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A review of Sojourn Southampton to Rome


OrpingtonT

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I posted this comparison between Seabourn and Regent on the Regent board. It may be of interest to others here.

Back home again, after a great cruise on Seabourn Sojourn. Just to tie up the loose ends on our trip, no real problems at disembarkation. As there was no timed departures, we walked off about 0910, was directed to our luggage, handed over to a porter who took them 15 yards to the door of the hall. Our pre-booked car arrived at 0920, 10 mins early and we were on our way to the airport. Air traffic controllers were taking some sort of industrial action and some flights were cancelled, but ours, though delayed by an hour and a half was running so we got home OK.

Now the differences in our experiences between Regent and Seabourn, bearing in mind that Sojourn is half the size of Mariner and Voyager.

I have to give full marks to Seabourn for the high levels of service. Though the staff/guest ratio is about the same, there always seemed to be more people about to attend to our needs. For example on the pool deck, not only were staff responsive to requests, they positively sought things to do. They came around with trays of made up drinks, asked if we wanted sunglasses cleaning, more towels, blankets and so on. Apart from the messy reception at embarkation this happened all the time. Constant attention in the dining rooms, plates taken from you at the buffet and waiters queuing to help.

Regent wins hands down on embarkation and Seabourn should really get it’s act together here. Though the welcome and check-in in the terminal was fulsome and sincere, we were directed to the theatre (or Grand Salon) on board, where we were ignored for a long time. A line formed for sandwiches which were quickly snaffled as they appeared and there was a long wait for any others. Most gave up waiting. Serve yourself tea and coffee did no one any favours and after that milling around, when I got back to Barbara, she had finally waved over a waiter and got a couple of glasses of champagne. There was no public announcement that suites were ready, instead we were approached individually and escorted to our suite where our stewardess showed us the facilities.

Suites (we had a V3 balcony grade) were comparable to the basic de-luxe on Regent, but, being new, our suite looked superb in it’s pale ash wood. Plenty of drawer space in the walk in closet and in the suite. Our bar was set up with pre-ordered drinks, (why have Regent stopped doing this?). The bathroom had a bath and shower and two wash basins. Not a lot of difference between the two lines. Servicing was fine but nothing spectacular. No smell of tobacco smoke either in residue or throughout the cruise, except on occasions whilst passing a smoker’s suite in the corridors we got a whiff.

I know these are subjective opinions, but our thoughts are the the food on Regent is superior though not markedly so. We ate in the MDR and the choices are not as wide as in Compass Rose. However you can order off menu. Things like fries or mash or vegetables are readily acceded to, but a special meal would have to be discussed with the chef and preordered. Though there was no choice, the single vegetarian main course was very good and varied each night. Peculiarly there was no Veg option in the Colonnade (Veranda’s equivalent), just two main courses, one of fish and one of meat. Upon asking, we were told that they would of course serve the vegetarian option from the MDR, but if they were going to do that we felt we might as well just go to the MDR! So we did not try the Colonnade for dinner. We did however enjoy breakfast and some lunches, Apart from the excellent buffet, there were specially prepared dishes also on offer. All in all, our vote goes to Regent for the food and that is ignoring the wider number of outlets due to the greater passenger size.

Cannot comment much on entertainment because we didn’t go to the shows, but there was a good pianist tinkling away in the lounges. The lecturers were ok but not outstanding. A professor talked of the history of the areas we were visiting and a married couple gave talks on the history of music hall etc. Certainly more interesting on our Regent cruises. The CD and his asst were virtually non- existent. When I think of the hard work Regent’s Ray Solaire, Jamie Logan, Dionne and others put in there is no comparison.

There is one area which Seabourn have innovated which Regent would do well to copy in it’s new boat. Seabourn Square is a communal gathering point. At the centre are the guest service desks, taking over the reception counter on Regent. Around this are the computer desks on two sides and on the other two comfy seating. The coffee bar with speciality coffees and other drinks is there and the destinations desk. More comfy seating, including electric recliners and opening out to a rear facing open deck. Around the walls is the well stocked library. The Square is a well used and rightly popular area.

The Senior Staff, from the Captain onwards do not seem to mingle as much as on Regent. Seabourn have a hosting system where everyone has an invitation to dine with staff on one occasion. We declined ours for personal reasons. The much trumpeted “staff know you by name” did not happen to us until the last day or so. Regent people do know us, but then we have cruised with them before.

Thus you will gather the differences are not great and you may be swayed over your preferences for or against the size of the boat. We like the greater choice of food outlets on Regent, more space in public rooms (though Seabourn Square has the edge). We would use Seabourn again if the price and itinerary were right, but we are looking forward really to our next Regent cruise.

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Thank you. very interesting.

 

We have sailed with Regent last october and more recently with Silverseas. At the moment we feel that SB is far superior.

 

We found that there was a loss of rapport between crew particularly with some of the waiters and there was with some a lack of professionalism.

Because of cost implications many of the crew were from the Far East and there were some language problems. We never saw the Captain or senior officers once ( Unlike Capt Dexter )

Small irritating things occurred for example- sitting on sun deck- finished main course-drinks still on table-came back after going for ice cream- everything taken away. In MDR-had nearly finished main course-having drink of wine-waiter suddenly removed plate. Forgetting to refill drinks and having to ask the waiters. It sometimes lacked finesse. The finished product was sometimes lacking. The shows were not as good as Seabourn albeit we do not choose cruise lines for these productions. On the positive side all tours were very good and free. Regent Uk ( Southampton ) were much better than Seabourn Uk-who never return a call and sometimes are more than drippy. We really enjoyed the cruise and we simply did it as it was on offer-free flights from london and two nights in very nice hotel in Rome. We could not find a comparable cruise with Seabourn.

The cruise was very informal-smart but quite casual. The last night before departure you could really put on clothes wise your jeans for dinning- quite acceptable. Some of the passengers we had a chat with had never heard of Seabourn.

 

Kind regards

 

Tony

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Thanks for the review and comparison.

 

I think the system of embarkation which entails waiting in the theater/lounge was something that was carried over from the triplets where it worked much better because there were fewer than half the guests and a more intimate welcome. It does not work so well on the larger ships and could use some rethinking imo.

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Interesting thread here. My partner and I are considering booking a Seabourn cruise for next year. Had some reservations about the size of ship..although its on the Quest..so one of the new larger ones. Concerned too about the passenger profile saying mainly 'couples in their 40s and 50s....do they mean same sex couples too? Just wondered if its worth looking into Regent as its a bigger ship. My partner and I enjoy 'cocktail hour' and not big into the big shows but do enjoy quality music and also like to spend time doing our own thing and not have to feel we need to dine with other guests.

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OrpingtonT, Thank you for posting the comparisons between Regent and Seabourn. If you can provide the information, I have a few more comparisons with Regent: dress onboard - day and evening; specialty restaurants - Restaurant 2, the Patio Grill, and theme dining on the deck; internet speed and availability; casino; self-service laundry; and the port information/services available onboard. I appreciate any additional information that you can provide.

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OrpingtonT, Thank you for posting the comparisons between Regent and Seabourn. If you can provide the information, I have a few more comparisons with Regent: dress onboard - day and evening; specialty restaurants - Restaurant 2, the Patio Grill, and theme dining on the deck; internet speed and availability; casino; self-service laundry; and the port information/services available onboard. I appreciate any additional information that you can provide.

 

Dress on board. Much the same as Regent during the day, very casual. In the evening, I think Seabourn is rather more formal We had one formal optional night and all were dressed up. Most men in tuxedos. On Elegant Casual nights, jackets are required and were worn. Ties wre not required on those nights but 80 to 90% of men did wear them. Finally we had two Resort Casual where jackets were not obligatory but nevertheless most men wore them.

 

I cannot compare or comment really on the restaurants other than the MDR. My wife is a vegetarian and there were no offerings for her in R2 or the Colonnade. The patio grill involved eating outside and most of the cruise did not suit al fresco dining (for us, anyway). Perhaps for that reason there was no themed dining on deck. We did have some themed lunches in the Colonnade, which were very good.

 

The internet was the usual marine slow coach, but there were plenty of computers available in Seabourn Square and the IT expert was particularly good. There were two occasions when the computers were "down"

 

We are not casino users. We did pass occasionally and saw no one there. But we did not pass after dinner when I suppose most gamblers would be chancing their arm.

 

On Sojourn there are two rooms each with two washing machines and dryers. Oddly the rooms are next to each other on Deck 5, midships. On one visit all were in use, but on my next visit they were free and I washed everthing to take home a nice set of clean clothes. A ball point pen leaked in my trouser pocket and I used the ship's laundry service. $5 for the standard 48 hr service, with 50% extra for a 24 hr clean. They could not get the stain out so, as it was a Seabourn pen which leaked, I am claiming for damage.

 

Finally you asked about port information. I thought this was pretty good. We were given little booklets of info on all the ports we were to visit. This was supplemented by talks advising what to see, though naturally this was coloured by the lecturer's own interets (architecture in our case). And a local from the port came on board to hand out maps and to advise.

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OrpingtonT,

 

You are claiming damages because a pen leaked in your trouser pocket on the basis that it's a Seabourn (supplied) pen?

 

I would love to know how much in damages you expect to be paid and what the ultimate outcome is!

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Pressie, "couples" definitely includes same-sex couples; my dear friend and TC on a past Seabourn cruise is gay, and he was taking notes! You may dine with others or alone, as you choose. If you are invited to a hosted table and would rather be alone, simply decline with thanks. It's not a problem.

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OrpingtonT,

 

You are claiming damages because a pen leaked in your trouser pocket on the basis that it's a Seabourn (supplied) pen?

 

I would love to know how much in damages you expect to be paid and what the ultimate outcome is!

 

Yes. They were a new pair. The only place to put the pen (for doing puzzles in Seabourn Square) was in my trouser pocket. It leaked badly and the ink stained both me and the trousers substantially. I tried scrubbing them , soaking them and Housekeeping finally tried their laundry experts. Bad marks remained and laundry gave up. I filled in a damage report which was handed over, together with the ruined trousers. They were accepted, rightly, by the Purser and recompense should be sent by post.

 

They were kind enough to also give me a replacement pen!

 

Any more questions?

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The only place to put the pen (for doing puzzles in Seabourn Square) was in my trouser pocket.

I think this statement is a bit of a cop-out - most people have two hands. On a cruise that leaves one to carry a cocktail and the other to carry a singular pen.

 

I have also had the misfortune of an ink pen pocket stain on a couple of occasions, but I did not think to blame the manufacturer or donor of the pen. Perhaps I should consider that if it happens again in the future.:rolleyes:

 

The "blame game" can be fun to play and it would appear that you "won;" however, your anecdote may make some view your review with a bit of skepticism.

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Johnnycruise,

 

Of course I may be wrong... but I am sure that Seabourn would never agree to compensating someone whose trousers were stained by ink from an apparently defective (and complimentary) ball point pen unless it had secured offsetting damages from the pen's manufacturer. After all, Seabourn and its parent are no doubt very valuable customers of that firm. And they would not just hand out claim money on demand.

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I think this statement is a bit of a cop-out - most people have two hands. On a cruise that leaves one to carry a cocktail and the other to carry a singular pen.

 

I have also had the misfortune of an ink pen pocket stain on a couple of occasions, but I did not think to blame the manufacturer or donor of the pen. Perhaps I should consider that if it happens again in the future.:rolleyes:

 

The "blame game" can be fun to play and it would appear that you "won;" however, your anecdote may make some view your review with a bit of skepticism.

 

I really was commenting on the laundry facilities and find your comments ignorant and offensive. You may use your hands to carry a cocktail or whatever. Every time we go out of the suite I find it difficult enough to get around opening doors and pushing my disabled wife in a wheelchair. None of this is "fun" or your business and it is my judgement and ultimately the attitude of Seabourn whether "blame" should be attributed.

 

As for your viewing the review with scepticism, go ahead. They are only my opinions on a comparison based on how I was treated on one cruise.

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Pressie, "couples" definitely includes same-sex couples; my dear friend and TC on a past Seabourn cruise is gay, and he was taking notes! You may dine with others or alone, as you choose. If you are invited to a hosted table and would rather be alone, simply decline with thanks. It's not a problem.

 

Thanks for that...we are sailing on Cunard this year (as I have done a couple times before) and of course with a large ship , its never a problem.

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Pressie,

 

Do not worry at all. Both passengers and crew on Seabourn are extremely gay friendly.

 

 

Ok thanks..its nice to know how the smaller lines are with same sex couples. I was reading a review of passenger profile on Seabourn and I thought many of their passengers may not have direct dealings with same sex couples etc..

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Dress on board. Much the same as Regent during the day, very casual. In the evening, I think Seabourn is rather more formal We had one formal optional night and all were dressed up. Most men in tuxedos. On Elegant Casual nights, jackets are required and were worn. Ties wre not required on those nights but 80 to 90% of men did wear them. Finally we had two Resort Casual where jackets were not obligatory but nevertheless most men wore them.

 

I cannot compare or comment really on the restaurants other than the MDR. My wife is a vegetarian and there were no offerings for her in R2 or the Colonnade. The patio grill involved eating outside and most of the cruise did not suit al fresco dining (for us, anyway). Perhaps for that reason there was no themed dining on deck. We did have some themed lunches in the Colonnade, which were very good.

 

The internet was the usual marine slow coach, but there were plenty of computers available in Seabourn Square and the IT expert was particularly good. There were two occasions when the computers were "down"

 

We are not casino users. We did pass occasionally and saw no one there. But we did not pass after dinner when I suppose most gamblers would be chancing their arm.

 

On Sojourn there are two rooms each with two washing machines and dryers. Oddly the rooms are next to each other on Deck 5, midships. On one visit all were in use, but on my next visit they were free and I washed everthing to take home a nice set of clean clothes. A ball point pen leaked in my trouser pocket and I used the ship's laundry service. $5 for the standard 48 hr service, with 50% extra for a 24 hr clean. They could not get the stain out so, as it was a Seabourn pen which leaked, I am claiming for damage.

 

Finally you asked about port information. I thought this was pretty good. We were given little booklets of info on all the ports we were to visit. This was supplemented by talks advising what to see, though naturally this was coloured by the lecturer's own interets (architecture in our case). And a local from the port came on board to hand out maps and to advise.

 

Interesting comments...esp re your wife being vegetarian..my partner doesnt eat meat ( not by choice..cannot digest it) but does eat fish and shellfish..of course meat stocks etc can also make him ill..so its good to know whats available in the alternative dining venues as we def dont want to do MDR everyday

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Interesting comments...esp re your wife being vegetarian..my partner doesnt eat meat ( not by choice..cannot digest it) but does eat fish and shellfish..of course meat stocks etc can also make him ill..so its good to know whats available in the alternative dining venues as we def dont want to do MDR everyday

 

It's important that you discuss these food avoidances with the chef and Maitre d'. They will need to let you know if there is a meat product in some of the less obvious menu selections. I am sure they will work very hard to accommodate you.

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OT...have you never heard of using Hair Spray to take the stain of ball point pen out??? It works like a charm. Of course there could be fabrics that it does not work on..but I have not found them. To claim damages seems bogus...SB never told you to put their pen in your pocket..:eek:

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hmmm, I sense a little passion amongst this thread.

 

I read with interest all comments responding to OrpingtonT's review. I find itinteresting how others view a cruise line such as Seabourn and the loyalty some others extend in defense of their favorite line.

 

Whilst I may not agree with all comments expressed by OrpingtonT's review, I respect his opinion as it is simply, his opinion. As I have an opinion which has been posted within my review of the vessel, it is one based on me only having the joy of traveling with Seabourn so far.

 

I hope to be able to make a comparison with say, Regent or Silverseas in the very near future, which I have been told is quite comparable to what we have so far experienced with Seabourn.

 

Love and Peace to all and I too have no hair. :)

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Love and Peace to all and I too have no hair. :)

Nice to hear your comments, alfa.

 

I reread your review which I studied before our cruise and thoroughly enjoyed. It was most helpful.

 

I approached mine from a different angle being a Regent regular. I wanted to give other Regent regulars a taste of the difference between it and Seabourn. I know I got carried away in my enjoyment of our Sojourn experience and tended to describe that rather than the comparison, but after all i was on holiday and the drink flowed freely! Both lines are superb and deserve all the accolades they get.

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It's important that you discuss these food avoidances with the chef and Maitre d'. They will need to let you know if there is a meat product in some of the less obvious menu selections. I am sure they will work very hard to accommodate you.

 

Indeed, the chefs are very accommodating to dietary requirements and requests. When we booked Restaurant 2, we mentioned our restrictions of no meat or meat products, and they correctly substituted everything. Even for dessert, they substituted gelatin with agar-agar in order to make the mousse vegetarian for us. Excellent attention to detail!

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Regent wins hands down on embarkation and Seabourn should really get it’s act together here. Though the welcome and check-in in the terminal was fulsome and sincere, we were directed to the theatre (or Grand Salon) on board, where we were ignored for a long time. A line formed for sandwiches which were quickly snaffled as they appeared and there was a long wait for any others. Most gave up waiting. Serve yourself tea and coffee did no one any favours and after that milling around, when I got back to Barbara, she had finally waved over a waiter and got a couple of glasses of champagne. There was no public announcement that suites were ready, instead we were approached individually and escorted to our suite where our stewardess showed us the facilities.

 

On Seabourn Odyssey last month, we checked in just before 2pm and were welcomed by a lineup of staff down at the pier and escorted by one of them directly to our suite from the gangway.

 

The year before, we did have to wait in the Grand Salon or Seabourn Square, but there was ample staff providing prompt service and refills of sandwiches and drinks.

 

It's gratifying and encouraging to see that, in my experience at least, Seabourn did improve and now have its act together.

 

The one thing that I have never seen or experienced is the so-called "Massage Moments" on deck. Supposedly staff would provide short and free neck/shoulder massages by the pool deck, but twice on the Odyssey, I never saw that. Upon enquiry, the bartender told me they only provide this service when the therapists have free time. I wonder, in reality, how often this service is provided.

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