34 Seabourn Ovation Luxury Cruise Reviews

We haven’t sailed on Seabourn since 2012 as we were put off by their liberal smoking policies. We decided to try them again especially since the itinerary for the British Isles was unique having a good number of stops in Scotland. ... Read More
We haven’t sailed on Seabourn since 2012 as we were put off by their liberal smoking policies. We decided to try them again especially since the itinerary for the British Isles was unique having a good number of stops in Scotland. Embarkation was quick and our suite was ready at noon time which was a great plus for us. We stayed in a spa penthouse suite which was quite nice but not sure it is worth the extra money versus a regular penthouse suite. You really don’t get much extra except for a few extra soaps and sponges, and a larger balcony. Seabourn advertises healthy snacks in the spa suites but we had great trouble getting them to deliver what was advertised. Perhaps it was due to a totally clueless stewardess who failed to replenish items on several occasions and seemed uninformed about extras for the spa suite, among other issues. When reported to the supervisor, we were told that she was new and to give her a few more days, and if we weren’t satisfied, they would replace her. Although we had numerous other problems with her and reported them, the housekeeping supervisor never replaced her. We ate most of our meals in the Restaurant where the food was top notch and wait service excellent. We used room service for breakfast every day and several times for dinner. They also delivered the same top notch service and excellent food as the Restaurant. Used private tour guides so did not sign up for any of the ship shore excursions. Staff at Seabourn Square were efficient and helpful. We especially enjoyed this area for coffee and snacks during the day. In terms of entertainment, we only attended one show which included a comedian which was okay, just okay. Handre served as cruise director and certainly lived up to his fine reputation. Overall, this is a lovely and comfortable ship that handles rough seas quite well. Except for a problem with housekeeping oversight and our stewardess, sailing on the Ovation was a very enjoyable and memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sail Date July 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
Sail Date June 2019
We are frequent Seabourn cruisers but are slowly pulling back after over 150 nights. We too this European cruise with friends as we have cruised with them before. Our friends opted for a Penthouse Spa suite and we had a regular ... Read More
We are frequent Seabourn cruisers but are slowly pulling back after over 150 nights. We too this European cruise with friends as we have cruised with them before. Our friends opted for a Penthouse Spa suite and we had a regular penthouse. As I have opined before, passengers in penthouses receive only extra space in the room. No preferential treatment for restaurant bookings, no butler etc. This is in contrast to other luxury cruise lines. We generally eat late which caused some problem. On several nights, probably more like 5 out of 14, there was not seating available in the main restaurant. We were shuffled off to a near bar to wait for a phone call. We did get 2 meals in Thomas Keller, but the extra night was due to no availability in the main restaurant. The meals and service there were excellent, as it generally was in the remainder of the ship. We requested an extra night in TK but were turned down every time. Then we witnessed something we had never seen on Seabourn. While at the TK bar, we observed a passenger tip the head host and immediately get in. We felt we had paid enough and declined to take that route in search of extra reservations. Weather played a factor and we spent an extra day in Spain, on a Sunday due to bad sea conditions. It rained and time was better spent indoors, especially given everything was closed anyway. It was disappointing to miss the first French port but you can't blame a cruise line for weather. Entertainment was good, food was 4.5 out of 5, but clearly not 5 out of 5. The mix of ports in Spain, France and England was enjoyable. In retrospect, we paid far too much having upgraded to a Penthouse and not having gotten our moneys worth. We now refer to Seabourn as "Socialist Cruising". They do a good job taking care of the masses but once you leave the room, everyone is equal. No need to pay top dollar and you would be just as well to purchase a standard room from a travel reseller (as over 100 on the cruise did) for a bargain basement price. Every cabin is the same and everyone is treated equally, which is generally good. Bottom line - we get far more enjoyment for the same money at some other luxury cruise lines. You may notice this in my reviews of other cruise lines. We may be back, we enjoy Seabourn and the Ovation, we just don't love it anymore. Read Less
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
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Spain (except for Barcelona which we love), Lisbon or Porto, Gibralter or Morocco. The ports of call and shore excursions were fantastic. We saw many beautiful sights and learned a lot. The ship itself was truly wonderful. The captain and officers were friendly and affable (not to mention very competent), the Executive Chef talented and sooooo personable, the Cruise Director (Handre) phenomenal and the cabin stewards perfect. All the wait staff in the restaurants were professional and at the same time welcoming. The entertainment was over-the-top wonderful. Seabourn does things right, and makes every trip a special adventure. One of the reasons that we love Seabourn is that the all-inclusive program makes the voyage so relaxing. The food is quality over quantity, and every meal was terrific. The deck parties were very enjoyable (lobster on the grill, dancing, champagne and caviar in the pool), and we were impressed by the "specialty restaurant," the Grill by Thomas Keller. One of our favorite activities was shopping in the market in Malaga with Chef Jes; the fish and produce were as fresh as they could be. The excursions were expensive, but the quality of the guides was excellent. The only negative on the excursions was the "hard sell" venues we were forced into in Casablanca and Tangier. They should offer a shopping excursion for passengers that are interested in buying rugs. One of our pet peeves, however, is that the internet service is ridiculously expensive. Since Oceana is offering free internet to its passengers, all other cruise lines should follow suit. We would highly recommend the Ovation for your next trip! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
Fellow Cruisers, It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the ... Read More
Fellow Cruisers, It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the staff and fellow guests get to know you and vice versa in a short period of time. This makes for a more congenial and friendly family type atmosphere. Since my last review, it seems that the service on board still remains a challenge in some areas of the main restaurant and for a couple of waiters in the various bars. But in general I am much happier with the Seabourn Ovation now. The Cruise Director, Handré is perhaps the best that I have come across in my 40 or so cruises. He is extremely hard working and can be heard making the safety and shore announcements from the bridge, overseeing the trivia, announcing the entertainment and generally coordinating all the various events. He then still has time to perform (he is a gifted pianist and composer) and conduct personalised small group enrichment programs such as “how to tie bowties” and “how to fold a pocket square correctly”. Another shipboard star is the Executive Chef, Jes Paskins, who is a true talent both as a chef and as a fun loving foodie. His caviar in the surf (and pool) as well as his many theme nights are delightful fun. For a small ship, the Seabourn Ovation makes use of all of its spaces. The deck parties are amazing and the shows are very well done by the resident entertainment team and the guest artists. Of course, once in a while, there are some duds such as the quartet of ladies known as “Ida” who perform in the style of the Three Tenors or El Divo. Sadly they miss the mark. Did I mention the trivia? Handré and his team bring this iconic cruise staple event to a new level of entertainment with fun twists and prizes galore (sometimes for every participant and not just the winners). The cabins are amazing and the housekeeping staff a pleasure. In the “old days” Seabourn only hired pretty young Scandinavian room stewardesses but today they hire from around the world and I am pleased to confirm that they are still pretty, young and charming. But, lest you get the wrong impression, nobody is flirtatious, just pleasant and friendly. This is definitely not a Frat ship. It is a 5 star floating luxury hotel. Keep this ship in mind and on your short list if its itinerary suits. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to ... Read More
As someone who loves to be pampered I choose the 6 star cruise lines as my preferred option whenever I can. We have cruised many times on the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony and have always been curious as to how they compare to Seabourn. This cruise in the Adriatic from Venice to Athens was our chance to try the Seabourn Ovation which is the newest in Seabourn's fleet having only been launched this year. What makes a 6 star ship? It is not the price of the cruise. It is of course the food, the accommodation, the entertainment and above all the service. So how has our experience so far compared to that on say the Crystal Serenity? I am comparing a Balcony cabin on the Serenity with the entry level cabin on the all-suite Ovation (which are similar in price). Food - Both have excellent food. Caviar is served on both but on Crystal it is served a couple of times a cruise on special dinners. On Seabourn it is served on special dinners but can also be ordered anytime. I like caviar so Seabourn wins in that department. The food on both is excellent. I cannot fault either. I like the different themes on Seabourn with a degustation menu inter spread with the regular menu on different days. I prefer the breakfast selections on Seabourn in the buffet but I prefer that there is an egg station on Crystal. Seabourn has its eggs made to order and then served at the table. Both lunch buffets are fine. The Serenity has a better burger grill and the fries are always hot. The Ovation is a bit hit and miss, but if you specify that you want it especially hot they will ensure that it is done. The Thomas Keller Grill restaurant is great on the Ovation and you can book in as many times as you like without extra cost. The specialty restaurants on the Serenity must also be booked but after eating in each twice per cruise then a small charge is made for additional visits. Having said that, the Silk Road Japanese restaurant on the Serenity is far superior to the Sushi restaurant on the Ovation which has mainly sashimi and sushi without the great hot food items that the Serenity also offers. Food - its a tie. The Accommodation - The Seabourn Ovation is new. The Crystal Serenity is clean and tidy but is of course not new. The staterooms on the Ovation are truly beautiful. they are wide, spacious and very ergonomically satisfying with more than ample closet and drawer space. Crystal is okay but cannot match Seabourn. The bathrooms on the Ovation are also very spacious with both a separate shower and bath. They are much bigger and much better. The beds and bedlinen on both ships are superb. They are as good as each other. The sitting area on the Ovation is much larger with a much better working table and a larger television. Accommodation - Seabourn Ovation is better The Entertainment - There are many aspects to entertainment which are not just the nightly shows in the theatres. There is the enrichment programs, the trivia and games programs, and there is musical entertainment. The Ovation has primarily three areas to hear music. There is the Club which features two bands that rotate, there is the Observation lounge which features a pianist and singer and there is the bar in the Thomas Keller Grill featuring a pianist. Crystal serenity has an area similar to the Observation lounge with a live band, it has an area midship also with a band playing dance music and it has a very cosy piano bar. In addition there is live music before and after dinner in the Crystal Cove bar area. For music Crystal is better. There are more choices and the piano bar is an especially fun place to listen to music after dinner if you don't want to go to the show. The enrichment programs on Crystal are also much more extensive with a variety of guest lecturers and a lot of teaching programs from golf lessons to computers. Crystal has an extensive library with a dedicated librarian. Seabourn has a much more modest selection of books. There is a movie theatre showing current movies in the afternoon and evenings on the Serenity but no movie theatre on the Ovation. There are also other quirky types of entertainment such as the magic performances put on for small groups at a time by a member of the Magic Castle. These shows get to be known by word of mouth and are not generally advertised on the Crystal serenity (or Symphony). Shows are shows and both ships have good and bad productions. Crystal being a bigger ship perhaps has more capacity to put on more extravagant productions but those that we have witnessed so far on the Ovation are pretty good too. Both ships have duplicate bridge and lessons, but because the Crystal Serenity is larger there are more participants on that ship. The area that is always of great fun for us is the trivia. Serenity has teams of no more that six while Ovation encourages up to ten per team. The host on the Ovation is the Cruise Director, Handré, and he is fantastic! The prizes on the Ovation are much better too. Hands down Ovation wins. Entertainment - overall the advantage is still to Crystal The Service - This is the big one. A ship cannot be considered six star if the service is poor. Neither has poor service, but one has got it much more right. On both ships the drinks are complimentary although special wines can be purchased for an additional price. I prefer Crystal here as they seem to have the concept that since the regular wines are complimentary, when you order and pay for a special wine it should not be at full mark up. The bartending and wait staff on Crystal are also much better at attending to customers. There is never a long wait to either order or to be served. Sadly, I cannot say that about the Ovation. On more than one occasion the table service was so slow that I had to go to the bar to order drinks myself. On two occasions because of being busy our drinks order was forgotten entirely. Sadly this is not six star service. I can only hope that it is because the ship is new and there are still some teething problems. I will say that management truly has a desire to improve. We have already been given a mid cruise survey which we filled out with helpful feedback and which again I must say was taken very seriously. Unfortunately, the waiters in the outlets likewise do not appear to have the same training as Crystal gives their staff. It is the little things like reaching across dishes to remove or place glasses, forgetting to bring condiments and having to be reminded. Also it is the either over or under attendance of the waitstaff who do not yet have the correct pacing to their service. The staff on both ships soon know your names and it is always pleasant to be recognised and appreciated. Both ships do that well. Summary - These comments of mine might seem a bit pedantic to you, my fellow cruisers, but i offer them because I believe that when you are paying for cabins on a six star ship in excess of a thousand dollars a night that the service, food, accommodation and entertainment should rightly be expected to be of a much higher standard than normal. I hope that this review is helpful. In summary, both ships and by extension both cruise lines are wonderful to cruise with, but for my money Crystal still holds the advantage. I know that both Seabourn and Crystal have their loyal followers so what say you? Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, ... Read More
We chose the Ovation for the itinerary. Leaving from Lisbon and on to Portomao, Huelva (Seville), Malaga (the Alhambra), Cartagena, Monte Carlo, Cinque Terra, Toulon (Provence), Mahon (Minorca) and disembarking in Barcelona. All in all, the itinerary lived up to its expectations, although we had to miss Portomao because of Tropical Storm Leslie so we remained in Lisbon for the second day. The only hitch we had for our own itinerary ashore as with the Alhambra. We had been wait-listed for a ticket package that included the Nesrud Palaces, a highlight of the Alhambra and, according to those who have been there, not to be missed. When it become apparent that we would not be getting tickets through Seaborn (they are extremely difficult to come by), even though we had been on the wait list over four months prior to leaving. A few people were lucky enough to get the Seabourn tickets, but more on that later. We told the guest services agent on board that we planned on using the ship's tour bus to the Alhambra (which did not include the Nesrud Palaces), as we had purchased our own tickets and would join up with the bus prior to the group leaving the Alhambra. Our tickets were from 11am to 2pm, meeting at 10:45pm exactly where the tour bus would be pulling into the bus parking lot. We informed the Seabourn rep of our plan prior to boarding the bus and she cleared it with the tour guide. We arranged with him to meet up with the group at a restaurant should we not be ready to rejoin the bus when the Seabourn group was ready to leave. All was going smoothly as we left the port around 8:35am. Unfortunately, the guide decided to announce that we would be pulling into a rest stop for bathroom use and also for buying merchandise. Had the stop been for ten minutes all would still have been fine, but it was closer to 25 minutes and we then had no chance to make our tour. The Alhambra was outstanding, but we will now never have the opportunity to see the Nesrud Palaces. Those who were able to secure tickets for the Alhambra and the palaces thought they were all set. Unfortunately, for some of them, since showing your passport is required at different checkpoints randomly and then, for the palaces, for everyone, when the group was asked to present their passports the list of passengers did not match the names on the passports. Some names were of people not taking the tour. The mix up caused some passengers to have to miss the Alhambra and the palaces. We had read on Cruise Critic that Seabourn's shore excursions are below average and had not encountered that when on a Quest voyage. This particular trip was excellent once in the Alhambra as the guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the buildings and the area. The guide on the bus, however, was constantly talking, was very redundant and seemed to be along for the ride. All of the other tours was above average, although the timing for a tour of Eze and the Rothschild Mansion in Cap Ferat gave too much time to the later and not nearly enough time to Eze. Also, this trip was extremely tiring because all tours, half day or full day, started early in the morning so you began to feel sleep deprived early into the trip. I think they should offer afternoon half day excursions to alleviate the fatigue factor when you are on a 10-day cruise with only one at-sea day. Others felt the same way. The cabins on the ship are up to Seabourn's standards. They are among the most spacious in the industry and our ship stewardess was outstanding. The room is well-equipped and pretty much anything can be delivered to your room upon request, including unlimited amounts of champagne. The food on the ship was excellent. No complaints at all. The service was another matter. The worst was the Observation Bar between 6 and 7:30pm. You had a tough time flagging down a waiter as there were often only one or two of them. Going to the bar yourself and carrying the drinks to the table was impossible on rough sea evenings. This problem with service in the Observation Bar continued throughout the cruise. Towards the end of the voyage, we went down to Bruno's lounge in the Thomas Keller grill and after a ten-minute wait, went up to the bar for a drink. For afternoon tea in the Observation Bar, tea was offered, but they didn't mention that scones, sandwiches and cakes were available at the self-serve area where tapas are available every evening. On the Quest a waiter brought these items around which is the way afternoon tea should be presented. Service in the Restaurant was fine, but not if you wanted to get to the 8:45pm show. Fortunately, my husband and I did not have that problem because we had caught two shows and didn't think they were very good so skipped them from that point on. The service in the Colanade was excellent except for the final morning which was an absolute zoo. It was so bad that we ended up getting a bite to eat at Seabourn Square. We were heading for the Restaurant for a nice relaxing breakfast before disembarking because we had to be out of our room at 8pm, but could stay on board until 10pm. The Restaurant was closed, however, although we had no clue that it would be. On the Quest the Restaurant is open for the final breakfast before disembarking. The Patio's food was excellent as well as the service, and there were an adequate number of waiters should you need a drink while relaxing by the pool. Thomas Keller Grill was an interesting evening. We were told by the waiter to look forward to enjoying a romantic meal. To me, that's leisurely, but he did not seem to understand that. After ordering our drinks, he immediately asked if we were ready to order. We said that we needed some time. He came back in five minutes and asked again and we told him we weren't ready as we wanted to enjoy our drinks. After a few minutes, the supervisor went up to our waiter and talked to him. I assume it was about their need to get our order in. The supervisor then came up to our table and asked if we had any questions and we told him we didn't, we just wanted to slow the process down. The meal was very good, though, and there was a good vibe. The best experience for us was Sushi. The food was excellent, there were nice tables for two and the service was what you expect from Japanese staff - respectful, courteous and timely. All in all the management of the Ovation has a way to go to beat the service on the Quest. I think they need some time to work out the glitches as the ship only had its maiden voyage in May. Hopefully, things will improve soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the itinerary was all new to us and it hit some spots on our bucket list, including Giverny, D-Day beaches, Bayeux Tapestries, and Lisbon. Embarkation was quick and easy. Had an early private excursion in Lisbon and getting off the ship was very fast. For the first 24 hours, service in the Restaurant and Colonnade was slow and we got the impression that the servers and others were trying to figure out territories and responsibilities. Things seemed to improve thereafter, although we still encountered slow service in The Restaurant on occasion. Best service and food were in The Grill, but we only got in once. In The Restaurant, entrees are modest in size and so are the accompaniments. But ordering sides of vegetables or starches is easy. We ate all breakfasts and most lunches in the Colonnade and we very happy with the selection, which is so large that it can be hard to find things. Several of the employees there learned our names and made real efforts to be helpful and friendly. Saw the singers and dancers a few times. The Tim Rice show (he appears on video) was excellent while the others were fairly average. Went on three of the ship's excursions: (1) a sunny day and amazing array of flowers made for a great time at Monet's home and garden in Giverny and the guide did a good job; (2) Santiago de Compostela was an intriguing place and the guide knew her stuff and had a good sense of humor; and (3) it was a cloudy day in Porto, there was a lot of standing around and waiting, and the guide was just okay. Wanted to see both D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestries, not a combination offered by Seabourn, so we got a private guide and found another couple to join us and it worked very well. Noticed that there didn't seem to be a deck with an outside walking route as long as the ship, but weather kept us inside most of the time. Went to a number of functions where officers made an appearance and then vanished, but we (and probably everyone else) did get a couple of invitations to dine with officers or entertainers and we did have dinner with the head of human resources. Met a number of Seabourn veterans who were disappointed in the service in the dining venues, as we were. Was also surprised that we were asked to provide information about birthdays and anniversaries, but when our anniversary came there was no recognition of it. We also missed Regent's included excursions, Internet access, and phone call allowance. We expect two things from cruises (and land trips): (1) to get away from the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc. and the rest of the routine and (2) to see interesting places, either on excursions or independently. We got these on this cruise, met nice people, and were treated well by the crew. Did this cruise line and this ship and crew do this so much better than others? I would say not. Would we return? Probably yes, if we found an attractive itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
To begin, this wasn't my first cruise, just my first Seabourn cruise. The Seabourn company makes booking, travel, embarking, etc. very easy and organized. From the second you arrive, you'll realize this is no ordinary cruise ... Read More
To begin, this wasn't my first cruise, just my first Seabourn cruise. The Seabourn company makes booking, travel, embarking, etc. very easy and organized. From the second you arrive, you'll realize this is no ordinary cruise ship. The entire staff, without exception, is friendly, polite, knowledgeable, professional, and most importantly when on a cruise, looking to pamper and attend to your needs. To put it simply, everyday, the entire staff is looking to please you. The service on this ship is excellent. I will say that this ship rivals any 5 star resort, hotel, or restaurant, except you have an ever changing view of coastlines! This is an exquisite ship, beautifully decorated, with lovely touches throughout. Our suite was spacious with a sitting area, deck, table and chairs, and was very well attended. The bathroom was quite large and mostly beautiful marble. Our room attendant kept out room well stocked with luxurious treats, drinks, and the next day's info. Our room, and the entire ship is pristine gleaming clean. "The Colonnade" serves all meals, but we mostly ate breakfast here. You can order, but the buffet quite literally has more variety than I have ever seen. "The Grill by Thomas Keller" is a first rate, wonderful choice. FYI; it's reputation is well known so make reservations before you board. There is also a wonderful poolside option with pizza, pasta, and more casual great food. Any one of the choices offers amazing food with excellent service. There's also a variety of wonderful nightly entertainment. After seeing some of the world's most beautiful cities while on various well planned amazing excursions throughout Europe, coming back to this beautiful ship every evening made for the most luxurious trip we have ever been on. If you're looking for luxury and the best service, Seabourn has perfected every detail. We can't wait to sail with "Seabourn' again! Read Less
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
Sail Date October 2018
Seabourn Ovation Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.0 4.0
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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