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  #1  
Old January 4th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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DisneyJen DisneyJen is offline
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Default 12/9 cruise: Seabourn-SeaDream Comparison Part 3: The end

Room Service: DH and I absolutely loved the ability to have a full made-to-order breakfast in our room. As a matter of fact we did this every day! We also enjoyed the pitcher of mimosas that we had delivered each morning with our breakfast.

We also loved the course-by-course dinner in our room. Ryan, the sommelier, also arranged so that we could enjoy a bottle of Jordan from our Silver Package in our room. We so enjoyed dining en suite that we ordered dinner in our suite on our last night … DH ordered off the dining room menu while I enjoyed a Caesar salad and hamburger.

Most times our en suite meals were delivered by Rob from Austria who was outstanding. Rob took excellent care of us with good humor and professionalism. The only issue we had with room service was when my DH tried to order ginger tea for me after a bout with an allergic food reaction. He was told there was none available only to find Lemon Ginger tea on our breakfast tray the next day.

Our verdict: There is no competition … SB wins this category hands downs.

Staff: We found some wonderful crew who took excellent care of us … specifically Ryan the sommelier, Rob from Room Service and Stina our room stewardess. They all made us feel special and cared for while on board.

We were surprised to find some of the staff down right surly. We found it interesting that we heard the word “No” a few times when making requests for things like the drink, Painkiller, which we had the day before. Or for ginger tea and then finding it on the in room breakfast tray the next day. And of course our experience in 2 for dinner.

We had no interaction with officers at all on this trip. I am not sure if this was because this was Capt. Lorentzen’s last sailing.

One of the things that we found very interesting was that one or two crew members actually complained about the work and the hours. Now mind you we weren’t asking leading questions … this was in response to a generic comment from us like “Thank you XX, you sure are everywhere.”

We also felt that we were being rushed off the trip on SB. We received a form on Tuesday asking about our disembarkation plans. We received our color coded baggage tags and the immigration form on Wednesday.

Our verdict: While we appreciated the professionalism of most of the Seabourn crew we can honestly say that this is the first time that we have every heard a crew member (let alone two) complain to a guest. We really missed the interaction with the captain and the hotel manager that we have experienced on SeaDream. On SD we felt like the staff genuinely was glad to see us and wanted us to be happy. So we are going to give this one to SD.

Marina: We were excited that we were going to experience a marina day in Bequia. Around noon time the cruise director announced that we could head down to the marina area. When we arrived we found an area set up with soft drinks and sandwiches. The deck was extended so that you could swim in the caged pool area, which was nice.

The offerings were a banana boat ride or a donut ride. DH and I decided to try the donut ride (think of a tire-like float that is towed behind a speedboat). We didn’t have much success staying on while being towed because it was under inflated. After we gave it three ties we headed back to the marina area and called it quits. The crew member took that float out of service so the only water sport option was the banana boat.

DH was disappointed as he was looking forward to some of the water sports that we have enjoyed on SeaDream … specifically the jet skis, Sunfish sailboat and ride in the Zodiac.

Our verdict: SD wins this category because of the toys they offer as well as the condition of the toys.

Well this concludes my lengthy review. Thanks for wading through it
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  #2  
Old January 4th, 2007, 10:40 AM
xplrcrzn xplrcrzn is offline
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My friends who recently returned from the abbreviated Legend cruise said a few crew members complained to them about working hours (18 hour days in some instances) and low pay (because of the falling dollar; crew is paid in dollars). Some of the service issues being encountered on Seabourn lately may be related to this.
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  #3  
Old January 4th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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I think you are right xplrcrzn that the service issues are related to the falling dollar.

From all that I have read and heard service is the hallmark of a Seabourn cruise. Hopefully the comments made on guest questionnaires are read and shared with those on board AND those on land (upper management).
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  #4  
Old January 4th, 2007, 12:58 PM
ltsally ltsally is offline
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Very interesting report, DisneyJen! I enjoyed reading it.

Was surprised by some of your negative experiences (and the chime-ins of a few other posters). It seems like so much that is said about SB here is almost over-the-top laudatory. Perhaps a reality check is a good thing; it will be interesting to judge for ourselves in a couple of months. I found your comments about the plastic deck furniture especially surprising, and it prompted me to haul out the brochure for a close look. Wow - resin chairs. That will be a change from the teak furniture we had on Silversea.

Thanks for the informative report!
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  #5  
Old January 4th, 2007, 01:39 PM
xplrcrzn xplrcrzn is offline
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ltsally-For a variety of reasons, some of the "over-the-toppers" haven't been posting here recently, thereby allowing the "Critic" part of Cruise Critic to re-assert itself.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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I am sure that you will have an enjoyable time ltsally! I am glad that you found my report informative ... I tried to be fair and balanced (geez I sound like Fox News).

The plastic chairs are so out of space on a luxury line ... but not enough to ruin a trip. It's just one of those things that real struck us as out of place.
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  #7  
Old January 4th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xplrcrzn
ltsally-For a variety of reasons, some of the "over-the-toppers" haven't been posting here recently, thereby allowing the "Critic" part of Cruise Critic to re-assert itself.
Interesting observation xplrcrzn. I joked with DH and some of my CC friends that I was going to need a flack jacket after posting some negative comments

As always this was our opinion and others mileage may vary
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  #8  
Old January 4th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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>"We also enjoyed the pitcher of mimosas that we had delivered each morning with our breakfast."

Now why didn't I think of that? Sounds like a great idea. Oh, now I remember, my breakfast is the BBC. I wonder if I can get that from room service.

I am not sure if I am one of the 'over the toppers' but i add that after a while, i have found the rose always loses a bit of the lustre.

EastCoast Jane
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  #9  
Old January 4th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneBP
>"We also enjoyed the pitcher of mimosas that we had delivered each morning with our breakfast."

Now why didn't I think of that? Sounds like a great idea. Oh, now I remember, my breakfast is the BBC. I wonder if I can get that from room service.

I am not sure if I am one of the 'over the toppers' but i add that after a while, i have found the rose always loses a bit of the lustre.

EastCoast Jane
Of course you could get your BBC for breakfast Actually DH and I had planned on using the champagne in our room to mix our own mimosas. But we learned that is was $35 to replace the bottle of champagne in our room ... and that we could just write mimosas (and some mornings we were really decadent and had Grand Mimosas (just add a splash of Grand Marnier)) on our room service order.

You are very grounded Jane ... heck I was able to spot you right away in that Phillies' cap
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  #10  
Old January 4th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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Default DisneyJen

Once again, thanks for your cards-on-the-table approach to reviewing Seabourn as opposed to SeaDream. I really appreciate your honest review, as I'm sure everyone does. On my first Seabourn cruise (the Legend, Caribbean), I was also surprised to hear my stewardess complaining, almost daily, of how tired she was and how many hours she had to work. Not that I doubt any of it was true! On my Pride cruise, I didn't hear one word of complaint about anything. It was my experience of the Pride crew that they seemed fresher than when I was on the Legend. My stewardess did say (on the Legend) at the end of the two weeks, her contract was up. Perhaps that was the difference? Who knows!

All those things being said, the Seabourn crewmembers are still examples to me of how to serve, with excellence.

(West Coast) Jane

Last edited by SantaAna,CA; January 4th, 2007 at 09:40 PM.
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  #11  
Old January 4th, 2007, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyJen
Of course you could get your BBC for breakfast Actually DH and I had planned on using the champagne in our room to mix our own mimosas. But we learned that is was $35 to replace the bottle of champagne in our room ... and that we could just write mimosas (and some mornings we were really decadent and had Grand Mimosas (just add a splash of Grand Marnier)) on our room service order.

You are very grounded Jane ... heck I was able to spot you right away in that Phillies' cap
Can I just but in with a little question? I thought SB was all inclusive? How come the $35 for replacement Champagne?
I only peek in here every so often. Have things changed?
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  #12  
Old January 4th, 2007, 11:42 PM
johnnycruise johnnycruise is offline
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Default Fair and Balanced

Jen,

I have enjoyed reading your review even though my experience with Seabourn has been better than yours. I respect that we live in a society in which we can kindly disagree. I also read the SB threads and I regret that you think a "flak" jacket is necessary. I will take issue with a couple of your comments, but I do respect your opinion. One of these days I hope to take Sea Dream ... I just wish their staterooms were a bit larger.

I will certainly say it is most unfortunate that you had "boobs" for neighbors. I, too, have heard the "slamming doors" when my neighbors come and go but luckily I have never heard the THUMP THUMP THUMP of the Bose base speaker. I can agree that I would be annoyed by such noise.

I can also probably list a dozen "issues" I had on my cruise. But I'll keep that list a bit shorter. I know that people are drawn to the "critic" portion of a review more than the positive portion. (All one needs to do is look at a "Cruise Critic's" previous posts to see if he/she is of the positive or negative mind-set. HINT HINT)

I'll stick to just a couple of BIG problems like one other FREQUENT poster has pointed out. Like another FREQUENT poster on this board, nothing in my suite was stocked according to my listed preference when I boarded. In fact, there was a bit of rubbish in the left drawer above the mini-fridge (nut shells to be exact - luckily my allergies were in remission). That really got me in a tizzy . The purser offered to have the stewardess (alas, the kind Stina) walk the plank but I decided a simple corporal punishment of twenty lashes would suffice. (I didn't really need the Teacher's Scotch but I'm sure the bar had a bottle of something I had ordered online.) I considered banning the pleasant Stina from my suite but, being greedy, figured I'd paid for twice a day cleaning so I might as well partake. I'm glad that I took a step back on the traumatic first afternoon, because Stina might as well have been named "Casper." She did an excellent job and we hardly ever saw her. (I hope she had a very Merry Christmas!)

My guess is that a FREQUENT poster (could it be the one who wore overall-shorts ... thank God for "signature tickers" to allow us to make alternate vacation plans) had gotten under someone's skin, because after the first night's dinner all of my requests were fulfilled by the kind-hearted Stina, AND she left a TWO PAGE hand-written note apologizing for the shortcoming. (N.B. I was told on a later day that I could have that extra bottle of champagne or whatever by exchanging one of the bottles in the mini-fridge cabinet, whether empty or not. Give and take is the game there ... all you can drink, SB just doesn't really want to stock more than two bottles of anyone's home bar.)

I agree that the on-deck furnishings could be upgraded to teak instead of plastic (of course that would be heavier), but not being too much of a "sun bunny" I didn't really notice that until you brought it up. I hope SB considers that during the next dry-dock as "wood is good." One criticism ... I agreed with your positive report on room service (every day) but I thought your bad experience in "2" took up four times as much space in your review for a singular poor experience (That said, I personally didn't like the menu at "2" but others at my hosted table the following night had a different opinion.). Nevertheless, no one should ask for a particular rating so, in a way, I can see how that poor experience stuck out. On the topic of dining, did you know you can order (Russian) caviar at no extra charge from room service anytime? People rant and rave about prices but they don't realize such a "bone" is buried right underneath their noses. I think you can't go wrong by sticking to the Restaurant (even ordered a couple of items off the menu ... with 24 hours kind notice, of course). I, for one, felt like the hosted tables got BETTER service than the others, but that is one person's opinion. Luckily no one at the hosted table wore headphones.

So, Jen, I really enjoyed your three installments and I may be one of the "over-the-toppers" mentioned by a FREQUENT poster. I'll admit, I have a good time on Seabourn. I'm sure I will in 2007. AND, I do hope to meet you and all the other posters (the good, the bad and the ugly - whether on Seabourn, Sea Dream or Carnival ). I also hope I didn't offend anyone (too much, anyhoo) as these board are a great source of information!

Happy Travels!

johnny

Last edited by johnnycruise; January 4th, 2007 at 11:50 PM.
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  #13  
Old January 5th, 2007, 12:29 AM
xplrcrzn xplrcrzn is offline
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johnnycruise-Does 342 posts qualify you as a FREQUENT poster too?
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  #14  
Old January 5th, 2007, 01:07 AM
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I am probably one of the "over the toppers", but who knows if my second experience will be just as good as the first one! It is always good to hear all sides of the story....not everyone can be perfect all the time, and Im sure the Seabourn crew have their off days as well as everyone else does. We really didnt have much in the way of negatives to write about, but what did go wrong, I posted in here. Main problem for me was the iffy wi fi. Our stewardess was wonderful, and if she wasnt around when we needed something, we would just ask another.....never a problem. I suppose the plastic furniture is a bit "cheap" for Seabourn....but as we dont sun bake, it didnt really bother us. I can see how some nice comfortable seating would work better though.......and seating left out 24/7 for those who like to sit out at night is certainly a good idea. Poor us were always too tired (after doing nothing all day) that we tended to go straight to bed after dinner most nights....but where the weather suits, I think I would also enjoy having a last drink or two in a nice comfy deck chair (probably find me there next morning). Hopefully the new ships will improve on all these "little" problems.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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(West Coast) Jane

The only person I hear say anything about work was the young bartender with short blond spiked hair from the Club. I made my only trip to the Club the night of the beach bbq. He was the main bartender at the beach and I asked him about his day and he said, It will be 18 hours but I will make it. That is one long and hard day for the crew.

On plastic chairs, I do know I liked the plastic chair on my veranda on the RSSC Mariner over the pitted aluminum framed chairs on my Silver Whisper's veranda.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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I'd like to think there are no "over-the-toppers" ... let's call them enthusiatic supporters which can be a good thing. As with everything in life, you need to read the fine print

Quote:
Originally Posted by loungeboy
Can I just but in with a little question? I thought SB was all inclusive? How come the $35 for replacement Champagne?
I only peek in here every so often. Have things changed?
When we asked to replace the bottle of champagne that we drank we were told by our room stewardess and the room service folks that it would be $35 for the bottle of champagne or we could just have a glass. It was easier to order the mimosas each morning

Appreciate your comments Johnny. I wish that I could partake of caviar as I used to love it ... I have developed a food allergy that doesn't let me eat it anymore

DH and I agree that we wished that SD's staterooms were as large as SB's ... and that the in room dining was as extensive as SB's.

BB we haven't sailed either of those lines but I would hope that there would be teak or some sort of wood on those balconies.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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Am I an "over-the-topper"? I am a frequent and enthusiastic but I have no qualms pointing out flaws in the Seabourn experience. It's still the best line in my opinion however which is why they are my number one choice.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyJen
BB we haven't sailed either of those lines but I would hope that there would be teak or some sort of wood on those balconies.
the verandas has teak flooring but the chairs were plastic (very nice) or aluminum framed. I liked the plastic with the nice thick pad that my RSSC room stewardess would clean and put out every morning and take in at night. Besides looking better than the Silverseas chairs they also were more comfy during the day.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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I have enjoyed the review (all three parts) and the comments of all, but the personal references really degrade things. JMHO.

A few points:

1. Plastic deck furniture - These are not cheap Walmart items and, in fact, are of higher quality than those used on other lines like Regent. These items must be moved and stacked regularly and that just isn't possible with teak due to weight and structure. (Just try to find stackable teak lounges!)

2. Seabourn cannot guarantee good neighbors. You can live in a mansion with ultra-soundproof rooms and solid doors and give a stereo to a kid who slams doors and...it doesn't seem very mansion like. Seabourn suites are very quiet overall, but slamming doors and overly loud stereos can't be reasonably put on Seabourn.

3. Seabourn's pool is a weak point. It is being addressed on the new ships. I think the concept when built was that Seabourn passengers generally wouldn't hang out in the sun or linger by the pool. Times change...just look at the QE2 vs. QM2...and so do passenger needs. In fact, Seabourn is counting on some of its guests to prefer the triplets over the twins and visa versa.

4. The concept of one always being better about everything is curious. The Celebrity Millennium class ships have the nicest and most complete spas I have seen at sea. (I will be checking out the QM2's Canyon Ranch to see how that is.) Sea Dream does a lot very well. Enjoy the differences/strengths of various ships. Heck I love fish, but I also enjoy a good steak now and again.

5. I understand how a particular dining service can really bother you, but being on a ship and having sea/weather conditions, an effort to please everyone in spite of same generally results in someone being disappointed. I think the OP figured out...just a bit late...that she was actually given the better option of dining with others when the number of tables were unexpectedly limited due to weather.

6. There is a fine line between staff and guests being familiar and being family. Some of the comments about long hours are disturbing, but hopefully are related to the recent shuffling of captains and some old habits being broken. I have never had such an experience, but probably would prefer it over the generally standoffish approach by staff on the competing lines. Again, JMHO.

7. Others have posted from the same cruise and have said that they enjoyed the cruise a good bit more than the OP. That is to be expected. I had 5 clients on the Dec. 16 Pride sailing and every single one of them (4 being new to Seabourn) have booked future cruises on Seabourn. That is not unusual. It is great that excellent options are available for luxury cruisers!

Thanks again for the great review threads.
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  #20  
Old January 5th, 2007, 11:14 AM
AllisonJames AllisonJames is offline
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Default Thank you Disney Jen!

I really enjoyed and appreciated your very fair report. My husband and I took our first Seabourn cruise last April, enjoyed it very much and will sail SB again. However, since it was our first experience with a luxury cruise, we can't help wondering how the experience compares to the other luxury lines, particularly SD, and if one of those would be an even better match for us. The size of SD and the lovely outdoor space really interests us. Since we spent lots of time in port on our SB cruise, we didn't really notice the issues with the outdoor space, but if we had lots of days at sea I think we would agree with you that it's a major shortcoming. I am hoping that the new SB ships address this issue. I have to say though, that every time I go to the SD website and look at their suites, they just don't impress me at all and the basic suites are so much smaller than SB (190 sq feet compared to 288 sq feet, I believe) that we immediately thought, "no way." I have sailed on RCCL's mega ship Navigator of the Seas and to be honest with you, the cabins seem nicer on that ship than on SD. I think we had 180 sq feet on the Navigator and we weren't that high up in category. It also seems to me that the SD prices are significantly higher than SB -- their Caribbean cruises seemed to run about $1,500 more for two than SB. So, I can't say we will be trying SD anytime soon but your report was useful. And yes, I have to agree with others that on this site the many enthusiastic posters sometimes yield unrealistic expectations for the newbies -- we enjoyed our cruise but it almost felt like it didn't quite meet our expectations since we didn't find it to be over the top fabulous. But a very good luxury cruise for the price.
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