Having cruised Seabourn Legend previously in February, I was pleased to see that the carpet had been replaced and CD players had been installed in the suites. The ship sparkled! The crew worked diligently to keep the ship looking its best at all times.
The staff and crew on Seabourn are some of the best at sea. They go out of their way to make sure the guest is always happy and satisfied, and strive to call you by name at all times. Please notice I used the word "guest," not "passenger." On the Legend, you feel like you belong to the Seabourn family. This is an edge that Seabourn has enjoyed over its competition. You cannot put a value on the special feeling that Seabourn conveys to its guests.
The entertainment staffers, including Dan Hodge (Cruise Director), Helen and Amanda (Assistant Cruise Directors), are some of the best at sea. They complement each other, whether performing, hosting trivia, golf, etc., or mingling with the guests. The other musicians were excellent. The only weak link, in my opinion, was Leonard, the Club piano player/singer. He wasn't able to play several standard requests, and his voice was a bit weak. He also didn't interact with the guests very much. Bruce Tilden (the previous piano entertainer) was missed.
The crew was as professional as always. Captain Gier-Arne Thue Nilsen is always a pleasure to sail with. He is very approachable, and has a tremendous sense of humor. Hotel Manager Guenter Steinbrunner seemed to have the ship's guests at the top of his priority list. He can be described as professional, approachable and very capable of his varied duties. The Maitre D'Hotel, Gerald Hauswirth, did need some improvement on his communication skills. The first night, we arrived at dinner with our traveling companions, a party of six, and were asked if we had reservations. We were told we must have reservations for a party of five or more. This was a first on Seabourn. Later in the cruise, he explained that he wanted only to make sure a table would be ready for a large party. I understood, and we agreed that there was a misunderstanding at the offset. All is good.
The Dining Room and Verandah Experience
The Verandah for breakfast and lunch was always a pleasure. The wait staffers -- especially Allison, Leon, Curtis, Robert and Lucca - were the best. They aimed to please. The food in the Verandah was always hot and excellent. I can't say enough about Seabourn's offering of soup during lunch. Fantastic! Wine flows flawlessly.
I did not experience the Dining Room for breakfast. Only at the galley tour did I experience the Dining Room for lunch. At dinner, during the beginning of the cruise, the service was a bit slow and spotty. This problem seemed to iron itself out as the cruise continued. The food, however, was usually excellent. The only constructive criticism I have is that the food was too salty. This was a sentiment many guests conveyed. I find European chefs tend to over-salt. Wine was excellent, and other than our initial experience with our party of six, tables were ready for us when we arrived.
Cabin Service and Suite
Our cabin Stewardess, Jenny, was lovely. (I think "lovely" is a prerequisite to working as a stewardess on Seabourn.) She did a beautiful, thorough job. In the past, our suite was always made up during breakfast. On this cruise, sometimes we would wait until almost noon. Not a big deal, just different from past cruises.
The cabin was the standard Seabourn suite, with amenities like a stocked mini-bar/refrigerator, CD player with a complimentary Seabourn CD (offering a collection of jazz tunes), and a variety of soaps and bath items. It is always a pleasure to sail in a Seabourn suite. Our friends enjoyed one of the Owner's Suites. It was beautifully appointed with a separate bedroom, dining area, living room and deck. We took advantage of their suite, and hosted a party on the first formal night.
The evening under the stars was magnificent. The food was excellent, and the service was exquisite. by that time, we had made so many friends that the waiters put six tables together on the upper deck, and we all socialized and watched the show below. The galley tour was disappointing. by the time trivia was over, the food seemed to be picked over, and the servers in the galley were sparse. Some of our favorites were not offered (fondue especially).
Dan Hodge hosted the well-attended putting contests by the Sky Bar. The staff and crew had a tug-of-war on deck (fun). Trivia, by far, was the most fun on board. It seemed like half the ship participated. We all took it a bit too seriously, which made the competition fierce. Everyone "won" a prize the last day. It was by far the best trivia competition ever on Seabourn.
The Spa, Gym and Boutique
Although I did not use the Spa services, several friends said they were pleased with most of the offerings. I used the sauna and steam room, which were adequate for a small ship. The gym boasted several new weight machines. I work out on a very regular basis, and was glad to see the upgraded gym equipment.
The boutique had a very limited selection of offerings. Gone were casual t-shirts with the Seabourn logo (very much missed). A friend and I both decided on a crystal statue, only to find that just one was available. I understand that the boutique is being run by a new concession to please more people. If that is the case, the stock must be available on board, throughout the cruise.
Every cruise is different. The cruise line can do everything in its power to make the cruise special, but in the end, the mix of passengers can make or break the experience. This cruise had a magical mix of people. It felt like so many of us were on a family reunion. This being my third transatlantic cruise, it was so nice to see so many friends on board. There was so much camaraderie. Finding an interesting person(s) to talk to was never a problem. I brought books to read, but never even opened them. I only wish that every cruise in the future could have such great people aboard.
This cruise was truly magical -- old and new friends, great staff and crew, and truly outstanding memories. I have never had a bad Seabourn cruise (this was my eighth). This cruise, however, was right up there at the top.