2 Seabourn Quest Africa Cruise Reviews

Just read the review by Terryhasgonecruising, and I'm not sure we were on the same ship. We had a totally different experience. This was our first time on Seabourn, but as regulars on Crystal we had certain expectations. And most ... Read More
Just read the review by Terryhasgonecruising, and I'm not sure we were on the same ship. We had a totally different experience. This was our first time on Seabourn, but as regulars on Crystal we had certain expectations. And most of those were met quite satisfactorily. Not that everything was perfect, but in general we had a wonderful cruise. We're roughly the same age as Terryhasgonecruising, and also business owners, but Americans and not yet retired. Maybe that accounts for the differences of opinion. Food - Excellent. Temperature, variety, presentation, everything was wonderful. We ate in the main dining room most of the time, with occasional excursions to the others, and found them all to be very good. Our only complaint was the noise level in the main dining room. Around the perimeter it's not too bad, but in the high vaulted center it's an echo chamber. More use of sound-deadening materials would make that more pleasant. Cabin - Great! Nicest cabin we've ever had on any ship. Separate shower and tub is a real luxury, and a bathroom big enough for both of us is unheard of aboard ship. Our stewardess was polite, friendly, thorough, and we had no complaints about anything. Amenities were complete and remained well stocked throughout our cruise. We had registered our drink preferences online before the cruise, and found the refrigerator stocked to perfection! Activities - Bridge was great! Wonderful instructors, great group of players, with both duplicate and social bridge tables in the afternoon. The rest - not so good. The theater is terrible! Fully a quarter of the seats are at least partially blocked by columns. Acoustics just the opposite of the main dining room. Worst theater we've ever been in, land or water. We found the cruise director John Barron to be a little infantile and annoying, but that is really a very minor complaint. Couldn't agree with Terryhasgonecruising more about his assistant Heather Clancy - she's wonderful and I look forward to seeing more of her. Wicked sense of humor, combined with a lovely voice. However, the entire ensemble of singers insisted in singing songs for which their voices were not suited. Sure, variety is good, but you need a variety of voices to pull it off, not just stick every singer with every style of song. Dancers were OK, probably college level. We traded singers and dancers in Rio with a Holland ship, and the second group was MUCH better, but still not great. Two local Samba troupes came aboard. The first rode with us down the coast of Brazil, and while technically quite good their act became boring and repetitive after the first few minutes. The second group, that just came aboard for one evening in Rio was fantastic, and I would go out of my way to see them again! We only went on one shore excursion, in Recife, and it was a normal bus tour, no better nor worse than any other bus tour on any other ship. The spa was a disappointment. It takes up an inordinate amount of space on the ship, and we found the service to be very friendly, but not very good. The pool is small and shallow, but at least it's filled with sea water, so was still relaxing. Overall the staff was incredibly friendly and professional. By the third day almost everyone knew our names, and serving staff knew our drink preferences. They must really study that in their off hours, as some knew us on first greeting. Impressive! The ship is beautiful. A few normal teething problems for a new ship, but no big deal. However, there was a vibration felt in many locations throughout the ship. Seemed worse when traveling at higher speeds. At times it felt like someone put a quarter in the bed, and while on the toilet it tried to shake the s**t out of you. Not as big a problem as I've probably made it sound, but it was there, and mildly annoying. Our biggest complaint aboard ship was the theater. Unless and until Seabourn can remove some of those columns we will think twice about going on Quest again. One other complaint we had, and this goes across the entire Seabourn line, was during the reservation process. We like to be as close to the water as possible. Even at the loss of the balcony, we're on the ocean, we want to be ON the ocean. Close enough to see flying fish out our window. So when we booked about 10 months prior to sailing, we requested deck 4. We were only going on the first 28 days of the world cruise, so they were holding a lot of those cabins for customers sailing the full length. Perfectly reasonable, we booked deck 6 and waitlisted deck 4. About a month before sailing they opened up deck 4 to partial customers like us. However, we were told that waitlisting meant nothing. The only way we could move down would be to cancel our reservation (with a 25% penalty), and rebook from scratch on deck 4. Several letters and phone calls from both myself and my travel agent got an upgrade to deck 8 and a nominal shipboard credit, but that was not what we wanted. Meanwhile, there were empty deck 4 cabins that we couldn't have. So while our deck 8 cabin was very nice, Seabourn wouldn't let us have the empty cabin we wanted, and left a very sour taste in our mouths in anticipation of future dealings with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We are retired former business owners who have now completed 61 cruises aboard 10 cruise lines over the past 14 years. We live in Bromsgrove UK. We flew to Miami on January 4th and transferred to the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. ... Read More
We are retired former business owners who have now completed 61 cruises aboard 10 cruise lines over the past 14 years. We live in Bromsgrove UK. We flew to Miami on January 4th and transferred to the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was excellent and the ship's embarkation procedure undertaken by Seabourn's shoreside services was very professional. Our luggage was taken from our suite directly to the ship and after a leisurely breakfast we were taken by private limousine to Port Everglades. The whole embarkation process was fast, efficient and friendly. A good start. After a buffet lunch and an orientation tour of our home for the next 28 days we found our stateroom. The balcony suite was quite comfortable with adequate storage. But we noticed immediately that it should have been a lot cleaner, there was not a flower in sight, glassware missing and the minimum of amenities in the bathroom. Having not received our luggage we attended the sail away party on deck. At 19.00hrs our luggage finally arrived, followed by our stewardess who handed us a glass of warm, flat champagne. The dining on the Quest was an experience. It took us until day 10 to get hot food on a hot plate. We found it incredible that it was corporate policy to serve red wine in white wine glasses unless you purchased wines from the reserve wine list, then the appropriate glasses would be provided. For the duration of the cruise we did not get meat served at the temperature we ordered. Fish was always overcooked. In the Colonnade's restaurant, we took breakfast and lunch. The breakfast offerings were very good. The lunch offerings tended to be Asian influenced, the concept, we were very pleased with, the reality was that it was generally overcooked and luke warm. We found that the main restaurant struggled to cope with 300+ guests arriving for dinner within a 60 minute period. Many dinners took 3 hours plus. The pool side grill was consistently inconsistent. The sports activities on Quest are restricted to shuffleboard, one golf driving bay and a golf putting area. The gym is adequate for a ship of its size. The walking track on deck 11 is small. The guest lectures were varied and professionally presented. The midday team trivia was very popular and hosted by John Barron, the CD and backed by his excellent team. The bar staff are up there with the best we have experienced on any cruise line. The wait staff in the dining outlets were very professional, but we could see their disappointment in having to consistently remove cold and undercooked food from our tables. Similarly, the bar staff were embarrassed at not having our beverages of choice because they were always running out of stock, which was surprising as this was the first segment of a World Cruise. For a team of people, many of whom have been with Seabourn for 15+ years and have been personally responsible for developing the service levels which made Seabourn special, these experiences must be difficult to accept. The service we experienced from our suite stewardess was haphazard to say the least. Following the completion of our interim guest comments card we were asked by the guest services manager to attend a meeting with the hotel manager. After writing a report detailing all of our experiences we met with the hotel manager and presented it to him. His response was surprising " if I had experienced what you have experienced I would not sail with Seabourn again". Apart from seeing a marginal improvement in the cleanliness of our suite, nothing else changed and for the remainder of the cruise the hotel manger did not contact us to determine our level of satisfaction. The entertainment was very good and Seabourn have two aces in John Barron and his assistant CD Heather Clancy. In fact we would go so far as to say that John and Heather take the Quest from a four star operation to the six star it purports to be. We only attended one shore excursion which was so badly managed that we decided not to risk any others. Disembarkation in Cape Town was smooth. We said our goodbyes to the Captain, John and Heather and breathed a sigh of relief. In summary our first cruise with Seabourn was a bitter disappointment especially when you consider that we were celebrating my wife's 60th birthday. Needless to say we have made our feelings crystal clear to Rick Meadows, President and Lynn Narraway MD UK Business, and we have received a substantial amount of rhetoric via e-mail. The last e-mail from Ms Narraway contained a paragraph which was crass and ill conceived. She wrote " I hope that despite the issues you raised, you will consider sailing with Seabourn again under more favourable circumstances". She is not in any position to have any influence in creating the "favourable circumstances". If it was possible to change things, the hotel manager on Quest should have done so. We can only conclude that now that Seabourn is managed by Holland America the Seabourn experience of the past will remain in the past. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Seabourn Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.5 4.3
Entertainment 3.5 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 3.5 4.0
Service 4.5 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 5.0 4.3

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