“Josh, what’s the best cruise line? Seabourn Silversea, Regent or Crystal?” I get asked this ALL the time! Of course, ‘best’ is subjective. And in the cruise business it also depends on the staff of any particular ship at a certain point in time — people come and people go. And they live together for months on end. So the dynamics are a bit different that at any luxury hotel.
Once I explain or remind my clients and prospective clients of the main differences between the ships (i.e. size and onboard activities), I simply offer my personal experiences as a past guest and former cruise line (Seabourn) employee, and let them choose among those features & services which are most important to them.
In the last year, I’ve taken two one-week Caribbean cruises — one on Silversea’s Silver Cloud in February 2011 and then just recently (February 2012) on Seabourn Spirit. In 2010 I also spent the night aboard Silversea’s Silver Spirit while docked in L.A. and 2 nights aboard Seabourn Sojourn while cruising to nowhere off the coast of south Florida.
To me, the entire onboard experience is important, but I give a heavier weight to the restaurant and bar — quality of the food and drink and the service levels of the staff. In the last four cruise experiences I just referenced, Seabourn wins this area hands down and it’s not even close. I found Seabourn Spirit’s food consistently superior and I like to consider myself somewhat of a San Francisco foodie. Service levels were as good as it gets with pleasant, friendly, relaxed and very personalized attention. There was one mix-up where another table got our dinner and we waited around a bit too long for the correction but nobody’s perfect. And from almost the minute I first embarked, most staff called me by name.
You may have heard of Seabourn’s famous Beach Party at Prickley Pear Cay, Virgin Gorda, BVIs. It’s definitely a highlight of the cruise and will covered in a future post.
On some other miscellaneous aspects of the cruise, i.e. pool attendants, purser’s office, Internet connectivity, I felt that the ship didn’t make the mark. They could have been sharper. But the shore excursions manager was always around and helpful. And the ship’s tenders need an overhaul.
Housekeeping was excellent which proves that one really does not need a butler on a cruise. [a marketing gimmick if you ask me.] These ‘stewardesses’ as they are called are quite capable of doing just about anything. The only thing they couldn’t do was repair some of the furniture which this 23+ year old ship could have used.
Seabourn Spirit is one of the line’s original three ships (the other two are Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend.) She’s 10,000 gross registered tons (GRT) and carries about 208 guests. Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Quest are the newest three and are 32GRT and carry 450 guests. The crew to guest ratio is approximately 4 crew to every 5 guests.
For photos from my recent cruise on Seabourn Spirit, click here.
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josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency
Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys. Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. His personal relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status.
If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372 or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.
associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10