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Sail Date: August 2019
It's difficult to capture the Ovation experience easily. But, in a word - sublime. There was no request that was too big or too small for them. We cruised as a party of four in Veranda Suite rooms. Our rooms were located aft ... Read More
It's difficult to capture the Ovation experience easily. But, in a word - sublime. There was no request that was too big or too small for them. We cruised as a party of four in Veranda Suite rooms. Our rooms were located aft near to the staircase, which is a lovely location. Highly recommended. Embarkation - this was effortless and enjoyable. We were met at the airport and had an easy ride to the boat. Here, we were welcomed with cocktails and a seamless embarkation process. Stateroom - Extremely spacious for its category. The veranda is a good size and the walk-in closet is welcome. The double basin in the bathroom was welcome too. Toiletries are of a very high standard. Restaurants - Without exception, meals were amazing. In particular, the service at the Restaurant deserves special mention, the formal night is something special and the Air and Ocean restaurant on deck is also excellent. We normally took in breakfast in the Colonnade, but splurging one or two mornings for breakfast in The Restaurant is also a good idea. Bars - Generally very good, although service at the outside bars during sail-aways gets a little slow. The Retreat - A lovely little hidden area on the boat is The Retreat. Worth spending the money if you're looking for a R&R day. Spa & Fitness - Excellent treatments, but the facilities are perhaps a little small. That said, the fitness area never felt crowded. Excursions - We only did excursions in St Petersburg but these were arranged well and the experience was excellent. Entertainment - All shows in the Grand Salon were very good. The live music on deck during sail-away parties was a little short-lived at 30 minutes. The casino is a little small and felt crowded at times. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger ... Read More
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger Thomas Keller works very well and we just adored the sushi restaurant - beautifully fitted out. The deck outside The Grill is a great secret terrace for when the Colonnade gets busy, with its own salad bar too. Think of it as a free version of The Retreat on the top deck! We love the way Seabourn Square has been rethought - it looks wonderful and it’s a great place to hang out. Even though space per passenger is a little lower on the Ovation, it feels the opposite. We couldn’t believe the cruise was full (it was, apparently) as it seemed so quiet most of the time. Captain Stig was the best we have had...always present and friendly. The crew were engaged, almost all incredibly welcoming and friendly...and much better at name recognition than on previous Seabourn cruises. Much has already been said on here about the legendary Handré, the cruise director. It’s all true. He is brilliant at his job and always out and about. A true professional. Food was excellent (we particularly enjoyed the specialities brought on board from Helsinki). Entertainment and enrichment was good. The new caviar is great but I can’t say that the new champagne is an improvement. It’s cheap and tastes it. We were very happy with the included wines and stuck to them. We plumped for a V5 cabin this time (having had an Owners Suite before) and were not disappointed. They are plenty spacious enough, well designed and quiet, with loads of storage space. The only thing we wished for was a coffee machine in the room. Stewardess service was excellent although we could have done with more toiletries (this was quickly rectified). Overall a wonderful cruise and we aim to get back on the Ovation again. If only Seabourn could have done something about the weather! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Spacious rooms and bathroom. Easy boarding and first class treatment from airport pick up to end of cruise. Several places for drinks all day, nice afternoon tea time, small casino open mostly when at sea. Talented entertainers on board ... Read More
Spacious rooms and bathroom. Easy boarding and first class treatment from airport pick up to end of cruise. Several places for drinks all day, nice afternoon tea time, small casino open mostly when at sea. Talented entertainers on board with bands at several venues during the day and evening. Nice options for meals from casual to dressy. Room service for breakfast a must, always right on time. Breakfast buffet was always the same but good if you are in a hurry. Booked excursions thru Seabourn and they were all small groups of no more than 20 people. Left on time or before if everyone was there. All sites visited in St Petersburg were very crowded. Walked thru Tallinn, Estonia on our own, it is walking distance to port. Helsinki not much to see, would have skipped the city excursion and just ridden shuttle into town and walked around a little. After we left ship with private driver to hotel just walked around Stockholm on our own. Sheraton Stockholm very easy walk to old town and nice hotel. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our main reasons for choosing the Ovation included some (but not all) of the destinations, notably Scotland, the relatively small scale of the ship (600 passengers), the suites (spacious, spotless, and beautifully appointed) the common ... Read More
Our main reasons for choosing the Ovation included some (but not all) of the destinations, notably Scotland, the relatively small scale of the ship (600 passengers), the suites (spacious, spotless, and beautifully appointed) the common areas (ditto), the beverage plan (free everything unless you want to splurge) , and a generally older and well to do clientele. (We fit the former but not the latter). Once aboard we also appreciated the crew and staff (unfailingly friendly and polite, including our suite stewardess Ana Carolina), the Square, a combination library, coffee bar, and guest services area, dinner at Thomas Keller’s Grill, afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, and breakfasts in the Colonnade. Since we aren’t dressy and clubby types, we didn’t eat at The Restaurant , and eschewed the formals and clubby things. The shore excursions were pricey and just ok, and if you want WiFi you pay for it. The ship offers a laundry and dry cleaning service for a fee, but also includes a laundromat (free) which came in handy on our two week sail. Some of the ports of call were less than thrilling, but Oslo and Scotland made the trip worthwhile. If you visit Scotland in August you should definitely go to the Royal Scottish Tattoo in Edinburgh. The price of this cruise was relatively steep, but if you want to be cosseted, Seabourn is definitely worth the indulgence. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Second sailing on Seabourn and totally pleased with our experience. I thoroughly disagree with the previous HORRIBLE review. Couldn’t have asked for more with attentive staff, always personally greeted by name, invited three evenings ... Read More
Second sailing on Seabourn and totally pleased with our experience. I thoroughly disagree with the previous HORRIBLE review. Couldn’t have asked for more with attentive staff, always personally greeted by name, invited three evenings to hosted tables in the dining room which provides a personal touch with staff. We never experienced a rude employee... quite the opposite. NO is not in their vocabulary.. always went out of their way to please everyone. We changed ports in one location ... not to save money but for safety reasons to avoid tendering with rough seas. Main reason for booking this itinerary was to attend the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh. Seabourn did an incredible job securing tickets in the Royal Gallery (for an additional cost) which Included reception, covered seating, transportation etc. totally worth the added expense. They do a wonderful job with Signature Events to make Seabourn stand out among other luxury lines. Perhaps the unsatisfied review was too young to appreciate the Seabourn service. Yes, they do appeal to a more mature age group... very few children on board but a variety of activities. We have traveled extensively on various cruise lines... you’ll always have some disgruntled passengers looking for a free cruise... We were on the same cruise and totally enjoyed the entire experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Seabourn does it right. Wonderful service, great suite, great food, embarkation was a 15 minute pleasure. disembarkation went smoothly until the coach we were on had no more room for our luggage, so a little stressful waiting on the next ... Read More
Seabourn does it right. Wonderful service, great suite, great food, embarkation was a 15 minute pleasure. disembarkation went smoothly until the coach we were on had no more room for our luggage, so a little stressful waiting on the next coach to see if our luggage made it to the airport in Copenhagen. twenty minutes later it arrived on the next bus. At our age, Mid to late 60s, jet lag from Georgia was a horror. Three or four days to fully recover. All of the restaurants on the ship were great, and the service at most was outstanding. Some of the ports were a bit lacking, the highlight of the trip for us was Northern Scotland, and most importantly, the Shetland Islands. The average age on this cruise was at least 75. Lots of folks with canes and walking assists. Did not try the pool or hot tubs, as the weather was cool. Our days were either rainy or perfect. Had great food at the Earth and Ocean, but most evenings it was too cool for us to eat in the open air. 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
7 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
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
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
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
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
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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is ... Read More
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this. I have probably been on twenty ships from a dozen different lines over the years and I cannot think of a better one. The ship is designed so that basically, all of the cabins are pretty much forward and all of the "activities" are aft. This way, there is nobody bouncing down your hall on the way to something 24/7. None of the cabins is far from some elevator. We were in 655 which was a "standard" balcony cabin on deck 6, but otherwise not at all "standard." While the actual size may be more or less the same as most other upscale ships, it seemed much larger and, for example, I know the bathroom was larger with separate full length tub and free standing shower and two sinks. Major storage everywhere, a pleasant seating area, fridge, dining table, balcony, furniture, set-ups etc. all of the first order. Most of the "white suit" crew was the usual array of east/west European although not exclusively. Every single member of the crew warranted five stars for attitude and graciousness. The area called Seabourn Square on Deck 7 served as the concierge area, as well as home of numerous newspapers, a coffee bar, internet points and just a pleasant place to be. Never any lines at the various concierge desks. The main pool deck is on 9, but we found a smaller haven on 5 aft with a pool, hot tubs and lounging chairs that was never crowded. There are sufficient bars on several decks and plenty of food when and where you want it. Thoughtful touches everywhere. Our little area 5 aft, for example, had its own little min fridge stocked with ice, soft drinks and, of course, anything you every wanted to order from "room service" which will deliver anywhere in the ship. The Observation Lounge forward on deck 10 is lovely and you never waited for more than two minutes for someone to show up for your drink order. Plenty of space in the outdoor areas and the Thomas Keller bar was a great place to relax before dinner. The Restaurant was never crowded and had no "bad" tables - you were also given the option to sit with fellow passengers or not at any meal. The Thomas Keller Restaurant on 8 had a superb menu - but I will follow anyone anywhere for a good Dover sole meuniere or a nice steak. You are guaranteed one sitting up there, but we managed three by hanging around the bar a lot and getting to know frequent Seabourn guests. Most guests on Seabourn are stuck on this line and never seem to go anywhere else. Many were on the cruise prior to ours and/or stayed on for the next 11 day cruise. We really didn't know how anyone could stand this kind of life without a coronary for more than the length of our cruise. All of the drinks, sodas etc. were top shelf. Secret: just because it is not formally listed as available, doesn't mean it isn't. This is a "can-do" kind of place and we found many wines by the glass that were available for the asking. The guests were of the elderly persuasion ( as am I), but there were a fair number of younger couples, families with teens and even a baby somewhere I heard of but never saw. Speaking of which, even though this ship was at capacity 600, you rarely saw more than a few dozen around except on deck 9 during the one ship day we had. The ports were sometimes interesting, sometimes, throwaways, and we were content to rent a scooter or electric car or similar many times on the smaller islands just to see the sights from a different perspective. We took no formal tours. Many of the guests rarely left the ship - this is the kind of ship you sail on because it is so pleasant to sit in the sun reading a book or snoozing on a deck lounger. My companion hit the spa for a massage and found it up to snuff. The exercise area looked nice and perfectly adequate although we did not partake. There is a small casino that was virtually empty at all times. OK, to preserve some credibility and to defer suspicion that I am a shill for Seabourn, I'll pick a couple of nits. Half the menu at the Restaurant never varied ( it was still quite good), but there could have been a little more variety on the other half. Many of the red wines by the glass (included) were, from my perspective, not up to snuff, but I gradually found several I liked "off" the list. The flat screen TV allowed only minimal controls ( ie. no CC) and bad volume ( even for those with good hearing like my companion) on several of the Movies/TV shows on demand - regular TV stations ( mostly news) were fine. The entertainment was nothing to write home about, but never is and we rarely even make the effort. And that's about it, folks. I guess you can say that we have drunk the Kool-Aid and will, in the future, limit our cruises (except with little kids) to Seabourn (not much for little kids to do on this ship). We went ahead and paid the deposit which comes with a 5 % discount on a future cruise or your money back. I expect we will not be getting our money back. Happy Trails. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered ... Read More
Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered our veranda suite on deck 7. We were pleasantly surprised by the size and the look and feel off the suite. A bathroom with a separate bath tub and shower. Enough room for our clothes and belongings. And a nice sitting area. Our stewardess came to introduce herself and during our trip she was very helpfull. The experience on board in the fullest sense of speaking was great. The attention off the staff, the quality off the food and the surroundings of the ship were magnificent. We are experienced and demanding world travelers and this experience belongs to the best we have ever seen. We liked it so much that we already booked another cruise with the Encore. The excursions were so-so. Some off them were great some of them not. The in-room dinning experience was also below what you might expect of it. Overall it definitely was great and as indicated allready we go for a next time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our 4th cruise with Seabourn and we had no regrets! Our cabin was wonderful, the service, the food - exceptional as always . We enjoy having lots of restaurants options, with open seating. Some nights we had the pleasure of ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Seabourn and we had no regrets! Our cabin was wonderful, the service, the food - exceptional as always . We enjoy having lots of restaurants options, with open seating. Some nights we had the pleasure of joining other folks and other nights having the luxury to eat by ourselves, sometimes even on our lovely balcony. We usually ended the hard day of sightseeing, sitting in the hot tub comparing notes with fellow travelers. Having the waiters hand out wonderful frozen drinks and/ or champagne made it perfect. And I confess that I did order a plate of caviar almost every day, while my husband treated himself to some ice cream. We enjoyed all the ports, although we had arranged for private tour guides, we do not enjoy group bus excursions. We were a little disappointed with the new TK Grill, after all the hype, we really preferred Restaurant 2, with its tasting menu. We had the pleasure of meeting and dining with many fascinating and charming fellow travelers, which for us is a highlight of the cruise. We even ran into one couple that we had met on our previous cruise ,18th months earlier! Not uncommon as Seabourn cruisers tend to be very loyal. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We flew into Athens the day before departure, and boarded the ship around 4 pm on departure day. Embarkation process was smooth, except that when we got on the ship, the elevator we were sent to only went to the 9th floor and our suite ... Read More
We flew into Athens the day before departure, and boarded the ship around 4 pm on departure day. Embarkation process was smooth, except that when we got on the ship, the elevator we were sent to only went to the 9th floor and our suite was on the 10th floor. As relatively "newbie" cruisers, some explanation of where to go to access the correct elevator would have been helpful, but we did figure it out. The Odyssey is a lovely ship, well maintained and comfortable common areas through out. Our Penthouse Suite was surprisingly spacious. Plenty of closet and drawer space, double sinks in the bathroom. Shower stall is a bit cramped but adequate. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Room temperature was always just right. Seabourn is particularly known for its dedication to top-notch service, and that is certainly what we experienced. Every member of the staff seemed to go out of their way to provide whatever we wanted. The only service "complaints" I have are so petty I feel stupid to mention them. We particularly loved going to the Observation Bar for pre-dinner cocktails, and enjoyed the piano entertainment by Katy, plus nightly servings of caviar! We also loved the patio bar around the pool. Plenty of chairs around the pool, but sunny and shady for at-sea days or after returning to the ship from a port. Meals were excellent. Not to say that there wasn't the occasional "dud" course, but overall we loved the food. The Thomas Keller Grill is very special (I loved the veal chop!), and the Thomas Keller "theme" nights (one night ribs, one night fried chicken) were a lot of fun. On those nights, sharing tables was encouraged and meals were served family style. The nightly entertainment was a mixed bag. Some shows were really good. Some just "meh", but we didn't really care that much about seeing shows. We did enjoy the team trivia days, as well as the casino (which is small, but adequate). The only real negative about the cruise was the pathetic internet access. My husband and I each opted to buy 2 hours worth of access, figuring we could sign on, download email, and sign off. Sounded like a great idea, but often trying to download emails would take as long as 10 minutes. Most of the time, we just had to wait til we got to a port where we could access free WiFi or our cellular network. Plenty of people were frustrated with the slow internet speed. While we all like to "disconnect" to some degree, it is still necessary to be able to check in once a day. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I'm on board Odyssey right now in week 4 of a 5 week cruise. We've sailed on most of the major cruise lines and there are so many ways Seabourn excels its hard to describe. Just try them, you simply can't lose. The service ... Read More
I'm on board Odyssey right now in week 4 of a 5 week cruise. We've sailed on most of the major cruise lines and there are so many ways Seabourn excels its hard to describe. Just try them, you simply can't lose. The service is great and the staff excellent. Being all inclusive means no chits, no "may I have your keycard" constantly. Other lines may offer drink packages, but you and the bar staff are still passing back and forth cards, receipts etc. The ambience is totally different when all that nickel and diming stuff goes away. Throw in more like hosted dinner tables, staff who actually know your name, remember your favorite drinks, previews of the next day's dinner menus delivered to your room etc. And stuff like no ship's photographer in your face all the time, almost no announcements all day long for Bingo, art auctions, pool games, and (usually) no, or almost no kids Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 ... Read More
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 minutes to show up one night, and that I had already finished my first martini before it arrived. That is hardly anything to complain about. I was disappointed in the quality of the food in the colonade one night, and in the quality of the service in the Restaurant one morning at breakfast. Overall, however, food was outstanding. About the embarkation. We were on the 10th floor. We entered the boat, as did everyone else, on the aft side. The greeter told us to take the elevator to the 10th floor. The problem is that the aft elevator doesn't go there. Right when we were entering and did not know our way around the ship, we got bad instructions. If they won't let 10th floor guests enter in the front, they should let us know how to get there. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I just returned from our 10 night cruise on the Seabourn Encore from Barcelona to Rome. I won't comment on the ports, but they were fabulous. This review will focus on Seabourn, the Encore, crew, service, dining and ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our 10 night cruise on the Seabourn Encore from Barcelona to Rome. I won't comment on the ports, but they were fabulous. This review will focus on Seabourn, the Encore, crew, service, dining and overall experience. We are avid cruisers who enjoy cruising the way it used to be before the mass market craze of the 80's starting to take flight. Seabourn Encore nails everything classic and amazing about cruising while incorporating that which is modern and relevant in 2017. From the moment we boarded - which was simple and painless - we knew we were embarking on something special. Being a new ship our first observations were how beautiful the Encore looked and how delicious she smelled. You can definitely smell the new and fresh fabrics - especially leathers. No doubt this beauty is a new ship! While boarding we were addressed by name and asked if there were any special occasions we would like to have acknowledged on board - this was indicative of service to follow. The ship is absolutely stunning and gorgeous. Those looking for the Vegas style glamour and glitz of mass market lines will be disappointed. This ship is more akin to a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental hotel is design and décor. We were concerned that Encore being the largest ship in the Seabourn fleet that she would feel to large and crowded. Not at all!!! There are so many amazing public spaces to disappear, read a book, relax and have solitude. The ship never felt crowded. For a ship this size it is impressive that there is a mid ship and aft pool in addition to a forward spa - really unique! We found little surprises everywhere - i.e. self service drink and suntan lotion station at pools. The Retreat does seem to be a wasted space that could be used for something that could be appreciated by all passengers. It was seldom used. Dining was absolutely fantastic! Don't forget to order caviar whenever you feel like it! Seabourn did not miss a beat. The new Thomas Keller Grill is an amazing addition! Don't miss the New York Strip. The bar lounge and restaurant are wonderful. We were told this restaurant is supposed to be billed as a classic 1960's steak house. The pool grill, Colonnade, and restaurant never disappointed. Room service was flawless. One afternoon my wife and I wanted a club sandwich for lunch by the pool. The bar waiter heard us and ordered it through room service. Suites are beautifully appointed, with perhaps the brightest, most luxurious and functional bathrooms at sea. The standard Seabourn suites have bathrooms that are even better than the Regent Seven Seas Explorer in my opinion. The overall ambience is that of understated elegance. The passenger mix probably averaged 60's and 70's. We are in our late 40's. However, the passengers on board were generally very young at heart, fun, fashionable and came from many countries and walks of life. Not stuffy at all as some posters have suggested. What we didn't see were walkers, wheelchairs or cranky people on this particular sailing. Additionally, we noticed most passengers were very fit and active. We normally don't go to the shows. However, we did on this cruise as we became friendly with some of the entertainers. There were 4 singers and a ballroom duo for main production shows. All were amazing with fabulous voices and terrific dancers. We really enjoyed the shows. The observation bar, the Club and Thomas Keller lounge all had impressive entertainment including a duo, band and pianist/singer. I would be remiss if I did not comment on the most fantastic and impressive aspect of this cruise - the crew! Out of my 80+ cruises I have never experienced a more accommodating, warm, happy and outstanding crew as we had on the Encore. I cannot compliment the crew enough. Special recognition goes out to Roberto at Seabourn Square, Julie and Olga (baristas), our cabin stewardness Nash (she was incredible), Victoria (bartender in Observation) - she was beyond words, Carolina Perez (dining hostess) and of course Handre the world's best cruise director! I have never gotten off a cruise and remembered so many names of people who contributed to making our experience a very, very special one. Can't wait to go back on Encore. I certainly understand that reviews are just opinions and people are entitled to their own opinions. However, I really don't understand some of the negative reviews about Encore. We have our next Encore cruise booked. Kudos to Seabourn! Lastly, people often ask me if I like Crystal, Regent, Oceania, Silversea or Seabourn better. These are my favorite lines. At this time I will say Seabourn ranks high above the competition. Here's why in short. Regent forces shore excursions on you. We don't like paying for something we might not use. We don't enjoy being on buses with 60 people and usually arrange our own excursions. Because of this policy I think Regent also attracts more of a nursing home mentality crowd who enjoys everything being done for them. So Regent tends to attract passengers not quite as young at heart. That being said, we still cruise Regent on certain itineraries. Crystal is a wonderful product, but ships are old and a disaster. Certainly not up to par with newer more modern ships. I hope the upcoming renovations change things a bit. Crystal also relies heavily on Indonesian/Filipino crew in service positions. I personally preference the strongly European service crew on Seabourn who provide a level of service that is unparalleled. Just a different level of service and Seabourn pays their crew more for it. Oceania is a fabulous product with phenomenal food and gorgeous ships. I find service on Oceania to be indifferent and they sit somewhere between luxury and mass market. Having to show your key card every time you order a drink is a game changer in the wrong direction. Silversea is not quite as polished as Seabourn. Service is outstanding, but the quality of food and overall experience is just a little inferior to Seabourn. Lastly, if I had to find one area to criticize about Seabourn it would be horribly uncomfortable lounges. Seabourn has invested so much in their bedding. Why not do the same with lounges. Regent and Oceania win in the lounge department with comfy cushions and terry cloth covers with their logo - classy! Anyway, if you are contemplating Seabourn Encore - just do it! Amazing! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
After suffering two disastrous cruises with P&O over twenty years ago we vowed never to cruise again. However, having reached our fifties, we researched it again in a lot of detail, and we decided to give Seabourn a shot with a seven ... Read More
After suffering two disastrous cruises with P&O over twenty years ago we vowed never to cruise again. However, having reached our fifties, we researched it again in a lot of detail, and we decided to give Seabourn a shot with a seven day Venice-Athens run on the Odyssey in early September. In short, though expensive, it was the best holiday we have ever had...and we have already booked up again for next year. All the worries we had about cruises from previous trips - i.e. lack of space, poor food, bad maintenance, downmarket entertainment, compulsory black tie, enforced shared tables and chain smoking everywhere - dissolved within a day on the Odyssey. It's in sparkling condition. Nothing feels dated and even though the cruise was fully booked it felt very roomy. We'd booked an Owner's Suite up front as we wanted space to retreat to (we're quite private) and it had just been completely refurnished to a very high standard. It's now decorated in muted greys, beiges with champagne-coloured chair backs and a much better sofa than that shown on the current website. I wonder if it's the same furniture as used on the Encore? It was certainly very well appointed. It was all the private space we needed with an enormous verandah, so we had breakfast there most mornings. The new beds are INCREDIBLY comfy too and Kudzie, our Suite Stewardess, was an angel. More premium liquor provided than even I knew what to do with. On embarkation day we felt all our worries were coming true again. As it was Venice Film Festival, most private launches were reserved for celebs so there was difficulty in the agents finding boats and the Seabourn Transfer could only pick us up from our hotel at 3.15pm (ship sailed at 5.00pm)…which caused a lot of anxiety. Once onboard we had expected to be shown the room but weren't (is that normal?) and our room keys weren't working so that had to be fixed at Seabourn Square. We had a quick sandwich and egg roll there which tasted like they had been hanging around for days (caused a bit of tummy trouble that evening). On top of that, and a delayed sailing, it started thundering and lightening with heavy rain all evening. And the first destination was changed (without us receiving notice) from interesting-looking Sibenik to (boring) Vodice. Luckily that's all the bad news out of the way on day one. After that, everything was pretty much perfect! We were really impressed with the look and feel of the ship…modern, sparkling clean, luxurious without being over-fancy. But the service was just amazing. I've stayed at hundreds of five star hotels all over the world for business and pleasure, but the service on board was in a different league and does deserve that 'six star' accolade. Whilst all that stuff about everyone remembering your name didn't seem to work for us (it happened twice), who cares? Almost all the staff seemed engaged, committed and to really care. And apart from the initial hiccups, everything worked like clockwork. If only Seabourn were in government. All restaurants were good but our favourite was the Patio Grill. Great steaks and Mariej runs it like a military operation…but with charm! The Thomas Keller chicken night at the Colonnade is just as fantastic as people say it is. The Thomas Keller Grill is beautifully appointed but - as everyone notes - the food is bizarrely over-salted (and I love salt). The rib eye was a real great piece of meat though. Service there was too quick - we'd finished our meal within 45 mins. Having said that we'd go back again. We only went to the main Restaurant on the final night and liked the way ladies are escorted to table. We'll go there a lot more on our next trip on the Odyssey but wanted to keep this trip as informal as possible. Gabor at Seabourn Square bent over backwards to make sure people got the drinks they wanted and always with a smile. And yes, Caviar is available on tap and is pretty good too! Passengers were all age ranges but most were 50-80. Mostly US/Aus/NZ with some Brits. Good to see some LGBT couples and a get-together for them. Quite a lot of young people on board from Australia who didn't look like Seaboard regulars :-) as there was a group booking for a Daikin dealers' conference. I had been a bit worried about this in advance, but it was actually nice to have younger people on board really enjoying themselves. As we don't stay up late we never saw any entertainment in the Grand Salon nor did we visit the Club. We loved Seabourn Square, usually a nice quiet place to hang out and get a coffee. Tours were OK to good, but most of the time we liked the fact that (Vodice aside) we were visiting some pretty interesting destinations for strolling around. Disembarkation was a breeze but we were soon back to earth with a bang, twiddling our thumbs at Athens airport waiting for the flight home. All in all, the perfect holiday and we can't wait to get back on the Odyssey. It's great that the ship's excellent for people who want to socialise but just as good for those who want a quiet and interesting holiday in the lap of luxury. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have been switching back and forth between Seabourn and Silversea for the past few years hoping to once again find the level of quality that we experienced when first sailing with both lines several years ago. We had become ... Read More
We have been switching back and forth between Seabourn and Silversea for the past few years hoping to once again find the level of quality that we experienced when first sailing with both lines several years ago. We had become disappointed in recent years due to an overall declining experience (service, food, land tours) with both. We gave it one more try this year with the (new) Seabourn Encore. Our 10 day cruise began in Rome, then had ports of call at Amalfi, Sicily, Malta (2 ports), Corsica, Monaco, and Spain (ending in Barcelona). There was one weather glitch which forced the cancellation of the Bandol, France stop; but what are you going to do--can't fight the sea. The crew made this unscheduled sea day as nice as possible. All in all, Seabourn has put it back together in our opinion. Really nice ship, top service, great food (Michael Keller was excellent, and the sushi bar is a nice touch!), and some pretty cool land tours. We never felt as if there were upwards of 600 passengers on this ship; always plenty of 'space'; never had a wait at any restaurant; things felt peaceful on this ship. If you are into it, the fitness room is pretty decent; nice selection of machines, dumbbells up to 50 lbs. (more would be better, but...); plenty of aerobic equipment. Let's hope this is a permanent change for the better with Seabourn. We did not partake in the entertainment, hence my rating of average. We did however hear others indicate that (at least some of) the shows were pretty good. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Fantastic Cruise - did not disappoint on our journey to try all top luxury ships. Seabourn Odyssey is our 3rd luxury cruise and she did not let us down in any way, just ending too soon. The food was for a mixture of fine dining to casual ... Read More
Fantastic Cruise - did not disappoint on our journey to try all top luxury ships. Seabourn Odyssey is our 3rd luxury cruise and she did not let us down in any way, just ending too soon. The food was for a mixture of fine dining to casual grill. Pick up the phone and order whatever you like, and you will be presented with just that! A smaller ship with staff to passenger ratio almost one to one. The staff had a few characters that became your friends for the duration. What was most appealing, was in seeing the Captain walk around and chat to fellow passengers, I have never really seen that before, very friendly and part of the family. The suites were very large, largest we have experienced, with a great movie channel for when you just want to relax in your room. The shows were entertaining, but they did start late, around 9.45PM. Highly recommend this cruise, with many faces from all over the world and all aged different... Read Less
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