Paul is having connectivity issues..so here is his latest posting.
I am thrilled to finally have my chance to experience what has been dubbed by many the finest cruise line in the world. Although the fact that I have to work while I am onboard makes it somewhat difficult for me to fully enjoy the experience as much as the regular passengers, it is still an impressive ship and I can tell the vast majority of passengers are pleased.
Starting with our stateroom, we are in a suite, although that is all the ship offers. We have a 300 sq. ft verandah suite located on the pool deck. It is nicely quiet and well appointed with a wonderfully comfortable King-size bed and separate seating area with a couch long enough for taking naps (something I sometimes enjoy using couches for) although it isn’t designed in such a way that your pillows will stay in place. So, in the end it seems we end up not using the couch much.
There is a dining height table in our stateroom with two chairs, perfect for having room service in your stateroom. The ship will deliver any meal from any restaurant to your room during dinner hour, a service I personally believe is one of the most civilized a ship can offer. This service is now usually available on most cruise lines of this caliber, and even slightly less expensive lines such as Azamara and Oceania.
We have now had three dinners onboard; the first was the best in a room called The Colonnade, which is essentially the buffet area although that name really does not apply on this ship. Although you can select certain items from the counters, most of the main courses are available from a menu and table service. That night we had “surf and turf,” which was a filet steak and a lobster tail. The steak was cooked to perfection. Oddly, the lobster was not served with butter but it was still sweet and prepared to near perfection.
Night number two we were invited to dine with the hotel manager, at a table of 10, so we did actually interact with him very closely. I get the feeling he has dined with a few too many passengers as he mostly appeared to be going through the motions of being a host. His conversation was so limited I can’t really even recall a single word he said, except “very good” as he nodded to the sommelier every time a new bottle of wine was open.
I was not impressed with the dinner in The Restaurant. The menu comes laid out with just two sections not counting dessert. There were “openers” and “main course.” (Most menus have three or four sections; soups and salads (sometimes these are separate), appetizers and main course. Most of the openers were very light; a small salad for example, so that only left the main course as your entire dinner.
I asked the waiter if people often order more than one “opener” and he replied with helpful specificity, three people here have done so, and five have not. I ordered two, because I was hungry. The first was a crab cake, delicious but tiny (two bites), next came a mesclun salad where the salad dressing was so thin and light I had to taste it to make sure it existed. It did, but was not exactly brimming with flavor. My main course was “open lobster ravioli.” No one at the table had any idea what that name suggested, so we all waited to see what I would get.
The dish was a sheet of cooked pasta (as in flat ravioli) made as a wrap with bites of lobster inside. It was satisfying in taste, but once again rather small. I am always wary of ships where I walk away from the dinner table still feeling hungry. But that would not happen here. It seems the grand plan on this ship is to reel in the accolades with a grand dessert. In my case it was a bourbon soufflé, in a tall, thick cup, practically the size of a coffee mug. The soufflé extended above the brim by a good ½ inch. The waiter subsequently made a hole in the top and poured the sauce in. It was delicious and filling, although I don’t think any dessert soufflé is supposed to have the unmistakable taste of cooked eggs.
Coming back to the room my wife took a bath. Seabourn provides a selection of bath salts; one for calming and another for cleansing. This is a nice touch, unfortunately they are in short supply and the cleaning one is not available on this trip. The bathroom is very spacious with also a separate shower. The room stewardess brings a selection of three different soaps for you to choose from on the first day. My wife took a creamy one while I took one with loofah ingredients to give your skin more of a scrub.
One of the only negatives I have with this stateroom is the size and position of the television. This is a brand new ship, launched in 2011. But the flat-screen TV is not more than 22-inches, tiny. And it is set on stand where you cannot even fully tilt it for viewing from both sides of the bed - as there is only one TV to serve the entire suite.
The enrichment lectures are very good, and if you look long enough you will find them on the T.V. in your room. We went to the actual theater to listen to one lecture on the history of Nova Scotia, and right now I have another one on my stateroom television that is being broadcast from the theater live. You can also find all of the lectures recorded on the television in your stateroom. I have to give Seabourn a LOT of credit here; because although I have been on many ships where they claim to have the ability to do this, many of the ships somehow never follow through with executing the process of recording the shows and making them available in your room. Even better, they are available on demand, so you can call up any lecture you may have missed, or may want to review, at any time.
Last night’s “formal dress suggested” stage show featured four singers who were all talented, and of course they could do decent dance choreography as well. There was an additional dance team (usually called the adagio in entertainment circles). They danced to music from “Footloose,” and they were very good, but their entire time on stage amounted to only five minutes. I hope to see more of them later in the cruise.
In the end, I have to say this ship just seems to have a very good “energy.” We feel good just walking around. The best way to describe it is “low stress.” We felt unwound on the first day, and we find ourselves sleeping as late as 9:30 a.m. by the second when we have been waking up at 5:00 a.m. at home. The room is quiet and the drapes are very effective at keeping out the light.