10 Seabourn Sojourn South America Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have traveled extensively around the world. This was our first time on Seabourn. We love cruising but this was the longest cruise we have ever taken. The more we travel, the more we have defined our expectations. We are ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled extensively around the world. This was our first time on Seabourn. We love cruising but this was the longest cruise we have ever taken. The more we travel, the more we have defined our expectations. We are looking for luxury. Perhaps this ship was a little small for us on a cruise this long. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. The passenger interfacing staff is great. For a small ship, the entertainment was very good. The productions were small but enjoyable. Our cabin stewardess was extremely accommodating to both our requests and timing her visits while we were out of the suite. We attended the several lectures on "The Amazon Basin" and the political history of the region. They were all of good quality. We also enjoyed the cooking demonstration. It was a long tedious process to get aboard the ship. The representative at check-in made several errors which delayed our boarding. Our debarkation went much more smoothly. The problems started even before we boarded the ship. We arrived and wandered around the airport looking for a sign with our name indicating our private transportation. Finally, we found someone with a "Seabourn" sign held low at their side who informed us that our private transfer was not there because they had been given the wrong airline, flight, and time. So we waited for a car to be sent for us. After a Seabourn excursion, I attempted to come back on the ship, I had an issue with on-board security. My boarding card did not bring up my photo. We determined that my photo was switched with my wife's. So we were sent to guest services for new photos. We did that. Next excursion, we had the same problem. So again we went to guest services. A second and then a third photo session were required to finally resolve this problem. The food warrants a special mention. The kitchen proficiency is a big failure. And meals are the biggest joy of a cruise. It was not even what could be described as good. In a fair estimation, 80% of the time the meals were not presented as ordered. The meat was frequently not cooked to the requested temperature. Order medium and we would get extremely rare. Hamburgers ordered medium-rare would be delivered well done. Fish was always cooked until dry. We ordered papaya and were served cantaloupe.It took 18 days (yes eighteen) to finally get bacon that was not fried hard crisp. Every day the waiter would record how I wanted my bacon (soft American bacon) and every day the chef would send it out extra crispy; like it was cooked in the deep fryer. The waiter even tried underlining, circling, and using a green highlighter to no avail. Even the matre d' had no success in getting the chef to prepare breakfast the way I requested. The Colonnade Restaurant would start to shut down the buffet 20 minutes before the posted closing time. Frequently, the main restaurant would only be open for 1 hour, 8:00 AM to 9:00 for breakfast. Also, there were days when the Colonnade closed by 10:00. If we wanted to sleep-in there were no breakfast venues open. We had to wait until noon for lunch. The coffee bar had pre-made sandwiches. My wife had a medical restriction that she could not eat seeds. She asked if she could get a tuna salad on white bread. She was told no, that all the sandwiches were pre-made. We walked away, but came back in a few minutes thinking she would just eat the tuna and not the bread. The sandwich was gone. So the waitress had to go to the kitchen and have a sandwich made up. Of course, the fresh- made sandwich was tuna on whole wheat, not on white bread. The Brazilian Representative, who was at Seabourn Square to help passengers with port information, was flat out RUDE. He was rude to many passengers. When asked what we could see in port, we were told you should have taken the tour. If I wanted the tour, I would have signed up for the tour. For some passengers, he would mark up the local map for them. For the next in line, he might hand them a map and say ask the taxi. We usually enjoy excursions. It is a good way to learn about the locale without having to do a lot of indenpendent research. Unfortunately, The excursion escorts were boring. Some people just left the excursion in the middle of it. As first time cruisers to Seabourn, we were invisible to the senior "white suits". But they were very attentive to those who had been on Seabourn many times before. It appears that Seabourn is not interested in growing your repeat business. The final and worst issue occurred on March 24th, and it will take a few minutes to describe. My wife and I were on a Seabourn tour to the Ariau Amazon Towers. There were about 80 of us on this one tour boat. The ship's newsletter, Herald, for March 24th stated that the ship would relocate at approximately 5:30 PM. At 5:00 our tour boat was about a mile from the ship. The bridge could see us! The captain raised the anchor and left; leaving approximately 17% of his passengers stuck on the tour boat. We literally chased the ship down the river for about an hour and finally boarded the ship after 6:00 PM. So for an hour, while other passengers enjoyed air conditioning, showers, and the bars, the passengers that were not important to the captain sat in an open tour boat chasing after the ship that we should have been on. Boarding the ship after 6:00 pm left little time to shower off the grime of the day and get on a launch to go to the beach barbeque. My wife took a brief shower and complained of low water pressure. When I got into the shower there was NO water at all. By the time we got to the barbeque, all that was left of the fish were the heads and skeletons. Also, there were no steaks remaining when we went through the buffet line. I later spoke with the captain and without much concern, he wrote the incident off to "a miscommunication". His miscommunication was a major inconvenience to about 80 passengers. All in all, the passenger interfacing staff did their best. But the other deficiencies just made this cruise a big disspointment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The gold standard for cruising for me will perhaps remain the Seabourn Legend Indonesian cruise in that it was my first sea cruising experience in February of 2012, and the ship is delightfully small and intimate. It was followed by the ... Read More
The gold standard for cruising for me will perhaps remain the Seabourn Legend Indonesian cruise in that it was my first sea cruising experience in February of 2012, and the ship is delightfully small and intimate. It was followed by the larger, but same sized, Regent Navigator's San Francisco to NYC in September of 2012, Seabourn Sojourn's Buenos Aires to Valparaiso in December of 2012, and then this trip. All four of the experiences have of course been very positive. I was attracted to the March trip because of the Amazon component, where about trip, like going around Indonesia, made such great sense. We visited places like, Parati, Buzios, Vitoria, Recife, Natal, Santarem, Anavilhanas, Parintins, Alter do Chao that most land or air travellers would most likely not get to see. We did not revisit Buenos Aires before the cruise because we had just been there and three nights at the incomparable Hotel das Cataratas in Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side) were too hard to resist. We did not redo Montevideo but instead journeyed for two and a half hours to Francis Melman's highly touted restaurant El Garzón, a memorable but hideously expensive experience that I do not at all regret. The remaining stops on the twenty day leg of the trip were all in Brazil, many in the Amazon: colorful colonial towns, rediscovering bustling Rio after 30 years, beach resorts, revisiting Bahia, relatively small towns in the Amazon, the impeccable Opera House in Manaus, batucada and dancing in the streets, muqueca de peixe, all we're memorable. The fifteen day follow up, besides continuing the Amazon adventure with the delightful Boi Bimba show in Parintins as a Brazilian highlight offered the variety of the Caribbean, from Devil's Island and charming Guadeloupe to rhythmic Barbados, toney St. Barts, and slurping caviar in the surf in the British a Virgin Islands. The two legs of the trip complemented each other beautifully, and I would not have considered doing just one. As for the ship experience, it was superb. The food, mostly consumed in The Restaurant, is wonderful; the portions are small, the food is beautifully presented, there is a lot of variety,and the service is personal and attentive. I personally do not care for the fussiness and preciousness of the fare in Restaurant 2, but I am glad there is an option for those into foams and molecular food. The Colonnade is also a great option, especially when doing Indian or Thai food. The meats and desserts are extraordinary. Baby lamb chops for breakfast are a treat. I mostly avoided bread, but and potatoes, but it was impossible to resist the lure of the perfect bread-sticks and the scrumptious fries. My caveats about the offerings: I was disappointed by the tuna, which, because it was frozen, did not have the moist texture I like while the sole and other fish dishes were delicious. While the pastas are wonderful, they tend to over sauce, so I would ask for half the amount and was happy as a clam. Sometimes the fresh fruit was not very sweet, sometimes it was perfect. A great option was the fruit compote. Sometimes there are no berries, but there were problems with deliveries, and besides, there is so much to choose from that it is hard to cavil over such a small issue, as some malcontents are wont to do. The one thing that needs to be improved is the black coffee served in the dining rooms. When I made my concern public, the Matre D' kindly purchased Starbucks coffee to make in a French press for us, but even that was not very good. I was too embarrassed to say anything, but finally reverted to the cappuccinos. Very good coffee is available from the barista in Seabourn Square. Despite eating such princely meals, I returned home four pounds lighter by assiduously avoiding the elevators, hitting the gym, taking excellent gym classes from the incomparable trainer Rick, and confining alcohol intake to the evening meal, with an occasional beer at noon when returning from a hot day of touring. As for the Seabourn arranged tours, they were all good to great, although some are way too expensive for what hey deliver. And they need to develop a more rational system for disgorging passengers when there are tender ports. The situation was exacerbated the second half of the trip by the skein of rabid Luxembourgeois that seemed to think that size makes right. They do not understand the word "queue.". Seabourn trucked us all gratis to the Boi Bimba show and did a marina day with caviar that were spectacular. Fellow passengers not happy with their tours complained and were reimbursed as far as I know. Doing visits on your own is a great, cheaper option, particularly when you speak the languages, which I do: Portuguese, French, and Spanish. I would heartily recommend this trip to adventurous, open-minded people who can take the heat and can appreciate differences. A cruise, while restricting you to coasts, is an excellent, efficient, and highly comfortable way to visit this wonderful part of the world. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I recently travelled with Seabourn Sojourn and my expectations were very high as I had heard only good things about this cruise line. The cruise went from Buenos Aires to Manaus. Seabourn prides itself on service and this was ... Read More
I recently travelled with Seabourn Sojourn and my expectations were very high as I had heard only good things about this cruise line. The cruise went from Buenos Aires to Manaus. Seabourn prides itself on service and this was excellent. I found the dining options on the ship very restrictive and it was difficult to find healthy food choices outside of mealtimes. The dining room did not open for breakfast before 8am on sea days and if you wanted to find something healthy to eat you could either order room service or wait till the dining room opened. The food choices in the coffee centre were the same every day, there was a variety of items but the choice was exactly the same every day. I was assured that the the muffins were baked fresh daily. The bread that was served in the restaurants lacked variety and was mostly white or maybe whole wheat, and the bagels were only white. There was a small assortment of some other types of bread but unremarkable in taste or appearance. There were daily choices for breakfast but nothing special, one day a chef prepared eggs to order, otherwise if was the buffet or you could order from the menu. Food at the bar pool also offered several items but they tended to be all the same, the same type of salad, the same appetizers etc. I did enjoy tapas in the Observation bar at 6pm. Dinners in the dining room were good with several choices and Restaurant 2 was very good, serving a variety of food in smaller portions. The tours were generally overpriced and some a complete waste of time and money. One tour we went on was so bad that we were glad when it was over and we could get back on the ship to do something more interesting. The guide had no idea where to take us other than a short route, so he repeated it. We let the ship know, but no refund was offered. I enjoyed the fitness and would like to thank Rick for his wonderful classes which were a highlight of the trip. The dancers on the ship were excellent and I could have watched them every night! Guest speakers were also very good and informative. I was disappointed in Seabourn and maybe because they claim to be so wonderful. I found the dining options very restrictive and their reliance on service vs providing healthy food choices a concern. eg fruit not available @ coffee center but you could order fruit from room service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Just returned from 15 days on the Sojourn -- was delighted with the service and food. DH was nervous about being on a bigger ship but he was amazed to see the same level of service with almost twice as many guests. Suffice it to say we put ... Read More
Just returned from 15 days on the Sojourn -- was delighted with the service and food. DH was nervous about being on a bigger ship but he was amazed to see the same level of service with almost twice as many guests. Suffice it to say we put a deposit on our next cruise before we left! Took notes on my iPhone and thought I'd share - Day 1 - Local tour company flubbed transfers. Seabourn needs to send a rep to the hotel to assist. Not a good start. Tropical Hotel old, musty but good breakfast with mantioc omelette Great caprihana in observation bar. Outdoor surf and turf in Collanade. I had crab cake and DH had clam chowder. Cheese for dessert. Need lessons for iced coffee. Day 2 - Room service breakfast. Meeting of rivers excursion. Awesome tour not much wild life but meeting looked like a river of expresso mixing with a river of latte. Collonade lunch but no pisco sours Bridge tour and sail away. Formal dinner with caviar, beef and vanilla souffle with berry sauce. In bed by 9:15 lol! Day 3 - Cruised down the amazon and anchored about 11 am. Boi bomba show was pretty amazing and so was dinner at R2! Day 4 - Meeting of waters in Santarem - totally different than the other. Saw houses and birds, water buffalo, dolphins, monkeys but didn't catch any piranha! Wine note - Cote du Rhone was too sweet. We prefer Brass field Syrah and Sirius merlot blend! Magician and dinner at Patio Grill - fries were awesome! Dessert by pool and then Rock the Boat party. Day 5 - Went to Ancho de Chao instead of the pacoval village due to Good Friday. Tendered into a little resort village - much cleaner than Santarem. Got some souvenirs and back to the ship for lunch. Too much wine at lunch and went down to the marina to dip my foot in the Amazon - beware of the slippery fish! Nap time then another amazing dinner at R2 with Melinda. Day 6 - Cruising on the Amazon all day. Pedicure at 9:15 and cooking demo at 11. Chef Graeme made coffee creme br'lee and crab cakes. Went to a boutique sale at 1 pm and bought DH a sports jacket, two shirts and a bathing suit for $130! Catholic Mass at 5 and then enjoyable lecture on the amazon creatures and yummy Indian dinner in the Collonade. Day 7 - Happy Easter! Yoga at 7:30 followed by a massage for me and a haircut for DH. Lecture on Devils Island and DH made me watch Pappilion! Crossing of the equator ceremony and got lots of funny pix! Another lecture on the Caribbean - boring! Dinner at sky grill with Nigerian shrimp!! Day 8 - Anchored by Devil's Island, French Guiana. Took the tender in and walked around - saw peacocks, macaws, toucans, big rats and a family of about 20 monkeys! Relaxing afternoon and another nice dinner at R2. Day 9 - Started the day at sea with yoga and a massage! Lecture about pirates at 11 am, followed by lunch at the Collonade. Hung out on Deck 7 all afternoon, reading and napping a little. Seabourn Club members cocktail party, then Chef's dinner at the Restaurant. Day 10 - Docked in Barbados next to a massive carnival ship. Walked about a mile into town and saw lots of British style buildings. Bought some rum cakes and pirate stuff. Back on the ship for lunch, sun, nap and beautiful sail away. Dover sole and pistachio ice cream in the Restaurant. Day 11 - Anchored in Terre de Haut in Guadeloupe. Cappuccino on the veranda before going into town. Very cute, a rustic St. Barth's. Didn't take Amex so we couldn't buy anything. Hung out on deck 5 after Mexican lunch. Tuscan market in the Collonade and tried to stay awake for the comedian but didn't make it! Day 12 - Anchored in St. Barth's. Yoga on top deck and tendered into town at 10 am. Walked around Gustavia and bought my mom a house warming gift. Tendered back with Karl Eckl and Chef Graeme. German spaetzle for lunch and hung out on deck 5. Sail away Epicurean Delights which were champagne, caviar, sushi, salmon and prosciutto. I think this is like caviar in the surf without the surf! Pre dinner entertainment with Lazlo and Claudia - amazing violinists! Too full for dinner but had a Cesaer salad and onion rings! Skipped the 2nd rock the boat party which didn't start until 10 pm! Day 13 - Last port of Jost van dyke. Fruit and coffee in Collonade and over heard a gentleman complaining that there were no mangoes. Server said Chef felt the mangoes weren't ripe - he replies "Seabourn is 3 star, not 5 star!" Over a mango! Marina was deployed for the 2nd time today. Plus Caviar in the Surf - two days in a row! Seabourn had shuttle taxis take us to the Soggy Dollar (unlike SilverSeas which only tendered us last year) and deployed marina on the beach and caviar! We took ours in the room lol!! Yummy pain killers both at Soggy Dollar and on deck while steaming home to FLL! Thai dinner in the Collonade and early to bed. Day 14 - Full day at sea, starting with another massage with Gerald. Picked up our passports and hung out on deck 5 and on our veranda. Captains farewell party and dinner in the Restaurant. Boursin cheese souffle, lobster, beef Wellington, and grand marnier souffle for dessert! Day 15 - Last day! Yummy cappuccino and hanging out by the pool for some sun before the 12 noon Galley Market lunch! Shot of Absolut mandarin at the entrance, fantastic shrimp/prosciutto soup, cheese fondue, pasta, suckling pig and the best soft shell crabs I've ever eaten! More Latour Chardonnay, baked Alaska, some crazy dessert beginning with a K! Last lecture with Niki sepsis on ghosts and rogue waves. Final dinner at the Patio Grill. Day 16 - Very efficient transfer to our car to take us home. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I are experienced travelers with limited cruising experience and we had an extraordinary time on this cruise. The facilities, atmosphere, cuisine, and staff were outstanding. We were pleased with the gentle manner in which ... Read More
My wife and I are experienced travelers with limited cruising experience and we had an extraordinary time on this cruise. The facilities, atmosphere, cuisine, and staff were outstanding. We were pleased with the gentle manner in which people are encouraged to mingle. Invitations to hosted dinners are offered as are invitations to join others in the dining room as you enter. Either of these invitations is easily declined if you're not in the mood. The food was excellent, varied, and available in well thought out portions. The staff at all levels are extremely service oriented and a pleasure to deal with. We were surprised to see how many addressed us by name after only a few days. We encountered many people on this cruise who had far more cruising experience than we did and had settled on Seabourn as their line of choice which we could easily understand. There was only one glitch in the cruise and that dealt with disembarkation in Buenos Aires. Our passports were not stamped as entering Argentina which caused a problem as we tried to leave and required intervention of the Argentina immigration officials. We have notified Seabourn of this issue and are waiting for a response from them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We are new to cruising, but not to travel. Have lived in Asia, spent a month in New Zealand & about 15 vacation trips to Europe. We took an Alaskan inside passage cruise about 15 years ago that was positive & last Oct. a Greek Isle ... Read More
We are new to cruising, but not to travel. Have lived in Asia, spent a month in New Zealand & about 15 vacation trips to Europe. We took an Alaskan inside passage cruise about 15 years ago that was positive & last Oct. a Greek Isle cruise on Oceania Rivera that went well. We normally do all the prep ourselves(half the fun of travel), rent a car & stay mostly in the country side in B&B's. My cousin & his wife ask us to join them for a S American adventure on Seabourn. They had recommended a travel agent for our Greek Isle cruise & it was not a positive experience. Her first recommend was to take the cruise line transfer from airport to ship in Venice for $230. I investigated & found that the trip was only 10 miles, all overland & booked a bus transfer for $30. We did not take any ship excursions & were pleased with private arrangements with independent of travel agent. My cousin was using the same travel agent for the upcoming trip & we agreed, but with the intent of making our on arrangements. We booked on American Airlines because they were $750 pp cheaper than the non-stop from Atlanta to Buenos Aires on Delta. We stopped in Miami & flew LAN Argentina to BA. LAN was very satisfactory. The travel agent recommended 3 hotels & we selected Intersur Recoleta. The hotel arranged for our transfer from airport to hotel & total for room & transfer was $196. Hotel was quite,comfortable & convenient to sights & port. We arrived at 7 AM on Sat. & boarded the ship at 1 PM Sun, so sight seeing limited. We decided against one of the many tango dinner clubs & went to a neighbor hood restaurant, Trevor, that was excellent. We went to San Telmo area for Sunday market at Plaza Dorrago & also saw improv tango. After talking with folks on ship, would recommend your flight inbound stop at Rio for a couple days, then fly to Iguazu Falls for couple days. Two days in Buenos Aires is plenty. The embarkation at port was a mad house, but Seabourn handled superbly. The taxi from hotel to port was 80 pesco, $15. The stateroom was excellent, quite, good beds, walk in closet & excellent room service. We went on the veranda daily to check weather or scenery, but never just sat there. The ship docked at Montevideo at 7 AM & we took shuttle bus in & walked around the old town. Rambla walk may have been nice, but limited time prevented that. Not overly impressed. Two days at sea & then anchored off Port Stanley, Thur. Tender ride about 30 minutes. Previous ships that week were unable to tender, because of winds & high seas. We got a private tour(Nyree Heathman, nyree@estancia-excursions.com, $180 pp)to Volunteer Point to see the King Penquins for half the cruise excursion price. Every one travels in Land Rovers, two couples per truck. It is an uncomfortable 2 hour ride, most over peat bog, but the king's are worth it. Fri.,we got great weather for our swing around the Horn & at 8 PM at 55 degrees S Lat., we had plenty of sun. We anchored at Ushuaia, the southern most city in world. One of our cruise critic buddies had paid for a 8 person bus tour(Pira Tours) to Haberton Ranch & a Megallanic penquin rookery. It was about 5 1/2 hour tour, with scenic ride in & out. Sun. was a trip into Chile's Glacier Alley & good weather permitted us to sail right up to Garibaldi Glacier, one of the highlights of the cruise. It is in Darwin Nat. Park, Terra del Fuego, Patagonia. Saw seals & a whale. Mon. we anchored at Punta Arenas & Vertuoso travel agency provided a tour of Otway Bay & more megallanic penquins. We were about penquined out. Tue. sailing thru Chilean fjords & Amalia Glacier, with some impressive calving. Thur. we docked at Puerto Chacabuco & took a tour with enPatagonia Tours($95 pp, enpatagonia@gmail.com) with about 18 other cruise critic mates. The best excursion of the trip & stop at campo or country house was high light. BBQ lamb, dancing & good look at farm life in that area. Mark from Wyoming was excellent guide. Fri. anchored at Castro & we took taxi to municipal park for weekend market. So, so. Not much else to see. Sat. at Puerto Montt we shared another private tour($68 pp, guide Don Manuel) with 10 cruise critic mates. Weather with light rain prevented us from seeing or visiting volcano's. Restaurant at Llanquihue Lake was very good & stop at Puerto Varas worth effort. Sun. cruise day & shoreline reminded us of Tuscany, with green farms & tall cypress trees. Mon. 8 AM dock at Valparaiso. We considered a private tour, but decided on cruise excursion($199 pp)to winery & ranch & drop off at Santiago airport at 6 PM for at 9:50 PM departure. Good tour. Santiago airport & Amer. Air. check in was hectic. We were disappointed with food on Seabourn. I have never sent a meal back in my life & sent two back on this cruise. Under cooked seafood. Oceania's food far better. Dining room service was slow, because of under staffing. Entertainment was very good, as were briefing's. Probably will not sail Seabourn again, but highly recommend cruising the area & itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This review bears a remarkable similarity to the story of "The Curate's Egg". Many of the aspects of the cruise were excellent, but some parts were very bad. Let's deal firstly with the good bits. At just two years ... Read More
This review bears a remarkable similarity to the story of "The Curate's Egg". Many of the aspects of the cruise were excellent, but some parts were very bad. Let's deal firstly with the good bits. At just two years old, Seabourn Sojourn is a lovely ship. We embarked in Fort Lauderdale on a wonderful itinerary which took us through the Panama Canal, all the way down the west coast of South America, round Cape Horn to finish in Buenos Aires. It was a back-to-back cruise and lasted 33 days, with plenty of sea days which I like. The design of the ship is good. The cabins and bathrooms are well thought out and every inch of available space seems to have been well used. Housekeeping is immaculate and I have rarely encountered such hardworking and cheerful cabin stewardesses. Each of them looks after 10 cabins. Seabourn certainly get their 'pound of flesh' out of these crew members. The Cruise Director, Handre Potgieter, was one of the best I have ever encountered. He was charming, intelligent, always smiling, and incredibly visible (when did he get any time to himself?). He was very ably supported by his deputy, Sophie. The excellent Master, Capt. Karlo Buer, and his Officers skilfully took the ship to fascinating ports of call (none missed, and all on-time) and through the wonderful 'inside passage' of the Chilean fjords, around Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands. Here we tendered successfully, helped by calm conditions. The passenger mix was good. 42% were from the USA, 36% from Commonwealth countries (UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), 17% from Continental Europe and 5% from elsewhere. We had two excellent Cruise Critic groups aboard. There were 25 of us from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, with 10 of us staying on for the second 'leg' when we were joined by 10 'newbies'. In both Fort Lauderdale and Valparaiso we had a Cruise Critic 'sailaway party'. Both were terrific groups of delightful people and we had great times together, both on the ship and off. One of our number, Pat, had kindly offered well ahead of the cruise departure to organise shore excursions independent of the ship's offerings. These were a great success and enabled us to travel together as a small group to see the places and things that we wanted to see without spending time shopping (which I hate!) and having overly long and unnecessary elaborate lunches (which the ship always wants to include on full day tours). I am sure the highlight for many of us will be the overland trip in 4x4 vehicles (long, bumpy, but oh-so-memorable) to see the King Penguins on the Falklands. I could go on and on about the wonderful sightseeing on this cruise! Independent sightseeing makes eminent sense and, as well as enabling you to tailor a tour to meet the requirements of the participants, I estimate that we saved at least $750 per head by so doing. Guest lecturers were quite good and gave useful insights into the areas we were visiting. Evening entertainment was 'so-so', but I didn't see much of it and so cannot comment comprehensively. I didn't use the on-board shops or casino, and steered well clear of the laun"drama" (several good stories heard of incidents, but they stopped just short of actual fisticuffs!). The on-board laundry service is excellent. Shirts come back beautifully crisp and properly ironed. The gym is small and disappointing - to much space has been allocated to the 'Spa'. So, what wasn't good about the cruise? Essentially, and importantly, the Dining Room food fell way below the expected standard. This was very disappointing. Forget all that 'purple prose' in the brochure. It just isn't true. I think it would be true to say that in 35 years of regular cruising (see my signature strip on the Seabourn and Silversea sites) this was the poorest food I have ever encountered. I had a number of meetings and discussions about this with the Food & Beverage Manager, Marco de Oliviera. I think I have identified some of the key problem areas. Three years ago, when we first sailed with Seabourn on Seabourn Pride I came away with very favourable impressions. The Dining Room food had good flavour and was well presented. In the years which have intervened, Carnival Corporation has taken the regrettable decision (presumably seeking 'economies of scale') to merge the management of Seabourn with that of Holland America in Seattle (presumably because the total capacity of all Seabourn ships - around 2,000 passengers - is only about the same as one average sized Holland America ship). In my view the result has been little short of disastrous. What now happens (and this was all explained first-hand by Marco) is that all menus for the Dining Room are produced centrally in Seattle, and F&B purchasing is also centrally controlled. Menus are identical across the six ships of Seabourn. As a result, my view is that the role of 'Executive Chef' has, effectively, been downgraded to 'Chief Cook'. He simply has to cook the meals as specified by 'Head Office' from the ingredients they ship to him. How many real chefs would put up with this? The menus show extraordinary lack of imagination and are very heavily reliant on red meat and shellfish with quite inadequate vegetable pairings. Much of the menu comprises 'always available' dishes. Desserts are disappointing (despite there being an excellent pastry chef on board). The concept of 'the chef shopping along the route' has been abandoned. What a pity since we passed through some of the richest fishing grounds imaginable as we sailed along the coasts of Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Most harbours we sailed into housed huge shipping fleets. The explanation (for which I read 'excuse') given is that all Seabourn's fish now has to come from 'sustainable sources'. I suggest that the real reason is that it is more convenient for cost control purposes (those 'beancounters' at Carnival rear their ugly heads again, I'm afraid) for everything to be centrally sourced from suppliers who are no doubt squeezed hard when it comes to price. Quality is forsaken in favour of price. As a result, all fish on board is frozen. Similar problems apply with meat and poultry. Again everything has to be deep chilled or frozen. When cooked, the result tends to be bland and usually (unless well-sauced, which most dishes were not) lacking in flavour. The other reason is probably that it saves on preparation time in the Galley. The problems with fresh fruit and vegetables are just as bad. The ship simply runs out partway through the voyage. By Day 5 of an 18-day sailing (such as our first sector) the salads are looking tired and brown at the edges, most berries have disappeared and the super-chilled vegetables - by the time they are cooked - are completely tasteless. This is despite the fact that, with greater effort by Seabourn, fresh fruit and vegetables could easily have been sourced from local markets along the way. So, given the limitations placed by the Seattle-produced menus, and the centralised provisioning arrangements, how did the Galley actually perform? In the Dining Room, two stars only. If you came early and sat at a table for 2 or 4 then there was a reasonable chance that your order might be 'right first time' and that the food might be tolerably warm (apart from the soups, the food was never actually hot). If your party was 6 or more (which ours often was) then it was likely that at least one of the courses brought from the Galley would be wrong. When this happened, I immediately noted the expression of anxiety (sometimes panic) on the faces of the wait staff as they sought to remedy the problem. If it involved the main course (as it often did) this would mean that perhaps 5 correctly sent items stood on the serving table going cold while the wait staff rushed back to the Galley trying to get the remaining dish put right. By the time the meal was served it had turned from warm to tepid. This occurred regularly and there was obviously a serious disconnect between the Dining Room and the Galley. It was so bad that we began to turn down invitations to join large tables! Main courses were inadequately seasoned, yet soups were oversalted (sometimes to the point of being inedible). Much of the cooked food was tasteless. Apart from one excellent hot sweet soufflE (which proves that it can be done) desserts were unimaginative. Fresh fruit was poor. Cheese was OK. Sometimes I found myself reverting to the 'always available' menu, except that all the main courses were served with chips (French fries). So the menu comprised grilled salmon and chips, filet mignon and chips, chicken breast and chips and lamb chops and chips. 5-star? Imaginative? I think not. One evening I thought the chicken breast might be a safe bet. The result? Unbelievable. Flavourless chicken with chips, tasteless 'steamed vegetables' and thick brown gravy. Ugh. The sort of meal you might have been served 30 years ago (but thankfully no longer) in a British motorway service station. "When you sail with Seabourn, it's as if the world's finest restaurants have accompanied you on the journey". So reads the brochure. What nonsense! It is just one big marketing 'con-trick'! As I said to Marco, "The Company is setting you up to fail every time by 'raising the bar' to an unattainable level. Over-promise and under-deliver and the customer is always unhappy." He did not demur. So disappointing was the Dining Room that we never ventured there for breakfast or lunch, although on other Lines this has been a preference of mine, especially on sea days. So, of necessity, we had very many meals in the Colonnade Restaurant on Deck 8. Here the breakfast and lunch buffets were generally good (although very repetitive) and service at table (for cooked dishes) was very good. The lunchtime 'fish of the day' was always cooked a la minute and was usually very good. And, importantly, it was served hot. There was a lot of 'footfall' in this restaurant which, ideally, could have been given more space when the ship was designed. However, the staff worked diligently to clear tables and re-set them as soon as they became vacant. At lunchtime on sea days they also, sensibly, used the adjacent 'Restaurant 2' as an overspill room. Overall, I rate the food as Four Star. What about the other dining options? The Pool Grill opened for lunch and dinner most days, but this is only viable in the evenings in warm waters (there are no 'space-heaters') and I didn't really want to eat dinner wrapped in a blanket! Also there is too much red meat on the menu, and no sign of grilled fish. We went once to Restaurant 2. We didn't like the food or the presentation and didn't go back. There was 'too much going on' on the plate, with a confusion of flavours. Many passengers felt as we did, although others liked it. The trouble stems from those menus again. They are not a proper menu degustation. Seabourn, please talk to Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux quat'Saisons for some ideas. His tasting menus are the best I have ever encountered. But then, Marco told me that the whole concept of Restaurant 2 was under review and it is likely to be scrapped. The wine offering was below par, and I have posted a separate review of this on the Seabourn section of the CC website, where it is an ongoing topic. So, I give the overall restaurant and dining experience Three Stars. Seabourn, you must try harder - and succeed - if you are not to develop a tarnished image. Fortunately, I eat to live, rather than the other way round, so I did not allow the dismal failures in the Dining Room to ruin what was otherwise (the ship, the itinerary, the congenial fellow passengers) a delightful cruise. Will we go back on Seabourn? Possibly (and to cover the eventuality I put down a 'floating' deposit on a future cruise as there is no risk associated with so doing. The deposit has a 'life' of four years and is fully refundable if you do not book. The benefit is a 5% discount), but not for a while, and not until I have reliable information that the Line has recognised its failures and done sufficient to redress the problems. Next month we go off again on another long voyage. 28 days (from Los Angeles to Sydney) aboard Silversea's Silver Whisper. The first two sectors of the World Cruise. I am hoping for better things from the Silver Whisper Dining Room. I shall report back on this in due course. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We just returned from a 33 day two-leg cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn. We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale and disembarked in Buenos Aires. My husband and I have cruised a lot on many different cruise lines; however, this was our ... Read More
We just returned from a 33 day two-leg cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn. We boarded the ship in Ft. Lauderdale and disembarked in Buenos Aires. My husband and I have cruised a lot on many different cruise lines; however, this was our fourth cruise with Seabourn and third on the Sojourn so we are very familiar with both the cruise line and this particular ship. Our first reaction after boarding the ship was disappointment that there were very few familiar faces among the crew. It seems Seabourn is no longer able to retain its staff as they had in the past. This should have been our first indication that things are changing at Seabourn, and not for the better. It would appear as though coming under the Holland America umbrella has caused Seabourn to become less flexible and a less desirable place to work. The good news is that the new staff is proof that the recruiters are doing a bang up job and the new staff is every bit as wonderful as the old. I wish I could say the same for the people in charge of provisioning. While I can understand running out of grapes and bananas when in isolated areas, I find running out of champagne, port, Macallum scotch, and Smirnoff vodka inexcusable. The food appears to have suffered too. While it is still good, it lacks the "wow" factor we had come to associate with Seabourn. On our cruise, we often found the dinners served in the Colonade to be more interesting and better seasoned. We also found the Colonade's chef, Roderick, to be accommodating and happy to cater to our wishes. But kudos go to the main restaurant service and especially to the Galley Kitchen lunch which we enjoyed twice. Seabourn needs to do something about their smoking policy. Currently guests are allowed to smoke in their cabins, on their balconies,and on the starboard side of the Observation Lounge. The result is that the lounge becomes polluted by as little as one smoker and a balcony becomes unusable if the guest in the cabin in front of you is sitting on his balcony smoking. In 33 days, we were never able to use our balcony for more than a few minutes because "stinky" next door was forever lighting up. We feel very strongly that smoking must be relegated to the back of the ship and we do not intend to sail with Seabourn again until and unless this happens. I also want to talk about the itinerary. Crossing the Panama Canal was a phenomenal experience. The on board expert who did a running narrative for us was brilliant. I wish I could have recorded his every word. Once through the canal, however, the itinerary became boring. Our stops in Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Chile yielded little of interest. I cannot recommend this leg of our trip. There has to be a better itinerary involving the Panama Canal. The second leg from Valparaiso (port near Santiago), Chile proved more to our liking. The scenery through the fjords is breathtaking. The ports in southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego were amazing. We saw different species of penguins in Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, and the Falklands. We were blessed with calm seas, even around Cape Horn, but we often had fog and rain. Late November is still springtime here. Perhaps summer would be nicer. The snow capped mountains and the waterfalls made up for the weather. We had a wonderful member of the cruise critic group who generously organized a number of excursions in the various ports. Pat kept us organized and somehow managed to find some of the best guides in town. We were even able to visit a volcano outside Puerto Montt. Thank you, Pat! Additionally, thanks to another cruise critic traveler, Stephen, we were fortunate to book a trip through Pira Tours to the Hamberton Ranch outside Ushuaia. It was one of our highlights. Lastly I want to say a word about the cruise critic bunch on board. You were terrific! We had agreed through the cc roll call to meet for drinks shortly after sailing. Phillip had name tags for us but we quickly got to know each other. Many memorable evenings were spent with cc friends as well as experiences on the excursions. We will miss our wonderful cc friends but hope to see them on future trips. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
NOVEMBER, 2011 We are in Buenos Aires, Argentina about to board the Seabourn Sojourn for a trip around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile. Our ports will be Montevideo - Uruguay, Stanley - Falkland Islands, Ushuaia -â€" AR, rounding ... Read More
NOVEMBER, 2011 We are in Buenos Aires, Argentina about to board the Seabourn Sojourn for a trip around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile. Our ports will be Montevideo - Uruguay, Stanley - Falkland Islands, Ushuaia -â€" AR, rounding Cape Horn (not a port, but a destination) and Beagle Channel, Puntas Arenas, CH, Chilean Fjords cruising, Puerto Montt, CH, Puerto Chacabuco, CH, and Valparaiso, CH. We are very excited to be returning to the Sojourn, our favorite cruise ship. We sailed her from Singapore to Dubai earlier this year on a World cruise segment. It was one of our best cruises ever due to the fantastic crew and staff. Can't wait to get aboard. We have been following the Seabourn blog of the reverse of our itinerary, as well as Clarky's posts and they have increased our enthusiasm. We'll try to return the favor in terms of posting our experiences aboard this "bucket list" itinerary. It is our first time in this part of South America. We flew non-stop from Washington Dulles to Buenos Aires. We have rented an apartment in the Recoleta section of the city through VRBO dot com who we have found to be an excellent resource site as we have traveled throughout the world. The apartment, which has a beautiful private garden, is perfectly situated in a beautiful neighborhood, close to many shops and restaurants. Yesterday we walked the area, visiting beautiful and haunting Recoleta cemetery, unlike any we've ever seen. Eva Duarte Peron is buried here, along with many of Argentina's other famous people. We then visited the Museum of Fine Arts for a few hours. We ate at a neighborhood restaurant, Melo, recommended by our apartment owner. We retired early to recover from our overnight flight. The next day dawned warm and sunny and proved to be high 80 degree temperatures. Everywhere the Jacaranda are blooming and birds are singing. We set off for Plaza de Mayo to see the Casa Rosada and other monuments, then walking casually up to Florida Street, the main shopping area in Buenos Aires. Shops line this street for many many blocks, and small vendors have their stalls laid out on the ground or in small carts. Virtually anything can be bought here, from small souvenir to magnificent leather goods and jewelry. It was a great photo opportunity as well. We decided to have a late lunch at El Mirasol and enjoyed fantastic Ojo cuts of Argentine steak and a wonderful Malbec to go with it. To work off our meal, we walked back to the park next to Recoleta cemetery, where afternoon and evenings, there is an excellent artisan market. This is one of the biggest in the city, and the offerings were unique and above average. Tango dancers and music enhanced the fun atmosphere. We slept well and mid-morning took a taxi to San Telmo Mercado and walked the area on Defense Street which is famous for its Sunday Market. It seemed as if everyone in BA was out enjoying the warm temperatures and the lively atmosphere of San Telmo. The shops lining the street had beautiful antiques, leather, jewelry, clothing and weavings. There was an antique market to rival Portobello in London. In addition, artisans had booths set up on side streets. Musicians played guitar and accordions, old men sang, tango dancers danced and mimes held their poses. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in San Telmo and topped it off with another late lunch. This time we ate at La Brigada, an old Argentine restaurant on Estado Unidas. The restaurant is filled with Argentine sports memorabilia and was vibrant with people enjoying their meals. We had outstanding Lomo steak and salad and, again, a wonderful Malbec for a very economical price. We now are preparing to leave for the ship and our South American adventure. We will post more when we board the ship. LATER Our driver picked us up at noon and we drove the 15 minutes to the port terminal. There were about 20 couples waiting. We filled out health forms and chatted for about 15 minutes. We then were called to go upstairs to check in. That took about 10 minutes, we went through immigration, and were bussed to the beautiful Sojourn. It was great to see the waiting line of staff and receive their warm greetings. We were escorted to the Grand Salon where beverages and sandwiches were available. We were pleased to see some wonderful staff members whom we knew from past Seabourn cruises. We enjoyed meeting more fellow passengers and exchanging stories of our trips down and Buenos Aires activities. We were shown to our cabins about 1:30. The room is set up well, with lots of closet space, nice seating area and comfortable bed. We particularly like the fact that there is a real table with two chairs, for in-room dining, working on a laptop, or other functions. It is set up on the side, and leaves the center of the room empty for easy maneuverability. The bathroom is very convenient with separate shower and bath and two sinks. Drawers are a bit shallow, but there are a number of them, so plenty of space. The television has movies on demand and also all the shore excursion information, as well as cable tv. The cabin is a lovely place to call home for the next two weeks. Our stewardess, Meagan from South Africa, came by with offers of different soaps and had already prepared the cabin with our choice of in-room liquor and drinks. She was very upbeat and accommodating. We unpacked and checked the restaurant menus for the evening. We decided to try Restaurant 2 for the evening and made a reservation. Down at Seabourn Square, we were happy to find that Claudio is our shore excursion manager. He was very welcoming and we were glad to see him again. We discussed some shore excursion possibilities, although we also have booked private tours for this trip. He told us the Antarctica trip which had been offered was cancelled due to only 5 people having signed up. However, onboard, many people were disappointed that they could not book it. So, if you take this cruise and want to do the Antarctica side trip, you must book it 30 days before. The ship is not full. It has about 350 aboard and certainly does not feel crowded in any way. We love the sense of space on this ship. Our Captain is Hamish Elliott, our CD is John Howell, our Hotel Director is Hubert. Guest lecturers for this trip include Richard Cowley who is a Latin American expert, and has escorted four members of the Royal Family on visits to Montevideo. He served as Director-General of the Anglo-Uruguayan Cultural Institute. John Pilkington is known as a broadcaster with BBC World Service and was one of the first people in modern times to retrace the Silk Road from Venice to the Yellow Sea. He also walked the 1,600 mile Royal Road of the Incas in the Peruvian Andes. We are looking forward to their talks, the first of which will be tomorrow evening. Showtime this evening will be Magician Martin John. We had lifeboat drill at 5 pm, changed and met in the Club bar at 6 last evening with other CC cruisers and had an enjoyable time as the ship left Buenos Aires. We then went up to Restaurant 2 and had a wonderful dinner. We were happy to see Priscilla the wine steward from our previous Sojourn cruise. She poured a nice NZ Sauvignon Blanc and we enjoyed the chef's small plates creations. It was 9:30 when we returned to our cabin. We turned our clocks ahead 1 hour and sat on the balcony a bit enjoying our trip down the Rio Plata. MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY We slept in and awoke to find ourselves docked in Montevideo, Uruguay. It is the largest city and capital of Uruguay. It was established in 1726 as a strategic move during a Spanish-Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. It is the southernmost cosmopolitan capital city in the Americas and third most southern in the world. We will take the ship shuttle into town today and walk around viewing the city sites and do some shopping. The ship will leave at 5 pm this afternoon. Tonight's menu in the restaurant includes first course choices of roasted vegetable terrine, seared Tuna with Soba noodles, curry dusted scallop, black mussel veloute and onion consommé. Entrees include pan seared halibut, duck a L'Orange, Veal Chop, and potato Leek Crepes. The Colonnade is having a different themed dinner each night on this cruise. They will be Spanish, French, American, Old England, Italian, Russian , South American Tuscan Market, Seafood and Polynesian. LATER What a charming surprise Montevideo was today. We took the free shuttle bus into town and walked around the square, then down the pedestrian walkway. (Actually, it also is an easy walk). There were vendors and stalls lining the avenue, and interesting shops. We visited the museum, and walked into the park which had an antique fair. We so enjoyed talking with the people about their wares and learning about Uruguay and Montevideo's history. Many of the people spoke excellent English and were very anxious to talk with us. We then walked down to the Mercado, which is close to the ship. There are arts and crafts stores with local artisan goods, paintings, jewelry and weavings. We entered the Mercado, on the advice of one of the shop owners and enjoyed a parradillas (bbq) lunch of fabulous chicken , frites and salad. The Mercado is much like a South American beer garden with various restaurants showing off their bbq'd meats and fish and vegetables. We were serenaded by guitar players and thoroughly enjoyed our time. Back on the ship, John Howell had arranged for the Montevideo Tango Show to perform in the Grand Salon at 3:30. It was a wonderful show of song, dance and music, with passenger participation. The audience gave an ovation to the group. It was a great way to end our day here. We're sailing a bit late because we're awaiting the arrival of a few passengers who have been delayed because of a volcanic ash cloud affecting the local airports. Once at sea, we're on our way to the Falkland Islands. AT SEA It was nice to have a relaxing day at sea today. We slept in and had breakfast in the room, after getting some cappuccinos from Megan at the Sojourn Square coffee bar. Seas are about 5-7 feet, but the Sojourn is very stable and is handling them well. We attended a Destination Talk by Shore Excursion Manager Claudio. He provided a great overview of all the ports, including photos he had taken on the previous cruise. That cruise was the reverse of our itinerary so it was nice to have real time information about the excursions and ports we're visiting. A small group of passengers made up the teams for Trivia today. CD John Howell ran a lively session though, and our team, the Pollos Rellenos (stuffed chickens), won trivia today. This afternoon's lecture by Richard Cowley was on the Fascination of the Falklands, and he included information on the Falklands history and makeup of the more than 700 islands that are the Falklands. He highlighted the conflict between Britain and Argentina, and spoke of the sites we will see. Also on the agenda today were a navigational bridge visit, golf putting, duplicate and social bridge. There is a bridge group of about 30 who have brought their own teacher along, but Seabourn also provides lessons. Tonight was formal night with a reception at 6:45pm with the Captain. He said that it is looking good to make the Falklands, although the weather will be cold and windy. The total passenger contingent was confirmed at 330, so we are enjoying lots of space onboard. We were invited to have dinner with the Chief Engineering Officer Magne, and his wife, Linda. We had a delightful evening with them and four other passengers, including CCers Jim and Cynthia. On the menu were foie gras, lobster bisque, salads, chateaubriand, truffled chicken, and lobster. Showtime was "Can't Stop the Music" a tribute to UK and American bands. AT SEA Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! It was a bit rougher at sea last night as we make our way to the Falklands, and the cabin creaked quite a bit. This morning dawned sunny and beautiful with moderate seas. It's a really gorgeous day about 50 degrees. One thing we have been impressed with on Sojourn is the fact that the officers are very visible, and walking around chatting with passengers. In fact, the Captain came round Seabourn Square this morning and he told us it is looking good to get into the Falklands tomorrow. That's great news as we have a private excursion booked to Volunteer Point to see the penguins. Today being Thanksgiving, Chef Andrew Soddy is giving a cooking demonstration of pumpkin risotto with goat cheese, and pecan pie with bourbon glazed apples. We'll do trivia at noon and attend the lecture by John Pilkington on Introducing Patagonia. There is a special Turkey Trivia this afternoon and a Galley Tour as well. On the menu tonight are Smoked Tea Crusted Salmon, Scallops and Beef Ribs, Rack of Lamb, Three Cheese Tortellini, and of course Thankgiving Turkey with all the fixings. Chef Andrew promised lots of cranberry sauce, and CD John Howell says he gave the chef his Aunt Lucy's Corn Pudding recipe. It should be a fun evening. LATER We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with CD John Howell and a few other guests he invited to share the holiday dinner. Chef Andrew outdid himself and we enjoyed the wonderful pumpkin soup and turkey, stuffing and yes, Aunt Lucy's Corn Pudding. John was a wonderful host and we all agreed it was an enjoyable festive evening. STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS Wow what a day we had! We awoke early to smooth seas and to the ship being guided into Stanley Harbor. We were very fortunate that this day dawned sunny and warm for the area with highs in the 50s. After breakfast in the Colonnade, we boarded the first tender. We had a private excursion booked to Volunteer Point to see the King, Magellenic and Gentoo penguins. Ken Morrison, our driver was waiting shore side with our names on a placard and quickly escorted us to his Land Rover 4 x 4 and we were off. Ken was born on the big west island of the Falklands (there are more than 700 islands which make up the Falklands) and moved to Stanley with his family about 20 years ago. He says he's still considered a newcomer. Ken regaled us with tales of the Falklands conflict in 1982 and pointed out sites of battles, encampments, downed helicopter wreckage, and discussed what it was like living there during the time. The Falklands are starkly beautiful with "stone rivers" which came through millenniums of freeze and thaw when large mountains of rocks have broken down into small boulders that have created these fields of rock debris. They make a mosaic on the mountains and a literal stream of rocks on the ground. Gorse was blooming in the fields, as well as spring flowers in town. Some of the island is still fenced off with signs warning of land mines left from the Argentinean invaders. We first drove on the paved road, then on a dirt track for about 1 hour, and then went totally off road on basically a peat bog surface to get to Volunteer Point. Having a 4X4 was definitely the only way to go, and Ken did a superlative job of finding the best track and avoiding slippery or waterlogged areas. The Falklands have had a lot of rain recently, and tracks, which would be dry and dusty normally in the summer, were waterlogged and deep in mud. We were happy when Ken told us he was the town mechanic! After 1-1/2 hours off road, we arrived at Volunteer Point. How beautiful it is, with the seas an emerald green, waves crashing on the beach, blue sky, sun and thousands of penguins. There are three types: the King Penguins with their yellow cheeks and about waist high. Then there were the burrowing Magellenic penguins on their nests, and the smaller Gentoo penguins. We were the first vehicle to arrive at Volunteer Point and had about an hour to ourselves before the caravans of other private tours and ship's tours arrived. The King penguins were so friendly and walked right up, although we knew the rules said not to touch or go into marked off areas. We saw hundreds of brown furry babies who stayed close to their parents. It was an amazing sight we'll long remember. The Magellenic penguins stayed pretty much in their burrows on the beach, but we got great photos of them, and then went over to the hoards of Gentoo penguins, some molting their feathers, a few babies, and many still sitting on their nests. Seals lounged in the sand on the beach. The entire experience could not have been more positive. We ate the boxed lunch Ken had brought for us and we were off across the peat bogs for another 1-1/2 hour journey back to the gravel and then, paved roads. Ken then took us on a tour of Stanley, which is a charming, clean and lovely town. Ken pointed out the Governor's mansion, the church with whalebone cross, and some of the homes brought in for residents after theirs were destroyed in the war. He showed us his lovely home with a beautiful greenhouse where he grows fruits and vegetables for the family. He also showed us the town's racecourse where, in the 1960's a highjacked plane was forced to land right in the middle of the course, barely fitting within the fence. The plane eventually was stripped and flown out, but the photos of it sitting on the racecourse, wings touching the galleries on each side were amazing. We did some shopping and reboarded the tender back to the ship. The seas still were fine and the sun was shining. We were scheduled to leave at 6pm, but the Captain announced that one of the tours to Volunteer Point would be a bit late returning. We found out that this was because one of their 4x4s had lost an axle and a few of the vehicles had become "bogged" and had to be pulled out. The passengers affected were quickly transferred to the other cars and all did return safely, not too long after. Everyone we talked with agreed that this long and rocky journey was totally worth the effort. We highly recommend it if you are taking this itinerary. We cleaned up, had drinks in the Observation Bar, chatting with fellow passengers comparing the day's experiences, and then went to the Colonnade for dinner. The Colonnade is on the 8th deck aft and is casual with table service. There is an outside dining area, but it was too cold to use. The menu is smaller and features a theme dinner each evening. Tonight it was Old English and we enjoyed Dover Sole and Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding as entrees, along with a Sauvignon Blanc Semillion Blend. All in all, a most enjoyable day and we are so grateful that the weather and seas allowed us to experience this most delightful island. AT SEA We cannot say enough about how much we are enjoying the Sojourn and especially the warm and wonderful staff. The ship is in beautiful condition, the food has been excellent and the wines very good. Some excellent Malbecs, Shiraz, and Sauvignon Blancs are available on the everyday list. We had a small issue with our cabin for a few days, and, upon reporting it, were immediately given excellent service by Murat, the Guest Relations Manager and Hubert the Hotel Director. They graciously moved us to another cabin and were very solicitous about our comfort and ensured that all was well. Murat is exceptional in managing the Reception Desk and dealing with passengers in a friendly and conscientious way. We are so impressed with omnipresent Hubert who is definitely a hands-on Hotel Director and genial with both staff and customers. Just amazing. CD John Howell also is everywhere, and hard working and fun, interacting constantly with passengers. He also has an outstanding singing voice. This morning the Captain had a Q&A with passengers, joined by Magne the Chief Engineer. It was interesting to hear about the ship's operation, our journey ahead and both were very interactive with the audience. We listed to an excellent talk by John Pilkington entitled "Pioneers and Bandits" which included history of Patagonia, including stories of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and their antics and robberies there. Team trivia today was fun and our team finished ahead in the cumulative points as of today. Lunch in the main dining room was followed by a lecture by Richard Cowley, "With Darwin to Patagonia." Both speakers have been excellent and have been generous with their time with passengers during off time. Also on the agenda today were bridge, golf putting, suites tour, Spanish course and Chocoholic Tea Time. Dinner entrees this evening include orange roughy, soft shell crab, sirloin and short rib of beef, double cut pork chop and gnocchi. Appetizers include veal carpaccio, yellow fin tuna Wellington, mushroom minestrone and cream of asparagus soup. Restaurant 2's small bites includes octopus ceviche, lobster corn dog, chicken brick parcel, butternut squash presse, foie gras sandwich and roasted salmon in Sake Ginger and Orange Soy Duck. Showtime highlights tonight are Vocalist David Karl and Comedian Gary Thompson. USHUAIA, ARGENTINA Ushuaia is the capital city of Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina and is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. It also is a starting out port for many Antarctica cruises. It is bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It has a population of 60,000, many of whom are descendants of English speaking settlers and who survive on sheep-raising, lumbering and fishing. Ushuaia's subpolar oceanic climate is similar to Unalaska and Reykjavik with mean temperatures in summer of 50 F. Snow regularly occurs throughout the year. We ate an early breakfast in the Colonnade and made our way to the pier to board our Beagle Channel catamaran excursion. The weather was overcast with intermittent rain and a curtain of clouds covering the mountain peaks, but the Channel was smooth as glass. This was a nature cruise for about 2-1/2 hours viewing cormorant nests, sea lions, flightless steamer ducks, albatross, lighthouse points and the beauty of the Beagle Channel. Richard's lecture on Darwin came to life as we say many species mentioned in his journals. The wind is so strong here that trees are whipped and grow sideways making for a beautiful but haunting landscape. After the cruise we walked the town streets, but because it was Sunday, half of the stores were closed. However, we can tell you that if you want to buy a penguin in any variety, this is the place to get it! As a side note, friends took the two-hour horseback riding excursion along the mountainside and said the rain stopped, the sun came out and it was very enjoyable. We reboarded the ship about 1 pm and had lunch in the dining room with wonderful Vindora as our server. We were scheduled to depart at 4 pm, but the Captain announced that officials said that a regatta was going on in the harbor and, since the wind was not blowing sufficiently (in Ushuaia??) they were finishing late. We could not leave until they vacated the harbor. About 5:30 pm, we were on our way. We sailed back up the Beagle Channel and are on our way to round Cape Horn at 7 am tomorrow! Dinner in the Dining Room this evening was Chefs Dinner -â€" a set menu with a choice only of Halibut or Filet Mignon, with appetizer and salad and dessert courses especially prepared by Chef Andrew Soddy. We were invited to sit with Guest Relations Manager Murat and Guest Relations Supervisor Liesl and other guests. Convivial conversation accompanied the dinner and we were astounded to learn one of our tablemates had been a wing-walker in her youth in Australia! A standout on the menu was Roast Pumpkin Risotto and the Hot Raspberry Souffle for dessert. Evening entertainment was "I Write the Songs" based on Billy Joel, Elton John and Barry Manilow." The entertainment on the ship has been good and we also particularly enjoy sitting in the club before dinner having a drink and listening to the Six of Hearts featuring Pauline. They are outstanding. The staff has been so excellent, we'd like to mention a few who have gone out of their way to make this a wonderful cruise: Vindora and Christian, Andrew and Stephanie in the Restaurant, Felim and Matt who are Bar Staff, Meagan our stewardess, Murat and Jo at reception, Megan at the coffee bar and John Howell who has been outstanding. ROUNDING CAPE HORN AND GLACIER ALLEY What an amazing, astounding once in a lifetime experience of a day we have had. This day represents why we go to sea and why Seabourn Sojourn is our ship of choice. We woke early at 5am, showered and went up to the front Observation Bar at 5:45 am to get seats for our trip round Cape Horn this morning. The staff had set out coffee, juice tea and pastry already, which helped us wake up. As we approached Deception Island which is often mistaken for Cape Horn, the winds outside were blowing 55 mph, with sprinkling of rain and mist. The seas however, were not overly high. About 6:30 am Cape Horn came into view and we eased our way up to the north side of Hornos Island. Kathy went out to take some photos, and the blowing wind pushed strongly against her, making her few steps become a step, blow backward, step, blow backward journey. It was exhilarating she said. Cape Horn is one of the most evocative names on the map and in maritime history and sits where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet at 56 degrees south. If you were to sail east or west from Cape Horn, the next land you would reach would be Cape Horn! It is not a dramatic site, but there are gales or worse on more than 200 days per year with 20 meter waves quite common. It still is considered one of the major challenges in yachting and the Volvo Ocean Race sail around the world via the Horn and speed records for round-the -â€"world sailing are recognized for following this route. There is a small lighthouse, a chapel and a weather station operated by a handful of Chilean personnel stationed here, along with an albatross sculptural marker. The current lighthouse keeper has a one year old baby. The observation lounge was filled with passengers enjoying this rounding together, and excited conversations were exchanged. Speaker Richard Cowley provided commentary on the history and maritime experiences of the area. Staff passed out delicious hot chocolate. The most amazing thing is that, once we reached the northwest side of the Island and began rounding, the wind died down, the sun came out and it was smooth sailing. Cape Horn had become a calm pool. We sailed past the south side of the Horn itself, a small rock jutting out of the sea, taking myriad photos and videos, stunned with the gorgeous conditions we were experiencing. The 11th deck proved to be a great place to take unobstructed photos of the entire scene, and we recommend going up there to get the best shots. The entire trip round finished by 8 am, and the Captain and other speaker John Pilkington said that they had never experienced such fantastic conditions in prior sailings. We were truly fortunate. We went up to the Restaurant for breakfast, viewing the beautiful scenery as we cruised back up toward Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel once more. Richard Cowley's morning enrichment lecture was very interesting. His subject was the tango and its history from the gauchos to turn of the century Buenos Aires, to present day. He accompanied his excellent and funny talk with some great, classic tango music, concluding with Carlos Gardel. Team trivia was very tough again today, but our team, the Pollos Rellenos triumphed again and we remain in cumulative first place, by a hair. John Pilkington, the affable and enjoyable speaker from the BBC, spoke this afternoon about "A Shipwreck, A Glacier and A Surprise." He talked about the seafarers who've foundered on the Patagonian coast, took us on a flight over the stunning Moreno Glacier and told us of a last minute trip to Antarctica which left him stranded there for 18 days when his pilot took off without him! Quite a surprise and a riveting talk! Ballroom dance class with Elena and Dmitry featured, what else?, the tango. For our second astounding experience, we then made our way back up to the Observation lounge for viewing of Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel. On our way, passing Ushuaia, the sun was out and we were able to capture photos of the peaks and the city in the clear weather that we had not been able to get on our original visit. The weather was a bit colder with wind, but the seas very calm as we passed the first of the astounding glaciers that soar over the channel. We have been to Alaska and loved it, but this experience is equally if not superior to the glaciers there. The height and width of them is mind-boggling. We decided to go down to the stern of the Sojourn, off the Club Bar to capture shots as we passed the glaciers on both sides of the ship. We, along with Claudio the Shore Excursion Manager and three other people, were the only people on the fantail! We felt as if we were sailing our own yacht through a dream world. The wind did whip as we captured shot after shot of 5 glaciers, named after countries. We felt we could touch them and the stark mountain peaks surrounding them. As we stood looking at the Romanche glacier, a rainbow appeared off the fantail and it added to the magic of the experience. The stunning hanging glacier with a huge waterfall was awe inspiring. We were cold, wind whipped but joyous with the wonders we were seeing. Patagonia is an astounding, surprising place that we know we will explore further. We had room service for dinner which was served exactly to our order, quickly and efficiently. As we sat and ate, another rainbow appeared just off our balcony adding an ending punctuation to our day. We watched a movie and talked about the most wondrous experience aboard the magical Sojourn. PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE We continued our trip overnight into the Straits of Magellan and docked at 8 am in Punta Arenas, Chile. The name means Sandy Point, and it is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south, with a population of 130,000. It is recognized by its red-painted metal roofs. Excursions here included a trip to Otway Sound to see the penguins, an Estancia Tour, an 11-hour land/flight trip to Torres del Paine National Park ($1,199 pp), and a city tour. Since we had seen lots of penguins in the Falklands and a recent trip to New Zealand, we opted to take the ship's free shuttle bus to the main square. Punta Arenas is a lovely city with colonial architecture and friendly people. In the main square, vendors had wooden carts selling penguin themed items, hand knit shawls, sweaters, and lapis jewelry. We enjoyed walking through, and then walked around the city, viewing the restored buildings and shopping at artisan shops. Surrounding the Plaza are mansions of the wealthy sheep farmers of the 19th century. About 1 pm we went down to the waterfront on O'Higgins Street to Sotitos, for lunch. We had a fantastic meal of avocado salad, fresh King Crab (for which Punta Arenas is known), and shared a plate of spit roasted lamb, paradillas style. We had a crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc as well. The crab and lamb were phenomenal and we highly recommend this, to Americans anyway, medium priced restaurant. After our lunch we walked a bit more and took the shuttle back to the ship. A short nap restored us. We are having dinner with new friends from New Orleans at the Colonnade, which is doing a Tuscan Buffet. Tonight at 9:45 pm is the "Rock the Boat Dance Party" which features the entire Entertainment Team. CRUISING THE CHILEAN FJORDS We woke this morning to mist and light rain as we made our way through the beginning of the Chilean Fjords. We are anxious to compare these fjords to those of Norway and New Zealand and Tracy Arm in Alaska. The landscape in Tierra del Fuego was quite dramatic and stands up to any we've seen. We began the morning with a quiet breakfast in the Restaurant, with Vindora and Stephanie as our servers. Richard Cowley gave a wonderful lecture on the creation of the Andes Mountains, the icefields, glaciers and the volcanoes of the Chilean fjords. He is a very funny and engaging speaker and we hope you have a chance to hear him on a future cruise. He will be doing the next segment back to Buenos Aires so we know some of you will have that opportunity. At noon we played trivia, which was again very challenging. It is a fun experience though and the Pollos Rellenos, our team, is hanging onto first by a thread. Ballroom dance class was the Tango and we gave it our best shot. Let me say there is much more to be learned...... We grabbed our cameras and jackets and made our way to the outside decks for our viewing of the Amalia Glacier, a huge Glacier more than 1 km wide. We knew we were approaching as we saw bergie bits in the water and, in the distance could view the pack ice on the water. It was relatively warm but still was misty, so our opportunities were not the best today for photography, but we could easily view the glacier's incredible size and grandeur. The ship sent out a speedboat with three crew members who gathered and brought back some of the glacier ice to the ship's bars. The crew bobbed around in the frigid waters and took their time finding just the right pieces. We enjoyed watching them then speed all around the Sojourn with a big white hand on a board waving to all the passengers who were taking photos and waving back. We stood by the side as they hoisted the boat back onto the ship with their prize catch. Kathy was thrilled to have the crew, in their immersion suits, hand her a chunk of ice and pose for a photo opp. The ice then was taken to the bars around the ship for passenger viewing, but, not for use in drinks. It was a fun chance for all to share the experience. One note to follow up on a prior post I made. The group that took the 11 hour excursion to Torres Del Paine National Park had an amazing experience. Although it was misty and rainy for those of us who stayed in Punta Arenas, they had clear blue skies and sun in the park. Their photos are amazing. They saw guanacos and reas with their babies, and had a clear gorgeous view of the famous Towers of the Park. All said it was a wonderful day. In the Club Bar tonight, Kathy tried a Pisco Sour. Sorry, the Lemon Drop Martini wins out again! On the menu in the Restaurant tonight were Roasted Salmon, Jumbo Scallops, Osso Bucco and Grilled Lamb Loin. Appetizers were Salmon Tartare, Besaola, Chicken Cassoutlet "En Croute" (it was incredible), Carrot and Ginger Soup and Chilean Potato Salad. We were invited to dinner with John Pilkington and had lively conversation about John's travels, including his recent trips to Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and all the "stans." John's enthusiasm is contagious and one can understand the British Royal Geographic Society presenting him with the Ness Award for his work in popularizing geography and a wide understanding of the world. He is a familiar voice on BBC World Service with his travel documentaries. We will add that his photographs also are amazing. If you get a chance to hear him, don't miss the opportunity. Showtime this evening was "The Vocal Fireworks of Justine Balmer." CRUISING THE CHILEAN FJORDS We went to sleep to calm seas, had a bit of heavy seas in the night, and this morning woke to calm seas and sunny blue skies. The fjords really stand out now and ice capped stark black mountains combine with the green and rock strewn hills to make a beautiful landscape. It is warm today and very relaxing sitting on the balcony reading a book and watching all this natural beauty as we glide by. The morning's activities include the sixth Spanish course conducted by Heidi, Chef Andrew's Cooking demonstration on Asian Spiced Seabass, and his famous Glazed Lemon Tart. Trivia is at noon and Richard Cowley's lecture on "Lost in the Snows of the Andes." The talk reveals the details about the plane carrying a team of soccer players that crash landed high on the Andes mountains between Chile and Argentina. It is a great survival story. John Pilkington is doing a Round Table discussion and book signing as well this afternoon. We will attend Ballroom Dance class with Elena and Dmitry this afternoon to give it another go... A couple of notes: Internet has been working fabulously on this trip. It is a real contrast to the issues we had with it on our Singapore to Dubai trip last Feb/March. Nigel, the computer expert is very helpful and we complimented him on the great service we're getting. Susana, our new stewardess, is doing a super job of keeping our room spotless. And, for those of you concerned about past experiences with the lack of Moulton Brown products, we have not had to ask for any- they are immediately replaced in our bathroom cabinet. It is obvious the staff on this ship is happy and the camaraderie we see is genuine. The passenger component has been American British, Australian, and German and we have made the acquaintance of a number of lovely couples. There are no children aboard. We must say that the fact that we are down 100 passengers from capacity make this ship feel incredibly spacious and provides many opportunities to find that quiet corner to curl up with a book. Right now the only thing we would change is to forbid smoking on the balconies and in cabins, as the smoke consistently wafts over to our balcony and the smell is in the hallways. I know it is a matter of choice, and controversial to say this, and we knew Seabourn allows this. Just our opinion. Dinner entrees in The Restaurant will include Turbot, Crab Cake, Herb Roasted Chicken, New York Strip and Swiss Chard Ricotta Ravioli. The Colonnade has a Polynesian themed dinner which includes Yellow Fin Tuna, Shrimp Spring Roll or Blue Crab Papaya Bisque and main courses of Grilled Orange Roughy or Hawaiian Barbequed Chicken. PUERTO CHACABUCO, CHILE Puerto Chacabuco is a Chilean town in Aisen Province at the head of the Aisen Fjord. It is the main port of the region because in 1991 Mount Hudson volcano erupted. This resulted in the original port of Puerto Aisen having its navigability decrease due to ashes and earth erosion. Puerto Chacabuco is a tender port and the sail in was amazingly beautiful as we glided past the fjord to our place in the harbor. The weather was great and actually warmed to sunny 60 degrees One note: There is absolutely nothing in Puerto Chacabuco itself, and a shore excursion definitely should be booked here unless you just want to spend a day on the ship. The ship's excursions took up every bus in the area, according to Claudio, and it was the first port where most of the ship was on excursion. Some passengers took a longer excursion over the Andes to the small town of Coyhaique and while they enjoyed it, they said it was a long ride on rough roads. We chose to take the half-day tour to Aisen National Park which was lovely. We hiked the park for a while, viewing beautiful flora and fauna, and we spotted our first condors of the trip. We hiked to a lovely waterfall, and everywhere the spring flowers were in bloom. Lupines, fuschia trees, and buttercups were really showing their colors. One caution: the large black flies are out in force, so insect repellant is advised and don't wear perfume as it is a magnet! At the end of the hike we were taken to a small lodge where lamb was cooking on the barbeque for later ship tours. We were served empanadas and other appetizers, along with champagne, pisco sours and Chilean wines. A local folkloric dance troupe also performed the traditional Chilean handkerchief dance and some of us were invited to partner with the dancers and join in. After a visit to the lake, we reboarded our bus for the 15 minute ride back to the ship. The ship departed at 2 pm and we attended John Pilkington's lecture on Llamas and Incas. Ballroom dance class was the jive, and we then changed for drinks in the Club listening to the Six of Hearts, and dinner. The Colonnade had an Indian market this evening, and it was immensely popular. The ship's officers including the Captain were present for the feast. We must say the chefs outdid themselves and the food was absolutely outstanding. It was Broadway Cabaret night in the Club after dinner. PUERTO MONTT, CHILE It was overcast and misting as we dropped anchor in Puerto Montt this morning. The forecast was for rain, but it held off as we dressed, breakfasted in the Colonnade and went down to the tenders. We had booked a private tour through Patagonia Shore Excursions, and our driver was waiting at the port. Puerto Montt is a port city at the northern end of Reloncavi Sound in the Chilean Lakes district. The area originally was inhabited by the Mapuche Indians who drove the Spanish out in 1599. The modern town was founded in 1853 during the German colonization of Southern Chile where immigrants were given free land, timber, a cow and citizenship. It is the gateway to the Chiloe Archipelago and Llanquihue lake, the third largest lake in South America. The area is dotted with chalets, farms and looks much like a country village in Germany. We visited Puerto Varas which is a lovely town about 40 minutes from Puerto Montt and is situated on Llanquihue lake. The town square was filled with decorated Christmas trees, and a band was playing on the stage. The town has some nice crafts made by the local inhabitants and we purchased some for souvenirs of our trip. Our tour guide Geraldo and driver Jeanette took us to the town of Fruitilar which looks like it is in Germany , but has a sandy beach. We drove to Parque Nacional Perez Rosales, Chile's oldest national park and the home of the magnificent Osorno volcano, 8,700 feet tall. The volcano looms over the entire area and is the subject of many photos, with its perfect triangular shape. Petrohue Falls in the park is a gorgeous setting and often photographed. While we didn't have rain, the mist stayed just on the top of the volcano, so our hoped for photos were not to be. We visited a llama farm and got up close and personal with Gaston, the male llama who lords it over the herd. We had a wonderful lunch in town and then headed back to the ship. While we had intended to shop at the Angelmo craft market near the port, one pass by showed us it was the normal tourist stalls, so we passed. It was a good thing because the skies opened and it absolutely poured as we took the tender back to the ship. At 4 pm a local folkloric show, "Brotes De Angelmo" came aboard and performed traditional songs and dance routines in the Grand Salon. The ship departed at 6 pm and we eased our way out into the Pacific Ocean for the final day of our cruise. It was formal evening tonight and we were so happy to be asked to join the table of Hubert the Hotel Director. At the farewell reception prior to dinner, Captain Elliott thanked the 91 returning Seabourn passengers, and the new Seabourn sailors for being part of this incredible cruise. Our table at dinner was a really fun evening, and we all discussed the terrific experiences we've had on this trip. Hubert was an excellent host, and we laughed a lot. We enjoyed choices of the foie gras, white tomato cappuccino soup, lobster, chateaubriand, lamb chops and lemon tart or chocolate soufflé. It was a great evening. AT SEA Our final day onboard Sojourn was spent cruising the calm Pacific Ocean. We really have been so lucky this trip as the seas have been wonderful, weather has been unbelievably great, and the staff and fellow passengers have been outstanding. We went to the restaurant for one last breakfast and then up to Richard Cowley's last lecture, "Chile From Top to Bottom." There was a sign-up bridge visit available as well. We then went to the room and packed our bags for the trip home tomorrow. At noon it was final Team Trivia Challenge and John Howell, Diana and Heidi had some really tough questions for us all. For the final bonus question we had to bet our scores to determine the winning team. I'm happy to say that the Pollos Rellenos (Stuffed Chickens), our team, won the final team trivia and therefore were crowned the champions. We each received a Seabourn stuffed bear for our efforts. It was a fun time with the other teams, all of whom had a great sense of humor, and John ran a great trivia, which is not always easy to do! It was Galley Market Lunch day and so we eagerly made our way to the restaurant for the chef's staff to show off their masterpieces. It was beautifully presented, tasted great, and each area of the kitchen was proud to show off its foods. The dessert table alone was stunning. We attended John Pilkington's lecture "The Royal Road to Cusco" which included his photos and commentaries on Machu Picchu as well. Ballroom dance class with Elena and Dmitry was the waltz. Pre-dinner Showtime was vocalist Justine Balmer. We had drinks in the Club before having a casual dinner at the pool grill. The weather was a bit cool, but lovely and we enjoyed chatting with fellow passengers while we sat under the stars. There was a latino beats farewell dance party in the Club, but we went back and watched a movie, then had our final night's rest on the Sojourn on calm seas. VALPARAISO All too soon our two week South American adventure was coming to an end. We arose early and had room service breakfast -â€" prepared perfectly and served promptly. We must say room service overall was excellent on this trip. We had a flight out of Santiago on Air Canada and had just been informed by the airline that they had moved the flight time up two hours, making it a seemingly tight connection for us. The flight to Buenos Aires was our connector to our United non-stop back to Dulles. We had arranged a private driver -â€" Christian the Van Man -â€" for the trip and he assured us via email that he would get us there on time. We must give kudos and great thanks to Claudio the shore excursion manager who was magnificent and helped us immensely, even though we had not booked a ship's transfer. He ensured that we were first off the ship, actually rode the shuttle with us to the port entrance, and got us through security quickly. He went above and beyond to help us get to our waiting car and driver. Claudio actually is from Valparaiso and his excitement at being there made us want to come back to visit this lovely colonial town. Christian our driver was waiting for us and gave us wonderful commentary on the area in perfect English as we drove through the winery region on the way to Santiago airport. As promised, we arrived with time to spare and with boarding passes in hand, went through security and onto our plane. (By the way, do not lose the white paper the Chilean authorities insert into your passport. You need it to leave the country along with your written declaration). The flight over the Andes was spectacular and the mountains were absolutely gorgeous in the clear blue sky. We used the Red Carpet Club at Buenos Aires Airport until our uneventful flight back to Washington DC. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS We thoroughly and completely enjoyed this stunning, surprising and culturally expanding trip to South America- all 3,961 Nautical Miles. We are so glad we chose the Seabourn Sojourn to take our trip. The weather and scenery were fantastic and more than we could have expected. From start to finish the staff was charming, friendly and professional. The food was the same quality we had enjoyed on previous Seabourn cruises. The wines, although not quite up to former quality, were very drinkable, and we found that if we asked for those we preferred, they were poured quickly. We have so many people who provided outstanding service that it is hard to thank everyone. But some real stand-outs were: John Howell, an exceptional customer- oriented and talented Cruise Director, Hubert the Hotel Manager was a very involved, pleasant and caring leader. Captain Hamish Elliott was very visible and affable, and cared about passenger comfort. In the restaurants, food staff members Vindora, Christian, Stephanie, Andrew, and Priscilla for wine were superb. Bar waiters Matt and Felim were personable, and provided great service. Our room stewardesses Meagan and Susana were excellent and kept everything in our cabin(s) perfect. Claudio was an outstanding Shore Excursion Manager, Nigel was great with computer issues, Murat was a terrific Guest Relations Manager (and actually went to sleep in our first cabin after we left to determine the cause of the noise issue we had). Yelena was always there smiling with made to order coffee at the coffee bar early in the morning. Truly there is very little to find fault with on this cruise. There were very few lapses in service (mostly in the Observation bar). The Restaurant was open for lunch most sea days and some port days. We prefer the Restaurant for meals and service because the tables in the Colonnade are a bit too close for our taste and we like to be served. But the Colonnade is a lovely room with the opportunity to see the views all around. We would return to the Sojourn in an instant, and hope that Seabourn will consider taking its ships after refit to Antarctica along with this itinerary. We'll be there if they do. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We wanted to sail around Cape Horn - and the only decent options were Seabourn or Holland America. We chose Seabourn as we preferred a smaller ship and the dates suited us. From the moment we embarked we were delighted! Not only was our ... Read More
We wanted to sail around Cape Horn - and the only decent options were Seabourn or Holland America. We chose Seabourn as we preferred a smaller ship and the dates suited us. From the moment we embarked we were delighted! Not only was our cabin glorious, but our stewardess immediately made us at home with a glass of champagne and canapes. And the experience never dropped an inch from that moment on! The food was excellent, and particularly enjoyed the formal dining room, where we were able to have 4 or even 5 courses of small elegant portions, with a good choice of wines. All the staff we encountered on the ship were not only professional, but very friendly. We visited some interesting ports and were lucky enough to sail around Cape Horn on a clear day... with photos we will treasure! The all-inclusive approach is a winner - great to have a cuppucino in the square or G & T on the observation deck or simply an ice cold beer on the deck, without the endless hassle of signing and keeping an eye on your account. Other great things on this ship. The library/ coffee shop; the in-room breakfast, the diy laundry, the champange and caviar on the observation deck; the music in the nightclub. But at the end of the day what made this cruise so spectacular, was the standard of service ... professional, yet very interactive & personable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Seabourn Sojourn Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 4.0 4.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 2.5 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 5.0 4.0

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