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Dining - Odyssey - Evening hours of operation.....

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Crystal has 6 and 8:30 PM seatings, plus an any time option. All fading away to come and grab a table like SB. I like the late seating on Crystal and avoid MDR on SB.

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oregon50, Judging from what you have posted, I am assuming you will never again sail on Seabourn ships.

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We found the “anytime” reservation policy on Crystal to be a joke. By the time we got on board we found the only “any” was 8:15. So it was basically a second class, off kilter version of the late seating. Leftover tables and staff caught between both seatings. If perchance we go Crystal again I’d probably just do a late seating.

At home (US Atlantic coast) we usually eat dinner around 6 or 6:30. We enjoy the temporary change in habit on board — especially if someone else is mixing drinks, cooking and cleaning up! Like the flexibility on SB. We can usually get our favorite table if we’re dining alone, very easy to set up a group dinner. Our trivia team had a lovely dinner just last night. I didn’t try to arrange anything similar on Crystal, didn’t get the sense it was encouraged, though perhaps I’m being unfair.

Yes, Crystal has 2 seatings (one at 6 and a later one) plus an Any Time option.

 

Again, no one is suggesting that Seabourn should 'just cater to Americans'.....that would be ridiculous. Opening the dining room even half an hour earlier (6:30) would be a huge help, especially on this side (American) of the Atlantic.

 

Sheila.

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oregon50, Judging from what you have posted, I am assuming you will never again sail on Seabourn ships.

GREAT point, if one complains about a lot of things, you would assume they would take their $ elsewhere. Certainly if I thought there were so many issues on Seabourn (which I do NOT, I have had only very good / great experiences on Seabourn - and have over 170 days on the Odyssey alone so the comments on CC about it are surprising) I would go somewhere else.

 

When we were on the Encore they did open the MDR and Colonnade earlier, and I appreciate the comments about that option. For us, we usually never eat before 8 so not an issue for us, like others, pre-dinner cocktails is something we enjoy about being on the ship and we never know who we might strike up a conversation with. But I totally understand those who want to dine early to be able to go to sleep early or for whatever reason. In port / tender ports I do not need to be the first off, I rather prefer to enjoy my morning on the ship and then head out and return whenever - unless we have a private tour reserved which means we need to be off at a certain time. Just me.

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It's not that eating at 6:45 is all that important to us. Theoretically, we could easily eat at 9pm. However, we did enjoy seeing few of the productions and we just aren't capable of staying up until 11pm every night and getting up at 7am the next morning. It's only a question of getting enough sleep. At home, I often stay up quite late, but at home I'm not out seeing exotic ports for a good part of the day with a full slate of activities every minute. We had a fabulous time. And we DO enjoy the difference we find around the world. But, point well taken. I probably should not have commented but wanted to assure some that on the Encore their desire for an earlier dinner and show could be met.

 

The shows will start at 9:45 no matter what time the restaurant opens. Even if the restaurant opened at 6Pm and you dined at that hour if you wanted to see the show you'd have to waste time doing something else until the show started.

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Wripro, On the Encore, dinner is served in the MDR beginning at 6:45 and the first show is at 8:45. The second show is at 9:45. It worked well for us. I realize that most are talking about the other ships, but I was just relating that the Encore has a slightly different schedule which worked well for us. If we were on the other ships, I am sure we could adapt!

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I understand that this is mainly because the 'theatre' cannot take all guests at the same time? However, if it works for some, then good. A bit hard on the performers, I would think.

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I do not think that the theater can hold 600 guests. At the same time, it is doubtful that 600 guests would attend a program all at one time. We had 571 passengers on the Encore during our voyage and I would say that the theater was never more than 2/3s full, if that, for the evening programs we attended. The time schedule DID work for us. We had a great time on the Encore.

 

I agree that back to back shows are probably hard on the performers.

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Many would prefer an earlier dinner time; and most on my Nov. trip were from US and Canada not Europe (sailing from Miami). Crystal not only has earlier dinner times available, the service is faster, so you can go to shows that are also available earlier. On Seaborne O, it wasn't just that dinner started at 7 but seated at 7 that your first course was served after 8 then salad after 8:30 and main course after 9 with dinner service finished around 10 which was after the show which begins at 9:45 p.m. (if you usually eat at 5 , you are hungry at 7 and don't receive main course until 9 which for many is too late). Yes you can have snacks earlier but you will eat more food and eat too much prior to bedtime which for those attempting to watch their weight is not a good option. The only early dinner option is room service but the menu is the same each night for early dinner room service. Enjoyed the staff and service elsewhere on the ship was friendly and good service, enjoyable trip, but will admit that I may go back to Crystal since Seaborne doesn't have reasonable options for those who would like an early dinner.

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Many would prefer an earlier dinner time; and most on my Nov. trip were from US and Canada not Europe (sailing from Miami). Crystal not only has earlier dinner times available, the service is faster, so you can go to shows that are also available earlier. On Seaborne O, it wasn't just that dinner started at 7 but seated at 7 that your first course was served after 8 then salad after 8:30 and main course after 9 with dinner service finished around 10 which was after the show which begins at 9:45 p.m. (if you usually eat at 5 , you are hungry at 7 and don't receive main course until 9 which for many is too late). Yes you can have snacks earlier but you will eat more food and eat too much prior to bedtime which for those attempting to watch their weight is not a good option. The only early dinner option is room service but the menu is the same each night for early dinner room service. Enjoyed the staff and service elsewhere on the ship was friendly and good service, enjoyable trip, but will admit that I may go back to Crystal since Seaborne doesn't have reasonable options for those who would like an early dinner.

 

Did you try talking to the Maitre d' (or failing success there with the hotman) to say you want to be out of there in 90 minutes or less? I would think that would help.

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Good advice Henry as you and I know but there are those that say nothing when on the ship and come to CC and moan about things that were not to their liking when all could have been dealt with easily and without too much fuss.

 

 

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Dear Winner

It is always nice to see response from you. You were the first person to reply to my first ever post on this forum, back in 2011.

This is off topic, obviously, I was just thinking about the regular posters here, or not so regular, but long standing, and up popped your post.

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Dear Flamin_June,

Your post is so welcome, especially today in Thanksgiving. It warmed my heart first thing this morning. May CC keep on being a venue for posts like yours.

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[quote=SLSD;54544284

 

I agree that back to back shows are probably hard on the performers.

 

However, if they are professionals (as they are) performing in the West End or on Broadway, generally on two days a week they will have virtually back to back with matinee followed by evening performance. In addition, the entertainers on Seabourn generally only do one show every 4/5 days at most, and that is only 45 minutes in length, plus an occasional drop in spot at a sail-away or other special event. Hardly hard work IMHO.

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Many would prefer an earlier dinner time; and most on my Nov. trip were from US and Canada not Europe (sailing from Miami). Crystal not only has earlier dinner times available, the service is faster, so you can go to shows that are also available earlier. On Seaborne O, it wasn't just that dinner started at 7 but seated at 7 that your first course was served after 8 then salad after 8:30 and main course after 9 with dinner service finished around 10 which was after the show which begins at 9:45 p.m. (if you usually eat at 5 , you are hungry at 7 and don't receive main course until 9 which for many is too late). Yes you can have snacks earlier but you will eat more food and eat too much prior to bedtime which for those attempting to watch their weight is not a good option. The only early dinner option is room service but the menu is the same each night for early dinner room service. Enjoyed the staff and service elsewhere on the ship was friendly and good service, enjoyable trip, but will admit that I may go back to Crystal since Seaborne doesn't have reasonable options for those who would like an early dinner.

 

Are you saying if you are seated at 7, your first course is not served until 8:00? I find that hard to believe.

And if that ever happened to me, it would only happen once because I would speak to the Maitre D.

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Well personally I really feel for the wait staff trying to adjust to the dining speed preferences of a large number of passengers night after night. Some people do like to have a leisurely dinner and some want to race through their meal. To help the staff and ourselves we try to sit in the same section of the Restaurant every night so we end of with the same Head Waiter. Then on the first night , because of all the talents Seabourn’s wonderful crew have I don’t believe mind reading is one of them, we actually TELL, we enjoy have a relaxing dinner but and would prefer the courses not usually pile up one on top of another. This system had usually worked just fine - of course there is the occasional evening where there is a glitch and we end up “relaxing” a bit more than we had planned but that is no big deal.

 

 

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I agree that back to back shows are probably hard on the performers.

 

Yes, the overworked performers. Another classic!

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Yes, the overworked performers. Another classic!

 

Easiest position on the ship. Due to their contract they rarely have to perform additional duties.

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Probably so - but it is nice to see that quite a few of them interact with passengers, chatting in the bars etc., especially with anyone on their own, and they do host dinner tables (OK, probably better food than in the crew mess), but it does mean the need to be good hosts, not necessarily an attribute which many young singers and dancers possess either naturally or are trained for. We have met some lovely young people from the entertainment staff on Seabourn cruises.

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On competitors ships, where early 6pm and late 8:30 pm dining is offered; usually the early dining is full and waitlisted, and fewer people want to dine later.

 

While the early dinner option is not the only reason people select a cruise line; since many people do prefer to eat earlier; it seems like Seaborne could open at least one of the dining options early. After an early dinner, drinks in the piano bar and then go to the 9:45 p.m. show.

 

Why not give at least one early dining option on Seaborne instead of recommending that everyone who would enjoy early dining cruise on Crystal or other cruise lines???

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LadyVol1 - could you ask Onur, the sommelier, if he will be on Odyssey for our February 3rd cruise, please? We met him last year and really enjoyed discussing wine with him. We were with our sons and daughters in law and he treated us like kings! Thank you. Margaret

 

 

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Hello We have just returned from the Odyssey and Onur was fantastic, really appreciated what our tastes were in the way of wine and looked after us so well. He was so helpful. He told us he was on the Odyssey until March when he then takes his 2 month break. Bon dégustation et santé!

 

Maureen et Jon

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Well personally I really feel for the wait staff trying to adjust to the dining speed preferences of a large number of passengers night after night. Some people do like to have a leisurely dinner and some want to race through their meal. To help the staff and ourselves we try to sit in the same section of the Restaurant every night so we end of with the same Head Waiter. Then on the first night , because of all the talents Seabourn’s wonderful crew have I don’t believe mind reading is one of them, we actually TELL, we enjoy have a relaxing dinner but and would prefer the courses not usually pile up one on top of another. This system had usually worked just fine - of course there is the occasional evening where there is a glitch and we end up “relaxing” a bit more than we had planned but that is no big deal.

 

 

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Yes, this is an important point. They are not mind readers!

We have just returned from the Odyssey and dined every evening in the MDR. When we explained that we liked to have time to enjoy our food they were so pleased to accomodate our preferences. It was not "slow service" but well managed and considerate service. The food was always hot and presented just as it should be, freshly cooked. Wonderful. This was our first cruise on any line and if we could eat as well as that here in France every night for anywhere near the same price with good wine then we would be delighted. We enjoy excellent food and wine and we struggle sometimes to find it, let alone the considerate service.

 

Maureen et Jon

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Margbem and chancerdancer,

Another vote for Onur. We have been fortunate enough to sail with him on a couple of occasions and found he quickly got to know our tastes and always managed to come up with something lovely from the Premium wine list and separate the “wheat from the chaff” on the house wine list. I was hoping, since he lives in South Africa, that maybe he would be getting on the Sojourn in Feb when we join in Capetown as I know many of the crew who live there try to coordinate their holidays so they begin or end a cruise there when SB offers this itinerary. Darn!

 

As to dining hours I think the thing that Crystal or Celebrity or other big ship cruisers need to keep in mind is that with a larger number of passengers and the need to have two shows they have to have an earlier dining time. I personally dine later on Seabourn than at home and have never found it an issue. Then again we rarely go to the shows. For us the evening’s best entertainment on board Seabourn is a two hour dinner with interesting company, good food and wine and warm, attentive service. And BTW, if Seabourn ever goes to a set dining time in the Restaurant it would be a possible dealkiller. We have enough trouble setting reservations for the Grill in advance and working it into our schedule. Not having the flexibility to just waltz into the Restaurant when convenient would make things difficult.

 

 

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I'm with you, Chairsin. I would never curtail a first rate meal to go see a second rate show.

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For us the evening’s best entertainment on board Seabourn is a two hour dinner with interesting company, good food and wine and warm, attentive service. And BTW, if Seabourn ever goes to a set dining time in the Restaurant it would be a possible dealkiller.

 

 

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Huge +1 to this.

 

Although set dining times would be a firm dealbreaker for me.

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Set dining times would also be a dealbreaker for us!

 

We also like a leisurely dinner with good company. As such we often miss the show.

 

There are a few shows we like and a few that we have no interest in. Most are somewhere in the middle. If we go then we usually enjoy them but, if we miss them, then no harm done. We would certainly not sacrifice an enjoyable dinner for them.

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Brilliant news about Onur. We look forward to meeting him again. Chairsin - always sensible, honest advice! We enjoyed eating dinner with you and hope we can repeat that sometime. Enjoy South Africa!

 

 

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All this talk about early or set dining times is rather disturbing.

It seems to me that Rick Meadows has never 'got' Seabourn the way that Pam Conover 'got' Seabourn. As far as I can tell, his vision (and I am not sure that vision is the right word - business plan is probably more apt), for Seabourn is as a sort of super luxe HAL - HAL on steroids I think someone called it. That is clearly where things are going with the Ovation and Encore which seem to be targeted at the aspirational, "let's trade up", end of the mass/ premium market. With 650 pax and all that that entails, they are not targeted at the people who bought into the 250 pax Yachts of Seabourn concept, that's for sure.

 

In my six or seven years of regularly posting and lurking on the Seabourn CC forum I can't recall any time when early dining times or set dining times was a topic interest; and now here we are with the bigs ships, and it is on the agenda.

Well, let them have early and late dining times, set dining times, two shows per night and all the rest of that stuff on the Ovation and Encore. It clearly works better than the open seating concept on ships of that size for all concerened, and it seem to be what people who want to sail on 600+ pax ships, with extra-charge exclusive areas, want.

 

It won't bother us, personally, as we have no intention of ever setting foot on those overblown floating gin-palaces. It was a big enough compromise to go from the Little Sisters to the O class, but enough of what attracted us to Seabourn in the first place was retained.We just have to keep fingers and toers crossed that no more of the Seabourn essence is diluted away from the O class by introducing Ovation and Encore ways of doing things. We are not far off our 140 day loyalty bonus, but could easily walk away if that is the way things go.

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Flamin-June, We were on the Encore in late September/October and have never sailed on a mass market cruise line. I really think it is a bit insulting to categorize those who choose to sail on the Encore as "aspirational". I don't quite understand your comment there. Our only previous cruise had been on a much smaller Silversea ship. There were 571 passengers on the Encore and it did not seem crowded. The service was great--the food was good--and I could not tell that much difference from our previous Silversea cruise. If anything, it was better. We enjoyed having a couple more venues or expanded venues.

 

I don't quite understand what dining times have to do with the Encore. Dinner in the MDR started at 6:45pm --it all worked well. Is that really an issue? Does that make the Encore a mass cruise experience in your estimation? In my opinion, it was nice to have a couple of options for entertainment times. Is that a bad thing? Does that make the Encore a mass cruise line experience? Please explain.

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Flamin-June, We were on the Encore in late September/October and have never sailed on a mass market cruise line. I really think it is a bit insulting to categorize those who choose to sail on the Encore as "aspirational". I don't quite understand your comment there. Our only previous cruise had been on a much smaller Silversea ship. There were 571 passengers on the Encore and it did not seem crowded. The service was great--the food was good--and I could not tell that much difference from our previous Silversea cruise. If anything, it was better. We enjoyed having a couple more venues or expanded venues.

 

I don't quite understand what dining times have to do with the Encore. Dinner in the MDR started at 6:45pm --it all worked well. Is that really an issue? Does that make the Encore a mass cruise experience in your estimation? In my opinion, it was nice to have a couple of options for entertainment times. Is that a bad thing? Does that make the Encore a mass cruise line experience? Please explain.

 

Exactly our experience on the Encore also. Very similar (if not better) than that on the Odyssey and the Quest.

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ab21au, Thank you for commenting. Quite frankly, I am reluctant to go on the smaller ships now because they don't have the expanded veranda for lunch and the TK Grill Bar which is lovely and cozy. But, to each his own. I just think generalizations about who SB is trying to appeal to are sometimes dead wrong. At the same time, there will be a generational change and to stay in business, the cruise line will have to adapt to changing opinions about what makes a good experience.

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I think that many - if not most - of us were "aspirational" at some points in our lives and careers. Now we are enjoying the fruits of that "aspiration".

 

Still, if some wish to look down their noses at those who have worked hard and been successful then so be it.

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Roxburgh, My point is that I don't understand how aspirational is being used here. One has to assume that most passengers are quite affluent and successful or they would not be cruising on a luxury cruise line that is more expensive than most other lines. I just hope to get a further explanation of how the Encore and the Ovation appeal to those who are aspirational---more than the O Class ships--which all have similar fares.

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I just hope to get a further explanation of how the Encore and the Ovation appeal to those who are aspirational---more than the O Class ships--which all have similar fares.

 

I do too. It seems to be a snobbish assumption that those who like the additional benefits of a slightly larger ship are just mass market plebes trying to trade off. I'd argue that preference for size of ship has nothing to do with one's affluence, means, or class.

 

I have a couple friends who pay top dollar for the largest Haven suites on NCL. They would not dream of sailing on the luxury lines because they do not want to have to dress up on vacation. Seriously... can't get them on Seabourn no matter what. It's not price... they'd book the Wintergarden if we got them on board. It's that they dress up every day for work and want to be casual on their vacation. We have other friends who book suites on NCL or Disney or RCL or Celebrity because they are cruising with a multi-generational group and need to accommodate the needs (and sometimes budgets) of everyone involved. And still other friends who we can't get on cruises at all - but who have no problem flying private to rent a luxury villa somewhere for 10 days. Those friends usually are concerned with being "trapped" on a ship for 10 days - especially a small one - due to lack of activities (or more often, connectivity). A larger ship sometimes reduces those (unfounded) worries and their travel agents often guide them to where they think they won't be bored. (I'd count among those the single girlfriend I first tried Seabourn with... she thought it was "okay" but not nearly actual be enough and lacking in things to hold her attention.)

 

None of those are people who "aspire". They are just those with different travel needs but the kind of budgets that Seabourn may want to attract to build loyalty in the future (and all in the under 50 set too).

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Jenidallas, well said. I have cruise on 12 different lines more than once. They all offered something different.

I enjoy the small luxury lines but some of by most enjoyed cruises have been on Celebrity S class ships in a suite. Smashing.

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maggie. 1008, Would you tell us what made the Celebrity S Class smashing? We've only cruised SS and SB---and have no idea what the other lines are like. And what does S Class mean on Celebrity? I'm assuming it is more inclusive and has extra benefits?

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It stands for Snob class [emoji1]

 

 

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What has been your experience on Celebrity S class that you did not like? Not worth the extra service, still too much mingling with the non-snob masses, or just ho-hum?

 

I have never tried them, know people who like them, but did enjoy Neptune suite on Holland America for a very brief theme cruise ( did not like the huge size of the ship despite being in my luxury cocoon well taken care of)

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