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I  will be on my first SB cruise very soon - boarding the Ovation on Sept. 18.  I usually cruise Cunard in the Queens Grill because I get to cruise so infrequently that I want every possible amenity.  I know Seabourn is a very different experience than a Cunard Queens Grill cruise, but I am wondering if there is any advantage to booking a more expensive suite, like the Wintergarden or the Signature suite, on Seabourn.  Are there any benefits that come with those larger suites or does everyone on  Seabourn have the same experience (other than the amount of square feet in their suite)?  And if anyone has enjoyed both of these cruise experiences, I would love to have your thoughts....

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Posted (edited)

All guests are treated the same on Seabourn.  There are no additional benefits once you step outside of your specialty suites - other than published and/or promotional benefits such as ground transfers - e.g. no special reserved seating at restaurants or other venues, no fawning by the staff, etc.  The crew is equally nice to everyone.  If some crew member happens to treat a top spender better, that would not be common and would not be due to the company culture.

Edited by sfvoyage
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The only benefit is a larger cabin, better champagne, full size bottles of alcohol, and actual space to dine or entertain in your cabin, if desired.   The extra half bath is a great benefit if two of you are traveling.  The balconies in the front of the ship are not usable while you are sailing (too windy) and also lack shade.   That won’t be a problem in the Wintergarden Suite.

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Suffice it to say there is no class system on Seabourn. It is a luxury cruise ship, not a mass market ship of several hundred with a minor segment of cabins that are larger with some fripperies and a small dining room/s offering more food options. Oh, and Internet is included. The Club benefits over time put Cunard to shame; I know, after 450 days all I get is 10% off laundry. Nickel and diming all the way.

 

What the Grills Class of Cunard offers is the same dining room table for 3 meals a day. I understand the top QG cabins get the best positioned tables. Imagine that?!  I know that is important to some but then on Seabourn you have other excellent table/dining area choices, first come or reserved first served. No matter what your cabin assignment, everyone is treated the same.

 

So really… Nothing like Cunard. And no butlers anywhere. This harkens back to Seabourn’s original egalitarian Scandinavia roots.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

Edited by markham
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All of this is quite helpful.  Thanks.  

 

I actually like the special dining room for Queens Grill guests.  One of the things that has changed so much in the past few decades is cruise ship dining.  I enjoy having the same servers so I can get to know them and they know me and my preferences.  I have cruised with some of the same Cunard wait staff several times, and they remember what I like from one cruise to the next.  If those with larger QG suites get better tables, I am not keen-eyed enough to have noticed.  I keep hearing that Seabourn is very personalized and "everybody knows your name," the implication being that they also know your preferences.  How is that possible if you eat at a different table every night?  I appreciate dining with the same passengers each night, as well.  I have been lucky never to have shared a Queens Grill table with a less than desirable table mate.  I have made some life-long friends in this way.  How easy is it to get to know other passengers on a week-long Seabourn cruise?  Where should we go to maximize the chances for great social contacts?  (We are three women on this cruise, leaving our husbands at home to rake leaves and walk the dogs.)

 

The whole Queens Grill butler thing sometimes is not all it's cracked up to be.  Some butlers are great, others not so much.  From what I have read, the room stewards/stewardesses on Seabourn will do just about the same things a butler is supposed to do on Cunard.  (I have never met a single cruiser who actually wants their butler to pack/unpack for them!) Do the stewardesses arrange cocktail parties if you have a suite large enough to support such a gathering?  Who serves your guests?  If you want to have a light breakfast in your suite every morning, will that happen at the same time every day if you let someone know that's what you want?

 

While I have never really known how to take full advantage of a cruise ship butler, I definitely enjoy having priority embarkation and priority tender access by virtue of being a Grills passenger.  Am I correct in assuming this is not that big a deal on Seabourn because you are only jostling about with a few hundred passengers, rather than a few thousand?

 

I am very excited to try the Seabourn product and expand my experience base.  We have booked a large suite for this upcoming voyage, and I am not a bit bothered that there aren't extra "perks" associated with that choice.  I just want to have a really great time, and to have things taken care of in such a way that my vacation is always relaxing and seamless.  Will I get my wish?

Edited by Whirled Peas
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22 minutes ago, Whirled Peas said:

I just want to have a really great time, and to have things taken care of in such a way that my vacation is always relaxing and seamless.  Will I get my wish?

 

Yes!

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23 hours ago, Whirled Peas said:

While I have never really known how to take full advantage of a cruise ship butler,

 

Thanks for posting your question and the responses, as well as yours, have been informative.  My first cruise ship butler experience was in Yacht Club on MSC Meraviglia.  His services were very underused.  Even though, I tried very hard to learn as much as I could about what his services could be before I embarked.  My butler is me.  I am not used to having someone available in such a position.  

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We always find someone in the dining staff that we enjoy and then request their area each evening.  Never an issue.  The last two cruises I have had tremendous fun with the waiter by having him bring me his choices from the menu from what he thinks is best.  Often they will be creative and I end up having awesome flavors that I most likely would not have chosen.  It's lots of fun for me and the waiter as I never see the menu.  This has become one of my favorite parts of the cruise.  My wife orders from the menu and while her food is great, often I will have the better overall meal.

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3 hours ago, Neverlookback said:

I never see the menu... I have had tremendous fun with the waiter by having him bring me his choices from the menu from what he thinks is best.

 

What a cool idea! I don't know if I'd have the nerve to do that every night, plus there are things I really like and would be sorry if I missed. But I might try that on occasion if nothing on the menu jumps out at me.

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6 hours ago, cruiseej said:

 

What a cool idea! I don't know if I'd have the nerve to do that every night, plus there are things I really like and would be sorry if I missed. But I might try that on occasion if nothing on the menu jumps out at me.

I would normally trend toward the red meat dishes on my own and have found this has opened my experiences to foods I would normally not try.  The staff also gets a taste test and review of the evening's menu each day before the dining room opens.  I know this would not work for most folks, but I have fun with the staff and it puts a little stress for the waiter as he always wants me to be happy with his choices.  Overwhelmingly great choices and always enjoyable for me.  After a few days the girl at the desk that seats us would only bring the one menu for my wife.  Have fun, it's your vacation!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/31/2021 at 7:50 PM, Whirled Peas said:

I enjoy having the same servers so I can get to know them and they know me and my preferences.  I have cruised with some of the same Cunard wait staff several times, and they remember what I like from one cruise to the next.

While you won't have an assigned waiter or table you will start to gravitate towards certain staff and you can always be asked to be seated in a specific waiter's section. I don't know all the Seabourn behind the scenes magic but they definitely know you and your likes. There is definitely has to be a database that has your preferences because there is no way they remember that I like Nutella for my bread in the morning as well as a Diet Ginger Ale but yet every morning regardless of where I choose to dine they both magically appear at my table. 😄

 

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17 hours ago, nolatravelgirl said:

While you won't have an assigned waiter or table you will start to gravitate towards certain staff and you can always be asked to be seated in a specific waiter's section. I don't know all the Seabourn behind the scenes magic but they definitely know you and your likes. There is definitely has to be a database that has your preferences because there is no way they remember that I like Nutella for my bread in the morning as well as a Diet Ginger Ale but yet every morning regardless of where I choose to dine they both magically appear at my table. 😄

 

You are exactly right.  It's not shared, but the hand held device the waiter has in their hands to take your order has your profile pop up, even with your picture.  I believe this helps the staff build a connection with the guests.

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I predict you will be blown away by Seabourn. We have experienced no lines and  very personalized care. The vibe is the feeling of being so fortunate to be on a beautiful ship with like-minded, non-pretentious travelers. The crew seem to enjoy their job. My last cruise I went into an empty lounge at 6am passing time while doing wash. About 5 minutes later a crew member who happened to see me asked if he could bring me a cup of coffee. So nice!
Btw, room service is prompt. It we had an early morning excursion we always ordered breakfast in. We often hand wrote items that were not listed but we wanted. By the way, we were in a wonderful  veranda suite, not a named suite.
We did tend to go to the same part of the dining room for meals and the wait staff knew our wants and needs ( I am sure helped by the infamous iPad). Do not forget with 24 hours notice they will prepare about anything. We enjoy meeting people and would ask to share a table for dinner. Such fun and nice to meet new friends. 
I hope you have many “Wow” moments.

 

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We had several cruises with HAL before moving to Seabourn. One of the biggest difference we noticed was that on HAL one appears to be treated like just a number unlike Seabourn  where you have a name

Edited by Thecat123
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1 hour ago, Thecat123 said:

We had several cruises with HAL before moving to Seabourn. One of the biggest difference we noticed was that on HAL one appears to be treated like just a number unlike Seabourn  where you have a name

When we went on our first Seabourn Cruise I walked into the Colonade (Lido) for my first lunch as was greeted (by the hostess) by name!  Being a newbie I let it pass and just acted like it was expected.  After a few few days on the ship (when we got to know the hostess) I finally asked her how she knew our name which got a laugh.  So down in the crew deck they have everyone's picture with names.  Ok, that is fine.  So I asked the hostess how she could memorize over 400 pictures names and she said "it is part of my job and easy."   

 

A few weeks ago we were on the Ovation and when we boarded we went directly to the Colonade for lunch.  And yes, we were greeted by name.   It is a Seabourn "thing" and it does add to the entire wonderful atmosphere of the line.  This is part of the schtick of Seabourn and just one tiny example of what sets this line apart from the masses.

 

Hank

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20 hours ago, Hlitner said:

A few weeks ago we were on the Ovation and when we boarded we went directly to the Colonade for lunch.  And yes, we were greeted by name.   

 

How are they able to do this so soon after embarkation?  The guests pictures must be available prior to boarding.  How are those obtained, particularly for a first time guest?  

 

21 hours ago, Thecat123 said:

One of the biggest difference we noticed was that on HAL one appears to be treated like just a number unlike Seabourn  where you have a name

 

Treated like a "number" on HAL?  No, not me.  I have had a similar experience like Hlitner during embarkation.  The Guest Relations Manager was at the head of the gangway as I embarked the Eurodam.  I heard "Welcome aboard Mr. A."  Frequently, throughout the cruise, I would encounter crew members who would acknowledge me by name.  Did they all do so?  Of course not.  But, when a crew member with whom one has had no interactions calls one by name:  that is a loyalty to the cruise line moment.  

 

How do they do this?  As Hlitner learned, I think it is by the same method as Seabourn.  But, my question remains the same.  How are they able to get the pictures before one even checks in?  

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rkacruiser after as you say after 37 Holland America cruises I would expect the staff to know your name 😀

We have sailed HAL, Princess, Royal Caribbean, MSC spending at least two or three weeks on each and never been called by our names  so was surprised when Seabourn staff greeted us by name

In our case it was on the first sailing with Seabourn 2014 when we went to the Colonnade for breakfast and greeted with good morning Mr and Mrs. I actually turned around to see who she was talking to as I thought someone with the same surname was sailing with us. I did wonder at the time that when our photos were taken did the camera bar code us somehow? 😀

2018 after another couple of cruises with Seabourn we were walking up the gangway for the first time we met Handre CD who was on our first sailing with Seabourn to be greeted by Handre 4 years later using our christian names. At this stage we wondered if Seabourn had past photos on file which were on board the ship already as our photos were not taken when boarding every time

Being called by name to us isnt really an issue Its just a nice touch 

Edited by Thecat123
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On 9/2/2021 at 6:53 AM, Neverlookback said:

We always find someone in the dining staff that we enjoy and then request their area each evening.  Never an issue.  The last two cruises I have had tremendous fun with the waiter by having him bring me his choices from the menu from what he thinks is best.  Often they will be creative and I end up having awesome flavors that I most likely would not have chosen.  It's lots of fun for me and the waiter as I never see the menu.  This has become one of my favorite parts of the cruise.  My wife orders from the menu and while her food is great, often I will have the better overall meal.

We did that in 2020 on the Oceania Riviera.  Our waiter and his assistant, were our best friends!  Suggesting what to order (replacing it if we didn't like it), suggesting what to order in the speciality restaurants, and taking absolutely wonderful care of us each evening that we were in the MDR.  

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On 9/18/2021 at 6:09 PM, Thecat123 said:

Being called by name to us isnt really an issue Its just a nice touch 

 

It's a nice touch and does encourage loyalty to the cruise line.

 

On 9/18/2021 at 4:57 PM, rkacruiser said:

The Guest Relations Manager was at the head of the gangway as I embarked the Eurodam.  I heard "Welcome aboard Mr. A."

 

This GRM was totally new to me.  We had never met.  There has to be a pre-boarding recognition system of guests even on a cruise line like HAL.  

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My guess as to the mystery of how they know you at first sight for what it’s worth...

Passport photos!

 

I would also venture to guess that the Carnival Corporation has developed technology that stretches across all their lines that allow a decent profile of a traveler’s preferences, if you have traveled on their other lines before.

 

We are long time Princess cruisers going on Seabourn for the first time.  I will say that while some hate the Princess Medallion system it has definitely improved service and has made for a more personalized experience on their ships.  The fact that they know how you like your drinks, what type of pillows to place in your room is no accident thanks to technology. 

 

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