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9 Seabourn First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

My wife and I undertook our 5th cruise on Seabourn, this time on Sojourn to Myanmar where we spent 4 days and 3 nights. The cruise was excellent in every respect. We have travelled on Silversea, Oceania, Cunard, Princess and Crystal, and ... Read More
My wife and I undertook our 5th cruise on Seabourn, this time on Sojourn to Myanmar where we spent 4 days and 3 nights. The cruise was excellent in every respect. We have travelled on Silversea, Oceania, Cunard, Princess and Crystal, and in my opinion Seabourn clearly has the edge. I was able to order a plate of caviar whenever I wanted one ( which was quite often) and the service at meals was superb. The range and variety of food is very impressive, and the wines served at lunch and dinner were of a very high quality. The Observation Bar for pre- dinner drinks is a beautiful venue in which to meet newly made friends, and the trivia on sea days was great fun. We can't wait for our next cruise through the Philippines in April, again on Sojourn, this time with old friends. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Our first ever cruise and it lived up to our expectations. Our Cabin, Veranda Suite, Deck 8 was roomy with a walk in closet and very good bathroom. Balcony not huge but big enough for both of us to have our feet up on the lounger. ... Read More
Our first ever cruise and it lived up to our expectations. Our Cabin, Veranda Suite, Deck 8 was roomy with a walk in closet and very good bathroom. Balcony not huge but big enough for both of us to have our feet up on the lounger. The restaurants were all good and we particularly liked being able to eat outside in the Colonnade as well as round the pool in the Patio Grill. Not having to pay for drinks was great and sitting round the pool with the staff bringing round Pina Coladas (or getting whatever you wanted) was exactly the cruise experience we were hoping for. Excellent range of films and TV Staff uniformly good The speaker was pleasant but there was very little intellectual depth or logical flow to the two talks we went to. We went on an excursion to the Danube delta from Constanta which was marred by constant racist comments from the tour guide - I complained about this and the Seabourn rep seemed to take it seriously. Overall - we were very happy and will be going on more Seabourn cruises Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had our first cruise on this luxury line starting on 26 July and ending on 2 August. Previously we had done a river cruise with Scenic and expected an even higher standard of food and service given the higher prices. We were very ... Read More
We had our first cruise on this luxury line starting on 26 July and ending on 2 August. Previously we had done a river cruise with Scenic and expected an even higher standard of food and service given the higher prices. We were very disappointed that the staff didn't insist on every passenger using the hand sanitizers positioned at the entries to all restaurants, particularly since several passengers and staff had very noticeable coughs, which increased over the 7 days. The air conditioning system in our suite smelled stale, and the only solution seemed to be spraying air freshener around the room (which worked for 5 minutes). The temperature difference between the ship and the shore was huge -- which probably made us all more susceptible to infection. Seabourn does have an exceptionally talented crew and entertainment team, who were very friendly, and made up for the lack of interaction between guests themselves. There were many large family groups who stuck with themselves. The high price of shore excursions meant that many people simply toured the port towns for a couple of hours on their own, then came back to the ship for food and rest by the pool. We were surprised by the wide age range of passengers -- with many children roaming around the ship with parents and grandparents. The biggest disappointment for us was the need to cut our cruise short due to the bad cold that we caught on board.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
For our 25th wedding anniversary, we were very lucky to be given the chance to take the trip of a lifetime--a gift from my grandfather. As my wife has always wanted to see Santorini, and Seabourn's Odyssey was going to be there on our ... Read More
For our 25th wedding anniversary, we were very lucky to be given the chance to take the trip of a lifetime--a gift from my grandfather. As my wife has always wanted to see Santorini, and Seabourn's Odyssey was going to be there on our anniversary (with a late departure so that we could see the sunset in Oia) it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I would highly recommend working with a travel agent in planning a trip like this, particularly if you don't normally do this kind of travel. We had never cruised before--never wanted to, given the crowds and jostling that come with the mega-ships. We figured Seabourn would be the right kind of cruise for us, and they certainly delivered. In our mid-40s, we were not the youngest people on the cruise, though the majority were older. Embarkation We arrived 45 minutes earlier than our scheduled time of 2pm, but the embarkation process was well underway. We handed off our bags, answered the health questionnaire, registered at the desk, and went through Turkish passport control all within about 20 minutes, and then were on our way to the ship. We were greeted by a line of staff and officers, and were conducted to the elevator by one of the staff who pushed the 8 button and told us someone would meet us to take us to lunch. When the doors opened, we were greeted by another staff member who led us into the Colonnade and welcomed us aboard. It was not just painless, it was graceful. We had lunch, and by 2pm the announcement was made that the suites were ready. We finished our wine and walked down the stairs and out to the front of the ship to find our suite ready and our luggage waiting to be unpacked. Having been touring Istanbul for two days already, we were a bit tired and ordered room service for our first night's dinner. We ordered some things from the room service menu, and some from the Restaurant menu, and all was wonderful. Suite We stayed in Suite 700, the Signature Suite at the front port side of deck 7. The room is vast, with two couches, a dining table for four people, a bar/butler's pantry, a guest washroom, a separate bedroom behind frosted-glass double doors, and a bathroom with a whirlpool tub. There are three closets, including one that extends the entire length of the wall behind the bed--not only is there plenty of room for clothes (the closet offers two sets of drawers as well as a shoe cabinet) but this space provides perfect sound insulation from the adjoining cabin. We didn't hear a sound from neighboring suites the entire time. The Signature Suite verandah is larger than that of any other suite on the ship; it extends from the bedroom (where the verandah is partially covered--a relief in the cloudless Med during August) all the way along the suite to the front of the ship. There were two wicker-style lounges, a dining-sized table, and two chairs. All of these were anchored to the deck with rope, as the wind does get feisty at times. We enjoyed breakfast on the verandah several mornings as the ship came into port. Our stewardess, Anna Paula, was a gem. She was so friendly, and so cheerful, that it was a delight to run into her in the hallway. For our anniversary she decorated the room with rose petals and candles, and left us lovely notes of congratulations. We hugged her goodbye at the end of the voyage--I imagine that happens to her a lot. Given the position of the suite at the bow of the ship, we were concerned about motion. The Aegean in August was relatively calm, though there was a strong wind several evenings. We were awakened once by the ship slapping into a wave, but other than that the motion wasn't a problem. We took Sea-Bands, Bonine, and candied ginger, and didn't need any of them (actually, I ate the ginger during an excursion--yum). Dining We had room-service breakfast every morning, and every morning it was delivered precisely on time, and with exactly what we had ordered. Even when I went off-menu and wrote in a custom omelette, it was brought without question. One morning a gust of wind seized the croissant we had ordered, and it rolled across the verandah. The waiter was mortified, apologized profusely, and brought a replacement basket of croissants within 5 minutes. The service was exemplary. We took lunch in the Colonnade most days, except for one day at Patio Grill and one lunch provided on an excursion. The food was always good, the service attentive. We split our dining between the Restaurant and the Colonnade, depending on the menu (the next day's menu is delivered each night, which is a great service--it allowed us to choose the Indian Market Dinner in the Colonnade one night, for example). Dinner in the Restaurant was well prepared and attentively served, and we found the staff to be both professional and personable. The Colonnade, though primarily a buffet, was always well staffed, and most times my wife was relieved of her plate on the way to the table. The service was attentive without being oppressive. We were invited to tour the galley with the chef on the second day, and I was really glad I went. There were only 5 of us, and we got to see in person how much work goes into food preparation on the ship. I was particularly impressed to see where the chef stands at the end of the preparation line during service in the Restaurant, and that he personally sees and approves every main course plate that leaves the kitchen. That kind of care and attention shows in the dining room. A last note about beverages--though I enjoy a glass of wine with lunch and dinner, my palate is not expert (on coffee, though, I have definite views). I was satisfied with the quality of the wines, and there was a selection available (several reds and several whites) at each meal. The cafe in Seabourn Square was my first stop in the morning after working out, and then throughout the day--got to know the baristas quite well! Itinerary/Excursions This was a heavily port-intensive itinerary--no sea days at all! We arrived in Istanbul two days in advance, and did a private tour with Sea Song both days, arranged by our travel agent. After embarkation at Istanbul we went to Myrina/Lemnos (we took the traditional caique tour, which was amazing--swimming in the Aegean is a treat), then to Izmir (where we skipped Ephesus and toured Pergamum instead), then Cesme (the walking tour of the town was a nice, bus-free way to spend the morning). The rest of the ports were in Greece: Patmos, then Santorini, then Paros, and finally Athens. We took a Seabourn tour in each port, and I'm really glad we did. Almost everyone comments in their cruise reviews that the ship's tours are far too expensive, and you can arrange private tours more economically. But on this itinerary it was really nice to have the details taken care of--plus, someone from the ship always accompanied the tour group to provide assistance if needed. Also, the largest group we were ever a part of was still under 30 people--it wasn't a cattle drive. The guides were all knowledgeable, professional, and willing to engage in conversations ranging from history to current politics--they were all terrific. With a port every day, we were happy to let Seabourn take responsibility for the excursions. We also took advantage of the transfer/tour offered on board for Athens at the end of the voyage--a half-day of touring, including the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum, concluding with drop-off at our hotel, the Grande Bretagne. It was a great way to get oriented in the city, which we explored on our own for the next two days. A note for those new to cruising As I mentioned, this was our first cruise. People have told us that we will be spoiled, starting with Seabourn, and I think they're right. It was just so easy and relaxed--never worrying about what anything might cost, or having to sign for drinks. The staff were, to a person, friendly and engaged and professional. Yes, you pay much more up front, but then you never worry about money while you're on the ship--we had to settle up a bill of 1.50 at the end. We got a $400 OBC from the first-time cruiser referral program (check out the Seabourn forum for how to get this) as well as $300 OBC from our travel agent, and spent it on a couple's massage and bathing ritual, a facial, and the transfer/tour in Athens. All of that, plus the world's finest Patron margarita mixed by special order one evening, was covered by OBC and pocket change. A great deal. So when you're considering a luxury cruise, keep in mind the total cost of the trip, and understand as well how much more relaxed you will be on vacation when money isn't an issue on the ship. We had a terrific anniversary celebration, and wouldn't hesitate to book on Seabourn again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We only wished the cruise had been longer! The Quest met and exceeded our expectations. We love to be on the water having owned boats for years. The 'everything included' mode of the cruise made for complete relaxation - we ... Read More
We only wished the cruise had been longer! The Quest met and exceeded our expectations. We love to be on the water having owned boats for years. The 'everything included' mode of the cruise made for complete relaxation - we struggled to spend our on board credit. Had to visit the shop on the last night to spend the remaining cash. The food was delicious, all the staff provided A1 service, our suite was really lovely and our stewardess pampered us. We met some great people on board - there were 157 Australian and Kiwi, the majority of the remainder American and a smaller amount of European and pax from other parts of the world. We especially loved Sicily. Like previous reviewer, there were only two negatives. We were never bothered by the smoking policy due to the position of our suite but I was in Seabourn Square twice when people were complaining about the smoke and other guests mentioned it. The other was the dress code for men. What is this jacket thing when you are cruising in 30+ temperatures. Many of the men we spoke to objected to it and my husband was not allowed into the restaurant one night when we read the dress code as slacks and collared shirt which was very embarrassing (the guest services manager apologised for this and changed the wording the next day). We were very pleased to be welcomed into the Collonades. Interestingly the night this occurred, the restaurant was only less than a quarter full so obviously there were many people not in agreement with the jacket requirement. We loved Seaborn so much we have booked our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
To celebrate our 40th anniversary, my wife and I Took our first cruise ever, on the Seabourn Quest, a new ship, 7 days, Rome to Venice. We flew into Rome (FCO), then took a train to Tarquinia, Italy; a small town near the port city of ... Read More
To celebrate our 40th anniversary, my wife and I Took our first cruise ever, on the Seabourn Quest, a new ship, 7 days, Rome to Venice. We flew into Rome (FCO), then took a train to Tarquinia, Italy; a small town near the port city of Civitavechia. We stayed in Tarquinia for 3 nights (we had already been to Rome and we wanted to stay in a small town to avoid crowds and congestion). We enjoyed Tarquinia and it was a short 15-minute train ride to the port. We expected the cruise to be a good experience, since we had heard good things about Seabourn. Also, we wanted a small ship cruise with everything included and no tipping required. Since this was our first cruise, we had nothing to compare it with, but it was perfect in every respect. We had a hint of things to come on the first day. The boarding process was efficient and took just 5 minutes. The suite was spacious and luxurious with a balcony. Champagne and fresh fruit were waiting. We had requested the bar in our suite to be stocked with Ketel One vodka. Our stewardess left a note apologizing for having to substitute Grey Goose Vodka instead of Ketel One. Are you kidding? Grey Goose was an upgrade! We felt like we were in dreamland. Every member of the crew smiled, was friendly, efficient, and asked how they could help make our cruise enjoyable. Dining was enjoyable. Breakfast was either room service on days when we had morning excursions, or in the Collonade, where a fabulous buffet was served. Lunches were usually in the ports, but we did have one lunch at the Pool Grill, and one memorable lunch in the main restaunt that was a buffet in the galley, a highlight of the cruise! Dinners were in the main restaurant or the Collonade, with one memorable special anniversary dinner in Restaurant #2. Room service wasc always delivered in 5 minutes (or so it seemed). Caviar and cheeses and crackers delivered befiore dinner. We never had a bad meal. Ports visited were Naples, Messina, Corfu, Dubrovnik and Zadar. Our favorites were Dubrovnik and Zadar, in Croatia. Excursions taken were Pompeii (Naples), Mt. Vesuvius (Messina) and a cable car ride (Dubrovnik). The weather was fabulous, mid-70's, sunny with calm seas. The weather turned bad as we disembarked in Venice, but the cruise was over by then. Several passengers told us that, for our first cruise, we were starting at the top with the Seabourn Quest, and we certainly believe that. Problem is, we are now spoiled! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
As a couple that has traveled extensively and usually in way off the main road "adventure mode", the thought of being trapped on a large ship with thousands of other people was enough to make the blood run cold. I also get ... Read More
As a couple that has traveled extensively and usually in way off the main road "adventure mode", the thought of being trapped on a large ship with thousands of other people was enough to make the blood run cold. I also get seasick so the entire idea seemed dreadfully unappealing. We have friends who love cruising and kept telling us to try it. One day a brochure arrived in the mail with a very good offer for a 6 day Mediterranean luxury cruise aboard the Sojourn complete with complimentary veranda upgrade. We thought that six days wasn't bad if it turned out to be insufferable agony and that location would not lend itself to a lot of rocking and rolling of the ship so we signed up. We also decided to spend three days in Provence and the night before sailing in Beaulieu-Sur-Mer as well as two nights in Rome post-cruise. We got a taxi to take us to the embarkation area and our bags were whisked away. It took not even fifteen minutes to get checked in and get our photo IDs and we then proceeded to our suite where our room stewardess was waiting with champagne and appetizers. She was very efficient in showing us everything about our suite, offering an assortment of soaps and other amenities and making sure that our mini-bar preferences were correct. Shortly thereafter there was a mandatory safety drill and we immediately began meeting other passengers. After the drill we were having cocktails al fresco with some new friends and enjoying the beginning of this adventure. One of my very few complaints is that the band was a bit too loud as we were in a far corner and still had a bit of difficulty conversing over the noise. We proceeded back to check out our suite more thoroughly and to dress for dinner. The suite was spacious and well decorated with a huge walk in closet and a safe. The wide screen TV offered a large selection of entertainment from movies and news to educational programs given on the ship. The bed was extremely comfortable but the couch....not so much. As we rarely used it, this was not an issue. The veranda was roomy enough for a table and two chairs with some extra room and was a lovely addition to the suite. We have dined in many fine establishments in our travels and felt that the food in all of the restaurants was of extremely high quality. We never once had trouble getting seated and we truly enjoyed the variety of cuisine from the classic offerings of The Restaurant to the quirky and innovative tasting menu of Restaurant 2. For buffets as well as food cooked to order, the Colonnade and the Patio were ideal. I have to say that the service in every one of these restaurants was spot on at all times. We never found ourselves waiting for anything and the staff was always friendly and outgoing without being obtrusive. The house wines that were poured were quite nice and to be honest, better than what we had expected. The ports visited were quite fun and we were happy that we could walk on and off the ship without having to wait for a tender. ( As you can tell, we are very novice when it comes to cruising ). There was plenty of time to hike around and explore and then get back to the ship for a bit of relaxation before moving on. I have to admit that I did not care for the one day at sea and as it was a dreary spring day, I spent it in the gym which was quite well equipped. Perhaps the larger ships are better for offering more activities but I do not see any sort of trans-Atlantic type cruise in the cards for us. As far as the entertainment went we did like the comedian fellow even though we came in halfway through the act. To be honest, we don't usually join in group entertainment activities so we didn't spend any time dancing to the live band or that sort of thing. After dinner, we generally headed up to the lovely observation bar and had champagne with new friends and listened to the lovely piano and singing of Simon. A perfectly relaxing end to what were usually very active and full days on shore. I must also say that I have read of "cruise snobbery" where some people are quite rude to others they consider "newcomers". We did not observe any such thing during our cruise and we met many people who had cruised many, many times. Even my black, purple and green highlighted hair didn't seem to put anyone off. ;-) Thankfully we were told that taxis can be difficult to get at Civitavecchia so we chose to book a private car through Seabourn. Once again, this was handled with ease and efficiency and it literally took less than five minutes to get our bags and get in the car and be off to Rome. In summary, we had a wonderful first time cruising experience and will definitely do it again. We enjoyed the all-inclusive aspect and never once felt any kind of pressure to pay added gratuities to any of the staff. The ship was spotlessly clean, the crew was completely and always professional and now we are spoiled. Everyone that we told this was our first cruise told us that we had set the bar pretty high and we could not agree more. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We departed from Athens and disembarked in Istanbul on this small ship with 462 passengers. It was a pleasure trip which was put together to reunite a group of 15 couples, many of whom had attended a semester in college in Athens several ... Read More
We departed from Athens and disembarked in Istanbul on this small ship with 462 passengers. It was a pleasure trip which was put together to reunite a group of 15 couples, many of whom had attended a semester in college in Athens several years ago. The service and food were superior throughout the voyage. The ship is beautiful and the amenities on-board are first-class. This is one of the rare instances in which the advertising accurately depicts the product. The staff was uniformly attentive. The all-inclusive aspect eliminated the complication of straightening out complicated bar bills and dinner wine tabs with a group of people. We were given a tour of the bridge by the First Officer and the Executive Chef gave us a tour of the kitchen operation. There was a formal night in which most of the passengers participated in formal attire. The ports of call were the Greek Islands of Milos, Patmos, Mykonos, Rhodes and Lesvos and the Turkish cities of Kusadasi and Istanbul. The port excursions were well-considered and there were several options from which to choose. A Seabourn evening of classical music in the ruins of Ephesus outside of Kusadasi, Turkey was spectacular. The moon came up over the coliseum on cue and the candle lit tables, wine and music were perfect. All in, an exceptional trip and delightful crew which I highly recommended. The accommodations and public rooms were beautifully appointed and the small size of the ship provided intimacy and space. There is a small casino, four dining areas, a library, coffee bar, multiple cocktail bars, 2 pools, several hot tubs and outdoor sunbathing areas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Having spent many an hour reading reviews and posts regarding Seabourn Cruises I though it only right and proper to take the time and write a review of my own . Anyway, this is going to be long enough so I better get started. Ship: ... Read More
Having spent many an hour reading reviews and posts regarding Seabourn Cruises I though it only right and proper to take the time and write a review of my own . Anyway, this is going to be long enough so I better get started. Ship: Seabourn Odyssey. Cruise: Athens to Venice. Cabin: A category. Booking: UK Travel Agent. Ground transport: Organised myself. Pre-embarkation: Seabourn customer services in the UK are a bit of a joke, I twice waited over 25 minutes on hold and once over 30 minutes without ever speaking to anyone, however; my TA stepped in on each occasion and spent the time on hold to get the necessary answers, she told me the longest period spent on hold was 42 minutes. I can only surmise that Seabourn have grown in terms of available rooms threefold but have not grown in terms of customer services by the same amount. Embarkation: Embarkation was very smooth taking around 45 minutes from getting out of the taxi on the jetty to holding a glass of champagne in the grand salon, however; we did meet a couple in the queue for security who were "transit" passengers and had been ashore for the morning and got caught up with the passengers embarking, they complained that transit passengers were getting a raw deal as they were awoken very early (7am) by PA announcements for disembarking passengers that went on for almost 2 hours, and that on "transit" days the Colonnade operated on shorter hours meaning they had missed lunch on their previous "transit" day (the lucky devils where doing 3 weeks). Being stuck waiting in line with the embarkation passengers is really not good enough and Seabourn should have a fast lane for such passengers. FYI the colonnade closes at 1pm on transit days so you can't nip straight up there for some lunch as I had been previously advised, although the patio grill was open the fare on offer was not very imaginative, the main dishes were Croque-monsieur (cheese on toast) tuna melt (cheese on Tuna) and pizza (cheese on bread). This was the only time that I found myself wanting in terms of selection throughout my week on board. Cabin (or suite as Seabourn prefer to call it): The suite was quite forward and down a couple of corridors which got us confused a couple of times but once we got our bearing the midnight stagger home was easy. The suite was very well appointed and as good as I have encountered in 5 star hotels. Champagne on ice, a fully stocked mini-bar and our pre-selected drinks were all waiting for us along with a short note of welcome from the captain. Our cabin stewardess ( I won't name anyone in this review, good or bad, as I don't think it's fair) arrived shortly after we arrived and introduced herself with some canapEs and discussed our mini bar requirements (types of soda and water etc), she was very friendly and very likeable and although the standard of cleaning was not so good her extremely pleasant demeanour meant we just couldn't complain and so even when my wife found some toe nail clipping behind the bin in the main bedroom we simply bit our lips. One thing that surprised me was the amount of disturbance we had, early morning risers slamming their door at 6am every morning, veranda door slamming and veranda furniture scrapping around 7:30am, bow waves, anchor chains, bow thrusters and PA announcements all led to a feeling of discomfort, one of the most annoying things was the room service waiters when they returned to collect the trays etc from suites that had elected to have breakfast in bed, they always slammed the door so hard they almost took it off its hinges. If you are an early riser then this wouldn't be a problem, but if like me you like to lie-in until after 8am forget it, one way or another you will be up around 7am at the latest, when we got to Venice we stayed overnight and I was so tired I slept right through to 11am the next day. So my advice is, if you can afford a higher floor, midship berth you should book it, if you can't afford it and you are light/late sleeper expect to be disturbed. Main dining room, The restaurant: The food in this restaurant is exceptional and at times bordered on perfection, I loved every single thing I ordered, and I can only describe the whole experience of The restaurant as magnificent. However; please be aware that Seabourn have changed their dining options and The restaurant is only open in the evening, this means that apart from dinner the odyssey is a buffet only ship which disappointed us no end as we like to partake in a more formal lunch every now and again but this was not possible. I enquired as to the reason for the change in opening hours (I think it had changed 3 weeks earlier) and I was told that it was a staffing issue as too few people were utilising it to make it worthwhile, I jokingly asked if I could have a percentage of the costs saved as I had effectively paid for this service but that was met with a furrowed brow and a "that would not be appropriate sir". However; to reiterate, The restaurant is magnificent and all the staff who work there should be very proud of what they produce in such quantities but with such high quality both in terms of food and service but only being open for dinner is just not acceptable to me especially when the ship is completely full. The Colonnade restaurant: Breakfast and lunch are buffet style affairs and at dinner time á la carte. Breakfast is very good, I actually prefer a buffet breakfast so it was perfect for me and there is an option to order eggs, toast and a couple of other things that are brought directly to your table but the vast majority is buffet. The available fare is both substantial and of a very high quality, the queueing is minimal (the longest queue I saw was 6 people and that was unusual), food is replenished immediately and if not will be brought to your table as soon as it is ready, tea and coffee are topped up without asking. I had read that waiters would offer to carry guests plates back to their tables but neither my wife nor I were ever asked if we wanted our plates carried for us but to be honest we would have declined anyway. Breakfast closes at 10am, for me that is a little early and on two occasions I saw people turned away around 10:10 as we were leaving. We only ate lunch here a couple of times, firstly because after such a good breakfast it is hard to have lunch before 1:30 - secondly, because we like to have a la carte lunch and thirdly, because we not overly impressed with what was on offer. Don't get me wrong, the food was good, but for example, one lunch we went for was themed seafood, well they really did theme it seafood as everything was seafood in one form or another from the carvery, salmon en croute, seafood chowder, curried mussels, mixed seafood this and mixed seafood that, I didn't fancy seafood so I was kind of stumped. We only ate dinner here once and to be honest it was pretty good, but with the other options available we were never going to return and only went the once to see what it was like. The hours that the colonnade operate are not set which can confuse some guests, I heard grumblings that in particular on "transit" days it closes early for breakfast and lunch which is terribly unfair on the "transit" guests, on our embarkation day we heard stories of guests who had dined between 1pm and 1:30pm all week were met with a CLOSED sign on "transit" day meaning they only had the patio grill to go to which is not really acceptable. The staff who work in the colonnade are (as all the wait staff are) extremely good and very attentive, I write this just in case they are reading this review and feel left out. Restaurant 2: We only ate here once as the night that we did we felt we had missed a night in the main dining room (yes, as I said it is that good), we had a 7 course sampling dinner with various wines to compliment each course. The food was imaginative and well executed, the service was also very good but it had such stiff competition from The restaurant and unfortunately it lost out mainly because of the necessity to pre-book and then arrive at a fixed time, whereas The restaurant is open seating with no need to book, this means you can get ready at your leisure, you can have a second pre-dinner cocktail if it takes your fancy or if you are engaged in conversation delay dinner until later. Booking restaurant 2 is not that easy and you have to be quick to get a table exactly when you want one, however; if you call guest services and tell them you have not been able to book a table yet they will extend the 48 booking time, or they can arrange a table after the normal 9pm slot, we spoke to a couple who dined there at 9:15 with only 4 other diners but please note the 7 courses take around 1 hour 45 minutes so it will be a late night and you will miss the entertainment. Patio grill: This is an in between dining option and should be seen as such, the food is fairly limited and themed with pizza, hotdogs and hamburgers always available. I once asked for a steak and it was refused, probably my only refusal the whole cruise and it took me aback somewhat as a steak is available 24 hours from room service so you would think it would be available here too but apparently not. We ate here 3 times I think, mainly as a snack with an afternoon drink when we returned from shore, staff, apart from the chef who refused me the steak, were of the usual exceptional standard and the pool staff who offered the drinks were brilliant too (I'm dying to name a few but that would be so unfair on the ones whose names I have forgotten). At night the Patio grill serves surf and turf and although we didn't try it we heard good reports and it is an ultra-casual dining option where we regularly saw people dining in shorts and tee shirts which was quite fitting around dusk and they did not look out of place at all. Room Service: We tried breakfast in bed on more than one occasion and it was a completely decadent affair and a fabulous way to start the day, our breakfast arrived on time each time and apart from a hot water flask that had been previously used for hot milk and not washed meaning very cloudy hot water and not having salt and pepper another morning service was perfect, breakfast in bed, a la carte, served on a fully set table is a truly luxurious option. One afternoon I called for a pot of coffee and it arrived with a plate of cookies, the waiter said he had popped them on in case we fancied a snack; it was this kind of touch that really impressed us. I would point out that we had read on a forum that room service could be ordered in places other than you room i.e. the sky bar or poolside but that is not true, we asked and were told room service is purely for your room. Seabourn Square: Quite a nice idea of having a cafe style outlet, where you can have a cup or two of coffee whilst waiting to make arrangements with guest services. Observation blounge: This is an absolutely wonderful venue, during the day you can partake in afternoon tea, in the evening you can have pre-dinner drinks and after dinner it is an elegant piano bar serving cocktails and drinks until midnight, it is an amazing place to watch the sail-aways that occurred at 11pm. We were delighted to the sounds of a pianist/vocalist who was excellent and sang requests which gave it an air of sophistication, again though Seabourn let itself down somewhat by closing the observation bar at 8pm on our last night meaning we missed our after show drinks listening to the pianist whilst watching us sail out of Ravenna, I heard the next day whilst disembarking there had been such a furore that eventually they re-opened the bar but alas were weren't informed of this and so missed out. Sky bar: Nice enough bar but nothing special and we used it only on embarkation day to watch the band play us out of port; old Seabourner's complained that this used to be the hub of late night drinking but it now closes at 11pm The Club: This is an elegant pre-dinner cocktail bar but turns into a very lively late night club with two sets of entertainers interchanging meaning the music doesn't take a break until well into the early hours. You can also pop out onto the stern deck area for a smoke if you are that way inclined. During our cruise there was a six piece band and a duo that played there every night, they were both of a very high standard and quite superior to what I had expected. Beware the cocktails, they are superbly mixed and it is very easy to get carried away, literally..... The grand salon: Much has been made of the obstructive view offered by the support beams, it is true that there are several support columns and if you sit in line with them your view will be obstructed, however, it was never necessary to sit behind one as there were normally plenty of seats elsewhere. We were entertained but the Seabourn singers who were OK but far too pretentious for our tastes, they had a habit of staring sternly into space when they weren't singing and when they spoke they put one or two too many marbles in their mouths for my liking, (what has happened to this world, is an accent so common?) We also had a comic magician who was ( I want to say magic but that's too corny) very entertaining indeed, and a pianist (not the one from the observation bar who played and sang every night, this was a one show in the week pianist) who we thought was a concert pianist but was more Vaudeville than Broadway, she did an old Victoria Wood song (English comedienne) which some found funny and others found a tad offensive, I found her to be a wasted talent as she was obviously hugely talented but played quite simplistic tunes, she also had her mother along on a freebie and I'm afraid to say I found her somewhat course and slightly discourteous to paying guests and I heard of at least two couple who had been made a joke of by her. This was a bit of a running theme for me, we saw numerous employees acting as full paying guests, from the Seabourn singers (drunk in the observation bar one night and unforgivably disrupting the pianist), the magician (who actually paid for his supper doing table tricks) the pianist and her mother, then there were the parents of the Seabourn singers and then some technical people, followed by officers in uniform. Apart from the magician who seemed to really enjoy doing his tricks at all hours, the rest of them merely congregated and spent the night together in bars and the club, maybe this is normal on cruise ships but (I'm going to be called snobby for this) I paid a lot of money with the expectation of some level of exclusivity, to see the pianists mother sitting hour after hour outside the club smoking, cackling and making rude comments to paying guests got up my ever so in the air nose. All poetic joking aside, I am a really down to earth person who has worked very hard to pay for this cruise and found it a little upsetting to see people enjoying all this for free without thought for the guests who had paid their hard earned money for their, in some cases, once in a lifetime cruise, Seabourn, if you do read these reviews take note, there were quite a few grumblings on disembarkation morning regarding the state of the pianist (so drunk she was barely able to walk) and her mother laughing and snorting at the top of her voice whenever anyone said anything remotely funny. Maybe this is why Seabourn is opening The restaurant only at night and cutting the Colonnade opening hours, the staff are drinking them dry...... Outdoor facilities: There is a multitude of place to lie in the sun and more sun loungers than guests (although I'm guessing here as there were never more than 50% taken at any time I went), the normal loungers do not have mattresses but are fairly comfortable, there are some double ones that have nice comfortable mattresses on them but they are fixed so you can't turn the to face the sun. We were offered cold towels a couple of times and sunscreen most times we sunbathed, drinks are abundant and the more out of the way places (i.e. deck 6 whirlpool) have a soft drinks tray and ice with waiters doing a loop every hour or so. The Spa: An excellent facility with a good balance of gym/salon/treatment areas. The staffs are not Seabourn but are definitely out of the Seabourn school of charm and service, although I only actually used the gym it was a pleasure (if running on a treadmill can ever be called a pleasure) and the shower and sauna rooms were meticulous. Smoking policy: On the Odyssey smoking is permitted in the following areas. Port side of the Sky bar, outside the club on the main deck, on the port side of the observation lounge, inside all suites and on all verandas. I do not smoke but never smelt smoke other that one night passing a suite when someone was leaving while someone else was smoking in that suite. The observation lounge rarely had anyone smoking in there and when there was the air conditioning was more than adequate to remove the smoke. Outside the club on deck 5 was used more by the smokers but it is outdoors and the wind takes care of it seamlessly. Dress code: I have read a lot of rubbish about the dress code and would like to put the record straight. The restaurant, on the seven night cruise we had two elegant/casual and five casual evenings, on the casual nights I spotted people in polo type tee shirts, one night there was an English gentleman in cargo pants and crocs and several ladies of various nationalities in flip flops. On the elegant casual night I saw several short sleeved shirts and one elderly American gentleman in a nylon button up short sleeved polo shirt trucked into a pair of brown slacks without a belt, it looked really out of place but nothing was said as said gentleman looked very old. The colonnade, this is always casual and I saw jeans on several occasions, yes, shock horror, jeans! It was ultra casual and although I never saw shorts I heard the week before there were some American students who had been allowed to wear them outside on the patio. Restaurant 2, on the night we dined there everyone was dressed in a minimum of a long sleeved shirt, I wore a jacket as did several other diners. The general feel was of casual mixed with a few die hard formality lovers, personally I wore dress trousers and long sleeved short on all but the elegant/casual nights when I also wore a jacket.. Drinks: I was genuinely surprised at the quality of the drinks available, as we sat at the sky bar on embarkation day I noticed a top shelf with some pretty high end bottles of spirit on it, I enquired if there was a price list for these drinks only to be told they were included, I'm talking Remy Martin and Courvoisier cognac, Belvedere and Grey Goose vodka, Matchmaker bourbon etc, there were some drinks in the Club at a premium but these were drinks that cost over $100 a bottle in duty free. Champagne was always available both at the bar and through room service. Cocktails could be ordered with normal spirits or the high end spirits (Grey Goose martini anyone?). Wine in the restaurants teetered between acceptable and good, I'm no wine expert but I realised some of the wines were better than others and found out which were the best ones and asked for them by name. After dinner drink sir? Baileys sir? No problem sir, I'll be right back, amazing! Getting to know you: I had read that by the following day of embarkation most of the crew would know your name, well I think on the smaller ships that may be true but on a 7 night Odyssey cruise it's probably just not possible, we were only once greeted by our names without having first introduced ourselves, one or two waiters even forgot our names after we had introduced ourselves previously but it didn't bother us, a perpetually filled glass, a smile and a "how are you today" is more than enough for us and I cannot say how impressed we were with all, even the first time onboard staff, they truly made our journey an unforgettable one. Disembarkation: As smooth as embarkation, we asked our room stewardess what time she wanted us to leave by and she said 9am would be OK as she had a lot of early risers this week (didn't we know it) so the extra hour was a god send, we left the cabin around 8:45, had a bite to eat in the colonnade and left the ship at 9:15 to be met by the Captain and cruise director to say farewell, a perfect touch to an almost perfect cruise. Conclusion: Some will read this and think I am being overly picky, others will read this and be grateful for its honest and objective approach, as I said in my opening gambit I spent hours researching Seabourn and I think on more than one occasion I was led astray by well intentioned but never the less incorrect posts. There is an undercurrent of posters who I feel are trying to give people the wrong impression of Seabourn to try to attract the kind of people they want to meet aboard, I was once told that the optional elegant casual was that the option was that you could eat in the other restaurants if I didn't want to wear a suit and tie, what poppycock, Seabourn has changed, it is filling its newer, bigger ships and I don't think they will risk their new clients to try to appease their old guard so all these posters are doing is confusing people and having them carry too much excess baggage. Seaboun's recipe is perfect, however; and it's such a shame, sometimes they miss the mark a little and don't quite live up to their promise, closing the main dining room during the daytime is typical of how head office decisions are affecting the onboard staff, moving staff around so much also means that we were asked several times what we wanted to drink because the waiter our waitress had just joined that day and in some cases had only joined Seabourn that day (yes straight into the firing line without a minutes training, but they did admirally in keeping us first timers happy, as for the old guard, Seabourn beware. To end we are still deciding if we will return to Seabourn, if I have a hotel room that is noisy I can change rooms or move hotels, aboard a full cruise that is just not possible so I felt a little trapped to be honest which is a real shame. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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