Interesting two trips to the Caribbean 2 months apart Both b2b.
The Ship or the Boat as our predominantly British passengers called it!
Serenity built 2003
Passengers 980 with 655 crew
Odyssey built 2009
Passengers 450 with 335 crew
Serenity maintained extremely well and looked fresher and younger. Corners and balconies sparingly cleaned on Odyssey, paint scratched and marred in several spots.
Seabourn hands down. Being a small ship a number of the ports were the uncommon islands in the Caribbean and excursions were very different .From Tortola we were able to spend the morning at beautiful White’s Bay. Beautiful and isolated for the first hour after which it was overrun by the party boats with their loud music that disturbed our serenity. The Seabourn special event was cancelled week one but was beautifully organized on week two at the Carambola beach club in St.Kitts. Only thing marring the spectacular day was the badly charred Caribbean lobster.
Crystal number 1 all the way. DD says I am totally crystallized! I do not eat beef but DH says it was wonderful and perfectly cooked. For me, Seabourn’s two favourite condiments were salt and pepper. Seabourn food was pedestrian at best awful at worst. Desserts on Seabourn were very good ...nothing extravagant or exciting but perfectly prepared, especially their house gelatos. On Seabourn the shrimp were not properly cleaned, noticed a dirty greasy spoon and horned insect in pineapple salad...the last two in the Main dining room or Restaurant as Seabourn calls it.
In December I asked for lamb biryani on Crystal....I got some ersatz pulao with chunks of curried lamb on the side. Ordered lamb biryani for lunch on Seabourn and it was delicious. All my special orders on both lines were otherwise excellent except a very poor lobster thermidor on Serenity. Seabourn buffet lunches were OK ...hit and miss. The selection of fruits and salad ingredients that you find on any given day on Crystal was missing on Seabourn. Mixed fruit in a bowl at lunch which was on offer daily on Seabourn didn’t cut it for me. They actually used canned mushrooms in their chicken vol au vent and since when were Gouda and Stilton French cheeses?
Dinner on formal night was really bad. The soup inedible. The beef Wellington crust gummy and raw, a few veggies thrown carelessly on the plate. Apparently Seattle oversight does not allow them leeway in menus but the poor presentation on Odyssey made a badly prepared dish totally unappetizing.
Very sparse fruit at brekkie on Odyssey-just the usual melons....no mango and only occasionally papaya. Had to special order papaya. Was asked whether I eat it every day at home...which is not the point....but as it so happens I do unless the papayas don’t look appetizing or ripe at the grocery store. Waffle and French toast disappointing on Odyssey served with what appeared to be table syrup instead of maple syrup on a Crystal. Love Crystal waffles.
Bakery and patisserie...here Seabourn really shone.Even the simplest baguette was executed perfectly and their croissant just spectacular!
Enjoyed the Thomas Keller restaurant the food was tasty and the quality of the meat (Snake River) was excellent. Comparable to Prego but with higher quality steak.
Beds quite empty....not as big a pool area as Crystal but very nice nevertheless.
Various kinds of Sunscreen offered complimentary at the pool as well as at each port stop. Also eyeglass wipes and mosquito wipes. Always little treats by the pool....sorbet and Prosecco, cold water and long cool cocktails constantly offered, free ten minutes massages offered as well. Towels placed all around the pool. Face towels also available. Two separate pool areas. Would say Seabourn wins.
Service here superior to Crystal. They learnt how to make my favourite drink fast...juice of one lime with 1/2 teaspoon salt and two cubes of ice. Went off the lime juice bandwagon and decided on a painkiller. Well...not quite the same as Soggy Dollar and the coconut milk had an aftertaste as they used their pina colada mix of 2 cans of coconut milk to 1 of pineapple. Also the nutmeg was from a box the size of what you get in Costco. Quality of cocktails equal.
No Seedlip or equivalent available. DH asked for it...provision master has been requested but they didn’t provide it. Someone in the bar said he would look for Seedlip and promised to get back to us but didn’t bother to pursue with the bar manager. As opposed to Crystal where the food and beverage manager tried for my sour cherry juice in every port and found it for me.
Seabourn wins hand down. We usually sail in a B on Crystal and their basic balcony though on a higher deck, V8, here on Seabourn is just lovely. Spacious with a walk in closet, tub and shower and plenty of storage space. Because they do not offer a low single sup my DD bunked down with us for our second week. It was a change for her as she is used to her own cabin on Crystal. Loved the location of our Cabin which was on the pool deck so just steps away from the pool, pool bar , patio dining and Colonnade restaurant. One problem we found is the foul odour that the toilet emitted every time the cover was opened. We complained about it and some cleaning was done but that sewer smell still lingered.
Met someone who was kicked out because she had to wear casual sandals as she hurt her knee! It is a good thing I carried my fancy pancy shoes this time as I just usually wear simple black suede sandals for BTO on Crystal. In fact I once met a gentleman who wore black socks under his black sandals with his suit on a BTO night ( he had forgotten his formal shoes) on the Symphony and he wasn’t turned away by Slavko.
Location in Observation lounge on Seabourn was as nice as in Palm Court.
Miniature bagel with smoked salmon was divine.
Egg salad in a miniature English muffin just stunning
Real clotted cream
The tier was really full but because of the miniature size of everything it was great.
Guitarist on Seabourn ....missed the lovely violinist on Crystal who kindly played Czardas each time I saw her.
In contrast the size of all the food on offer on Crystal were huge. The tier was tall and imposing and there was way too much for 1.
While Crystal has a very international clientele Seabourn was predominantly British at least on our two cruises. As a result we were treated either very warmly on with disdain. We are Canadian’s of Indian origin so all that stiff upper lip was a bit disconcerting! I am not throwing down the race card but suffice to say have never felt uncomfortable on Crystal.
We never really mix with guests on any line but we expect geniality and courtesy and provide the same when we rub shoulders with anyone. Getting off tenders on Seabourn was an example where we saw people elbow their way ahead of an elderly woman with a stick. One day I just became an immovable object and suggested that the tender worker help her. Seabourn tenders are constructed very strangely with people having to walk down three steps on either side after entering the tender in order to sit down. For example with the rocking and rolling at St.Barts this made it very difficult to exit. Seabourn has very uncomfortable tenders compared to Crystal.
Most of them fine. Drinks in Thomas Keller very interesting.
But when I asked for a fresh lemonade they used some very acidic mix. Not good at all. Just hurt my throat with the very citric acid mix. Fresh lemonade has a fruity fragrance.
Crystal hands down. Seabourn laundry was very small and no chairs. Irons are by the door so when it is opened it hits the person ironing.
In suite bar
Seabourn included any of the included liquors so we were able to get Remy Martin VSOP and Dalwhinnie 15 in the room. Crystal has a very small list of cheaper included liquors for in suite consumption. Strangely enough though when my DH requested a cognac in the dining room he was poured a Hennessy VS.
And suddenly, just as we were leaving port the unmistakable sound of Louis’s voice wafted through our suite. DD decided to add some special ambiance to our departure!