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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. ... Read More
By Glyn May The waiter, sensing that our patience was wearing thin, dropped a bowl of hot chips (fries) and a bottle of tomato sauce at our table. “Chef’s compliments”, he said, “ dinner is going to be a bit late”. Classy cruising. Not. Two days earlier, a crewmember carrying a sharp-edged tray had accidentally slashed my wife’s arm badly when he bumped into her in the breakfast queue. And, as we approached our homeport, all power failed and the ship narrowly missed drifting into concrete bridge pylons. In 40-plus cruises over more than 35 years before and after that forgettable holiday, my wife and I in recent years have stepped up into the heady world of ultra luxury cruising –- a field that, despite the eye-watering cost, doesn’t always live up to its publicity. Until we joined the Seabourn Ovation on March 2, 2019 for a 14-night cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore. Our wallet took a AUD21,000 (USD15,000) hit, but for the first time on this new (launched in May 2O18) absolutely beautiful mid-sized 600- passenger all-suite ship, it was worth every dollar. Nothing is perfect, so give or take a couple of petty whinges (no self-serve steamed rice and very average congee (Asian soup) while sailing in Southeast Asia, and a frosty reception in The Grill restaurant) Seabourn Ovation went as close as ever we expect to get. As sometimes jaded, increasingly grumpy and always critical travellers, it was a joy for us to start our cruise by first running an eagle eye over suite 726 on our arrival Yes, you can assume that boarding was faultless. Not one photographer on the gangway, or anywhere for the entire cruise. These days we notice things that niggle experienced cruisers on: A wall safe comfortably at chest height (it beats sitting on the floor) in a spacious walk-in robe with three dozen clothes hangers. Plenty of mirrors, a seriously cold fridge stacked with soft drinks, beer and a real bottle of champagne; plus a list of ‘complimentary’ (paid for in the fare) good quality wines. If you can’t find anything to satisfy your taste buds from Chile, California, Australia, Spain or Italy, there’s a lonely bottle of Petrus 1995 Pomeroz Grand vin from Bordeaux waiting for you in the glass-walled wine rack in the elegant main dining room ‘The Restaurant’ for USD4,500.00 (AUD6,348.00). The label is a bit scruffy so maybe the Sommelier might do a deal. In our suite there’s a lounge long enough for a rack-stretched basketballer or a third guest, a generous, glass-topped round table for 24-hour room-service-with-a-flourish (starched linen and folded napkins) and a king-size bed with a choice of six pillows soft, firm, extra firm. The TV set is on a trolley for manoeuvrability and there are plenty of movies on demand. In-suite announcements from the bridge are restricted to an average two a day -- weather and brief entertainment updates, or shore excursion boarding. No electrical engineering degree is required to operate the lights. Just click and press for a range of illumination levels from dimmed romantic to the blinding glare in the interview/confession room down at my local police station. One of Seabourn Ovation’s most remarkable (unique?) assets is its ubiquitous South African Cruise Director Andre Potgieter who recently received the prestigious President’s Award for Leadership from Seabourn Cruise Line president Rick Meadows. Andre, a softy spoken, articulate young man, emerges like a breath of spring each day in a different tailored jacket and slacks and a new spectacular bow tie with matching pocket-handkerchief. Wherever he goes, goggle-eye grandmothers swamp him with cheek kisses and embarrassing hugs. Which probably explains why, when the ship is in port, Andre trains for his favourite sport, marathon running. Of the 575 passengers from 27 nationalities on board -- average age around 60 -- there were 266 from the U.S, 112 the U.K, 46 Autralians, 34 Canadians and 33 Germans. In two weeks they demolished 2,272 bottles of red wine, 1,435 white and 633 bottles of champagne. And although there were no children on board, 390 litres of ice cream. A total of 32,826 breadsticks mopped up 21lbs of caviar. Two popular spots on the ship are the Observation Bar on the deck 11 which features high tea for an hour from 4pm then a friendly circular bar open until midnight; and The Retreat on the top deck (12) an exclusive enclave with 15 private cabanas, lavish amenities and an oversized whirlpool spa. Evening entertainment in the Grand Salon, often starring one of the slickest teams of ships’ dancers and vocalists we have seen on a cruise ship and backed by Seabourn Ovation’s highly professional orchestra, featured a range of top-class acts from a comedian and to an opera singer. A tip: For an unobstructed view, find a seat away from the intrusive supporting pillars. A shore excursion with a difference on Seabourn’s Asian itineraries is the idyllic day spent on the company’s picture-postcard tree-fringed private beach, ‘The Den’ on the exclusive Thai island of Kood. On a clear sunny day more than 400 souls disembarked from Seabourn Ovation tenders to discover rows of deck chairs under shade trees, a feast of lobster, steaks and salads, champagne on ice and a full bar. All of this ferried ashore from daybreak and served by the ship’s crew and a group of local Thais. With only a few days left and most passengers staying on board for the cruise to Dubai, we were wondering whether they still threw stowaways in the brig. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on ... Read More
We are Platinum members and our last Seabourn Cruise was 2 years ago. We wanted to try their new larger ship and booked Hong Kong to Hong Kong, a BTB 28 day cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated. Our cabin was the same size as on the Sojourn and Odyssey. One problem was that the drawers in the furniture across from the bed were very hard to access and the space there has only enough room for one person to stand. The pool area was the same as the smaller ships and getting a place on sea days was difficult. The chairs are the same and not comfortable. Our one peeve was that now bartenders are instructed to measure out the amount of liquor for each drink. This on a ship that touts itself as all inclusive. We would have to tell them to pour doubles so we wouldn't have to come back. In the lounge outside The Keller Grill there was only one waitress and one bartender and it took 25 minutes for our drink to come. The comedians were all from Wales or UK and as Americans we could not understand them. Most of the musical shows were good and the singers and dancers were exceptionally good. The even sang opera at the pool and that was a real treat. We had a problem on one of the ship's excursions and it was not handled well. We were only told it would be reported and then never heard back. We agree with others that Seabourn, now having staff hired by Holland America, has gone downhill in service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never been to the Asian region by ship. The Ovation was wonderful, the Staff and Crew were the best we have encountered on any cruise line .The food was beautifully presented and top quality. Handre is certainly the number 1 Cruise director.The Hotel Manager was Helmut Huber top guy and turned out to be a very funny man, actually hilarious!The Food and Beverage Manager was Ali who we have experienced previously he is just amazing he works very hard to please everyone. Our room attendant again was the best we have experienced Hayley was 1st Class. We have done many cruises on Seabourn and many other lines but Seabourn is outstanding, The special event on Ko Kood island was just an amazing experience we were so thrilled The Band know as Musical Society are fantastic and very personable, The deck parties are again outstanding and the ,say good bye ,to the crew on the deck is an emotional event most of the crew and Staff turn out to wave good bye while we drink and eat and have fun . Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese ... Read More
The good A very nice new vessel with a very good navigation crew. Our room care (stewardess) was exceptional. The bad The food on board was boring, repetitive, bland, of high-salt content, and medioce in preparation. The Japanese cuisine was notably poor, e.g. old proteins. The vessels hotel staff was often overwhelmed during high service intervals, e.g. luncheon. The ratio of hotel staff to guest seems too low for proper service. We were disappointed with Seabourn’s handling of their booking credit and AMEX credit, Seabourn only allowed the higher value. The ugly Seabourn shore tours are expensive, the vessel was often ported far away from salient activities (long commutes) and in the case of the Vietnam north unsafe junk tours, e.g. our junk was literally lost in the fog without proper safety procedures. The Cambodia shore excursion was terrible. Seabourn and Silver Sea could have coordinated debark at Singapore much better, both simultaneously. The pool was small and poorly maintained, e.g. corrosion and detritus. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for ... Read More
We sailed in 2017 on the Sojourn to Alaska and it couldn't have been better - even with departing chefs in the middle of the cruise. Last year we sailed on the Encore to the Med and there was a huge difference in the experience, for the worse. Now in Asia, the Ovation is a bit better than the Encore but sorely lacking for an ultra luxury cruise line. The ship is beautiful and the cabins and housekeeping are great; that's about where it ends. Food and service keep getting worse each day. We had sushi for lunch one day and it was ok; they had a special omakase dinner one night which was completely inedible. The fish was old and smelled, even the salmon roe. Keller-food is ok albeit very boring; Service is terrible. They shouldn't include this as a dining option because you are only allowed to go twice per cruise. We ended up having room service 3 nights because it was the only way to best ensure a decent meal. Breakfast in the Colonnade was the same each day-marginal fruit, canned corned beef hash and the usual array of eggs, bacon, etc. Cooked to order omelets were lacking in filling and dry. We were trying to figure out the problem; I think they are making food for old American and British guests. It is completely lacking in flavor and variety; someone mentioned that they weren't allowed to make it spicy. Salt seems to be the key ingredient, rendering the food inedible at times. Not a good idea to try to get service at lunch time on the patio; they have a shift change at 12 and often there is no one around for drinks or the bar. Apparently they cannot take food orders if they work for the bar and vice versa. The best food and service was at Earth and Ocean (the patio transformed at night); portions are small though and it means you will be eating outside in often unpleasant weather. The best food we had the entire time was off the ship. They have an Italian chef, who didn't have an Italian night and there was very little Asian food, although the entirety of the cruise was in Asia. Be very careful of their shore excursions. They seem to be docking quite far from some cities, leaving you with a 3 hour drive each way to see a city like Bangkok; it isn't really worth getting off the ship as there isn't enough time in the cities. Also, their excursions are almost double of what you can find with Viator or Tours by Locals. We ran into the Silver Seas a few times and they docked in a much better location. Price perhaps? The stop in Cambodia was horrific. If I had know what we would encounter, we never would have left the ship. I don't think they are vetting the tour operators very well. Their descriptions of the tours paint a lovely picture, which often isn't the case, especially for people with mobility issues - getting into small boats, climbing over ropes, etc. Entertainment was below par-a magician and a cello. Boring. The show the singers and dancers did the last night was pretty good -Push the Button. We won't be sailing on Seabourn again; It isn't even the price that is the issue, it's the disappointment with the food, service and entertainment, which should all be top notch. They will say no, but I think this is a result of their purchase by Carnival. You can really see it in the cheapening of things like less crew, poorly trained crew, poor wines (like Sebastiani Chardonnay), and the quality of the food. This isn't the luxury experience you were anticipating. Read Less
86 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and ... Read More
I had always heard that Seaborne was the top of the heap. Let me break down my experience The ship The bedroom furniture was chipped and worn. This may be expected and really didn't effect anything The staff is wonderful and helpful The food was less than we expected for we always heard how great their food was. Very little deviation from Resturant to Resturant . The wine that is offered is very low quality. The alcohol is high quality offering many top brands The internet. They charge you by the minute for internet usage. Now this cruise line is the most expensive cruise line out there and then they want to charge you outraging prices to connect to the internet. The internet is slower than the old dial up. Really? The modern tech allows for high speed connections so this is pure and simple a way to drag more revenue from its passengers. The pool had the normal trolls who come out at daylight and put their stuff on chairs around pool leave and the pool staff did nothing. When I pointed out that the daily program told of the ships policy that chairs could only be left for no more than 30 minutes unattended they demurred and did nothing. The off shore excursions were absolutely terrible. For instance in Bangkok the ship ported 2.5 hours from Bangkok. 2.5 hour. There is a port closer to the city but they chose this one. Semi reap. This is for the 3 day 2 night trip to Angkor Wat. The first day was comprised of a day in Sinnaokville. This included a tour of a private residence , a school and a market. Total waste of time. Everybody's was disappointed Then we boarded a plane for Seim Reap. We were housed in a fine hotel. We were told that dinner was in a buffet and we were allowed 1 beer of 2 sodas. This is after we left a ship, which we paid for unlimited drinking privileges no credit given for those privileges. So we paid for drinks rooms and food on a ship and were given no such credit many of us ran our own hotel bar and Resturant tabs .The second day was great followed by a dinner program which was fun. We flew back to Saigon the next morning Next we took a day trip in haLong bay. This was a kayak excursion. Well we were put in a boat for the 1.5 hour ride to the kayak base. For the entire ride over we were subjected to,non stop soliciting by the boat operators to buy their stuff. We were captive. Then when we arrived at the kayak base we were offered equipment that was not safe. The life jackets were moldy the kayaks were trash paddles junk.They has holes in the hulls and loading was very difficult. There is a speed boat base very near the kayak base. Every minute there would be a speed boat with 24 happy asians flying by the kayaks. The waves were plentyful and large.It is a wonder that nobody flipped. In addition the guide was the last person so there was no leader. One of our party had the paddle break in mid trip and the guild had no substitute. The paddles were taped up with rusty nails exposed. There was no seaborn rep with our tour. We were served lunch on the boat which was cooked in the back of this boat. Again we were offered 1 beer. If we wanted more than one we to purchase for $4.00. Was it too much to ask for seaborn to throw on a case of beer? I guess so.we then went to visit the caves. Pretty awesome. It should be noted that this excursion requires a 250 step uphill climb to the cave entrance. While we had no problem others could not make it and had to remain on the junk. They said the program was not clear on the details required and they certainly would not have signed up if they had known of the climb The return to the ship. Again 1.5 hours of nonstop badgering by the staff to buy their junk. We went to complain about the whole mess to the tour director and she sat there stonefaced ,she did take ones The on board entertainment was very good and a joy to watch. Very professional After hoping for a great experience we walked away feeeling slightly fleeced but happy we safe after the treacherous kayaking mess. We were anticipating a first class adventure and ended up feeling like this was a budget job taking our money for slow speed internet and poor off ship excursions.which were not cheap. We were ready ,prior to the cruise , to sign up for an Antarctic cruise but there is no way we would trust Seaborne to deliver. They would more than likely charge up by the minute for jackets but offer the ice for free! We asked for a Seaborne rep to call but we exp Ct that will not happen l we have heard that since they sold out to whomever the service has declined. We talked with more than one other on the cruise that also was disappointed. One of those had Ben on 9 Seaborne cruises and said that this was their last. Too bad Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
This cruise and Seabourn especially was chosen based on recommendations from friends who were spot on. The ship, the food and drinks, the cabin and the entertainment were all top class. The female cruise director must be a gem for this ... Read More
This cruise and Seabourn especially was chosen based on recommendations from friends who were spot on. The ship, the food and drinks, the cabin and the entertainment were all top class. The female cruise director must be a gem for this cruise line. We started our cruise in Hong Kong and visited Xiamen, China, several ports in the Philipines including Manila. Thereafter Borneo, Singapore, Bangkok and several other ports in Thailand, Kambodia and Vietnam before leaving the ship in Hong Kong.Four weeks of top class cruising. The highlight of this trip was Vietnam were Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, which it is now called, was a big and positive surprise. The communists seem to have found the perfect blend of communism and capitalism; more or less like China. The food on the Seabourn Sojourn was excellent and varied. The top chef Henning made a very good impression, and we were lucky to be able to go with him when he went shopping for the freshest produce both in Saigon and in the Bangkok area. We are experienced cruisers and have tried 7-8 different ones. So far Seabourn are at the top of our priority list. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Now that I got my land legs back and over a chest cold,I will tell you about my or our experience ,Hong Kong to Singapore .the ports we a visited where a grad experience ,the cruise line Seabourn left a lot to be desired ,we had a cabin ... Read More
Now that I got my land legs back and over a chest cold,I will tell you about my or our experience ,Hong Kong to Singapore .the ports we a visited where a grad experience ,the cruise line Seabourn left a lot to be desired ,we had a cabin for disabled on deck nine,the bathroom which is very important for a disabled person was very functional ,the front door dit not stay open by it self,you need to put a wedge under the door to get in and out,,needs to be looked at,the cabin itself very plain,but again functional . the ship itself lacks warmth and class,the staff are passionate and very obliging ,but again there all talk like a Seabourn manua ,not natu ,the goog,glorious food,,in the main dining room we found had never had the wow effect,and the menus kept repeating it self,the wines served at dinner were far to young and need to be stored a few more years ,the dining room in it self is a no event,very boring,again nothing special,we liked the way ladies were escorted to there tables by staff,mabe even officers,we arrived in a wheelchair and no one gave us a second look,much less show as to our table ,,nice one Seabourn , the pool deck is fare to small for all the people,that brings me to the Seabourn Square,which is a reception ,a library ,and a meeting place plus a coffe shop,it looks like a business class lounge in an airport,,very boring,we had pre dinner drinks in the piano bar,again staff were excellent ,the piano player,played the same tunes night afer night ,and had a break every thirty minutes,looking back which I don't like to do,I just like to forget about is overrated cruise line,I wound go on Seabourn if they paid me. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our fourth cruise on Seabourn and we're planning our fifth for Alaska, so I think you can tell we are sold on the company. More on that later. This cruise starts in Hong Kong, touches china at Xiamen, goes down through the ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Seabourn and we're planning our fifth for Alaska, so I think you can tell we are sold on the company. More on that later. This cruise starts in Hong Kong, touches china at Xiamen, goes down through the Phillipines, Malaysia in Borneo, Turns at Singapore, Up to Thailand, Cambodia, then up through Vietnam including Halong Bay and then back to Hong Kong. As many people do, we got off in Sihanoukville to fly to Angkor Wat for two nights before rejoining the ship in Ho Chi Mihn City. Because my wife has substantial difficulty with stairs, we arranged private excursions for many of the ports and had our own guide and driver for Angkor Wat. So this time around, I have experience with only a few of the shore excursions. The Phillipine stops were largely Phillipine tourist locations. Hundred Islands is interesting geography with lousy snorkeling, Coron on the other hand was brilliant snorkeling, some of the best coral ever, not to be missed. Boracay was very touristed because of Chinese New Year, but pleasant if crowded. Singapore is a delightful stop and would have made a good place to start or stop. Cooking class in Hoi An (Danang) was excellent. Photos of Halong Bay is the way I finally convinced my wife of this cruise. It is beautiful, but all the tourist boats go (with some 6,000 people per day) to the same locations, so it's also a little packed. If you can afford Seabourn, you should. I can't actually speak to the peer cruise lines, since we chose Seabourn at the start and never left. But this one is great. Tips are "neither necessary or expected", but this is a staff that operates like one working for tips. They are constantly friendly, helpful, and engaging. We enjoy cruising in part because of the social aspect. It pays to be a little bit forward and not shy in introducing yourself to others, but we've always found it easy. With 450 passengers, we keep running into the people we've met, but we also arrange to meet folks for drinks and dinner. At dinner in the main restaurant you can ask to be seated with others and you will be put at a table for six, which makes for pretty good conversation. There are no assigned seats or times, just show up when you want between 7:00 and 9:00. We are quite found of Restaurant 2, which provides a fixed tasting menu each night. Some feel it's a little pretentious, but I think it's just pretentious enough. No extra charge, but you do need reservations and it tends to be fully booked by the middle of a cruise. So reserve early. We have room service breakfast each morning, in part to avoid the calorie menace of a breakfast buffet. Ordered the night before, it is almost always delivered right at the start of their 15 minute window. of 26 breakfasts, one was late, causing us to gulp it down in order to make our excursion. That evening, there was a plate of chocolate truffles and two glasses of champagne along with a nice note of apology for our inconvenience. The food on Seabourn is outstanding. We met friends on this cruise who are vegan, they felt very well served. Each night they discussed the menu for the next day with the staff and they got generally excellent meals. If you can make good food for vegans, how much better for we sensible carnivores. The house wines are good with alternative wines both for white and red. The only problem is the magic Seabourn wine glass which is always full. The demographic on Seabourn is American/British/Australian with a smattering of others. The ship runs in English, with a crew drawn from across the world. The passengers are older, the majority retired. On this cruise the age range included some middle aged folks, matching some of the photos in the brochures. There were no children, and this would not be the cruise for them. The bottom of the age range is about 40. One of the things we love about the Seabourn ships are the suite layouts. Large with both a tub and shower (didn't use the tub this time), two sinks, and a walk-in closet. We've always had a Veranda and appreciated it. The entertainment is solid. We like the staff singers and dancers. Seabourn has often brought a local group on board to perform, those are some of the best. The lectures on this cruise (Seabourn calls them "conversations" but they are lectures) were from good to great. Hong Kong is a fine place to start and end a cruise. We had 2 nights before the cruise and 4 after. If you're there, go to Sam's Tailor for a custom suit. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We cruise for about six months each year and chose Seabourn for the itinerary. We are usually Silver Seas cruisers which sets a high standard. The ship was very nice, clean and extremely well maintained. We had a Penthouse cabin which was ... Read More
We cruise for about six months each year and chose Seabourn for the itinerary. We are usually Silver Seas cruisers which sets a high standard. The ship was very nice, clean and extremely well maintained. We had a Penthouse cabin which was nice and roomy and our Cabin attendant was very willing but seemed overworked. Room service was excellent and the food was always hot. First disappointment was when our approved visitors in Hong Kong were not on the approved ships list and were not allowed on board. As we had gone to great lengths to achieve visitors and the visitors had also employed baby sitters, this was not a good start and made our embarkation a very unhappy experience. Unacceptable administrative error. The Guest Relations Manager did his best to mollify us, a very nice man but was difficult for him to try and explain the inexplicable. Food was average in the dining room, undercooked or overlooked fish was frequent. The meats were beautifully cooked and vegetables when ordered were good. Deserts were quite splendid especially the soufflés. Wines offered were usually red or white, then you had to ask well what red and what white, not top of the range wine service. The Colonade Restaurant was much better and the service excellent until they changed the restaurant manager during the last leg. Restaurant 2 was very very good and we enjoyed it as much as possible. Some very good entertainers particularly Pete Neighbours a supreme musician. Tours were very good and Ben on the travel desk went out of his way to accommodate all requests. It was disappointing that there was a big change of staff half way through the last leg and all the rapport built up over almost 2 months went out the window, felt like a new cruise and of course the new staff, many of whom seemed to be straight out of the academy, did not know what you liked or did not like, somewhat frustrating for the long distance cruisers and indeed those who had been on a week or so. We had a medical emergency and were put off in Israel. We were taken to a very substandard public hospital, very little English spoken and my husband was severely burnt in a very delicate area by a caustic spray being used on him by mistake. He is back in his home city after very difficult long flights for 30 hours and in hospital for probably up to a month. Obviously Seabourn do not take any interest in what sort of hospital you are taken to. They should be very ashamed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
I read an article in Conde Nast magazine by an editor who had taken this tour in March 2015; she recommended it highly, so I decided to try it. I had never been to any of the countries/ports on the itinerary: Philippines, Borneo, Brunei, ... Read More
I read an article in Conde Nast magazine by an editor who had taken this tour in March 2015; she recommended it highly, so I decided to try it. I had never been to any of the countries/ports on the itinerary: Philippines, Borneo, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia. Included in my Seabourn package was private transfer from the airport in Hong Kong to the Eaton Hotel for a breakfast buffet and a room in which to freshen up before being taken to the ship. My flight arrived too early in the morning for me to be taken directly to the ship. Embarkation was quick and efficient. Once on board, I was able to have a full lunch in the Colonnade. I had breakfast and lunch daily in the Colonnade, and dinner every evening in the Restaurant. I'm a solo traveler and received a daily invitation to have dinner at a table hosted by a Seabourn staff member or entertainer. I always accepted and thoroughly enjoyed dining with the Staff Captain one evening and Melissa Manchester another evening. All my meals were very good to excellent. Thomas Keller selections were on the menu every other night, but I am not a fan of his concoctions. The staff were very accommodating and friendly. Captain Hamish Elliot and Staff Captain Sigurd Darbakk were always present and approachable. My 5 shore excursions: 1) The Charms of Old Manila 2) Puerto Princessa Highlights, Philippines, which included a visit to the Iwahig Penal Colony. It is called a prison without walls because the inmates often live with their families, do farming to earn a living, and make hand carvings for tourists to buy. Also included was a visit to the Palawan Special Battalion World War II Memorial Museum, with well preserved profiles and artifacts of the USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and Russia. 3) Highlights of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The guide, Arthur, was excellent and spoke and understood English very well. 4) Kuching City Highlights, Sarawak, Malaysia. Kuching means cat, I love cats, and so took lots of pictures of the huge white cat statue, symbol of the city. The guide, Margaret, was excellent and spoke and understood English very well. 5) Brunei Highlights, which was a disappointment because we either drove by or only peered through gates to see some of the sights. We did go into the Royal Regalia Museum, but we had to leave our cameras, all bags and purses, no matter how small, in big bins before being allowed to enter. We also had to remove our shoes, but what was hilarious was the availability of slippers from all sorts of hotel and cruise ships! Disembarkation was excellent. My package included a private transfer to the Conrad Centennial Hotel in Singapore, staying overnight because my flight to the USA was the next morning. Breakfast was included as well as private transfer to Singapore Airport, a 15 minute ride. From start to finish, this trip was smooth and problem free. I've been on the Odyssey and the Quest and preferred the Quest. This was my first Sojourn cruise and now I think it's better than the Quest. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This is a review about the newer ships, not the old, and specifically a magical 30 days cruise we took from Hong Kong to Mumbai late last winter. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise, and nearly 30 cruises overall on Silversea, Crystal, ... Read More
This is a review about the newer ships, not the old, and specifically a magical 30 days cruise we took from Hong Kong to Mumbai late last winter. This was our 6th Seabourn cruise, and nearly 30 cruises overall on Silversea, Crystal, Oceania, Cunard, HA, Celebrity and Regent. The three, soon to be five, Seabourn ships continue to be the best at sea today. Yes they are not the very intimate size of the old, now sold ships, but at 450 they are still small and just right, and the crew gets to know you by name after a few days just like in the old ships. The crew people are the best there can be, and particularly if you have sailed Seabourn before, you return as part of the family. Old faces of crew members circulated around the fleet quickly remember you and make one very welcome. Always a smile and kind word on Seabourn. Never a scowl we have experienced on other ships. Seabourn hires only the best, and we simply do not know how they manage to do this on every cruise we have ever taken with them. The food and service in the main dining venue called The Restaurant remains the best on any luxury line, easily beating the old standard bearer Silversea, Oceania and on a par if not better than Crystal, which is nearly triple the passenger size. The food and presentation in The Restaurant is really the equivalent of any Michelin starred restaurant we have dined in around the world. Of course the 24/7 caviar makes Seabourn stand out uniquely among the top tier because no one else serves it any longer. Add to that the unlimited champagne, wines, and cocktails available at all restaurants and bars, and open swimming deck. The welcome addition of chef Thomas Keller as a partner will make it more varied and even better. Some prefer the buffet dining room the Colonade, which is good for breakfast for us, and the outdoor grill, excellent for a burger and other fine treats at lunch, but we prefer whenever we can to dine in the Main Restaurant. The alternative fine dining choice Restaurant 2 is not to our liking. And we are pleased to learn that soon it will get a major motif, menu and directional makeover in the hands of consultant Thomas Keller. The basic staterooms called suites are just lovely, mostly all with spacious verandas, and at 365 SF, with large walk in closet, much more than adequate. The baths all have double sinks and separate showers. Nicely furnished and comfortable staterooms and well maintained by the excellent service staff. Air conditioning works perfectly. Lovely linens and toiletries. The public areas of the ship are very large, inviting and attractive, and the bars are magnets for people looking for new friends, just as it was on the old, smaller ships where intimacy prevailed. There is now no smoking permitted in the staterooms, and only at a few designated areas around the ship. This is a vast improvement from the old days and bravo Seabourn for finally coming into the 21st Century. The ship sails extremely well even in rough and semi rough weather. In our thirty days of cruising Asian waters, we only had one day I would consider rough, and this quickly passed with the normal ginger and crackers the restaurant managers gave me. The doctors on board were very capable and are there for harder cases, such as when my wife became ill. they did a great job treating her back to good health. The Captain and Cruise Director, and the entire crew, do a very nice job. They are very friendly and always have the time to stop and speak to the passengers. Dining with them on the rare occasions at their tables is a real treat. The Executive Chef is very apparent, and the Dining Room Managers and Assistants always so helpful for special requests. The ports of call in Asia were for the most part very interesting. The excursions the ship offers are just about what one would expect on any cruiseline and subject to all the normal criticism of being too expensive and not always so interesting, particularly in ports that themselves are not so interesting. We learn to work with, and around this issue. The ships's excursion people are very helpful. The pervasive and very apparent people poverty throughout much of the Asian emerging and third world countries visited is also something passengers have to learn to deal with, along with all the glitter of the pagodas and temples. Embarkation and the reverse are a breeze. Getting off in Mumbai with luggage, however, is a real challenge, considering the very outdated port facilities there that Seabourn has to deal with. Maybe this will improve in the India of the future. The average age of the passengers is, I would say late sixties and seventies, with some older. The passengers are upper end people, many retirees, and very interesting to talk to and associate with. Many Aussies and Brits. The entertainment is very good for this size cruise ship, and the band of performers young, very likable, talented and fun to hang around with in the bars in the evenings. The few production shows were very entertaining. Excellent comedian Jeff Stephenson. Excellent pianists. The outstanding Ukrainian dance team is incomparable among all the nearly 30 cruises we have taken and dance teams we have seen, and deserve to be star billed one day on Broadway or in London. All in all, the cruise on Seabourn was a real joy. And my wife and I look forward to our future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
She is sleek, stylish and sophisticated; as you would expect of one of the newest vessels afloat, and clearly well worth the $300 million spent on her. However if you were looking for just one word to sum up Seabourn Sojourn it has got to ... Read More
She is sleek, stylish and sophisticated; as you would expect of one of the newest vessels afloat, and clearly well worth the $300 million spent on her. However if you were looking for just one word to sum up Seabourn Sojourn it has got to be "space". She has (so it seems) endless acres of space. If the measure of success with any customer is exceeding expectations then this is where Seabourn Sojourn exceeded ours. Never once did we feel crowded, never once did we have to "stand in line" to get on or off, to find a deck chair, to get a seat in either "The Restaurant" or "The Colonnade"; and if on occasions we had to wait to get a coffee at the fabulous "Seabourn Square" in the morning, it was never for more than a few minutes as "Jo and Ferry" worked their Barista magic for all who needed a morning (or afternoon) fix. Sojourn is 32500 Gross Tons, she carries (when full) 462 passengers and 338 crew, almost one to one. In comparison, and it's probably an unfair comparison as times (certainly over 45 years) change, the first ocean liner that I ever travelled on; P&O Iberia was 30000 Gross Tons and carried 1406 passengers and around 400 crew, that's more than a bit of a difference in both available space and crew to guest ratio. With four restaurants, the two mentioned above plus the Patio Grill (poolside) and the very stylish Restaurant 2 (reservations required but no extra charge) as well as six bars/lounges and an open bar policy there are plenty of options to both eat and drink exceedingly well. The cabins are spacious, light and airy; 197 (out of 225) have balconies and all have ocean views, they have walk in wardrobes, full sized baths and your fridge is well stocked with your personal beverage choices prior to embarkation. The cabin spaces are well utilised, the furnishings modern and stylish and the TV has a good range of channels and a very full list of movies, for those stopping in. The corridors are wide, the decks clean and neat, the pools areas well presented and the highlight; well our highlight anyway Seabourn Square is just sensational. Incorporating the guest services area (open plan style) in the centre and a more formal reception desk to one side the Square is a well stocked library, a great coffee shop, a quiet reading room, the computer centre, a centralised meeting place and a great spot to just sit (inside or out) and watch the world go by. It is unique in my ocean going experience. We travelled on Seabourn Sojourn from Hong Kong to Singapore, which was just one leg of her inaugural Round World voyage after being urged for a while by colleagues to experience the "Seabourn difference". I have to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish. The crew were exceptional and the level of service was very high, the passenger mix was interesting, dominated on this trip by Americans (about 50%); there were 61 Australians on board which is reflective of the increased Australian presence on all cruise lines. I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese ports Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Cai Lan (Ha Long Bay); less so the Cambodian (Sihanoukville) and Thai (Laem Chabang) ports, but that's just a personal thing; the shore excursions that we went on were "OK" - they were well organised and not outrageously expensive but lacked something I thought. The information/enrichment lecture programme was first class with a special mention to Dr Jean Pierre Isbouts who both entertained and informed at every lecture and was the stand out performer. Are there things that I could criticise, yes; some parts of the ship I felt were very cold, there are only four laundrettes for 400+ guests (and laundry is expensive), the internet is slow - make that very slow and the choice of toiletries was (in my opinion) limited. I simply do not understand the slowness of the internet, on one of the most modern ships afloat the speed is almost third world, in fact speed and capacity ashore in Thailand left the ships services for dead. BUT, these truly are minor irritations and they did not detract from the overall experience, which was exceptional. I experienced and enjoyed the Seabourn difference; I consider Seabourn Sojourn to be a truly fine lady of the seas; and I will be back to sail on her (or one of her two sisters Seabourn Odyssey or Seabourn Quest) again, hopefully in the not too distant future. Read Less
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