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3 Seabourn Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

My husband and I (mid-fifties) had wanted to visit Venice for many years and thought a cruise that started in Venice would be the perfect way to see it as well as some other interesting places. We did two nights in Vencie pre-cruise in a ... Read More
My husband and I (mid-fifties) had wanted to visit Venice for many years and thought a cruise that started in Venice would be the perfect way to see it as well as some other interesting places. We did two nights in Vencie pre-cruise in a great hotel, the Palazzo del Giglio, easy to access from the Alilaguna water bus stop and near San Marco square. On our full day in Venice, we did a tour with the Roman Guy of San Marco, Rialto Bridge area and Doge's Palace, which I highly recommend. We splurged for a private taxi boat to the pier on embarkation day. Embarkation in Venice was long - not due to check in which was very quick, but due to where we were docked - it took getting on and off two shuttle buses. There were 7 ships in port that day so I am sure that was the main issue. We had booked a V1 guarantee and found out the week before we boarded that we had been assigned a handicap room on deck 8. The cabin was the biggest we have ever had on a cruise and was very nice, if quirky. The ship was beautiful, spacious and very well maintained. Dining was good - some restaurants had better service than others, but the quality of the food was always great. Best meal on the boat was in The Grill - excellent wine, steak, dessert and the service was exemplary! The entertainment that we experienced was always good, but we did not make every event. One of the fun things we experienced on board was watching two World Cup games with our fellow shipmates. That was a great opportunity to bond with fellow passengers and people watch! We ordered breakfast to our room twice - one was perfect, the other not so much. It was late and not complete. Four visits from the wait staff before we had it correct. Service overall was hit and miss - there were times finding a steward or waiter was more work than it should have been. There is a fine line between too pushy a bartender on ships where gratuities are added and having to go flag one down on a ship like Seabourn where gratuities are included in the fare. We had a massage in the beautiful spa which was very nice. We also worked out in the fitness center which was the nicest one I have seen on a ship. The ports were great and very different. We did one excursion through Seabourn that was absolutely first rate, the hydrofoil to Albania from Corfu to visit the Butrint ruins. We wanted to book a second one but waited too late and there were no spots available. In that port, Vodice, there was VERY little to do on your own so that was really the only disappointing port. A recommendation to Seabourn would be to anchor in Sibenik, as there seemed to be more to do there, or provide more spaces on the ship sponsored excursions. Another highlight port was Nydri, where we rented bikes and rode, then hiked, to the Nydri Waterfalls. A really fun on-your-own excursion - we felt like locals!! One tip for the port of Gythion – there is a lovely beach that the local advisor on board will suggest for a relaxing beach day but take a cab – she told us it was a safe 2 mile walk but it was anything but!! We survived to tell the tale but it was harrowing, and once out of the port area there was no flagging down a taxi. Disembarkation was very quick and smooth. We easily got a cab to our hotel in the Plaka, the Palladian House, a lovely old home on a beautiful square, and spent a lovely day and evening walking around Athens and drinking in the ambiance. Overall, it was a great vacation to a beautiful part of the world on a lovely ship. I give it 4 stars overall, my husband says 3.5 stars. His expectation was so high for the Seabourn brand, so while the trip was great, it fell short of his expectation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
From Venice to Athens the cruise was heaven. A 'delight' of middle aged folks enjoying themselves. From Athens to Istanbul we were joined by some family groups who changed the atmosphere on the ship totally. They did nothing ... Read More
From Venice to Athens the cruise was heaven. A 'delight' of middle aged folks enjoying themselves. From Athens to Istanbul we were joined by some family groups who changed the atmosphere on the ship totally. They did nothing wrong and were indeed charming but going forward we will avoid school holidays for our cruising. The food was really lovely, the service was A1 and the ship immaculate. The entertainers were top notch but were challenged by rather esoteric (for us!) material and to be honest we didn't really like the shows. This was a shame as when they did the sail away from Venice they were amazing and we had high hopes. They sang like angels but we just didn't know many of the songs. Note the informal dress code (or whatever it used to be called) had disappeared and it was formal for two nights in the 14 and elegant casual the remainder which meant that we carried two jackets unnecessarily. Main complaint. We don't like the Colonnade for breakfast (actually at all - the only place Silversea beats Seabourn for us is La Terrazza) . It is too busy and the seating is odd with very limited places for two and odd stalls where you can sit en masse - not for us. We think the main dining room should be open as it was on previous cruises for a tranquil breakfast and lunch. The much hyped complimentary trip to Ephesus for a classical concert was also disappointing. Firstly the venue requires some mighty music (and indeed would be a great place to use some of the wonderful classical singers on board) but instead we were treated to lovely but delicate chamber music (named for a reason) which felt simply wrong. Then we were bitten alive by horrible mosquitoes (or similar). Seemingly this is a known evil and there was meant to be spray on the table. I didn't see it and nearly a week later my ankles are still a mess. I should say we were at the back and most people we spoke to found this a lovely experience - maybe just us! We were on the 10th floor and for the first time were very conscious of noise from the Observation Bar to the point of just being about to complain when it stopped. Week one no issues but week two the pianist seemed to be louder and one night started a singalong which was totally inappropriate given the proximity of cabins to the venue. I've just read this back and this review sounds negative which is not the intention. We paid our deposit and will be back on Seabourn soon as it is totally our favourite cruise line (as it was with most cruisers on board). The criticisms are intended to be totally constructive. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The Odyssey was an excellent experience in many ways: comfortable and attractively decorated rooms, lovely bathrooms, mostly excellent common facilities, some very good service, and a good itinerary. However, there were numerous ... Read More
The Odyssey was an excellent experience in many ways: comfortable and attractively decorated rooms, lovely bathrooms, mostly excellent common facilities, some very good service, and a good itinerary. However, there were numerous shortcomings that, when stacked against the Silversea experience, left Seabourn in second place. Embarkation and disembarkation procedures were inelegantly handled. Upon embarking in Venice, in the middle of a giant heat/humidity wave, we were kept in the terminal for over an hour before being able to board. Check in procedures were slow, we were dripping wet from humidity and miserable, aside from fruit juice upon entering the terminal no refreshments were served while we were on line, not even bottled water. On disembarkation, passengers were told to be ready to leave and then were kept waiting for over half an hour as we were disembarked by "groups". This was after we were sent to three different floors because no one could figure out where they had our passports (not everyone's, just ours). The overall experience on both ends was akin to flying a budget airline. Some of the staff was superb, some woefully undertrained in terms of handling guests graciously. We had a wonderful cabin steward and a few excellent dining staff. Others buzzed around in an abrupt and overworked manner without so much as even a smile. We often had to ask three or four times for simple things like milk with one's coffee, one more than one occasion aperitifs arrived after the first course, and there were often long waits between courses. On one evening, we arrived at the opening of dinner hour to find the dining room doors mysteriously closed. We opened them to walk in and were asked to wait outside even though there were other guests already seated. After a few minutes, one of the staff came out and told what was now a small group of us that they had gotten so many guests the moment the doors opened that they didn't think they could serve everyone so they had closed the restaurant for 15 minutes while they took the first arrivals' orders. I was stunned. Most of the tables inside were empty and all they had to do was show people to seats, serve a quick glass of wine or champagne, explain that they would be a little slow that night and then get on with it. Instead, they left us standing in the hallway until they were ready. It couldn't have been less appropriately handled. In general, we found the food in the main restaurant to be decent, The Colonnade to be good, and the lunch buffet at the pool terrace to be god awful (think hot dogs, bad heat lamp pizza, over cooked chicken breasts with rubbery skin, and all of it repeated daily. However, the house wines were good and breakfast and lunch buffets in the other restaurants were quite good. On the positive side, the guests were very international and friendly, the itinerary was interesting, and much of the staff, including our cabin steward, were superb. The ship facilities are excellent (although I question the decorating choices in the main restaurant and the bar), the computer room and library area are spacious and comfortable, and the in room internet works beautifully. I would certainly sail with Seabourn again, but if the itineraries are similar, take Silversea. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
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