Seabourn is generous with the number of services offered, but more training was in order.
For the most part, the crew aboard Seabourn Sojourn did a good job. They should: The ship’s very high staff to guest ratio means they have the manpower to take care of everything from the smallest niceties to the most indulgent whims.
However, we didn’t find the crew to be significantly more polished than those of some of the less expensive mainstream cruise lines, which surprised us. They were not at the level of, for instance, staff at a typical Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton resort, much less that of a top-flight hotel in Europe or Asia. Part of that might be the Seabourn culture—the cruise was a bit more relaxed, less pretentious than we expected. But some of it seemed to be simply inadequate training, such as some of the restaurant and bar staff, who were not always familiar with what they were serving (with thousand-dollar bottles on the premium wine list, passengers deserve sommeliers with a level of savvy).
One incident we witnessed that spoke to poor management was a verbal altercation between two waiters in one of the restaurants towards the end of dinner. The argument could be overheard by multiple guests, making us uncomfortable to be present.
Seabourn builds tips into their prices, a feature we appreciated. The line says “Tipping is neither required nor expected,” although we suspect a number of guests chose to leave an additional tip for their room attendant and perhaps bartenders or waiters.
For most evenings the dress code was either Resort Casual or Elegantly Casual. Resort Casual involved slacks and a sweater or shirt for men; slacks with a sweater or sleeveless blouse for women. Elegant Casual meant slacks with a jacket over a sweater or collared shirt for men; slacks or skirt with a blouse, or pantsuit or dress for women. Jeans were “not appropriate” while dining in The Restaurant. Casual, well-chosen attire was the rule for most guests during the evening.
One night of our cruise was designated Formal, but “optional.” For men, this meant a tuxedo or dark suit; for ladies, evening dress or appropriate formal attire. The vast majority of guests were well dressed on this evening, though tuxes were few and far between. Note that the Patio Grill, the ship’s most casual dining venue, was closed on the Formal evening.
Guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol onboard. A corkage fee is not usually assessed.
Seabourn has long had one of the more generous frequent-cruiser programs and Seabourn Club was further enhanced in May 2012. Each day sailed with Seabourn continues to earn credit towards Milestone Cruise Awards. After 140 days, a complimentary cruise (up to 7 days) is awarded; after 250 days receive another free cruise (up to 14 days). A memento from Tiffany & Co. is also awarded after 100 sailed days (as well as at the 200- and 500-day levels).
Additionally, you’ll accrue Seabourn Club Points—one day sailed equals one point, with additional points earned for premium cabin bookings, on-board spending, and shore excursions. Passengers become members of the club after their first cruise and graduate to Silver Level at 20 points.
Benefits at the Silver Level include a choice of one of the following: 10 percent off shore excursions, 10 percent off premium wine purchases, two hours of complimentary internet, 20 minutes of complimentary phone service, a complimentary massage, a day in the spa’s Serene Area, or a complimentary bag of laundry (per seven-day cruise). With 70 point passengers become Gold Level members and receive two of the above benefits and additional perks. At 140 points members attain Platinum Level and receive three of the above, and at 250 points there is a Diamond Level.
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