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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We recently completed an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens on the Seabourn Encore. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise; all previous ones were on the Quest and Odyssey. Having read many comments about the size of the Encore (many people ... Read More
We recently completed an 18-day voyage from Dubai to Athens on the Seabourn Encore. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise; all previous ones were on the Quest and Odyssey. Having read many comments about the size of the Encore (many people calling them “megaships” which we found amusing having sailed on ships carrying 3500 passengers vs. 600) we were interested to see how she compared to the smaller ships. We were very pleased with our experience. We sailed in a Wintergarden Suite which we have done on the smaller ships. There were a couple of minor glitches upon boarding (things not in the suite which should have been). These were quickly remedied and from that point on we had no other issues. The WG suite on the Encore is superior to the ones on the smaller ships in our opinion. The bathroom is greatly improved particularly with a much-improved shower. On the smaller ships it’s a circular one open on one side and we always had problems with water running everywhere. The one on Encore is larger and completely enclosed. The furniture is more comfortable as well. We loved the larger Observation Bar, also with more comfortable seating. The Thomas Keller Grill is a great space and the Colonnade is greatly improved with more seating outside and improved serving space. Seabourn Square was also larger and we enjoyed the space. There have been comments about the crowds on the larger ship. We never experienced that. We were always able to get a seat. In the restaurant we never had to wait for a table and we always choose a table for two. Service was always prompt with no delays between courses. We had two reservations at the TK Grill but we were able to walk in on two other evenings. At the Observation Bar we were always promptly served and after the first couple of nights the server knew what our choice of beverage was. We don’t go to shows so I can’t comment on them. The entertainment in the Observation Bar and the pianist in the TK Grill were very good. There were several lecturers on board and we enjoyed them very much. This was a cruise with many sea days and there were plenty of activities available, including art classes, bridge, photography and cooking demonstrations. We took several Seabourn excursions and enjoyed them. We did an overnight trip in Israel and thought it was very good despite the heat. In conclusion, we loved our cruise on the Seabourn Encore. We are booked on her sister the Ovation for our next cruise and look forward to that one. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 40s who have sailed around 20 times on a variety of lines with most itineraries averaging 2 weeks. The majority of our trips have been on main stream lines on ships of around 2,500 passengers. We have sailed once on Regent and once on Viking Ocean and have an upcoming Crystal cruise. Before this cruise we had just completed 4 other cruises totalling 54 days. We flew from Miami to Dubai to take this cruise. Unfortunately I picked up the flu while onboard which did limit my ability to enjoy the cruise fully. Speaking to other passengers it sounded like respiratory (and some noro) had been common problems on the preceding legs. Unfortunately initial impressions were poor as the embarkation process was shocking. Taxis did not know where to drop passengers and so we had to drag bags a long way and then entered what can only be described as a bare shed with no air conditioning. The luggage collection process was the worst I have ever seen, no organisation at all, after waiting for far too long I gave up found a copy of the passenger manifest lying around and wrote out my own luggage tags and left out luggage in the middle of the shed and presumed somebody would eventually pick it up (obviously they did). We then joined another long queue (described by a fellow guest as an easyjet style check in). Eventually we reached the desk where we waited 20 minutes to get our key, others were getting theirs in 5 minutes. We asked to speak to the only Seabourn representative in the shed and she sped the process up. We were handed a keycard and nothing else, no information, nothing. Again nobody on the pier and eventually on entering the ship we found the CD Handre to greet us. We then wandered aimlessly through the ship until we stumbled across lunch. Thankfully things picked up after this underwhelming start. The ship itself is gorgeous inside and out (although you could tell some finishings were a bit poor). Modern art everywhere. Public areas like the Square and the Ovation lounge were lovely places to relax in. There are loads of small outdoor spaces for relaxing although many are marred by smoking areas. Also the private extra cost Retreat (which strangely is never mentioned or advertised) limits a lot of usable space. There is one self service laundry with excellent quality machines which is perpetually busy. Cabin - this is probably the major highlight of the ship. Our suite was large, modern, comfortable and stylish. We loved the walk in closet, there was more storage than we knew what to do with. The bed was comfortable although not as large as others we have experienced. The tv is large with loads of on demand options although there was functionality problems with both the music and the lectures. The lounge area is very spacious and the wet bar is great, although not set up on the first day as requested they added things daily. The balcony and furniture was great but it got dirty frequently and needed better cleaning. The bathroom was very spacious and sleek with separate bath and twin vanities. The shower was a little small but worked well. We loved getting caviar sent to the suite in the late afternoons and enjoying the sunsets. Dining - there are several venues although they don't differ significantly in style and cuisine (sushi excepted). A major plus was how visible the executive chef was. The major highlights were the caviar in the surf followed by an amazing lobster bbq on the beach (logistically very impressive), an amazing Indian buffet dinner which had amazing detail and superb curries, caviar anywhere anytime. Breakfast in the Colonnade featured great fruit and a good mix of buffet and a la carte options, unfortunately early service was slow and forgetful. Similarly lunch in the same venue featured great variety and quality and changed daily and has a lovely outdoor area but was marred by service problems, no drinks and main courses completely forgotten on consecutive days. A discreet word to the manager saw immediate improvement. Seabourn does have an issue with their failure to assign one server to a table which meant constantly repeating requests, wine and water being refilled with incorrect choices etc.A fellow guest who is a Seabourn regular was shocked dining with us that we had to reconfirm our water choice more than 8 times in one meal (we told her that was a nightly occurrence). We thought the patio (burger bar) option was very average for lunch and only ate here once. Sushi (and ramen) were a nice option for variety. We had dinner in a variety of venues. The mdr was very nice with good quality food. Service here was good without being great with the wine and water issues regularly raising their ugly heads. The earth and ocean concept is a good one and poplar but very inconsistent. Our first night was very slow with side dishes forgotten and staff not being able to explain dishes. Our second attempt was excellent as we ate much later and the staff was under less pressure. The Colonnade was good and provided great variety but was often understaffed outdoors which led to long waits. Sushi did a great formal night set menu, the small venue is casual, quality is solid without being great but provides some much needed flexibility. The TK grill is supposedly the speciality restaurant on board, the space is sleek and stylish, the adjoining bar has a piano player but service was again patchy and cocktails only average. The food was good quality but it was basic fare and never changed. What we really disliked was the service and ambience, they were clearly trying to be arrogant and intimidating but just come off as painful and rigid. Entertainment - The CD Handre is probably the best we have encountered, highly visible, busy, approachable, amusing and clearly talented as a musician. His trivia was a highlight, especially the final round! Sea days included loads of activities from games to lectures with the art and jewellery classes being a highlight. The shows were typical of those we have experienced on small ships, good without being sensational. The Tim Rice show was a little disappointing given the hype. The guest comedian Steve Stevens was a highlight. Seabourn did a great job with parties and events such as the Country Fair, Outdoor dance party, Captains farewell - all fun events. There was plenty of music options with the quartet being our favourite - the combination of Gary and Shae doing duets was a highlight and all of the band members hosted activities which were loads of fun. The other bands and piano player (could have been more engaging) were all very talented. Service - this is what we were most looking forward to. We had heard of the legendary service levels, name recognition and ability to fulfil requests. The reality was quite mixed. It was clear there was a lot of new staff, especially in the dining and bars and we often heard arguing and complaining amongst staff which should not happen. Guest relations were excellent both on the phone and in person. Housekeeping was good but they seemed paranoid and we often found the supervisor in our room and twisting our words to make it seem we were complaining (we did no such thing and were happy with our attendant). Bar service in the main bars was solid without being exceptional with Sasha being the standout. The Colonnade was marred by problems but management fixed it for us but others were constantly highlighting the problems. For us the biggest let down was the pool areas. Chairs were reserved all day on sea days and not policed. The small deck 5 pool had every chair taken one day (more than 20) with only 2 people actually there. Worse though was pool side service. My wife was routinely ignored to the point she refused to attend the pool area at all half way thru the cruise, at one point a server spilt a drink on her and didn't offer to help clean it up. My final day I spent 4 hours by the pool and never once was asked if I wanted something. None of the myriad of glasses and dishes (all self served) were ever cleaned up. The quality of drinks was so bad we actually made a server try the frozen margaritas they were sending out and he had to spit it out and apologise. Another server begged me not to order a cocktail and told me to pick my favourite spirit and mixer and even then said it was a risk. Most guests were giving up and just ordering champagne and wine. There was no beer list and the barmen would not tell you what was available - it was an absolute joke of a pool bar. The managers would try and improve it but it would only be a temporary solution. Ports- had been to most of them and with illness only got off twice. Port talks were offered but the information often had basic mistakes. Disembarkation was relaxed but as usual Singapore port was slow with long queues. Overall - a sleek ship with fabulous cabins, a great CD and activities. Service levels are patchy, smoking is intrusive, lack of outdoor walking areas. Would like to try their smaller ships if the price were right. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday ... Read More
We just returned from an amazing voyage to Arabia. 19 days voyage. what can I say. spectacular. suites are super large, big tvs with lots of entertainment choices. we booked suite 1014 category V6 and loved the location. everyday when we went for dinner we would see the pool lit up and just made us smile. it was truly magical. my husband described the feeling of being in the ship, like being in your country club. in our case, they knew our names, and greeted us all the time by our names. they knew our food preferences and always made sure we were accommodated. Thomas Keller Grill was superb. We found the dining room to be a little slow for our taste. if we wanted to leave by a certain time we would tell the maitre d ahead of time. we like to eat by 7PM and go to the show at 8:45PM. most of the time it worked perfectly. we ate once in the evening at the patio grill and it was great. I know of plenty of people that never got dressed up for dinner and just ate dinner at the patio and the colonnade. colonnade had a sit down area instead of buffet and also an outside patio. we chose to have cappuccinos in the morning in our suite but go for breakfast at the patio of the colonnade every day . truly delightful. we ate lunch most days either at the sushi restaurant or the patio. LOVED. excursions were great. we did 4 of them with the cruise. there was caviar on the surf at an island of Abu Dhabi . super fun. temperatures for this cruise is for people that like warm weather like I do. some days temps were 100 such in muscat. cannot wait to return. we did put a deposit for a future cruise , and this deposit will give us 5% in a future cruise that we book and we have 4 years to book or we get our money back. we know and saw lots of people playing trivia, and that a big thing. they had many teams, and it was competitive. also, bridge was big. art classes were busy, which I never went, and lots of guests went to the lectures . they were super interesting and you could watch them live in your suite, or later in your tv with on demand. we met Wonderfull people and there quite a diverse array of passengers from every country. met some nice single people and first time cruisers and they were all having a fabulous time. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Everything, really everything was perfectly organized. Embarkation and disembarkation were organized. You have 5 restaurants for choice and only one of these five you have to reserve for. Service, food, drinks whenever you want, ... Read More
Everything, really everything was perfectly organized. Embarkation and disembarkation were organized. You have 5 restaurants for choice and only one of these five you have to reserve for. Service, food, drinks whenever you want, anything you might need, you get it. Champaign, caviar as much as you want. Excursions were well organized and at a reasonable prize Five restaurants at choice and you receive their menu every evening for the following day. You can order any wine , champagne, beer or water for your fridge, as much as you want. Room service works well and we had a table on our balcony set up with table cloth every morning for breakfast. You can also ask for a 3 or 4 course diner in your suite at the time you want. We can only recommend this company and we will certainly make our next cruise with them- We tried different other cruise companies , but his is the best. ......and when you think what you get for the price you paid it is not relly expensive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
The itinerary was the reason I chose this cruise, but the on-board experience was the best of any of my 12 cruises, including Crystal, Azamara and 4 other cruise lines. The price was also very reasonable since there was basically no ... Read More
The itinerary was the reason I chose this cruise, but the on-board experience was the best of any of my 12 cruises, including Crystal, Azamara and 4 other cruise lines. The price was also very reasonable since there was basically no need to add any “extras.” Dining venues were excellent! Besides specialty restaurants, there was a sushi bar, grill at the pool, great buffet, and comfortable dining in the main dining room. Food was excellent, and all special requests were honored - off-menu items were picked up at the next port if not already onboard! Places to get snacks like in the spacious fest relations area were great! Enrichment talks were a favorite. The history of each area was explained with first hand stories and pictures by very knowledgeable and entertaining speakers. Entertainment shows were first class with a nice variety of comedy, dance, magic, etc. Hard to imagine a better experience! Californiajack Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
If anyone had told us that we would be returning to Dubai less than 6 months from our last embarkation from that port, I would have thought them crazy. But then we received a Seabourn brochure this winter that had an itinerary with ... Read More
If anyone had told us that we would be returning to Dubai less than 6 months from our last embarkation from that port, I would have thought them crazy. But then we received a Seabourn brochure this winter that had an itinerary with pricing that we could not pass up. This was the chance to try out a true “luxury” line. Even though we already had a deposit on a cruise for 2019 that would include the Suez Canal and bucket list destination Petra, travel on Seabourn’s Encore would be in a larger cabin with more amenities. So, this April, we found ourselves back in the UAE. We took advantage of Seabourn’s air as the price, after applying their air credit, was better than what we could get on our own. We made our own hotel arrangements and stayed at the JW Marriott on Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, near the metro. This time we added an extra day for a visit to the Emirate of Sharjah and also made it to Burj Khalifa and the Jumeriah Mosque in Dubai before boarding Encore on April 22. Check-in went quickly and we proceeded to lunch in the Colonnade as our cabin was not quite ready. Our first surprise was that the buffet was self serve – a definite change from any of the lines we had recently been on and the second was an oddly placed structural column in front of the hot food area. These were small matters that were soon forgotten as the announcement was made that the cabins were ready. Our guarantee cabin was on Deck 7 which is the perfect deck for quick access to Seabourn Square, which is the hub of activity for the ship. We were immediately impressed with the granite bath with its double sink, tub and separate shower, comfort height toilet with soft close lid and ample storage. The makeup vanity in the hall is perfect for hair care. It was topped with a sprig of fresh orchid and the name card of our stewardess, Patience, who appeared shortly after we arrived to introduce herself and offer a selection of designer soaps. She did an excellent job keeping our suite spotless for 19 days. There were so many great things about the cabin that it’s almost hard to remember all of them: plenty of storage space (including the walk in closet with double row for hanging and the chest of drawers), curtains that were functional and not just decorative so you could actually separate the sleeping and living areas, a full size couch, a glass table large enough to be set for proper en suite dining, the stocked bar. Ah, the bar. Seabourn totally won me over with the ice bucket kept inside the mini fridge so there are always plump ice cubes available. Two bottles of our preferred liquor were provided along with set-ups and once the beer preference was established, the fridge was always fully stocked. While there were no USB charging ports, there were plenty of 110/220 outlets for all of our needs. The spacious veranda was an enjoyable spot to indulge in caviar and shrimp cocktails brought by room service The evening turn down service usually included a little surprise (NO towel animals thank you) along with the next day’s Herald, Dining Guide and obligatory chocolates, although in Seabourn’s case they are designed in collaboration with Thomas Keller and Armando Manni! On different evenings there were eye shades, a Seabourn book mark, Holy items from Jerusalem and a cute paper boat with our ship id picture set on an opened page of the World Atlas provided to each stateroom. Seabourn delights with small details. We felt the food was probably the best we’ve had at sea though there were a few disappointments with dishes not being hot enough or over done but usually things were easily corrected. We missed having a pasta station where the dish is cooked to specific requests but perhaps that would have been accommodated had we asked. The largest dining venue, the Restaurant is located mid ship and offers 4 or 5 different entrees daily in addition to the “always available” and includes vegetarian options for most courses. Dinner tends to be a drawn out affair but the time goes quickly when there is such good conversation. We accepted invitations to two hosted dinners and thoroughly enjoyed the evenings. The Grill by Thomas Keller is by reservation only and features several courses that are prepared or finished tableside. The Colonnade is popular for breakfast and lunch with several items cooked to order, though many items appear every day and there are not many desert options. Themed menus with table service are usually the norm for evening in the Colonnade. Dining on The Patio by the pool is available for lunch and dinner with a limited selection, with one evening being very good and another being less than marvelous. Sushi is a delightful small venue, both with the menu and service. Specialty coffees and small snacks are available from the baristas in Seabourn Square for a good number of hours and a proper tea is served at Tea Time in the Observation Bar. One of Seabourn’s specialties is the bread sticks and they make them by the thousands every day – so good! In case you don’t get enough to eat at a meal, there is freshly made gelato available on the patio or at Seabourn Square for much of the day. There are not many loungers around the main pool but there are hot tubs and a small pool on the rear of Deck five and another hot tube on the front of Deck 7 that provide more space for sun lovers. The bar servers attended to these areas bringing ice water and special request drinks. There are also loungers on the front of Deck 12 with no shade but it offered an excellent vantage for viewing the Suez Canal. There are also stations set up with amenities such as sun tan lotion, eyeglass wipes and bug repellent (for the Suez transit) Announcements are kept to a bare minimum so it’s helpful to keep the daily Herald handy to sort out the day's events. There were plenty of things to stay busy on our nine sea days including “Conversations” with four brilliant guest lecturers, dance lessons, two art classes per day, bridge lessons and much more. A galley tour was offered and was so popular that those on the waiting list were treated on the second tour with champagne and lead by Head Chef Giuseppe himself. If you are a fan of art auctions or bingo, Seabourn is not the line for you because you won’t find them on board. About one third of the guests were from the US, followed by Australians, Canadians and then a wide mix of travelers from Europe which made for fun teams for daily trivia. We went to slightly less than half of the evening shows which were all quite good and the Seabourn singers and dancers were excellent. Our ports included Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi), Doha, Muscat, Salalah, Aqaba, Ashdod, Haifa, Santorini, and disembarked in Piraeus. We booked the Desert Island Game Drive on Sir Bani Yas through Seabourn as it is a private island with not many options. The drive is not terribly exciting except for seeing hundreds of Arabian Oryx which have been brought back from near extinction thanks to the Oryx Conservation Group. This island was also the site of Seabourn’s signature caviar in the surf and fabulous barbeque with all of the supplies being brought from the ship. Our Roll Call was very quiet compared to other lines but we were we were able to form private tours for Oman and Israel. We used private vans hired by Seabourn for Jerusalem and Galilee for customized tours that included Bethlehem in Palestine which was a sobering experience. We were comfortable doing Doha on our own and took cabs to the souk and the Museum of Islamic Art. We booked a private guide for just the two of us in Aqaba so we could make the most of our time visiting Petra and Wadi Rum. We had the thrill of being picked up by private yacht at the tender point in Thira and spent 5 hours cruising the caldera and enjoyed lunch overlooking Thirassia. After a silent disembarkation, our seamless transfer in Piraeus was handled by Seabourn with plenty of time to make our 1:30 flight to Newark via Zurich. We appreciated the attention to detail and concern for passenger comfort from the entire crew starting with Captain David Bathgate and his senior staff, cruise director Ross Roberts and assistant director Ashley Edwards, Guest Relations staff (who have the patience of saints) the hospitality team, stewardesses, seamen. The Captain was very friendly and visible, starting from when we first met him on a tender, to participating with trivia questions and judging the boat building contest. He was even present to wish us farewell on our last trip down the gangway, along with Ross, Ashley and the staff from Sushi. Ross is arguably the best cruise director we’ve had the pleasure to sail with and added much to making this a memorable journey. We really enjoyed our fellow passengers, the crew and not have to think about whether or not anything we wanted was “extra” as virtually everything is included in the fare. Hopefully there will be another Seabourn cruise in our near future. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This is our second cruise on the Encore this year and the most disappointing. The crew was missing the usual spark and coordination that we associate with past Seabourn cruises. This was our 6th cruise with Seabourn and we found the food ... Read More
This is our second cruise on the Encore this year and the most disappointing. The crew was missing the usual spark and coordination that we associate with past Seabourn cruises. This was our 6th cruise with Seabourn and we found the food was lacking in variety and below the usual standard expected with this line. Rather than raising the bar I think senior management are cost cutting and lowering the standards . There are many cruise lines in the same category as Seabourn offering the expected service that is associated with a five star rating. The Encore has one more deck housing 150 additional people more than the three previous ships. The Thomas Keller grill is much larger and a small Sushi cafe has been added as well. While taking that into consideration you have 150 more people occupying the same passenger areas. We feel this ship and the yet to be launched Oviation are not up to the standards of the 3 smaller ships.The officers usually mix with the passengers, we found them very aloof with the exception of two restaurant officers. The entertainment was lacking in variety and quality. We feel Seabourn is heading in the wrong direction. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
When I got on board I thought gosh this is lovely this new ship, then after a few days I began to find design faults. You could not walk round the deck above the pool as there was not enough room from the end of the sun beds. The theatre ... Read More
When I got on board I thought gosh this is lovely this new ship, then after a few days I began to find design faults. You could not walk round the deck above the pool as there was not enough room from the end of the sun beds. The theatre had lots of seats with restricted views because of large pillars. I did not like where the piano bar was situated as you thought you were going into the Grill. The staff in the restaurant upstairs were very surly, and non smiling which is not good enough. I have not experienced this on other ships. I went on this cruise as I had done it before on the Odyssey and came off in Mumbai to fly up to Jaipur, Agra and New Delhi. I loved it so much I wanted to do it again. Well it was very expensive but a lovely experience again. We were given an eye mask and a plastic bag of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. What an insult. Everyone gets eye masks on aircraft and to give us these shower gels etc was not on. The beautiful hotels we stayed in gave us wonderful stuff. We had far better stuff the last time I went. Seabourn is definitely cutting back and it shows. It is not good enough as they would not cut the price of the cruise or give us FREE Wifi All the Americans get the perks, not the Brits. On the last morning I went down to the Square to query something on my bill. Well the guy was positively rude to me and I was so angry I walked away before I said something to him. Not good customer service. Dr Lawrence Blair was wonderful and gave very interesting talks. Well done to him. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was a sixteen day cruise that started in Dubai and ended in Singapore. We choose this cruise not for the itinerary but the experience of sailing on the Seabourne Encore. The ship exceeded our expectations it has a very well designed ... Read More
This was a sixteen day cruise that started in Dubai and ended in Singapore. We choose this cruise not for the itinerary but the experience of sailing on the Seabourne Encore. The ship exceeded our expectations it has a very well designed lay out and feels much bigger than it is. The crew was friendly, attentive and very professional. The restaurants (4) had varied menus and rank among the best we have had on any cruise. The entertainment was of high caliber and varied, also we had no trouble getting sitting for the shows. One design flaw is they have some structural supports that blocks some seats in the showroom. They had 4 different speakers that sailed on most of cruise and they gave really interesting talks on all the sea days. The ports in the middle east were interesting but not really worth going back to. The Indian ports on the other hand starting with Mumbai has lots history but it has bad air pollution and horrendous traffic which impacts touring. Mangalore is really an industrial seaport and has very little to offer. Cochin our last Indian stop is one of the best places in India for a visit lots of history and interesting things to see and buy. Colombo was very interesting and scenic and I would go back. Singapore I have been to before and is one of the worlds great cities, my daughter and family also live there so that was another reason we picked this cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the ... Read More
Having cruised about 10 times with Princess and twice with Seabourn, there were a number of things that did not meet our expectations; mainly food preparation. Ingredients were excellent and in most cases dishes are excellent, until the sauce is served. Most sauces taste the same and have some strange taste; maybe there is Balsamic vinegar where none should be. Most sauces are the same dark color. Short ribs should be served with the reduced braising liquid, not the strange sauce which they called Jus. Princess always has appropriate and well-made sauces. Thomas Keller was very disappointing: roast chicken overdone, Dover Sole Meuniere spoiled with capers. Crab cakes were the best ever. Caesar Salad in the restaurant and the Patio are better. Several other guests shared our view of Thomas Keller. Fish for lunch on the Patio was always very good. Breakfast in the Colonnade was always very good with a nice selection of hot and cold meats as well as fruit. Coffee and service in Seabourn Square was excellent. Service in the restaurant was excellent: Melanie and her team and Eddie. Bar service was good but not as professional as other Seabourn or Princess. Likewise for room make-up. There were lots of activities on board, especially on sea days to keep us entertained. Read Less
65 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
The first of Seabourn's "larger" ships changed too many of the things that made the previous generation special. The common areas, floor by floor: 12 - the new Retreat area is peculiar and expensive. I understand an ... Read More
The first of Seabourn's "larger" ships changed too many of the things that made the previous generation special. The common areas, floor by floor: 12 - the new Retreat area is peculiar and expensive. I understand an effort to generate revenue from otherwise dead space, but $350 for a day's access to a large tv screen and top-shelf liquor, under canvas, isn't sensible. I predict this will quickly be replaced by a golf simulator. 11 - Observation has suffered from the wider space and bad lighting. A vaulted ceiling over the bar simply leaves the rest of the room feeling small and cheerless. 10 - treadmills overlooking the stern are a modest improvement, but the trade-off was loss of the terrific relaxation area in that spa spot. That spa area has been shrunk and moved to a dark, cheerless hallway. It is necessary to walk through the reception area to access the only toilet. I rate the entire spa/gym area slightly worse than the older ships despite an increase in space. 9 - Colonnade has more space, but deployed it oddly, with a U-shaped buffet line consuming table space. Seabourn for some reason decided to have hosted dinners here, and that really doesn't work. Patio grill swapped ends of the ship and somehow lost shaded seating space, an unfortunate design outcome. Pizza remains excellent. 8 - TK Grill has a very nice piano bar with, on this cruise, a brilliant entertainer. The Grill is very proud of the Thomas Keller association, so limits cruisers to two dinners. No great loss. Lobster Thermidor was overlooked and horrid, sole overlooked and overdressed, and "daily specials" were anything but special. Steak was the best I've had on Seabourn, but only average by any other measure. 7 - No great changes to Seabourn Square, although the changes were harmful. Bookshelves are too low to be able to see titles. The customer service area has no single entry, so disciplined queuing is impossible. Coffee bar is unchanged, although for some reason the lunchtime sandwiches have disappeared and Grandmother Cake continues to be held in reserve until 11 am. 6 - Grand Salon eliminated two of the three video screens, meaning that a large portion of the seating suffers from obstructed views. Big step back. 5 - laundry ... oh, wait, THERE IS NO LAUNDRY!!! 5 - Club is simply awful. Bartender must go to the kitchen to make a drink. Lighting is poor, but the lighting design on the entire ship is bad. Big loss of a formerly terrific gathering spot. 4 - dining room is not changed much, although again, lighting is badly designed. For some reason, the kitchen on this cruise has been unable to produce a meal in less than 90 minutes, a long time to wait for unremarkable food. Menu continues to shrink, so the kitchen ought to be able to get the meals out. Steak here remains a very bad idea ... bad cuts, badly prepared. New Years Eve surf and turf was inedible. Senior staff is carried over from other ships, and is generally excellent. But there is a real Upstairs/Downstairs element here, with line level crew launching F bombs around passengers in a very un-Seabourn fashion. I'm sure this will be brought up to Seabourn standards, but needs attention and training. Read Less
39 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
First the negative: I would have rated this cruise as a 5-Star one, but Seabourn's corporate police allowing smoking in so many places makes it hard to really rate the cruise line positively. They allow smoking on all of the ... Read More
First the negative: I would have rated this cruise as a 5-Star one, but Seabourn's corporate police allowing smoking in so many places makes it hard to really rate the cruise line positively. They allow smoking on all of the balconies, which make one's use of the balconies hit and miss. Despite a corporate policy against smoking in the cabins, it is almost certainly going on because we could smell smoke in the hallways.There are also a lot of outdoor places that allow smoking, causing one to have to carefully plan their travels through the ship to avoid such places. Want to use the very nice Observation Bar? Don't try it in the evening unless you like smoke. For those who don't like second-hand smoke, make sure you do not reserve a cabin on Deck 10, because they left the Observation Bar door open, and your hallway may be filled with second-hand smoke. The Food and Beverage on board is inconsistent. We had some really outstanding food, and some pretty terrible food. The service in the restaurants can be dreadfully slow, and it was a rare experience not to have to seek out a waitstaff to refill my water. This should be done routinely, but was rarely offered. Now the positive: This was a very nice small-ship experience. Rarely a line to stand in. Friendly and courteous fellow guests. Staff mostly attentive and friendly. No hard sells to take pictures or buy extras. The stateroom was in fine shape, although the bed should have been replaced some years ago. The selections of complimentary wines and other alcohol were drinkable. No need for us to buy up to premium bottle. This was a pleasant surprise as we can be very discriminating with our wine, spirits, and champagne selections. The bar staff try their best to accommodate your personal drink recipes. We enjoyed room service, and they did an excellent job of making it a special experience, setting a linen table cloth with all the trimmings. While we did not attend a lot of the entertainment, the comedian we saw was fantastic. The enrichment speakers were a mixed bag, but Sir Tony, a ex-British diplomat was great. We may return to Seabourn. We would definitely return if they changed their smoking policy. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We have cruised many times, but this was our first Seabourn cruise. We chose it primarily for the ports which included Middle East, India, Thailand ending in Singapore. It was not that Seabourn was mind blowing at every level, but rather ... Read More
We have cruised many times, but this was our first Seabourn cruise. We chose it primarily for the ports which included Middle East, India, Thailand ending in Singapore. It was not that Seabourn was mind blowing at every level, but rather it was very good at every level be it service, food, boarding or indeed any area. Our balcony cabin may have been slightly larger than on the average cruise boat and likewise the bathroom. Where the cabin excelled was the large walk in wardrobe. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. All staff were fantastic. A professional note was set throughout. Yes, there are a few things which Seabourn could improve. They will not supply a list of the available wines so you have to guess. As the cruise progresses you learn more of what is available and other passengers tell you of their discoveries. Only on the last night did we learn of a better Bordeaux available. Cabin attendants Re simply that. They basically are cleaners. Our experience on other cruise lines has been the attendant was a little like a concierge. Perhaps the highlight was the fellow passengers. We have never travelled with such a pleasant, urbane and well travelled group. Food uniformly very good throughout. By the end of the.cruise we were enjoying the informality of the Patio Grill at night enjoying the balmy weather. Whilst on board we paid a deposit for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I have now sailed on Seabourn 3x and can say this was my best experience. To put in context, I travel a lot for business and am fortunate to stay in many of the finer hotels in the world. In addition, I have cruised on Regent, not to be ... Read More
I have now sailed on Seabourn 3x and can say this was my best experience. To put in context, I travel a lot for business and am fortunate to stay in many of the finer hotels in the world. In addition, I have cruised on Regent, not to be repeated under any circumstance. We choose Seabourn because we like the quiet and relaxed atmosphere, the no hassle room service and great food. This cruise was really lovely; in addition to the superb chef (Kurt) on board, great speaker (Rob Warren) and the always charming John Howell - cruise director - we met some really interesting fellow travelers. I see the usual carping by people that has become to prevalent on websites, but overall I think Seabourn does a lovely job. I have never found the waiters to be rude, although I have seen more than a few rude and vulgar guests showing off. Food - overall the quality is high, even when challenged to get good fruits in places like Dubai they make an effort. Theme meals are for the most part excellent. The seafood and meats are first rate and the caviar is delicious Wine- the French house champagne is great, the complimentary wines very good. Liquor - great selection, good bartenders mixing at all hours of the day. Cabins - nice a spacious with very good bathrooms - plus our cabin steward was very nice. We've only ever sailed on the Odyssey do don't know how the other ships will be, but we can say this was a good experience and we will sail with Seabourn again, Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We have just returned from our first Seabourn cruise and can only say we had a wonderful experience. Staff were absolutely wonderful if not outstanding. Cabins well fitted out and very comfortable. Dining options were very good,with a ... Read More
We have just returned from our first Seabourn cruise and can only say we had a wonderful experience. Staff were absolutely wonderful if not outstanding. Cabins well fitted out and very comfortable. Dining options were very good,with a high standard of ingredients and presentation and considering how long we were on board food never became boring, Restaurant 2, the tasting menu was totally revolutionary. Entertainment was excellent, with cruise director John assisted by Jay working their socks off. The evening entertainment in the theatre was very good, with the onboard singers and band, helped along with a number of others brought on. Seabourn square with its coffee shop, was a wonderful place to rendezvous fellow passengers, for coffee, cake or ice cream, as well as a takeaway coffee if required. I have only 2 criticisms: New sunbeds beside the pool were just as uncomfortable as the previous which were replaced. We could have spent longer in some ports.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2013
Our experience with Cruising for the first time was wonderful. Seabourn Vessels are beautiful, the staff is amazing and food exceeded our expectations. We were definitely of the younger demographic on this Seabourn Itinerary. We are 37 ... Read More
Our experience with Cruising for the first time was wonderful. Seabourn Vessels are beautiful, the staff is amazing and food exceeded our expectations. We were definitely of the younger demographic on this Seabourn Itinerary. We are 37 and 42. We love to travel and experience life to it's fullest. We have a lot of previous travel experiences all over the world. We have never taken the opportunity to Cruise and quite frankly we were very unsure if a cruise vacation was for us. I have some motion sickness issues and we were not sure how we would feel about sea days. We knew going into a cruise that we did not want to be on a ship with 3000 other people. We also knew that we did not want a ship that catered to children specifically. We chose this itinerary based on sail dates and it going to some unusual locations. We embarked in Dubai, U.A.E. - we stayed at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City. This hotel was fabulous. It is a bit of a distance to downtown and the old city, but the hotel is wonderful. Their breakfast buffet is probably the best I have ever had. Embarkation was a breeze. It took about 45 minutes to get on board and we understood from others in this line that this was a very long wait compared to usual. Seabourn Odyssey is a beauty. Again far exceeded out expectations. The MDR is gorgeous. It is fabulous to sit out on the Colonnade for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The Patio Grill is a wonderful more casual experience for poolside eats and fun. We never made it to Restaurant 2 so I can not comment. The Spa was wonderful. The Salon is very professional. The gym is very well equipped. We even managed to work out several times on the ship. There are several different entertainment venues all very nice. The entertainment staff had an itinerary everyday for what the days activities were. We took part in several of them a few times. We did the golf putting challenges, trivia, watched tug of war, there were many lectures on the locations we were travelling to, there was Mah Jong, Scrabble, Shuffleboard. I understand there were many fitness classes as well, but we did not partake. There was a pre-dinner show every day and a after dinner show every evening. The shows that were provided by Seabourn are clearly not intended for our age category. We went to several, but often just chose not.There was 2 acts that were really good in our opinion of course, but other than that we could have just opted out. Wendy and the band were great and Derek the guitarist was wonderful to listen to at the Patio grill and the club. The service that we received on our cruise was impeccable. The room steward was amazing. They all said hello and were friendly as you passed through the hallways. The service staff at restaurants were fabulous. Even the news ones in training sure did their best. The entertainment crew were hilarious. They kept things very fresh. The only thing that we noted on service was if you have the wine packages of wanted to order wine off of the wine list, it was hard to get to speak with a Sommelier. It appeared that there was too much demand at one time for the amount of Sommeliers. Once you had their attention they were great. Oh and the bridge crew, what little we saw of them was great, but we were on a very time intensive cruise for those guys and gals, so I was glad they were doing their job rather than socializing with us. Room Service was great, always very quick and really as good as room service ever can be. I just like having breakfast on the veranda. Port Excursions - I organized most of our port excursions outside of Seabourn. They were fabulous. I did not line up a excursion for Israel before we got on the ship for various reasons, so we opted to go with a private tour though Seabourn. Not only was it quite a bit more expensive than I could have done on my own, they did not provide a driver and a guide, which the other company would have. The reasoning was that the guides first language was English. We are fairly sure his first language was not English and it is much better to have a driver and a guide as this way the guide can concentrate on guiding you and the driver can concentrate on driving. I would likely not recommend others to use this service. We did not go on any group tours. Our stateroom was beautiful. My husband chose to upgrade us at the last minute to an owner's suite. It was amazing! We had lots of room to stretch out. The Balcony was beautiful. It was usually fairly windy, but I did get the chance to enjoy some amazing breakfasts out there. Also star watching at night was amazing. We entertained a few times. Would we do it again? If we were travelling with others, it would be good to have a bit of extra space to gather. If we were not we would likely not do it again. Dining was fabulous. We were actually impressed by the way they were able to continuously change the menu so that the passengers did not get bored. Yes there was some overlap between restaurants, but after the galley tour we understood why this may happen from time to time. We do highly recommend the galley tour! It was fascinating. Those galley girls and guys are amazing! The only complaint that we would have for dining would be that we think that the dress code for men is a bit too much. out of 18 days there were only 3 nights were a jacket was not required for men. When you are out in the hot hot sun all day the last thing a man would like to do is go put on a suit. Now of course we think that being required to wear slacks and a shirt is totally fine, the jacket is a bit overkill. We ate in our room a few nights because of the dress code. All in all we were amazed at how much we enjoyed our cruise. We had many days at sea, we loved them. We were never bored, there are always things going on. We had good water conditions from what I understand, so motion was not really an issue which I was very happy about. The people we met on our cruise for the most part were amazing and interesting people from all over the world. We did get a brief chance to chat with the Captain and he was intriguing and a great conversationalist. We loved not have to charge things to a room card, the all inclusive of Seabourn is a definite seller. We would not do a cruise without it. My husband loved to lock his wallet in the safe for 5 days. We Disembarked in Civitavecchia (Rome), The process was smooth and simple. We were sad to see the ship disappear in the rear view window! Would we do Seabourn again? YES! Would we cruise again? Yes! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
What a cruise of excitement, disappointment and finally enjoyment.This was our second cruise with Seabourn, after the wonderful Odyssey Aegean and Dalmatian Delights we first cruised on in 2009, which I previously posted a review on. As ... Read More
What a cruise of excitement, disappointment and finally enjoyment.This was our second cruise with Seabourn, after the wonderful Odyssey Aegean and Dalmatian Delights we first cruised on in 2009, which I previously posted a review on. As many have stated, the hardest decision to make, is to decide to go on your first cruise, the easiest decision is to book your second.Our second cruise was on the newly released Sojourn, World Cruise segment 5 from Dubai to Rome starting on 26th March 2011 where destinations included Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Israel, Greece and Italy. Of particular interest to us, were the "bucket list" locations of Luxor, the Pyramids and Petra.Accordingly, our excitement when we first booked this cruise. As we steadily approached our departure date, our excitement turned to concern when the Egyptian crisis started, wondering if we would still be going. After continually being told by Seabourn that the cruise was going to continue unaltered, our excitement continued until 13 days before departure, where Seabourn altered the itinerary on their web page.Disappointment set upon us with the cruise, without prior warning or notice being provided to our travel agent or us directly, the key ports of Safaga (Luxor), Sharm el Sheik and Alexandria (Cairo) were cancelled. What disappointment and frustration we experienced, with the timing advice and response to our enquires and emails from Seabourn. Very disappointing indeed which is evidenced within a series of posts with the Seabourn forum posts within Cruisecritic.So with this in mind, we commenced our transit onto our cruise.I wondered, how would the Sojourn and its crew perform, given our wonderful experience on the Odyssey. What has changed and was it for the better ?As soon as we arrived at the Dubai port we were welcome by the crew again in a manner, that gave you the feeling that they have known you for some time. A glass of refreshing juice in a champagne glass is handed to you whilst you check in which was again quick, professional and painless.We quickly arrived in our suite, this time a V6 suite number 827 on the eighth level. As I travelled through the ship to our suite, it felt like coming home, as the Sojourn was exactly like the Odyssey in build configuration. God, it felt good to be back on board.The features of the suite were exactly the same as the Odyssey. Every need is provided, from the opening of a bottle of champagne when you first arrive to the soap in the bathroom. After a quick embrace of happiness we ventured out to look around.We quickly noticed that this ship was a far better build quality than the Odyssey, (Again my engineering background is coming through here). The ship was far more polished and complete, no doubt due to the fact that this ship was ahead of construction program. No bubbling of internal wall panels, no visible rust spots and replacement of those silly automatic opening doors on level 8 with a traditional turn of the lever and pull the door open and shut. We also sensed the harmony amongst the crew, well organized, efficient, balanced, friendly and happy. They displayed far more familiarity with the ship, its needs and daily operations. It was clear, the lessons of the Odyssey were noted and enacted upon on the Sojourn.The ship may have a value of $ 350 Million, but it is nothing in comparison to its wonderful crew lead by their hotel manager Vitor. The crew is young, enthusiast and truly wonderful team of individual personnel.At times, the crew endured clients that well, are simply rude and difficult to deal with. We witnessed an occasion in the Restaurant when a client split a container of milk all over the place. Immediately, 3 crew members went onto their knees and quickly cleaned up the spillage without hesitation. This particular client amazingly ignored them, did not offer assistance, even attempt to move out of their way or apologize in anyway. We couldn't believe the arrogance of this person and found it so sad that the crew have to serve clients of this nature. There was also another occasion, when my wife overheard a fellow cruiser over breakfast on our last cruise day, when a member of the crew expressed sadness over that person leaving and he replied, "what do you care, there will be another traveller after I leave". Professionally, the crew member simply smiled and wished him well in the future. I personally would have told him to "go and jump".Whilst these occasions are few and far in between, we offer them as examples of how temperament this crew is and how they have been trained to serve. They genuinely do care and openly display affection to our needs and health. If you happen to be suffering in health, they caringly ask if there is something they can do, arrange for the doctor, etc. There is no doubt they we viewed them as an extension of our family whilst on the cruise and were quiet saddened to leave them, but look forward to returning to embrace them again in the future.As per the Odyssey, there are 4 Restaurants on the ship starting with "The Restaurant" with a "al carte" rotating menu choice. This restaurant requires no booking and at no time, were we not able to be seated. Food was equally as refined and excellent on every single occasion.Restaurant 2 remains with a menu set with a variety of degustation with 24 hour booking notice. On this occasion I found the eating experience just a little too rich for my liking. The restaurant wasn't as full as it was on the Odyssey and I wondered whether Seabourn were best served, to possibly alter the theme of this restaurant to something that cruisers would be accustomed to, such as a specialized seafood or a steak restaurant.The Colonnade has altered its previous need to book, which was very pleasing given the last frustrations we experienced on the Odyssey. This restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of the three, it remains as the most casual restaurant and has a menu with two choices per course plus a traditional classic choice menu.Finally the Patio Grill, is a restaurant in the open air adjacent to the swimming pool on deck 8. Again, Seabourn altered the previous booking requirement for this restaurant during dinner times. A good change indeed which I frequented on numerous occasions.Overall whilst the food was of high quality, I felt it was slightly below the standard we experienced on the Odyssey. I put this down to the fact, that as we travelled through the Middle East in lieu of the Mediterranean, where the food availability in terms of freshness and quality was probably not as good.Unlike the Odyssey which was a new and larger ship at the time, the crew during meal times was calm and well organized. No running, dropping of plates and mistaken orders. The efficiency teething problems I experienced on the Odyssey, were well and truly ironed out.Being a wine buff, I regretfully found the wines to be below par to what I was used to. Some familiar Australian wines were offered which frankly, were not of a standard in keeping with the ships standing. On this occasion, we once with other guests, decided to resort to the "exclusive" and additional wine choices available. This was a little disappointing and I hope this will be considered by Seabourn into the future.During the day, there were lots of activities within the ship to keep guests entertained, which was beneficial, given that we had a lot of days at sea. I was told by many die hard bridge players that the bridge masters were simply fantastic, with all guests rushing in for their daily bridge games. Quiet amusing actually, seeing everyone rushing their breakfast, to venture to the card room. The only complaint I heard was that the air conditioning in the room was too cold. Night entertainment at the Club on Deck 5, the Lounge on Deck 6 and the Observation Bar of Deck 10 with piano music was excellent. The highlight of the cruise was when we had an Arabian night pool party night. The pool area was transformed with props, decorations, Pyramids, camels, etc. All guests become part of the party dressing up in Arabian outfits. Even Captain Karlo suitably donned an Arabian Head piece. It truly was a magnificent night with all guests reflecting on it over the next 2 to 3 days.Then after slowly removing our initial disappointment of our altered itinerary, it was announced that we would in fact, be returning back to our original itinerary due to a change in the US issued travel alert (mind you, Britain and Australia had altered it sometime before them). Egypt, here we come !. What a joyous occasion for all on the ship when Captain Karlo announced this over the ship's speaker system. At an instant, the cruise feeling went from very good to excellent. Smiles all round. We couldn't help but feel some regret for the passengers of Spirit, many of which we communicated with before departure, which was doing a similar leg, ahead of us by some 4 to 5 days. We haven't spoken to anyone from the Spirit, since returning, but we believe the change in travel alert was too late for them to alter their itinerary back.We did however have an experience where the Sojourn and the Spirit crossed paths in the ocean and circled each other like romancing doves. What an experience it was to see each other, cruisers waving away and happily snapping photos of each other. On this cruise, we noted the higher presence of the Captain and his crew. We frequently saw them in the gym, sitting next to us during dinner or simply undertaking periodical walk through and wishing everyone well. Whilst always serious and level headed, the captain too was a highlight with his slow, deep voice over the speaker system. I wouldn't have anyone else at the wheel through the dangerous waters of the Middle East than Captain Karlo.The Cruise Director Jan, was also far more enjoyable and energetic to the cruise director we had on the Odyssey. How she maintained that level of energy, after a long world cruise was a credit to her indeed.Of the wonderful services we experienced, what negatives were there ?.One thing that did frustrate me and other cruisers was the speed of the internet, it was slow as a snail. Surely they could do something to speed this up, which was quickly chewing away the time allotted to internet packages we purchased. The other was the choice of channels on the TV, for 20 days we viewed no sports channel and frankly, I had enough of the CNN, Fox news and BBC view of what was happening in the world. I would have killed for a sports channel to provide something other than the depressing news of Libya, The American economy and the Ivory Coast crisis. We're on holidays !, please show us a few games of golf, football and baseball. We hope next time we are on a cruise, ESPN or foxsports is also on the TV and the internet bandwidth is dramatically increased. We noted within some cruisecritic posts the issue of discoloured water. I actually ventured down to the laundry on level 5 and noted its compact, yet sufficient service. We encountered similar problems with some stains being left on white clothing due to the water discoloration. Some cruisers had then chosen to use the in house laundry. We decided to try it again and the stains went away. Finally, we cannot hide our disappointment with the office personnel of Seabourn. We find it so hard to comprehend the vast difference between them and the wonderful team on board the ships. If the office personnel could be 50 % as attentive, caring and compassionate to the ship's crew, well simply, this would be an absolutely perfect cruise line.Would these issues stop me from returning to Seabourn ? Of course not. We have become part of the loyal team that exists within the Seabourn family after only two cruises. Would we be courageous enough to try other cruise lines like Silverseas, Regent or Celebrity cruisers ? Possibly,,,, but not now, as we have placed another on board discount deposit for our next cruise.As I recover from my jetlag, I have tried to reflect on what my thoughts are on this ship and its crew during a totally different cruise destination to that previously I enjoyed, being the Mediterranean. I cannot overstate the wonderful crew, we both love them and look forward to seeing them again and very soon we hope.Yes it was a roller coaster of emotion from booking to actually travelling. I can however happily report, that at the end of the day, we were not disappointed. We ticked off our "bucket list" items, enjoyed the ship, it's crew and again gained another 5 kilos of weight !. The ship has improved in numerous areas, with a slight and I mean slight, decrease in wine quality and food freshness. If they can attend to this and have some improvement in the internet service, well why would choose any other cruise line ?.My wife of now 27 years now believes she has two yachts. That is of course, until we venture onto the Quest, where I imagine it will expand to three. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This was our first time on Seabourn after being on Silversea twice and several other lines. We never wanted to be on their smaller "yachts" and were very excited when the larger and brand new Odyssey came online + an itinerary ... Read More
This was our first time on Seabourn after being on Silversea twice and several other lines. We never wanted to be on their smaller "yachts" and were very excited when the larger and brand new Odyssey came online + an itinerary that took us to all new places...some on our "bucket list" ie, Dubai, Luxor, Petra, and the pyramids. Itineraries are a very personal thing so I won't elaborate on our ports or shore excursions (except one below). I will say that it's the ONLY way we would have wanted to see this part of the world! We felt safe on the water even in pirate territory and on every bus; some with armed police, as all the excursions make for long bus rides. The razor/constantine wire along the sides upon embarkation in Dubai was a little daunting at first but our captain explained they do anything and everything to ensure the safety of the ship and it's passengers/crew. Our captain, Mark Dexter, was a delightfully cheery man despite this being the last segment of the inaugural World Cruise of 104 days. THE SHIP: She is beautiful, very easy to navigate, with the staterooms being very spacious (much like Silversea) with loads of storage, comfy beds, nice baths, and big enough walk-in closets. Suffice it to say, the suites ARE as advertised. We didn't have any problems except with our safe 2 days in, which got promptly replaced the next a.m. Avoid a room w/a connecting door as you will hear your neighbors music, TV, every cough, sneeze, and most conversations louder than pillow talk. We heard not a peep from the other side of the room; it was the door that leaked. This ship does have vibration problems as other's have mentioned; it's supposedly going into dry dock in Nov. It really never bothered me but it was the talk of the ship amongst others. Someone else mentioned the poor layout of the Grand Salon with the large columns blocking views of the stage. We ditto that! It was as if no one gave these a thought when putting them in and I can't believe they are structural. Take them out!! I'll say also that we LOVE to dress for dinner and so appreciate that Seabourn is sticking to Black Tie Optional nights. It gripes me that several men blatantly chose to disregard the dress code w/out so much as a coat in the Restaurant on Casual Elegant nights. The staff was always gracious about bringing a coat to the guest...some just hung it on the back of the chair. Some people just have no class and feel they are above it. There are other dining options that allow casual dress any night of the week. Those men were simply rude! The pool area was well used but always had lounges open. They NEED cushions however, as they are very hard. Four towels almost did the trick. We have had cushions on much lesser ships. FOOD + SERVICE: We found it pretty darn fantastic on all levels! The Restaurant has a large menu that changes daily; in 16 days we never saw the same menu twice. The "standards" are always available and the vegetarian entrees kept me very pleased. The bartenders anticipated your every wish, our cabin stewards were prompt with cleaning and turn down service, you never needed to look for a drink around the pool, the cooks at the Pool Grill even made me a grilled cheese sandwich which isn't on the menu. They will try to accommodate your every wish. The same goes in the Colonnade for breakfast and lunch...incredible selections there! We ate in Restaurant 2 only once; it was delightful. We never ate dinner in the Colonnade. Each night is "country themed" and we just never hit the right night/country combination. The Seabourn Square, Deck 7 is a one-stop area for great coffee drinks, more computers than I've ever seen, a wonderful library, and 4 staffed desks for anything you need from shore excursions to future cruises to rectifying a problem. ENTERTAINMENT + SPA: The one show I saw (hubby went to bed) was very good and the Seabourn Singers are excellent. Here is my biggest complaint about the entire cruise: There is simply nothing to do between 7:45-9:30pm except eat. If you like to eat early and be entertained after dinner, forget it on this ship. No music, no dancing, no entertainment of any kind and the main show of the night doesn't start until 10:00pm, which is late to get started when there isn't anything giving you a reason to stay up. Hence, we were in bed watching a movie most nights by 9pm. I feel badly for the entertainers who work hard to put on a great show to a quarter or half filled room. Any ship of any size or quality should have some kind of entertainment ALL evening without 2 hr gaps. The spa is nice but nothing special. My massage was weak and not what I wanted and the treatment rooms are too bright. I used the gym a lot and never found it overly crowded but I avoided 8-10am. My husband said the men's locker room was barely adequate and only 2 would fit into the sauna or steam at a time. I think it's poorly laid out with a lot of room wasted for their private cabanas & whirlpool. I doubt those are in high demand as they are expensive, but don't know for sure. You had to walk through the spa entrance to get to the salon and gym, making it not feel very exclusive or private. Embark/Disembark was a breeze and overall I give the ship, staff, food, service very high marks. One shore excursion was a flop and after many complaints were voiced, they offered us all 1/2 refund. Maybe they will improve "Snorkeling in the Ros Mohammad Natl Park" for future cruises; if not don't waste the time because the coral reefs and fish were most non-existent. Read Less
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