Have just returned from the Spirit 7 day cruise Eastern Med. All great and had a really nice time. We are regular cruisers - variety of lines from the top down (favourite line is SilverSea, like Regent, HAL, Windstar, RCCL, Cunard, P&O) and we take a cruise at whatever level according to our mood at the time. Our T/A suggested Seabourn as a direct comparison to SilverSea so I must admit we did expect something similar in terms of service.
But first, an update on what happened to my suitcase on disembarkation (to those concerned fellow passengers!) Well - thankfully it turned up and how pleased was I! We had certainly filled in the forms correctly with the 'independent' guests box ticked and had been issued with luggage tags. We'd made our own arrangements after disembarkation to have a day room at a hotel, then giving us 6 hours for sightseeing before our flight home. We disembarked the ship next morning and in the terminal - but there was no sign of our suitcases anywhere. We called over the 'Seabourn' rep, and she said 'oh this has never happened before' and wait here, and 30 mins later, my husband's suitcase and someone else's were wheeled over to us with a happy looking Seabourn rep! Well at least we got my husband's suitcase, but the other one they had was not mine! They then realised that we'd been given the wrong tags - the 'Athens tour and stay' tags in error and that my suitcase was PROBABLY on a tour of Athens and probably going to end up a the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens some 3 hours later - after the tour. But.. then they conceded, it might not be on the tour bus at all, it could be on the bus going to the airport, or even still on the ship, nothing was certain. So, the ground handling people put us in a cab to the Intercontinental in Athens, and that is where we were told to wait for the tour buses to come in 3 hours later. We sat there, worried sick, about my valuable luggage, missing somewhere in Athens. The Seabourn rep at the hotel disappeared and we were just left sitting in the lobby for all this time without the simple courtesy of the offer of even a drink. 12 noon came and went, and just after, the first tour bus turned up at the hotel and thank goodness, there was my case. It now being 1pm and we'd spent the whole day so far in a nail biting wait for a tour bus that might be carrying my suitcase!
So - our 6 hours of sightseeing now eroded with a little more than 2 hours of time left- a ruined day in Athens due to an admin error on the ship resulting in giving us the wrong luggage tags. Really poor service after we had disembarked, and expected to wait all that time, without any simple courtesy extended to us for a Seabourn error, so 0/10 for this one thank you Seabourn.
We found the guests the most friendly of any cruise we've been on for quite a while, a really nice refreshing change. The ship was a lovely size, never far to go back to your room, and everything you needed close at hand. The ship was in good shape except perhaps for the swimming pool which was clearly quite tatty and rusty around the edges. Most of the staff were courteous, polite and friendly and did their very best to be helpful, but it was obvious there were a number of staff 'in the early stages of training' on board that week. For us, the service was lacking and far below the standard we would have expected, BUT we did not let this hinder the enjoyment of the cruise and we DID have a great time.
Regarding poor service - I think the first issue was the embarkation - in the lounge. The staff members were laughing and joking between themselves while some guests waited to check in, then we were quite firmly asked -'tickets, passports, credit cards please, then - oh, welcome on board'. Wouldn't you think 'welcome on board' would be the first comment. No welcome drink was offered and we simply went to our room where there was a lovely bottle of champagne waiting (very welcome). The cabin steward came shortly carrying a tray with 2 glasses of champagne, canapes and three soaps! Funny combination I thought, why the soap on the same tray as the champagne and canapes? Why not just leave them in the bathroom and let you choose when you felt like it? The soaps were a good brand, but nothing that special, and they would be offered freely on any other premium line or hotel chain I thought, so why such a big deal? So then .... you know how small things build up over a week, I think they did with us. Just all related to service issues (or the lack of it), but there were many instances, such as -one evening in the lounge, we ordered drinks. The waitress poured the drinks and left them on the bar until she had served no less than a further 8 people before I went over and fetched them myself to her protests. But why not take an order and deliver the order within a reasonable amount of time? Also - we found it nearly impossible to get a 'top up' of coffee at breakfast in the cafe and the staff in there always looked hassled and rushed. The 'frisbee' style lapkin laying in the cafe was interesting but created an air of 'not caring' - granted the guy did go and tidy them up afterwards, but is this the right way to lay tables in front of guests? The tender day - we returned to the quayside to find the duty staff sitting on the guests sofa, drinking lemon juice and eating peanuts - presume this is part of the job?
There were many more things just like this, but all in all, we did have a super time on a lovely ship with a great itinerary. The evening at Ephesus was lovely and very well done. The deck barbecue on the last night was really super in an most amazing setting of Napvlion, Greece, with the castle lit up on the mountain side, it was a truly unforgettable experience. The watersports day was good too, and the staff went to a lot of trouble to put this event on, (would have been good to have this event on for a bit longer - say 3 hrs rather than 2?). Fellow guests were delightful and a pleasure to cruise with. We will return to Seabourn again, when hopefully the staff will be up to speed. We do understand a lot of staff are moving to the new ship currently and this was probably why things were slightly below the normal standard that would be expected.