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Pavovsky

Reflections from the 14 day Odyssey Greek islands cruise  

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 Overall we had a good cruise, which had a poor start and a great last week.

 First off, we are new to Seabourn but not new to cruises. We have sailed on Star Clippers, Celebrity, Azamara and Cunard. We are more interested in a nice meal than Broadway entertainment and had reasonably high expectations for our Seabourn adventure.

The the bad bits (admittedly these problems pretty much came together so individually they should not have bothered us but the cumulative effect did not give a good impression):

  • Check-in process was way too low-key. No information other than the ship is that way. No information on what to do or where to go when we got on board – around 1pm. The ship was also in a different terminal to that which we had been advised.
  • The food and service in the Patio was abysmal on day 1 – not through crowds or lack of staff but through inefficiency/lack of training./salty unappetising food 
  • The first night in the Restaurant was poor in terms of both food and service. A dry overcooked meal should not be met by ‘I will tell the chef’ nor should the cheese be practically frozen. No manager checked on us during the meal nor did anyone notice the food was not been eaten. Despite coming down to dinner at 8:40pm, we had warnings that the kitchen would be closing and would need to hurry up. 
  • Some staff members arguing in public. 
  • The Grill was not great – service was disorganised – the dover sole was exceptional but otherwise not impressed with other courses. Basic requirements not delivered. Heavy push on the additional charge wines. A request for a post meal drink was met with the response that the bartender had gone but we could go to the Observation Bar.
  • Service staff on a luxury ship should know what a Kir Royale is or what an IPA beer is. Also, when asked what beers you have the answer should not be ‘tell us what you want and we will tell you if we have it’.  
  • The overall sense on the first few days was that the ship is in transition with lots of training going on. 
  • The salt content in some foods was crazy high – I know that they need to cater for different tastes but one can add more salt but not take it away. 
  • To cap it off there was a very bad smell in the shower and air conditioning not working well.

Thanks to the forum posters who gave great advice on how we should tackle these issues, and as confirmed already things did get better with the helpful intervention of the Hotel Director, the F&B Manager and Guest relations. Tip: the onboard app is a great way to communicate. Good and bad.

Now to the positives:

  •  There are some exceptional staff members on board with an excellent service ethos. The sense I had was that they really cared.
  •  Special mention to Kristof and his team (plus the visible Italian chefs) in the Colonnade. Really on top of things. Noted when we were concerned with the fast pace of the meal and sorted it. 
  • In terms of restaurants, there is no where I would rather be than the Colonnade on a balmy evening in the Med. The food was generally great and occasionally exceptional. 
  • We also had many lunches in the Colonnade – great choice and chefs very visible. The Seafood Pasta special is up there with my favourite dishes of the summer.
  • We had three more meals in the Restaurant after the ill-fated opening night. It was definitely a better experience – food and service, but the Colonnade had drawn us in at that stage.
  • Again, the patio did get better after the first poor experience but much preferred the Colonnade. 
  • Housekeeping was exceptional – our attendant was very concerned with the drain issue and conveyed the options to address it properly.
  • The Observation bar post dinner was usually excellent – had some quiet nights and a few more lively ones into the early hours…Great drinks and service.

 

Some suggested improvements

  • Better quality teas are needed. In the square and for breakfast. You can request but perhaps having these available 
  • The square could be used better in the evening and later service.
  • Snacks would be nice (in the square?) – perhaps a midnight snack like they did on star clippers. Would cut down on room service.
  • More variety on casual music would be great. 

 

Overall, as I said we will sail again. And the response to real problems meant that we walked off the ship content and relaxed. 

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All observations and criticisms were fair.  

There’s staff changeover at the beginning of many longer cruises, especially prior to the fall/ spring crossings. I’ve noticed over the years that service can get a little rocky until the kitchen gets into a rhythm.  

Ive been following another Seabourn veteran  passenger on this cruise ( on another social website ) that seems mostly satisfied, at least in terms of food.  

We’re boarding the Odyssey tomorrow for six weeks, so hopefully the kinks have been worked out !  

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