Started in Singapore and ended in Venice on two segments of their World Cruise, now referred to as extend explorations. This was our longest cruise and the first time on Seabourn, were not sure about a smaller ship, but once on board it ... Read More
Started in Singapore and ended in Venice on two segments of their World Cruise, now referred to as extend explorations. This was our longest cruise and the first time on Seabourn, were not sure about a smaller ship, but once on board it feels much larger. We had been on Regent and Crystal in the past year. We fell out of love with Regent and in love with Crystal (both separate reviews) we were looking for another luxury cruise line and Seabourn had an interesting itinerary. With all the issues in Egypt, they had to make some changes to the itinerary, the back up choices were nice options. The embarkation at the old port in Singapore was not impressive, the disembarkation in Venice was flawless in the newer port. Once on board you start to experience why Seabourn is different, yes the ship is beautiful but it is the crew that really stand out. We were far forward on Deck 7, and a little concerned about the ship rocking. It is the most stable ship we have ever experienced. Although we had good weather and calm seas for most of the trip, the few times we experienced wind, rain and swells, the ship felt amazingly steady. Captain Dexter was the best we have seen, out and about every day, talking to people, keeping us informed of important issues in the most charming way. The crew participates in lots of fun activities on board, the Caviar in the Surf party was delightful and fun. You could often meet the Captain in the Seabourn Square, a wonderful large area deck 7 aft, where you could get a great cup of coffee, a snack, read a book, play cards, meet with the guest relations/destinations team and read a worldwide choice of daily newspapers all loaded onto an IPad with a stand. They offer paper newspapers and very comfortable chairs and plenty of computers for personal access. Their internet plan was very affordable too, after a couple of bumpy starts we got some technical help from the team and we were great for the rest of the trip.
More ships have laundry rooms which is great when your are in a warm climate and want to pack lighter. Sojourn has two laundry rooms with two washers, two dryers and two ironing boards in each, no charge for machine or soap. They probably could use a better process for passengers to wash since everyone seemed to go there often around the same time. It was cooperative and polite, no one left laundry long after it was done and I was surprised to see how many people iron, no wonder it was a well dressed looking group.
The Cruise Director Jan and her team, Heather and Sophie were amazing. The best of the best on the high seas.They planned all the activities, participated in many, sang like professionals and connected with the passengers in such a personal and friendly way. Many great speakers to fill the sea days and a great dance and singing team at night to finish the day. All these crew members worked tirelessly at all events, tours and functions, and were at the exit after their show to personally thank you for attending, a first for us. Initially we were frantic about 14 of the 33 days were at sea. They had so many wonderful options (many loved the trivia) that the port days seemed less interesting, never thought I would feel that way. At the end of this cruise we knew more of the crew than in all of our more than 20 cruises, and they knew us by name.
Restaurants and food were a pleasant surprise. The Colonnade was the main casual dining area on deck 8 for all meals, they offered daily specials along with the buffet and had themed luncheons, all beautifully presented and served, with the evening meals made more upscale. The Patio Grill by the pool was open for lunch and dinner, a great choice for outside dining with the same top level of preparation and service. The main formal dining area Restaurant on deck 4 was contemporary and offered a great choice, amazing service and the best Maitre D on the high seas, Antonio. He knew our name from day one. They walk each person to their table, a lovely way to start an elegant meal. My favorite was Restaurant 2, small intimate dining of about 40, done in black white and red, a feeling of being in a Cabaret at sea. The team of Bart and Sylvia will take you on a gastronomic journey. The menu changes every couple of days with about seven different menus. It is a nine course tasting meal, beautifully prepared and served, your pallet will go crazy if you like unusual combinations of tasty morsels. Also, don't miss the High Tea service every afternoon on the forward deck, the best scones and view. Chef Graeme Cockburn was an amazing person, we went on a shopping tour with him and learned so much about fish, fruits, herbs and the entire process of food preparation, especially during his food demonstration classes. This was not just a tasting experience, he shares all sorts of handy tips and he has the best personality and team. They created an Easter Brunch spread out over the entire main dining room and the galley that was a visual and tasty feast. Their on-deck theme parties were stunning, the decoration and food to complement the evening were breathtaking. Be prepared to dress in the local outfits, it was so much fun and so many people participated. We heard there was a Seabourn club and newcomers did not feel welcome. In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth, we were greeted warmly by past and new guests alike, we met many interesting and notable people on board. As the cruise went on the tables for dinner got larger and larger but you could always get a table for two or four. There are also several dress codes, the usual of no shorts and tank tops at dinner. Most of the days were smart casual or elegant casual. On the formal nights some opted for tuxedo and gowns but many wore nice suits, dresses and cocktail attire on those evening. They offered two other dining options if you chose to be relaxed.
The ship has several bars and very attentive bartenders, they know how to make any drink you can request and most remembered your preferences or offered something fun and new, especially during the day by the pool.
To work off that extra food and drinking, the spa and exercise facility was nicely appointed. No ship has a large exercise areas but the Sojourn has two facilities, one with equipment and some weights, the other for mostly yoga, Pilates and stretch. Jordan teaches all the classes, usually 30 minutes and you must sign up for each class, he is a popular guy and the classes fill up since the space limits about 10 participants. The spa was beautiful and serene with a private sitting and hot tub area.
We purchased several tours and all were executed nicely, the team really knows how to get you off the ship and on to a clean bus/boat with the best tour guides. Several events that were hosted by Seabourn offsite as part of their special experience in which all the passengers are treated to a tour were also perfectly managed. On several occasions they had the large welcome home parties with music, drinks and cheers. For going ashore there was always plenty of water, umbrellas, hand sanitizer, towels, sunblock, glass cleaner and even sandwiches and cookies on days where you may miss lunch. They think of everything, the ship runs like a fine Swiss watch.
Two areas we were less impressed with, we had great dance lessons from Kelly and Artem, but no place to practice, it is not a ship that focuses on ballroom dancing. The second part was the Grand Salon, it has a low ceiling and way too many large posts which block your view. They are building a new and larger ship for 2016, we are hoping they will have a larger and better designed Salon, more dance floor space and perhaps a golf simulator, but those are our personal preferences. Would we go on Seabourn again, Absolutely Yes.