We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise ... Read More
We booked Seabourn's 7 Day Cruise on board the Odyssey from Venice to Athens and could not be more pleased by the experience. While nothing is perfect, and there were some bumps along the way, this was by far the best cruise experience I had and plan on taking more Seabourn cruises in the future.
We arrived in Venice, Italy one night before embarkation. While we did have about a day to explore the city, in hindsight I would had liked one more day. We stayed at the Splendid Hotel in Venice which was a great location to see a lot of attractions in the heart of Venice. The hotel was great and our room was much bigger than expected. If you do stay here I highly recommend taking a water taxi directly to and from the hotel if you have a lot of luggage.
We did have trouble with embarkation. It started when we asked the hotel about the best way to get the port. They recommended a private water taxi for $100 Euro. They also told us we could take the water ferry from the Rialto Bridge for $15 euro per person. We cheaped out and that was a mistake. We asked the hotel which stop to get off and they said Tronchetto. We asked the people on the ferry and they said the same, which would have been correct if the ship was at the main terminal. But since the port was so busy that day, the Odessey was at the San Basillio terminal, which is a much different ferry stop. So after a lot of walking, some panic and a $20 euro taxi ride around the port, we got to the right place. Problem was it was late, a little after 4:00pm, and the Italians inside the terminal said the boarding process was now closed. After some more panic, and a lot of back and forth in English and Italian, they reluctantly let us on board where we started the check in process. It was a very tense hour and at one point we felt like we might actually miss the boat. But in the end we got on and the Seabourn staff were very welcoming.
Once we were checked in we immediately went to the mandatory safety meeting with the rest of the passengers in the main restaurant. It was there I realized that we were on a much smaller cruise. All 400+ passengers were there for the safety meeting. Once the meeting was over (about 15 minutes) we were allowed to go to our room.
Our room was great. Much bigger than some hotels I have stayed in Europe, New York or San Francisco. About five minutes after we got into our room, our stewardess came and greeted us with gifts. It was a really nice touch and made us felt welcomed. About five minutes after that, the ship’s on board guest services called to ask us about the embarkation. We told them what happened and they apologized. That night we sat in the observation bar and watched the ship leave the beautiful city of Venice. Then we went to the main restaurant for dinner and had amazing steaks.
I found the food at all of the restaurants on the ship great. We had dinner at all three during the course of the cruise. The main restaurant had a solid menu. The colonnade had different themes every night. And Restaurant 2 is defiantly worth a visit or two. We had lunch many days at the Patio Grill, which was very good. We hit the colonnade only twice for breakfast, but both times were good with a very large selection of breakfast items. I liked that you could hit the buffet or order items like eggs and pancakes to order. It might sound strange but I prefer to order my scrambled eggs fresh versus getting them from the buffet line. On our first full day on board we took a tour of the galley with the head chef. He was great and showed us where most all of the meals were cooked. He talked at length about the process they go through to insure the quality of the food. He even told us they fly all the meat served on board from the US to make sure the quality of the meat is the highest possible. The head chef also told us they do source seafood from local vendors at some of the ports they visit. What was also impressive is that the ship bakes all the bread and pastries daily on board, only bringing in gluten free products from the outside.
What we really took advantage of was the room service. We had breakfast in the room five of the days during the cruise. The night before we would fill out a card and leave it on the door before we went to sleep and the next morning the waiters were there with everything we had ordered. We even tried to stump them a few times with special orders, but they handled it flawlessly. I will say they were prompt. While the card gave 15 minute time frames for delivery, they were they a minute after the initial time. For instance the first day I asked for 7:00am to 7:15am. They were there at 7:01am, I had not even gotten out of bed yet. Every time we ordered that was the result. It was great.
We also ordered room service after a late night of drinking and dancing. I ordered a cheeseburger at 1:30am. I swear I had just hung up the phone and a waiter was there with a perfectly cooked cheeseburger. It was impressive.
As far as the alcohol and wine served on board, it is all top notch. They have a wide selection of beer and hard alcohol. The wine served at dinner was better than most restaurants. There are some premium wines and alcohol you can purchase, but honestly the regular selection is so good you really don’t have to spend extra money.
The pool area is not the biggest, but it is nice. So is the spa. I had a wonderful couples massage with a ritual bath after. The bath is outside in a private area that overlooks the sea. The Spa also has nice steam rooms and saunas to use after your treatment. I did not use the gym, but I did stop by. It is not very big, but it had a nice selection of equipment. They also offer different classes like stretching, yoga and palliates (free of charge) in both the morning and in the late afternoon.
The entertainment on board was OK. The shows were entertaining, but not spectacular. The best was probably the magician, who performed twice, each show was different. The club was OK, not too wild or crazy. The casino is small with only roulette, black jack, three card poker and some slot machines. One pro tip, You can take your winnings to Seabourn square (the reception area) and put your winnings (if you have any) towards your bill. I did not know that and cashed out at the casino receiving U.S. dollars. We didn’t really participate in any of the other activities so I cannot comment on them.
I will say the passengers on board were mostly adults, and most were of the retirement age. That’s not to say it was filled with retirees, but there were not a lot of families with children which was nice. Given the quality of the service and the time of year we traveled it was not a cruise for families.
The cruise went from Venice, Italy to Athens, Greece. Our first stop was Primosten, Croatia. We didn’t book an excursion and spent half the day walking around the small island. After a drink we opted to head back to the boat and spend the afternoon at the pool. It was truly relaxing.
Day two took us to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We booked our own tour online and took the shuttle bus from the port to the old city. Once there we went on a Game of Thrones tour which was great. If you’re a fan of the show I highly recommend it. Unfortunately it started to rain very hard so after the tour we returned to the ship and did not get to spend a lot of time in the old city.
Day three we went to Corfu. Once again we skipped the cruise excursions. We rented a car right at the cruise terminal from Hertz and drove around the island. It was a lot of fun and we got to see a couple of the villages and beaches around the island. We ended the day walking around the Old Town Corfu.
Day four was Nydri. We had an excursion booked, but it was canceled due to weather. I will say out of all the ports, Nydri was our least favorite. While we did get off the boat, I would of rather spent the entire day on the ship.
Day five was Olympia. That day we took the Seabourn excursion “Best of Olympia” tour. It was really wonderful and our guide was engaging and informative. We went to the birth place of the Olympics and to two museums to see some of the artifacts found at the site. The tour included a delicious traditional Greek lunch at a lovely restaurant just outside of the new city of Olympia. Then we had about a half hour to walk around and see the new city.
Day six was probably the biggest surprise, Monemvasia, Greece. Words cannot express how amazing and beautiful this small town really is. We had originally thought we would spend about two hours in the town and head back to the boat. We ended up spending almost the entire day exploring the town including a challenging climb to the top. It was a breath taking view on a sunny day. We had lunch in the old city which was quite good. My only regret about that day was not taking a bathing suit and towel for a swim in the Aegean Sea.
Our last stop was Athens. This is where our time on the ship came to an end. Disembarkation was a breeze. We had a transfer to our hotel arraigned by the Seabourn staff. It was simple and fast. It could not be better. Athens is amazing. We only spent a day there, but could have easily spent three.
Seabourn is not cheap, but you really get what you pay for. The nice part of the cruise was pretty much everything was included, our bill at the end was minimal. There was no extra charge for all of the alcohol, room service and coffee bar stops. Overall the service of the staff was top notch and I would highly recommend taking a Seabourn cruise. I plan to make my next cruise on Seabourn. Read Less