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Attention to detail - Seabourn newbie just off Sojourn (long post)


dgannett
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On 11/8/2023 at 2:14 PM, dgannett said:

However, at this price point, I was expecting more with respect to attention to detail.

You hit the nail on the head with this statement.  You are not alone.  One feels taken advantage of.  The problems can only be solved by going back in time and not filling an understaffed ship with passengers.   Things are so hit or miss on Seabourn and Silversea right now.  We all long for the pre Covid excellent food and service era across the fleets.

 

It may take a bit more time, but in reading the boards it seems  there are more hits than misses these days. Hope springs eternal.  And yes you are correct, we are all so fortunate that we can continue to have amazing experiences.

 

Alhambra vs. Ephesus - I have not done the Alhambra but Ephesus was a great experience.  Ephesus is called a Seabourn 'Signature' event. There was no charge.  Something to check for when reading descriptions. 

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3 hours ago, arzz said:

We have done both Alhambra and Ephesus-not with Seabourn but Ephesus is so much more than the Alhambra in our opinion. Both are spectacular. 

 

Also have done both and agree Ephesus is stronger. Plus the Seabourn concert experience is not to be missed. One of the highlights of everything I've done with Seabourn.

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15 hours ago, highplanesdrifters said:

 

Alhambra vs. Ephesus - I have not done the Alhambra but Ephesus was a great experience.  Ephesus is called a Seabourn 'Signature' event. There was no charge.  Something to check for when reading descriptions. 

 

 

We found the architecture, landscaping and history of Alhambra to be absolutely fascinating.  I have not been to Esphesus but my wife has, we have it on the schedule (SS) in 1H2025.  My wife says it difficult to compare the two.  She loved them both.  I would strongly recommend doing a land vacation to Andalusia.  The Spanish people, culture, food (& wine) are wonderful and IMO a cruise wouldn't do it justice.  Seville, Malaga (Marbella & Gibraltar) and Madrid are highly recommended.  Maybe Lisbon and southern Portugal if you're feeling energetic.  Spain is still quite reasonable and from the recent reviews I've read of "luxury" cruieses you may have a more consistent experience.

 

Edit:  I should note we had a problem adjusting to the 10-11PM dinner hours, thats not an issue on a cruise.

 

 

Edited by RetiredandTravel
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I would say that both the Alhambra and Ephesus are 'bucket list' places to visit; I have done both more than once, and would say that it is hard to go wrong at Ephesus, and both daytime visits and the special evening work smoothly and are easy to enjoy.  A visit to Granada and the Alhambra involves a  longer journey, a more crowded site and if it includes a meal it could be good or a let down, depending on the venue chosen.  It is so popular that I know cruise lines have difficulty finding a decent hotel or restaurant, and I have experienced both.  But both sites are memorable and beautiful and well worth the effort.

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We disembarked the Ovation in Lisbon last week with our last Seabourn cruise being on the Sojourn in June/July.  While the Ovation was a beautiful ship,  the service seemed off.  We also had the wrong key cards in our suite, simple requests were denied (our waiter from our last cruise was onboard and we asked if we could be his area and the hostess stated “we don’t do that”). We found new crew just aren’t being trained before being front of house with passengers.  The ship also felt overly crowded,  situations like wanting a hot dog and being told you have to sit at a table by the pool to order,  but there were no available tables by the pool.  No one had a solution for that one.  Overall we love Seabourn,  but this cruise was off.  No one remembered  our name,  drink etc even through we sat at the same table in the observation lounge each night with the same wait team.  Our cabin attendant never introduced herself and we ended up tracking her down three days later to say hello.  Very much the opposite of our experience on Sojourn 

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We are currently on the Sojourn and we are finding Seabourn much as we remember it. Folks know our name, even many we have hardly had contact with.  This is our first cruise since Covid and Seabourn to our eyes seems fairly intact.  We have not, however, tried ordering a hot dog without sitting at a table so I cannot respond to that one with anything other than “huh”?

 

Today at the patio as our table slowly crept into the sun we were immediately offered a shaded table and moved. What can I say?  Hope the Ovation staff is brought up to speed soon. 

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29 minutes ago, arzz said:

We are currently on the Sojourn and we are finding Seabourn much as we remember it. Folks know our name, even many we have hardly had contact with.  This is our first cruise since Covid and Seabourn to our eyes seems fairly intact.  We have not, however, tried ordering a hot dog without sitting at a table so I cannot respond to that one with anything other than “huh”?

 

Today at the patio as our table slowly crept into the sun we were immediately offered a shaded table and moved. What can I say?  Hope the Ovation staff is brought up to speed soon. 

Hardly anything to “huh” over or hard to comprehend.  I was not able to order any food at the pool grill unless I was sitting at a table,  there were no tables.  So no lunch at the pool that day.  In asking some of the crew we knew from Sojourn,  all they had to say about Ovation is that it wasn’t the same and they were all overworked.  Glad you are enjoying the Sojourn,  we did too.

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5 hours ago, avalon1025 said:

We disembarked the Ovation in Lisbon last week with our last Seabourn cruise being on the Sojourn in June/July.  While the Ovation was a beautiful ship,  the service seemed off.  We also had the wrong key cards in our suite, simple requests were denied (our waiter from our last cruise was onboard and we asked if we could be his area and the hostess stated “we don’t do that”). We found new crew just aren’t being trained before being front of house with passengers.  The ship also felt overly crowded,  situations like wanting a hot dog and being told you have to sit at a table by the pool to order,  but there were no available tables by the pool.  No one had a solution for that one.  Overall we love Seabourn,  but this cruise was off.  No one remembered  our name,  drink etc even through we sat at the same table in the observation lounge each night with the same wait team.  Our cabin attendant never introduced herself and we ended up tracking her down three days later to say hello.  Very much the opposite of our experience on Sojourn 

I have NEVER heard of not being able to request a particular waiter.  I think I would have asked the Hotel Director about that.  It doesn't sound right.  Our cruise last summer on Ovation had the best service ever on a SB cruise.  

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2 hours ago, SLSD said:

I have NEVER heard of not being able to request a particular waiter.  I think I would have asked the Hotel Director about that.  It doesn't sound right.  Our cruise last summer on Ovation had the best service ever on a SB cruise.  

 

Agreed, sounds like the hostess didn't know what she was talking about.  

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We are on the Ovation now and the staff couldn’t be better.   We boarded after Avalon left in Lisbon.    We don’t sit by the pool so we haven’t ordered anything from there during the day but we enjoy Earth and Ocean in the evening.    We are in a Spa Suite and no complaints about the service.    The pool area seems crowded and everyone wants to be by the pool.   The min restaurant has been open every sea day for breakfast and lunch and we have only had one port in 7 days.

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Relative to Ody, Soj and Quest the Enc and Ovation feel crowded just because they are! The have less space per passenger anywhere you look - except the TKG, Obs Bar and Colonnade. Can’t get into the MDR, a seat in the Club or Grand Salon, or a swim in the pool? These places are the same size on the 3 sisters which have 150 fewer passengers.

 

Now you know. These 2 ships compromise passenger space. Seabourn committed an own goal re luxury provision when these 2 ships were built. Simple as that. And now you know why some will pay up at the “Retreat” for the space on Enc and Ovation. Kinda like mass market hotels with pools and Carnival ships, seems to me.
 

Happy and healthy sailing!
 

 

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2 hours ago, markham said:

Relative to Ody, Soj and Quest the Enc and Ovation feel crowded just because they are! The have less space per passenger anywhere you look - except the TKG, Obs Bar and Colonnade. Can’t get into the MDR, a seat in the Club or Grand Salon, or a swim in the pool? These places are the same size on the 3 sisters which have 150 fewer passengers.

 

Now you know. These 2 ships compromise passenger space. Seabourn committed an own goal re luxury provision when these 2 ships were built. Simple as that. And now you know why some will pay up at the “Retreat” for the space on Enc and Ovation. Kinda like mass market hotels with pools and Carnival ships, seems to me.
 

Happy and healthy sailing!
 

 

I never have a problem with deck space on Enc/Ov

I never go around the pool deck or even the deck above.

I have a space higher up away from the noise and hustle of the lower decks.

You have to know these two ships to make it work for you.

Looking forward to SS RAY for a very different experience.

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Mr L,

 

If everyone knew what you do and acted on it, they would understand that Enc and Ovation are space/luxury compromise products. But they don’t and most won’t it seems.

 

We moved on when we figured out that Seabourn was no longer competitive with the SS newer ships. Presently on Dawn, we will not look back. It’s the design, execution and satisfaction “luxury thing” that Seabourn has failed to deliver for too long. Maybe the ethos of Enc and Ovation is sufficient evidence of some fool ‘em strategy- stack ‘em high but sell ‘em at premium prices if possible. That does not seem to be working much anymore… And Seabourn has no plan to build new ships with the culture, space and amenities we enjoy on Dawn.

 

Yes, we have 3 more Soj, Enc and Ovation cruises booked but that is all. We also have one Venture cruise but that product is a pedigree/top offering in the market IMO whereas the classic Seabourn product is certainly not. Just look at the latest industry awards. Seabourn has lost ground noticeably. For us, that is all there is to the current state of play.


Happy and healthy sailing!

 

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9 hours ago, markham said:

Mr L,

 

If everyone knew what you do and acted on it, they would understand that Enc and Ovation are space/luxury compromise products. But they don’t and most won’t it seems.

 

We moved on when we figured out that Seabourn was no longer competitive with the SS newer ships. Presently on Dawn, we will not look back. It’s the design, execution and satisfaction “luxury thing” that Seabourn has failed to deliver for too long. Maybe the ethos of Enc and Ovation is sufficient evidence of some fool ‘em strategy- stack ‘em high but sell ‘em at premium prices if possible. That does not seem to be working much anymore… And Seabourn has no plan to build new ships with the culture, space and amenities we enjoy on Dawn.

 

Yes, we have 3 more Soj, Enc and Ovation cruises booked but that is all. We also have one Venture cruise but that product is a pedigree/top offering in the market IMO whereas the classic Seabourn product is certainly not. Just look at the latest industry awards. Seabourn has lost ground noticeably. For us, that is all there is to the current state of play.


Happy and healthy sailing!

 

Yes Markham,I agree to some extent but what is your take on the feel of the ships atmosphere, mainly the guests is what I am getting at.

I sail on both lines but find the feel very different on both lines.

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I always found Silversea a little more 'formal' in atmosphere, and this included slightly less outgoing and  friendly fellow passengers.  If you enjoy casual encounters with your shipmates, which may or may not lead to friendship, I suggest Seabourn is the more appropriate line - to quite an extent thanks to the attitude of most of the staff.  However, I have not cruised with Silversea for about 10 years, and sadly not on Seabourn since 2019, so things may well have changed.

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We prefer the Ovation/Encore because of the Retreat and the larger Earth and Ocean, and TK Bar and Restaurant.

The Retreat is one of the best places on board for a minimal up-charge.    We purchase it for the sailing and are always assured of a quiet space, great service, sun loungers, shaded table for lunch and shaded cabana with sofa and television.

Each day you receive a $50 spa credit and a premium bottle of wine or champagne.    We choose to have our wine at dinner so we don’t need a premium wine package.

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13 hours ago, markham said:

We also have one Venture cruise but that product is a pedigree/top offering in the market

 

I have thoughts on this after two expedition cruises on Venture in pretty short succession. The ship is wonderful, but I think the expedition offering has taken a step backwards and it's due to more than just difficulty hiring staff. It seems the addition of the subs plus the size of the ship means that the expedition team is structurally understaffed and spread thin. This results in a suboptimal expedition experience, which is kinda the point of the ships.

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35 minutes ago, markandjie said:

 

I have thoughts on this after two expedition cruises on Venture in pretty short succession. The ship is wonderful, but I think the expedition offering has taken a step backwards and it's due to more than just difficulty hiring staff. It seems the addition of the subs plus the size of the ship means that the expedition team is structurally understaffed and spread thin. This results in a suboptimal expedition experience, which is kinda the point of the ships.

It'll suit some and not others as is the norm with these ships.

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Mr L,

 

I have addressed the passenger:space ratio matter on the Enc class ships. In other posts I have moaned about many of the shallow and cheap menus on SB - apart from the TKG offering which is under his own control. A good example of mediocrity is the themed Japanese, Thai etc dinners at Colonnade that wouldn’t fool a real world traveler. Another is that there’s generally no breakfast or lunch in the Restaurant. Then there have been all the petty cutbacks at SB which after many months are supposedly being addressed, the awful website tech, cheap unpadded narrow sun loungers, compromised cruises eg the recent Venture cruises sold as expedition when no expedition elements were delivered. And the inconsistencies: Ody is reportedly fabulous now but Enc (or is it Ovation) is anything but. And heck, you cannot even get a pizza made… This is no way to sell “luxury” cruises.

 

My definition of luxury revolves around consistency. SS does this, probably better on their 4 larger ships than the older ones eg Whisper and Cloud which their president has announced are being retired anyway. While SB passengers rightly obsess pre-departure who the capt, HD, F&B and CD are - hoping for the more resourceful ones relative to ones they already know - no one need care on SS. We are on Dawn now, know many of the rank and file crew and some senior ones, but the delivery is consistent vs our past 5 SS cruises on the 3 sisters. 
 

Now about your question, I view SB ships as more “fun” and less formal. But they have to be, don’t they, if that is what people have accepted/want/adjusted to. SS ships are more 5 star hotel-like. Quality in everything they do comes first. No excuses. I will take the superior quality/depth/choice of food in the various outlets, top bed linens, open and long track, 40% longer pool, all that deck and interior space, predictability of systems, stable routines and (yes) pizza- at least 12 types. And of course make friends on board along the way. No need for a “retreat”. No trouble swimming around the drinkers standing about (the SS pools are too deep for starters), no sun lounge hogs, and no gaming to squeeze in a meal at TKG since the food here is so much authentic and sophisticated anyway. 
 

I am sorry that Seabourn has not delivered new product for several years with enlightened management. The bean counters are to blame for so many things. I would just love to see new SB classic ship designs being launched to restore the brand as an add to the competitive market. It can happen- Venture and Pursuit are top on class from what I have seen… Anyway, people owe it to themselves to scan the horizon for alternatives - of which there are plenty now! 
 

All that said, and like I said, we are watching who will lead the upcoming Soj WC. Will we be lucky? What about the provisioning?  I hope for the best since we have a long journey there soon and want a happy ship.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 

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3 hours ago, markham said:

Mr L,

 

I have addressed the passenger:space ratio matter on the Enc class ships. In other posts I have moaned about many of the shallow and cheap menus on SB - apart from the TKG offering which is under his own control. A good example of mediocrity is the themed Japanese, Thai etc dinners at Colonnade that wouldn’t fool a real world traveler. Another is that there’s generally no breakfast or lunch in the Restaurant. Then there have been all the petty cutbacks at SB which after many months are supposedly being addressed, the awful website tech, cheap unpadded narrow sun loungers, compromised cruises eg the recent Venture cruises sold as expedition when no expedition elements were delivered. And the inconsistencies: Ody is reportedly fabulous now but Enc (or is it Ovation) is anything but. And heck, you cannot even get a pizza made… This is no way to sell “luxury” cruises.

 

My definition of luxury revolves around consistency. SS does this, probably better on their 4 larger ships than the older ones eg Whisper and Cloud which their president has announced are being retired anyway. While SB passengers rightly obsess pre-departure who the capt, HD, F&B and CD are - hoping for the more resourceful ones relative to ones they already know - no one need care on SS. We are on Dawn now, know many of the rank and file crew and some senior ones, but the delivery is consistent vs our past 5 SS cruises on the 3 sisters. 
 

Now about your question, I view SB ships as more “fun” and less formal. But they have to be, don’t they, if that is what people have accepted/want/adjusted to. SS ships are more 5 star hotel-like. Quality in everything they do comes first. No excuses. I will take the superior quality/depth/choice of food in the various outlets, top bed linens, open and long track, 40% longer pool, all that deck and interior space, predictability of systems, stable routines and (yes) pizza- at least 12 types. And of course make friends on board along the way. No need for a “retreat”. No trouble swimming around the drinkers standing about (the SS pools are too deep for starters), no sun lounge hogs, and no gaming to squeeze in a meal at TKG since the food here is so much authentic and sophisticated anyway. 
 

I am sorry that Seabourn has not delivered new product for several years with enlightened management. The bean counters are to blame for so many things. I would just love to see new SB classic ship designs being launched to restore the brand as an add to the competitive market. It can happen- Venture and Pursuit are top on class from what I have seen… Anyway, people owe it to themselves to scan the horizon for alternatives - of which there are plenty now! 
 

All that said, and like I said, we are watching who will lead the upcoming Soj WC. Will we be lucky? What about the provisioning?  I hope for the best since we have a long journey there soon and want a happy ship.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 

I will try to be as polite as possible. I have sailed many times, beginning with the glorious SS France continuing through other lines including quite a few cruises on Seabourn. By far the worst cruising experience of my life was on the SS Cloud to Antarctica last year. There was very little that was luxury other than ample amounts of champagne. The passengers came across as very entitled and not very friendly. The cruise was disorganized with frequent contradictory announcements. The expedition staff was having a lot of fun...with each other. The food was ok but didn't surpass anything on Seabourn. Worst of all they had strict COVID protocols which were not enforced. Vaccination proof required to board, but if you didn't have proof they tested you. A lot of good that does if you were exposed on your travels to the cruise. Although my wife and I were vaccinated we got COVID on the ship and were quarantined. The only good news was that we received a full refund for the days of quarrantine. Those days were worth every penny we paid for them. To sum it up I do not agree with you.

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As I said above I am very happy on Dawn now. And her 2 sisters. I only mentioned Cloud in passing as a ship due to be retired. I know, as many others do, that Cloud is old/a repurposed original SS Med cruise ship, and not a patch on new expedition ships such as Venture. Ok?

 

The idea is/was to try new experiences after assessing your own needs. I have done so and tried to be clear with my post re my perspective which includes 1000 days on SB.

 

BTW, and when Seabourn addresses the obvious (to me at least) lapses, unknowns, as inconsistencies right now among their classic ships, I remain a skeptic. As in what is in store for SB’s future. That was much of my message.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 


 

 

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4 hours ago, markham said:

Mr L,

 

I have addressed the passenger:space ratio matter on the Enc class ships. In other posts I have moaned about many of the shallow and cheap menus on SB - apart from the TKG offering which is under his own control. A good example of mediocrity is the themed Japanese, Thai etc dinners at Colonnade that wouldn’t fool a real world traveler. Another is that there’s generally no breakfast or lunch in the Restaurant. Then there have been all the petty cutbacks at SB which after many months are supposedly being addressed, the awful website tech, cheap unpadded narrow sun loungers, compromised cruises eg the recent Venture cruises sold as expedition when no expedition elements were delivered. And the inconsistencies: Ody is reportedly fabulous now but Enc (or is it Ovation) is anything but. And heck, you cannot even get a pizza made… This is no way to sell “luxury” cruises.

 

My definition of luxury revolves around consistency. SS does this, probably better on their 4 larger ships than the older ones eg Whisper and Cloud which their president has announced are being retired anyway. While SB passengers rightly obsess pre-departure who the capt, HD, F&B and CD are - hoping for the more resourceful ones relative to ones they already know - no one need care on SS. We are on Dawn now, know many of the rank and file crew and some senior ones, but the delivery is consistent vs our past 5 SS cruises on the 3 sisters. 
 

Now about your question, I view SB ships as more “fun” and less formal. But they have to be, don’t they, if that is what people have accepted/want/adjusted to. SS ships are more 5 star hotel-like. Quality in everything they do comes first. No excuses. I will take the superior quality/depth/choice of food in the various outlets, top bed linens, open and long track, 40% longer pool, all that deck and interior space, predictability of systems, stable routines and (yes) pizza- at least 12 types. And of course make friends on board along the way. No need for a “retreat”. No trouble swimming around the drinkers standing about (the SS pools are too deep for starters), no sun lounge hogs, and no gaming to squeeze in a meal at TKG since the food here is so much authentic and sophisticated anyway. 
 

I am sorry that Seabourn has not delivered new product for several years with enlightened management. The bean counters are to blame for so many things. I would just love to see new SB classic ship designs being launched to restore the brand as an add to the competitive market. It can happen- Venture and Pursuit are top on class from what I have seen… Anyway, people owe it to themselves to scan the horizon for alternatives - of which there are plenty now! 
 

All that said, and like I said, we are watching who will lead the upcoming Soj WC. Will we be lucky? What about the provisioning?  I hope for the best since we have a long journey there soon and want a happy ship.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

 

Yes,I agree Seabourn have had difficulty in the last couple of years but Natalya seems to have the energy and is certainly listening.

TK has had the Spanish Archer amd Michael Sandoval is implementing new things and events in the Colonnade as we speak. 

I think Solis taking over from TK will be what is needed and Tony Eggars vision with what he did with E&O will be just right.

Who knows what future Seabourn face and with no orders for new ships.

Crystal promises new ships but I'm not sure Manfredi  will get the finance that is needed for new ships.

Carnival can authorise new ships for Seabourn if that is the direction they want to go but as we have seen,there was a try at selling the brand.

I have seen countless old crew go to other lines.

Explora Journeys have a raft of old Seabourn experts that got the line going and Viking too.

Silversea is the one to go to at present and Regent have lovely new ships albeit with a very different crowd to SS and SB.

It's all good for us as we can put our money down on any line that takes our fancy.

I'm off to QG Cunard soon to get a more traditional type of luxury.

I'll be ok as long as I don't go to the parts of the ship that aren't QG 😀

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