an easy sell for us. Ovation was just beautiful.....almost identical to Encore. We love the size....large enough, light filled with beautiful yachtlike decor but small enough to give us the feeling of being on a private ship. Our suite on the deck above the pool, was well appointed (hello 3 sinks!) and our needs were more than meet by our stewardess who always had a smile & pleasantry to share. We felt the service and the entertainment were a cut above our previous cruise....this being only our second cruise ever. We were addressed by our names each & every day. Our Captian was very visible and engaging as was CD Handre. Both were class acts. Servers in all resturants were pleasant, engaging and good at their jobs. We wanted a late May cruise and this itinerary seemed interesting. We had been to Lisbon but not Northern Spain or Western France or Southern England. We have been to Normandy, Brugge, Amsterdam etc. but were very happy to return. I was a bit apprehensive since I had heard that the Bay of Biscay is notorious for rough seas. Well, she was a gentle giant. Lisbon was faboulous with warm temps and sunny skies. Northern Spain was just beautiful, with a bit a rain here and there, but nothing to dampen the beauty of the coastal towns of Gijon and San Sebasion, Biblao etc. and the wonderful sights & food. We did miss one port, Biarritz, France due to the port closing. The sun & moderate temps made a welcome return in Bordeaux......this was one of the highlights of the cruise. We came up the Gironde River and docked right smack dab in the middle of the city. We were the only ship in town and the locals came by in droves to relax and picnic in our shadow. A lovely French lady approached us on our return to ship just to chat about our cruise and our reflections of her city. The Bordeaux wine region is spectacular.....St Emillion is not to be missed. Southern England, port of Torquay was a pleasant surprise....warm temps and sunny skies, contrary to the Agatha Christie image that I expected. We visited the sea town of Dartmouth with its' interesting seafaring history. As an American, the beaches of Normandy hold a special place in our hearts and it was good to return. We arranged for a private tour & spent the day with a lovely local French lady, three generations removed from the events of WW2 but whose grandfather was head of the resistance movement at the time......her reverence for those who helped liberate her homeland was palpable....not to mention her expertise in the places and events of the Allied invasion. Wow....just Wow! We sailed up the Thames to the Greenwich neighborhood of London. Spent two wonderful days....Windsor, the Cotswolds etc. Then is was across the Channel again.....may I add that the seas in all our Channel crossings were calm and I mean, calm....to Zeebrugge, where we chose to visit Ypres and Flanders Field (of WW1 fame) as we had been to Brugge & Brussels in the past. Beyond moving! Amazing how a city and region so devastated by that horrible war has risen from the ashes to present a gorgeous city and countryside. We ended in the city of Amsterdam with all its charms etc. The Anne Frank House is a must do along with a private canal cruise. This cruise seemed to us to hit a very historic note. We enjoyed it very much as we had a sample of Western Coastal Europe with its' amazing role in the history of two world wars. From the German UBoat stalls in Bordeaux, to the beaches of Normandy to the Fields of Poppies in Flanders to the London Underground bunkers.....We were impressed with the spirit of the European people who endured so much during those dark times. Cruise & Ovation both get an APlus from us. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships ... Read More
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships are lovely, as are the cabins. The cabin stewardess was excellent. The cruise director was excellent - but the apparent problems are far from his control. Sadly, the service throughout the remainder of the ship fell far short. The service on Seabourn has continually degraded since its office merger with Holland America. In the Restaurant and in the Colonnade, service was extremely slow. The norm to wait for coffee or a glass of juice was often 15 - 20 minutes. The staff were excellent - there were simply too few of them. The clear way to improvement in this area is to hire more staff and to train them well in the Seabourn manner. The spa is beautiful but it, too, seems understaffed. The major problem there is with scheduling. Armed with a page outlining my requests for dates and services, I was told they were unable to fulfill these requests. For guests who are aboard for two or more As for the decline in entertainment, that area, too, needs a huge overhaul. How long can two ships live on one show? The Tim Rice show is well done - but for two years now, it's the only show onboard that's been worth seeing. Seabourn no longer offers the exclusive service and the personal touches that originally made it shine, and which were the basis for Seabourn ships and cruises consistently ranking #1 in the industry. It's a sad realization, but Seabourn is no longer great; it's not even good. It has removed services, diluted service in public areas, reduced the numbers of staff (pre-dinner in the Observation Bar, it was next to impossible to get a waiter), and in general, the attitudes of the service staff have been reduced to that of the mid-range ships. For example, one morning, we were leaving the ship for an excursion and waiting for approval to debark. Three staff members were on duty in that area, and one was vocal about how badly the company treated its employees. This kind of attitude was also displayed by some staff members in the Colonnade. Two extremely large spaces on this ship and its sister ship, Encore, sit empty most of the time. The retreat (why in the world would someone PAY to sit in an area that's already available FREE?) and the beautiful deck area outside the Grill, under the Colonnade deck. We were told that Thomas Keller doesn't want his food served cold. If that is the reason, it is ridiculous. In the Mediterranean, the weather is balmy and the temperature outside is warmer than inside. The number of steps from kitchen to table is the same. Whatever the reason for this space sitting empty, it has involved very poor planning. Yes, guests could walk down all of the steps to get there from the Colonnade - but very few actually do it. The space sits empty. Whether the overall problem is lack of planning, lack of training training, hiring of so many new staff due to the two new larger ships, or to something else - is all irrelevant. Seabourn has lost its shine. No wonder its 2018 rank sank to #4 - another new low. The ports were fine, but the shore excursions, too, reveal that Seabourn is looking for a bargain - not for quality. Excellent tour guides still live in all of the ports; we didn't encounter any except on tours that we privately ordered. The ship's tours were fair - but did not begin to equal what Seabourn has offered since its inception. Too much emphasis on economy and Thomas Keller, and not enough emphasis on the guests. We will not likely return. Many other regular Seabourn guests shared their disappointment. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London ... Read More
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London prior to driving down through Kent to Dover, an excellent way to start a holiday. We had booked a B&B in Dover but on arrival the host was most unpleasant so we ended up staying overnight at the Best Western in Dover, best move we ever made. There were many boarding the ship who stayed here. We left the hotel for the ship at about 12:15 and arrived at the ship a bit after 12:30. If it could be, I think boarding we quicker and simpler than our past cruises. We were on the ship in no time to be treated by the cruise director Handre who was the CD on 2 of our 3 previous cruises. He would have to be up with the best (and nicest) CD's going around. As we had done on previous cruises, we went to the Colonnade Restaurant for lunch while we waited for access to our suite. About 2pm our suite was available and our luggage was already in our suite. Within 15 minutes our stewardess arrived to introduce herself and to give us a welcome glass of champagne and canapés. there is a bottle of Champagne on ice but we didn't drink it, not being big Champagne drinkers and there is so many other options for drinking on the ship. The Ship The ship is in beautiful condition as you would expect for a ship with only 6 months of sailing. But throughout the cruise, we noticed many times, the ship being washed / painted / touched up by crew. No wonder the ship is in immaculate condition. We loved the tastefully appointed furnishings (not blingy but very nicely done) and the artwork around the ship is wonderful. I had read reports about the pool area being small for the number of guests. This is probably correct if you are the type to sit around the pool all day. We do not pay this amount of money to cruise to sit around a pool, we can do that on our beaches in Australia for free. So this is not a problem for us but it may be for others. Otherwise, the ship facilities are fabulous. The Cabin We love the layout of the cabin with so much storage we have never been able to fill all the storage locations (as we do not skimp on what we take). We asked our stewardess for more hangers for the walk-in robe and by the time we came back from muster, they were there. The TV looks like about 42" and it was used to watch some of the enrichment talks, look at our account, listen to the announcements and on the 3 sea days to watch some TV. For charging phones / tablets / cameras, I usually take a power board but didn't use it on this ship as there were adequate power outlets. There is a USA, European and a USB outlet on either side of the bed as well as outlets in the sitting areas of the suite. We love the layout of the cabin and were very comfortable living there for more than 3 weeks. Our stewardess (Jeanet) was so nice, looked after our suite so well and did everything we wanted. We also got to know the stewardess down the hall (Gilcelia) and she was also very nice, and we loved chatting to or having a joke with her. Dining First cruise we mainly dined at the Colonnade in the evening but on our past three cruises the main dinning room (MDR) has been our goto in the evening. In summary, it is for us mostly Colonnade in the morning and lunch (on deck if it is not windy or cold) and the MDR in the evening. The MDR was open every day for all three meal times but we noticed very few (maybe 10) in the MDR for breakfast. Apart from maybe one or two glitches (if that), the meals were exceptional. If I didn't want an entree or I wanted 2 mains, this was not a problem. Basically, you could eat whatever you wanted from the menu. If you want something special, you can get it if it is available or they will make sure you get it in the future. We always wanted extra greens with our evening meal and always got more than we needed. We dined twice in the TK Grill, it is a beautifully appointed area but while we loved dining there, we did not find the food any better than the MDR, just different. Dalia in Seabourn Square made our Lemon and Ginger tea each morning and is wonderful. We didn't get to know Gabor who was also there as Dalia was mostly working in the morning. Mostly these teas were made from real sliced lemon and sliced ginger (not tea bags) and were so nice. This time we did not dine in the Sushi Restaurant (we loved it on our last cruise) only because we did not get around to it. We dined at the Earth and Ocean (before the cruise we thought we would be dining here every night) once on the cruise and it was ok, but we still preferred the MDR (more about the service later). Entertainment We thought the groups (changed halfway though the cruise) in The Club were fabulous, just our type of music. This was our goto place for a drink before dining. Last cruise it was the TK Grill Bar and the cruise prior, it was the Observation Lounge. We just went wherever we preferred the music. Every few days we would go to one of the other areas for a change, it was nice to have that choice. It seemed that most guests go to the Observation Lounge as it seemed to be the busiest (and while the music was nice, the music in the Club was more our taste). The Seabourn Singers (2 male and 2 female) were fabulous and we loved any of the shows where they sang. In summary, we cannot do all the activities, just cannot fit them in. So to me that means there are adequate things for us to do during a day on the ship. We met some wonderful other guests who we dined with several times (a UK couple and a US couple). We loved going to trivia, Handre (CD) and Kobus (Assistant CD) make this "special". Service The crew are a real asset to Seabourn. There was not once on this cruise where we were not well looked after and made feel special. Each time we went to either the MDR or the Colonnade, either Roxanne or Erica (not spelled that way, but that's what we called her) were so nice and welcoming, always calling us by our name. But not just them, all the crew were the same, just wonderful. From the captain (Stig Betten) to the security when getting on/off the ship and the tender operators, all the crew were so nice and friendly and when you are away from family for 6 weeks, they became our family which "made" our holiday. In the MDR we loved Brandon, Reggie, Renzo, Sithabile, Genesis and all the others (too many to mention them all). In the Colonnade, we were always well looked after by Marko, Miguel, Trajcek (I think), Savannah and many more. Each crew member made you feel special and we loved chatting to them (although that time is not much because they are so busy). In summary, there was not one crew member who did not help us to have a wonderful time. the only issue we had was with Guest Services where while they tried there best and eventually did everything we required, I could tell they were inexperienced. But because we know how things worked, it was ok but for the non-Seabourn cruiser it may have been a problem. But that was not a real inconvenience for us. Children We did not have any children on the ship this cruise. It would not have mattered anyway, we have had children on previous cruises and that has not been any problem. Although in saying that, I do not think this is the type of cruise line to take most young children (i know there are exceptions). There are cruise lines we would take our grandchildren, but this is not one of them, they would be bored most of the time. Ports We did several Seabourn excursions and these were good. The guides were very good and there seemed to be always a person from Seabourn on the bus also, to look after any guests needs. I did notice there was not as much control over how many were on each bus. Normally Seabourn only half (about) fill a bus but this time it seemed there were more on one and less on the other. This was not any issue. We worked out early on in our cruise that all day excursions were not as enjoyable as they once were. Mainly because the all day excursions are to the popular tourist sites and these were overrun with tourists (of which we were two) even in October. We subsequently canceled some all day excursions we had booked, which Seabourn refunded immediately, so no problem there. We loved just wandering around the ports or organising some of our own excursions which we did on a couple of occasions, particularly the ports when departure was 11pm (3 of the 22 were late departures) and one (Rouen, France) we stayed overnight. Many of the ports we went to we would go to again which probably means we loved most of the ports. We are gym people and went to the gym several times but not as much as we thought as we were walking 12-15k a day in each port. The gym is well equiped and we always found we could use equipment we wanted. The free classes started at 7am and while these are good, not so useful to use other than port days as we wanted to get out and about in each port. In summary, we will certainly go on another cruise and I see no reason to change lines so I am certain it will be with Seabourn. ps: While it did not really affect us (we missed Portimao and spent an extra day in Lisbon, there are worse things that can happen than this), the weather in that region at that time was not good with some rough seas and high winds. The captain and the crew are to be commended for there professionalism in communicating with guests and looking after us in a safe manner. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the ... Read More
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the assistant director of the cruise, was incredibly generous, listening to our every detail. We also want to thank Frédéric for his impeccable service, his Francophonie, his smile, and his good advice. the cruise is rather romantic, cozy, hushed. We really appreciated the quality of the restaurants, the variety of menus, the freshness of the products, the talent of the chef. We did not take advantage of the pool which turns out to be quite small. The shows are of quality: violin, singing, magician ... the animation was perfect and Mr. Henry Halloy embodies this perfection. A lot of elegance! This first cruise in our life will remain etched in our memory, and the only desire is to go back on board! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med. It has been a while since we last ... Read More
Since 1999 my wife and I have sailed 300+ days with Seabourn. It goes without saying that over the years we have been very satisfied. Not so with our last two week cruise on the Encore in the Med. It has been a while since we last sailed on a Seabourn cruise and it will be a while - if ever - before we try again. The interior of the Encore including the suites is fabulous, but we cruise where the weather is good and the outside spaces are crammed and chaotic. The pool deck (serving simultaneously as a bar, as a restaurant and as a sun deck is at least 30% smaller than on the Odyssey class - for 150 more passengers. You will have lunch (if you can find a table) less than 10 inches from a sunbed maybe inhabited by a very large person in a very small bathing suit. Even if the food was good you could easily loose your appetite: You reach for the ketchup and you wind up with a bikini top in your hand.... But this goes to the core of our grievances: The food is actually horrible at all of their restaurants. We did not have one good meal out of the 40 odd meals we had during the two weeks. We could not fault the main Chef (from Bologna). He did what he could with an insufficiant budget and inferior ingredients: Dry, tough and tasteless meats. Tired fish. Too few mushrooms to make the mushroom soup taste of mushroom - not dish water. Ill smelling and ill tasting pork belly with a scallop on top with the texture of jelly. Mushy berrys at the breakfast buffet way past their last selling date. Now they have the new specialty restaurant to which Thomas Keller has sold his name. Shame on him. We dined there four times with exacly the same result: The cook has a better budget hence better ingredients. But the guy on this particular cruise did not have any idea whatsoever how to prepare them: The cured salmon was so salty that your palate burned. It was uneatable so it did not matter, that he had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap from the dish. A “grilled” Rib-eye for two was burnt to a crisp on the outside. The proud cook pronounced that it weighed 900 grammes. He cut it up in 14-16 slices at the table and slammed half of the slices down on my wife’s plate and the other half on mine. The plates looked like what you would feed a very big dog. We tried all the sides during our four visits. All of them were seriously over-cooked. Mushy and tasteless. For the first time ever we had a sinewy Lobster Thermidor. It is beyond me how he accomplished that. Once before on all of our Seabourn cruises we have had food as bad as on this one. On that particular one the Chef had a nervous breakdown and was totally unable to function. They had to fly in a trainer/replacement. My guess is that Seabourn has now finally been 100% “incorporated” in Carnival’s HQ in Seattle and has been forced to “piggy back” on deals with the vendors supplying their 4 star cruise lines even though they still charge six star prices. Finally a word about the ratio between newbees and experienced staff. It is way too high. My guess is 80:20. In fact Seabourn rely on the guests to train the majority of the staff who are on their first contract. As a guest you need to in order to get what you want..... Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, ... Read More
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, Seabourn and their staff ensured everything went extremely smoothly from the very start. Check-in and boarding in Stockholm took 5 minutes, very different from experiences we have had in departure ports like Seattle and Istanbul. Our cabin (Veranda Suite on deck 9) was well equipped, and a little larger than we have experienced on other ships. I would not say the Seabourn Ovation has a great “wow” factor - no large Atriums or glass elevators, BUT the attention to detail from the staff, and the fact the ship is designed to never seem crowded, more than made-up for it.....it very quickly felt like home. The food was excellent in all restaurants. We particularly liked the Sushi restaurant and the excellent waiters/sushi chefs, as well as The Grill (reservation needed, but no extra fee to pay). The Collonade restaurant provides buffet breakfasts and lunch, with a themed menu dinner service. The found the quality of food just as refined as in the ships main restaurant ( called The Restaurant). We noticed two things with the Seabourn staff, that added to our experience; they were happy to engage in conversation with the guests and we particularly had the impression they were proud to work for Seabourn. This pride showed in the way they treated all the guests and took care of every detail. I need to mention two staff by name, Danielle, oiur excellent cabin steward that always seemed to be available right outside our cabin and always with s mile, and Tibor in the Patio Bar, who decided his mission was to introduce my non-alcohol drinking wife to cocktails of her choice. We only used the Seabourn shore excursions in St Petersburg as we did not have independent visas for Russia. All the trips were well organized and not too expensive compared to other cruise lines. We also noticed that Seabourn seemed to ensure each group was quite small, so never any waiting around. Finally dis-embarkation in Copenhagen could not have been easier. No immigration, no queues for luggage or for taxis.....just a smooth as the start of the trip. Insider tip - if you like good croissants for breakfast, go to the coffee shop in the Seabourn Square. They make their own, and they are a little more “French” than in the restaurant. Thank you Seabourn! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Our 7th Seabourn cruse, first on the new Encore-size which carries about 150 more passengers than the previous 'Odyssey' class. We were on for 14 nights, most passengers were on 7 night cruises and the ship was full, so that made ... Read More
Our 7th Seabourn cruse, first on the new Encore-size which carries about 150 more passengers than the previous 'Odyssey' class. We were on for 14 nights, most passengers were on 7 night cruises and the ship was full, so that made it a very busy cruise for the staff. The ship is beautiful as the Odyssey class ships were, very much the same style. The suite was super, everything on the whole ship was clean and maintained and to a very high standard. Public spaces, the pool deck, the main restaurant, the theatre haven't been increased in size as much as the passenger numbers have increased. That led to the pool deck being pretty crowded on an afternoon when people came back from trips. The main dining room doesn't have the same feeling of space on the previous ships, it's ok, but some of the ambience is lost. The second restaurant, "The Colonnade" is much larger and brighter than before which is an improvement. Since now not everyone can fit into the theatre at the same time there are two shows a night instead of one, which does give you some choice. Service has always been key to the whole Seabourn experience and is why we have returned again and again. Overall we received the same excellent Seabourn service from friendly, well-trained staff, there really isn't a bad staff member and many are very good at their job. We did have some lapses, the main dining room did not always work well when it was busy with tables left unattended for longer than you'd expect on a luxury line. There were other issues in other venues with forgotten orders, late room service. There weren't many lapses, but Seabourn usually hits 99% perfect service, here it was perhaps 90%. Food. Everyone cares about food. This cruise it was mostly very good but with, for the first time on Seabourn, a couple of meals which were terrible, badly cooked, bad presentation. The choice was good, there was never a day you couldn't find a venue and menu you were excited about, didn't always deliver however. The ship now has the Thomas Keller Grill for which you can have one reservation per segment, and if you ask nicely and look hungry you might be able to add a second evening. The food there from the fixed menu was excellent. The ship also has a sushi restaurant we tried once, that was also very good indeed. We feel the food on Seabourn is usuall very good with occasional excellent, this cruise was very good with occasional excellent (in Thomas Keller) and a couple of meals which were dire. Entertainment was as good as you can expect from a small cast on a smaller ship. We thought the shows were the best we've had on Seabourn. We were fortunate to have Jeffrey Archer on the ship as a guest lecturer and each of his talks were very well worth attending. Overall it was Seabourn but a bit diluted. Ship is lovely but feels a bit crowded compared to the smaller ships. The staff worked incredibly hard but still the service and the food fell a little short of what we think of as Seabourn standard. We'll definitely continue to sail Seabourn but will favour the Odyssey class ships if we can and if Encore class, try to find cruises which are sailing less than totally full. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a fabulous cruise in so many ways , but our cabin allocation was very disappointing. We generally cruise with Silversea and assumed that all the verandah cabins on The Encore would as on Silversea, be of the same standard, ... Read More
This was a fabulous cruise in so many ways , but our cabin allocation was very disappointing. We generally cruise with Silversea and assumed that all the verandah cabins on The Encore would as on Silversea, be of the same standard, simply differentiated by their position on the ship- we have always found this to be the case with Silversea. Unfortunately we were allocated cabiin 851. This cabin is attached to the Wintergarden Suite and the balcony is miniscule.This cabin should only be offered for single occupation as two poeple could not sit on the balcony in comfort. On a previous voyage on this ship a friend on a guaranteed basis was allocated cabin 1032-a disabled cabin with no external view and a balcony overlooking the pool. Again, she was very unhappy with this cabin. On both occcasions we were told that the ship was full so there was no chance to change. We loved Seabourn Square and the multiple pool areas.The late night entertainment in the Observation Lounge with Barbara and Valerio was wonderful, this was a lovely venue to enjoy a late night cocktail. the Club area was rather small and very little used. The Tim Rice show was good,but the only other show offered was disappointing. Jeffrey Archer was a guest speaker on the cruise and both his lectures were very entertaining. The service was good ,but a little too formal and not especially friendly, even at the end of the week the only person who appeared to know us by name was our wonderful cabin attendant. We really did not like St Tropez or Monaco-both far too crowded,but the other ports of call were good. The smallest gesture to acknowledge the inadequacy of the cabin would have been very much appreciated,but none was forthcoming.Would we sail with Seabourn again? Not sure! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I love approaching the terminal right before embarkation. The anticipation has been building for so long, the ship is finally in sight, and you’re almost there! But here’s a tip: in Barcelona, Seabourn ships may not be docked with the ... Read More
I love approaching the terminal right before embarkation. The anticipation has been building for so long, the ship is finally in sight, and you’re almost there! But here’s a tip: in Barcelona, Seabourn ships may not be docked with the others. Our taxi driver (who did not speak English… I’m not sure many in Barcelona do) wanted to go where the larger ships usually dock; we had to motion to him to turn around and take us to Terminal S, as in South. First Impressions No doubt about it; the Encore is a beautiful ship. I had watched many videos about it beforehand, but it wasn’t until I was on it that I appreciated its design touches. We’ve only been on one other cruise ship: Celebrity Solstice. There is simply no comparison. I especially love the colored glass accents… the fish in the Observation Lounge, the auburn bottles in the Thomas Keller restaurant, and the chandelier in the main restaurant. These whimsical accents complement the classic, handsome nautical decor throughout the ship. Who can resist sail away from the first port? You’ve finally made it, with nothing else left to do except enjoy your cruise vacation. We loved the Cruise Director, Chris -- a total sweetheart who is enthusiastic without being over-the-top -- and we appreciate the fact that opera is one of his passions (he has a beautiful voice). But to me, sail-away is the time for fun, get-the-crowd-revved-up music. Instead, we heard opera and more opera -- which can really add weight to the mood. Granted, it was a small point in what was otherwise a lovely experience. Our Suite We lucked out being assigned to a suite on Deck 11; I’m grateful to Cruise Critic members who told me, via the boards, that our suite -- the most forward on that deck -- would be quiet. It most certainly was, as the soundproofing was amazing. The suite was comfortable and felt high end. We loved having a walk-in closet. And our cabin stewardess, Patricia, was absolutely lovely and a great representative of the Seabourn brand. She was extremely efficient, a hard worker, warm, and personable. The Food In addition to the suite, I give high marks to the restaurants with wait staff, especially the main dining room. Not one false note the entire time, and we found the cuisine to be inventive and of high quality. We’re American -- and Thomas Keller fans -- so we loved The Grill. I liked Sushi -- service was a bit uneven -- but we only dined there once. The Colonnade Buffet has many fresh and appealing options, but no real exciting/offbeat presentations. If you’ve ever been to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s in Las Vegas, you know what I mean: gourmet sliders, red velvet mini pancakes, chicken-and-waffles baskets… that kind of thing. I don’t know why I thought I’d see some of that inventive energy on Seabourn, but that wasn’t the case (not even on our final night, when they touted “epicurean delights” on the pool deck). I found the 1 o’clock lunch opening of the Patio Grill to be odd and inconvenient. And there’s really nowhere to get a late-night snack (Seabourn Square’s little cafe shuts down pretty early, and even when it was open, its snack choices to be rather sparse and not terribly appealing, IMO). I realize that for night owls with a grumbling stomach, the expectation is to call room service. But sometimes I don’t want to wait. And sometimes, when one person is asleep and the other is hungry, room service is not practical. But believe me, I did not starve. Booze Flows Freely I’m not a big drinker on land, so while I definitely enjoyed imbibing on the ship, I’m sure I didn’t get my money’s worth… and that suits me just fine. That’s because on Celebrity, even though we sprung for the drink package, there was something rather dispiriting about having to proffer my room key to get any little thing, be it a bottle of water or a mai tai. That’s why I loved Seabourn’s all-inclusive policy: you ask, you receive. Simple as that. Ports My reviews are mixed. I didn’t find Mahón, on the island of Menorca, to be a particularly compelling stop. But the timing of it was good; since it was our first port, I preferred to continue exploring the ship and only walked around outside for about an hour. Corsica was another place that didn’t really hold my interest. Saint-Tropez was much more of a laid-back beach town than I was expecting. It was OK. Monte Carlo, Marseilles, and Portovenere (Italy) were very cool and interesting. I’m glad we got to experience them. Other Things I Loved The Observation Lounge. We began just about every evening there, enjoying the live music, a cocktail or two, and snacks. Relaxing just about everywhere. Except for the main pool, which is fairly high energy, there are many places to get away from it all. I found the forward whirlpool on one of the days we were in a port that didn’t interest me; and I hung out in it, without seeing another soul, the entire morning. I liked that there were only about 600 passengers, but I wouldn’t want to go any smaller. As it was, we started running into the same people, and part of the enjoyment of cruising is seeing new faces. Things I Would Change I wished that the pools were open later into the evening. Seabourn’s performers are talented, but the themes of the shows just didn’t hold my interest. Seabourn Website is old and clunky… could stand an overhaul. We had a wonderful voyage. We would definitely book on Seabourn again, although we’d also like to give Silversea a try. It’s hard to imagine going back to a mass-market line after such a great experience. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We choose this cruise because we only planned ahead by 2 months and this cruise worked for our schedule. Awful from the start. Unorganized staff made it a nuisance to make anything happen. Food has been absolutely terrible. We’ve ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we only planned ahead by 2 months and this cruise worked for our schedule. Awful from the start. Unorganized staff made it a nuisance to make anything happen. Food has been absolutely terrible. We’ve never been on a cruise that had such bad food consistently throughout the trip. For the same price as crystal cruises, seabourn offers much less quality of services and amenities. On the first day, the staff was not informed on the emergency drill. They had me and my sister running back and forth needlessly, because several people gave us different information that was all incorrect. Smoking is a pain on this boat. They let people smoke cigarettes many places, but the only place you can smoke a cigar is this tiny back deck area where they don’t offer any drinks or service. Even though they sell expensive cigars. It feels like a punishment. Finding the spot was huge pain because every staff member told us a different location, which again, had us running around the boat needlessly. My friend was looking for an espresso on our first day. Once again, misinformed staff sent us in circles. We finally find the correct spot, and they say they can’t help us because they closed the esspessso machine 2min ago. They said we could get some on the floor underneath. We go there, ask the staff, and they kindly tell us we can get espresso. Then a different staff member aggressively grabs my friends shirt and pulls him back. He tells him, “You can’t be in here. You need to leave now!” My friends tried to explain the situation and he responds “well send you a double espresso to your room” and they sent coffee. Just incredibly agressive and rude. The other staff says “I didn’t know the captain was in the room.” Like that would justify what happened. Rooms are dirty. Fingernail marks in the wall. Stained carpets. Broken toilets. Shower and bath drains don’t work. Scratchy towels. Broken AC. Lights only turn on in your room if you leave your key in the wall, which has been a huge unnecessary nuisance as well. Food has been terrible. The menus are very limited. This Thomas kheller chef forces half the menu to be standardized. So you can’t customize the food to your liking. I’ve never been on cruise with such bad food. That alone is a deal breaker. The service makes it worse. Even dining in “the main restaurant” they don’t refil your drinks unless you ask. They bring the wrong food or forget orders. They use this tablet system that apparently fails all the time, according to a waitress. Today I ordered room service. Waited over an hour. After talking to 3 people, they discovered it went to the wrong room. Excursions have been fun. But we’ve been doing private excursions separate from seabourn. The one excursion we did use through seabourn was wildly mislabeled. A group of 20 people thinking they’re spending a day at the beach with powerboats, instead spend the majority of the day riding in jeeps, WHICH WAS EXACLY WHAT WE DID THE DAY BEFORE. Incredible. Before the cruise, they let you fill out this online form of what drinks you’d prefer stocked in your room. They didn’t put what I requested and just left Myers in my suite. I’ve been on seabourn sojourn, and that experience was 100x better than this. I’ve been on crystal and reagent, and those were even better. If you believe in getting what you pay for, stay away from the seabourn encore. The lady who cleans our room is awesome and so have been some of the service guys. The bartender is really cool and clearly is working very hard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! ... Read More
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! The Thomas Keller was one of the worst restaurants at sea i have experienced. Decor was lovely but the food has been better at Denny's. The additional 150 passengers totally changes the feeling of the ship. This may have also have been impacted by more European passenger makeup but the ship was full of a bunch. of snobs. No sense of comradery. The Japanese Restaurant food was OK but far from good. The Retreat is a joke - expensive and seldom used. In general the crew was good - a great captain, bar tenders and pool side servers were excellent but our cabin stewards was poor at best and the waiters and management ti the main dining room were not ally ways helpful. New tenders ware great - much improved access. The itinerary was great- we attended most of the enrichment lectures and they were lacking. Olive oil lecture was a waste of time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething ... Read More
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething problems still being addressed as one should expect with a great team working hard to make sure everything was as it should be. The ship is visually very impressive and beautifully appointed. A delight to be aboard! Suite - The standard ‘verandah suite', was well appointed with everything you need and has good space considering we didn’t really spend much time there. Of course it's always nice to arrive to a bottle of Champagne on ice. The bathroom was excellent with dual basins, fitted out with bath as well although I do wonder how many guests actually use the it. I suspect it becomes a good hand-washing drying space as there is a very well positioned pull-out clothes line above. The housekeeping staff work hard and try very hard to make things perfect. No, there is not a butler which may be nice for some, but I’m not sure we needed or wanted one - maybe just for initial meet and greet. Again its your individual perspective on what a cruise ship should provide that makes it difficult for any company to provide a complete package for all. Food - The food on board was generally very good - there is always something one can criticise -but for me, the quality was mainly very good or better. I have to say that the Thomas Keller Grill experience is really very good - ahh those yummy prawns - and not being from the US and albeit a ‘foodie’, the name Thomas Keller was unfamiliar to me. I like the fact you can book this venue and I understand exactly why, but this appeared to annoy some of the ‘experienced’ cruisers who just seem to want to breeze in to any dining venue at will. Controlling your daily reservations flow also helps control service and food delivery but the smaller restaurant capacity also dictates how many times a passenger may potentially dine there. Except to say bookings were strictly controlled and I did strike some attitude trying to make a booking of 4 to invite others to dinner without knowing our guests suite number. The Grill service was excellent though with exceptional wait staff and an appealing environment with lovely quality simple food executed very well. We loved Thomas Keller themed nights in Colonnade too as they were ‘help your self platters’ in centre of table - good food, well executed - billed as ‘American Home Style’. Again others said it was too casual but I thought it was a perfect balance to the more formal restaurant environments and it was only one night a week I believe with a la carte menus available at other times. I suppose I see a ‘changing of the guard’ with more modern food service style options appealing to a slightly younger range of people. But some customers prefer a more traditional formal food service in all the venues it seems. A great addition to Seabourn ships is the Sushi restaurant. A good place for a simple dinner/lunch option and it was popular. Service was excellent with bubbly friendly staff, food was acceptably good, but not quite where it should be - but we’re tough Asian food critics too. Room for improvement there but more with their ‘formal night’ ‘Kaiseki-ryōru menu which fell well short of what it should be rather than the more simple menu offered day to day. We loved the Patio dining option - a relaxed casual on deck dining space beside the pool with good variety seven day menus at night, small buffet salad and meat options for lunch. Service was generally always friendly, welcoming and attentive. I imagine this area is very popular on the warmer cruises but a number of people like us didn’t mind the cooler experience on deck some evenings and the staff had blankets wraps available to keep us all warm on the cooler nights. The Restaurant was a mostly a good experience too except there was a hiccup on the first formal night where some food and or service issues were obvious and staff were stressed, under the pump and some customers were complaining. We were in and out early that night but I could feel the stress of the evening unfolding. Subsequent Restaurant dinners experiences were mostly very good especially considering the concentrated volume they contend with on a nightly basis. The Restaurant has diverse and different menus every day supporting the ‘Classic’ fare which were welcome. The Souffles I must say are a very popular dessert as there were always plenty going by. Breakfast in the Restaurant was a nice quiet option too, compared the much busier and livelier Colonnade. Both offered good breakfast options. Standouts - The standouts for me were firstly the Cruise Director - well known and loved by regulars. Handre was excellent and a master in that role keeping everyone happy and making them all feel special. Very polished. I certainly hope that Seabourn are paying him plenty. As well as a being on a brand new ship, the live shows in my opinion were very very good and again it’s subjective but mostly all were excellent or at worst, very good. Seabourn Ovation has these very expensive new ‘LED walls’ which which make up the whole rear of the stage and they can do some spectacular high resolution visuals. The excellent and fun 'An Evening with Sir Tim Rice' show was a great example of using this technology as Sir Tim ‘interacted’ with the live show from the side or behind on these Led panels. The performers on board were all better than very good and sang/danced/played their hearts out. That includes entertainers in the piano bar in The Grill and Observation Bar. All excellent. The band in the Club at night probably could have been much better in hindsight and I felt this space was dreary during the day with the dark sun filter curtains and not welcoming for me. Trivia was always fun - although our team never seemed to win the wonderful prizes on offer. Crew - were generally very good to excellent. They all try very hard to make everything perfect for the guests and it’s a hard gig I understand - but it was warming to genuinely hear some crew actually say ‘I love my job’. That alone helps set the attitude for everyone else on board and helps put things in perspective when considering first world problems. Let’s not forget the wonderful Captain, officers and non service crew who were constantly around the ship interacting with all their guests. As well, you get to meet some interesting people on a cruise like this - people from all walks of life, often with fascinating stories to share enriching the experience. Generally, what a great experience it was. Traveling the world is never going to be perfect as you and I know, except to say these competitive Cruise companies put themselves out there saying it’s 6 star/fine dining/inclusive this and that with stunning marketing machines generating fantastic slogans and photos promising the earth- charging high end fees - so I suppose the customer has a right to say when they feel something is not quite up to the mark. I also understand that regular cruisers have a different expectation than we did with our L-Plates and I can say it appears to be a very diverse and difficult customer base at times. But the expensive and annoying Internet charge was a common topic for some used to free Internet on other cruise lines. A moot point indeed and something Seabourn should address sooner than later. No you won’t see every port/city/town in detail but we did get to go to a lot of places we wouldn’t have even considered like lovely Arendal in Norway, Ventspills in Latvia - so nice being the only cruise ship in a small town unlike stunning Tallinn, Estonia, where we shared the over-run town with about 20 onshore tour groups from the three other bigger cruise ships. But that is the value of cruising on a small ship in the smaller ports, and I have no desire to go on the bigger ones at this stage- as nice as they may be with more onboard activities etc - sometimes they just flood the smaller towns with tourists. I think the emerging market is definitely ports of call that the big ships cannot get to. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had ... Read More
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had a day in Tallin ,Estonia and a half day in Helsinki, Finland, with one day at sea.Embarkation was easy at 2 pm, with a delicious buffet lunch waiting..We had a verandah suite on deck 7. On arrival, I noticed that the floor had not been vacuumed and they were hairs in the bathtub. When I contacted housekeeping this was quickly rectified. The suites are well thought out with lots of storage space, but if the bathroom door is open and you open the front door, they smash together. I had chosen to be in the middle of deck 7 as I wanted a quiet room away from any high traffic areas. However, the poor internal design of the ship meant the doors slammed, which could be heard at all hours, footsteps from above caused loud noise and strong vibrations in the room, and people could be heard in the next cabins. Several people I spoke to who,unfortunately were given rooms that interconnected with others had it even worse and made complaints. What a shame that the latest luxury liner did not use the latest technology for soundproofing. On the positive side, all the staff were exceptional in all areas. The food was of a very high quality, and I recommend the afternoon tea scones as well as the gelato. However, a lot of the food felt somewhat old fashioned, and I think they would benefit from some more modern cuisine, such as Asian fusion. The guest entertainers were excellent, including a mentalist and an award- winning pianist. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we ... Read More
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we expected a little more. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is easy to get around in. The main dining rooms are attractive. The suites, while not huge, are very nice with a sofa, two chairs, a table, a comfortable bed, a walk-in closet, a tiny dressing stand, and plenty of storage space. Bathrooms include a tub and shower--small and barely adequate. The veranda is good for two people. The ship is well maintained. We had cabin 837, a perfect location. The staff was mostly friendly and outgoing, although the old Seabourn custom of remembering your name doesn't work with 600 passengers. Drinks are included in your fare, and waiters were anxious to keep glasses filled. Some of the food was good, some very good, and some excellent. Desserts and salads were particularly good. We only had a couple of dishes that didn't pass muster. The wine was just fine, although we're well aware it's not $50 a bottle wine. Service in the dining rooms could be good, or it could be slow. The wait staff didn't always appear organized, and some staffers were not very accomplished. One room service breakfast came 30 minutes late, and the waiter dropped a glass of orange juice at our front door. Not an example for the cruise pamphlet. The Colonnade sometimes had quirky and unappealing menus. Seabourn would do far better by returning to the Lido Buffet concept with buffets in the morning, noon and evening. The captain spoke to us daily, but if you missed his talk 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 should fill the blanks by providing lots of information for us to access when we want. It didn't. There were other examples of a less-than-luxury cruise. There is no free internet, and we were informed of that rather rudely when we asked. There is one room with five washing machines for all the passengers. Not very considerate. The dress code wasn't clear, and standards wasn't enforced. Unsupervised children needed to be called down by ship staff, but weren't. The Seabourn Square is a very pleasant place, but the “guest services” staffers frequently didn't have answers to questions. The destinations/shore excursion programs need an overhaul. One ship tour was inaccurately described. Once we were told a free shuttle would take us to the city center, but in fact it dropped us off a half a mile away. Shore excursions were overpriced, as on many ships, dnd didn't consider passengers with mobility issues. We needed more information, such as when we would cruise past the Rock of Gibraltar. It wasn't forthcoming. There were great unexpected touches. A flamenco show was added late in the afternoon before we left Malaga. But overall, while we had a fine time, we expected a little more from such an expensive “luxury” cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Nice small ship, great itinerary. Scotland, Iceland, Greenland. There are three "castes" on the ship: The Antarctica experienced (orange parka), the Alaska experienced (blue parka) - and the rest :-). Most in their 70+. ... Read More
Nice small ship, great itinerary. Scotland, Iceland, Greenland. There are three "castes" on the ship: The Antarctica experienced (orange parka), the Alaska experienced (blue parka) - and the rest :-). Most in their 70+. Excellent stateroom, very spacy (28m2). Good housekeeping. Dining good - but not so good as expected. Food often was not made to order, so often food was overcooked. Service good - but not excellent. Lost reservation twice. Expected definitively more - especially from the speciality restaurants and the pool grill. On the other side quite decadent: Caviar in the Surf (pool). Excellent included wines and cocktails. Disappointing policy on debarkation on St. Kilda. Needed written confirmation from head office to leave vessel without paying for expensive ventures excursion. Enrichment good, entertainment average. Shore excursions: quite good, but expensive. Why the "geological tour" was led by someone, who answered on every question "Sorry I´m no geologist" remains a miracle. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We booked this cruise for its awesome itinerary. We've been in over 115 countries, but not Iceland or Greenland. Those of us on the Roll Call thought we'd have a Meet & Mingle get together. The Quest was unaware of such a ... Read More
We booked this cruise for its awesome itinerary. We've been in over 115 countries, but not Iceland or Greenland. Those of us on the Roll Call thought we'd have a Meet & Mingle get together. The Quest was unaware of such a social gathering. I met with the Hotel and Bar Manager who made our Meet & Mingle possible. I was so delighted such a party would take place. Guest services helped in sending out invitations and Roberto, the Bar Manager, arranged the food and drinks. We were honored to have the Captain and several of his officers attend, plus Chris, the executive chef. Pictures were taken of this first of kind event and those will follow soon. Thank you Seabourn Quest for making possible a very special and unforgettable event. Please include Meet & Mingle parties on all your sailings. The staff at the Patio Grill were the best. Brooke and Jose were outstanding. This was our first cruise with Seabourn and we look forward to returning on another. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
In all fairness, I will begin by the positive. One of the newer Seabourn vessels, the Encore is in great shape. Having sailed over 200 days on the line, many of the typical Seabourn standards were present right away at embarkation. ... Read More
In all fairness, I will begin by the positive. One of the newer Seabourn vessels, the Encore is in great shape. Having sailed over 200 days on the line, many of the typical Seabourn standards were present right away at embarkation. Walking through the hallways we were always greeted by the big smiles of the housekeeping staff who are always busy, busy, busy. The service in the main dining room was mostly perfect. The first "dancing under the stars" event was a blast as the departing CD really knows how to get a party started. The caviar sailaway to the music of live opera is always a treat. The service, however, was out of synch. With the exception of a handful of seasoned crew, the staff seemed inexperienced and we had many service issues, some minor, some unacceptable. We even had a confrontation with a server early on in the sailing that had us seeing things that we may have otherwise overlooked. I really do believe in the Seabourn brand, but will be taking a little break. I have 3 future cruises programmed, 2 of them are on a different line. Hopefully they will get it together before the next time we board. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Have been on Seabourn a few times and decided to take our grown up family on this trip What should have been a super holiday was let down somewhat by mediocre service. On our previous trips with the line this has been their strong suit but ... Read More
Have been on Seabourn a few times and decided to take our grown up family on this trip What should have been a super holiday was let down somewhat by mediocre service. On our previous trips with the line this has been their strong suit but not this time. We were on recently in October and it felt like being on a different ship. The restaurant staff are always polite but there was a sense of a lack of control and communication especially in the main dining areas. We had had slow service in the dining room and complained and things got better until the last night when it all fell apart again. Two of our party have food allergies and these just did not seem to be taken note of. On one occasion my wife was served a starter that could have made her very ill if she had not detected very quickly that one of the ingredients was the one she was allergic too. On our other cruises staff were always quick to get to know our name and our preferences but this did not happen on this one. Not all areas were poor some were very good such as Seabourn Square , Patio and the Sushi restaurant. Bar service was also first class especially in the observation lounge. Entertainment was excellent particularly the host dancers and crew performers and entertainment staff. The only thing we would suggest is some new shows are in order. Have seen the Tim Rice experience more than once! The casino was very well run and had a friendly vibe about it. Cabin service was absolutely superb. All in all frustrating as what should have been a great family holiday was let down by the less than impressive dining experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We sailed on the Encore last summer and looked forward to our next cruise this June. At every meal the featured meal involved pork whether carved or stewed. In general the food quality took a dive even in the dining room. If there is a ... Read More
We sailed on the Encore last summer and looked forward to our next cruise this June. At every meal the featured meal involved pork whether carved or stewed. In general the food quality took a dive even in the dining room. If there is a meat quality less than choice it seems like it was served. In the Collonade resturant the service was poor and often ran out of the food specialty of the evening. It is a failure when the food served in Keller, their specialty (one time per cruise) is better than the dining rooms food making a guest feel like for the cruise price, you are getting their parent Carnival’s cruise. The service on the cruise is still excellent especially beverage service on the pool decks. Room service was excellent and the caviar was available. In the dining rooms , quality seafood was absent unless it was ordered 48 in advance. The entertainment was above average for a small boat but the production shows were a repeat of last year with new performers who were good. The comedian was the same also. Lounge performers were good.. Since food quality is a major choice in picking a cruise, Regent, Oceania or Crystal has gotten back my attention . Read Less
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