1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Seabourn Cruise Line
  4. Seabourn Cruise Line Cruise Reviews

12 Seabourn Gourmet Food Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. The ship itself was truly wonderful. The captain and officers were friendly and affable (not to mention very competent), the Executive Chef talented and sooooo personable, the Cruise Director (Handre) phenomenal and the cabin stewards perfect. All the wait staff in the restaurants were professional and at the same time welcoming. The entertainment was over-the-top wonderful. Seabourn does things right, and makes every trip a special adventure. One of the reasons that we love Seabourn is that the all-inclusive program makes the voyage so relaxing. The food is quality over quantity, and every meal was terrific. The deck parties were very enjoyable (lobster on the grill, dancing, champagne and caviar in the pool), and we were impressed by the "specialty restaurant," the Grill by Thomas Keller. One of our favorite activities was shopping in the market in Malaga with Chef Jes; the fish and produce were as fresh as they could be. The excursions were expensive, but the quality of the guides was excellent. The only negative on the excursions was the "hard sell" venues we were forced into in Casablanca and Tangier. They should offer a shopping excursion for passengers that are interested in buying rugs. One of our pet peeves, however, is that the internet service is ridiculously expensive. Since Oceana is offering free internet to its passengers, all other cruise lines should follow suit. We would highly recommend the Ovation for your next trip! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our third Seabourn cruise, second on the Quest and we chose this one because we wanted to see Antarctica. Once again, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with kindness and good humour by the hard ... Read More
This was our third Seabourn cruise, second on the Quest and we chose this one because we wanted to see Antarctica. Once again, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with kindness and good humour by the hard working staff and crew. However unlike our previous two Seabourn cruises, we were quite disappointed by the vegetarian food on offer. Cabin Our cabin was on Deck 6,and right up the front of the ship. We had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath, with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. However on the rare occasions we sailed through rough seas, we certainly rocked a lot. We will book a cabin mid ships on our next cruise. We like good air flow when we are sleeping and once again, the air conditioner did not meet our needs. The cabin was too stuffy and we had the same problem last year and on the Encore the year before. We solved this by bringing our own fan and we were very comfortable. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea. Dining My husband and I are vegetarian and although there was plenty for us to eat, a lot of the dishes were mediocre. They were very bland and often stodgy and we seemed to have those bland and stodgy dishes over and over again. However we often dined with passengers who chose the meat dishes and they reported that their steaks were succulent and their chicken and pork were cooked to perfection. It's as if Seabourn are ticking a box to say they cater to vegetarians but then fail to produce fine food. However the vegetarian options on the two occasions they held a Galley Market and the special Indian buffet dinner they held one night in the Colonnade were outstanding. We also placed a special breakfast order for vegetarian congee and this dish was also outstanding. The chefs can clearly prepare beautifully spiced dishes when necessary and I only wish they could do it all the time. Vegetarians on all cruise ships seem to be treated with the same contempt as someone who asks for an overcooked steak and I don't think we deserve that. There's a whole market of cashed up vegetarians Seabourn could attract if they really tried to cater to our needs. The waiters on Seabourn are the best of the best. Incredibly inspiring people, I may be in the minority here, but I don't like or understand Seabourn's practice of having the staff offer an arm to a woman, which the woman is then under some pressure to grab while they are escorted to their table in the Restaurant. It is not a custom I am used to and the feminist in me really objects. I always feel uncomfortable and I'm sure these busy young people have better things to do. We have dined in upmarket restaurants all over the world and have not experienced this practice anywhere else. Perhaps they could have an opt in policy for those who enjoy this experience and leave the rest of us alone. Drink The wine ranged from good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and they were plentiful. The bar staff were wonderful. Public Spaces Even at full capacity, Seabourn ships never feel crowded. We could always find a quiet spot to read or simply watch the world go by. On the other hand, if we wanted company or entertainment, there was always somewhere to go. The whirlpool on deck 6 was a haven for us and we usually had it to ourselves. It was the place to be when sailing away. . Fitness Centre My husband attended the complimentary stretch and exercise classes each day and found them excellent. The instructor was very capable and he gave my husband lots of advice on how to continue the program once he came home. Entertainment We were on the Quest last year, so this time when we went to the shows put on by the extremely talented Seabourn singers and dancers, we were surprised to find that the shows were exactly the same as last year. Even some of the costumes were the same. Seabourn encourages us to be repeat cruisers and we are very happy to oblige, but it would be nice to see something different. The entertainment on the whole was very good but tended to be middle of the road and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Seabourn's passengers are generally well educated and sophisticated, but most of the music would have appealed to our long deceased parents. For heaven's sake, we were alive in the sixties and went through one of the most profound musical revolutions in history. We can handle entertainment which is current and inspiring and multi-dimensional and I'm sure the talented entertainers onboard would have loved performing this type of material. On the other hand, we were huge fans of Josie and the trio in the Club and we usually ended up there every night. Now they really can handle modern music. We also enjoyed the various parties on the pool deck and in the Club. Jess, the Assistant Cruise Director is an outstanding entertainer. Staff and Crew Iggy and the expedition team were outstanding and I can't thank them enough for the wonderful experience they arranged for us in Antarctica. We always knew exactly what we had to do and when we had to do it and all the time they shared their incredible knowledge with us. They were always true professionals while being kind and warm and funny. The Captain was also a true professional and a wonderful communicator and we always knew we were in good hands. The weather is volatile going to and from Antarctica and each day he told us what the weather was doing and how he was going to deal with it. We were very impressed. The staff in every Department were well trained and incredibly good at their jobs. Seabourn only employs the best of the best and it shows. Excursions Antarctica was the highlight of this cruise and Neko Harbour was the highlight of Antarctica. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We were fortunate that the weather was perfect for the 6 days we were there, so we saw everything we set out to see. Only 100 people are allowed on shore at any one time and Seabourn's expedition team organised us like a military operation. We knew exactly what we had to do and when we had to do it. They helped us on and off zodiacs, even those passengers with disabilities, and helped us once we were on shore. They laid out trails for us and kept us away from the seals basking on the beaches and the penguins' walking trails, but we were close enough to see them. The penguins were lovely. The expedition team also made sure we cleaned our boots before we returned to the ship so we didn't cross contaminate the next place we went to. Otherwise we covered a large area of the continent of South America and the excursions were really well organised and great value. The outstanding sights were the fjords in Chile, the Falkland Islands, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and everywhere in Brazil. Passengers Mostly American with a few Australians and English but quite a few other nationalities as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly well educated, well travelled, lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. Internet Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package. In summary, this was a wonderful experience and going to Antarctica was life changing. Seabourn Quest is one of only a handful of small ships that can go there and we were very fortunate to be able to take this journey. I'm sure we will now all be ambassadors to make sure this remarkable place stays as pristine as it now is. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my fourth Seabourn (SB) cruise, and DH’s second, with one prior on the Quest summer 2016 we both shared. We have done a dozen cruises on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with prior experiences, and provides ... Read More
This was my fourth Seabourn (SB) cruise, and DH’s second, with one prior on the Quest summer 2016 we both shared. We have done a dozen cruises on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with prior experiences, and provides some guidance for newbies contemplating taking a SB cruise for the first time. We also did a detailed semi-live blog during the cruise, with photos, on the Cruise Critic SB subforum, so if you wish to see more details about the ship and the ports than are provided below, copy and paste this link (or if it does not work, then just search the forum for my entry entitled “Not-quite-live from the Seabourn Quest, Barcelona to Dover, 4/15/17-5/1/17). Photos start at post 9. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2488142 OVERALL: Overall we were both pleased with our experiences on the Quest on this 16-night “epicurean” itinerary cruise from Barcelona to Dover, 4/15/17-5/1/17 to the interesting ports of Gibraltar, Portimao, Lisbon, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Bordeaux (overnight), Portland UK, Rouen (overnight), Cherbourg (from which we went to DDAY's Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Arramanches) and Brugge. However, there remains room for improvement in some of the food, and on some services. We rate it a 4.3 overall on a scale of 1 to 5, (and thus round down to 4 on the overall CC scale). It is still the best overall inclusive, primary English language luxury line we have sailed on so far (comparisons: Silver Sea, Regent, Crystal). We did not think the food and service were quite as good as on Hapag-Lloyd’s (HL) luxury ships Europa 2 and MS Europa last year, however, HL is a line where wine and spirits are not included, where the primary language is German, and which is on average more expensive, so it is not directly comparable. EMBARKATION: very smooth and easy, almost no waiting, friendly welcoming personnel in Barcelona, large bags were immediately taken. We arrived shortly after 12 PM (though the official embarkation time is 2PM we could get on earlier even though our room was not ready), and then went to a buffet at the Colonnade indoor/outdoor casual dining venue (personnel can hold your hand luggage there for you while you take lunch, or you can keep them at your side). The buffet and service were both basic and adequate, nothing special, but we were happy to have lunch on board before official embarkation time. We found all our luggage already in the suite after we were allowed access around 2:30 PM. We had pre-ordered a foam topper for what we knew would be a relatively hard mattress, and it was put on later that evening after we reminded the stewardess. Muster followed shortly thereafter and took less than a half hour. It simply involved going to the MDR according to our stations where we listened to the safety instructions without wearing the life preservers,and where personnel took roll call. GENERAL ATMOSPHERE : Relaxing and uncrowded overall, though sometimes cleaning staff yelled personal conversations and joked loudly in hallways. The ship was well-maintained and clean. Smoking was no longer allowed on suite balconies or in the Observation Lounge, just in a couple small designated outdoor areas. Unfortunately a lot of the furniture, although stylish, is uncomfortable for me, but I am very sensitive due to musculoskeletal problems, so I found the stiff main entertainment lounge/Grand Salon chairs, the mostly stiff Observation Lounge chairs, MDR chairs, and especially the in-suite hard couch, unpleasant. To help get comfortable, I would often carry a small cushion with me. Overall, with some exceptions, there was a calm atmosphere and long lines for anything were not common (the long line waiting in the sun for a special cheese tasting notwithstanding). However, sometimes the Colonnade and MDR had slower than ideal table service at peak hours due to apparent staffing shortages, slower than I have come to expect from luxury cruise lines. All staff I saw, many of whom are of Eastern European origins (and some of whom looked like they belonged on fashion runways rather than carrying vacuum cleaners or drink trays around), seemed to work very hard to keep up, but some lacked adequate training for some tasks, and English skills were variable. There just were not enough staff for peak times (especially in the Colonnade, e.g., once we had a waiting time of over 20 minutes to get sparkling water). Table availability at prime hours was also routinely scarce in the Colonnade and at the Patio Grill, so when combined with the matching service problems, we preferred taking both lunch and dinner in the calmer, quieter, guaranteed-seating MDR if at all possible, which also played calmer music at lunch, and where pax were also more sedate. Passengers we met at optional communal or hosted tables, on excursions and cocktail get-togethers, or in the hot tub (perhaps a biased sample, e.g., with the hot tubbers) were generally pleasant, well-off, well-traveled, and well-mannered, with a few odd and loud or boorish exceptions. DEMOGRAPHICS.: The ship was full, with the vast majority of pax English speakers from the U.S., (252) followed by Australia (56) and the UK (30), Canada (16), Germany (12), and remaining pax in single digits. Average age seemed to be in the mid to late 60’s, give or take a few years depending on genetics and sun block usage, and I only saw one child pax. Pax were mostly do-everything-together couples, but there were also some couples traveling with other couples or extended family. LGBT pax are welcomed on SB, confirmed to DH after a long discussion with a hot-tubber who has done dozens of cruises with SB and absolutely loves it. Most pax were reasonably mobile, though there were some with wheelchairs and walkers, and appeared to be well-cared for. Some of those pax unfortunately also repeatedly opted to go on group excursions that were clearly marked as not designed for those with significant mobility impairments, and SB did not enforce mobility requirements for excursions. It was hard to spot a solo traveler (which is not surprising, as SB pricing is not solo-friendly), but there appeared to be a few, and they often opted to dine at hosted tables. DRESS CODE: Pax usually followed the designated evening dress codes, which were most often the very general “elegant casual”, e.g., for men long trousers and a nice collared shirt or a sweater, though many chose to wear jackets without ties to dinner. There were a couple “formal” nights with jacket required in the MDR on which most male pax wore jackets with ties, rather than tuxedos. Blue jeans are officially not allowed at dinner in the MDR. There were a few pax who occasionally showed up for dinner in overly casual clothing which was definitely not “elegant casual”, and they were not turned away, but no one looked like a slob. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Food opinions are subjective, but overall we found the food on this cruise very good to excellent in the MDR, good in the Thomas Keller Grill, good at the Patio, mostly just ok at the Colonnade buffets (some exceptions that were very good), ok at breakfast room service, and definitely good enough to do a SB cruise again on the right itinerary. A highlight of our experience was interaction with the wine steward in the MDR, Antoni Pradeep, whose pairing suggestions were excellent, and who also provided us with a list of included wines on my request to help guide our choices. I would not sail again on this ship just for the food experience, even though this was billed as an “epicurean” cruise, but combined with the excellent itinerary and other benefits of SB, it was still a good overall choice for cruising this itinerary. The food quality and variety were not at the level of the food on HL’s Europa 2 and MS Europa on our cruises in 2016. SB had a decently priced but limited special order wine list, though we only resorted to ordering off of it twice as we could typically find an included wine that worked for us with our meals (even though we are from northern California wine areas and can be picky), and ordering off that list was not aggressively advocated either. Included champagne was Nicholas Feuillatte brut reserve, available at will. Wait staff typically came around at dinner and initially tried to push an inexpensive included sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio (we sampled all that were offered and only liked one, from NZ) before we had even had a chance to look at the menu, but we simply chose what to order first and then either looked at the lists of included wines to find an appropriate pairing, or talked to the wine steward. We ate at The Grill restaurant only once, the first night, where they served the new highly touted TK grill menu, included in the fare. It was fine, solid quality upscale American style food, steak, lamb, fish, but nothing spectacularly unique. First came celery sticks with radishes and cucumber pieces and green goddess dressing, all fresh but not unique, as we can get these at home. DH’s steak and my Dover Sole Meuniere were fine. We did not go back, primarily due to the acoustical assaults in that venue, e.g., loud and annoying music pulsated overhead, just as it did last year, apparently to create a 50’s and 60’s cool diner vibe and atmosphere, plus pax and staff conversations tended to be loud and the room has poor sound muffling, so the noise enhanced a sense of stress. I regret that the delightful and unique old R2 small-plates-with-pairings restaurant concept has been discontinued. The food in the MDR both at lunch and dinner was usually prettily plated, very good and usually interesting, (though basics such as simple steak and Caesar salad were also available nightly), and I found the TK offerings there better than last year. There were only a couple entrees that tasted boring. I enjoyed most of the vegetarian dishes which I tried when I wasn’t very hungry (a state easy to get into on SB due to constant food ingestion), even though I am not a vegetarian. Portions sizes were reasonably small, which suited us perpetual weight watchers fine. The only time I asked for a double portion was when I ordered a steak tartare appetizer and was skipping the entree, but large, young and very active men (on this cruise that would be only crew members and perhaps one other pax DH met who was a mountain climber) might want to ask for double portions right from the start to secure adequate calories. There were also TK offerings on a few nights in the Colonnade, by reservation only, with only one entree offering per night, e.g., fried chicken, ribs or clam bake, but we did not go this year because last year we had been underwhelmed with the odd ribs-related experience. A few people we met during the cruise who had done the “family style” TK ribs in the Colonnade this cruise, however, greatly enjoyed the experience. We like trying a little bit of many foods when we travel, so our favorite kind of venue is usually an upscale buffet, but this year due to more limited selections of buffet food, Colonnade crowding and inside noise, plus odds of more significant service problems there which could create annoyance, we preferred the MDR for both lunch and dinner. There was a different official food theme in the Colonnade each day, e.g., French, German, Japanese, Tuscan Market, Baltic night (this was much better than last year), pasta, etc., though not uncommonly the same thing was served at the salad bar and dessert bar day after day, just with a different name. Breakfast buffet was ok for usual English-speaker tastes, but the bread, cold meat and cheese choices put out were more limited compared with on HL, where the buffet is more European style. We used room service for breakfast when we had early morning excursions, and also a couple other times (e.g., usually between 9:30 and 12:30, when typically no dining venue is open other than room service or SB Square simple little pastry snacks). A room service hamburger was very good, compared with a Patio Grill burger on the patio, excellent last year, this year mediocre. I am not sure what caused the discrepancy. Room service breakfast offerings were basic, from a list of fixed choices you check outside your door on paper before going to bed, (if you deviate you may receive some comical deliveries), and usually though definitely not always arrived on time. Breakfast pastries and breads in general on board were improved compared with last year, e.g., on a few days French baguettes were baked, and the rolls trended towards appropriately crispy rather than rubbery like they were last year when we cruised. Snacks and specialty coffees at Seabourn Square varied in quality, although the offerings did not vary from day to day and were not particularly enticing, but I definitely appreciated having these between-meal options available ( closed 6-9 PM). The calm Observation Bar also offered self-serve coffee (variable quality), tea bags, OJ and little pre-made breakfast pastries at 6:15, for those of us who do not wish to communicate with humans until we have caffeinated. Observation bar and Club snacks we tried before dinner were tasty. SERVICE The best way to describe SB service this cruise is that it was generally good, though I did find myself getting a bit annoyed with occasional service deficiencies by lower level crew who need more training and understanding of what a luxury cruise is supposed to be. The exceptions often involved violations of the Do Not Disturb sign, the most egregious of which was a woman from laundry services busting into our suite to discuss a minor, non-urgent issue relating to trousers when I was in the bathtub and had a privacy sign up, and then not immediately leaving, but also involved poor communication between staff. Many staff seemed fixated on just doing their specific narrow job and showed a disinclination to get involved with resolving a problem in a way that would best accommodate guest's comfort. I spoke with the empathetic customer care coordinator Melissa Selling about these issues but it is unclear if anything was done by her other than to fill out a paperwork report, as a couple of the issues of concern (some of them comical) continued the next day . Some of the room stewardesses and eating venues personnel were not entirely well-trained or well-organized, and some appeared exhausted, especially at peak hours when they struggled to keep up, so SB would do well to improve training and staffing back to the level they had previously (though this might involve raising prices). Laundry and dry cleaning services are available on board ($50 per laundry bag stuffed so solidly it could serve as a cosh, 2 day service, 50% upcharge for same-day service on items), nothing was permanently lost or transformed into a child’s size though I did have to pursue a disappeared bag. There is also a launderette for self-serve we did not use, and a clothes-line is available over the tub for drying your own items. You can also get as many towels and pillows as you want for your suite, which this pillow princess definitely took advantage of. SB Square personnel were friendly, and there were either no or short lines to talk to them. The phone was not always answered immediately, but I only fell asleep once while on hold. When we got home we found a large charge to our on-board credit card to an airline for a person we have never heard of, which was processed immediately after the charge that closed out our bill on disembarkation day, and which we think was likely made in error by SB ( we are pursuing details on this through our credit card fraud protection and with emails to SB customer relations). SPA, EXERCISE AREA, AND POOLS: loud music played not just in the exercise area , where I would expect pep, but also in the communal manicure/pedicure/hair care area, which was not very relaxing as the customers’ conversations and blow dryers there were also competing for attention, and stressed front desk personnel could be snippy. So I only used the area once (I prefer quiet, solo chambers, with calming music, for manicure service, rather than forced listening to stories about other pax problems, e.g., their split ends or toenail problems. DH frequently enjoyed the relatively private hot tub in the bow on deck 6, which is also a good place to meet people. There were also four other hot tubs (two in the very public area near the main pool, often closed off, and two closer to the smaller pool on Deck 5 aft outside the Club lounge). The pool was nicely heated but not used much. DH also used the fitness center, it was fine, usually uncrowded except at peak time on a sea day, with an ocean view, where nothing was broken and there was a trainer there ready to help who may not have been named Hans or Franz, but should have been. ENTERTAINMENT was overall pretty good, better than last year, especially for such a small ship, e.g., it featured both popular and classical music by Australian pianist Gary Walz, and also a female former West End singer with a terrific voice. We went to most of the shows. Brit Davey Howe performed innovative and comedic musical works with trumpet, piano, shower hose, and walker leg and was my favorite. There was a funny British comedian, a not so funny or magical female comedian magician, and a singer who had starred in The Lion King who did an assortment of cool-sexy-guy type covers who was very popular with the crowd. The base SB band itself was very good, and the singers could sing, though sometimes sung boring old songs like The Girl From Ipanema at the Patio. The Trio with sultry singer Emma in the Club should not be missed, if she is there. The entertainment this year was much better than last year on the Quest, which was a positive development. INTERNET was bad. Ship wifi was usually very slow, and in our suite typically non-existent, a constant struggle, as it often is on ships, even luxury ships. We had opted for the unlimited plan for $399 for the 16 days of the cruise to avoid the stress of sensing the clock ticking and price rising while on-line with a slow connection. Only one person per suite could be on at a time which required some coordination (on HL two could be on, but for comparison there was no unlimited plan, there it was 0.19 Euro/minute). It worked best in the Square and in a fellow pax room directly below a router, which ours was not. We thus relied heavily on our cellular service and created hot spots, to get any major work done ensuite. DH, who is technically inclined, communicated with SB Square three times about the issues, and the personnel there smiled and noted the concerns, but not once was he contacted directly by anyone from IT, (we just got promises there would be contact), only some indirect information was communicated by a non-technical lady SB crew member, and the issues (beyond the issue of speed, e.g., cloud services blocking) were not resolved. Ship wifi was one of the weakest aspects of this ship, and it thus rules out future trips where there would be no escape option to use local cellular, e.g., transatlantic or remote area trips, for people who must have reliable internet access when they travel. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS There were no complimentary excursions offered by SB, all were for an extra charge. Most were reasonably priced and ok, some were excellent, a few were poor values. Buses were uncrowded and typically had a max of 26 people on an excursion ( a couple exceptions), and had reclining seats and at least passable AC. Sometimes there was a functional WC on the bus, you never knew in advance when there would or would not be one. BARCELONA — our embarkation port, where we spent 3 days pre-cruise on our own (we had previously been here for several days before). This popular and excellent bustling port city has a lot to see pre-cruise, or post-cruise if you end here. I would recommend at least four days, and preferably take a private tour of La Sagrada and other Gaudi masterpieces in the area, plus a trip outside to Montserrat, and spend a few hours in the Picasso Museum (go early and buy tickets online if you are not part of a tour, as it gets very crowded). The more off the beaten path Catalonia Museum on a hill has excellent modern and Romanesque art collections, as well as city views and adjacent is a massively sized organ. I could easily spend a full two weeks in Barcelona -- every year! GIBRALTAR — a very interesting small territory town with a lot of history, owned by Britain. We did the excellent though strenuous (marked level 2 out of 3 by SB but it should have been a 3/3 in difficulty) uphill “City under Siege” excursion, where we toured the military siege tunnels, and also the museum in town where there are restored Neanderthal woman and child skeltons. We also saw the interesting indigenous monkeys of the island roaming about who have a history of their own (e.g., during siege, they were food for troops). Beware of the risk of extra high cellular charges by your cell phone company for this separate “country”. PORTIMAO — the port itself, which tends to be very warm, was out of town, so other than seeing a closed down sardine factory museum within walking distance nearby (worth a look — the video story in Portuguese with English subtitles is both interesting and humorous), there was not much to do directly near the ship. We were bussed on the “A Taste of Algave” excursion to the seaside town of Alvo (old and new features), which has restaurants and shops both near the water and up an old-town hill, and could be more fun to tour without the time pressures of an excursion, followed by a trip to an unremarkable local winery for a tasting with fish dip and chips. This was not the greatest excursion, but ok for an overview. LISBON — we were only docked here one day, but this hilly and scenic city deserves at least four days if not more (which I had spent last year prior to another cruise), depending on how many museums you want to see and how much Fado you want to hear, even more if you want to do day trips. We did a non-SB group excursion to the medieval walled town of Obidos, about an hour away, which was fantastic, very scenic, with restaurants and shops, it would make a good full-day trip. We also visited the beautiful Santa Quintana winery for tasting and an upscale lunch, which was fantastic. It would be a good idea for SB to do an overnight in Lisbon. BILBAO — we toured the modern art Guggenheim Museum on a SB excursion, which everyone should do at least once to appreciate the craziness of four-story flower dogs and a giant metallic arachnoid, which have revived this previously dying town. We preferred spending our elective, non-group time on the higher levels where the art, to us anyway, was more interesting (Kandinsky and Picasso rather than Koons). Next time, we’d also like to send more time walking the city streets of this old Basque town, people-watching, and dining locally. LA ROCHELLE — we did an excellent full-day 5/5 SB excursion to the little market town of Saintes, (you could spend a day there just shopping and eating and visiting the churches), where I loaded up on the best ham I’ve ever eaten, and after a terrific excursion French lunch at a nearby Michelin-rated restaurant Le Relais du Bois Saint-Georges, toured the Chateau de La Roche Courbon castle, which has beautiful grounds. BOURDEAUX — here we docked for an overnight right in town, right next to a colorful Sunday food market selling all kinds of delicacies (you may want to skip breakfast on the ship if the market is running), and an easy walk to many interesting sights, several fantastic churches, fountains, and saw the new Wine Museum modern structure which we did not have time to go into. There are many reputedly excellent restaurants and museums in town, and we unfortunately did not have enough time to fully take in and appreciate this city. We did a forgettable (and overpriced at $275/person) SB-sponsored “exclusive” excursion to a winery that was anything but exclusive (70 people were bussed there and played follow-the-leader on the winery tour), with (by French standards) mostly mediocre food, served with some good red wine, on beautiful grounds. It would clearly have been better and much cheaper to book a private winery tour and exquisite French dinner, next time we will know better, or at least ask how many people will be on the “exclusive” tour before booking. We also did an excursion to the very cute town of St. Emilion, where there is a fascinating underground ancient church, and where you could also easily spend a day winding through the little streets, eating, and window shopping. PORTLAND, UK — the locals here are happy to see cruisers, serenaded us with a uniformed band and fired cannons at sail-away. We did a very nice excursion to the beautiful Minternes estate and gardens, where the 93-yr-old Lord of the house hosted us with interesting stories of the past, and we were then served scones. The gardens are exhiliarting and worth a trip, you could spend the whole day there (I recommend skipping the scones and just head straight for the garden to maximize your time wandering around there, then go down a series of long, gentle paths lined with rest benches, and loop back, a mile or so). We drove past the “Rude Man” Cerne Abbas Giant chalk figure on the way back to the ship, but he was off in the distance and his most famous body parts were barely visible. ROUEN — (overnight). We cruised down the scenic Seine to this out-of-town industrial port, which itself is unremarkable though there is a church and there are some shops, but it served as a base for excursions. We did a late afternoon/early evening excursion to the picturesque seaside town of HONFLEUR (don’t come after 6 or all the museums are closed, or between 4 and 7 as we did, when the major restaurants are closed, if you want dinner, as dinner does not start until 7). Next time we will visit Honfleur without a SB excursion and allow time for a leisurely French meal. We also did a SB excursion to Monet's GIVERNY Gardens, where much was in bloom. The flowers were exquisitely beautiful, but the place was oppressively crowded, as the venue does not limit ticket sales. It was hard to pass with so many international tourists (including us), many with selfie-sticks keen on getting themselves into staged pictures (absolutely not us), and with super-long waits for the women’s WC, as there were simply not enough toilets for the female components of the crowds. If you have a weak bladder, I recommend going easy on pre-excursion coffee and keep yourself on the thirsty side. CHERBOURG -- we went on an all-day excursion (1.5 hour + bus trip each way) to DDAY's Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and Arromanches-les-Bain, where the “Mulberry” artificial harbor and docks were set up to allow many ships and supplies to dock in Normandy during WW2, and which has an interesting museum with exhibits, multi-lingual tours, and an informative movie. There were also excursions available to other battle sites through SB, e.g., Utah Beach, and Sainte-Mere-Eglise, offered by SB, but we only had enough time for one. The American Cemetery is beautifully laid out, very peaceful, and well-maintained, over 172 acres, with tasteful memorials and graves of 9387 American military dead from the Normandy invasion campaign. It has thousands of crosses and over a hundred Stars of David, all that remains of known and unknown young American soldiers who died in that campaign to liberate Europeans from unspeakable tyranny, including my immediate family. We did not see nearly as much as we would have liked in this historic place, for that we will need to come back for a full week in Normandy. Our guide was also less than ideal, as he seemed to just go through the motions in his descriptions of the important historical events rather than showing any enthusiasm or true interest in them (I felt like grabbing his microphone on the bus and taking over the narrative), perhaps due to his own background which was almost certainly not on the side of the Allies. Unfortunately on the bus the guide also seemed equally interested in proudly telling us about France’s mandatory 35-hour work week limitations, wonderful social welfare benefits, and humorous driving habits, with perhaps greater fervor than he talked about the events of 1944, and although these were interesting facts, they seemed inappropriate to discuss on this kind of sobering tour. Halfway, the tour stopped for an included group lunch at a nicely located restaurant with a water view where we were served local pate, chicken, and creamy dessert, with plenty of $5.17/bottle Bourdeaux table wine included in the excursion fee. This was overall an ok introduction to this area, considering we were only there for a day, but when we come back (and we must come back) we will almost certainly get a private guide with greater interest in WW2 history. I highly recommend reading Steven E. Ambrose’s book “DDAY”, or similar, to prepare. BRUGGE. This is a a beautiful city with a lot to see, including canals and chocolate shops, museums and churches, and we booked an excursion to it which SB called “Romantic Brugge” , which was anything but romantic. Unfortunately it was a 3-day weekend and the city was a solid mass of tourists, and it was very hard for us to keep up with our oblivious, insensitive guide who seem to stride briskly to Chopin's Marche Militaire through the city, with senior citizen pax in her group mostly fending for themselves. The excursion was rated 2/3 but should have been 3/3 difficulty given the strain of walking several miles at a brisk pace, with little time, while dodging horses, scooters, carts, baby carriages, Segways, and other fall hazards. The 30-minute canal ride, however, was lovely. I do not recommend this tour in high season or on weekends if you are in any way mobility, cardiac, balance, or pulmonary impaired. If we return, it will be without a group guide, and not on a busy weekend, and on our own (SB offered a busride to and from Brugge without a group tour, which would have been better, but the huge crowds would still have been there in the key areas). I rate this as the worst excursion of the cruise, 2/5, but sadly in one of the most beautiful cities. IN SUMMARY, we enjoyed the cruise, the itinerary, and generally good SB service, exceptions noted both above and in more detail in my referenced blog. I was a bit disappointed in the decline in quality food offerings and variety in the Colonnade, and in some service deficiences apparent now that I had not seen in 2015 when I did my first two SB cruises on the Odyssey, but was pleased with the improvements in the MDR foods since we were on the Quest summer 2016 and in the TK offerings, breads and included wines. We realize no cruise is perfect, and SB must be compared with other English language luxury lines. We have put down a deposit for a potential future cruise that would give us a 5% discount, but have made no irreversible commitments. We have a few more cruises booked with HL instead of SB on similar itineraries, which we are not canceling, as that is where I thought the overall food and service were 5/5 instead of 4.3/5 like on SB, (and where Do Not Disturb signs were always strictly respected), but as noted, has other disadvantages. We have posted some pictures of the cruise and the ports in this beautiful, fascinating, and history-rich area, to which we plan to return. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. ... Read More
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. Every aspect of the trip, the ship itself, the staff and the cuisine. WOW! Everything about this cruise was excellent, (i.e., the ship itself, the staff, the cuisines and the wines!!! There were several people from the Corporated office in Seattle, who supported all of the daily events. Guest chefs were brought aboard during the sail, all of home provided special regional dishes.The Wine Guys were also aboard. They are world class experts on wines, especially, Spain and the United States. They made our trip s m o o t h............. I believe that the service on this particular cruise showed a level of excellence rising above what has always been wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first Seabourn Cruise, and what better way to begin than on Seabourns newest ship, Encore. We held high expectations, and we were not disappointed, We arrived in Athens a few days beforehand, and stayed at the Grande ... Read More
This was our first Seabourn Cruise, and what better way to begin than on Seabourns newest ship, Encore. We held high expectations, and we were not disappointed, We arrived in Athens a few days beforehand, and stayed at the Grande Bretagne, as did a number of other Encore guests, who had booked through Seabourn The embarkation was smooth, we were quickly welcomed on board, by Handre the Cruise Director and other crew. Guests were invited to lunch in the Colonade Restaurant, and soon enough our suites were ready. Our suite, 908, was far enough away from the elevators, but close enough to the pool area. It was of a generous size and tastefully decorated. The bathroom was well appointed with twin basins and a large bath, which we never used. The room lighting was initially confusing and power points were few. For a brand new ship, it lacked the technology we would of expected ( ie: USB ports). The towels were thick and fluffy, and obviously brand new, as were the sheets and other items in the room. The balcony was roomy and comfortable. The closet lighting was inadequate and there was not enough hanging space, and we could not have used it as a dressing room., We met our stewardess, and in conversation we asked about clothes pressing. She told us as there was no self service laundry on the ship, pressing was complimentary, however after we were billed, we had serveral conversations with the front desk before they agreed to remove it from our account. We were told that a laundry was going to be installed on deck 5, probably before the Singapore sail We dined that night at Sushi and thoroughly enjoyed the food, albeit a limited menu. Staff were very welcoming, enjoyed the sake was excellent. We dined at the Thomas Keller Grill the next night and found it a great dining pleasure, and dined there several more times. The Elysian Lamb was excellent, and we enjoyed everything that we ordered on each visit, however during the cruise many guests complained about Grill, mainly, we believe, because they were not willing to be flexible with simple requests. The main restaurant the staff were very pleasant and put in great effort. The food was always presented well and tasted delicious, howvever the food was very mildly spiced so as to appeal to a majority of palates. You cant please everyone! Many guests preferred to dine as a table of 2 or 4, and we felt comfortable with this rather than at larger tables. Breakfast was always at the Collonade Restaurant. I learnt after 2 days to skip a caffe latte, and order tea instead, as it the coffee always took far too long to arrive. As with other ships and hotels, having to make your own toast is an issue, but the staff were always happy to do it for you avoiding any hassle. The staff were always very pleasant and helpful, and the lunch buffet was always popular and of quality ingredients. We also lunched in the Main dining room, and it was much quieter and enjoyable. As Seabourn has a all inclusive policy, the quality of wine and spirits was excellent and any discerning palate would agree. The policy of asking for a special meal to be prepared the next night if the ingredients were available is a good option and we did have Thai food prepared one night which we shared with onboard friends. Most nights began at the Observation bar, and we enjoyed the music of Darlene and Raleigh, a very pleasant and talented couple.Other performers were pleasant, and always made an effort to interact with guests in their free time. We took Seabourn shore excursions in Crete, Israel and Petra. On the way back from Petra we were treated halfway through the journey to champagne and caviar, a Seabourn experience, and to top it all off we were welcomed back aboard the ship by all the crew who lined a red carpet. We felt like A list celebrities as we reboarded the ship. Also, whenever we took a Seabourn excursion, the coaches were full sized coaches but only two thirds occupied for each persons comfort, a great policy. Handre, the Cruise Director, and his assistant Jacqueline always had a smile on their faces and we enjoyed their company. We enjoyed playing Trivia on sea days, and unlike other cruises, we had to retain our original team for the entire cruise. We were also invited to dine with the Captain at his table one night. It felt very special to get the invitation. The Encore has a 'retreat' with 16 private cabanas, and is charged at $350US per day. One couple extolled the virtues of the retreat, to the extent that we felt they were on commission, but we could not see the value or the need. We found that afternoons on sea days lacked much in the way of activities, so many people just lounged by the pool, while others took the opportunity to play bridge Many guests are regular Seabourn cruisers and are fiercely loyal, more so than for other cruise lines. Some guests did not like the size of the new ship or amount of guests onboard. They will know which ships to cruise on in the future. Again some guests need to be more flexible. The front desk is a ridiculous set up with several entrances thereby no one knows who will be served next. The whole cruise was a delight. There were a few kinks, but overall a great introduction to Seabourn, We wonder how different Seabourn Ovation sister ship will be when it is launched soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise ... Read More
We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise experience I had and plan on taking more Seabourn cruises in the future. We arrived in Venice, Italy one night before embarkation. While we did have about a day to explore the city, in hindsight I would had liked one more day. We stayed at the Splendid Hotel in Venice which was a great location to see a lot of attractions in the heart of Venice. The hotel was great and our room was much bigger than expected. If you do stay here I highly recommend taking a water taxi directly to and from the hotel if you have a lot of luggage. We did have trouble with embarkation. It started when we asked the hotel about the best way to get the port. They recommended a private water taxi for $100 Euro. They also told us we could take the water ferry from the Rialto Bridge for $15 euro per person. We cheaped out and that was a mistake. We asked the hotel which stop to get off and they said Tronchetto. We asked the people on the ferry and they said the same, which would have been correct if the ship was at the main terminal. But since the port was so busy that day, the Odessey was at the San Basillio terminal, which is a much different ferry stop. So after a lot of walking, some panic and a $20 euro taxi ride around the port, we got to the right place. Problem was it was late, a little after 4:00pm, and the Italians inside the terminal said the boarding process was now closed. After some more panic, and a lot of back and forth in English and Italian, they reluctantly let us on board where we started the check in process. It was a very tense hour and at one point we felt like we might actually miss the boat. But in the end we got on and the Seabourn staff were very welcoming. Once we were checked in we immediately went to the mandatory safety meeting with the rest of the passengers in the main restaurant. It was there I realized that we were on a much smaller cruise. All 400+ passengers were there for the safety meeting. Once the meeting was over (about 15 minutes) we were allowed to go to our room. Our room was great. Much bigger than some hotels I have stayed in Europe, New York or San Francisco. About five minutes after we got into our room, our stewardess came and greeted us with gifts. It was a really nice touch and made us felt welcomed. About five minutes after that, the ship’s on board guest services called to ask us about the embarkation. We told them what happened and they apologized. That night we sat in the observation bar and watched the ship leave the beautiful city of Venice. Then we went to the main restaurant for dinner and had amazing steaks. I found the food at all of the restaurants on the ship great. We had dinner at all three during the course of the cruise. The main restaurant had a solid menu. The colonnade had different themes every night. And Restaurant 2 is defiantly worth a visit or two. We had lunch many days at the Patio Grill, which was very good. We hit the colonnade only twice for breakfast, but both times were good with a very large selection of breakfast items. I liked that you could hit the buffet or order items like eggs and pancakes to order. It might sound strange but I prefer to order my scrambled eggs fresh versus getting them from the buffet line. On our first full day on board we took a tour of the galley with the head chef. He was great and showed us where most all of the meals were cooked. He talked at length about the process they go through to insure the quality of the food. He even told us they fly all the meat served on board from the US to make sure the quality of the meat is the highest possible. The head chef also told us they do source seafood from local vendors at some of the ports they visit. What was also impressive is that the ship bakes all the bread and pastries daily on board, only bringing in gluten free products from the outside. What we really took advantage of was the room service. We had breakfast in the room five of the days during the cruise. The night before we would fill out a card and leave it on the door before we went to sleep and the next morning the waiters were there with everything we had ordered. We even tried to stump them a few times with special orders, but they handled it flawlessly. I will say they were prompt. While the card gave 15 minute time frames for delivery, they were they a minute after the initial time. For instance the first day I asked for 7:00am to 7:15am. They were there at 7:01am, I had not even gotten out of bed yet. Every time we ordered that was the result. It was great. We also ordered room service after a late night of drinking and dancing. I ordered a cheeseburger at 1:30am. I swear I had just hung up the phone and a waiter was there with a perfectly cooked cheeseburger. It was impressive. As far as the alcohol and wine served on board, it is all top notch. They have a wide selection of beer and hard alcohol. The wine served at dinner was better than most restaurants. There are some premium wines and alcohol you can purchase, but honestly the regular selection is so good you really don’t have to spend extra money. The pool area is not the biggest, but it is nice. So is the spa. I had a wonderful couples massage with a ritual bath after. The bath is outside in a private area that overlooks the sea. The Spa also has nice steam rooms and saunas to use after your treatment. I did not use the gym, but I did stop by. It is not very big, but it had a nice selection of equipment. They also offer different classes like stretching, yoga and palliates (free of charge) in both the morning and in the late afternoon. The entertainment on board was OK. The shows were entertaining, but not spectacular. The best was probably the magician, who performed twice, each show was different. The club was OK, not too wild or crazy. The casino is small with only roulette, black jack, three card poker and some slot machines. One pro tip, You can take your winnings to Seabourn square (the reception area) and put your winnings (if you have any) towards your bill. I did not know that and cashed out at the casino receiving U.S. dollars. We didn’t really participate in any of the other activities so I cannot comment on them. I will say the passengers on board were mostly adults, and most were of the retirement age. That’s not to say it was filled with retirees, but there were not a lot of families with children which was nice. Given the quality of the service and the time of year we traveled it was not a cruise for families. The cruise went from Venice, Italy to Athens, Greece. Our first stop was Primosten, Croatia. We didn’t book an excursion and spent half the day walking around the small island. After a drink we opted to head back to the boat and spend the afternoon at the pool. It was truly relaxing. Day two took us to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We booked our own tour online and took the shuttle bus from the port to the old city. Once there we went on a Game of Thrones tour which was great. If you’re a fan of the show I highly recommend it. Unfortunately it started to rain very hard so after the tour we returned to the ship and did not get to spend a lot of time in the old city. Day three we went to Corfu. Once again we skipped the cruise excursions. We rented a car right at the cruise terminal from Hertz and drove around the island. It was a lot of fun and we got to see a couple of the villages and beaches around the island. We ended the day walking around the Old Town Corfu. Day four was Nydri. We had an excursion booked, but it was canceled due to weather. I will say out of all the ports, Nydri was our least favorite. While we did get off the boat, I would of rather spent the entire day on the ship. Day five was Olympia. That day we took the Seabourn excursion “Best of Olympia” tour. It was really wonderful and our guide was engaging and informative. We went to the birth place of the Olympics and to two museums to see some of the artifacts found at the site. The tour included a delicious traditional Greek lunch at a lovely restaurant just outside of the new city of Olympia. Then we had about a half hour to walk around and see the new city. Day six was probably the biggest surprise, Monemvasia, Greece. Words cannot express how amazing and beautiful this small town really is. We had originally thought we would spend about two hours in the town and head back to the boat. We ended up spending almost the entire day exploring the town including a challenging climb to the top. It was a breath taking view on a sunny day. We had lunch in the old city which was quite good. My only regret about that day was not taking a bathing suit and towel for a swim in the Aegean Sea. Our last stop was Athens. This is where our time on the ship came to an end. Disembarkation was a breeze. We had a transfer to our hotel arraigned by the Seabourn staff. It was simple and fast. It could not be better. Athens is amazing. We only spent a day there, but could have easily spent three. Seabourn is not cheap, but you really get what you pay for. The nice part of the cruise was pretty much everything was included, our bill at the end was minimal. There was no extra charge for all of the alcohol, room service and coffee bar stops. Overall the service of the staff was top notch and I would highly recommend taking a Seabourn cruise. I plan to make my next cruise on Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose Seabourn after reading reviews here, so we want to help others make their choices. This was only our fifth cruise, but first one on the Seabourn. After three weeks on this ship we will only travel with Seabourn in the future. ... Read More
We chose Seabourn after reading reviews here, so we want to help others make their choices. This was only our fifth cruise, but first one on the Seabourn. After three weeks on this ship we will only travel with Seabourn in the future. Staff, food, service, suite, and public spaces were outstanding. Every request we made they answered with a smile and exceeded out expectations. When we dined in-suite, room service brought the food in individual courses and served us as if we were in a top restaurant. All breads, desserts, rolls were made in the galley. In fact, the ship made and served 1,800 bread sticks a day. If you wanted something fixed a certain way, they would do it for you. Even the non-charged wine was surprisingly high quality, which is unusual for "free" wine. Because we were so active during the day, we never made it to the evening entertainments. We did, however, go to events during the day that were excellent. No bingo, but many other things to do. We had all age ranges of guests from multiple countries, so English was spoken in a variety of accents, which gave this ship an international feel. Young and old were all treated with respect and concern for our safety. So, what was not 100% perfect about our cruise? Only two things need to be addressed. First, they had an inadequate internet server when everyone was on the ship using the wireless at the same time. We couldn't log on, got kicked off, or watched slow downloading. Of course, at 2:00 AM, my iPad worked beautifully. Second issue was the coffee. After having fabulous coffees in the towns, our coffee on the ship was bitter, including the coffee at the coffee bar in The Square (of course, the coffee here was better than what we had with breakfast, but not the same quality as the cafes on land).With all the outstanding food and beverages, the cruise company should now focus on bringing their coffee up to the same high standards. In six months, we will be sailing on the Quest and know that the basic guest philosophy and demanding level of quality will also be a part of this ship. From our experience, you will never find a better ship or value for your money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Oceania lover has fling with Seabourn Barcelona to Monte Carlo 25-07-2016 to 04-08-2016 Background This was a special surprise gift for my mothers **th birthday. The last couple of years I have been cruising on Oceania (previous ... Read More
Oceania lover has fling with Seabourn Barcelona to Monte Carlo 25-07-2016 to 04-08-2016 Background This was a special surprise gift for my mothers **th birthday. The last couple of years I have been cruising on Oceania (previous on Celebrity en Star Clippers) but this itinerary looked just perfect with lots of small ports and the price for a V4 Verandah suite was the same as a Penthouse Suite on O. So I decided to give Seabourn a try and I’m happy I did. Pre-cruise We flew to Barcelona a day before the cruise and stayed at the Arts Hotel. A beautiful big hotel at the Port Olympic that is just steps from the beach and night live. We had a corner suite that was just absolutely stunning. One of the best rooms I have ever stayed in. Staff very friendly and helpful. We ate at Carpe Diem a small trendy restaurant close to the hotel and on the beach. Most shops are closed on Sunday so do a day of sightseeing instead. Ship We took a taxi at noon to the World Trade Center Port that is centrally located. Our luggage was immediately picked up by the porters and carried away. We filled out the health questionnaire and checked in. A few minutes later we boarded Seabourn Sojourn. The exterior of the ship or yacht as Seabourn calls it is glamorous but my first impression of interior was underwhelming. Compared to the opulent interior styling on especially the Oceania-class ships with crystal, polished wood and impressive artwork, Seabourn choose a far more subdued style. Beautiful in some area’s like the ‘The Restaurant’, Pool and ‘Seabourn Square’ but also a tad boring like in ‘The Club’ on Deck 5 that gave me the impression of being in a third party airport lounge. The styling of ‘Restaurant 2’ is more glitzy and eclectic and I hope the new Thomas Keller restaurant that will be replacing R2 will have a modern feel to it. For a ship launched in 2010 it just looks a somewhat dated. We totally loved the abundance of deck space and small quiet areas like the sun deck (6) with whirlpool (but no shower) and the small pool deck at the stern of the ship (5). The sunbeds are pretty but very firm and could use a cushion. The level of service was also fabulous. Smiling and truly attentive staff throughout the vessel that made us feel welcome and special. They knew our preferences by day 2 and really did everything possible to exceed our expectations. Our stewardess Ivana was a gem and the best ever. Not only did she keep our suite spotless, she also provided a wealth of information about the ship and services. Always great for first timers! Cabin Our V4 Verandah Suite (707) was light and roomy (only the space between the bed and dresser is tight). Oceania penthouse suites are larger but we were perfectly happy with the size of our small suite on Seabourn. I loved the bar and tv cabinets and being able to draw the curtains between the sleeping and living area. All very elegant! The mini fridge was stocked with our preferred soft drinks and there was a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for us. I ordered a flower arrangement in advance and it was big, nice and lasted the entire trip. The seating area has a well-designed layout but the fabric and colors of the chairs and especially the couch are an acquired taste. I don’t know if it was meant to be and art-deco theme but we didn’t fancy it. The beds are very firm not to say rock hard and the pillows gigantic. The bed linens are soft but the whole experience does not compare to the wonderful beds and linens that Oceania provides on its ships. We did love the small make-up vanity and the bathroom is spacious with separate soaking tub and shower. Molton Brown provides the luxury bath products and you have dual sinks, with high-end fixtures, marble tiles and good lighting. I would have loved to have a night-light there. A pair of drawers would have been a welcome addition to the bathroom since shelves and storage are limited. The suite also features a walk-in closet, safe and two bathrobes. I missed electrical outlets near the nightstands for charging my phone or tablet. The air-conditioning did what it is designed for and we had no problem getting the ideal temperature for our suite. We liked sitting on the balcony late at night with a glass of wine and listen to the waves and talk about our day. Food I love food! Buying it, preparing and of course sharing and eating it. My friends tell me that I’m a pretty good cook. Due to my line of work I have dined in many great restaurants but I also love a simple bistro or well-prepared hamburger. My loyalty with Oceania has to do with their food. The variety of their restaurants and high quality ingredients is splendid and although the menus could use a little more modern influences I do love that they have products like lobster, scampi and other seafood, premium cuts of beef on every menu every day. The food on Seabourn is good but compared to Oceania more limited. Fine products like lobster, caviar and premium cuts are hard to find on the menus and only available as a special order in advance. We don’t like to pre-order because it makes us feel uncomfortable. This food on Seabourn is very well prepared and tasty. Compared to Oceania the dishes served on Seabourn are more modern and lighter with less double cream and butter. Pizza, burgers and gelato were also very good. All our meals were good but only a few were very memorable like our experience in R2 and the Thomas Keller night in the Colonnade. We choose the more casual Patio Grill many evenings since the weather was wonderful and we like dining al fresco. I know many guests have mixed feelings about the partnership with Thomas Keller but we liked it a lot. Our night featured a modern take on the classic Waldorf salad and a beautiful bone in prime-rib with roasted broccoli and silky mashed potatoes. Seabourn could improve the quality and selection of breads, baguette and pastries. Drinks We aren’t big drinkers but like a good glass of wine. Most evenings the selection was fine with a few highlights like a Pouilly-Fuissé, Chianti Classico and Sand Tropez Rosé. A few bottles shouldn’t have been offered like a €3.99 bottle of J.P. Chenet that you can find in every cheap grocery store in Europe. Cocktails, champagne and digestives were always available and offered throughout the day by the pools and in the bars. We love that you didn’t have to sign for every drink. That really is a luxury! Seabourn could improve the quality of the coffee they serve. I got a cappuccino at Seabourn Square every morning but I couldn’t get the very friendly barista to get me a proper cappuccino made with a strong espresso and some foamy milk. The Barista Coffee Bar on Oceania wins hands on and I also missed those very tasty mini pastries featured on Oceania like the canelés and madeleines. Fellow guest It seemed to us that Seabourn caters to a crowd that is very hard to please. This was our only real disappointment during our cruise. We met so many people who seemingly had only one hobby and that was to complain about the food, drinks, service, menu and we even met a couple that told us that Seabourn should do something about the heat in the ports we visited. I’m not kidding! I have to say that being surrounded with so many people who felt to urge to complain out loud didn’t do much good for the overall atmosphere. This cruise had one day at sea and all sunbeds were already ‘reserved’ at 8:00 am by sophisticated guests like they do in those cheap all-inclusive resorts. Internet The system is slow and works with only device at a time. This is how most ships work…BUT charging a staggering $400 for 10 days is a total rip off. That’s almost 10% of the cruise fee. A luxury brand like Seabourn shouldn't charge for Wi-Fi at all and if it does it should be for a friendly fee. It's 2016 and 90% of the guests use the Internet. Smoking I don't smoke and after reading so many complaints on the cruisecritic.com board I was afraid I would have to endure smoking everywhere. I experienced no such thing and was pleasantly surprised. I never smelt smoke outside and we used the balcony a lot and never even got a whiff of smoke. I really don't understand what all the fuss is about. We got the message that Seabourn is going for a much stricter smoking policy in the near future. Victory for al the vocal complainers but this non-smoker didn’t have any problems with the current Recap We enjoyed every minute of our cruise with Seabourn. We had a fabulous itinerary, attentive staff, and a relaxing atmosphere with an abundance of space, good food and smooth sailings. Seabourn leaves little the wish for and tries very hard to give its demanding passengers a refined luxury experience. I'm afraid some guests on board are impossible to please and hearing so many complaints and seeing so many rude, snobbish people did spoil the atmosphere at times. No cruise line is perfect, there is always room for improvement, but I think Seabourn offers a sublime vacation. Would I choose Seabourn over Oceania? It totally depends on price and itinerary. If Seabourn and Oceania keep the same price level, I would book with Seabourn again depending on the itinerary. I really liked the small ship experience with small ports, no waiting for anything (except on sea days), no signing for drinks, good food and very attentive and well trained staff. But I do like Oceania's a little over the top decor, variety of restaurants, menus and the large penthouse suites. So my love for O is still burning but I do have a serious fling now with Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
this is going to be a review of our most recent experience aboard Sojourn on deck 10 in a Penthouse Suite - Suite 1025. That suite was marked as "obstructed view balcony" on all of the deck plans, yet the price was the same as ... Read More
this is going to be a review of our most recent experience aboard Sojourn on deck 10 in a Penthouse Suite - Suite 1025. That suite was marked as "obstructed view balcony" on all of the deck plans, yet the price was the same as all of the other Penthouse suites. Before purchasing that suite, one of the few remaining, I searched high and low for someone online to give me the true lowdown on that suite without success. So I'll do so here, skip to the bottom if you want the succinct version. My wife and I are experienced cruisers. We've been cruising for more than twenty years once or twice a year. We've been aficionados of Seabourn for the past sixteen years since our very first two week cruise aboard the Seabourn Odyssey in the Caribbean. We found it to be so far above our prior cruise experiences aboard other lines that we were frankly shocked at what we'd been missing. Following that first cruise, we began doing Crossings to and from Europe twice a year (relatively inexpensive) and enjoying their ships as a destination - their incredible service, food and staff, as well as our fellow passengers (predominantly sophisticated, well educated and sociable). That no balcony, bottom deck experience was "relatively" inexpensive and MUCH cheaper than first class air fare to Europe and we always arrived without jet lag. Over the years our tastes (and ability to afford higher levels of cabins) improved. Aboard Seabourn ALL of the cabins, regardless of deck, are essentially the same (except for their true suites - Penthouse, WinterGarden, or Spa Suites). The cost of the traditional cabins increases as the decks get higher (which is strange because the higher the deck the more you feel it in rough seas). The lowest passenger decks - deck four has cabins without balcony, deck five has diminished views from the balcony as the material that is see through glass on all of the balconies is metal on deck five. There are a couple of cabins designed to add on to the Winter Garden Suites on deck 7 as an extra bedroom. If Seabourn doesn't sell the Wintergarden Suite WITH the adjoining bedroom (cabin 745 & 746), they sell them as separate cabins. We were upgraded to one of those cabins and found it undesirable. The cabin itself is oddly shaped, the balcony is tiny and barely accommodates one person comfortably and the biggest detractor is that there is quite a bit of noise bleed through the wall and the adjoining door (think of an adjoining hotel room door) between the Winter Garden suite and these two cabins. On our experience there was a couple with an infant and the baby cried quite a bit during our cruise, making sleep difficult and quiet reading or discussions difficult as well. Those are two cabins to avoid. Last year, in 2015, we were offered the opportunity to purchase a Spa Suite. the Spa suites are located on the aft of the ship. We had back to back cruises, a crossing then another ten days aboard in Europe. Midway, the hotel manager asked us if we'd like to pay the additional amount to move to a Spa Suite. It was the most enjoyable suite we've ever had aboard Seabourn. To describe the pros and cons: PROs: 1. Panoramic view from the aft of the ship, no balcony can equal it (there are four spa suites, two on the side and two in the center 1090 through 1093). Our suite was 1093 on the starboard side and we had an incredible wrap around balcony with unrestricted views. The two center spa suites are not quite so lucky, but those two center suites have a crescent shaped extension allowing them to walk out for a fuller view. Unfortunately, that extension and their extended view infringed on the privacy of our balcony (the sole downside to that suite). 2. Unlimited access without additional fees to the Spa immediately below these suites (we're not Spa people, so we didn't avail ourselves of this). The advertising for this upgraded suite cites a Spa Concierge (no one aboard has any knowledge of this concierge - I've checked on two subsequent cruises while aboard and still no sign of a Spa Concierge. 3. Upgraded refreshments with healthy alternatives too numerous to mention. 4. A round, comfortable dining table with a magnificent view off the stern of the ship through floor to ceiling glass windows separating the living area from the balcony 5. a very comfortable arrangement of the sleeping area and living/dining area. 6. a very nicely upgraded bathroom with beautiful fixtures and separate rain shower and whirlpool tub. Cons: 1. Accessible only via a steep spiral staircase located within the Spa. If you have mobility problems or your hands full, this is not the most convenient set up and could be frankly dangerous. 2. These cabins on the aft of the ship will be gyrating crazily in rough seas (think of the end of a teeter totter, the closer you are to the center fulcrum the less movement) luckily our cruise was on a pond-like ocean with barely a ripple for the entire trip. 3. No Concierge - they should take it off their advertising Frankly, you don't NEED a concierge aboard Seabourn. Everyone is treated as though they are royalty, even the least expensive cabins. 4. The beds are the same as all of the beds across the entire ship, i.e., stated as queen sized, but less than that in reality - a tight fit for larger folks. Okay, returning to the penthouse suite on deck ten with the partially obstructed view. Penthouse Suite #1025. This Penthouse suite was disappointing after the Spa suite described above. The biggest problem was the noise, bleed through from the adjoining cabin (we could hear the television through the bedroom wall and for the first time ever, I had to call and complain to ask them to turn the volume down) and the door to the main deck was immediately to the left of our suite door. When there were activities and entertainment on the main deck, the noise bled into our cabin each time the door to the deck was opened - which was frequently, since at the other end of our passageway was the observation Bar. The balcony was indeed restricted. It really wasn't that bad, roughly a third of the balcony was covered by a diagonal metal plate (photo attached). We could sit comfortably on the exposed portion with a good view, but for as the price for that suite was the same as the other Penthouse suites..... a full view would have been better. Food, entertainment, ambiance were all exceptional, as usual. This particular Penthouse suite as living accommodations was, in retrospect, a bad investment. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in ... Read More
We picked this cruise line because of the itinerary. We wanted the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg for 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. We booked our own private tours while in St. Petersburg but used the ship's tour in Estonia and Helsinki. We were very pleased with the knowledge of both guides. The other reason we chose Seabourn was the Thomas Keller dining experience Seabourn offered, a foodie's paradise. We were totally blown away with the various Keller inspired dining venues. The chef and his crew did not disappoint in any of the exquisite meals prepared. The crew was friendly and knowledgable from how the food are prepared to explaining differences in caviar sourcing. Both galley and kitchen tours were informative and well presented. What makes this smaller ship attractive is the size. There are no huge crowd during embarkation or disembarkation, no crowd dining. The ship is able to get into the smaller ports thereby closer to all attractions. In St. Petersburg, we were docked in the city. Most attractions were just a few minutes away by car. The larger ships must dock further away and sometimes 2-3 hours drive to any given destination. The verandah cabins on deck 6 were spacious and very well appointed. We were able to have caviar in our cabin or outside deck most late afternoon before dinner. Deck 6 is also a central location for all the dining venues, pool, bar, library and salon. Overall, cruise service, cabin, lectures and dining were superb. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that ... Read More
We look for open seating dining, great service, and exceptional cuisine as well as a small ship. We enjoy good shows, but, shows and a large casino are not a major criteria when choosing a cruise line. At this point, we have found that Seabourn and Silversea are the two lines that best meet our criteria best. The Norwegian fjord cruise was excellent. Seabourn has a marina and offers a series of zodiac an kiak tours which was a great addition to the normal tours on the itinerary. All in all, a great cruise experience. The staff was very attentive and the restaurants each had themes every night making for interesting dining. The Thomas Keller Grill was an exceptional dining experience. Suites were comfortable and there was more than enough storage space. Little things like fresh fruit brought to the room every day adds a lot to the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We close this itinerary because although we have been to Asia on many occasions we had not been to most of these ports. The ship had many highlights specifically the rooms were great as was the staff. There was a difference of opinion on ... Read More
We close this itinerary because although we have been to Asia on many occasions we had not been to most of these ports. The ship had many highlights specifically the rooms were great as was the staff. There was a difference of opinion on food,I enjoyed more than my wife. Every night you could special order a different appetizer or entree including lobster tails as many as you want,steaks caviar etc. one negative were the structural poles in the entertainment center where the shows were. Some of the ship excursions were not up to par but overall they allowed us to visit the area. Some of the snorkeling in the Philipines was great and others were awful. Would I recommend this ship,yes. We have been on Crystal,Regent , Silversea all have their good and bad points. Anyone of theses cruise lines are great. Seabourn charges for Internet $400 for unlimited whether 3weeks or more thus being on 5 weeks did not cost more. Regent includes a lot but when you compare prices I believe they are all the same. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click