6 Seabourn Ovation Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Asia

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
Sail Date March 2019
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally ... Read More
Suite is fabulous although a little noisy as the anchor goes up and down(but we were warned) so not a problem, food exceptional as is the service in the restaurants although it is hurried, no time to rest between courses. I personally would prefer a lighter decor as on Ponant ships. The main dining room is not nearly as ‘clubby’ looking as the smaller Seabourn ships which is good! Shore excursions are too expensive, especially for Vietnam and Cambodia as our party travelled by land a year ago with 5 star accommodation and transport and the charges are Indochina are far less than Seabourn charge. Beds so comfortable with a variety of pillows to choose for personal comfort. While the air conditioning is adjustable in suits the dining ares are very cool for many passengers. Spar area offers fabulous treatments and very well supported as bookings are not easy—-I find the treatments expensive compared to Australia, not the Americans. I have cruised Ponant, Silver Seas, Regent and have to say Seabourn is far superior to those cruise lines in every way—- service, food, actual cabin, even the passengers. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date February 2019
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and ... Read More
Previous experience. We have tried several cruise lines but found Seabourn to be by far the best. Brilliant small ships and first class throughout. No loud entertainment just sophisticated shows. Brilliant quizzes. Food outstanding and crew are faultless. They deliver everything they promise. Their house wine list is just amazing, NO cheap plonk! Trips well organized and daily information is excellent. The service to and from the ship is first rate. Overall one of the best holidays we have ever had. Can't wait for another one.I cannot say anymore, I have run out of superlatives. We will never use another cruise line now. We found the restaurant staff great. One was called Cesar so I named him Julius. The others wanted a Roman names. I named one Titus and another Augustus. They loved it . We got Roman salutes each morning. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night ... Read More
Gastro broke out on the ship and many of the cabins in lock down / isolation. It spread like wildfire. Birthday celebration cruise for my dads 90th really ruined a week each as he and I got sick Booked a triple cabin on first night told there was a shortage of rollaway beds and that my dad may have to sleep on couch. Balcony door handle fell off twice during cruise couldn’t access balcony for nearly 2 days. Whilst experiencing very high winds and rough seas the voices creaking in cabin was so loud we didn’t sleep for 2 nights despite being midship. Service was lacking other than a few standouts (Krystel our stewardess, rhe art teacher. Maria). They held a few activities for kids which was good. Food in Collonade was average the fruit is often old rotten bananas. Food in Restauranr and Sushi good. Thomas Keller nice setting bit my steak was dry and slightly tough. Staff in food outlets didirb seem to have time or inclination to really connect with guests. I think there is less staff and they are under more pressure. If really showed. Lots of other things but having completed a Seabourn Criise around Pacifix last year which was great we were very disappointed. A lack of response by Seabourn again shows very poor service. We stopped at Bangkok Christmas Day and we were looking forward to shopping etc only to find it was a 2.5 hour car ride each way into Bangkok (false advertising). There seemed to be some general disappointment with Seabourn from fellow travellers. The word is Regent Crude line is a much better option. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Seabourn Ovation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.5 4.2
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 3.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 4.5 3.6

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