Seabourn Amplifies The Guest Experience With Latest Innovations
Luxury Cruise Guide
07 December, 2021
Travel Agent is sailing on Seabourn Ovation this week in the Caribbean. After a week aboard this ultra-luxury Seabourn ship, we’ve discovered a few good "surprises" that travel advisors might want to know about and share with their clients.
This is simply a quick snapshot at these facets of our cruise. Look for our full review in sister site, Luxury Travel Advisor, soon.
1. Service Is Amplified, Given Guest Capacity
When considering that capacity for Seabourn Ovation is 600 guests, and there are only 280 or so onboard this cruise, that’s half the guest complement normally sailing. Yet, there is a full crew, experienced in ultra-luxury service and eager to have guests back.
Yes, Seabourn has always been known for excellent service but given the capacity controls, consider that lofty service level amplified even further. If loyal past guests sail this winter, they'll likely get the best service aboard that they've ever had.
In fact, we’ve noticed on all ships we’ve sailed on of late (regardless of the line or ship) that capacity reductions for guests mean that people are served by more crew members. Bottom line? It's a no brainer, but from a service standpoint, there may be no time better to cruise.
2. Many Caribbean Isles Are Happy Cruising Is Back
During this 11-day Caribbean voyage, Travel Agent has gone ashore in Puerto Rico and Dominica and is at St. Kitts today. Thus far, destinations seem to be welcoming, and businesses involved in tourism—motorcoach operators, craft shop owners and guides—seem genuinely happy to have cruise travelers. So far, we've been treated well ashore. The locals have been friendly and helpful.
For the record, Seabourn's shore trips are offered in Puerto Rico, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and Jost Van Dyke, BVI, while port-authorized excursions are also available in St. Kitts. The best news is that independent touring and exploration are permitted at four isles—Puerto Rico, St. Barth's, Antigua, Jost Van Dyke, and also in Miami for those guests in transit to the airport on disembarkation day.
On two tours we've taken thus far in Puerto Rico to El Yunque Rainforest and around Dominica(which did have a bubble touring philosophy) to see the eco-sites, beaches and so on, the journeys seemed relatively normal.
Yes, we likely spent more time than normal on the motorcoach for the Dominica tour; it included two scenic photo stops plus a rainforest "get out and walk" stop—where there were also local fruits to sample and crafts/souvenirs to buy—and views of Jacko Falls.
But the scenery was spectacular on all fronts. Despite jokes in the coach about that bumpy, long ride, several people who seemed to be having a good time relayed these thoughts: "Go with the flow. Take a good dose of patience. Enjoy what you’re seeing, and soak in the sites. Avoid thinking about how different it might be now than a year or two ago. Live in the moment."
That's the philosophy we took and enjoyed our tours with Seabourn. But guests do need to pack their flexibility.
3. The Culinary Commitment Is Strong
Food on cruise ships is usually very good, and on ultra-luxury ships, often even better so. So, Travel Agent wondered if Seabourn Ovation would deliver the kind of onboard dining experience guests have come to expect, as supply chain issues have impacted many businesses in the U.S. in some ways this year.
Early in this cruise, Travel Agent overheard one couple order “fresh berries” but the waiter explained that those weren’t available in Miami to be loaded on the ship, but not to worry as Seabourn had arranged for them to be loaded in San Juan. Presto, on future days, yes they were available.
Since that time, menu choices have been prolific and the availability of ingredients very good, it's clear. Offerings in The Restaurant, Colonnade casual eatery and the Patio (the outdoor pool grill area with a buffet) have been robust. We’ll do a full look at dining in our upcoming story as we’re headed to both the Grill by Thomas Keller specialty restaurant and Sushi this week.
But to be perfectly honest, this ship appears to have excellent choices, creative culinary presentation, and a very similar dining experience to what we experienced in 2019 during an Asian cruise on this same ship.
4. Onboard Entertainment is Fantastic
One evening, we dined in The Restaurant with two Seabourn dancers, Bohdan Nazarchuk from Ukraine and Kelly Lawis from the United Kingdom. We learned that all the entertainers have been preparing for at least two months for their shows onboard. So, they've had lots of time to practice on the ship. Let’s just say “it shows.” Attending the ship’s sizzling, new Latin show early in the cruise, we were wowed both by the moves of these two dancers. They actually weren't dance partners prior to the cruise, but Seabourn made a good move by pairing them up.
The well-paced Latin show featured "live" Latin-themed music by a talented band, the mesmerizing dancing of Nazarchuk and Lewis, plus four singers of superb quality. So, if clients are headed onto Seabourn Ovation, tell them to not miss this show.
Other shows too in the Grand Salon have been very good, as has the quality of the pre-dinner entertainment at the pool and in the lounges. Last night, Travel Agent “lingered” in the Club Lounge—not wanting to go to dinner on time simply because the group of live entertainers, “The Band and Grace,” a female singer backed up by three musicians—was enigmatic.
5. Working Remotely Is Doable
For luxury travelers, the business of working remotely is likely to be easy onSeabourn Ovation. That's our view after a week working aboard.
In No. 920, our deluxe balcony stateroom, on Seabourn Ovation, we like the wide, mixed-use glass dining table; it doubles as a good Internet work space for a laptop computer. Two plugs (one U.S. and one E.U.) are at the table height so with an adapter, cruisers can use both plugs.
Purchasing the upgraded Internet package, Travel Agent has found the Internet/Wi-Fi on multiple devices to be working well thus far. It seems easily able to handle our many submissions of digital materials as well as the loading of information/photos into our company’s content system.
It's great to work and glimpse lovely Caribbean scenery as a perk of remote working. Plus, with the cruise line delivering room service and cleaning, let's just say that it’s even better than being at home. A sourceFind Great Cruise Deals
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