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M&PGermany

Seabourn, PLEASE COME BACK! We miss you!

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Dear all,

 

we just stepped off the beautiful, immaculate and in every detail thought-through Hapag Lloyd EUROPA 2.

Is this the best ship in the world? No doubt, YES!

Best suites, best Michelin-star food, best wines, best spa, staff all trained in the finest hotels (e.g. Kempinski, Steigenberger, Four Seasons...).

The whole 2 week experience was breathtaking (again). Everything on Hapag Lloyd is perfect. From the first moment to the last. 

Even during COVID 19 with daily temperature checks, social distancing and wearing masks when walking through the ship, even if it was just the Baltic Sea we found that cruising was absolutely possible in September 2020.

 

BUT...

... we missed our fellow travellers from the U.S. (yes, even those Republicans ;-), the ever so entertaining Aussies and the always funny Brits that

we spent so much time with on our many Seabourn cruises. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen that we are still in contact with today.

Please don't make us sail on a golden cage of Germans again... some of them can be so boring it took them 8 days to warm up a little.

We missed the Seabourn cruise directors, Handre, Ross, one going crazy by the colour if his scarf, the other one going crazy before jumping into

the pool.

We missed the waiters who instead of being just "etiquette perfect" were funny and were steadily trying to be perfect.

We missed the bartenders who had the cocktail waiting in the TK Bar because they knew we were professional alcoholics.

We missed hotman Fabrizio ordering us some caviar to the whirlpool and waving "enjoy your Seabourn moment".

We missed the block party.

And when we went down to front of the ship we noticed that Hapag Lloyd had forgotten THE FRONT WHIRLPOOL !!!

 

Well the world has changed. 

Cruising will be different.

 

But please, SEABOURN, come back soon!

Your German friends M&P

 

 

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M&PGermany,

 

Thank you for brightening up a cloudy period in our lives! And well done for taking this cruise to restore up your spirits and uplift ours. Your comments about your positive experiences on Europa2 inspire us to see beyond the morass we find around us. So many negative thoughts, crazy notions, politicization of what scientists know is science and we know as common sense are enough to depress anyone.

 

Your recollections of examples of Seabourn “magic” have occured to all of us along the way. Wonderful examples. Seems like so long ago that we could experience them in the glow of that personal warmth and hospitality as delivered by Seabourn’s wonderful crew! Let that sun shine again!

 

As for us specifically, we are going to practice social distancing, keep our hands clean, avoid enclosed under-ventilated places as best we can, and wear masks around others to protect them from us, and we hope and expect they will do the same thing. And despite the craziness and harm done by certain politicians, we hope the scientists, industry and others of good intent will guide us towards the administration of a viable vaccine in the next several months. We have booked a Mediterranean Seabourn Ovation cruise for July, 2021 and we are hoping for the best: a reunion of many of our crew and passenger friends. It has been waaaayyyyyy too long already.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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Thanks M&P. 

 

I miss Seabourn so much. I miss the ocean too.

 

We have no future cruises booked. We have no overseas holidays booked. Travel, and the people we've met on our travels, has been one of life's biggest pleasures for the past 30 years and right now it feels as if it has been taken away from us. 

 

 

Edited by Isklaar

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I agree with Markham.   M&P Germany, your post really cheered me up.  I'm sitting here in our house in Dallas during an over six months  "stay at home"  ordeal.  We are fortunate to be able to change to our farmhouse when we tire of being here in the city.  You describe our memories of Seabourn so well.  We don't ask for perfection as the desire to please on the part of Seabourn employees was enough for us.Your description of your "perfect" German cruise made me laugh.  I'm sure it was wonderful, but understand the things that you missed.

 

  Mr.  SLSD and I would love to join Markham on the Ovation cruise, and hope that things are somewhat back to normal by then.  It would help to have a unified fight against the virus with everyone pulling to make it happen.  

 

Isklaar, We also feel that something important has been taken from us.  When I say this, I am also mindful of the families who have suffered deaths in their families and of those who have lost their jobs during this dreadful time.  We put our privations into perspective I hope.  

 

I've been hearing from Seabourn friends over the last few days, and all of them are poised to sail as soon as Seabourn is sailing and they feel safe.  

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Hapag-Lloyd have the best/most interesting itineraries and I know the new ships are wonderful but I've always been slightly put off by the 'German only' language on most of their cruises, despite the fact that they say the crew are bi-lingual.  But with Covid this might not be such a problem and I'll look again at the 'German only' itinerary which attracts me most of all - Taiwan to Fiji aboard the Hanseatic Spirit.

 

I too miss the Seabourn style and ambience but their unchanging itineraries are just so . . . . boring?

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M&PGermany,

many thanks for sharing. Which ports did you visit and where you able to get off the ship? Importantly (for us), how did you find the smoking policy on the ship? SB finally banning smoking on the Balconies was a major improvement. We have no problem with the Cigar Lounge, but are worried about the prevalence of smoke in other areas on the Europa.

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I have to agree with your comment on itineraries, Fletcher.  We are trying to complete the bucket list of places yet to see either off of a ship or a cruise combined with our own creation of a land tour, possibly a cruise line pre/post tour.  We always look across our 4 or 5 favorite lines to find the right cruise.  With the exception of a fantastic 2019 Norway cruise on Ovation, we have had trouble over the last few years seriously considering Seabourn itineraries.  Somewhat hard to explain, too little intensity in certain places, too much back-and-forth, too much revisiting of places that we have already been to and are not yet quite ready to return to for more in-depth visits.  Kind of like let's sail with YY because they stop four times in France which we want to see but Seabourn only bounces off of two French ports before once again sailing back to Lisbon and Barcelona.  I was hoping that itineraries in general would get a fresh look but am not sure that such a review is in progress.   I hope so as we do want to return.

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8 hours ago, MJN1 said:

M&PGermany,

many thanks for sharing. Which ports did you visit and where you able to get off the ship? Importantly (for us), how did you find the smoking policy on the ship? SB finally banning smoking on the Balconies was a major improvement. We have no problem with the Cigar Lounge, but are worried about the prevalence of smoke in other areas on the Europa.


Hello MJN1,

 

the trip should originally have taken us into the Norwegian Fjords but was changed to the Baltic Sea after the Hurtigruten desaster. Hamburg overnight, Visby (Gotland), Stockholm overnight, Gdansk and a number of days at sea. Beautiful trip. We were able to get off everywhere and took advantage of the complimentary bikes a lot. 

 

Smoking still allowed on ALL balconies, the YACHT CLUB terrace and Collins Bar. And yes, it will waft through. But not a lot of smokers on this trip. Below 100 guests and full crew.
 

 

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0A76A050-7397-482D-B77E-BAD01C856395.jpeg

Edited by M&PGermany

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On 9/17/2020 at 8:46 PM, SLSD said:

I agree with Markham.   M&P Germany, your post really cheered me up.  I'm sitting here in our house in Dallas during an over six months  "stay at home"  ordeal.  We are fortunate to be able to change to our farmhouse when we tire of being here in the city.  You describe our memories of Seabourn so well.  We don't ask for perfection as the desire to please on the part of Seabourn employees was enough for us.Your description of your "perfect" German cruise made me laugh.  I'm sure it was wonderful, but understand the things that you missed.

 

  Mr.  SLSD and I would love to join Markham on the Ovation cruise, and hope that things are somewhat back to normal by then.  It would help to have a unified fight against the virus with everyone pulling to make it happen.  

 

Isklaar, We also feel that something important has been taken from us.  When I say this, I am also mindful of the families who have suffered deaths in their families and of those who have lost their jobs during this dreadful time.  We put our privations into perspective I hope.  

 

I've been hearing from Seabourn friends over the last few days, and all of them are poised to sail as soon as Seabourn is sailing and they feel safe.  


Dear SLSD,

 

I feel with you. Some good friends who travelled with us on the Encore last year are from Dallas, too. They would have loved to go on the Europa2 as well, but of course weren‘t able to because of the travel restrictions. 
 

All the best.

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On 9/17/2020 at 4:14 PM, markham said:

M&PGermany,

 

Thank you for brightening up a cloudy period in our lives! And well done for taking this cruise to restore up your spirits and uplift ours. Your comments about your positive experiences on Europa2 inspire us to see beyond the morass we find around us. So many negative thoughts, crazy notions, politicization of what scientists know is science and we know as common sense are enough to depress anyone.

 

Your recollections of examples of Seabourn “magic” have occured to all of us along the way. Wonderful examples. Seems like so long ago that we could experience them in the glow of that personal warmth and hospitality as delivered by Seabourn’s wonderful crew! Let that sun shine again!

 

As for us specifically, we are going to practice social distancing, keep our hands clean, avoid enclosed under-ventilated places as best we can, and wear masks around others to protect them from us, and we hope and expect they will do the same thing. And despite the craziness and harm done by certain politicians, we hope the scientists, industry and others of good intent will guide us towards the administration of a viable vaccine in the next several months. We have booked a Mediterranean Seabourn Ovation cruise for July, 2021 and we are hoping for the best: a reunion of many of our crew and passenger friends. It has been waaaayyyyyy too long already.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!


Dear markham,

 

thank you for your wonderful reply. Good to know I am not alone with my feelings. 
 

All the best!

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I knew Ponant had smoking issues but I didn't know Hapag-Lloyd still allowed smoking on balconies.  Ponant, too, have fabulous itineraries.  I have also noted that on their Baltic cruises Regent are now including the fascinating Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.  Seabourn sail right past.  

Edited by Fletcher

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M&PGermany,

DANKE for all the info. The pictures are fantastic. We were close to book EUR2033 next week, but unfortunately family needs stopped this. We will try the Perfection of the "golden cage of Germans" hopefully soon one day in order to smell the waves and to marvel at the horizon. One can only deal with cruise-withdrawal symptoms for some time and unfortunately no one knows when SB will be able to sail again given that all their passengers pax from USA, UK and "down under" are forced to stay put at home...

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Europa2 is a fantastic ship, no question.  And with 100 passengers, the smoke cannot be too bad.  In real life, this ship and Europa sails full.  If you're a person bothered by smoke, you will not be visiting a bar.  

 

Am wondering if we've met M&PGermany  while sharing PH Spa suite deck.  Nice couple that does not like sailing on a ship full of Germans.   Not an uncommon thought.   Laughed when told I had paid to join the H-L frequent sailor club.    Always had hoped to meet up again and laugh.

 

100 passengers and not a full complement of crew means they can afford the A team working.   H-L, like most companies has had a difficult time finding good help.   Our first cruise on Europa, we saw nothing but excellent crew members.  Two years later, our first cruise on Europa2 the shortfall was noticeable and commented upon be other solid crew members.   We've done three trips with H-L and look forward to another.   But we know going in what to expect and socializing is not on the priority list.

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HL currently only allows residents of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to board, following German regulations since Covid.

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Interesting that they are extending the current promotion here in the US until end of November now....

I more then anything want to book for next year...but so much uncertainty on what things will look like 6 months, 9 months...even a year from now. We were lucky enough to sail mid-January and now looking back realize how lucky we were to be able to sail when we did without any health implications to ourselves or our fellow passengers and the AMAZING crew on board.  If we could fast forward to Fall 2021......

 

Bob

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Might need to be 2022, depending on what one believes.  Even if a viable vaccine CAN be developed - which is still an unknown (hello common cold) - and survive the mutations that have occurred so far of Sars-2 to be effective, there is the whole who gets it and distribution issue.  We too hope by Fall 2021 we can cruise again but it is still all a big unknown.  We've cancelled 5 trips so far, 2 cruises and 3 land-based vacations but given we are healthy in perspective so what.  YMMV.

 

Stay safe!

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I'll leave it to others to decide the import of this, but one of the discount travel agents/bookers, has been selling Seabourn cruises for the future--both in Alaska and in the Mediterranean.  I haven't crunched the numbers by looking at prices on SB's website and comparing them to the offerings, but the offers include air, lodging at embarkation and disembarkation ports as well as meals, tours, at these ports, etc. etc.  No doubt it is a good deal.  I only mention it for all of you to be aware.  Perhaps SB is hedging its bets and making sure they can put people on the ships--as many will be wary due to the virus.  I wish I could mention the  name of the purveyor and give a link to the post--but I can't due to rules of this site . 

 

What I will say is that the agent says, "Most of you will never have heard of Seabourn".  And I paraphrase to say he says that Seabourn is a well kept secret.  He mentions that "drinks and sodas" are free as well as many other things.  He says, "I know Seabourn seems expensive."  

 

Evidently, he is experiencing good results with the SB offerings--says they sell out quickly. 

 

We have encountered passengers in SB in the past who took advantage of this particular company's offerings and they were very pleased.  As for Mr. SLSd and me, we were a bit put off by their crowing.  I know that SB has a business model and selling off unused suites is part of that.  My point here is that it is being done well in advance.  

 

I subscribed to emails from this seller so that I would be aware.  Would I take advantage of their offerings? Maybe --if the price was truly advantageous.  

Edited by SLSD

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SLSD - makes sense...they extended their current promotion until the end of November...so they are definitely trying to fill cabins and secure deposits and maybe payments in full to secure the additional 10% off the cruise price.. RC just posted sweeping changes for their summer sailings - repositioning ships throughout the world....so the lines are definitely gearing up for a restart. Will definitely be interesting to see what happens over the next few months if ships do start sailing by years end from the US and more ships start sailing overseas (but that season is quickly coming to an end)..... I for one will be watching from the sidelines and hoping for healthy and safe sailings for all of those that pioneer those first sailings in the first few months. Way to much at stake if the cruise-lines make one mis-step.

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3 hours ago, SLSD said:

We have encountered passengers in SB in the past who took advantage of this particular company's offerings and they were very pleased.  As for Mr. SLSd and me, we were a bit put off by their crowing.  I know that SB has a business model and selling off unused suites is part of that.  My point here is that it is being done well in advance. 

 

I subscribed to emails from this seller so that I would be aware.  Would I take advantage of their offerings? Maybe --if the price was truly advantageous.  

 

We've been on that mailing list for years and Seabourn has been featured since at least 2015.  Usually SB deals are advertised at least 4-6 months before sailing and quite often much longer in advance.  The "package" is definitely attractive in the beginning, but as time goes on and SB sweetens the pot with price reductions or additional perks that don't apply to the "package", its value diminishes.  We know a couple who've cruised multiple times through that agent and they have always been very pleased.  We like to look but have never been tempted!

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1 hour ago, MightyQuinn said:

 

We've been on that mailing list for years and Seabourn has been featured since at least 2015.  Usually SB deals are advertised at least 4-6 months before sailing and quite often much longer in advance.  The "package" is definitely attractive in the beginning, but as time goes on and SB sweetens the pot with price reductions or additional perks that don't apply to the "package", its value diminishes.  We know a couple who've cruised multiple times through that agent and they have always been very pleased.  We like to look but have never been tempted!

We have not been tempted either.  I do find it interesting that they are selling this far in advance when the actual ports will most likely be different from what is advertised.  But, what do I know?  Just what I read.   I do think that in the case of this discount booker/broker, his company (which he has sold, but he is still working for them) buys up the suites and then makes their own deal with passengers.  

Edited by SLSD

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I don't know what company is being referenced here, but I'd throw out one caution when booking with discount brokers: make sure when you authorize them to charge your credit card that they are processing it directly with the cruise line -- e.g. that you see a charge from Seabourn, not the agency.

 

Agencies which take the money themselves and later pay the cruise line often are using the latest payments to fund payments they owe for previous bookings. That practice is pretty questionable, but in good times, the money is constantly flowing in and out and usually isn't a problem. But in times of upheaval -- from a dip in the economy to the current unprecedented cruise stoppage -- such agencies can find themselves with more money owed than is coming in and get in hot water. In the worst cases, the agency goes under having taken your money but not yet paid it to the cruise line, and your dream vacation can vanish in a puff of smoke. The travel agent we use always pouts through charges directly with the cruise lines, and we get invoices showing payment not only from the TA but the cruise line as well. It's always good to be on the lookout for any agencies which wash the money themselves, but especially in these difficult financial times.

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Morning (or afternoon) all: I think that this cruise interlude is a fantastic opportunity for all the cruise lines, but particularly Seabourn, to review and tweak their itineraries, especially in regards the Baltic/Northern Europe areas. Currently, for example, it appears (from what I can see) that if you want to visit St. Petersburg, your only options are either a 7-day or a 21 day. Most of SB's competitors offer a 14-17 day option, which would be perfect if not for that they are not SB. I would love to visit SP and see at least some of the fjords and start/stop from Amsterdam. As I have told our direct SB agent, we would be all over this, and I think that many other Americans, presuming that we can ever leave the country, would be as well. As Fletcher and others have noted, this time of delays/cancellations/rescheduling could be a golden opportunity to engage, if the current listing set were not so "boring" or, for us, too misplaced.

Best, jdk

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Hurrumph . . . a few days ago we got a mailing from Seabourn - a mini-brochure for Quest trips to Antarctica.  It said if we booked by April 2020 (yes, you read that correctly) we could get great discounts.  They were offering cruises from November - ie, next month!  

 

I felt so sad . . . 

Edited by Fletcher

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Couldn’t agree more Fletcher. Down under we are in a bit of a bubble and waiting for the cruise season to open up again. It seems the Seabourn marketing branch has gone into hibernation - or perhaps they are too busy trying to accommodate FCCs?Everything we are seeing is dated or “sold out”.

One thing we have been remarking on in recent years (pre Covid) is that the itineraries are really starting to stall. Perhaps they are expecting the new Expedition ships to to pick up the itinerary slack. But they really need an injection of imagination. - even a few overnight stays to break it up. We are champing at the bit here and have given up waiting for the Seabourn releases. Have booked Svalbard for next July and if that doesn’t work out have booked SNG to MEL with NY in Sydney Harbour on Azamara.

They are coming down the west coast of Australia - shock horror - yes Australia has a west coast Seabourn. After 10+ years of doing the east coast you may want to do a refresh and take some feedback from those constant surveys we receive. Mix it up a bit.

 

Actually...the marketing people have been in hibernation, as we haven’t received any surveys for over 12 months - surely this would have been the best time for a re-frame? We’ve all had to do it in our businesses!

 

Maybe the stuff for a separate topic starter.

 

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:03 AM, jdk-atlga said:

I think that this cruise interlude is a fantastic opportunity for all the cruise lines, but particularly Seabourn, to review and tweak their itineraries, especially in regards the Baltic/Northern Europe areas. Currently, for example, it appears (from what I can see) that if you want to visit St. Petersburg, your only options are either a 7-day or a 21 day. Most of SB's competitors offer a 14-17 day option, which would be perfect if not for that they are not SB. I would love to visit SP and see at least some of the fjords and start/stop from Amsterdam.

 

I agree! We and a group of friends are interested in a Baltci region cruise, and Seabourn would be our first choice -- but their itineraries are less-than-thrilling. Oceania has a 10-day cruise Copenhagen-to-Osldo cruise which includes stops in Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, Stockholm, Visby, Gothenberg in addition to St. Petersburg. A 12-day Stockholm-to-Copenhagen cruise goes to Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Klaipeda Lithuania, Gdansk Poland, Ronne Denmark, and Warnemunde/Berlin Germany in addition to ASt. Petersburg. Seabourn has no itineraries in the region other than 7 day cruises to between Copenhagen and Stockholm to St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki. Why?! We'd love a 10-12 day cruise with a few more ports. I haven't seen any variation in Seabourn's St. Petersburg itineraries for several years at least. 

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