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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise based on the recommendation of our travel agent who said it was the "best of the best" and it turns out they were very wrong on this cruise ship. Starting with finding a pair of dirty women's ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the recommendation of our travel agent who said it was the "best of the best" and it turns out they were very wrong on this cruise ship. Starting with finding a pair of dirty women's underwear on the floor of our cabin upon check-in, being served frozen steak in their "nice" restaurant, finding all 40 chaise lounges at the pool "reserved" while 3 people were in the pool, being ignored by bar staff and the very limited dining hours outside of the 24 hour room service which didn't offer a lot of choices. The entertainment wasn't well publicized and from what we heard from other passengers it was stale at best. We took one ship sponsored excursion that was shown as very strenuous that we ended up with 2 older couples that should have been asked to take another excursion as they held up the group considerably. The excursion guide, even though we were running an hour behind our lunch, forced us to a shop where her "friend" was working the counter where she obviously had a side deal going. Getting on and off the boat at the start and end of the cruise was very easy and the tenders at the smaller ports offered the same ease of use. The ports we stopped at P Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and ... Read More
Having sailed three times previously with Seabourn,we are used to being wowed by their fabulous standards. However this time we noticed straight away that things were different. The cabin balcony had a dirty towel on the balcony, and when I leaned over the handrail my arms were the covered in wet varnish.. The vase had no flower in and the fridge did not have our requested drinks, it was empty .The water bottle was half full and looked cloudy as if it had not been clean and refreshed. I went to Seabourn Square to speak to the someone about my problem, and was given an apology. On returning back to my cabin, I was informed by my husband that there was hair in the bath and the top of a razor on the shelf!! I went back to Seabourn Square and spoke to the head of housek,who apologised and said they would ensure that from now on she would ensure the rest of our cruise would be stress free. Restaurant Day one had to seek out a waiter and ask for a drink at lunch. Dinner asked if they had Pinot Noir and received a blank look? When my husband said he did not like the red, the waiter proceeded to put new wine in the same glass despite a small amount of the old wine still being in the glass. We had to ask for re fills. My lobster Thermidor was full of a brown mushroom sauce, with only a tiny bit of lobster Having made this dish numerous times I have never used mushrooms! We found the menu slightly repetitive and not their usual standard Extra Mile No Seabourn experience All in all very disappointed therefore I will be trying a new luxury cruise line Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked a V1 suite but at the time they had an offer of a 2 suite upgrade to V3. We were advised that we had been allocated a V6 suite just under two weeks from departure. An up sell letter had arrived some 2 months from departure asking ... Read More
We booked a V1 suite but at the time they had an offer of a 2 suite upgrade to V3. We were advised that we had been allocated a V6 suite just under two weeks from departure. An up sell letter had arrived some 2 months from departure asking for £999 each for a V5/V6 so we were glad we hadn’t taken up the offer. Embarkation We received no help with the luggage at the airport. On departing the arrivals baggage hall we were met and moved to an initial holding spot while others joined the group. We were then moved to another holding spot further on which at least had seats. Ground staff didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what they were doing. Eventually we were marched on again hauling our luggage all the way to the coach which was a considerable distance. It was interesting that the 6* cruise line treated us this way when Cunard took their passengers luggage immediately after exiting the reclaim area. On arrival at the port we were surprised that we didn’t have to complete a health declaration form? Also surprising was that there was no pressure to use the hand wash on boarding. We checked in in the main theatre and headed for our cabin but there was nobody to direct us to our cabin so make sure you know where to go before you arrive on the gangplank. Likewise there was no information on what dining was available on boarding. Our Cabin Steward did meet up with us after lunch with the soap selection and a glass of champagne. Life on board The theme of very little information continued on board. There were few announcements from either the Captain or the cruise director but this did increase slightly towards the end of the cruise. I heard one crew member rather bravely tell the Captain that some passengers were asking if he had left the ship as they never heard from him!! Until almost the end of the cruise there were no announcements when the ship was cleared to go ashore or where the gangway was located (it sometimes changed from the Herald the previous night). When we left Naples, our first port of call, we should have been heading for Trapani in Sicily but the next day we found a letter outside our cabin saying we were not going to Trapani due to bad weather. There was no information on what the revised itinerary was to be. The senior crew were almost invisible on board particularly the captain and there were no photos of them published in the Herald to enable us to spot them. The Wi-Fi on board was expensive which is again surprising for a 6* line when it is now provided free on many other economy cruise lines. The Cabin was well laid out and well maintained although now showing signs of heavy use with chips and scrapes. There is lots of storage. We got a bit fed up with the push to release cupboard doors after a while. There is no real walking area on the ship and in better weather the top deck will be jammed with sun loungers. We are glad we tried a shorter cruise before we booked 21 days to Antarctica. Our one sea day was enough for us on this size of ship. Our cabin was on deck 7 below the patio grill so we experienced some noise from pool deck above. Bad weather also produced a few creaks and groans so earplugs were essential The weight of the bath robes we found a problem. They were both extra large size? Whilst good quality bath robes are nice we found these too heavy to use. Following the introduction of the larger ships other reviewers commented on the staff competence. Some staff are obviously still in training but we never found this to be a problem. In general the service was excellent even in the upper reaches of the pool area. Smoking made walking round deck 9 unpleasant likewise having a coffee outside on deck 7. The weather on our cruise was bad so we didn’t have the opportunity to walk/sit in these areas much but if the weather had been better if would have been a problem Food and Drink Having followed the boards on CC I made sure that I got the complementary wine list when on board but when I asked for some of the wines the sommelier didn’t recognise them? I let her see the list and she said they must have changed it without telling her. Subsequently I got another one but this was completely different (and different from the one posted a few weeks back on CC). We found it best to ask for what you want and see if they can find it. We found a French waiter who came from Bordeaux and we asked him if they had any nice French wines so he gave us some advice. They do push the cheaper “featured wines” such as Trivento Malbec or Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc but don’t accept them and they will find you something better. Wine glasses are the same size for red and white wines (unless you buy a bottle) and they carefully only pour to around a third full. They are quite small glasses so you don’t really get through a lot of wine at dinner unless you get multiple refills. We liked the Stoneburn Sauvignon Blanc but it seemed to be running out towards the end of the cruise and the Oyster Bay was being pushed again. We also tried the Trivento but it was poor but liked a French Merlot and Bordeaux. These were the only 3 wines we uncovered that we liked so the limited wine selection meant we got a bit bored with it. We asked for specific beers (mainly ales) in the preferences section online but nothing was provided apart from 2 cans of Becks. I raised this with the cabin steward and she said she would investigate but nothing appeared. I also asked the bar tender at the pool and the club but they didn’t seem to know what they stocked. I saw a John Smiths beer can on board and then found Old Speckled Hen in the pool bar but both soon ran out due to the number of British on board. After a week on board they found some more ales and my cabin fridge was restocked but it wasn’t with any of the ales I asked for. We found the seating arrangements in the Colonnade quite poor. It was difficult to get in and out as the chairs are big and heavy. There are few tables for 2 so people tend to sit on the outside of a table for 4 making it difficult to get a seat on occasions. It gets really busy when the outside area can’t be used. On our third evening and one subsequently the Colonnade became reservations only making the main restaurant even busier. We saw some couples waiting in the club bar most nights to get a table. One of the highlights for me on a cruise is to have a cooked breakfast which I never have at home. I was not impressed with the hot breakfast on this ship and only ordered it twice. The only bacon available was crispy American which is all fat, the sausages were inedible, the hash browns were partly cooked grated potatoes etc. I tried a different order next morning so asked for medium poached eggs on toast. They arrived partly raw and runny sitting on a small piece of soggy toast. So what can go wrong with pancakes? Well Seabourn can show you. Soggy partly cooked in the middle and again inedible. Fortunately the cereal and fruit selection (some canned) was ok as were the yoghurts. The croissants at breakfast were also poor and many people picked them up in Seabourn Square together with a fresh coffee and took them into the Colonnade. The MDR dinner portions were just adequate if you had all 4 courses (including a desert). Side orders are available but are not on the menu but provided if you ask. They don’t always come in a separate dish but are added to your main plate. We had dinner in the TK grill one night and it was just OK. The clam chowder was awful and not very warm and the lobster was tough but the Dover sole was excellent. The service was too fast and we were out in one hour! Contrary to other reviewers there was no attempt to sell expensive wine to us. Perhaps we looked too poor. The plates in all dining venues were cold which particularly in the buffet where the food was only warm to start with made it difficult to have a warm meal. On balance we preferred the lunch meals in the colonnade to dinner in the MDR. Somehow the choice of food suited us better. We had one formal night on an 11 night cruise which hardly justifies carrying your posh clothes. The dress code was not enforced. One chap seated at a hosted table turned up in the MDR wearing a scruffy long cardigan and no tie on formal night!! Some staff were pulled out of the MDR to do room service at the last moment one night just as we entered and this caused chaos as they main server wasn’t told. They had no help for almost half an hour so service backed up. In general however the service was good. We found a nice table with good serving staff on our first night and asked for the same table every night. The coffee shop was excellent and we picked up our morning coffee here every day. The staff provided a carrier for us to take it back to the cabin. The snacks here were difficult to resist on occasions especially the profiteroles! Disembarkation The Disembarkation letter arrived a few days out but is was very ambiguous and when we sought clarification from reception she kept saying it is a “standard letter”. When we pushed her she said “I am trying to explain it to you”!!! Not exactly friendly! Can’t Seabourn have someone who has English as their first language read such standard letters and check they make sense. Disembarkation was a bit chaotic as we were told not to leave ship early as the luggage may not be ashore but on the other hand we were told to allow enough time to get our luggage and get to the bus? Our luggage labels were number/colour coded but no announcements were made when we should head to the gangway (which was located near to the cabins on deck 5 – the worst possible place on the ship. Conclusion We enjoyed our cruise in spite of the bad weather – but it could have been so much better. The embarkation/disembarkation needs improving, communication could be much better, the food could be better, the ship layout needs some changes at its upcoming refit, the WiFi should be included and the complementary wines should be improved. On balance we prefer Regent ships, the included excursions, flights and transfers and the food and unless we see a special itinerary at a special price we probably won’t use Seabourn again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
This is our fourth Seabourn cruise and the second time on the Odyssey. We knew that going late in the Fall, we could have difficult weather, but never expected a Category-2-force storm in the Med. Two of our ports became closed to us ... Read More
This is our fourth Seabourn cruise and the second time on the Odyssey. We knew that going late in the Fall, we could have difficult weather, but never expected a Category-2-force storm in the Med. Two of our ports became closed to us because of storm damage, but Seabourn found us alternative harbors that worked out perfectly. And Captain Emilian did an excellent job keeping us safe even if he couldn't stop the rocking in 80 mph winds and 24 ft swells. Our room stewardess (more about her later) kept us stocked with candied ginger and ginger ale. We had a large supply of Dramamine. So, even being on deck 10 aft, we never had a hint of a sea sickness. We embarked on a wet day with Seabourn checking us in at the grand salon so we could stay dry and there were people waiting by the curb for our bags. Nothing could have been faster or easier. As always, we loved our Penthouse Spa suite. It felt like home to us. Our room stewardess, Timea functioned as housekeeper, butler and friend. We loved her, both as a person and professionally. For us, with someone like Timea, we don't need an extra person to deal with in terms of a formal butler. She took fabulous care of us. I'd say that 90% of the time, we had outstanding food. We particularly loved The Earth and Sea on the patio. We had an amazing lamb shank dinner - went there every time it was offered. We also had a wonderful evening at Thomas Keller. I'm not sure why people haven't been happy with it in their reviews - we were thrilled with the decor, food and service. It's a delightful addition - and no extra charge with unlimited visits. We aren't big entertainment people, so I can't speak to this area. Our service in 99% of the trip was outstanding. Whether we wanted a special meal, extra candied ginger, room service or help on excursions everyone provided service with a smile and went out of their was to help us. Seabourn provided our shore excursions with a private car and guide. We had amazing people and saw the locations through local eyes. We always returned to the ship with appreciation and enjoyment of the place we were visiting. So, what didn't meet our standards. First, our veranda furniture was old and in poor condition. Timea found us some better cushions, but still not good quality. We could tell she was embarrassed by the poor quality. We found multiple rust stains on our veranda railings. Again, Timea tried to get this taken care of. Finally, they have a small putting area on the bow, but the golf clubs were left in the rain with the grips rotting. My husband returned disgusted with the horrible care. I'm afraid that Seabourn may have become as cash-cow for HAL and Carnival Corp rather than putting the money back into the ship. Even so with these issues, our cruise still exceeded expectations. And I've learned to live with the small imperfections in life. Just a side note, if you want glitz, glitter and glamor, Seabourn isn't the ship for you. It is understated elegance. We felt comfortable and at home - not in awe of the fancy decor. For us, it is our home-away-from-home. As I write this review, I'm trying to understand how come we had a better experience than previous reviewers - no answers yet. Our favorite hotels are Aman, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons and we found that our Seabourn cruise met or exceeded these luxury hotels/resorts. And offered us more for our money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the ... Read More
The choice was a birthday present from our kids and it was a great discovery. This is our first cruise. The staff was very nice, very professional, attentive. Special thanks to Fabrizio Cerruti, the hotel manager. Henry Halloy, the assistant director of the cruise, was incredibly generous, listening to our every detail. We also want to thank Frédéric for his impeccable service, his Francophonie, his smile, and his good advice. the cruise is rather romantic, cozy, hushed. We really appreciated the quality of the restaurants, the variety of menus, the freshness of the products, the talent of the chef. We did not take advantage of the pool which turns out to be quite small. The shows are of quality: violin, singing, magician ... the animation was perfect and Mr. Henry Halloy embodies this perfection. A lot of elegance! This first cruise in our life will remain etched in our memory, and the only desire is to go back on board! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a 7 day cruise, not sure why CC showing an 18 day voyage? Anyway, we have cruised quite a bit, mostly on Silversea but also have dabbled on Celebrity, HAL, RCCL, Paul Gauguin and Azamara. As much as we have liked SS, there were ... Read More
This was a 7 day cruise, not sure why CC showing an 18 day voyage? Anyway, we have cruised quite a bit, mostly on Silversea but also have dabbled on Celebrity, HAL, RCCL, Paul Gauguin and Azamara. As much as we have liked SS, there were a few things lacking and we wanted to see if Seabourn is more our taste. So we booked this trip primarily to try out Seabourn as we have done the Med several times before. EMBARKATION DAY: For the first time ever, we flew in same day as embarkation. Risky I know since it was a transatlantic flight from Florida to Rome, but all worked out ok. SB was there to pick us up. Although it took over an hour to finally leave the airport on the bus because of some issues with Rome airport personnel not being very helpful with a couple passengers that needed wheelchairs. Trip is about an hour to Civitavechia port, bus broke down in the middle of the highway. Finally after about 20 mins, the driver was able to get us on our way. Upon arrival at the ship, check in was super easy and fast. Cabins werent ready yet, so we grabbed lunch at the Colonnade which was delicious and then we explored the ship. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: WOW, so beautiful. It is a brand new ship, so I expected it to be modern and elegant it certainly was. Beautiful colors and materials. Being SS folks, we of course compared it to another ultra luxury ship and we thought Seabourn was much nicer, although SS’s newest ship the Muse is beautiful and pretty close to this ship when it comes to modern luxury. We particularly loved the Seabourn Square area. What a great idea, to have a huge comfortable space with lots of seating and windows with the guest services/shore excursions right in the center and they sit at actual desks. Seemed to be a more civilized way of doing things, more conducive to that relaxed vibe they always talk about and certainly lived up to for th duration of the cruise. The coffee shop is also in this space....just seemed like a great use of space I haven’t seen on any other ship. All of the spaces were gorgeous. CABIN: Again, very luxurious. We had a veranda stateroom and very comfortable in size and set up like what we are used to. We particularly liked the table and chairs set up across from the sofa which was a nicer place to have room service than just on the coffee table like most ships. Bed was very comfortable...and I m picky about that . I prefer a bit of a softer mattress otherwise I dont sleep well. We also thought there was plenty of storage of space for everything , we didnt feel like we had to get creative in order to store everything. DINING: THE RESTAURANT: we ate here twice. Lovely space. Service was slower both times than we care for....1.5 - 2 hrs is a long time for me to sit still. Food was good though and I like the page of regular items always available in addition to the daily things that changed throughout ship. Partner has seafood allergies and other aversions....and he didnt seem to have any problem finding something he liked each time. SUSHI: We dont eat sushi so didnt try it and didnt hear any feedback from other passengers. THE GRILL BY THOMAS KELLER: only 1 reservation was allowed for this sailing. We definitely would have liked to eat here again. It was delicious and service was excellent. It was a lot of food but all excellent. We had heard mixed reviews on this restaurant before boarding, but we really liked it a lot and loved the bar that is there as well. We would have drinks nightly at the TK bar regardless of where we ate dinner. The piano player was a super nice guy and enjoyed his playing. THE COLONNADE: we ate here 3 times I believe. We really enjoyed it. We really liked a couple of the servers and they took very good care of us. Dinners were excellent, often themed and it was a much quicker and more relaxed experience which suited us just fine. We also ate here during lunches and thought they had a very good buffet compared to the other luxury line we sail. Also really liked the outdoor seating here as well. THE PATIO: only ate here for a few lunches. We loved everything we had and liked the buffet section as well. Its a nicer set up and display from SS. Thought there were more options as well. We didnt do dinner here as each time we thought about it, the menu wasnt very appealing. IN SUITE DINING: we only did a few breakfasts in room and no other meals. Breakfast was fine. Nothing extraordinary but we didnt really order anything complicated. More importantly, our order was right each time and it was on time ! ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: we never do shows much at night and aren’t big on activities either. There were no sea days on this trip so really wasnt time for much . We went to one show and did enjoy it and liked that they had ballroom dancers in addition to the singers...thought it was an excellent addition. We dont do trivia or play bridge. But we do occasionally go into the casino. The manager was a super nice guy....we played slots but the mgr saw me watching other games and offered to teach me...thought that was nice. SERVICE: I think this is where Seabourn really shines. It s hard to put into words but this is really where they won us over. There was something about how they interacted that made us feel like they were being more than just polite or professional, but really were genuinely interested in us enjoying our cruise. We had dinner one night with the cruise director and another night with the hotel director. Both terrific guys and really really enjoyed their company. I often times pass on those invites for dinner. I like our table for 2...I am not usually interested in “making friends” at dinner. I will go eat with people we have met out that day but to be introduced at dinner, just not my thing. But we really enjoyed them. The crew that interacts with customers is primarily European and South African...I dont know if its something about that mix, but they were all so warm. We did have one issue regarding our flight home that we were trying to resolve most of the cruise. We had booked airfare with SB and so we needed to go through them to handle our problem. It was a “no” at first, then a maybe then a “no” then a yes.....it took a while but the guest services manager was very persistent with SB corporate office in Seattle and by the end of the cruise, we got what we wanted and so we were thrilled at how much they really tried. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: We missed our first port of Bonifacio on Corsica because we had gale force winds that first night and crazy swells. A lot of people were sick. We werent able to get into Bonifacio so the captain substituted Ajaccio which is a port we were new to , so it worked out fine. We also visited Livorno (Florence), Santa Margherite (Portofino), Bandol, Palamos, Palma de Mallorca and ended in Barcelona. We only did 2 shore excursions. Both were pretty good and they kept the groups to a small number on the buses. The other places we did our own thing. FINAL THOUGHTS: We were so impressed and feel like Seabourn is now our favorite cruise line. However, we do like variety , so we have several other cruises booked not on Seabourn, but as soon as they come out with their full 2020 schedule, we will book something again for sure! Our only real negative would have to be the pool area. It just seemed very crowded. I didnt like the set up. Lots of seating for the patio grill folks eating. There’s no deck down the sides of the ship on the pool deck level, just some tiered decks on each side of the pool, but those areas seemed so hot. For a ship of 600 , we thought the pool area was inadequate . I dont think I would want to do this ship in the Caribbean. I much prefer a large pool, pool deck with decks down both sides of ship with plenty of areas to lounge , spread out and find shade. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we ... Read More
The Seabourn Encore looks beautiful outside and inside. We boarded in Barcelona for 20 days cruising the western and central Mediterranean before returning to Barcelona. It was a great trip. But there were shortcomings. For wha we paid, we expected a little more. The ship, which resembles a yacht, is easy to get around in. The main dining rooms are attractive. The suites, while not huge, are very nice with a sofa, two chairs, a table, a comfortable bed, a walk-in closet, a tiny dressing stand, and plenty of storage space. Bathrooms include a tub and shower--small and barely adequate. The veranda is good for two people. The ship is well maintained. We had cabin 837, a perfect location. The staff was mostly friendly and outgoing, although the old Seabourn custom of remembering your name doesn't work with 600 passengers. Drinks are included in your fare, and waiters were anxious to keep glasses filled. Some of the food was good, some very good, and some excellent. Desserts and salads were particularly good. We only had a couple of dishes that didn't pass muster. The wine was just fine, although we're well aware it's not $50 a bottle wine. Service in the dining rooms could be good, or it could be slow. The wait staff didn't always appear organized, and some staffers were not very accomplished. One room service breakfast came 30 minutes late, and the waiter dropped a glass of orange juice at our front door. Not an example for the cruise pamphlet. The Colonnade sometimes had quirky and unappealing menus. Seabourn would do far better by returning to the Lido Buffet concept with buffets in the morning, noon and evening. The captain spoke to us daily, but if you missed his talk you were out of luck. The ship should do far better at providing details about the progress of the trip. Announcements over the loud speaker are strictly limited, which is good, but the television system should fill the blanks by providing lots of information for us to access when we want. It didn't. There were other examples of a less-than-luxury cruise. There is no free internet, and we were informed of that rather rudely when we asked. There is one room with five washing machines for all the passengers. Not very considerate. The dress code wasn't clear, and standards wasn't enforced. Unsupervised children needed to be called down by ship staff, but weren't. The Seabourn Square is a very pleasant place, but the “guest services” staffers frequently didn't have answers to questions. The destinations/shore excursion programs need an overhaul. One ship tour was inaccurately described. Once we were told a free shuttle would take us to the city center, but in fact it dropped us off a half a mile away. Shore excursions were overpriced, as on many ships, dnd didn't consider passengers with mobility issues. We needed more information, such as when we would cruise past the Rock of Gibraltar. It wasn't forthcoming. There were great unexpected touches. A flamenco show was added late in the afternoon before we left Malaga. But overall, while we had a fine time, we expected a little more from such an expensive “luxury” cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is ... Read More
I think we may have found the Goldilocks ship on this ten day cruise. This is, first of all, a beautifully decorated ship in every way, colors, designs, spaces are all lovely in a muted but sophisticated way. Kudos to whoever is responsible for this. I have probably been on twenty ships from a dozen different lines over the years and I cannot think of a better one. The ship is designed so that basically, all of the cabins are pretty much forward and all of the "activities" are aft. This way, there is nobody bouncing down your hall on the way to something 24/7. None of the cabins is far from some elevator. We were in 655 which was a "standard" balcony cabin on deck 6, but otherwise not at all "standard." While the actual size may be more or less the same as most other upscale ships, it seemed much larger and, for example, I know the bathroom was larger with separate full length tub and free standing shower and two sinks. Major storage everywhere, a pleasant seating area, fridge, dining table, balcony, furniture, set-ups etc. all of the first order. Most of the "white suit" crew was the usual array of east/west European although not exclusively. Every single member of the crew warranted five stars for attitude and graciousness. The area called Seabourn Square on Deck 7 served as the concierge area, as well as home of numerous newspapers, a coffee bar, internet points and just a pleasant place to be. Never any lines at the various concierge desks. The main pool deck is on 9, but we found a smaller haven on 5 aft with a pool, hot tubs and lounging chairs that was never crowded. There are sufficient bars on several decks and plenty of food when and where you want it. Thoughtful touches everywhere. Our little area 5 aft, for example, had its own little min fridge stocked with ice, soft drinks and, of course, anything you every wanted to order from "room service" which will deliver anywhere in the ship. The Observation Lounge forward on deck 10 is lovely and you never waited for more than two minutes for someone to show up for your drink order. Plenty of space in the outdoor areas and the Thomas Keller bar was a great place to relax before dinner. The Restaurant was never crowded and had no "bad" tables - you were also given the option to sit with fellow passengers or not at any meal. The Thomas Keller Restaurant on 8 had a superb menu - but I will follow anyone anywhere for a good Dover sole meuniere or a nice steak. You are guaranteed one sitting up there, but we managed three by hanging around the bar a lot and getting to know frequent Seabourn guests. Most guests on Seabourn are stuck on this line and never seem to go anywhere else. Many were on the cruise prior to ours and/or stayed on for the next 11 day cruise. We really didn't know how anyone could stand this kind of life without a coronary for more than the length of our cruise. All of the drinks, sodas etc. were top shelf. Secret: just because it is not formally listed as available, doesn't mean it isn't. This is a "can-do" kind of place and we found many wines by the glass that were available for the asking. The guests were of the elderly persuasion ( as am I), but there were a fair number of younger couples, families with teens and even a baby somewhere I heard of but never saw. Speaking of which, even though this ship was at capacity 600, you rarely saw more than a few dozen around except on deck 9 during the one ship day we had. The ports were sometimes interesting, sometimes, throwaways, and we were content to rent a scooter or electric car or similar many times on the smaller islands just to see the sights from a different perspective. We took no formal tours. Many of the guests rarely left the ship - this is the kind of ship you sail on because it is so pleasant to sit in the sun reading a book or snoozing on a deck lounger. My companion hit the spa for a massage and found it up to snuff. The exercise area looked nice and perfectly adequate although we did not partake. There is a small casino that was virtually empty at all times. OK, to preserve some credibility and to defer suspicion that I am a shill for Seabourn, I'll pick a couple of nits. Half the menu at the Restaurant never varied ( it was still quite good), but there could have been a little more variety on the other half. Many of the red wines by the glass (included) were, from my perspective, not up to snuff, but I gradually found several I liked "off" the list. The flat screen TV allowed only minimal controls ( ie. no CC) and bad volume ( even for those with good hearing like my companion) on several of the Movies/TV shows on demand - regular TV stations ( mostly news) were fine. The entertainment was nothing to write home about, but never is and we rarely even make the effort. And that's about it, folks. I guess you can say that we have drunk the Kool-Aid and will, in the future, limit our cruises (except with little kids) to Seabourn (not much for little kids to do on this ship). We went ahead and paid the deposit which comes with a 5 % discount on a future cruise or your money back. I expect we will not be getting our money back. Happy Trails. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
When Diane Love and I completed the first segment of our 61-day journey near the end of Encore's inaugural year, we found that in many ways it delivers what Seabourn promises-- contemporary design, more dining and entertainment venues ... Read More
When Diane Love and I completed the first segment of our 61-day journey near the end of Encore's inaugural year, we found that in many ways it delivers what Seabourn promises-- contemporary design, more dining and entertainment venues than its other ships, more open deck areas for swimming and sunning, and the feel of an upscale resort. Encore and its sister ship due next year fulfill the company's commitment to pursue an exponentially larger customer base. Its three other ships launched in the last decade each carry 450 passengers. Encore, with 600 passengers, alone carries the combined capacity of all three of the previous fleet of Spirit, Legend, and Pride that was sold to competing brand Windstar. We found a mostly enthusiastic ship's company and many satisfied fellow guests. About half of the passengers are repeat-customers from its previous, smaller ships, members of what Seabourn calls its “Club.” This is an outstanding loyalty rate that testifies to the brand's historical appeal despite the conversion to nearly-mid-size ships. The ships are a size that it believes can better compete with on-board dining and entertainment offerings of Regent, Crystal, and some other top-rated cruise lines. New Seabourn passengers never sailed on the 200-passenger Spirit, Legend, or Pride. They never had what many considered the superior environment of “the Yachts of Seabourn,” the tag line of yesteryear's quite different experience. Before the Encore launch this year, Seabourn's 450 passenger ships still evoked some of that small-ship experience, or at least passengers like us pretended they did. These vessels-- the Quest, Sojourn, and Odyssey-- presented a challenge to Seabourn as it rapidly doubled and redoubled recruiting and training to staff the ships. The results were mixed, at least in our travels on each of the three, but they still triggered our memories of the Spirit. For us, the bulked-up Encore lacks this link to the past. The magic of the Spirit was created by mutual agreement between passengers and crew, all of whom embraced the fantasy that they were aboard a private yacht and all of whom behaved appropriately. Guests we encountered on three Spirit itineraries were self-assured, friendly without spilling their life story in the first five minutes of conversation, and had nothing to prove to fellow passengers. This self-confidence was perhaps most conspicuous in their dress, which was ironically not conspicuous. We all dressed like we were on a prosperous uncle's yacht. We remember no “formal nights.” In contrast, Seabourn's now much larger clientele includes many who would not appreciate the very old tuxedo joke: “Why would I want to dress like the maitre d'?” Today Seabourn makes social interaction a higher priority, which seems to be well-received by many new customers. But many of the tools used to facilitate instant friendships depart from the original small-ship experience. Early in each cruise there is a party of sorts stretched through all the guest decks and companionways. If you obsess about immediately knowing everything about everyone on-board, you may find it appealing to consume drinks and hors d'oeuvres in the confines of narrow passageways. We found it more like a college dorm party for new freshmen. Add the likes of a costume trivia playoff and passenger “glee club” performance and you get the idea. Love it or hate it. The crowd on our first segment from Civitavecchia to Dubai seemed a bit older than some past Seabourn cruises. We are not privy to the company's data, of course, but the need to fill hundreds more “bed nights” may have expanded Seabourn's net to older targets through different agent promotions and marketing channels. Public, unguarded conversations about options for hip replacement, the benefit of dying quickly if you have cancer, and extended family health histories made us sometimes feel we were on a Holland America cruise. Holland America, which attracts an older profile, has been the sister line of Seabourn since management of both was consolidated by big brother Carnival, the ultimate owner, a few years ago. Seabourn built larger public spaces to make everyone more comfortable, but also books many more passengers to fill the bigger ship. To manage poolside crowds, bulletins remind clients that sun bathing is available not just at the main pool midships, but at new locations fore and aft. In Encore's popular forward Observation Bar, the volume of passengers who have had a few pops sometimes results in increased passenger volume. That is to say that you may quite clearly hear gratuitously loud conversational outbursts in English or non-English languages, including German or New Jersey or Australian. Cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres and teatime treats (except the scones) are no longer passed in the Observation. You must choose from a self-service “tapas” buffet and cart everything to your seat. This provides a greater variety but less "luxury" than passed hors d'oeuvres, which are still offered in the Club lounge. New to us is a bar menu that includes additional charges for what Seabourn considers premium liquors. Seabourn has also been trying to sell wine tasting events from $99 to $500 per person, and individual vintage bottles at meals. All this in an all-inclusive format that promises no charge for fine wine and spirits throughout the ship and no requirement or expectation of tipping. The largest space is the “Grand Salon,” used for daytime lectures and demonstrations. The Encore's slightly larger stage makes space for more ambitious evening entertainment programs. This change has led Seabourn to present “production” events many nights, featuring four singers and two dancers. We found these evenings somewhat comparable to dinner theater, perhaps a reasonable alternative to the overwrought productions on the largest mainstream cruise ships. We would have preferred a jazz trio or a chanteuse. The Grand Salon and Encore's other lounges seem to us better suited to a cabaret duo (as practiced in the Observation) or jazz piano and bass, rather than a mini costume epic. Other nights entertainers come from the rotation of singers and instrumentalists and comics and the occasional magician that is familiar to regular cruisers on any cruise line. For Seabourn regulars, the Grand Salon is best known for numerous fat pillars that block views of the performers from many angles and only a slight rise in seating from front to back that likewise can compromise views. This invariably results in intermittent Jack-in-the Box moments throughout every performance as audience members jump up to try to find a better view. The problem has not been corrected on the Encore. The Restaurant, Encore's main dining room, proved the best choice on this trip and was consistently serving more interesting and better prepared food than our personal experience on Seabourn's 450-passenger ships. However, the “best” table on a particular voyage depends on rotating personnel and other factors, so next sailing you may prefer the poolside Patio, the Colonnade, the new Sushi bar, or the Keller Grill. The net of 1) a bigger ship, 2) ample passengers, and 3) broader demographic and social profile yields an environment akin to a country club or private beach club on a crowded holiday weekend. Whether that delivers what Seabourn advertises-- “ultra-luxury”-- is in the eye of the beholder and depends on the personal experience and preferences of each customer. If you have not stayed at l'hotel du Cap in Antibes or dined at long-gone La Cote Basque in New York or enjoyed a villa at the Four Seasons Jimbarin Bay in Bali or (fill in the blank with your own expectations), you may wrestle with an appropriate way to best characterize Seabourn Encore. Next we continued from Dubai to Singapore to Bali to Sydney. The final legs of our eight plus weeks on Encore were a vivid reminder of the overwhelming importance of people-- both staff and guests-- to the enjoyment and satisfaction of any cruise. About 95 percent of the original 600 passengers who boarded with us in Rome disembarked in Dubai or Singapore, along with a large percentage of the guest-facing staff. We found that we had set sail on a quite different experience onward to our final destination, Sydney. The crew and staff who stayed aboard continued to remember our names (a cornerstone of the Seabourn experience) and deliver the level of service we saw beginning in Rome. Some newcomers did not perform as well and there seemed to be a shortage of personnel during peak demand. Service deteriorated further after Bali. The new cruise director who boarded in Singapore was intent on amping up social events, which led to some odd results. Popular trivia contests appeared more often in the forward Observation Bar, sometimes overlapping afternoon tea or evening hors d'oeuvres. Some bean bag games, which had been played on a small outdoor space on Deck 7 aft of Seabourn Square, moved to the main pool. This necessitated closing one side of the pool sun deck to accommodate the dozen or so people who chose to toss bean bags, clap, and cheer, while the rest of us tried to read or sleep. Encore does offer a more serene escape from the main pool, The Retreat on Deck 12. Access, including a private cabana, is charged at about a $300 daily premium above the "all-inclusive" cruise fare. Caviar in the Surf, which Seabourn labels a "Signature Event," moves to the main pool when staged on a sea day. On one such occasion the cruise director apologized in advance for turning up the music, and then set it so loud that it could have been the ship's Life Boat Muster alarm. I took ear plugs to the next Caviar in the Pool. Sample lyrics: Mr. Worldwide to infinity You know the roof on fire We gon' boogie oogie oogie, jiggle, wiggle and dance Like the roof on fire We gon' drink drinks and take shots until we fall out Like the roof on fire Now baby get your booty naked, take off all your clothes, And light the roof on fire Tell her, tell her baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby I'm on fire I tell her baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby baby I'm a fireball Fireball Meanwhile, the wave of 500 plus new guests appeared more diverse in nationality and in language (good) and in savoir faire (bad). This diversity cut both ways, adding to the richness of many conversations and interactions, while subtracting from the usual impression of sophistication and civility among Seabourn passengers. At one port, the captain had to urgently announce over the ship-wide public address system that passengers must stop throwing soda bottles off their balconies to children in small boats 5 to 11 decks below. One can be forgiven for sometimes thinking they boarded the wrong ship after watching: a passenger prepare his caviar by mixing all the condiments into the central caviar bowl and eating it with a silver tablespoon, or a diner use his hand to grab a barbecue rib from the family-style serving platter, gnaw it down, and then pitch it back across the table into the platter. Such incidents were certainly not typical, but they were not unique or isolated. Between Dubai and Singapore we did get our wish for a charming chanteuse, British vocalist Laura Broad. Unfortunately, Grand Salon entertainment after Singapore became more and more narrowly targeted, to be polite. Two evenings the acts were the worst we have ever suffered at sea. Most every employee on a Seabourn ship does their best to satisfy, and so our thanks go to all of them. The following were special: Dimir, the Restaurant maitre d', whose attitude and extra treats kept customers happy. Slobodan, the ship's chief bartender, who not only appeared virtually simultaneously at all the ship's venues to smooth service, but also corrected any discrepancy he saw beyond the bars in his travels throughout the ship. Victoria, the bartender in the Observation, who understood that her job is performance art and deserves a standing ovation. Cindy, the server at a crucial corner of the Colonnade, who kept the entire buffet buzzing. Anarita and Bruno, the "Duo" in the Observation lounge, who every night performed outstanding, sophisticated music despite a sometimes raucous bar audience. Reflecting on all 61 days of our travels, Diane and I concluded that Encore is a substantially different product that has attracted many materially different customers, compared to Seabourn's other ships. The suddenly obvious difficulties of imposing the historical Seabourn ambiance and service on a 600 passenger ship suggest that the cruise line may have entered a less discerning customer segment that is at odds with its "ultra-luxury" aspirations. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
After reading some negative reviews about the Encore prior to our cruise, I was apprehensive. All of that apprehension melted away quickly starting with embarkation in Civitivecchia. Embarkation was totally painless, taking less than ten ... Read More
After reading some negative reviews about the Encore prior to our cruise, I was apprehensive. All of that apprehension melted away quickly starting with embarkation in Civitivecchia. Embarkation was totally painless, taking less than ten minutes. We were ushered by smiling crew members to the Colonnade where a wonderful luncheon buffet awaited new passengers. While we were dining, it was announced that all rooms were ready for us and when we arrived in our room, all our luggage was there. Our Veranda 5 room was lovely. There was plenty of space, including a very comfortable queen size bed, a sofa, and a table with chairs large enough for dining for two. The bathroom including both a tub and shower (the shower was small) and two sinks. Our veranda was large enough for two chairs and a side table. The TV was large enough and very easy to operate. Our mini bar was stocked with the bourbon my husband has order, but not the vodka I had ordered. That was corrected soon enough as we let our stewardess know about the missing order. We did not see our stewardess again during the entire cruise, but our room was tidied and cleaned twice a day. She fell a bit short on replenishing our ice bucket and clearing away used glassware. Next time, we will point this kind of thing out--and hope for improvement. On port days, we found that the excursions were very well organized. We took an excursion in each port and found several of them to be exceptional (our favorite was the Eze/Rothchild House at the port of Monte Carlo) and some were just ok. We don't regret taking any of them. With all but one excursion, we were back to the ship in time for a late lunch at the Colonnade. We LOVED lunching on the deck patio outside of the Colonnade. There were items to order from a menu if we did not wish to do the buffet. The lunches were leisurely and such a good memory now. We ate most dinner in the Main Dining Room (called The Restaurant) on this ship. There were adequate choices--special entrees, appetizers of the day as well as mainstay classics like grilled salmon, steaks, etc. I found myself enjoying the classics more than the specials. All of the food in the MDR was good and the service was quite well done. We had a couple of dinners in the Colonnade on the deck patio. I would have preferred access to the MDR menu instead of the evening Colonnade menu, but the venue made up for it. Nothing wrong with the food there, just not my favorite choices. The one dinner we had on the Patio (around the swimming pool) was quite good. We enjoyed it immensely. Entertainment was good. We didn't go to the show every night, but did go more than half of the time. The singers/dancers were quite excellent and entertaining. We also enjoyed the one woman show put on by the Assistant Cruise Director and the classical pianist who did two recitals. A real high spot was Suzanne Jane, a talented singer/pianist who performed in the Thomas Keller Grill Bar. This particular bar was our favorite place on the ship to have before dinner or after dinner drinks. Now--a word about the size of the Encore. We had sailed previously on a Silver Sea ship (the Shadow) which is smaller with fewer passengers and worried that we would not like this larger ship. We did NOT find that to be the case. In fact, the ship still felt like a smaller ship and we never felt crowded. Perhaps there was a crowd somewhere, but we just didn't see it. The Encore is a beautiful ship with quite a few choices for venues for relaxing, eating, drinking and being entertained. We found its atmosphere to be very pleasant and just about perfect for our cruse. We met some really nice people onboard and have corresponded with several of them since the cruise. One high spot was the Rock The Boat dance party on the deck. This was held the night we were in the port of Monte Carlo. It was so beautiful to be in that port and out on the deck at night surrounded by the twinkling light of Monte Carlo. The music never stopped during the party. There was lots of dancing--and everyone seemed to be having a very good time. We also enjoyed a tour of the Bridge. The Second Officer conducted the tour and the captain came in to say hello. In addition, we did a tour of the Galley. What fun. We also enjoyed a cooking demonstration by the executive chef on our At Sea day. It was enjoyable. In summary, I could find very little fault with the Encore. It's a lovely ship and it had a great crew. Great fun was had by all. P. S. I agree with others that The Reserve on the top deck is a total waste. We did go up to see it and it did to look like something that was worth over $300/day. I don't think it was ever fully used except perhaps on the At Sea day. I think it should be opened up for all the passengers. In fact, that is pretty much a no brainer. Everyone loves that Seabourn ships are one class ship and I think they should stay that way. We've already booked another cruise--this time on the new Ovation which will set sail for the first time in May 2018. We'll be boarding June 9th! We can't wait. I know it is going to be another great vacation. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We selected Seabourne because of cruise critic reviews and friends who sailed with Seabourne Boarding in Rome was seamless plenty of staff and no waiting time at all First impression of ship really good everything fresh and gleaming Staff ... Read More
We selected Seabourne because of cruise critic reviews and friends who sailed with Seabourne Boarding in Rome was seamless plenty of staff and no waiting time at all First impression of ship really good everything fresh and gleaming Staff very welcoming Luggage arrived promptly in cabin Cabin itself very good spacious with good seized balcony Room service excellent any orders arrived on time and food hot. Housekeeping fine very attentive and helpful Food in Restaurants initially seemed very good but as week went by some flaws started to emerge. Main problem seemed to be the that kitchen found it difficult to get temperatures correct i.e. lamb ordered medium rare coming out very rare even after two attempts Similiar problem with Steaks. Choices generally pretty good though an element of boredom as time went by Surprisinglly worst meal was in the Keller grill my wife getting a lobster Thermidor very tough and smothered in heavy thick bland sauce Replacement sole fine Staff excellent Shore excursions well organised and guides by and large fine. Perhaps too many ports with tenders. Staff at Seabourne Square very helpful and attentive Entertainment Whilst kept fairly simple had many fine points particularly the Seabourne singers and dancers.Probably the biggest single complaint which was echoed by many passengers was the poor internet While understanding that satellite internet is not the fasted charging the ridicolous prices i.e. Almost 250 dollars per instrument per week for continuous reception close to rip off Seabourne should really look at this Would i cruise with Seabourne again most likely though the Internet situation really leaves a bad taste Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We have been switching back and forth between Seabourn and Silversea for the past few years hoping to once again find the level of quality that we experienced when first sailing with both lines several years ago. We had become ... Read More
We have been switching back and forth between Seabourn and Silversea for the past few years hoping to once again find the level of quality that we experienced when first sailing with both lines several years ago. We had become disappointed in recent years due to an overall declining experience (service, food, land tours) with both. We gave it one more try this year with the (new) Seabourn Encore. Our 10 day cruise began in Rome, then had ports of call at Amalfi, Sicily, Malta (2 ports), Corsica, Monaco, and Spain (ending in Barcelona). There was one weather glitch which forced the cancellation of the Bandol, France stop; but what are you going to do--can't fight the sea. The crew made this unscheduled sea day as nice as possible. All in all, Seabourn has put it back together in our opinion. Really nice ship, top service, great food (Michael Keller was excellent, and the sushi bar is a nice touch!), and some pretty cool land tours. We never felt as if there were upwards of 600 passengers on this ship; always plenty of 'space'; never had a wait at any restaurant; things felt peaceful on this ship. If you are into it, the fitness room is pretty decent; nice selection of machines, dumbbells up to 50 lbs. (more would be better, but...); plenty of aerobic equipment. Let's hope this is a permanent change for the better with Seabourn. We did not partake in the entertainment, hence my rating of average. We did however hear others indicate that (at least some of) the shows were pretty good. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Cruise chosen as it was high quality and all inclusive. Pricing would encourage appropriate passengers. Being out of holiday season, very few children on the cruise. Embarkation was very efficient and finding our cabin was no ... Read More
Cruise chosen as it was high quality and all inclusive. Pricing would encourage appropriate passengers. Being out of holiday season, very few children on the cruise. Embarkation was very efficient and finding our cabin was no difficulty, despite being our first time on board. Ship to shore transfers, including when tenders were used, were efficient and polite, with staff doing all they could to ensure safe transfer. Selection of port destinations was excellent, with a range of interesting locations with a variety of different things of interest. Valletta and Monaco were probably the highlights, with Xlendi/Gozo and Palamos probably the least interesting. The shore guides were particularly good, with a good depth of knowledge and good communication of the subject matter. The group sizes were always reasonable. Food was always good quality and well presented. The Restaurant was particularly to our liking as the portions were good sizes and the range of options considerable. The variation of Thomas Keller dishes introduced an interesting range of alternatives. The wine selection was satisfactory, with a wine, from the standard wine list, to suite most palates. The Thomas Keller restaurant was a little too pretentious for us, but the food and service were first class. The Thomas Keller meal served in the Colonnade was rather too American for our taste, but was nevertheless tasty. The on board entertainment was generally of a high standard, with the Entertainment Director and Seaborne Singers particularly good. The comedienne and baritone singer were average. Overall, it was a most enjoyable introduction to cruising and will certainly not be our last. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Our fourth Seabourn cruise, reflecting our opinion that Seabourn is the finest line around today, How to judge the new Encore? Against other lines and ships, or against Seabourn's other, somewhat smaller vessels and extremely high ... Read More
Our fourth Seabourn cruise, reflecting our opinion that Seabourn is the finest line around today, How to judge the new Encore? Against other lines and ships, or against Seabourn's other, somewhat smaller vessels and extremely high standards? Both. Brief background: my spouse and I have been crossing and cruising for over 50 years, since we were kids. Many ships, many lines, many years. Overall, it doesn't get better than this. Ship: absolutely stunning. Encore follows the design and locational conventions of Seabourn's other ships, but with one additional deck, all-veranda suites (didn't mind the picture-windows), and larger public rooms. The decor features more wood and softer tones. Bravo, Adam Tihany - whose name is featured in all the advertising. "Cabin": Our party had two suites - one Penthouse and one Veranda. The Penthouse Suites are spacious and larger than those on other Seabourn ships - ample for two and liveable for three (a few take three passengers). Veranda Suites are a bit larger than other Seabourn ships. Both feature furnished verandas, fully stocked / restocked fridges, tubs (whirlpool in the Penthouse), marbled bathrooms ... the brochures / website will tell you more. Suites of all types are perfectly maintained. Veranda suites on the lowest deck have part-metal railings, which don't interfere much but reduce the fare a bit. Dining: The (regular) Restaurant is very handsome, and more attractive than the well-decorated Restaurants on the other ships. Tables for two, four, six, a dozen ... just ask. On this voyage, there seemed to be fewer invitations to dine with a staff member / entertainer; too bad; perhaps they were busier on the new ship. Cuisine in the Restaurant varies from very good to superb, with daily "specials" backed up by always-available menu items. Feel free to ask for two desserts, or two appys, or any combination of anything. Dishes are all prepared a la minute - no steam tables and reheating here! The free wines are sometimes good, sometimes adequate, and always described in detail: taste and see if you like it; if not, there are other free options, or the fairly-priced winelist (except for a few extravagant vintages). The Colonnade buffets for breakfast are excellent, and supplemented by on-request dishes. Lunches are themed, but also have recurring items - something for every taste. The Thomas Keller Grill is a reservations-only alternative dining venue (no extra charge) featuring mostly nice steaks and chops and excellent (proper) Caesar Salad prepped tableside. Yet, the food (except for the Caesar) isn't much better than the Restaurant, and the service is not too smooth. Reserve and do it once, and get the Salad, but don't expect The French Laundry at sea. The Keller-"inspired" dishes in the Restaurant are more interesting. Service: Always a Seabourn strong point. The hotel staff are uniformly pleasant and helpful. They really can anticipate your desires. However, Encore had a large proportion of new hires, who were friendly and earnest but not quite as skillful as the veterans. On the smaller ships, the wait staff knew your name on the second or third day out, and what you liked to eat and drink. On Encore, there was somewhat less of that familiarity due to the increased number of passengers. Seabourn offers the finest service afloat, even if Encore isn't yet at the top of its game. Entertainment: A mixed bag, as on prior voyages. The Cruise Director, whom we knew from a prior voyage, was marvelous. The resident "Seabourn Singers and Dancers" were fine. The guest artists were a bit of a letdown. Better to go up to the Observation Bar after dinner or the "show" and enjoy the piano and vocals. Ports: Embarcation and Disembarcation were amazingly efficient. Took us maybe 10 minutes to check in; more staff at dockside than there were passengers. Many tender ports on this trip; well-handled. Rough seas prevented us from making Amalfi ... so the Captain re-routed to Sorrento where all of the tour buses were waiting for us. Shore excursions from the ship are not inexpensive, but very good. At Malta, we had the curator of the megalithic temple walk us through an unexcavated site ("I have only been in here about 10 times myself. We won't explore it for another 50 years. Please don't pick up any rocks.") Fellow Passengers: Convivial, well-traveled, interesting, and less than half Americans. Though Seabourn is a sophisticated experience, there were some children (say 7 to 12) who were well-behaved and happy. In the summer, one sees a younger crowd. Not really. There is never, ever a crowd or a line on Seabourn. Else: The Retreat is a reserve-only, extra-cost option. Book a cabana for the day, relax in the shade around a hot tub, ignore CNN on the wide-screen tv, and have the staff beg to bring you more champagne. One of the few extra-cost options on board, but worth it. If you have a sea day, here is the place to spend it. Tipping really is not expected. The staff are fairly-compensated, dedicated, and enjoy helping you have a good time. (We do tip the suite stewardess and selected waitstaff.) "Would you go again?" Yes, definitely, though I'd consider one of the smaller ships. Put down a refundable deposit while on board (don't have to choose a cruise) and get a discount when you book. Most passengers do. This is a luxury line at a premium price, but worth it. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The ship was new and nice, the pool areas were too small for all the guests aboard and it was hard to find available sunbeds, especially with people reserving them early in the day. The staff was friendly but over worked, and some were ... Read More
The ship was new and nice, the pool areas were too small for all the guests aboard and it was hard to find available sunbeds, especially with people reserving them early in the day. The staff was friendly but over worked, and some were quite new in their jobs. The drinks aboard were quite poorly mixed, and often way too strong or had a completely wrong taste. The food was ok, but nothing great, it is comparable to a 5 star all inclusive hotel, which this is esssentially is (floating 5 star hotel). The Seabourn singers and dancers who had shows in the grand salon, were divas, giving the impression that they were too good for what they were doing. Although the shows were not very good. There were some events called Rock the boat, which were quite entertaining where the staff also joined in for singing and dancing. They were probably the highlights of the tour. The excursions are poorly operated and the staff is not knowledgeable about them, I would recommend to refrain from joining any Seabourn operated tours, you will only be dissapointed. As this is a larger ship it will not will not dock in any of the smaller ports and you will have to go ashore by a Tender. I was quite disapointed that even in Monaco, we had to sail with a Tender to get to the harbour. If you have ever been on SilverSea before and hoping that this would be a little bit of the same, you could not be more wrong. SilverSea has much better service, and gives a much better experience. This is comparable to one of the low priced package deal cruises like MSC, however perhaps with a better suite. They did throw some good pool parties and had 2 caviar events, but the rest of the cruise was just a subpar experience. Better save the money spent on caviar to properly train the staff. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We choose this cruise because of ports and timing. From the very beginning we experienced a "bait and switch" operation that iwas littered with Nickle/Dime items. Brochures offer a 3 cabin upgrade yet none were available upon ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of ports and timing. From the very beginning we experienced a "bait and switch" operation that iwas littered with Nickle/Dime items. Brochures offer a 3 cabin upgrade yet none were available upon booking; a month before the cruise I received an upsell for the same upgrade at $1000 per passenger. The ships tenders as much as possible to save port fees and offers no shuttles in large ports.Ships depart early to save $. The captain changed a port saying that there was bad weather, but the internet proved otherwise. Suites are the best part of the ship with well lit spaces, The bathrooms are well designed, and nicely appointed. There is an abundance of electrical outlets throughout the suite, both 110 and 220. Internet is the usual slow at sea , but not really terrible. Seabourn is the only line that does not give passengers free time. Service ran from poor at pool side to slow everywhere. It would take a minimum of 20 minutes to get bar service, and the nuts served at the bar were peanuts. Entertainment is mediocre. The Seabourn singers/dancers are fine; it is the other entertainment that is pitiful. As one passenger said to me regarding the juggler/balloon maker, "he would not get an audition on Crystal". Therewas little t no activity during the day except sitting at the overcrowded pool with thin deck chairs There is no outdoor walking deck. The spa is adequate. It was the food that puts this line below the luxury group. We dined at all the venues, and found TK to be the best and it mimes a steakhouse with Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, steaks, veal chops, creamed spinach, etc.The waiters make a big deal that they only serve the heart of the romaine in the Caesar salad however the outer leaves are the base of the Caesar salad at the remaining restaurants. Just another example of the nickle/dime approach to food on Seabourn. The food in the Collonade was poorly seasoned to say the least, The salad bar was repetitive with frozen corn, frozen green peas, chick peas and cukes appearing in a multitude of salads. Stone fruits at breakfast and pineapple are hard as a rock, and most melons tasteless.Danish are tasty and the muffins bad beyond belief. What remains of the breakfast fruit becomes the fruit salad served at every venue. We ate once at the Sushi restaurant and Nobu has no worries. Every evening the patio is open for a light dinner with a limited menu. . We found the coffee on the ship to be adequate and the coffee drinks served at the Seabourn square to be "forte" All in all we agreed with so many passengers that Seabourn is really Seamediocre and there is no value We met many loyal Seabourn cruisers of years past that were appalled at the decline. Guess this is just Carnival on steroids. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
First time with Seabourn. Hope not the last. If you look for bad comments, don't bother read this. Almost everything was great and near perfect in many cases. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth has a wiper. Cabin was nice but I ... Read More
First time with Seabourn. Hope not the last. If you look for bad comments, don't bother read this. Almost everything was great and near perfect in many cases. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth has a wiper. Cabin was nice but I find the decor a bit drab. Ship is well design, elegant and specious. Service was friendly and professional everywhere except at the reception of The Gill where a girl show her lack of experience the two time we eat there. Dining was fantastic in all occasions. Thomas Keller sign the menus and it show. Filet Mignon, rack of lamb, available every evening if the regular menu don't interest you, we don't see that far and wide. Red wines was, like usual, served at more then 70 degree instead of 55 but they get use to my French taste and put the bottle in a bucket of ice for a few minutes for me. (for those who don't understand what I mean, do the experience next time you drink a Pinot Noir or a Cabernet, you will taste the difference). Champagne, caviar and Sauternes every days, that's real vacations. Seabourn is really one of the top on the Cruise Industry and you could easily see and enjoy the difference. Bravo and thank you. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our 4th cruise on Seabourn and our 3rd on Odyssey. We particularly love the space per passenger and the minimal announcements policy. Everything about this ship is quality : there is no waiting in line for anything and few or no ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Seabourn and our 3rd on Odyssey. We particularly love the space per passenger and the minimal announcements policy. Everything about this ship is quality : there is no waiting in line for anything and few or no children. We love the fact that the fare includes all dining, drinks and gratuities. We chose a cabin was on deck 7 as it is just a short level stroll to the coffee lounge where newspapers are available ( printed and e-readers, UK, US, Australian and others). This is a great , quiet place for an espresso or other speciality coffee which is open from early morning thorugh well into the evening. There are computers avavilable to access the net, a Library, a future cruise sales desk as well as the Seabourn Staff for information and help. We book the flights and transfers as a Seabourn package which is very convenient as we were met at the airport, taken to the waiting bus and were underway fairly soon after landing. When we arrived at the quay, the bus stopped right outside the passenger terminal and we were regsietered and on board in a few minutes. The food is an important part of any holiday for us and Seabourn never lets us down. While there are other restaurants, we like the Colonnade which is a casual dining venue with tables outside as well as in serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style with table service for cooked-to-order items, though the staff are happy to fetch anything you may request. The Maitre D'hotel ( Joshua) was very enthusiastic and knew all about the food which enhanced our dining experience. Wines are poured for you at your table and if you do not fancy the wine that is offered, there are always alternatives available. Each day there is a theme for lunch and dinner and there are 'always-available' favourite dishes if the theme is not to your taste. In the evenings the Colonnade is table service. The food is fabulous-to give some examples we enjoyed fois gras, truffles, crab, fine steaks and lots more. There are also 'family-style' evenings where there is a set menu designed by celebrity chef Tomas Keller. These include a salad, main, chees course and dessert-all are delicious as well as a bit of a novelty. Service throughout the ship is fabulous, your suite is beautifully serviced twice a day and your fridge is stocked with sodas and your choice of wine, etc ( we chose Baileys Irish Cream and white wine). There is a range of entertainment with shows every night, etc. We liked the sail-aways with live music on deck as well as the 'dancing on deck night' which has a great atmosphere and live music. I have lost track of the number of cruises we have been on, it is well over 20 and we have cruised on many other lines ( eg Cunard, Princess, NCL) but once we had tried Seabourn we haven't been back to another cruise line and probably won't....in fact we have already 'chosen' our itinerary on Odyssey for 2018! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose Seabourn as have had two very good cruises with them. Rome to Venice sounded a great trip. Encore was new this year and wanted to see how a 600 capacity ship compared with the smaller Odyssey. Comparisons on the whole were good. Did ... Read More
Chose Seabourn as have had two very good cruises with them. Rome to Venice sounded a great trip. Encore was new this year and wanted to see how a 600 capacity ship compared with the smaller Odyssey. Comparisons on the whole were good. Did not feel too busy (although the Pool deck could get congested) Restaurants first class. Colonnade for breakfast and Main dining room in the evening. Thomas Kellar Signature restaurant was not as good as the main restaurant, piped music really irritating, food though was very good. Service exemplary too although staff did appear very overworked. Was very impressed at how professional they all were. Ship well presented and maintained. Observation Lounge bar was super although incredibly busy at peak times like before dinner. Cabin was a Penthouse and was fairly roomy and had good facilities. Itinerary very much in keeping with an ancient history tour, especially liked Naphlion and Syracuse for that reason. Was a bit of pain though that we visited Katakolon twice in the 14 day trip.Great to be on a small ship and be able to get into smaller ports like Almafi and also Parga which was a change from the schedule. Entertainment on board was good a mixture of shows by the staff and guest performers. Two acts worthy of special mention were Peter Mehtab a magician and a Musical duo called 'Five O'clock Somewhere' Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was my seventh SB-cruise in the last six years! Here are the pros and cons compared to the other SB-cruises: Pros: - Nice brandnew ship - not crowded - nice cabins - Service and food quality in the MDR was very good ... Read More
This was my seventh SB-cruise in the last six years! Here are the pros and cons compared to the other SB-cruises: Pros: - Nice brandnew ship - not crowded - nice cabins - Service and food quality in the MDR was very good Cons: - "The Retreat" is useless and too expensive - The taste of the food and variety in the Colonnade is 4* - The service quality in the Colonnade is partly chaotic (partly they forgot our orders or brought the wrong one) - Long waiting time for the "Specials of the day" (and if you had bad luck you got the wrong one or is was raw) - The mix of "old" Seabourn waiters and the new employees is not working! The "old" SB-Staff was great (knewing them from other SB cruises). Maybe the new waiters where coming from other ships where such methods are usual! Sometimes is was like you are on a SB training ship for the new crew! - The waiting time at the Patio Grill was even too long! Friends of ours waited 65 minutes for a steak and got the wrong one! - Our room stewardess asked just one time if everything is alright! - On the 3th day the cleaning staff knocked on the door and wanted cleaning the windows of the cabine next to our cabin! I asked If they could come later - I was told they have to clean it right now! Strange behaviour! If you love very good service and good food than you should try one of the other SB-ships! Or maybe Oceania cruises (I cruised twice with them)! I can´t recommend the Seabourn Encore! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our week on board Seabourn Encore. The ship is so beautiful in its design and comfort. I will try to be brief in each of my categories. Decks: We have never gone on Seabourn before so the smaller ... Read More
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our week on board Seabourn Encore. The ship is so beautiful in its design and comfort. I will try to be brief in each of my categories. Decks: We have never gone on Seabourn before so the smaller ship was a benefit but had some drawbacks. Yes it doesn't have all the glitz of the huge cruise ships like Royal but at the same time, Encore has everything you might need while sailing the Med. The 3 decks with whirlpools (2 with pools) was great as we used mainly deck 5 and 7 instead of the big pool deck on 9 as they were a lot less crowded. Deck 7 is on the front of the ship and there isn't any real shade. A walking track would have been nice but we made due around deck 10. Overall we enjoyed the smaller ship with fewer people. It never really felt crowded except for the deck dance party but that was totally fine. Restaurants: We ate at every restaurant on the ship and found them all to be excellent. My husband didn't care for one appetizer but that was it. We ate at Thomas Keller and it was quite good. I had expected a more tasting menu with more than normal courses but it was just appetizer, entree, dessert. My husband's rib eye was incredible. I will say the dessert choices were lacking there. The Patio on the pool deck was a very nice place to have lunch. We didn't make it to dinner there but the hamburger and fries were so good there. I highly recommend. The Colonnade had many choices and we ended up eating breakfast there all but one day and lunch a couple times. I like that there was themes so it wasn't the same buffet setup each day. I really liked that there was an exotic fruit each morning to try like dragon fruit. We liked going there for breakfast bc you could choose from the buffet but also order eggs, pancakes, french toast as well. The Restaurant had the same menu but there you couldn't choose the fruit or cheeses, it was selected for you. I would have liked that the Restaurant would have had a specialty breakfast menu each morning that was different from the Colonnade. I liked that when we sailed with Royal. Try the Sushi restaurant for both lunch and dinner! It is small but we never had to wait. Lunch is bento box style so everything is cooked and it was excellent. Dinner is all sushi and sashimi and you can watch the chef prepare it. I never feel like I get full when we order sushi eating out but here I could order as much as I liked and try it all! You can special order things but it needs to be done ahead of time so the chefs can be ready. I wanted a steamed artichoke so I did mention it one night and had it the next. The coffee bar on deck 7 was a nice place to hang out as well. I loved having macaroons after dinner with a latte before the show. Service: I really thought the staff on board Encore were excellent. Yes my drink order on the patio during the party was forgotten but it didn't ruin my evening. I didn't mind going up to the bar myself and ordering. I will say I am sold on the all inclusive that Seabourn offers. I hated carrying around my ship card on other cruises and having to hand it over for every drink I ordered even if we had the drink package. It was so nice to order a drink and it come and it be that simple. I did say in my survey I sent Seabourn that there needs to be more drink service on the other pool decks more frequently. It is a ways away from the open bars during the day, especially the whirlpool deck on 7. There are mini fridges with water and soda but having a fruity drink or a cold beer more often would have been better. I did walk all the way to the patio bar a few times if I was really thirsty but I'm young and it doesn't bother me but I know the older more refined crowd were pretty annoyed at times. We had one dinner with super slow service but we weren't in a rush so we just enjoyed our wine. None of the staff have their home countries and I liked that because it gave us a chance to ask and get to know them a little better. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the Seabourn singers! They put on 2 really good shows. The comedian was funny but it helps to have a few drinks in you first. The flute player was a bit odd but she was very good, just not our taste for entertainment. I liked that they had trivia a few days. There really isn't much going on during the day like other larger ships but we liked sitting on deck 5 at the back of the ship reading and going in the pool or whirlpool. There was shade there so that was nice when I was done with the sun. I know there's more to say but I'm sure others will comment. We are truly spoiled now that we've been on Seabourn. I don't see how we go back to any other cruise line unless it's Disney or a huge ship with too much to see and do. Was it perfect no, but was it one of the best trips we've taken - yes! Maybe we aren't as 'refined' and used to fancy things as some of the other more well traveled guests but we really enjoyed ourselves.s Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
I have sailed with Seabourn many times and loved it, so I was looking forward to the newest-largest-most luxurious ship in the fleet. Unfortunately, the ship did not meet Seabourn's standard for service. A number of the crew were ... Read More
I have sailed with Seabourn many times and loved it, so I was looking forward to the newest-largest-most luxurious ship in the fleet. Unfortunately, the ship did not meet Seabourn's standard for service. A number of the crew were "old hands" who we knew from previous cruises, and they were outstanding. A larger number seemed not to know their jobs; it was as if they were in training, but without supervision. Service was extremely slow and amateurish in the Restaurant. Deck hands seemed to delight in making noise at all hours of the day and night, washing windows when guests were on the balconies, and other inconveniences. The cabin was excellent in design, but noisy. We were on Deck 8, just under the pool bar, and heard sounds of furniture being moved and mechanical sounds from 6 a.m. 'til midnight. Then squeaks and rattles from the bulkheads took over! Entertainment was variable. The ships orchestra and singers were excellent, but the guest entertainers fairly mediocre. Shore excursions were generally overpriced and comprised of bus rides with guides who spoke constantly but said nothing...but that is typical of other ships and cruise lines too! I will sail again with Seabourn, but not on Encore. Friends have had the same experience as I. I prefer the smaller ships in the fleet. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Having sailed a year ago on the small ship (Seabourn Spirit) I got spoiled into thinking that it is possible to have a feeling of cruising on a yacht even though I am on a cruise ship. With that in mind, sailing on a larger ship was ... Read More
Having sailed a year ago on the small ship (Seabourn Spirit) I got spoiled into thinking that it is possible to have a feeling of cruising on a yacht even though I am on a cruise ship. With that in mind, sailing on a larger ship was something of a disappointment, but only by comparison to last year's cruise. First, I must say, it is one of the best vacations I've ever had. The ship is in amazing shape. You can hardly tell it is moving even when it is going full steam ahead. The planning that goes into when and how fast the ship is sailing is all about accommodating the passengers. The food and the services in all of the dining venues is top notch. The cruise embarkation and disembarkation are quick and flawless. Your luggage arrives just after you do in your cabin. Even the basic cabins are all Jr. Suites with very clean and comfortable bedding, plenty of closet space even for those of us who over pack. The cabin stewards are all doing a fantastic job and almost never seen as they accommodate your schedule and not the other way around. Amenities are all top quality and plentiful. All of the ship facilities are kept spotless, and you really do not see it overcrowded except for the entertainment venue when a special act is preforming. Here are the imperfections that can easily be improved on with a little interest and effort of the company: 1. Entertainment on this ship (unlike last year) was quite a bit underwhelming, lacking talent, enthusiasm and interest to truly keep the guests coming back for more. Cruise director was very bland, the band seemed to play everything as if there was only one style of music on earth, the main singer was not very good, the piano lady was mostly playing music to put people to sleep and the guitar player did not draw much of a crowd either. The exception to this part was the featured opera singer who was both talented and entertaining. 2. The bar drinks quality - surprisingly was pretty bad. Despite having to mix drinks for people all day and using some of the best and freshest ingredients, the mixed drinks were terrible. I stuck to bottled liquor after repeatedly trying different drinks. 3. Information about the ports. Here you are on your own, unless you want to come and talk to the representative from the stop after the ship has docked or tendered people for an hour or so. Very little is gathered from the people who are supposed to be there to help you at the 7th floor Square. Not sure what they do there all day. 4. There were some lectures about upcoming ports sometimes, but they were typically held when the ship had other activities and the weather was at its best. It was hard to sacrifice that part of the cruise just to find out about the ports. 5. The sound of the alarm starting off the the emergency drill the day we boarded the ship is still ringing in my ears. This does not need to be full blast for the passengers sake, so if anyone from the ship reads this, please tone it down. I can't imagine what this did to the people with sensitive hearing aids. Overall, I would suggest to the ship crew to review the crowd incoming on the ship on each leg and adjust their schedules and activities accordingly. This year, the average age of the passengers was mid-50's as compared to mid 80's last year. They were much more active and ready to stay up and dance, play at casino, have later dinners, etc. I am sure many of them would have also preferred arriving at ports an hour later and departing few hours later. Let's hope you can keep these in mind and make the necessary adjustments to keep me coming back. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I will deal with the minor complaint first. People hogging sun beds. This situation is not being dealt with, even after notices in the Herald. One couple in particular, at one time had two loungers on deck 9, and on deck 10, a table, ... Read More
I will deal with the minor complaint first. People hogging sun beds. This situation is not being dealt with, even after notices in the Herald. One couple in particular, at one time had two loungers on deck 9, and on deck 10, a table, four chairs and two more loungers. They were seen on some days to have a whole corner of deck 10 containing table, four chairs and four loungers. They would disappear for well over an hour, come back, move towels and articles about and then disappear again. Seabourn really have to get a grip of this as it was not a nice experience. Other than that our cruise was wonderful. Suite 805 under the flying bridge, absolutely no problems whatsoever. We ate in the Colonnade for breakfast, a few lunches and all our dinners. We had one lunch in Patio Grill which was ok, perhaps it was our poor choice. We had late lunch / snack in the Square which was excellent. We took three tours, the best being to the fortress on Menorca, the English gentleman guide was superb. The worst to Aix where the lady guide moved away so fast at one point that she lost the whole group. Stevan White, the conversationalist was informative and gave a good insight to the ports we were visiting. We will certainly book Seabourn again, but they must monitor the sun bed situation. Read Less
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