First-time Seabourn Cruiser (Part 2) - Page 4

| 11.01.11

My first sailing experience with Seabourn Cruises finally filled a gap in my cruise experience that has haunted me for the last five years. So, how did it go?

Caviar Hors D' Oeuvres on Seabourn


The Spa

Booking spa thermal suites for an entire cruise is something my wife and I enjoy, and Seabourn offers this option at a somewhat pricey $30/day or $300 per person for the entire cruise. Don't bother. The highlight of any thermal suite is the hot tub or thelassotherapy pool which you will find on Celebrity, Princess or Holland America, and on the Seabourn Odyssey. But for some reason this was not continued on the Sojourn.

All Sojourn has is a ridiculous concept called a Kneipp pool which they say improves circulation. It will also make you dizzy. The Kneipp is a tiny circular 12-inch "pool" with hot water on one side and cold on the other. The idea is to tread in a circle from one side to the other. It is so pointless I am sorry I wasted your time even reading about it. The heated chairs in the thermal area which are normally ceramic on other ships are teak on Sojourn. Teak wood is known for NOT holding heat. The whole point of these chairs was lost in their design. The Sojourn thermal suite is a dismal failure.

The Kneipp Pool - where you walk around, high-stepping between hot and cold section. If you are wondering it is too small to sit down inside of it. That would be pointless anyway, what appears as waves in the pictures is misleading, it is basically still water. It is a Kniepp Pool, nothing more. Enough said.

Here is the Thelassotherapy pool on Odyssey: and one on NCL (a sad comparison) with real ceramic loungers, not teak:

There is something called the "Spa Villa" on Soujourn with a bathtub (no Jacuzzi action), a large bed, a seating area for eating "special healthy snacks" - the price is $799 for three hours. There is something called "full body worship" available in there for a price of "TBD". Spa Prices here - A deep tissue massage is $141, Swedish massage is $132. You can get a 24-carat gold (they spell it 24 Karat Gold Facial) facial for $325.

Internet Communication

The fact is that life at sea can be get boring for a younger person who has a job, friends and family at home; especially when the Internet connection is not up to the fastest standards. However, one thing I do like about the Seabourn Internet package is that they give you "unlimited access options," such as 24-hours for a set price, or a full week for another set price ($199) or two weeks for $399. This is far more convenient than paying by the minute.

The Seabourn Mystique – Will it Translate to the Bigger Ships?

On my recent cruise every person who told me Seabourn was their favorite cruise line also told me they started with the small ships first. They cherished the personalized service and high quality food which are Seabourn calling cards. The early Seabourn triplets apparently delivered in spades and they also figure into those Condé Nast ratings. 2012 will be the first year those ratings will include the results of Seabourn having three big sisters (Seabourn Quest was just delivered last June).

I just sailed upon Seabourn Sojourn, one of the three big sisters which now sail along with the smaller sisters. I know I certainly experienced some of the growing pains that very typically occur when a cruise line grows drastically in such a short period of time. To a one, every person who I interviewed about Seabourn while I was aboard Sojourn said about the larger ships, "they're nice, but we really can't wait to get back to the small ships."

Wrapping Up

Here is the thing my friends - if you think I enjoyed writing this review that just isn't true at all. It every minute was tying knots in my stomach. I depend on cruise lines to give me access to their ships, and I asked Seabourn, they did not invite me. This is the last review I wanted to write about this ship. I would much rather be writing nothing but glowing accolades. But I call them as I see them. I am very sorry for Seabourn that I have to write what I experienced. Sometimes a person just happens to run into only the bad things on a cruise - it happens on any ship. I know bad cruises happen and this was just not an outstanding cruise for me.

Had something truly special, unique and wonderful happened I would certainly be writing it. I really enjoyed the ports of call - especially the long stay in New York City (8:00 am to 11:00 pm). In Norfolk and Charleston we had approximately 9:00 to 6:00. This is what the best cruise lines are doing now, ports of call every day and even overnights. They use cruise ships to travel - and honestly that is my personal style. I can enjoy a day at sea, especially when there are plenty of activities, but if I need rest I can do that onboard just as easily in a port of call as I can during a day at sea.

Listen - even Rick Steves writes in his new book "I can't rest in port," and I hear people say they "need" a day at sea. I understand that but I just don't agree. I can rest in port and I would rather have a cruise ship schedule more time in port and let me choose what sites I have to miss when I need rest rather than fly across the world just to spend the majority of a cruise with days at sea. I enjoy being at sea, watching the water, especially during a meal, but for me a "break" in a cruise is a day in port, not a day at sea. So, in that light we may differ and you can discount everything I say in this review. Feel free to do that if it makes you feel better.

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