Sail Date: August 2019
It's difficult to capture the Ovation experience easily. But, in a word - sublime. There was no request that was too big or too small for them. We cruised as a party of four in Veranda Suite rooms. Our rooms were located aft ... Read More
It's difficult to capture the Ovation experience easily. But, in a word - sublime. There was no request that was too big or too small for them. We cruised as a party of four in Veranda Suite rooms. Our rooms were located aft near to the staircase, which is a lovely location. Highly recommended. Embarkation - this was effortless and enjoyable. We were met at the airport and had an easy ride to the boat. Here, we were welcomed with cocktails and a seamless embarkation process. Stateroom - Extremely spacious for its category. The veranda is a good size and the walk-in closet is welcome. The double basin in the bathroom was welcome too. Toiletries are of a very high standard. Restaurants - Without exception, meals were amazing. In particular, the service at the Restaurant deserves special mention, the formal night is something special and the Air and Ocean restaurant on deck is also excellent. We normally took in breakfast in the Colonnade, but splurging one or two mornings for breakfast in The Restaurant is also a good idea. Bars - Generally very good, although service at the outside bars during sail-aways gets a little slow. The Retreat - A lovely little hidden area on the boat is The Retreat. Worth spending the money if you're looking for a R&R day. Spa & Fitness - Excellent treatments, but the facilities are perhaps a little small. That said, the fitness area never felt crowded. Excursions - We only did excursions in St Petersburg but these were arranged well and the experience was excellent. Entertainment - All shows in the Grand Salon were very good. The live music on deck during sail-away parties was a little short-lived at 30 minutes. The casino is a little small and felt crowded at times. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger ... Read More
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger Thomas Keller works very well and we just adored the sushi restaurant - beautifully fitted out. The deck outside The Grill is a great secret terrace for when the Colonnade gets busy, with its own salad bar too. Think of it as a free version of The Retreat on the top deck! We love the way Seabourn Square has been rethought - it looks wonderful and it’s a great place to hang out. Even though space per passenger is a little lower on the Ovation, it feels the opposite. We couldn’t believe the cruise was full (it was, apparently) as it seemed so quiet most of the time. Captain Stig was the best we have had...always present and friendly. The crew were engaged, almost all incredibly welcoming and friendly...and much better at name recognition than on previous Seabourn cruises. Much has already been said on here about the legendary Handré, the cruise director. It’s all true. He is brilliant at his job and always out and about. A true professional. Food was excellent (we particularly enjoyed the specialities brought on board from Helsinki). Entertainment and enrichment was good. The new caviar is great but I can’t say that the new champagne is an improvement. It’s cheap and tastes it. We were very happy with the included wines and stuck to them. We plumped for a V5 cabin this time (having had an Owners Suite before) and were not disappointed. They are plenty spacious enough, well designed and quiet, with loads of storage space. The only thing we wished for was a coffee machine in the room. Stewardess service was excellent although we could have done with more toiletries (this was quickly rectified). Overall a wonderful cruise and we aim to get back on the Ovation again. If only Seabourn could have done something about the weather! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Spacious rooms and bathroom. Easy boarding and first class treatment from airport pick up to end of cruise. Several places for drinks all day, nice afternoon tea time, small casino open mostly when at sea. Talented entertainers on board ... Read More
Spacious rooms and bathroom. Easy boarding and first class treatment from airport pick up to end of cruise. Several places for drinks all day, nice afternoon tea time, small casino open mostly when at sea. Talented entertainers on board with bands at several venues during the day and evening. Nice options for meals from casual to dressy. Room service for breakfast a must, always right on time. Breakfast buffet was always the same but good if you are in a hurry. Booked excursions thru Seabourn and they were all small groups of no more than 20 people. Left on time or before if everyone was there. All sites visited in St Petersburg were very crowded. Walked thru Tallinn, Estonia on our own, it is walking distance to port. Helsinki not much to see, would have skipped the city excursion and just ridden shuttle into town and walked around a little. After we left ship with private driver to hotel just walked around Stockholm on our own. Sheraton Stockholm very easy walk to old town and nice hotel. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We joined the ship in Copenhagen on the 17th August and left in Stockholm calling at Tallinn and Helsinki. As way of a little background, I am in my 50s, my wife early 60s and have cruised extensively mostly with Azamara but also with ... Read More
We joined the ship in Copenhagen on the 17th August and left in Stockholm calling at Tallinn and Helsinki. As way of a little background, I am in my 50s, my wife early 60s and have cruised extensively mostly with Azamara but also with Cunard, Holland America and in our early days NCL. Firstly the ship is beautiful, well presented and lots of room. Cabins are more generously sized than other lines and our stewardess was excellent. I did not open my bottle of whisky as I would have only had a couple of shorts before the whole thing would have been poured down the drain. Multiply this by the number of cabins and what a waste, the bar was very close! I felt sorry for the recent poster who said he would not sail with Seabourn again and was immediately lambasted by Seabourn aficionados but I have to wholeheartedly agree with him. For a line that sells itself as 'ultra-luxury' I found their levels of service terribly disappointing. We were constantly waiting to be noticed, order drinks or wait for drinks. A pot of tea shouldn't take 30 minutes, when mentioned to a manager her only reply was 'are you sure its been 30 minutes?', this was a common experience at all the eateries. Service in the eateries was generally hard work, the feeling one got was that they were doing a favour by serving us. Service at the bars - especially the club - was excellent. Food was mediocre, plenty of it, but just not very exciting. We enjoyed the Sushi but found the food in the special 'Grill' not good at all with my 'Veal' being very fatty and grizzly. I did report my general disappointment in the mid cruise feedback form which prompted a reply from the Hotel Director who told me 'she had sorted my problems' which i found impressive as I had not been over specific what my concerns were. Shore excursions were very good but on the first couple of trips there was no guidance from staff as to where meet ashore - Tickets were printed 'Meet Pierside' which didn't help, before immigration or after? there was no one there anyway. The expectation was that you made your way to the coaches, on one occasion our coach went without us and we were greeted by excursion staff with the comment 'ah you're the missing ones'. As we went straight from the ship on being called to the coaches I still find it difficult to understand how we were missing. I really did want to like Seabourn but apart from the ship, which again I will say was beautiful and Handre who was fantastic, other(not so ultra-luxury) lines beat Seabourn hands down down for service, food and of course value for money. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our main reasons for choosing the Ovation included some (but not all) of the destinations, notably Scotland, the relatively small scale of the ship (600 passengers), the suites (spacious, spotless, and beautifully appointed) the common ... Read More
Our main reasons for choosing the Ovation included some (but not all) of the destinations, notably Scotland, the relatively small scale of the ship (600 passengers), the suites (spacious, spotless, and beautifully appointed) the common areas (ditto), the beverage plan (free everything unless you want to splurge) , and a generally older and well to do clientele. (We fit the former but not the latter). Once aboard we also appreciated the crew and staff (unfailingly friendly and polite, including our suite stewardess Ana Carolina), the Square, a combination library, coffee bar, and guest services area, dinner at Thomas Keller’s Grill, afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, and breakfasts in the Colonnade. Since we aren’t dressy and clubby types, we didn’t eat at The Restaurant , and eschewed the formals and clubby things. The shore excursions were pricey and just ok, and if you want WiFi you pay for it. The ship offers a laundry and dry cleaning service for a fee, but also includes a laundromat (free) which came in handy on our two week sail. Some of the ports of call were less than thrilling, but Oslo and Scotland made the trip worthwhile. If you visit Scotland in August you should definitely go to the Royal Scottish Tattoo in Edinburgh. The price of this cruise was relatively steep, but if you want to be cosseted, Seabourn is definitely worth the indulgence. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the 8/3/19 cruise on the Ovation out of Copenhagen. This was our first time on Seabourn but I have been on over 30 cruises at the ripe age of 31, with the last 15 on the Oceania line. I am an avid traveler and feel I have a critical but fair eye. I had high expectations of this line and particular ship from word of mouth recommendations and other favorable reviews. I was quite disappointed and will list out all of my reasons while still making sure to give credit where credit is due. I will start with the positives first. My overall summary of the below is at the bottom of this review. Cabin: Our cabin was very nice and spacious. Bed and pillows are comfortable, ample room with a nice walk in closet and separate seating area. Bathroom has a double sink which is very nice, shower is marble and still small but pressure very good. Bathtub a waste of space in my opinion. Balcony nice size and overall room very spacious. We were in cabin 651 on the 6th floor located toward the center of the ship which was great. Molton Brown products in the bathroom and a selection of body soap offered on the first day. Room stewardess was attentive and did a very good job. Only complaint on the first day is that the room wasn’t cleaned well. The soap in our bathroom which was a body wash had been used and there was a lot of dust and finger prints on the table in the room. Otherwise, cabin was excellent and gets high marks from me. I believe we were in category V5. Ship: the ship is beautiful. Modern, clean, more yacht-like than cruise ship. A lot of wood paneling. 600 people but still felt very quiet even on sea days. Our favorite place to relax was the cappuccino lounge on floor 7 where they had tons of seating and recliners. Decor of the ship was very simple yet elegant. WIFI: very good! Much better WIFI than any other ship I’ve been on - in room technology good. Service: this is where our experience goes down the tubes. The service on this ship was HORRIBLE!! The staff do you a major favor and if asked for something that requires them to go out at all of their way, they are rude. We had some staff that were nice (mainly in cappuccino lounge and main dining room - except for maitre de) but all and all, the service sucked. Management lacks tremendously, customer service is non existent and the staff seem poorly trained, disingenuous and disinterested. I’ve really never experienced anything like this before - had we not met several other couples who also shared the same sentiment, I would have thought I was going crazy!! A few examples - almost every meal without fail we waited 10 minutes before getting anything to drink. If we needed a sauce to accompany a meal, we waited 10 minutes. In fact, we stopped ordering sauces because it was such a lost cause & by the time it arrived our meal was over. I asked for cream with my coffee - by the time the cream came, my coffee was cold. We were almost always at a meal with an empty drink that needed refilling. No accommodating what so ever. My husband likes the salmon in the colonnade - we asked if it could be served on the patio 20 feet away and they said no, they prefer not to. At dinner in the main, I asked if i could have a croquette that came with a different entree than what I ordered and was told no, they only had a certain amount and could not accommodate me. I mean, come on! I tried to move my Thomas Keller reservation because my husband wasn’t feeling well and was told with 11 days left on the trip that they couldn’t accommodate us. Finally, after getting the guest services manager involved, we got one at an undesirable time on a different day but at this point, we took what we could get. These may seem Iike minor gripes but we encountered them several times per day and was a major turnoff and took a lot away from the experience. The overall staff attitude was rude and requests of them felt like inconveniences. This in itself was bad enough to never return to this ship. As I said previously, several other couples experienced the same rude service. My husbands Camera was lost day 1 and finally arrived at our cabin with a cracked and dented lens. We requested compensation for the lens. Seabourn asked us to provide the link to the lens - which we did directly from the website - to prove it was $500. They tried to tell us it was a $200 lens (they had the wrong lens) and refused to refund us. We have yet to resolve this issue with them. Food - We are major foodies and we’re quite disappointed in the food on this ship. I will say that the quality is there in a lot of areas (not all) but the execution is not. Breakfast was good but the same every day. Not a bad thing, but boring after a while. A decent selection and probably the best meal. Lunch was a mixed bag. Salad bar always had nice items and the grill items - fish, burgers, hot dog, etc always very tasty and fresh. Meat quality good, fish quality good. My only complaint on the fish was it never had any seasoning or flavor - this was a major theme for most items on board - but I would still prefer to add salt vs. having the sodium and preservative packed food a lot of ships have, so this wasn’t a major complaint. All lunch hot food served in the chaffing dishes were slop and never hot. We almost never ate any of the prepared food served at lunch because it was room temperature and unappealing. Dinner : main dining room was respectable but not great. We didn’t have one meal there that was really delicious. Temperature was an issue and seasoning was non existent. I’ve never put so much salt on my food in my life. Service mixed. Our first night there we waited about 15 minutes before anyone came to our table. Finally the waitress comes over with an iPad looking down and says “what can i get you” - no greeting, no introduction. Very impersonal feeling. Sushi was nothing to write home about. A lot of rice and uninspired. I actually overheard someone say “it’s not as bad as gas station sushi” - I’ll leave it at that. The colonnade was OK - probably our least favorite. They do special nights like rib night or clam bake night and they look beautiful but just don’t quite execute it well. For example : rib night - the ribs came out in a beautiful Staub cast iron pan presented family style and looked delicious. Unfortunately, the ribs were dry, cold and had clearly been sitting on a heat lamp for an hour +. We sent it back and got a new rack that was the same dry and Luke warm ribs this time with some bbq sauce slathered on top. To put the icing on the cake, the assistant maitre de came over and instead of apologizing that the food came out lacking temperature and dry, explained that the ribs weren’t Texas style but st.louis style and weren’t supposed to fall off the bone..I mean ..really ? I’m not expecting anything more than a simple apology or some sort of follow up to see if the second round was better. Instead, I was blamed for expecting them to fall off the bone and they didn’t. I didn’t need ribs that fell off the bone, just didn’t want to eat something as dry as wood. The Patio by the pool in our opinion offered the best most innovative meals but even those fell short on flavor and execution. We also had a Northern Europe itinerary with a lot of rain and cool weather and found ourselves eating outside in the windy cold weather because the patio was the best choice. Thomas Keller which is the specialty restaurant was very good for a steakhouse on a cruise ship. I would say this is likely the best option on board. Food delicious but once again, service lacking. Not attentive and seemed to do you a big favor. We found in all restaurants that the deserts were mediocre and most didn’t taste cooked on board. I don’t think I had one desert I loved. I also found the breads were uninspired. In summary : good quality ingredients (for the most part ) that aren’t executed well. Oceania food trumps Seabourn by a landslide. A few other items to note: Older crowd, no children. Except for us (in our early 30s), most people were 65+. Not good or bad, just our cruise demographic. Free laundry was a nice feature with Miele commercial washers and dryers and complimentary detergent. Gym was small but clean, coffee on board was very good. Entertainment was respectable. Nice job at including different daily activities. Excursions - expensive but well organized. I read the ship docs at ports further away from the destinations to save on docking fees. Not sure if this is true. We did a few excursions - food provided on them was mediocre and limited and tours very pricey. Spa - didn’t use but quite expensive. Very few discounts offered throughout cruise. They had a “promotion” that if you do 3 treatments from a select number of services you get 10% off first, 20% off second and 30% off third. Note this is per cabin and not per stateroom. I know all cruise spas are expensive but this was more than canyon ranch on Oceania. I may have left stuff out but to summarize my overall impressions: cabin and ship top notch and classy, food better than the celebrity level lines but nothing special. Service was so bad it border-lined on offensive and as a result, I will likely not return to Seabourn. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Second sailing on Seabourn and totally pleased with our experience. I thoroughly disagree with the previous HORRIBLE review. Couldn’t have asked for more with attentive staff, always personally greeted by name, invited three evenings ... Read More
Second sailing on Seabourn and totally pleased with our experience. I thoroughly disagree with the previous HORRIBLE review. Couldn’t have asked for more with attentive staff, always personally greeted by name, invited three evenings to hosted tables in the dining room which provides a personal touch with staff. We never experienced a rude employee... quite the opposite. NO is not in their vocabulary.. always went out of their way to please everyone. We changed ports in one location ... not to save money but for safety reasons to avoid tendering with rough seas. Main reason for booking this itinerary was to attend the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh. Seabourn did an incredible job securing tickets in the Royal Gallery (for an additional cost) which Included reception, covered seating, transportation etc. totally worth the added expense. They do a wonderful job with Signature Events to make Seabourn stand out among other luxury lines. Perhaps the unsatisfied review was too young to appreciate the Seabourn service. Yes, they do appeal to a more mature age group... very few children on board but a variety of activities. We have traveled extensively on various cruise lines... you’ll always have some disgruntled passengers looking for a free cruise... We were on the same cruise and totally enjoyed the entire experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Seabourn does it right. Wonderful service, great suite, great food, embarkation was a 15 minute pleasure. disembarkation went smoothly until the coach we were on had no more room for our luggage, so a little stressful waiting on the next ... Read More
Seabourn does it right. Wonderful service, great suite, great food, embarkation was a 15 minute pleasure. disembarkation went smoothly until the coach we were on had no more room for our luggage, so a little stressful waiting on the next coach to see if our luggage made it to the airport in Copenhagen. twenty minutes later it arrived on the next bus. At our age, Mid to late 60s, jet lag from Georgia was a horror. Three or four days to fully recover. All of the restaurants on the ship were great, and the service at most was outstanding. Some of the ports were a bit lacking, the highlight of the trip for us was Northern Scotland, and most importantly, the Shetland Islands. The average age on this cruise was at least 75. Lots of folks with canes and walking assists. Did not try the pool or hot tubs, as the weather was cool. Our days were either rainy or perfect. Had great food at the Earth and Ocean, but most evenings it was too cool for us to eat in the open air. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without ... Read More
I choose this ship for two reasons. One I liked the itinerary and two I wanted to try a luxury cruise line. The itinerary was good in that it started in Stockholm allowing me to spend two days before departure exploring the city without rushing and it ended in Copenhagen where I did the same thing. It also included two overnights ( 3 full days) in St. Petersburg where there is so much to see. I have sailed on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and the now gone Renaissance cruises. Renaissance was actually a wonderful cruise line with beautiful small ships that was the closest to this experience. As far as the actual cruise I will say it was wonderful not having to wait and crowd into elevators, the ship was a great size not to large, not to small. It was great not having to fight for a pool chair or make reservations for everything. Loved not being asked to have my picture taken every five minutes, and not having shops with sales. The ship itself was new and immaculate. The suite with balcony was gorgeous. Bathroom was large, walk in closet with enough drawers and hangers was great. On the downside the entertainment with the exception of two shows was far from great and there was really no other activities. The service was great, the liquor flowed freely, afternoon tea was nice, tapas was great, caviar on request was a nice touch too. What was a huge disappointment was dinner in the dining room which most nights was fair at best. The Grille was only available for guests to reserve one night. It was excellent. The other nighttime restaurant was outside and it was too cold for that. Did not try the sushi restaurant. I was very surprised that the food in the main restaurant was no better than I had on other much less expensive cruise lines. The on deck cocktail party was wonderful, food was very good there. So was it worth the extra money. Not sure I could say yes. Given the intensive itinerary it was great to return to the ship and not have to wait for things and not have to rush and be able to be very comfortable in the room, but on another type of cruise I might have been bored and the lack of activities/entertainment combined with mediocre food would have been more problematic on a cruise with more sea says or less intensive itinerary. Did all private shore excursions or just the HOHO bus ship excursions were very expensive. Highly recommend Alla tours in St. Petersburg. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation ... Read More
This was our first trip with Seabourn and will be our last. Our previous cruises have all been with Cunard in its Grills Suites. Cunard has bigger ships so more people but has immeasurably better staff and food. The food on the Ovation was boring and bland. The dress code is not policed and many evenings gentlemen turned up to dinner in polo shirts. The shore excursions were expensive and sometimes involved long journeys presumably because Seabourn do not wish to pay more expensive docking fees. The pillows and mattress had the consistency of a marshmallow. Despite firm pillows being offered our steward could not find any which wasn't great. The one female hairdresser on board was awful and the service generally slow. My husband ordered roses for our anniversary and they turned up at 10pm that night. The entertainment was boring and very few enrichment talks compared to Cunard. We could seldom have breakfast in the restaurant as we were on excursions and it did not open until 8am. The Colonnade was like a zoo. Very very disappointing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful ... Read More
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful and private area. We noticed the massage/treatment cabana setup and was excited about getting a massage while there. Unfortunately, the massage/treatment area was for show only. There were no available treatments for anyone in The Retreat, except for maybe a manicure at 7:30pm. Perhaps it is our fault for not booking everything in advance; however, when you're actually in The Retreat it puts you in a different mindset. I believe the spa should have a dedicated masseur/masseuse available at some point for guests of The Retreat. Also, food service took forever and I had to go downstairs for a bite to eat and bring back some proper chocolate chip cookies. It's a great concept, just get it right! In regard to onboard dining, the food was absolutely delicious. We were very impressed by The Grill (Thomas Keller). We tried it onboard Seabourn Odyssey and wasn't overly impressed but Seabourn Ovation got it right! WELL DONE! Our verandah suite was perfect at all times, and we loved our stateroom attendant. Since we wanted to go to Moscow, we did book a private tour for the entire time we were in St Petersburg. We would have purchased through Seabourn but the Moscow excursion wasn't available in advance (or maybe I missed it). Moscow was absolutely INCREDIBLE! It should be a must while you're in Russia. The Entertainment was great but I believe it's time to replace the Tim Rice show. It was great but not one you want to see on every cruise. In regard to the staff, they all get 5 stars! It was sad to leave the ship but we are looking forward to our next Seabourn cruise. Also, a special thank you to Shoreside Guest Relations for solving our issues. Well done to them, too! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Avide Seabourn fans, we seldom have anything but praise for the line, and although we preferred the original and smaller yachts, we continue to find ourselves on one of their ships a 30 or 40 days each year. Now … the best ocean ... Read More
Avide Seabourn fans, we seldom have anything but praise for the line, and although we preferred the original and smaller yachts, we continue to find ourselves on one of their ships a 30 or 40 days each year. Now … the best ocean vessel experiences require solid and reliable shoreside support and administration, and Seabourn's website and head office staff in Seattle are giving us a re-think on giving the line another dime or any more of our time. No less than a dozen accounting errors in pre-cruise purchases had us dealing with the shipboard back office staff every day. It was endless. Had it not been for our printed records and an American Express statement, we would have had a losing battle. Vacations are for relaxing, not for auditing the vendors accounting errors. Dear President Richard, please get your Seattle offices pencil sharpened and your website technology up to date. Cons: Smoking continues to be allowed indoors in public spaces. The retreat is an entirely useless waist of (for fee) space. Pros: Dining in all venues is 6 star, although it is much harder than it should be to get specialty reservations (much easier on Regent) so best to board with very limited expectations. Cabins are a tiny bit narrower than on the Sojourn class vessels, but the layout is nearly identical. The new dining table in the living area is a big improvement. Entertainment is sedate, but refined. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I have sailed before on Windstar, Ponant and Seabourn. From boarding in Dover( a dream of ease ) to disembarking in Copenhagen, both were effortless and lovely experiences compared to air travel these days, that I refer to as "combat ... Read More
I have sailed before on Windstar, Ponant and Seabourn. From boarding in Dover( a dream of ease ) to disembarking in Copenhagen, both were effortless and lovely experiences compared to air travel these days, that I refer to as "combat travel"! They know your name within a day or two, and the service is remarkable from all departments! They enable you to note your preferences before hand as far as the stocking of your bar and type of soft drinks you would like. Preferences for bedding conditions are all taken into consideration, which is great for us with back issues. The food that is overseen by Thomas Keller went from very good to excellent in all dining venues. The Sushi restaurant is a great lunch choice as they have very good bento boxes! They have enough dining spot choices, without having too many, that seems to lessen the food quality on other luxury cruise lines. From breakfast in my suite daily, to most of my meals in The Restaurant in the evening were terrific. An example of how great they are is how the chief chef Jes Paskins was relayed a passing comment that I love mussels. Within a few hours he appeared at my table in The Restaurant and asked when I would like them? (lunch or dinner the next day), He also asked me how I would like them prepared. He prepared them as requested in the French classic style, which then was reduced with cream. Incredible result the next evening at dinner! He is an enigma, and has a personality you won't forget! The tour director Chris Harley was great and very caring. He also is a super talented singer from the London West Inn and made my visits to their Grand Salon very memorable. All performers were not your typical seafaring talent! The bartenders, stewardesses, guest services staff are beyond professional and caring. You can feel they actually care about your welfare and comfort at all times! The entertainers in the Observation Lounge on deck 11, Rachael & Vlad are quality light jazz performers! The bartender on deck 5 Vanessen with a great personality, makes the best "sour margarita" i have had on a ship! They almost perceive what you need before you ask, which is uncanny. I have thought of cruising on other cruise lines, but this last cruise on the Ovation has "sealed the deal" for me, and I already look forward to my next booked cruise for Nov. 27th of this year for 24 days with anticipation of returning to their wonderful care! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a few reasons. We had previously sailed Seaborn Encore in the Mediterranean and thoroughly enjoyed the ship, food and service that Seabourn provided, therefore, Ovation, which is the same class ship as Encore, was an easy sell for us. Ovation was just beautiful.....almost identical to Encore. We love the size....large enough, light filled with beautiful yachtlike decor but small enough to give us the feeling of being on a private ship. Our suite on the deck above the pool, was well appointed (hello 3 sinks!) and our needs were more than meet by our stewardess who always had a smile & pleasantry to share. We felt the service and the entertainment were a cut above our previous cruise....this being only our second cruise ever. We were addressed by our names each & every day. Our Captian was very visible and engaging as was CD Handre. Both were class acts. Servers in all resturants were pleasant, engaging and good at their jobs. We wanted a late May cruise and this itinerary seemed interesting. We had been to Lisbon but not Northern Spain or Western France or Southern England. We have been to Normandy, Brugge, Amsterdam etc. but were very happy to return. I was a bit apprehensive since I had heard that the Bay of Biscay is notorious for rough seas. Well, she was a gentle giant. Lisbon was faboulous with warm temps and sunny skies. Northern Spain was just beautiful, with a bit a rain here and there, but nothing to dampen the beauty of the coastal towns of Gijon and San Sebasion, Biblao etc. and the wonderful sights & food. We did miss one port, Biarritz, France due to the port closing. The sun & moderate temps made a welcome return in Bordeaux......this was one of the highlights of the cruise. We came up the Gironde River and docked right smack dab in the middle of the city. We were the only ship in town and the locals came by in droves to relax and picnic in our shadow. A lovely French lady approached us on our return to ship just to chat about our cruise and our reflections of her city. The Bordeaux wine region is spectacular.....St Emillion is not to be missed. Southern England, port of Torquay was a pleasant surprise....warm temps and sunny skies, contrary to the Agatha Christie image that I expected. We visited the sea town of Dartmouth with its' interesting seafaring history. As an American, the beaches of Normandy hold a special place in our hearts and it was good to return. We arranged for a private tour & spent the day with a lovely local French lady, three generations removed from the events of WW2 but whose grandfather was head of the resistance movement at the time......her reverence for those who helped liberate her homeland was palpable....not to mention her expertise in the places and events of the Allied invasion. Wow....just Wow! We sailed up the Thames to the Greenwich neighborhood of London. Spent two wonderful days....Windsor, the Cotswolds etc. Then is was across the Channel again.....may I add that the seas in all our Channel crossings were calm and I mean, calm....to Zeebrugge, where we chose to visit Ypres and Flanders Field (of WW1 fame) as we had been to Brugge & Brussels in the past. Beyond moving! Amazing how a city and region so devastated by that horrible war has risen from the ashes to present a gorgeous city and countryside. We ended in the city of Amsterdam with all its charms etc. The Anne Frank House is a must do along with a private canal cruise. This cruise seemed to us to hit a very historic note. We enjoyed it very much as we had a sample of Western Coastal Europe with its' amazing role in the history of two world wars. From the German UBoat stalls in Bordeaux, to the beaches of Normandy to the Fields of Poppies in Flanders to the London Underground bunkers.....We were impressed with the spirit of the European people who endured so much during those dark times. Cruise & Ovation both get an APlus from us. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships ... Read More
We have had many years of delightful sailing with Seabourn (Diamond Elite member). We have sailed exclusively with Seabourn for a decade. This time, our trip was from Dover (London) to Venice - about a month - on Ovation. The ships are lovely, as are the cabins. The cabin stewardess was excellent. The cruise director was excellent - but the apparent problems are far from his control. Sadly, the service throughout the remainder of the ship fell far short. The service on Seabourn has continually degraded since its office merger with Holland America. In the Restaurant and in the Colonnade, service was extremely slow. The norm to wait for coffee or a glass of juice was often 15 - 20 minutes. The staff were excellent - there were simply too few of them. The clear way to improvement in this area is to hire more staff and to train them well in the Seabourn manner. The spa is beautiful but it, too, seems understaffed. The major problem there is with scheduling. Armed with a page outlining my requests for dates and services, I was told they were unable to fulfill these requests. For guests who are aboard for two or more As for the decline in entertainment, that area, too, needs a huge overhaul. How long can two ships live on one show? The Tim Rice show is well done - but for two years now, it's the only show onboard that's been worth seeing. Seabourn no longer offers the exclusive service and the personal touches that originally made it shine, and which were the basis for Seabourn ships and cruises consistently ranking #1 in the industry. It's a sad realization, but Seabourn is no longer great; it's not even good. It has removed services, diluted service in public areas, reduced the numbers of staff (pre-dinner in the Observation Bar, it was next to impossible to get a waiter), and in general, the attitudes of the service staff have been reduced to that of the mid-range ships. For example, one morning, we were leaving the ship for an excursion and waiting for approval to debark. Three staff members were on duty in that area, and one was vocal about how badly the company treated its employees. This kind of attitude was also displayed by some staff members in the Colonnade. Two extremely large spaces on this ship and its sister ship, Encore, sit empty most of the time. The retreat (why in the world would someone PAY to sit in an area that's already available FREE?) and the beautiful deck area outside the Grill, under the Colonnade deck. We were told that Thomas Keller doesn't want his food served cold. If that is the reason, it is ridiculous. In the Mediterranean, the weather is balmy and the temperature outside is warmer than inside. The number of steps from kitchen to table is the same. Whatever the reason for this space sitting empty, it has involved very poor planning. Yes, guests could walk down all of the steps to get there from the Colonnade - but very few actually do it. The space sits empty. Whether the overall problem is lack of planning, lack of training training, hiring of so many new staff due to the two new larger ships, or to something else - is all irrelevant. Seabourn has lost its shine. No wonder its 2018 rank sank to #4 - another new low. The ports were fine, but the shore excursions, too, reveal that Seabourn is looking for a bargain - not for quality. Excellent tour guides still live in all of the ports; we didn't encounter any except on tours that we privately ordered. The ship's tours were fair - but did not begin to equal what Seabourn has offered since its inception. Too much emphasis on economy and Thomas Keller, and not enough emphasis on the guests. We will not likely return. Many other regular Seabourn guests shared their disappointment. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London ... Read More
We chose this cruise (22 days London to Barcelona) because the itinerary suited us and we had cruised 3 times before with Seabourn and each cruise had been better than before. This cruise did not disappoint. We spent 9 days in London prior to driving down through Kent to Dover, an excellent way to start a holiday. We had booked a B&B in Dover but on arrival the host was most unpleasant so we ended up staying overnight at the Best Western in Dover, best move we ever made. There were many boarding the ship who stayed here. We left the hotel for the ship at about 12:15 and arrived at the ship a bit after 12:30. If it could be, I think boarding we quicker and simpler than our past cruises. We were on the ship in no time to be treated by the cruise director Handre who was the CD on 2 of our 3 previous cruises. He would have to be up with the best (and nicest) CD's going around. As we had done on previous cruises, we went to the Colonnade Restaurant for lunch while we waited for access to our suite. About 2pm our suite was available and our luggage was already in our suite. Within 15 minutes our stewardess arrived to introduce herself and to give us a welcome glass of champagne and canapés. there is a bottle of Champagne on ice but we didn't drink it, not being big Champagne drinkers and there is so many other options for drinking on the ship. The Ship The ship is in beautiful condition as you would expect for a ship with only 6 months of sailing. But throughout the cruise, we noticed many times, the ship being washed / painted / touched up by crew. No wonder the ship is in immaculate condition. We loved the tastefully appointed furnishings (not blingy but very nicely done) and the artwork around the ship is wonderful. I had read reports about the pool area being small for the number of guests. This is probably correct if you are the type to sit around the pool all day. We do not pay this amount of money to cruise to sit around a pool, we can do that on our beaches in Australia for free. So this is not a problem for us but it may be for others. Otherwise, the ship facilities are fabulous. The Cabin We love the layout of the cabin with so much storage we have never been able to fill all the storage locations (as we do not skimp on what we take). We asked our stewardess for more hangers for the walk-in robe and by the time we came back from muster, they were there. The TV looks like about 42" and it was used to watch some of the enrichment talks, look at our account, listen to the announcements and on the 3 sea days to watch some TV. For charging phones / tablets / cameras, I usually take a power board but didn't use it on this ship as there were adequate power outlets. There is a USA, European and a USB outlet on either side of the bed as well as outlets in the sitting areas of the suite. We love the layout of the cabin and were very comfortable living there for more than 3 weeks. Our stewardess (Jeanet) was so nice, looked after our suite so well and did everything we wanted. We also got to know the stewardess down the hall (Gilcelia) and she was also very nice, and we loved chatting to or having a joke with her. Dining First cruise we mainly dined at the Colonnade in the evening but on our past three cruises the main dinning room (MDR) has been our goto in the evening. In summary, it is for us mostly Colonnade in the morning and lunch (on deck if it is not windy or cold) and the MDR in the evening. The MDR was open every day for all three meal times but we noticed very few (maybe 10) in the MDR for breakfast. Apart from maybe one or two glitches (if that), the meals were exceptional. If I didn't want an entree or I wanted 2 mains, this was not a problem. Basically, you could eat whatever you wanted from the menu. If you want something special, you can get it if it is available or they will make sure you get it in the future. We always wanted extra greens with our evening meal and always got more than we needed. We dined twice in the TK Grill, it is a beautifully appointed area but while we loved dining there, we did not find the food any better than the MDR, just different. Dalia in Seabourn Square made our Lemon and Ginger tea each morning and is wonderful. We didn't get to know Gabor who was also there as Dalia was mostly working in the morning. Mostly these teas were made from real sliced lemon and sliced ginger (not tea bags) and were so nice. This time we did not dine in the Sushi Restaurant (we loved it on our last cruise) only because we did not get around to it. We dined at the Earth and Ocean (before the cruise we thought we would be dining here every night) once on the cruise and it was ok, but we still preferred the MDR (more about the service later). Entertainment We thought the groups (changed halfway though the cruise) in The Club were fabulous, just our type of music. This was our goto place for a drink before dining. Last cruise it was the TK Grill Bar and the cruise prior, it was the Observation Lounge. We just went wherever we preferred the music. Every few days we would go to one of the other areas for a change, it was nice to have that choice. It seemed that most guests go to the Observation Lounge as it seemed to be the busiest (and while the music was nice, the music in the Club was more our taste). The Seabourn Singers (2 male and 2 female) were fabulous and we loved any of the shows where they sang. In summary, we cannot do all the activities, just cannot fit them in. So to me that means there are adequate things for us to do during a day on the ship. We met some wonderful other guests who we dined with several times (a UK couple and a US couple). We loved going to trivia, Handre (CD) and Kobus (Assistant CD) make this "special". Service The crew are a real asset to Seabourn. There was not once on this cruise where we were not well looked after and made feel special. Each time we went to either the MDR or the Colonnade, either Roxanne or Erica (not spelled that way, but that's what we called her) were so nice and welcoming, always calling us by our name. But not just them, all the crew were the same, just wonderful. From the captain (Stig Betten) to the security when getting on/off the ship and the tender operators, all the crew were so nice and friendly and when you are away from family for 6 weeks, they became our family which "made" our holiday. In the MDR we loved Brandon, Reggie, Renzo, Sithabile, Genesis and all the others (too many to mention them all). In the Colonnade, we were always well looked after by Marko, Miguel, Trajcek (I think), Savannah and many more. Each crew member made you feel special and we loved chatting to them (although that time is not much because they are so busy). In summary, there was not one crew member who did not help us to have a wonderful time. the only issue we had was with Guest Services where while they tried there best and eventually did everything we required, I could tell they were inexperienced. But because we know how things worked, it was ok but for the non-Seabourn cruiser it may have been a problem. But that was not a real inconvenience for us. Children We did not have any children on the ship this cruise. It would not have mattered anyway, we have had children on previous cruises and that has not been any problem. Although in saying that, I do not think this is the type of cruise line to take most young children (i know there are exceptions). There are cruise lines we would take our grandchildren, but this is not one of them, they would be bored most of the time. Ports We did several Seabourn excursions and these were good. The guides were very good and there seemed to be always a person from Seabourn on the bus also, to look after any guests needs. I did notice there was not as much control over how many were on each bus. Normally Seabourn only half (about) fill a bus but this time it seemed there were more on one and less on the other. This was not any issue. We worked out early on in our cruise that all day excursions were not as enjoyable as they once were. Mainly because the all day excursions are to the popular tourist sites and these were overrun with tourists (of which we were two) even in October. We subsequently canceled some all day excursions we had booked, which Seabourn refunded immediately, so no problem there. We loved just wandering around the ports or organising some of our own excursions which we did on a couple of occasions, particularly the ports when departure was 11pm (3 of the 22 were late departures) and one (Rouen, France) we stayed overnight. Many of the ports we went to we would go to again which probably means we loved most of the ports. We are gym people and went to the gym several times but not as much as we thought as we were walking 12-15k a day in each port. The gym is well equiped and we always found we could use equipment we wanted. The free classes started at 7am and while these are good, not so useful to use other than port days as we wanted to get out and about in each port. In summary, we will certainly go on another cruise and I see no reason to change lines so I am certain it will be with Seabourn. ps: While it did not really affect us (we missed Portimao and spent an extra day in Lisbon, there are worse things that can happen than this), the weather in that region at that time was not good with some rough seas and high winds. The captain and the crew are to be commended for there professionalism in communicating with guests and looking after us in a safe manner. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, ... Read More
We chose this 7-day Baltic cruise with Seabourn as we liked the itinerary (5 countries in 7 days) and wanted to try a “luxury” cruise line having previously cruised with Celebrity, Cunard and Oceania. We were not dis-appointed, Seabourn and their staff ensured everything went extremely smoothly from the very start. Check-in and boarding in Stockholm took 5 minutes, very different from experiences we have had in departure ports like Seattle and Istanbul. Our cabin (Veranda Suite on deck 9) was well equipped, and a little larger than we have experienced on other ships. I would not say the Seabourn Ovation has a great “wow” factor - no large Atriums or glass elevators, BUT the attention to detail from the staff, and the fact the ship is designed to never seem crowded, more than made-up for it.....it very quickly felt like home. The food was excellent in all restaurants. We particularly liked the Sushi restaurant and the excellent waiters/sushi chefs, as well as The Grill (reservation needed, but no extra fee to pay). The Collonade restaurant provides buffet breakfasts and lunch, with a themed menu dinner service. The found the quality of food just as refined as in the ships main restaurant ( called The Restaurant). We noticed two things with the Seabourn staff, that added to our experience; they were happy to engage in conversation with the guests and we particularly had the impression they were proud to work for Seabourn. This pride showed in the way they treated all the guests and took care of every detail. I need to mention two staff by name, Danielle, oiur excellent cabin steward that always seemed to be available right outside our cabin and always with s mile, and Tibor in the Patio Bar, who decided his mission was to introduce my non-alcohol drinking wife to cocktails of her choice. We only used the Seabourn shore excursions in St Petersburg as we did not have independent visas for Russia. All the trips were well organized and not too expensive compared to other cruise lines. We also noticed that Seabourn seemed to ensure each group was quite small, so never any waiting around. Finally dis-embarkation in Copenhagen could not have been easier. No immigration, no queues for luggage or for taxis.....just a smooth as the start of the trip. Insider tip - if you like good croissants for breakfast, go to the coffee shop in the Seabourn Square. They make their own, and they are a little more “French” than in the restaurant. Thank you Seabourn! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! ... Read More
New ship is lovely but larger size is a mistake. Addition of Thomas Keller restaurant and 150 additional passengers was a major error. Added square footage was in the wrong place and they could not seat everyone in the main dining room! The Thomas Keller was one of the worst restaurants at sea i have experienced. Decor was lovely but the food has been better at Denny's. The additional 150 passengers totally changes the feeling of the ship. This may have also have been impacted by more European passenger makeup but the ship was full of a bunch. of snobs. No sense of comradery. The Japanese Restaurant food was OK but far from good. The Retreat is a joke - expensive and seldom used. In general the crew was good - a great captain, bar tenders and pool side servers were excellent but our cabin stewards was poor at best and the waiters and management ti the main dining room were not ally ways helpful. New tenders ware great - much improved access. The itinerary was great- we attended most of the enrichment lectures and they were lacking. Olive oil lecture was a waste of time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething ... Read More
It was a great trip on the Seabourn Ovation for this Seabourn first-timer. Similar but different experience to a cruise on Silversea a few years ago. The ship was bright and shiny like all things brand new and yes there were small teething problems still being addressed as one should expect with a great team working hard to make sure everything was as it should be. The ship is visually very impressive and beautifully appointed. A delight to be aboard! Suite - The standard ‘verandah suite', was well appointed with everything you need and has good space considering we didn’t really spend much time there. Of course it's always nice to arrive to a bottle of Champagne on ice. The bathroom was excellent with dual basins, fitted out with bath as well although I do wonder how many guests actually use the it. I suspect it becomes a good hand-washing drying space as there is a very well positioned pull-out clothes line above. The housekeeping staff work hard and try very hard to make things perfect. No, there is not a butler which may be nice for some, but I’m not sure we needed or wanted one - maybe just for initial meet and greet. Again its your individual perspective on what a cruise ship should provide that makes it difficult for any company to provide a complete package for all. Food - The food on board was generally very good - there is always something one can criticise -but for me, the quality was mainly very good or better. I have to say that the Thomas Keller Grill experience is really very good - ahh those yummy prawns - and not being from the US and albeit a ‘foodie’, the name Thomas Keller was unfamiliar to me. I like the fact you can book this venue and I understand exactly why, but this appeared to annoy some of the ‘experienced’ cruisers who just seem to want to breeze in to any dining venue at will. Controlling your daily reservations flow also helps control service and food delivery but the smaller restaurant capacity also dictates how many times a passenger may potentially dine there. Except to say bookings were strictly controlled and I did strike some attitude trying to make a booking of 4 to invite others to dinner without knowing our guests suite number. The Grill service was excellent though with exceptional wait staff and an appealing environment with lovely quality simple food executed very well. We loved Thomas Keller themed nights in Colonnade too as they were ‘help your self platters’ in centre of table - good food, well executed - billed as ‘American Home Style’. Again others said it was too casual but I thought it was a perfect balance to the more formal restaurant environments and it was only one night a week I believe with a la carte menus available at other times. I suppose I see a ‘changing of the guard’ with more modern food service style options appealing to a slightly younger range of people. But some customers prefer a more traditional formal food service in all the venues it seems. A great addition to Seabourn ships is the Sushi restaurant. A good place for a simple dinner/lunch option and it was popular. Service was excellent with bubbly friendly staff, food was acceptably good, but not quite where it should be - but we’re tough Asian food critics too. Room for improvement there but more with their ‘formal night’ ‘Kaiseki-ryōru menu which fell well short of what it should be rather than the more simple menu offered day to day. We loved the Patio dining option - a relaxed casual on deck dining space beside the pool with good variety seven day menus at night, small buffet salad and meat options for lunch. Service was generally always friendly, welcoming and attentive. I imagine this area is very popular on the warmer cruises but a number of people like us didn’t mind the cooler experience on deck some evenings and the staff had blankets wraps available to keep us all warm on the cooler nights. The Restaurant was a mostly a good experience too except there was a hiccup on the first formal night where some food and or service issues were obvious and staff were stressed, under the pump and some customers were complaining. We were in and out early that night but I could feel the stress of the evening unfolding. Subsequent Restaurant dinners experiences were mostly very good especially considering the concentrated volume they contend with on a nightly basis. The Restaurant has diverse and different menus every day supporting the ‘Classic’ fare which were welcome. The Souffles I must say are a very popular dessert as there were always plenty going by. Breakfast in the Restaurant was a nice quiet option too, compared the much busier and livelier Colonnade. Both offered good breakfast options. Standouts - The standouts for me were firstly the Cruise Director - well known and loved by regulars. Handre was excellent and a master in that role keeping everyone happy and making them all feel special. Very polished. I certainly hope that Seabourn are paying him plenty. As well as a being on a brand new ship, the live shows in my opinion were very very good and again it’s subjective but mostly all were excellent or at worst, very good. Seabourn Ovation has these very expensive new ‘LED walls’ which which make up the whole rear of the stage and they can do some spectacular high resolution visuals. The excellent and fun 'An Evening with Sir Tim Rice' show was a great example of using this technology as Sir Tim ‘interacted’ with the live show from the side or behind on these Led panels. The performers on board were all better than very good and sang/danced/played their hearts out. That includes entertainers in the piano bar in The Grill and Observation Bar. All excellent. The band in the Club at night probably could have been much better in hindsight and I felt this space was dreary during the day with the dark sun filter curtains and not welcoming for me. Trivia was always fun - although our team never seemed to win the wonderful prizes on offer. Crew - were generally very good to excellent. They all try very hard to make everything perfect for the guests and it’s a hard gig I understand - but it was warming to genuinely hear some crew actually say ‘I love my job’. That alone helps set the attitude for everyone else on board and helps put things in perspective when considering first world problems. Let’s not forget the wonderful Captain, officers and non service crew who were constantly around the ship interacting with all their guests. As well, you get to meet some interesting people on a cruise like this - people from all walks of life, often with fascinating stories to share enriching the experience. Generally, what a great experience it was. Traveling the world is never going to be perfect as you and I know, except to say these competitive Cruise companies put themselves out there saying it’s 6 star/fine dining/inclusive this and that with stunning marketing machines generating fantastic slogans and photos promising the earth- charging high end fees - so I suppose the customer has a right to say when they feel something is not quite up to the mark. I also understand that regular cruisers have a different expectation than we did with our L-Plates and I can say it appears to be a very diverse and difficult customer base at times. But the expensive and annoying Internet charge was a common topic for some used to free Internet on other cruise lines. A moot point indeed and something Seabourn should address sooner than later. No you won’t see every port/city/town in detail but we did get to go to a lot of places we wouldn’t have even considered like lovely Arendal in Norway, Ventspills in Latvia - so nice being the only cruise ship in a small town unlike stunning Tallinn, Estonia, where we shared the over-run town with about 20 onshore tour groups from the three other bigger cruise ships. But that is the value of cruising on a small ship in the smaller ports, and I have no desire to go on the bigger ones at this stage- as nice as they may be with more onboard activities etc - sometimes they just flood the smaller towns with tourists. I think the emerging market is definitely ports of call that the big ships cannot get to. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had ... Read More
With a desire for an upmarket ship, which spent 3 days in St Petersburg, my husband and I chose the brand new Seabourn Ovation. At the time of booking, it had not yet hit the water. This 7 day cruise from Copenhagen to Stockholm, also had a day in Tallin ,Estonia and a half day in Helsinki, Finland, with one day at sea.Embarkation was easy at 2 pm, with a delicious buffet lunch waiting..We had a verandah suite on deck 7. On arrival, I noticed that the floor had not been vacuumed and they were hairs in the bathtub. When I contacted housekeeping this was quickly rectified. The suites are well thought out with lots of storage space, but if the bathroom door is open and you open the front door, they smash together. I had chosen to be in the middle of deck 7 as I wanted a quiet room away from any high traffic areas. However, the poor internal design of the ship meant the doors slammed, which could be heard at all hours, footsteps from above caused loud noise and strong vibrations in the room, and people could be heard in the next cabins. Several people I spoke to who,unfortunately were given rooms that interconnected with others had it even worse and made complaints. What a shame that the latest luxury liner did not use the latest technology for soundproofing. On the positive side, all the staff were exceptional in all areas. The food was of a very high quality, and I recommend the afternoon tea scones as well as the gelato. However, a lot of the food felt somewhat old fashioned, and I think they would benefit from some more modern cuisine, such as Asian fusion. The guest entertainers were excellent, including a mentalist and an award- winning pianist. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the ... Read More
We selected the Ovation for our 5th cruise with Seabourn as it was a new ship with an interesting itinerary that included several less travelled ports where one did not face hoards of tourists. Our previous cruise was on Silversea as the Seabourn itinerary was sold out. Silversea fared quite favourably in terms of service and food but the Silver Shadow was badly in need of refurbishment. The Ovation is a beautiful ship and spacious. We rarely had difficulty finding a seat anywhere. The cabins are spacious, well designed and functional with great bath and shower facilities. Our stewardess Maggie was very good and unobtrusive doing most of the housekeeping while we were out of the cabin. She did a great job of tracking down the beers and wines that we liked best and kept them well stocked. Turndown was great with nightly chocolate. Overall food quality was very good however on several occasions in the Colonade, at breakfast and lunch, the staff was overwhelmed with the number of people they had to serve. Even in the Restaurant at dinner the staff was occasionally overwhelmed. No complaints about any individuals as most were friendly and worked hard BUT there was not enough of them to provide the level of service provided on the smaller ships. The Keller was a relaxing, quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Restaurant with great service however the limited menu and food was disappointing especially the lamb that did not come close to the lamb served in the Restaurant and Colonade. On the plus side the Dover sole was the best anywhere. The shore excursions to several less travelled ports were generally very good. Hamburg, Lubeck, Berlin, Klaipeda, Saarema, and Turku were outstanding. The sail away in Szczecin was fantastic with the 3 cannon, 3 volley salute from the Prussian guard. Peter Damisch enrichment lectures were excellent. Most annoying was the lack of USB charging ports in the cabins and slow internet service. Whoever designed the ship sure messed up on this. In addition, the price charged for the terrible internet service was outrageous. Time for Seabourn to include this in the cruise fare. Seabourn is the only "luxury" cruise line to charge extra for internet. Apart for the internet and occasional service gap a good cruise - definitely 4 star but not 5. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking ... Read More
On June 9th, my husband and I embarked on Seabourn's new ship, the Ovation. We joined the ship in Amsterdam and our voyage ended June 30th in Stockholm. It was a fun 21 day journey, enhanced by a beautiful new ship and a hardworking crew. As others have mentioned, service was not perfect on this cruise, but, most of the time it was excellent. I choose not to dwell on a couple or three meals where there was chaos ruling (often due to language difficulties). The vast majority of the time, our food was served timely and well along with wine or other drinks that we ordered. The ship's crew included some superlative members who gave everything they did a personal touch. This is one reason we love Seabourn. Any review of food is, necessarily a very subjective experience. The ship's passengers come from several continents and have different expectations when it comes to food choices and seasoning. What some would call bland, others would call just right. Personally, we found the food to be usually excellent. We ate mostly in the MDR (The Restaurant), but also enjoyed offerings at The Colonnade and Earth and Ocean (the new concept on the Patio in the evening). We also had three meals at the TK Grill over 21 days. We enjoyed the TK Grill, but found the chicken to be WAY too salty, while others thought it was perfect. Again, different perspectives on food. We loved the appetizer prawns the steak, mushrooms and especially the Dover Sole. We enjoyed quite a number of room service breakfasts, but found the room service for dinner (tried it twice) to be very lackluster. I do not recommend it. Breakfast in the MDR was outstanding and such a peaceful experience. Tea time at 4pm each afternoon was delightful. While you do have to go to a buffet for your sandwiches and other tidbits, tea service itself was prompt and cordial --along with refills if you wanted them. We ordered caviar a number of times (usually sharing with others) and it was a fun experience. The ports on this cruise were interesting--they included Hamburg, Wismar (Germany), Sceczsin (Poland), Klapeda (Lithuania), Turku (Finland), Saaramar (Estonia), Bornholm (Denmark), Stockholm, Tallin (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Helsinki. We missed Visby, Sweden due to rough seas. While some passengers complained about the Polish port (very industrial) and the port on the island of Saaramar, Estonia, I found the both to be memorable experiences. Neither of these ports are tourist meccas. That is one of the things that makes them interesting. We also enjoyed the island of Bornholm, even though our tour took in a lot of venues in just a few hours (one of eight round churches on the island, castle ruins, and glass making) Our tour guide on Bornholm, while a bit rough around the edges, was a proud Dane and gave us a real sense of what the local people are like. His English was quite good. We toured Tallin on our own--a wonderful experience. Our St. Petersburg guides were quite good---a lot of sightseeing packed into three days. We were in Helsinki a very short time (leaving at 2pm) but glad to have been there. A real highlight for me was Lubeck, Germany which we toured from Hamburg. I highly recommend going to Lubeck, A word about the cruise director--Handre. He is EXCELLENT. Handre is a true asset for Seabourn and makes every cruise more fun. Entertainment--The Seabourn Singers are excellent, but for me, the background music was way too loud. I would have enjoyed their voices being more front and center. The singers are delightful people. They mingled with the passengers and it was fun to talk to them. We enjoyed the Tim Rice Show, the Through the Decades Show, and the Nashville Show. The mentalist was very entertaining. We did not enjoy the comics, but once again, any attempt review entertainment is very subjective. Enrichment--We attended four lectures by Peter Damslich on the Hanseatic League and the Romanovs. All were quite excellent with fabulous slides to go along with his talk. Poolside dining--We enjoyed many lunches around the pool. I heartily recommend the Napa Burger. The Pool Bar staff is very attentive. The new Earth and Air venue around the pool in the evening is quite good--with excellent presentation. This was our second Seabourn cruise (the first being on the Encore) and it was great fun. We plan cruise Seabourn again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This is our 4th Seabourn Cruise and I have noticed as the ships get bigger the service get skimpier. On this cruise this was especially true in the dining areas (The Restaurant, Colonnade and the Observation Lounge at Tea). The staff is ... Read More
This is our 4th Seabourn Cruise and I have noticed as the ships get bigger the service get skimpier. On this cruise this was especially true in the dining areas (The Restaurant, Colonnade and the Observation Lounge at Tea). The staff is as friendly as ever, but there are not enough of them. They are trying hard, but rushing around and making mistakes. This leads to frustration on the part of the staff and the customers. It should not take 20 minutes to get coffee in the morning nor 25 mins to get the wrong desert order at dinner. The other downer was some of the port of call selections. We made a stop in Szczecin. Poland which sort of reminded me of Cleveland, Ohio back in the 70's before it's renaissance. We also docked at Saaremaa, Estonia and the dock was a 45 min drive to nearest small town in the middle of nowhere. Missed a port call at Visby, Sweden, because it was too windy to dock. (However, I think that was a good safety call). We also had a horrible tour guide when we stopped at Nekso, Denmark. (Tour was rushed at 4-5 sites and would have been much better to go more in depth at just 2 or 3) On the positive side, the staff on Seabourn are great and try hard, the entertainment very good and the food is wonderful. We ate twice at the Thomas Keller venue and the service and food were outstanding. No complaints about the food in the Colonnade, Patio Grill or the Resturant, just the service levels. My recommendations for Seabourn are: 1. Take a hard look at staffing in the dining areas, your turning loyal customers off. If you had fixed the staffing on this cruise it we would have rated it as 4.5 instead of a 3 even with some of the other issues. 2. Vet the Ports of Call and the Tour Operators better. Some were great (like the Village Life in Kalbedia tour in Lithuania) and some are marginal like Saaremaa and Szczecin. 3. Look in the rear view mirror, because other small ship lines are about to eat your lunch. Overall this trip was just okay and did not make it a knock your socks off experience like our trips on the Spirit and the Sojourn, which is a real shame. Read Less
Seabourn Ovation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.6

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