I have had three cruises on Crystal and decided to try Seabourn for a recent cruise in Greece. Here are my observations on the differences between these lines. Both are rated 6 stars, both target the similar demographics. Both are excellent. I will, however, be returning to Crystal.
The ship. I have sailed all three of Crystal’s ships (including the former Harmony). My Seabourn cruise was aboard the Odyssey. The Odyssey carries about half the passengers of Crystal, but is surprising large. The major entertainment venues and bars are comparable. The main dining rooms are similar, all the venues on Odyssey are smaller but fit the number of passengers. One feature that Odyssey had was the Seabourn Square, a combination, library, coffee venue and administrative center that works better than anything at Crystal. I usually have to work a few afternoons on a cruise and Odyssey has great working space. I have often found myself working in the disco on Crystal with two or three like souls looking for a quiet place. A dead heat.
Staterooms. Odyssey is two years old. The staterooms are considerably larger and more modern than Crystal. The bathroom and walk-in closets are great on Odyssey. Crystal has my favorite Aveda products, while Seabourn used Molton Brown. Service was identical between the lines. Room service was comparable, although Seabourn’s menu is more limited. Seabourn is far ahead.
Entertainment. Odyssey had a quartet and a couple of dancers, where Crystal has a house entourage and notable guest performers. Crystal’s enrichment program of lectures, classes etc. were non-existent on Odyssey. I really missed the lectures – there were a few recorded from earlier voyages on TV, but none on our voyage. Too bad, since the passenger list included Newt and Calista Gingrich, Twiggy and several noted professors
Odyssey had a much better in-room entertainment system, with hundreds of on-demand movies. The TV is a flat screen, although it is mounted in a legacy TV compartment much like Crystal. I really missed the movie theater on Crystal, however. Crystal by a nautical mile.
Food. Both lines serve outstanding food. Seabourn’s menu was like many trendy restaurants in major cities and I found it a bit too rich for night after night. Crystal is very high quality, but a not quite as overdone. Crystal really shines with the specialty restaurants especially Silk Road which is one of the best Japanese restaurants anywhere. Seabourn has Restaurant 2, a high end micro portions specialty restaurant. Crystal in a close race.
Casino. Crystal has a sizeable casino with a big staff, and several table games including both roulette and craps. Odyssey’s casino has only a couple of tables, and a roulette wheel. Only one blackjack table was ever open. Crystal with the nuts.
Tours. No difference between the lines.
Staff. This was the biggest difference in my view. The Odyssey crew certainly looks good – just like the kids at the country club, and that is how they behaved. They were fairly responsive when asked, but more than a few times I had to ask twice, or three times. On Crystal, I am amazed at how many people call me by name. When I got off Seabourn Odyssey, I thought to myself that the only person to have called me by name was my suite stewardess. The Filipino staff on Crystal are absolutely amazing – they simply are dedicated to a career in this field, where I felt many of the European/American crew on Seabourn were just touring the world for a year or two. Crystal is way ahead.