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Old February 15th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Greetings,

My husband and I are long time cruisers and have sailed almost all of the mainstream cruise lines and usually do so in suite accommodations. Lately I have noticed that with the cost of the cabin, gratuities and the bar bill the price of a seven or fourteen night cruise, on a line such as Celebrity, is close to the price of the "specials" I've seen for Seabourn.

We cruise for itinerary and love to see and explore new places but like a nice place to end the day. My husband enjoys trivia, enrichment lectures and is somewhat of a "foodie". I, on the other hand, love to lay by the pool enjoy a cocktail without being asked if I want one every five minutes and if there is a rock wall, water slide or zipline I'll give it a go.

Both us are not fans of "formal" cruises. The last thing I want to do after a long day on shore is to go through the formal night ritual. We don't dress like "The Clampettes" but like a more casual dress. More Country Club casual than jeans and t-shirt casual.

My question is would Seabourn a fit for us? Will there be activities that interest both of us and is the atmosphere overly formal?

Your input is appreciated.

Thank you,
Betty
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Old February 16th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Clampett Casual....gotta love that! It sounds as though Seabourn could be perfect for you both. You wont find any rock walls, or water slides but I believe the pool areas on the new bigger ships are very nice (I havent seen them) If you like to laze by the pool, the smaller three ships wouldnt be suitable for you. Cocktails or whatever you feel like drinking will be brought to you before you even know you are thirsty! Food is great and service exceptional.
I agree that the cost of Seabourn comes up very favourably against other cruiselines, when you consider that everything is already paid for.
Seabourn now has "Formal Optional" evenings which means you dont have to wear formal clothes, so I would imagine that "Country Club" would work ok. We always take our formal stuff, but its because we are always on very long cruises. If we were only doing a 7 to 14 day cruise we wouldnt bother carrying that stuff. There are other options apart from the Dining room anyway, so more casual dining is available. One thing we really enjoy, especially after a long shore excursion is to dine in our room in pj's....cant get more casual than that!
I know on "another" cruise forum, certain people try to make Seabourn sound very exclusive, saying things like "no one wears jeans on Seabourn"...that is far from the truth. During the day guests are very casual and relaxed.
Hope you get a chance to try Seabourn!
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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Thank you Granny,
I too am a "granny" and love it.

The option of having dinner in the cabin is wonderful. You can do this on Celebrity, NCL and Azamara but it usually requires pre-notification of the butler and isn't a "last minute" option. Does Seabourn require you to give notice to your butler, or whoever serves you, of your wish to have dinner in the cabin?

Why wouldn't the smaller Seabourn ships be suitable for sunbathing? Do they not have a pool area or is just very small?

Thanks again for your advice.
Betty
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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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If the price of a Seabourn cruise is close to the price of a mainstream cruise line when you include the costs of all the extras, I think it is a no-brainer to pick Seabourn. The only risk is that you will become like me & never bother to price other alternatives & just pick Seabourn. I have never done a mainstream line & do not plan to start at this point in my life unless I get talked into taking extended family with me.

You & your husband would definitely enjoy the food & service. People speak highly of trivia which is done on sea days. The evening entertainment may not be up to the standard of larger ships. This is not a problem for me as I rarely attend. I do enjoy the solo performers they have in the cocktail lounges. The area around the pool on the smaller ships is fine for lounging but the pool itself is not so special. Can't speak for the larger ships. I have been disappointed in the enrichment lectures on the 2 Seabourn cruises I have done. If you are looking for a rock wall, water slide or zipline, you'll be disappointed. I personally conserve my energy to insure I have enough to lift my hand to my mouth multiple times.
The atmosphere on the ship is not formal. Folks we have met were interesting & friendly people. I agree with Granny's comment about attire. Most folks wear nice casual attire but you see everything & it's not a big deal.
Formal night or formal optional night is a ploy to generate massive number of posts on message boards. We have done formal nights on all our cruises. I'd say about 70% of the men wear tuxes. I do not understand what constitutes "formal" for women & am unable to define it by what I see women wear on formal night. My wife looks very nice on formal night (as she does every night) but "proper" people would probably not consider her attire on formal night to be formal. There are ways to avoid it by dining in the alternative restaurant or in the suite. I have never experienced a "formal optional" night since they instituted that policy.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:07 PM
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Oh my...

So many grandmothers here.

Mr. Diebroke, your very comment notwithstanding - the idea of formal optional sounds a bit problematic to me. I have to imagine there will be people who got all dressed up who may not like it if I show up in my hand-knit cardigan, even though she is a beauty if I say so myself.

I do recall my Seabourn cruise fondly, even though I had no balcony. Back then it just didn't seem so important.

I know on my other cruises the butler managed to get me my dinner even if I did not give sufficient notice - although there were times where I wondered where he had disappeared to. I think it is just a matter of how busy he is - and all the notice in the world probably won't change that.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Ordering room service on Seabourn is easy. No advance notice is needed. It is delivered course by course to your suite.
I don't want to get started on formal optional. Regent has the same policy.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 01:30 PM
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I think I would have been self conscious on the smaller ships had I chose not to dress up, but my last Seabourn was on the Odyssey which had two formal nights that I opted out of. One night was spent dining comfortably with my feet up watching one of the many movies available in my suite. The other was spent by the pool, in casual but nice clothes, watching the many beautiful people go by on their way to cocktails or dinner while eating lobster and steak. Both nights were perfect.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 03:39 PM
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There are no Butlers on Seabourn, no need for them either, EVERY crew member will look after you. Sometimes we dont decide to dine in our room till 7pm.....then its just a phone call and it will be delivered to your suite. We usually just order from the Room Service menu, plenty of lighter meals to choose from. As we are always on long cruises, there are times when you need a break from all the "fancy" food and just a simple pasta or burger fits the bill. However you can always order whatever is being served in the Dining room that night, and have it served to your suite, course by course.....we have thought about doing that, but never have, as we feel guilty making the crew member run up and down the stairs so many times! Then of course you could always order a "special" meal....whatever you want....just need to give the kitchen 24 hours notice.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 03:49 PM
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I havent experienced the "formal optional" yet, but will on our next cruise. As its again a long cruise we will have our glad rags with us so depending how we feel on the day, will most likely do the "dress up" thing. I actually like the idea of it as it isnt forcing people into wearing something they are not comfortable with. I am sure they will still be well dressed, wont be "Clampett casual". Some people say it "ruins their dining experience" if EVERYONE isnt dressed formally....luckily for me I am always too busy eating, drinking and talking to even notice what anyone else is wearing. I also found the "after dinner" time on a Formal night was awkward if you werent in formal gear....you really needed to be in the "correct" dress code to use the public rooms at night...so couldnt go to the show or the Club for after dinner drinks. You had to stay in your suite like a naughty child! At least now, if we dine in our suite we can still go to the Club or show later without being in Formal gear....I promise not to go in my pj's!
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:44 PM
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I would like to thank everyone for their, very informative, replies. I've talked to my husband and he thinks that this may be a very viable choice for an upcoming cruise.

I do have one more, trivial, question. Is it possible to have your in suite dinner, from the dining room, delivered all at once instead of one course at a time? My husband prefers to just have it delivered and eat at his leisure rather than having multiple interruptions.

Once again, thank you for your replies and patience.
Betty
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:50 PM
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Hi Betty....

Can I recommend to you my article on "Why do cruise ships have butlers?"

Why do Cruise Ships have Butlers

The answer is that you can ask your butler to do anything exactly the way he pleases - and that you should.

Now - I admit I have found butlers to be more intrusive in the past than helpful, and I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way.

I really don't enjoy watching the butler set a table when all I want is my monring coffee. But I will say I do enjoy being served my dinner one course at a time, especially if it really arrives hot from the kitchen.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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The only time we have ever had a Butler was on a European River cruise....that must have been about the most useless job on the boat!
Once again....there are NO BUTLERS on Seabourn....well unless they have introduced them on the big ships??

Yes Betty you can have your dinner delivered all at the same time....that is what we would do too. I agree, I wouldnt like the interuptions all the time either, and wouldnt like the poor crew member going up and down the stairs carrying the heavy trays more times than necessary. You can eat the courses out of order then too.....eat the desert first!

You can also order anything that is not on the menu, with just 24 hours notice.....I have never done it yet but might next cruise.....a few lobster dishes!
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Old February 18th, 2011, 12:47 AM
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Really? no butlers on Seabourn?

How refreshingly different (really!)

Even Oceania Marina has butlers. I'm a little suprised, but in fact I do find them to be a little bit pretentious. Except for Papa on Crystal I have never had a butler I really enjoyed having to interface with, and I think most people agree with me.

It makes sense to have one if you want something like dinner served in your room - but otherwise I don't care for the pomp. I just want my morning coffee.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 01:03 AM
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No need for Butlers on Seabourn, the waitstaff are more than capable of getting anything you ask for. In fact most of them could probably teach a butler how to do his job!....how on earth am I going to survive until September?
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Old February 18th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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My husband and I sailed on the Azamara Journey in 2007. They touted that they had butlers for each stateroom regardless of category. The "butler" was nothing more than a cabin steward in a tuxedo who had fewer cabins to clean and more duties to perform for the passenger. While the "butler" did a wonderful job I was not impressed with the idea. It was more of a marketing ploy.

I believe if you are going to offer "Butler Service" it should be from a different individual. Having both the steward and butler functions performed by the same individual dilutes both of the services.

Betty
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