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TT1992

Just off Odyssey last week - 12/21

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Here are my take away thoughts from this cruise, both the good and bad! For clarification; I am comparing the service of this Seabourn cruise to that of The Legend in 2014.

 

Service.

This area let this ship down the most. Overall I don't think the service was up to the Seabourn expected standard. Only two waiters remembered my name (Thanks Dewon & Joel) in 2 weeks. The bar staff were okay while pouring a standard drink, but anything slightly out of the norm- they didn't have. I asked for a pear or lavender martini, it never happened. Frozen drinks were abysmal. On a quiet afternoon we sat at the pool bar; my husband ordered a top self margarita, and it was delicious, when he ordered a 2nd one, Anthony gave him a totally different drink, so he made another margarita, and got it wrong again, it wasn't top shelf, so had to make it yet again, finally. This may all sound very picky and I guess it is, but this is the type of service we received a lot of the time, I feel like I had to ask for the same thing over and over again.

We were ignored when waiting to be served, to the point of embarrassment, in the Observation bar for afternoon tea, when tables all around us were served and no one acknowledged us, we literally sat there until I waved at a waiter. Another time at Earth and Ocean we were 2nd on the wait list for a table, after I saw 3 tables already seated before us, I had to ask for a table, they had forgotten us, even though we were sat right there.

 

People

You know the saying "You become what you surround yourself with"?  Well how lovely to be on Seabourn with these guests. There were a lot of British people, due to the direct flights from UK I think. Which I loved as I am English and live in USA. Met some lovely people... Hi 'Sir Hugh' After all of the countdown I didn't actually see you on the day!

 

Entertainment.

We all know this is not a cruise line big on entertainment and as such I was pleasantly surprised. I missed the Tim Rice shows, but the comedienne the first week was hilarious, and Ashley Carruthers, pianist, was excellent as always. Farewell parties were good, hubby loved "Rum and Cigars under the stars",  The Trio band were great, Anne, of Anne and the band wasn't very good, but we thought this was more about the mic and mix than her voice,  But the best bit of entertainment was ....

Robert the CD,  I have cruised for many years on many lines, and this guy is hands down the best ever. He has time for everyone, is the perfect host and also sings opera.

(Robert when you read this..... "They're all dead Dave, Still dead Dave...")

TIP In the club, a curtain covers the stage when a band isn't playing, pull one side and there is a juke box.

 

Food

Our favorite place to eat was Earth and Ocean, we had some of our best meals here, Peking duck, steamed buns with BBQ pork.

I requested a special lunch of avocado and lobster which they made the next day, and was awesome.

TK Grill, food is amazing, but ask for a window seat, some tables are so close together you might as well be dining with whoever is next to you, seriously I don't know how a larger framed person would even get between the tables to sit down.

The type of caviar has changed since my last SB cruise and it's now delicious. (I didn't like it before)

The first week of caviar in the surf they ran out before I even got to the surf board, but the 2nd week, the sea was choppy and not so many people got into the water, it really was caviar in the 'surf' and there was more than enough to go round. The lobster at both beach BBQ's was delicious.

As every day was a port day, the restaurant was never open for breakfast or lunch, this was a big disappointment, and I think they should open at least for embarkation/disembarkation day to take the pressure off of the buffet.

So.... to the buffet, the food is excellent, but it's still a buffet, still rude people that cut in line, no patience to wait etc. I'd rather be in a dining room.

And the worst meal was the Indian buffet which I had really been looking forward to, very disappointing.

 

Port/Travel

I don't intend to go to Barbados ever again, I said this the first time, so this was a second chance, the hotel got messed up (nothing to do with Seabourn I hasten to add) and I think the whole logistics at the port are a nightmare. We were told to wait 3 times at the port, I have no idea why, only when I asked why we were repeatedly asked us to wait were we told we could go ahead and get on the bus to the ship.

The flight  connections and wait times make the trip (for me in Florida) ridiculous, and I don't anticipate a redo.

 

Overall,  lovely cruise, but disappointing compared to The Legend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting comments and for me, currently on Sojourn, especially good to hear from someone who sailed on the triplets and can compare.

Thanks for taking the time to post.

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Professional bartenders on SB have, for the most part, been replaced.    Thanks for the objective review. 

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Many thanks for your review, and I agree with some of your comments.

 

We sailed on Odyssey, November this year, I can can agree with you about the service standards in some of the bars.

The Observation bar for us was the worst, it happened twice so was not a one off. We sat at the bar the first time for 20 minutes and no one offered to pour us a drink. This happened a second time and we were just ignored, I did say to the bar person were we allowed to have a drink. He was just talking to a lady at the bar the whole time we sat there.

Also the Patio Bar I ordered two drinks that bar person poured the first and then left, I stood there 15 minutes and he did not return, he then came back and asked did I want a drink, I pointed out that I had asked for two drinks and he had only given me one. Not an apology or anything.

There were many passengers who commented on this cruise how the standard had dropped. I was not alone.

 

 

 

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No one loved the triplets more than I did but it's unfair to compare them to the O ships. In fact, if you compared the triplets in 2014 to the triplets in 2000 you would have even more to complain about. A ship carrying 200 passengers is totally different from one carrying 450. But I do think SB tries its best to uphold its  tradition of service. All luxury cruise lines have made certain cuts these days. It's just a fact of economic life.

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We are on Odyssey in February Seabourn newbies. 

 

How cold is the ship? Just off Crystal where I has to layer my clothing indoors. 

 

Also any tips would be welcome.

 

Last few cruises on Crystal but before that in no particular order Paul Gauguin, Regent, Azamara , Celebrity and Royal Caribbean., 

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About bartenders, I must say we were on Quest a few months ago, we must have been lucky, Nelson was in the upstairs Patio Bar, need I say anymore, and the bartender in the Club was marvellous, I am having a senior moment with his name, he has been with Seabourn about 15 years, he is Eastern European, good head of hair starting to go grey, about 50 now.......can anyone remind me of his name!!! He looked after us beautifully and made a perfect Brandy Alexander, which we were surprised about as no one ever drinks them nowadays. I do agree that if you are lucky enough to strike up a good rapport with a bartender it does make going for a drink before dinner or having a night cap a real pleasure.

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Eastern European bartenders have been excellent, but they are disappearing.  We were on Quest in October and watched the famous Nelson.  They don't let him near the popular bars.  His way of operating does nothing for new to Seabourn guests and management knows it. 

 

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I didn't find the ship cold at all, and I take bolero jackets for the dining room, but not needed. The only place that as cool was the club, I needed a jacket there.

 

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7 hours ago, wripro said:

No one loved the triplets more than I did but it's unfair to compare them to the O ships. In fact, if you compared the triplets in 2014 to the triplets in 2000 you would have even more to complain about. A ship carrying 200 passengers is totally different from one carrying 450. But I do think SB tries its best to uphold its  tradition of service. All luxury cruise lines have made certain cuts these days. It's just a fact of economic life.

Why is it unfair to compare? Seabourn are still advertising the same product. As a luxury cruise line I think people are willing to pay for that service.

So if every luxury cruise line is cutting costs, where do we go now to get the service these days?

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Nelson is one of the longest Seabourn crew members, with over 20 years - I think it is 22 but despite him telling me I don't recall the exact number.  His preferred bar is the Sky Bar so when he is on board if it is open that is usually where you will find him, given his senority.  

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15 hours ago, TT1992 said:

Why is it unfair to compare? Seabourn are still advertising the same product. As a luxury cruise line I think people are willing to pay for that service.

So if every luxury cruise line is cutting costs, where do we go now to get the service these days?

If service is your main reason for cruising I can't recommend any line that will give you what it did ten years ago. For top service I suggest the Crillon in Paris or most Aman properties. Personally I cruise for many reasons, the itinerary being the primary one, good food and atmosphere two more and of course I welcome good service. But I am realistic enough to understand that things are different now than they were years ago and I think Seabourn is still the best of the bunch. Perhaps a seven day jaunt on Royal Caribbean will show how good Seabourn really is.

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23 hours ago, rl787 said:

About bartenders, I must say we were on Quest a few months ago, we must have been lucky, Nelson was in the upstairs Patio Bar, need I say anymore, and the bartender in the Club was marvellous, I am having a senior moment with his name, he has been with Seabourn about 15 years, he is Eastern European, good head of hair starting to go grey, about 50 now.......can anyone remind me of his name!!! He looked after us beautifully and made a perfect Brandy Alexander, which we were surprised about as no one ever drinks them nowadays. I do agree that if you are lucky enough to strike up a good rapport with a bartender it does make going for a drink before dinner or having a night cap a real pleasure.

I love Brandy Alexanders--but was met with a question mark when I ordered one at the pool deck bar a couple of years ago.  I will try again on our next SB cruise.  

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1 hour ago, wripro said:

If service is your main reason for cruising I can't recommend any line that will give you what it did ten years ago. For top service I suggest the Crillon in Paris or most Aman properties. Personally I cruise for many reasons, the itinerary being the primary one, good food and atmosphere two more and of course I welcome good service. But I am realistic enough to understand that things are different now than they were years ago and I think Seabourn is still the best of the bunch. Perhaps a seven day jaunt on Royal Caribbean will show how good Seabourn really is.

I totally agree with you Wipro ( as usual), but it would be exasperating to wait and wait and wait for a drink at the bar.  Fortunately, this has not happened to us on SB.  But, we are not adverse to waving down the bartender if necessary.  We have had to do that a few times.  No harm, no foul.  

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4 hours ago, wripro said:

Perhaps a seven day jaunt on Royal Caribbean will show how good Seabourn really is.

 

I suspect that RC, where bar service is a revenue generator instead of a cost center, has more competent, attentive bar staffing. Evidently, basic competence (let alone attentiveness) is now an unreasonable ask on SB.

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As for bar service, not the bartender himself, we had the exact opposite experience on the Odyssey last year.  Granted, we were in the Club, which is smaller than the Observation lounge, but Denys, who got off the ship with us, had three of our drinks ready as we were sitting down.  He never had my sister's drink because she ordered something different each night so he had to check with her.  He was the first person mentioned in my survey as someone who helped make my cruise more enjoyable.

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On 12/31/2019 at 9:50 AM, SLSD said:

I totally agree with you Wipro ( as usual), but it would be exasperating to wait and wait and wait for a drink at the bar.  Fortunately, this has not happened to us on SB.  But, we are not adverse to waving down the bartender if necessary.  We have had to do that a few times.  No harm, no foul.  

A quick word with the Beverage Manager should solve the problem of having to wait for service. I find in general one can solve most issues by talking to the appropriate person in charge, even going to the hotman if necessary. That way you get what you want while still on the cruise instead of waiting and complaining on CC.

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54 minutes ago, wripro said:

A quick word with the Beverage Manager should solve the problem of having to wait for service. I find in general one can solve most issues by talking to the appropriate person in charge, even going to the hotman if necessary. That way you get what you want while still on the cruise instead of waiting and complaining on CC.

Yes, and we did that regarding extremely slow and inaccurate service in the MDR at breakfast time.  It seemed to work.  I think the real issue there was a language issue and a crew member who was very unhappy (perhaps depressed).  Next time, if there is an issue at the bar, we will take your advice.  As I said, it has only happened a couple of times.  By and large, the service has been excellent. 

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On 12/31/2019 at 5:48 PM, SLSD said:

I love Brandy Alexanders--but was met with a question mark when I ordered one at the pool deck bar a couple of years ago.  I will try again on our next SB cruise.  

SLSD. Everyone has their own fave split with a Brandy Alexander, if making 2 Cocktails we love ours 3xBrandy + 2xCreme de Cocao + 2 Double cream, all shaken with Ice!!! We prefer the sprinkling of Cinnamon rather than grated chocolate. Last night we had a couple at home after dinner and they were fabulous!!

 

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3 hours ago, CLOU said:

As for bar service, not the bartender himself, we had the exact opposite experience on the Odyssey last year.  Granted, we were in the Club, which is smaller than the Observation lounge, but Denys, who got off the ship with us, had three of our drinks ready as we were sitting down.  He never had my sister's drink because she ordered something different each night so he had to check with her.  He was the first person mentioned in my survey as someone who helped make my cruise more enjoyable.

We recently sailed with Denys and agree he is great.  He was a barista for part of the cruise, in addition to being in the bar at night, and every morning after the first knew my coffee preference.  

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We loved the crew on Odyssey in July and we found the crew on Ovation just as efficient and friendly. Alex in Obs Bar made me the best 75 cocktail I have had and his fiancé Samantha made a great Pisco Sour in TK Bar...though Alex claimed he could make a better one 😉. I ran out of time to try.

 

We have had slow service sometimes even when the bar wasn't busy but as mentioned a quiet word to the right person can fix that. Sometimes though it is simply a large groups of passengers coming around the same time and many wanting cocktails. We saw that a couple of times on Ovation at TK Bar and the the poor bar staff were overwhelmed until extra staff could be found to help. I saw the Bar manager Martin clearing tables and helping. At those times patience is best or go to one of the other bars which are quieter.

 

Julie

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On 12/29/2019 at 6:06 PM, TT1992 said:

...my husband ordered a top self margarita, and it was delicious, when he ordered a 2nd one, Anthony gave him a totally different drink, so he made another margarita, and got it wrong again, it wasn't top shelf, so had to make it yet again, finally.

 

On 1/1/2020 at 9:53 AM, wripro said:

A quick word with the Beverage Manager should solve the problem of having to wait for service. I find in general one can solve most issues by talking to the appropriate person in charge, even going to the hotman if necessary. That way you get what you want while still on the cruise instead of waiting and complaining on CC.

 

If they're putting people who can't properly make a top shelf margarita (not a complicated drink) behind the bar, perhaps the Beverage Manager is part of the problem, rather than a solution.

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We have our 2nd Seabourn sailing coming up in April on the Encore. The op’s comments are almost identical to our experience on the Ovation a year ago. The quality of mixed drinks was so incredibly poor we had to give up. I also ordered a Margarita and it was undrinkable, 2 passengers near me didn’t believe me and also ordered them and both spat them out and were in shock. The waiter then offered to make them and his were tasteless but at least not disgusting. 
Finally the beverage manager made us one and it was perfect, clearly he should be behind the bar and not managing.

On my final day I sat by the pool all day and was not once offered a drink, dirty dishes were left on the table next to me for 8 hours until the F&B manager cleared them.

When I queried what beers were available I was told too many to mention and I would just have to request my favourites until they had one of them?

I sailed Crystal directly after this and the quality of drinks was first class so obviously their bar tenders are properly trained.

I am hoping that our 2nd experience will be much improved. Fingers crossed

 

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On 12/30/2019 at 11:00 AM, saminina said:

"... watched the famous Nelson.  They don't let him near the popular bars.  His way of operating does nothing for new to Seabourn guests and management knows it. 

What is his "way of operating?" I am not familiar with him.

 

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On 12/31/2019 at 6:00 AM, saminina said:

Eastern European bartenders have been excellent, but they are disappearing.  We were on Quest in October and watched the famous Nelson.  They don't let him near the popular bars.  His way of operating does nothing for new to Seabourn guests and management knows it. 

 

I have to disagree.  Nelson used to work in the Colonnade of an evening, when we sailed on the Quest in 2017.  We sailed with my husband's brother and his wife who were both new to Seabourn and they were most impressed.  We crossed paths with Nelson again last year and he enquired about the well-being of my brother and sister-in-law AND remembered what they drank!

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