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Seabourn Sojourn - refit, restaurants etc

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Does anyone have a difinitive answer as to when Sojourn is getting its refit / freshen up and what will that work entail?

 

I suspect R2 will become a TK diner and they will fit a retreat to the top of the ship having ripped out the laundry - No please, I'm joking 😳

 

But do we know what and when is planned. I think there is a gap in the schedule the first week in December when she would be in Miami.

 

Thanks in advance insiders.

 

We lowly travellers in steerage are always last to be informed 😁

 

Henry :)

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I'm reliably informed it is scheduled straight after the cruise (Panama canal) that ends on 3rd December.

So from the 11th December cruise onwards R2 will become TK.

I was told that the rest of the work will be the usual dry dock stuff plus some cosmetic improvements around the ship. Make of that what you will :D

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If the refit on the Odyssey is any indication I wouldn't count on the TK Grill to be in operation immediately after the dry dock. It took awhile and I expect the same on the Sojourn. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

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Thanks for that.

 

I'd be disappointed if TK wasn't up & running. It's been rolled out a few time now with training time on Encore. Miami should make provisioning nice and easy as well.

 

Henry :)

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Sojourn goes into dry dock in the Bahamas in early December 2017, according to Captain Tim. Then there is a short Christmas cruise in the Caribbean (presumably while they get the TK training and logistics done) before the ship sets across the Atlantic to Cape Town and then on to Asia.

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I think the Sojourn should be up to speed with the TK grill by Dec 21st Christmas cruise Henry.

Give me a heads up if you see any flight deals.

 

 

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Will do. There are a couple of business class options available including one at under £2k.

 

H.

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we spoke with an agent and they said it will go into dry dock just after our Dec. 13th cruise ending on the 21st. Thought it was strange doing it right before the holidays since that is a busy time for cruising. Is this correct. They said they will be adding 2 new restaurants at that time.

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They will be not adding any restaurants -- they will be converting the space currently housing the R2 restaurant into the Thomas Keller Grill. And my understanding is that one of the slowest travel times of the years is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So that would suggest this makes it a good time to go into drydock. But also drydock schedules are influenced by getting the ship conveniently to a shipyard where such work can be undertaken.

 

 

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Henry, we were on the Quest for three weeks on the first cruise after the refit from R2 to The Thomas Keller Grill in April last year. It didn't open in that time. This was the first ship to change to TK. Mr Keller was onboard and wasn't satisfied with what had been done in the refit, and they ripped out and redid parts of the kitchen during this cruise. There were several Seabourn 'suits' rushing about looking very stressed. We had been lead to believe that the restaurant would be open and were offered some compensation, but it did mean that the ship was sailing with one restaurant down. I'm sure that they have the conversion process down pat by now.

We were on the new Encore with you, and enjoyed the Thomas Keller Grill and bar very much. Now, if only they could clone the lovely Katy for all the ships!

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The TK Grill is nice on the Encore because of all the dedicated space and the nice piano bar. The narrow space that now houses R2 will never be the same.

I just booked the Sojourn for Feb 2018 so I do hope TK is up and running and the ship all refurbished!

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We were on the Odyssey immediately after her most recent refit on a 17 day May 7 to May 24, 2017 Monte Carlo to Monte Carlo cruise.

To the best of my recollection we ate at the TK Grill the day it opened on May 17th although we were offered the opportunity for a pre-opening meal on May 15th that we were not able to take advantage of. They were still working out some kinks on the 17th and had one of Keller's main guys there to supervise for a few days. He was gone by the time we had our second TK Grill meal on May 22nd.

It's in the old R2 space so not very big with a railroad dining car theme to the decor.

Loved the food, wine and service.

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We were on the new Encore with you, and enjoyed the Thomas Keller Grill and bar very much. Now, if only they could clone the lovely Katy for all the ships!

 

I think we had the dream team on that cruise. Katy on piano, Bobby behind th bar and a top Maitre 'd overseeing the roll out who's name escapes me - he was traveling with his wife & daughter.

 

I have every faith in Seabourn. As ever we will board the ship with an open mind and make the best of what's there to be enjoyed.

 

Currently working hard to hone the body in an attempt to make room for some indulgence....

 

Henry :)

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Henry ,the thought of you wrapping yourself in cling film and running around the garden trying to lose weight is commendable.

Get Sharon to throw a ball that you can retrieve.

It worked for me but I'm not allowed on the sofa anymore.

 

 

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I have moved from Obese to merely Overweight on the NHS chart. Surely that's progress. I either need to lose another 7kg or grow 10 inches.

 

On the Strava app I use to monitor my cycling I've had to say I'm a 60 year old woman weighing 110kg to get in the top 50% of the results :)

 

I've not been allowed on the sofa since we changed it. Sharon insists on keeping the plastic cover on it !

 

Henry :)

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I have a provisional reservation held for the Sojourn Holiday cruise. I need to confirm it by Saturday evening or it will cancel. I often take one of the Holiday cruises but in previous years I've been able to book much earlier in the year. Because this booking is so late I'm very much struggling to find flights from either London, Manchester or Birmingham. Business class fares are running so high now, understandably, that the air fare is almost as much for two of us as the cruise fare. I wish I'd been able to book back in July at the price Henry had found!

If anyone has any suggestions I'd be very grateful. Will ask TA to get an air fare quote from SB, otherwise it looks like a no go for this year.

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Isklaar,

A quick search on ITA Matrix shows you can fly business class 1/19 LHR to to MIA on BA nonstop and return 1/4 FLL to Gatwick also on BA if the tickets are purchased from American Airlines for $2304. To me that would well worth be hiring a car service to drive the short distance to Fort Lauderdale (and it is 5:10PM flight so not rush) and returning to Gatwick instead of LHR.

 

 

 

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Because we had a bit of delay in booking the cruise due to some negotiation over the treatment of prices versus a 3 person suite (we couldn't pay advertised OB prices initially) we missed out the best deals I came across. To be fair they involved a flight change on the way home.

 

In the end I also booked through American Airlines but got BA flights direct LHR - Miami - LHR. The return leg is a Finair code share from memory. BA weren't showing any direct return flights under about £4K each on their website.

 

There is one catch though and something that will make this the last BA Business (club world) flight we take. They want an extra £100 per person per leg to reserve seats. As far as I'm aware BA are the only airline in the world to charge for business class seat choice. I'm not spending another £600 when we've already paid a big premium over economy.

 

There is normally a business class sale in and around September but have a look on the American Airlines site. We will obviously wear full body armour and helmets on the flight just in case there are American Airlines crew eager to do another baton charge on passengers unwilling to give up their seats before departure :)

 

I also found options with Delta. They were direct on the way out but with a change on the way home and just make sure the US internal leg isn't economy particularly if that impacts your baggage allowance. It shouldn't do as the overall flight is business but just look carefully at their flight descriptions.

 

 

Henry :)

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Mr L, as I noted they would Ned to take a car service from the port of Miami to the Fort Lauderdale Airport but that is not a big deal ( it is about 30 miles away) for such a decent fare.

 

Henry I have only flown BA Biz Class once and it would never be my first choice. But again as Isclaar is looking for a good price it would be a good option. And yes, insult to injury, BA charges for Biz Class seat selection. Luckily I knew this in advance before I booked as I read CC's Air forum and there are many threads that mention this.

 

 

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Because we had a bit of delay in booking the cruise due to some negotiation over the treatment of prices versus a 3 person suite (we couldn't pay advertised OB prices initially) we missed out the best deals I came across. To be fair they involved a flight change on the way home.

 

In the end I also booked through American Airlines but got BA flights direct LHR - Miami - LHR. The return leg is a Finair code share from memory. BA weren't showing any direct return flights under about £4K each on their website.

 

There is one catch though and something that will make this the last BA Business (club world) flight we take. They want an extra £100 per person per leg to reserve seats. As far as I'm aware BA are the only airline in the world to charge for business class seat choice. I'm not spending another £600 when we've already paid a big premium over economy.

 

There is normally a business class sale in and around September but have a look on the American Airlines site. We will obviously wear full body armour and helmets on the flight just in case there are American Airlines crew eager to do another baton charge on passengers unwilling to give up their seats before departure :)

 

I also found options with Delta. They were direct on the way out but with a change on the way home and just make sure the US internal leg isn't economy particularly if that impacts your baggage allowance. It shouldn't do as the overall flight is business but just look carefully at their flight descriptions.

 

 

Henry :)

 

BA has the worst business class in the air (maybe with the exception of airlines from some of the "Stan" countries.) They crowd you in, service and food are mediocre at best and they nickel and dime you to death. I avoid at all costs.

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I suspect you aren't wrong. On this occasion it was direct flights and a flat bed that sold it to us. I also thought that being an A380 the cabin might have been a bit special. I hadn't counted on BA seeing it as an opportunity to just cram more of people in.

 

Henry :)

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We have the direct flight return to Miami for the holiday cruise. I don't think BA club world is any better or worse than others people rave about. True the window seats require a 'legover' to get out but if you get a good crew they are really good. I prefer their lounges too. No applying for tickets or queuing for the barman just because you want a drink.

 

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Thank you to Chairsin and Henry for your help with this. I didn't know that the ITA fare matrix existed so it's been a very useful learning experience!

 

I've allowed the provisional booking to expire as there's now further complication with the dates, hopefully I'm able to make a firm booking within the next couple of weeks.

 

Henry, apologies for my taking your thread somewhat off topic.

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Bumping this thread to mention two points.

 

Firstly, although I'm led to believe that the dry dock is still going ahead on the dates planned, I've heard now from two sources that TK on Sojourn will not be open for the Holiday cruise.

An acquaintance told me a couple of weeks ago that although the conversion from R2 will take place, it won't be ready to serve guests. I hadn't mentioned it here because I wasn't sure if it was just rumour. However someone has recently posted here on CC that they were told directly by SB that it won't be ready.

If this is the case it's very disappointing, particularly as it will mean reduced dining options. I was on Quest last year and although I enjoyed the TK experience onboard it wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me if it didn't exist. However one less restaurant to choose from is potentially problematic IMO.

 

Second point, I have this cruise on a provisional booking again for a few days and have FINALLY managed to secure our business class seats at a reasonable price. I have those on hold too and just need to make my mind up once and for all. I usually take a Seabourn cruise over Christmas and New Year, wasn't able to last year and I really missed it. So thanks again to those of you who offered help regarding flights when I asked a couple of months ago.

I'll join the Roll Call as soon as I've gone ahead to confirm the cruise. The revised itinerary isn't particularly interesting for us, but it's Seabourn, it's an escape from winter in northern Europe and I'm sure the company onboard will be as pleasant as ever!

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We are also toying with the idea of joining this sailing. The TK Grill not because by open yet is a bit of a disappointment. (I've managed to be on Quest and Odyssey right before both dry docks and the Sojourn earlier this year so I'm still yet to have my TK Grill trial. We may have to hold out until next year's TA where we have birthday reservations.

 

Hopefully we'll pull the trigger and join the roll call this week.

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It would be very disappointing indeed if the speciality restaurant wasn't available. It is clearly listed as an amenity and at no point in the booking procedure have we been informed it will be absent.

 

The fare charged certainly doesn't reflect a reduced service.

 

I am expecting either R2 or TK to be available.

 

Henry

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I have to put a good word in for the TK Grill on the Encore. It is spacious and well designed and has the FABULOUS TK Grill Bar adjacent. I have to say that the TK Grill Bar was one of our very favorite venues on the Encore. It is special. Our pianist/singer was Suzanne Jade and she was great.

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I have to put a good word in for the TK Grill on the Encore. It is spacious and well designed and has the FABULOUS TK Grill Bar adjacent. I have to say that the TK Grill Bar was one of our very favorite venues on the Encore. It is special. Our pianist/singer was Suzanne Jade and she was great.

 

Completely agree. It is special. We just got off an extended Encore trip and TK Grill & Bar was our favorite. Nice space, great layout, superb service. We had no problem getting into the grill when we wanted to. Never had a bad meal and we tried just about everything on the menu and some entrees a couple times. Suzanne Jade was super.

 

BTW, the space outside the TK Grill is used by the Colonnade and it is spacious and uncrowded. Nice secluded place for breakfast if you eat in the colonnade.

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Wire, I can't tell you how affirming it is to have someone else say that the Encore has some really enjoyable venues. So glad you loved the TK Grill Bar too--and agree with us about Suzanne Jade. She is currently enjoying her two month break. I have high hopes she will be on the Ovation when we sail next June. She is a jewel.

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It would be very disappointing indeed if the speciality restaurant wasn't available. It is clearly listed as an amenity and at no point in the booking procedure have we been informed it will be absent.

 

The fare charged certainly doesn't reflect a reduced service.

 

I am expecting either R2 or TK to be available.

 

Henry

 

I'm in complete agreement with you Henry. I liked R2 and if it means dining in a TK fitted space but with R2 food served, that would be fine with me. It would likely be rather disappointing for those who haven't yet tried the TK Grill on the other ships though. Jenidallas, it seems that you may be a jinx! ;p

 

However, if the space isn't being utilised at all and as a result would have one less dining option, I'm sure if that were the case SB would have advised booked passengers already, if not it would be a poor show.

 

I've still not made up my mind but I'll need to speak to my TA later today if I do go ahead with this one so I'll ask if they're aware of what the plans may be.

 

Henry, what happens when you try to make dining reservations online in My Seabourn? I get the response that it's not possible to make reservations at this time, whereas on my Quest cruise I was able to book TK Grill online at least two months before the cruise.

Edited by Isklaar

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Wire, I can't tell you how affirming it is to have someone else say that the Encore has some really enjoyable venues. So glad you loved the TK Grill Bar too--and agree with us about Suzanne Jade. She is currently enjoying her two month break. I have high hopes she will be on the Ovation when we sail next June. She is a jewel.

 

SLSD, Henry who is the OP of this thread spent quite some time on Encore when she first went into service. He was very enthusiastic about the ship and the venues. Have you seen the excellent video that he made?

 

Here's a link .there's a longer version too but I'm unable to link to it

 

Edited by Isklaar

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I have to put a good word in for the TK Grill on the Encore. It is spacious and well designed and has the FABULOUS TK Grill Bar adjacent. I have to say that the TK Grill Bar was one of our very favorite venues on the Encore. It is special. Our pianist/singer was Suzanne Jade and she was great.

Totally irrelevant to the subject at hand. TK conversions have no resemblance to Encore. And a total bummer if the space is out of play during holiday cruise.

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Oregon50, I apologize for making an irrelevant comment. Thank you for pointing it out. I'll be more careful next time. What was I thinking? Hmm..I can't quite remember now--but I was probably thinking that someone reading this thread might be wondering what the space was like for the TK Grill on the Encore.

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Yes, the TK grill in the old R2 is pretty small - and some tables extremely close together. We were on Quest when she was being altered (TK himself was on board) and for that cruise apart from a couple of nights at the end, when a few select people were allowed to dine there, it was closed. I agree it is a bummer if it is not going to be open over Christmas. The only slight consolation is that dining outside, either at the Colonnade or Patio Grill, will probably be enjoyable in the Caribbean, whereas it was not warm enough for us when we were in Europe on Quest. And therefore hopefully will not seem so crowded. I wonder if Seabourn do plan to let you know, if it is indeed closed, and what if anything they might do by way of recompense?

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If a TK ribeye steak and a portion of the prawn starter found their way onto Sojourn after the re-fit I wouldn't be too fussed where they were served :)

 

We very much enjoyed the TK Grill experience on Encore.

 

I've never tried to make dining reservations prior to boarding the ship so couldn't tell you what happens I'm afraid.

 

We board Sojourn with an open mind.

 

Henry :)

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If a TK ribeye steak and a portion of the prawn starter found their way onto Sojourn after the re-fit I wouldn't be too fussed where they were served :)

 

We very much enjoyed the TK Grill experience on Encore.

 

I've never tried to make dining reservations prior to boarding the ship so couldn't tell you what happens I'm afraid.

 

We board Sojourn with an open mind.

 

Henry :)

 

Morning Henry, sorry I wasn't clear, I was wondering what happens when you tried to make dining reservations for this upcoming cruise as at the time I asked I had only a provisional booking and couldn't access the dining reservations page in my online account.

Anyway, I've now gone ahead and confirmed it, still can't access the dining reservations as I have done previously so there is definitely something afoot.

 

Hopefully the R2 space will be open in some capacity for the cruise, if only to provide one extra dining choice. If it's not, I'm sure I'll cope!

Will head over to the roll call shortly.

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It's odd because the speciality dining reservation facility, albeit with no options, has only just appeared in the last week on the cruise activity choices and itinerary. If they are not going to offer it why update the cruise website? Also if the other ships took about 15 - 18 days to convert and get up to speed why should this one take over a month to do so? I'm with Henry, for a significant change to the service like this I would expect at least a communication from the TA or expect a 4th dining venue to be available when we get there.

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It's odd because the speciality dining reservation facility, albeit with no options, has only just appeared in the last week on the cruise activity choices and itinerary. If they are not going to offer it why update the cruise website? Also if the other ships took about 15 - 18 days to convert and get up to speed why should this one take over a month to do so? I'm with Henry, for a significant change to the service like this I would expect at least a communication from the TA or expect a 4th dining venue to be available when we get there.

 

Well that's interesting. I wasn't aware of that of course, because I couldn't access the cruise activities until I booked the cruise yesterday. It is certainly odd.

 

Hopefully someone who is on the cruise immediately following the dry dock will update.

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