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Sail Date: April 2019
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star ... Read More
Amazon River always been a intriguing destination , let alone getting o Manaus from Santiago , Chile is not a simple coordination then of course Brazil rainforest is a unique envirometthat any one would like to observe from a five star cruise ship , my arrival was direct from the airport , the schedule washboard on April 7 and ship overnights 1 night in Manaus so touring Manaus was very helfull using the ship as a hotel with all its confort that really struck any pasta large cruise pax as my self . thus was my first small cruise ship and ohh my what a difference , on arrival to my cabin located on deck 7 , the cabin attendant welcomes us and in a tray she has a menu of different types of soaps to chose or select during your cruise , it seem like a different and very intimate gesture , after departing I notice that every thing was so near by and this made everything so nice , another unique appointment to me was that the ship has a suit tub in the bow and decently every night before 20:00 hrs I made my list and just sat there and watch the the amazon go by with a glass of Champaign served to me every Time , the food was just incredible , fool of taste a different and unusual flavors created every day , the observation deck was a magical plcace where the piano man sat and entertain all guest , the caves was always a must here before dinner here , I really think the ships from seaboard are very well thought through out and really can wait to be papers again , the bed linen and pillows where the best I have sleep on and probably made my rest the best on a vacation which I think I had deserve , what I think they could improve is ti have more reasonable priced excursion on the zodiac the where good bu hey USD 500.00 for 2 pax situation ..I ended fonding my own excursion in ports and was way luckier than the rest of the fellow passenger at least on adrenalin of the Amazon , hopefully I can afford to go to Antartica on the Quest ! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I took the Seabourn Quest for a trip to the Antarctica on Feb 3 from Buenos Aires. I was terribly unpleasant on board the Seabourn Quest. We boarded the ship at noon on Feb 3, but I started having throw-up & diarrhea at ~11 p.m. ... Read More
I took the Seabourn Quest for a trip to the Antarctica on Feb 3 from Buenos Aires. I was terribly unpleasant on board the Seabourn Quest. We boarded the ship at noon on Feb 3, but I started having throw-up & diarrhea at ~11 p.m. on Feb 4. Throughout the night, I had at least 6 times of diarrhea. I was too weak to get to the medical room, so a nurse was asked to come up to tend to my case in the morning. She took my temperature & said I had a fever. I was told to take Loperamide to ease off the diarrhea and Panadol to lower my temperature . The Loperamide didn’t seem to work as I continued to have 6x of diarrhea throughout the day. I was also told to be quarantined for 3 days. She came back at around 4 p.m. & told me the fever had come down a little bit. I said the diarrhea was terrible & the waste that came out was greenish. She only said she would come back the next day. On the morning of the 6th, she told me that the fever had gone, but since the diarrhea still persisted, she said I needed to take antibiotics. She didn’t come back in the afternoon. I was still having diarrhea for about 6x a day even I had no food intake. The nurse didn’t bring any antibiotics on the morning of the 7th as apparently, she had forgotten about it. The antibiotic medicine, Ciprofloxacin, was finally brought to me in the afternoon which means it was a full 2-day delay for medication. On the 8th, I finally exerted some energy to go down & visited the doctor. I told him the antibiotics didn’t seem to be effective on me & that I continuously had at least 6x of diarrhea every day. I had no food intake except a few slices of orange when I felt dry in the mouth. He changed to another kind of antibiotics, but my 6x-diarrhea-a-day & the greenish color of waste still persisted for 2 more days. It was not until on the 10th that I could start to go to the canteen to have my meals. But then, I have already missed two of the possible five Zodiac excursions, the main reason why we took this Antarctica cruise. I also missed to see the King Penquins in Falkland Islands, a tour I had paid for in full. Even though I got refunded for this excursion, but missing to see the King Penquins in close encounter was surely a regret which money alone could not compensate for it. None of the managerial staff admitted that it was food contamination as their food was rated excellent when examined in the port. Even the doctor said it shouldn’t have happened to me solely if it were food contamination. But I would not buy this explanation as my experience on board another cruise ship could definitely prove the point. I chewed some sand in my mushroom, but all my 5 other friends who ordered the same dish didn’t find any. I told the restaurant manager & he took the excuse of examining the food by taking the whole plate back to the kitchen. Then I was told there was indeed some sand in the mushroom. My immediate response was, your kitchen staff didn’t clean the food thoroughly. He denied, “No, it’s only the mushrooms that had sand in them!” What a joke!!! Another observation on board could also illustrate my point. It was a real shock to see that canteen staff never tried to clean the placemats on the dining tables. They only cleaned the space in between the 2 placemats & tended to ignore the food residue on top of the placemats, or the salt or pepper remains under the condiment containers. I was also astounded to see that staff, when cleaning the tables, swept all food remains onto the floor. Shouldn’t this only be happened to a low-class café? I would never have expected to see this on a 6-star cruise ship. This observation was written down on the survey & the situation seemed to have improved slightly. Rome was not built in one day. The lack-of-training would never have made the staff to improve their cleaning style within several days. In this case, how can I not be suspicious about contracting any bacteria from the placemats? Further, we had been continuously disturbed by the noise from above our room. Our room was right under the kitchen of the Observation Deck. I had not the slightest idea why the staff started to move the trolley at midnight. For the first few nights, I was too weak to make any complaints. But I could not stand it any more when one night, there was the rolling of trolley at midnight, then the opening & closing of the drawers at ~2 a.m., & the moving of trolley cart at ~ 4 a.m., & finally the banging sound at ~ 6 a.m. I was glad that my case was resolved to & there was no noise for 2 consecutive nights. Unfortunately, the noise came back again at ~ 12 a.m. on the night after. I called & the noise stopped. There was no noise on the following night, but it came back again at the same hour the next night. I was really mad & blasted at the front desk. The problem seemed to have resolved, but on the night before departure, there was again a continuous noise of bouncing a solid ball on a counter. I was simply puzzled by the way how the personnel trained the staff. Last but not least, I was told by a managerial staff to write to Nic Botha, the Guest Services Manager about my grievance after I got back home. I did, but I have been waiting for almost 2 months now & never received a reply. The service was a total disappointment. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. ... Read More
Seabourn Quest is a lovely ship. The whole experience of feeling special from the time of checkin to checkout was second to none. From our experience, all of the staff cannot be flawed. They work so hard and are delightful all the time. The Expedition Team were a group of incredibly experienced and qualified professionals who were so efficient and pleasant whilst looking after the guests and keeping us all safe in extreme conditions. Only criticism of any staff would be that the Cruise Director could mature a little and cease finishing every announcement with 'yaay' as it really grinds after a few days! The room was exceptional for a cruise ship with a walk in closet, twin basins in the bathroom and a full size separate bath. The Thomas Keller Restaurant which is promoted as 3 Michelin star rated was average and we much preferred the normal restaurant - great food without the pretence. In fact, pretence was our major stumbling block during the trip. It took us a while to find 'like minded' folk who were travelling on this particular trip to get to a special and unique place on our earth. There were a lot of ostentatious guests more interested in the shallowness of conspicuous wealth which to me clashed with the vibe of the destination. It was embarrassing to hear how some of these people spoke to staff and partners of the Expedition Team. Saying that, nothing could overshadow the awesome destination. We were so privileged to be able to visit Antarctica and South Georgia and to be on a ship like this made it a very pleasurable experience, although if I had my time again I'd choose a different more earthy cruise line with a younger demographic. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary through the Panama Canal to Peru. The excursions we booked on our own were far better than the experiences people had on the cruise line's offers. Many of the ports visited were for the first ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary through the Panama Canal to Peru. The excursions we booked on our own were far better than the experiences people had on the cruise line's offers. Many of the ports visited were for the first time and the itinerary staff knew little or nothing about them. You would think they would send out people ahead of time to learn about the areas they were going to visit. One port in Ecuador was rated so dangerous in online reviews that we did not even get off the boat. First time ever for us on a cruise. Food was okay but nowhere as good as on Oceania. In general, the cruise was very overpriced and did not include airfare in the pricing. Many of the people on board cruised year round, knew each other and were quite clique-ish. Many of the staff were snootish as well. Disembarkation was a disaster!!! Basically, they were done with us. We will not travel with them again. We will probably stick with Oceania. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We've taken 32 cruises on many different lines and now find that Seabourn is our favorite line. We booked this cruise as a way to get us to South America, and were happily surprised by the extra bonus of Antarctica. I was most ... Read More
We've taken 32 cruises on many different lines and now find that Seabourn is our favorite line. We booked this cruise as a way to get us to South America, and were happily surprised by the extra bonus of Antarctica. I was most pleased by the careful attention paid to passenger safety and comfort. An expedition to Antarctica is not easy and many passengers had some degree of disability. Still we never felt endangered and we saw a lot of Antarctica in comfort, both on ship and off. Embarkation in Miami was a breeze and getting off and on in all ports, including tender service, was fast and easy. This is one of the pleasures of traveling on a small ship. Disembarkation in Buenos Aires was chaotic and Seabourn might have been able to provide more assistance there. Good activities on board, especially the lectures that focussed on the regions to be visited and on the geography and biology of Antarctica. We were well-prepared for most ports. We took only a few excursions, which were quite expensive. We splurged on the overnight excursion to Machu Picchu and it was the highlight of our trip. No complaints about the service. Very few things went wrong. Entertainment was cruise ship style. Some of the guest performers were quite good. The group of singers and dancers on board performed cheesy cruise ship shows put together by Belinda King. Some of the best events were the parties hosted by the ship. Our only complaints have to do with the cuisine. The ethnic nights in the Colonnade were too often disasters with inauthentic food way worse than what one finds in a cheap ethnic restaurant on land. Chinese and Thai were especially inedible. Food in the main restaurant was adequate, but quickly became repetitious after only a week. In fact the array of dishes was limited and kept recycling during our 46-day cruise. Otherwise it's all about Thomas Keller, which is a big lah-dee-dah. The specialty restaurant which bears his name is a steak house with old fashioned steak house food. The main restaurant often has Keller-inspired dishes which were too often disappointing We did like the Keller hamburgers and hot dogs served at the poolside grill, but to praise burgers and dogs on a luxury cruise line is just plain sad. Thanksgiving dinner was a disaster with most of the traditional dishes missing, and they had only 3 turkeys to serve to over 400 guests, so they ran out halfway through the meal. Seabourn really needs to up their game in the cuisine area. I was very happy with the cuisine at Earth and Ocean and we ate there as often as possible. We absolutely adored the beverage service, from the fresh OJ to the skinny lattes, to the delicious cocktails, to the inclusive wines with dinner. Great service in all the bars. We will be back on Seabourn when we find the right itinerary. We find it a very good buy when one considers all that is included. Unfortunately we generally use ships to get across oceans, and Seabourn's itineraries for crossings are not usually practical. But we will always keep our eyes out for a possibility. Overall we were very happy. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I picked this cruise because of the unusual and very interesting itinerary. I do not regret selecting this cruise. The crew was very interactive with the guests and catered to our desires. The size of the ship and the quality of the ... Read More
I picked this cruise because of the unusual and very interesting itinerary. I do not regret selecting this cruise. The crew was very interactive with the guests and catered to our desires. The size of the ship and the quality of the guests lead to a community atmosphere. I think by the end of the cruise there were more than 100 guests and almost the entire crew that greeted me by name. The hosted table option concept supported the interaction with different guests and crew members which was very welcome for me as a solo traveler. Dining was always good and sometimes great. There were several special events that kept the dining options from getting boring. I really like the "conversationalists". There were interesting and added to the enjoyment of the ports. Minor issues: Internet speed onboard was slower than other ships I have been on. This is a concern for me since I am still working part time and needed to stay in touch with clients. There were only four washing machines for guests to use for the entire ship. Many guests had laundry privileges due to their frequent travel status mitigating the issue somewhat. The pre-port briefs were a plus but the information and maps provided could have been lots better. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our second cruise with Seabourn and we were attracted to this one because we wanted to see this part of the world, but we also liked the many sea days. We work hard in our daily lives and we wanted to relax. The moment we stepped ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Seabourn and we were attracted to this one because we wanted to see this part of the world, but we also liked the many sea days. We work hard in our daily lives and we wanted to relax. The moment we stepped on board in Buenos Aires, we entered a world of comfort, luxury and plenty, all delivered with good humour and kindness by the hard working staff and crew. Cabin Our cabin was on Deck 6, perfectly located near the main staircase and we got to where we wanted to go in no time. We had a beautiful big room with a verandah, a separate lounge room, a big comfortable bed and a big bathroom with a bath, with high quality and plentiful bath products and big, soft towels. There was plenty of storage and the view from the verandah was uninterrupted. Compared to the cabins on river cruises, this cabin was a mansion. We did find the air conditioner inadequate and the cabin too stuffy. We had the same problem on the Encore last year. This time we solved this by bringing our own fan and we were very comfortable. A couple of times throughout the cruise, we had a "meet your neighbours" party. This is a great idea. Food We are recent converts to vegetarianism and we were really well catered for. There was always plenty to choose from at the Collonade although sometimes the chef pointed out that dishes that looked vegetarian had been made with beef stock, or there was a sneaky prawn hiding in its depths. At my suggestion, they labelled vegetarian dishes and we had no further problems. There were always vegetarian options in the Restaurant and at formal dinners, we had our own menu. Executive Chef, Kurt Timmermans is an outstanding chef and a wonderful communicator and he went out of his way to accommodate our needs. We first experienced the Thomas Keller Grill on the Encore last year and tried it again on the Quest. Once again we were not impressed. The food is too heavy and salty and the menu is inflexible. No changes are allowed. Apparently Thomas knows best. I think we have learned our lesson and will avoid this restaurant in the future. We occasionally had lunch at the Patio, afternoon tea and pre dinner canapes at the Observation Bar and snacks at Seabourn Square and the food was always lovely. Twice on our cruise they set up a Galley Market in the kitchen and the food was outstanding. This was a highlight of our cruise. I would particularly like to acknowledge the following outstanding restaurant staff - Kershin, Marielle, Michael (entertaining as well as incredibly helpful), Niny, Liliya, Sharon and Noemie.. I don't like or understand Seabourn's practice of having the staff take the arm of women and escort them to their tables in the Restaurant. The feminist in me really objects. I always feel uncomfortable and I'm sure these busy young people have better things to do. I think it is demeaning and not something professional wait staff should be expected to do. We have dined in upmarket restaurants all over the world and have not experienced this practice anywhere else. Drink The wine ranged from good to acceptable and there was always plenty to choose from. There was a huge variety of cocktails and they were plentiful. The bar staff were wonderful. Public Spaces Even at full capacity, Seabourn ships never feel crowded. We could always find a quiet spot to read or simply watch the world go by. On the other hand, if we wanted company or entertainment, there was always somewhere to go. The whirlpool on deck 6 was a haven for us and we usually had it to ourselves. It was the place to be when sailing away. Unfortunately it was often closed so we used the whirlpool and spa on deck 5 instead, but it didn't have the ambience of deck 6. The gym was well equipped and rarely crowded. The staff were helpful when help was needed, but otherwise unobtrusive. I really enjoyed using it. Entertainment. The entertainment on the whole was very good but tended to be middle of the road and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Seabourn's passengers are generally well educated and sophisticated, but most of the music would have appealed to our long deceased parents. For heaven's sake, we were alive in the sixties and went through one of the most profound musical revolutions in history. We can handle entertainment which is current and inspiring and multi-dimensional and I'm sure the talented entertainers onboard would have loved performing this type of material. On the plus side the Australian guitarist and the young English saxophone player both gave an outstanding concerts The guest lecturers were educational, well prepared and entertaining. Historian Laurel Corona was outstanding. Staff and Crew The Cruise Director, Ross Roberts was also outstanding. He's funny, a wonderful singer, personable and incredibly entertaining. I think we would happily sail on any ship where he is Cruise Director. The Captain and his team were approachable and helpful and very good communicators. They were happy to answer any questions or deal with any concerns the passengers raised. The staff in every Department were well trained and incredibly good at their jobs. Seabourn only employs the best of the best and it shows. Passengers Mostly American with a few Australians and English but quite a few other nationalities as well. Age range 60 and upwards. Mostly well educated, well travelled, lovely people who were thrilled to be on board such a lovely ship, living in the lap of luxury and having such a wonderful experience. They were a pleasure to spend time with. However it always amazes me how a small minority are constantly complaining about anything and everything and thought nothing of being very rude to the staff. They seem to get off on it. Internet Very patchy and as other reviewers have said, it should be part of the package. Disembarkation This was the most disappointing part of the whole cruise. It was pouring with rain when we arrived in Monte Carlo and when we got off the ship and went to the cruise terminal we found our luggage sitting outside in the rain, even though it could have been deposited in the reception hall. This is when we discovered that our suitcases are not waterproof. Everything was wet through. Very disappointing. The ship was about to go into dry dock, the staff were in a hurry and we got the clear impression that we were no longer welcome on the ship. Excursions On the whole enjoyable and well organised with some that were outstanding. Our favourites were Rio, Manaus, Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands (particularly Lanzarote) and Tenerife. In summary, this was a wonderful experience. We spent 45 days in a cocoon of luxury and deliciousness. We saw extraordinary sights, were treated kindly and were thoroughly entertained. We have just booked an Antarctic cruise on the Quest in February next year. Can't wait. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our second cruise with Seabourn. The first was fabulous, prior to the Carnival ownership change. The cabin was the same, but our steward was not there when we arrived. In fact, it took some time to find out who it was. She, and ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Seabourn. The first was fabulous, prior to the Carnival ownership change. The cabin was the same, but our steward was not there when we arrived. In fact, it took some time to find out who it was. She, and her colleagues appeared to be run off their feet. We asked a couple of times for additions to the bar fridge - one being sparkling water with a screw top (which we had when we arrived), so we could reseal it. Not available. This set the tone for the whole trip. A lovely rose at lunch lasted about three days and could not be seen again. A fine weiss beer, lasted about three days also. The dining room meals were around four selections, and incredibly repetitive. No more special meals on request; no more twenty page a la cart menu. Discussion with other loyal Seabourn clientele repeated similar opinions. Check the brochure - the passenger staff ratio, once proudly boasted by Seabourn, has disappeared. But that's not the worst bit, and I'm no snob. Evenings, particularly in the bars, a large number of the passengers felt the need to behave incredibly offensively. So drunk, so loud, obscene language; one women nearly broke my foot with her 15cm high heals then fell over with her dress around her neck. She, and her friends, thought it was hilarious. Never again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This cruise was a bit off balance due to changes in itinerary as a result of the hurricanes. Short and sweet – 6 nights – 3 sea days followed by 2 nice ports. Embarkation and disembarkation were fine. We usually spring for a ... Read More
This cruise was a bit off balance due to changes in itinerary as a result of the hurricanes. Short and sweet – 6 nights – 3 sea days followed by 2 nice ports. Embarkation and disembarkation were fine. We usually spring for a penthouse but because of the duration settled on a ‘normal’ suite. It was absolutely fine. Housekeeping excellent as always with the only criticism being a tad slow in topping up our wine. Our main reservation is staff. The good ones on Seabourn are always just top – charming, helpful and efficient. The problem is that each cruise we are on there are fewer and fewer superstars. This dilution is (for us) tarnishing the brand a bit. The second was food. It was OK – nothing to complain about but just not the exceptional fare that we expect at this level. Almost every person we spoke to said Oceania has amazing food so if they can do it surely Seabourn can? We were Silverseas fans and moved to Seabourn as there was a distinguishable difference. We have one more Seabourn cruise booked but if they haven’t upped their game we will be back on the market. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I decided that it was time to pick a a more high end small ship to compare to our typical ship on Holland America Line. The Quest is a 400 passenger ship. My wife and I enjoyed the small size. We met a lot of people. It helped to ... Read More
I decided that it was time to pick a a more high end small ship to compare to our typical ship on Holland America Line. The Quest is a 400 passenger ship. My wife and I enjoyed the small size. We met a lot of people. It helped to started the trip off knowing about 30 people through Cruise Critic. The ship is nice, cabin is nice size with shower AND tub (which we never used). Double sinks... nice. The food was good but I didn't write home about it. The entertainment was better than expected. The cruise director Jan was great and fun to be around. The staff was friendly and always willing to help. BUT some of the restrauant areas lacked the level of service you would have expected..(filling of water, no cream/milk to come out with the coffee, waiting a long while to order after sitting). We finally got to know which waiters were good and what tables they worked. GREAT coffee bar on Deck 7. LOVED the chocolate shakes made by Numo. Talked to the Guest Services Mgr and was very understanding and would pass on my comments so that's good to know. Will we return... don't plan to. It was fun but not for the price. We're not much of wine or alcohol drinkers so they made money us. I can appreciate those who love the ship being small and intimate but it does come with a price. BTW... Great guest speakers on board. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We took a short six day Caribbean cruise from Miami to Barbados. This was part of a longer cruise to South America. Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise. We’ve sailed on Silversea, Cunard and Celebrity and we look forward to the ... Read More
We took a short six day Caribbean cruise from Miami to Barbados. This was part of a longer cruise to South America. Overall, we really enjoyed our cruise. We’ve sailed on Silversea, Cunard and Celebrity and we look forward to the dining and the ship’s ambiance; the entertainment is not as important to us. Embarkation was easy with a short line to check in. We were somewhat surprised there was no real greeting when we boarded. After lunch at the pool grill, the suites were ready and three of our bags of luggage were there and the last arrived shortly. We had a bottle of champagne in our room, and in a nice touch, Seabourn provided a proper sparkling wine closer to maintain the effervescence. We met our stewardess and she quickly replaced the vodka with Baileys. We thought the dining was very good to excellent. We had one room service breakfast that was prompt and hot. We ate dinner in the Colonnade, the Restaurant and Thomas Keller. The menu and wine selections were varied, the food was tasty and presented well. Some items were better than others but that is to be expected. A couple of times the entrees could have been slightly hotter (temperature wise). In Thomas Keller, nobody brought our crudité and we didn’t realize that was an option until we saw it delivered to the table next to us. They were very apologetic but it was near the end of our meal. The Maître D' said he would make it up to us, and the next night our suite was prepared with rose petals and a bottle of wine and an anniversary card. It wasn’t our anniversary but we think that was their “make up call”. Our suite was a V5. It was fairly spacious with a small walk-in closet that had plenty of hangars and a safe, a separate shower and tub with double sinks, a nice sitting area with a sofa, one dining table with two chairs and a smaller table. There were two loungers with footrests and a table on the balcony. There was one flat screen TV. The bed was comfortable. The staff was friendly and helpful throughout all the areas. The entertainment was surprisingly good. One night was a comedian who we thought was quite funny. Another night featured Arturo Sandoval, who is a Grammy award winning jazz trumpeter; he put on a great show! Another night was Michael Lynche who was on American Idol and a very good R&B singer. We didn’t go to the show the cruise staff put on. One of the groups performing in the club were good, the other wasn’t as strong. On the last day, the staff held Caviar in the Surf in the pool; that was a fun event. The casino was fun. We played blackjack and the dealers, Steve and Kim, were efficient and friendly. The internet service was OK for what we needed (no heavy lifting, email and short web surfing for news updates). We did like that you could access The Herald (daily program) for free on your smart phone. Very handy. The ship was easy to get around with plenty of stairs and elevators for the size of the ship. We found we liked Seabourn Square. There was coffee for early morning as well as pastries and small bites. The library was good as well. The pool areas were not too crowded except for the main pool area. There were other areas with a small pool and hot tubs or a hot tub forward. There was always self-serve water and soft drinks there and bar service as well, but the bar service was spread thin. The hot tubs were quite warm. We enjoy nice wines and the included wines were generally quite nice and the premium wines were reasonably priced with a nice selection. Cocktails were good as well. Disembarkation was also very good, especially since most people were continuing on. We needed to be out of our suite by 9:00 but could stay on till 12:30 (we got off around 11:00). That was very convenient since our flight didn’t leave until 3:15. On a 10 point scale, I’d give this a 9 but with the 5 points scale used, I’ll round up to a 5. This was a great cruise and we really enjoyed Seabourn. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
My spouse and I sailed on the Seabourn Quest – “21 Day Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia”, from January 12, 2017 through February 2, 2017. Anyone that has sailed with Seabourn knows the trips are ridiculously expensive and should ... Read More
My spouse and I sailed on the Seabourn Quest – “21 Day Ultimate Antarctica and Patagonia”, from January 12, 2017 through February 2, 2017. Anyone that has sailed with Seabourn knows the trips are ridiculously expensive and should expect to receive exceptional service and the trip you expected. We enjoyed our experience but are disappointed that Seabourn reduced the Antarctic portion of our cruise from the scheduled six days to four days due to the illness of two of the passengers onboard. While we are most sympathetic to the circumstances of these individuals and their families, is seems unfair that the remaining 400 plus passengers were so negatively impacted. We question whether or not this situation could have been addressed earlier when there would have been less impact. Specifically, there was clearly better access to medical facilities during our stops in Montevideo, The Falkland Islands and perhaps even in the South Shetland Islands. Although information provided regarding the status of the sick individuals was limited, understandably to protect their privacy, it is our understanding that both were seniors (86 and 90 years old) and that the 90 year old ultimately passed away while on the ship. We were directly familiar with the circumstances of the 86 year old woman, given that she and her family had their cabins located close to ours and, consequently, we got to know them during the cruise. As a result, we are fully aware that the woman took sick immediately after boarding (if not sick prior to boarding) and was either in her stateroom or in the ship’s infirmary during her entire stay onboard. We therefore question whether or not it would have been possible for staff members to identify her emergent medical condition earlier in the voyage. Many of the passengers we spoke to on the ship wondered if Seabourn had other options to deal with the sick passengers prior to departing from the Falklands. We question where Seabourn’s protocol for passenger embarkation on trips to remote locations takes into consideration the passenger’s age and the increasing likelihood of illness as the passenger gets older. This is especially relevant when sailing to areas like the Antarctic when the ship is not in close proximity to medical facilities, and in this case for 10 days. Presumably this is why International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators recommends having passengers complete a medical form prior to sailing to the Antarctic. Does Seabourn follow this protocol? Seabourn refused to answer us on this! It was clear that the Captain Dvergastein and the Quest staff were sincerely regretful that our time in the Antarctic was cut short. Efforts were made to compensate (and perhaps distract) us by including the sail to Cape Horn and the addition of another port (Chacabuco). It is, however, noteworthy that the additional port was disappointing and required passengers to spend more money if they wanted to go on a tour – which was advisable as there was absolutely nothing to do or see in the town. It is important to underscore that we, and the great majority of passengers we spoke with, specifically chose this Seabourn itinerary because of the opportunity to go to the Antarctic. The fact that we lost one third of the scheduled time in the Antarctic on a very expensive cruise is upsetting to say the least. We acknowledge that Seabourn provided a token onboard credit as well as a $750 credit per passenger for a future cruise with Seabourn. While appreciated, frankly, these efforts fall far short of adequately compensating us for the lost time in the Antarctic. After arriving home we contacted Seabourn advising them of our concerns, and after numerous emails and phone calls that went unanswered, we finally received the token refund. Seabourn needs to do better. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We are a couple in our mid sixties who have longed to go to Antarctica but hesitated as one of us is inclined to sea sickness. However with modern stabiliser technology, newer ships and larger ships the decision was made to go as we felt ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid sixties who have longed to go to Antarctica but hesitated as one of us is inclined to sea sickness. However with modern stabiliser technology, newer ships and larger ships the decision was made to go as we felt our window of opportunity to do it while in good health was closing. The ship is magnificent, nothing is too much trouble from a service perspective and the food was great. There are many reviews that cover this in detail. I am not going to repeat it. The purpose of my review is to highlight what happened on our cruise and provide this information to others who are considering if they should travel to Antarctica and which ship to choose. The 21 day cruise was to include 6 days in Antarctica. In the evening of day 4 it was announced there was a medical emergency with 2 passengers and we needed to reposition to the island in Antarctica where the ambulance plane could land. The ship waited there all the next day for the plane but prevailing conditions meant the plane couldn't fly. The decision was then made to go immediately to Ushuaia .By the time we docked it was 55-60 hours since the medical emergency was declared. Every one supported the Captain's decision to leave ...it would be exactly what we would want for ourselves or a family member in the same situation. However there was much discussion amongst passengers that Seabourn did not require a doctors clearance to make the trip. When you looked at the age of some passengers and the apparent health of some one wondered if they should be on the ship at all.You are so far from help when things go wrong. It only takes one serious illness for the plans of all passengers to be impacted. The marketing for Antarctica is alluring and has expanded rapidly in recent years. However the infrastructure is just the same it is a wilderness and your are far from the modern medical facilities we are accustomed to and a ships' doctor can only do so much. The ship's staff did a great job making alternate arrangements to fill the extra days that were now in the itinerary and compensation was provided. Sailing around Cape Horn was a wonderful bonus! My overall rating does not reflect the ship but rather the overall experience. I believe Seabourn need to be more proactive in making sure passengers are fit for the trip . Yes there will always be issues that arise but the risk management in minimising this potential needs further consideration by Seabourn, particularly given there are 400+ passengers.. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Itinerary We have always chosen our cruises based on itinerary, and we loved that this trip offered an expedition experience, exploring Antarctica by zodiac and walking on the White Continent, as well as interesting South American ports ... Read More
Itinerary We have always chosen our cruises based on itinerary, and we loved that this trip offered an expedition experience, exploring Antarctica by zodiac and walking on the White Continent, as well as interesting South American ports and the Falkland Islands. It was wonderful to board in Buenos Aires rather than flying from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, where the smaller expedition ships embark. The Crew What a delightful, happy, friendly, helpful crew! Everyone from our cabin stewardess to the waiters to the guest services staff was just top-notch. We marveled that we were greeted by name after a short time. Not one negative or so-so experience in three weeks! The Ship The public spaces on the Quest are beautiful and comfortable, busy but not overly crowded. Even on sea days, we were able to find a place to sit and chat or work on our laptops. Seabourn Square was our clear favorite! The Internet was surprisingly strong as well, even in Antarctica. It was sometimes slow in our cabin, but never a problem in a public space. My husband was able to get work done on some of the sea days, which was critical for him on such a long cruise. The laundry facilities are quite limited – four washers and four dryers, all on deck 5, that serve the entire ship. I woke up really early one morning to secure the machines. The ship provides pod-style detergent, but no dryer sheets. The Food The quality of food was just outstanding. We joked that after we returned from dinner every evening, we found ourselves checking out the Herald newsletter to see where we wanted to eat the next day! Room service – great for breakfast before early excursions and an occasional dinner “in” – was terrific, always on time with hot the food and beverages. The Thomas Keller Grill is definitely worth a night or two. The Patio is wonderful for a casual meal – even in Antarctica, with blankets and heaters! – and has a fabulous new chef from Italy who makes pizza that tastes like you’re dining in Naples. On such a long cruise, we felt the Restaurant’s menus could have offered a little more variety and more “healthy” choices. And as we had read on the Seabourn Boards, the quality of the complimentary wine was disappointing. If you ask for an alternative to what they are serving that evening, they will happily find something that is more to your liking that is still included in the “complimentary” category. The Cabin The Quest’s standard cabin with a verandah was extremely comfortable and modern, with a walk-in closet, separate vanity and nice-sized dining/desk table with two chairs. The storage space was significant for a 21-day cruise that involved lots of bulky cold-weather clothing. I would recommend bringing a power strip for charging computers and cameras and a travel clock for the bedside table. Oddly, there is a wall clock, but nothing by the bed. The Expedition Team I can’t imagine a better group of expedition leaders, headed by the delightful Iggy. Experts in everything from penguins to birds to whales to history, this group of about twenty gave us an incredible experience in Antarctica. They led our zodiac outings, gave lectures on sea days, were available on outside decks at designated times to answer questions and look for wildlife and even hosted dinner tables in the Restaurant. The team held a recap & briefing meeting every evening before dinner to go over plans for the following day. In Antarctica, the weather determines everything, and there is no set itinerary almost until the moment you get off the ship. Excursions In addition to the included expeditions in Antarctica, we booked several excursions through Seabourn in other ports. We found them to be similar to the high-quality excursions we’ve taken with Crystal. Buses were never crowded, guides were generally quite good (there always seems to be a stand-out and one who’s just okay) and the included meals were excellent. The Captain In a place as remote as Antarctica, you quickly realize the difference a great captain can make. The Quest’s Captain Dag was just phenomenal, a great communicator who shared the wonder of what we were seeing as if it were as new to him as it was to his passengers. We loved the way he ended his daily announcements with a poem – “the verse of the day,” as he called it – and how he navigated us through the Lemaire Channel, one of the most stunning places imaginable. After four days in Antarctica, we had two medical emergencies that required evacuation. Captain Dag made the tough call to head back to get help for the passengers. It was, of course, the right thing to do. What I really appreciated was the way Captain Dag handled the situation, acknowledging that even though all of us would want the same decision for our loved ones, it was still disappointing to leave so suddenly. He told us he would try to replace one of the lost days in Antarctica with the chance to sail past Cape Horn. And he did. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We have taken other long cruises and most are much better value for money. This ship takes 400 passengers, so does not have the quality of entertainment that a larger ship offers. There were several speakers on nature topics, but often ... Read More
We have taken other long cruises and most are much better value for money. This ship takes 400 passengers, so does not have the quality of entertainment that a larger ship offers. There were several speakers on nature topics, but often at times that were not convenient, so we didn't attend. The female onboard photographer was "cool" when asked specific questions. I thought it was just me, but in conversation others had the same experience. The FOOD problem was the severely undercooked beef and pork that was sent back to the kitchen to be re-cooked in all dining rooms where food was made to order. It became a joke as to how undercooked it would be. On one occasion I had a hamburger on the outer deck and asked for it to be well done, which he wrote down on the order. I took one bite and spit it out because the inside was so rare it was purple! The waiter apologized and said he'd bring another one. After quite a lengthy wait a new meat patty came to me on the SAME bun I had taken a bite out of. I was placed in QUARANTINE so missed an Antarctic landing. I phoned the nurse for help after 8-10 bouts of simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea because my pills were not staying in my body to help me . She had no medicine better than mine, and placed me in quaranting in our roon. With time in bed I felt somewhat better the second afternoon, but then got sick again later in the day. The third morning I woke very early with severe abdominal pain. (9 out of 10 on the pain scale) After several hours sitting with a cloth on my forehead and not moving, it gradually passed. For several days afterward I didn't feel very hungry. The nurse would not answer any of my questions about how many others were sick on the ship. Speaking with other passengers after my experience, there were definitely others who said they were also sick. My doctor feels I had Noro Virus because of the severity of my symptoms and the 3 days it lasted. I received POOR ROOM SERVICE while in Quarantine in our room. Three occasions ordering tea with honey and milk was a joke. - the first time there was no tea cup and saucer - the second time, no tea bags to make the tea - the third time there was no milk, so at that point I phoned Customer Service to complain There were other disappointments that I am not going to waste my time typing about. They got our money, and I didn't feel it was worth the price. Nothing now will change the poor experiences we had. Most of the service staff, especially in the buffet restaurant were very friendly and helpful. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The Quest is a fantastic ship. Large enough to offer many of the things we enjoy on larger ships but small enough to get into areas (including the Antarctic Peninsula) that most cruise ships cannot. Our cabin was lovely and plenty large in ... Read More
The Quest is a fantastic ship. Large enough to offer many of the things we enjoy on larger ships but small enough to get into areas (including the Antarctic Peninsula) that most cruise ships cannot. Our cabin was lovely and plenty large in area, storage, etc. for our 3 week cruise. I saw one comment about the small shower stalls and, yes, they are tiny but the water pressure is excellent and, unless you are very large, you can make do with the shower size. There is also a large and deep soaking bathtub in each bathroom. The staff is the best we have ever met. From the Master who was frequently in public areas talking with passengers to the Cruise Director who did everything from introducing the entertainment to leading the trivia contests to helping kayakers get into their gear to directing the passengers for tours and landings to..., to the wait staff who quickly learned our names and food and drink preferences to the ladies in Seabourn Square who handled any and all questions and needs, to the stewardess who kept our room clean and neat to.... The food was consistently very good to excellent. We had no trouble booking the special restaurant as we did that early. If we wanted another bottle of liquor or wine in our room, it was delivered very quickly. Unless a passenger wants something from the special wine list, all food and drink is included, including at Restaurant 2. Tipping is not required nor expected but we did give a bit extra to our stewardess and to the waiter and his second since we saw them so much and they were terrific. Meals are open seating but we liked one table for two and sat there whenever in the main dining room. Seabourn goes out of its way to get passengers to know each other such as having a "block party" early on where passengers are invited to go into the hall outside of their cabins and meet their neighbors. Wine is served and all seemed to enjoy the visiting. Passengers are invited to dine with the expedition team, the entertainers, etc. we had a lovely dinner with one of the expedition team members and also with the couple who have been onboard for many antarctic cruises taking pictures, telling their incredible story, and helping one and all on the best ways to take pictures in such amazing settings. Pat and Rosemarie Keough were a very special addition to the Seabourn team and we hope that Seabourn continues to have them aboard for future Antarctic voyages! While there were 3 formal nights, dressing to the nines was never required. On the first and third formal nights, most men were in tuxedos or suits but there were plenty in jackets and ties. On the middle formal night, we noticed many men simply wearing a jacket. On the rest of the nights, "elegant casual" was the code and few were crass enough to wear jeans in the dining venues, although some did do that. We wish that Seabourn would stick to their printed statement that jeans are not to be worn after 6pm in any dining venue but c'est la vie these days. The ports before and after Antarctica were interesting but nothing, in our opinion, that special. On the other hand, Antarctica was beyond spectacular. One really has to experience it to understand its beauty and grandeur. Seabourn makes it possible for all aboard to enjoy the days in this wonderful place either through the several landings on the continent where passengers can walk around, hike a bit, etc. with knowledgeable and experienced expedition teams to help or on zodiak tours where we could get within yards of icebergs, seals, penguins, etc. or on kayak tours for those who wished to try that. One person was in a wheelchair and another had a broken leg. The crew carried them onto the zodiac and gave them tours around the area while the rest of us did our landings. We were very impressed with Seabourn and this will not be our last cruise with them! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star ... Read More
We sailed from Manaus down the Amazon for several days before stopping at several Brazilian coastal ports, then Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We happened to book the same hotel the ship used, Caesar Business, in Manaus, and it was a 3 star hotel with a nice breakfast. We took a taxi to the port, a few miles away. The ship was familiar to the others in the fleet. Very well decorated and meticulously kept. Our first stop when checking in was friendly and painless; we felt immediately at home. We met the Cruise Director, Jan, and her assistant, Ashley, who turned out to be the hardest working cruise staff we've seen. They were everywhere; and they were former singers who were also very entertaining. Our suite was immaculate and included bottles of our favorite liquor as we started. The bathrooms were amazing; marble everywhere and a tub for soaking in the afternoon with a glass of wine. The crew on this ship, as we had experienced on the Odyssey, was very friendly, unhurried, and welcoming. Everyone seemed to be very happy to see us, and it was infectious. Passengers coming from all over the world took the cue and greeted each other warmly. The dining facilities were fantastic; Theme dinners in the Colonnade dining room and, in the main dining room; well prepared dishes with moderate portions served so that we had time to meet and converse with fellow diners. We met many people who became friends. The ship's entertainment was much better than we'd expected; very talented singers, lounge acts and musicians. Dmitri and his small band sounded like a big band. We participated in the Trivia and it was very entertaining, with Jan and Ashley officiating. We used the gym and hot tubs daily. The gym was well appointed and you could always find a machine to use. We had breakfast delivered several time and it was surprisingly well done; white tablecloths on our verandah table and silver and all the appointments. The bar staff was always friendly and efficient. We had a pianist, Rogerio, and a cellist, Andrew, who were fantastic. Very surprised and delighted to get such stars on a small ship. The trip up the Amazon was not as exciting as we'd expected. The river is wide and muddy, with not much chance to see wildlife. We took a tour at Santarem to see a local farm and watch manioc and rubber preparation. The towns along the river were interesting but trashy. Fortaleza had a couple of sights, including the market and Cathedral. One highlight, at Natal, was the dune buggy we booked on our own (picked up a dune buggy outside the port for a fraction of the ship tour price) Great tours of the local beaches and a real E ticket trip among the dunes. We took the ship's tour of Recife/Olinda on buses. Nice tour but we think we could have done better with a private car, and for much less. Buzios was nice, but it poured down hard and the ship almost pulled up it's anchor while we were in port. Several tours were cancelled and money was refunded. Ilhabela was very nice. Great beaches and lovely places to drink Cerveza and enjoy the view. Here's a tip: The ship had 3 fantastic guest lecturers. One of them, Dr. Roger Luckenbach, was an expert at all the ports. Before I left the U.S., I downloaded maps from CityMapstoGo, an iPhone app. When Roger mentioned a likely spot to visit in any city, I marked it on my map and was able to "connect the dots" on a walking tour. The iPhone has a native GPS built in and it only needs a local map for navigation. Wifi not needed. Great App! Plus, Roger was an entertaining and endlessly informative guide. Two other lecturers added greatly to the trip. Dr. Ian Dalziel gave insightful lectures on the topography and underlying geology of South America. Dr. Don Goldsmith; who we had the privilege to dine with one night, is an amazing astronomer/astrophysicist. We had only a couple of nights of clear weather for southern hemisphere "stargazing," but they were highlights of the trip. Rio was great. We succumbed to a "private car" from one of the jewelry companies in Rio (we met a rep, Christian, on the ship) After a tour of the store and a look at the jewelry (and a purchase, but that's not necessary) they provided us a driver and guide for the whole day. We were able to see the highlights of Rio, including a trip up Sugarloaf. We were a little disconcerted when we were told how much of Rio was considered unsafe for walking, but the city itself was amazing. We booked a ship's tour of a Samba show; the show itself was fantastic once it started. The trip to the show and the delay were worth it; but I think it was probably a $75 show that we paid $150 for. Montevideo was a great town; we took the Alchemist/Tango show there, with highlights of the city and we were well satisfied. We debarked the ship at Buenos Aires (sadly) and spent four days touring this fantastic city before flying home. Disembarkation very unhurried and calm. One sad note; when you leave the ship at Buenos Aires; if you have private arrangements, you are steered to a taxi line which overcharges you. We paid 25 dollars up front for a four mile taxi ride to our hotel. Didn't seem to be any alternative. In short; we LOVE this cruise line. They don't hassle you to buy anything; tips are not expected, everything is uncrowded and unhurried. The crew passes this relaxed vibe along to the passengers and everyone is well behaved and polite. You get the feeling you are on a private yacht that happens to have some other passengers on board. The sense of pride in the ship and the cruise line is palpable. Congratulations to all! My recommendations: Book your own private car tours when possible, before leaving home. Get the CityMapstoGo app and mark your favorite spots. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I debated long and hard whether to book a cruise to Antarctica on a ship holding over 400 passengers. Everyone I knew who had been to Antarctica strongly suggested I go on an "exploration" ship. I checked into these and realized ... Read More
I debated long and hard whether to book a cruise to Antarctica on a ship holding over 400 passengers. Everyone I knew who had been to Antarctica strongly suggested I go on an "exploration" ship. I checked into these and realized how small and old they were. Yes, they may make two landings a day compared to Seabourn's one landing a day, but the ship accomodations on the exploration type ships are rudimentary at best. I didn't regret my decision one little bit. Since the ship can only land 100 people a time in Antarctica, the landings must be done in shifts. However, the expedition team on the ship handles this in such an efficient manner, it is no problem at all. In addition, they sometimes add a Zodiac tour around the bay or cove the ship is in which is as good as or even better than the landings. This is the way to get up close to whales and seals. Then the glory of the Quest is that you come back to the impeccable service of a six star hotel. I can't say enough good things about the food and service aboard the Quest. You will not be lacking for anything. I can't begin to even imagine how many cases of champagne and wine they go through on a 21 day cruise, but it is ample indeed. The food is excellent in all the restaurants. They even operated the Patio Grill on most days despite temperatures in the 30's. They have infrared heaters operating at the Patio Grill as well as on the rear outside deck where you can watch for animals with the expedition team members. There are dozens of enrichment lectures on board, and each day there is a summary of the day's activities held just before normal dinner hours. The nightly entertainment and shows were all excellent with great entertainers on board the entire cruise. Antarctica itself is beyond words. The number of huge icebergs is beyond counting. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. The Penquins are a riot, even if they are a bit dirty, noisy and smelly. The humpbacks and orcas are in abundance and are beautiful. Big pods of Orcas are swimming down there. Even the dreaded Drake Passage cooperated and became the Drake "Lake" both going and returning. One of the best things about this cruise is that in addition to the six days in Antarctica plus the four days coming and going that you usually get on an "exploration type" cruise orginating in Ushuaia, you get another 12 days cruising to various Chilean ports and the Falkland Islands. In summary, if you want to see Antarctica in style, book this cruise for next year, you won't be sorry. Another plus for the Quest is that should the Drake Passage be rough, you are on a ship which is far more stable than those small ones leaving Ushuaia. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Yes sports fans, it is true ...the more you pay, the better the experience....this is a 6 star ship and the crew and line appears to be looking to create a 7th star...this is our 10th cruise and the fifth line we tried, not because we were ... Read More
Yes sports fans, it is true ...the more you pay, the better the experience....this is a 6 star ship and the crew and line appears to be looking to create a 7th star...this is our 10th cruise and the fifth line we tried, not because we were unhappy or picky but we very destination focused...the destination in this case was magnificent in every respect, the surprising jewel of the cruise was our stop in the Falklands, certainly not antartica but one of the best excursions that I can recall. As for antartica, seabourn does this very very right IMHO, with everything planned and executed flawlessly. The rest of the ports were pretty much as expected and as usual the ship's excursion at the end left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth (lazy minimal attention and once the ship was out of sight so was their interest in customer service), we were dumped at the airport 90 minutes early cause there was nothing else to see in the entire huge city of Santiago, chile... The is the second time that we booked a ship which has no tipping and in both cases service was great to almost perfect, maybe the extra cost is worth it??? Our suite was on 4 and had no balcony which we preferred as the cabin was lower on the ship and handled Drake Shake better than a balcony would have. If it was the Mediterranean I definitely would pay to upgrade. Even if you're a perfectionist this ship and crew is likely to perform for you. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
The Antarctica was very high on our "bucket list"so glad we waited for the Seabourn experience to take this amazing adventure. We sailed on the last departure of the season...the best for last! Not only the wonderful Seabourn ... Read More
The Antarctica was very high on our "bucket list"so glad we waited for the Seabourn experience to take this amazing adventure. We sailed on the last departure of the season...the best for last! Not only the wonderful Seabourn treatment but an excellent expedition team lead by Robin West...we were really informed on the way down with wonderful interesting lectures...Geoff with his humorous take on history! Learned about penguin poo! Comes in different colors...watch your step! The actual embarking into the zodiacs was a well oiled machine...quick and helpful all along the way...amazing to move so many "older people" so quickly! We were really impressed with the attention to detail, way to go Seabourn! Capt Larsen was wonderful giving us so many trills like the whales that were all around us...so close you could smell their fish breath!!! Our 3rd time on deck 6...great location to everything..especially to the Grand Salon...cabin size is great, even with all the Antarctica gear we had plenty of space...bathroom is roomy....we had some Drakes Passage weather with wild seas but we were quiet comfy. This is an amazing cruise...not possible to tell in words you have to see for yourself! Make sure you have the Lobster Tempura!!!! a standout among standouts! Only problem was the 2 chain smokers at the end of the hall....stinky for the rest of us....BAN SMOKING SEABOURN!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Seabourn really excelled on this trip. This was our first trip with Seabourn and I must say that we were completely sold on their service and excellence. It was evident that a lot of foresight had been invested in these 4 Antarctica ... Read More
Seabourn really excelled on this trip. This was our first trip with Seabourn and I must say that we were completely sold on their service and excellence. It was evident that a lot of foresight had been invested in these 4 Antarctica sailings. From the overhead heaters installed throughout the outdoor spaces to the blankets and beanies, it seemed like everything had been thought of to ensure maintaining Seabourn's trademark luxury. As most people mention, entering your suite for the first time is an experience. We have cruised on many different lines and were very impressed with the quality and décor of the suites. They are tastefully elegant and provide a nice sanctuary, specifically on a cruise of such length. The bathrooms are well appointed with double sinks, a separate tub, etc. The bedding is comfortable and cozy and the overall size of the suite is great. One of our favorite touches was the interactive tv system. While we made it to most lectures, sometimes we felt like relaxing and it was great that the lectures were recorded and available on demand in our rooms. This allowed us to not feel like we were missing something, resulting in a nice mix of education and relaxation. Of course, sailing away with a bottle of Champagne was a great way to start the relaxation :) One of my favorite parts of this trip were the educational opportunities. I must take a moment to give credit to the top of the line Expedition team assembled by Seabourn. This group of 15 were the best of the best and were more than qualified to share their insights to Antarctica. The lectures were fantastic and we loved how approachable they were. All were willing to spend time discussing their favorite topics and in particular, we loved the two professional photographers. We learned so much from them and despite being on a ship with 400 passengers, it felt as though we had private photography coaches. Robin, the Expedition Leader, had so much experience and truly made the trip great. When it came time to disembark guests onto the zodiacs, the team was professional, organized and efficient. It couldn't have been easy with that many guests of differing abilities. The food on board was outstanding. We often found ourselves eating dinner at the Colonade since we preferred the many ethnic themed nights. There were always plenty of options and in 24 days, we never found ourselves tiring of the food. We ate at the Patio Grill a few times despite the cold temperatures and were always comfortable. The main restaurant was delicious and the service excelled. My only complaint/comment here is that it appeared as though the design of the dining room captured noise, in particular if you were in one of the two large center areas. It was very difficult to hear your tablemates and we heard a number of people commenting on this. For the record, we are a couple in our late 20s so I don't think it was our hearing :) Now, for Antarctica. I think it is important to remember that perception and expectation are a huge part of travel, especially when cruising to a place as rugged and remote as Antarctica. We had heard the stories of the Inaugural cruise just prior to ours and had been reading the Seabourn Blog. The Inaugural ran into weather, ice and other issues and were not able to get many of their landings on Antarctica. We had set ourselves with the expectation that if we could get to land just once we would be happy. As luck would have it, this trip would end up being a "brochure" cruise and would exceed every expectation could have dreamed of. We were fortunate enough to cross the Drake Passage in record time, land all 4 out of 5 times in Antarctica (the 5th was a zodiac cruise which turned out to be well worth it), land twice in South Georgia and even add a third "bonus" zodiac cruise due to our timely crossing of the Drake Passage! My point here is that it is all about expectations and Seabourn did a great job of setting us up for the worst and then over delivering on the experience. Each day we felt the anticipation and excitement build about the upcoming day and the Seabourn staff, along with the Expedition staff, did an outstanding job of managing those expectations. Overall, this trip exceeded our every expectation. From the outstanding service to the accommodations, everything was over-delivered. We will definitely be back with Seabourn again and would recommend, in particular the Antarctica product, to anyone looking to experience the world while still maintaining a luxurious vacation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
The Seabourn Quest is an excellent sized ship and this Antarctic cruise was supreme . The ship is big enough to handle any seas on the way to Antarctica, but has a small enough customer population, and a big enough staff to make service ... Read More
The Seabourn Quest is an excellent sized ship and this Antarctic cruise was supreme . The ship is big enough to handle any seas on the way to Antarctica, but has a small enough customer population, and a big enough staff to make service quite personal. The excursions along the west coast of South America and in Punta Arenas were very well done. Locations were fabulous, and the hosts were very good at telling their story and even in sharing their families with us. The Antarctic excursions on the zodiacs were excellent. The expertise level of the guides and boat handlers was unexpectedly high (and I was in the Navy, and know good seamanship). The safety and weather preparations for guests and the sights made this portion of the cruise one of our best we have ever been on! The ship's dining, though, is aiming for way too high to be practical. First of all, this is the only ship I have ever been on that regularly refuses entry to clients not wearing certain clothes. Who works for who here?! I bring dark suits, a separate sport coat and a tux along, and always dress nicely .But getting off of a walk at 25 degrees on an iceberg, and then being kicked out of the dining room because today I didn't wear a jacket is really out of proportion. Aiming all dress requirements and menu selections at "haute cuisine " made the whole dining experience negative for me. Seabourn has gone so far the whole dining experience is now pompous, like someone who is pushing too hard. When I have to wade through artificial French names for everything and there are no real dishes that are recognizable, the menu is unacceptable. The chef's work and the food presentation is generally superior- don't get me wrong. I eat at fancy restaurants the world over, OK, but for a long cruise (like a month) I want a good selection of meat and potato standards mixed in with the attempts at winning rich clients over.. For one thing, never try to find a good steak on a Seabourn or Holland America line. They have no good cuts, and all meat is cooked rare or tartar If you want good steak, go to the Outback Restaurant. I will say this, their soups are consistently fabulous and the dining room staff is unparalleled for being friendly. The Antarctic excursions made this cruise worth it for me, but I the dining experience will keep me from going back to Seabourn. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
News on Antarctic cruises tends to favour the report of problems, such as being stuck in the ice, or beset with bad weather in Drake Passage. No bad news for this cruise - quiet seas, excellent weather, five days in Antarctica and 3 days ... Read More
News on Antarctic cruises tends to favour the report of problems, such as being stuck in the ice, or beset with bad weather in Drake Passage. No bad news for this cruise - quiet seas, excellent weather, five days in Antarctica and 3 days in South Georgia - more landings and zodiac cruises than anticipated, more wildlife than could be imagined. Expedition staff include a number of scientists with considerable polar experience, a couple of professional photographers, and some very capable zodiac 'drivers'. This is our fourth Seabourn cruise, and going to Antarctic has not compromised all the usual pleasures - even managed to dine al fresco at the Patio Grill while sailing off Antarctic Peninsula, albeit with parkas and beanies. My only Seabourn gripe is the muzak - sailing through such grandeur demands better than the typical and pervasive fare, or perhaps even turn it off. Read Less
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