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Ovation vs. Sojourn: Opinions Please


wyattsaunt
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We experienced our first Seabourn cruise this August. We did the 14-day Greek islands itinerary on the Ovation.  We loved the ship. 

 

Now we are thinking about doing another Seabourn cruise next summer in the area of Spain/Portugal and Italy.  Most of the itineraries in that region are on the Sojourn.  I’d love to hear any feedback/opinions from those of you who’ve sailed on both ships.  What are the differences?  Which ship do you prefer?  Thanks!

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2 hours ago, wyattsaunt said:

We experienced our first Seabourn cruise this August. We did the 14-day Greek islands itinerary on the Ovation.  We loved the ship. 

 

Now we are thinking about doing another Seabourn cruise next summer in the area of Spain/Portugal and Italy.  Most of the itineraries in that region are on the Sojourn.  I’d love to hear any feedback/opinions from those of you who’ve sailed on both ships.  What are the differences?  Which ship do you prefer?  Thanks!

I have sailed on both ships and enjoyed them both.  Some people prefer Sojourn, while others prefer Ovation.  For us, Ovation seemed to meet our wants/needs just a little bit better.  First, a newer ship is fun, fresh, and up to date.  Initially, when we boarded Sojourn, we felt it was just a bit "down at the heels".  But, after that initial feeling, and, as we got used to Sojourn, we enjoyed it immensely.  

 

We liked the TK Grill Bar outside of the TK Grill on Ovation.  It was a great spot (as you probably know) for before dinner drinks whether or not you are dining at the Grill.  The Sojourn does not have this bar.  At the same time, we found that we preferred the smaller, more intimate TK Grill on the Sojourn.  It is a small restaurant and we found it to be quite comfortable.  The larger TK Grill on Ovation is very attractive, but we preferred the smaller venue. 

 

We are not pool loungers, but know that the pool area on the Ovation does not seem larger than that on the Sojourn, even though there are more passengers.  Some may prefer the Sojourn for that reason. 

 

Decor---We found the decor on Ovation a bit more up to date and attractive.  Specifically, I am thinking  of the Observation Bar with its glass fish above the bar--and the colors used for upholstery.  The Sojourn's Observation Bar is a bit more low key in terms of decor.  But, we got used to that too, and enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed the Obs Bar on Ovation.  

 

Suites--While some have said that the Ovation suites are a bit more narrow, than those on Sojourn I did not notice this. 

 

MDR--The MDR on Sojourn is larger and perhaps a bit more elegant in terms of decor.  At first, I was a bit taken aback by the plastic ceiling of the MDR on Ovation.  

 

Neither ship seemed crowded to me--even though the Ovation had more passengers.  

 

Since we are not very late night people, we enjoyed the option of an earlier show on Ovation.  On Sojourn, there is usually just one show time (unless there is a before dinner show) .  

 

Sojourn does have a sushi restaurant, while Ovation does.  

 

Some have said that the Sojourn seems more luxurious.  I tried, but could not really see that.  If both ships had the same itinerary at the same time, we would probably choose Ovation.  We would not hesitate to sail on Sojourn again as we had a wonderful time on the ship.  I don't think you can go wrong.  Some people do not care for the larger ships--but since you already know you like Ovation--I think you would enjoy either ship.  

Edited by SLSD
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I should preface by saying that Sojourn is my favourite Seabourn ship. She's pretty much identical to Odyssey and Quest, so it's odd that I have a favourite amongst them, but Sojourn is it.

Smaller and older than Ovation, as you may know. 

 

Sojourn does not have the piano bar in the Thomas Keller Grill, no sushi restaurant and doesn't have the  Retreat that Ovation and Encore do. 

 

I've sailed Ovation once, and not keen to return. 

It's a beautiful ship, but too large for my taste with not enough space on the pool deck. 

I prefer the much smaller Thomas Keller restaurant on Sojourn although I did enjoy the pianist in Ovation's TK bar, miss that on Sojourn.

 

Ovation felt crowded on our sold to capacity cruise, whereas Sojourn (and Odyssey and Quest)  never felt crowded even though we've been on many sold out cruises.

 

Another issue for us on Ovation was that we were turned away from the MDR on Formal night - Christmas Eve - because it was full. We have never had a problem getting a table in the MDR in any of the other ships and especially as it was formal night this was a big disappointment.

 

If being on a larger, younger ship appeals to you, then perhaps you wouldn't enjoy Sojourn, or any of the Oddysey class ships so much. What was it about Ovation that you particularly liked?

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I hadn't refreshed the page as I was typing, I see SLSD has it pretty much covered it in her response.

 

I did feel that the suites on Ovation were slightly more narrow than on the Odyssey class ships, but I didn't take a tape measure, so perhaps it just appears that way due  to the decor. 

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Thanks Isklaar and SLSD for your detailed replies. We had been scheduled to be on the Odyssey in June 2020, but due to Covid, that cruise was cancelled. When the chance to sail the Greek Islands came up this summer on the Ovation, we jumped on it.  I was a bit disappointed that our cruise was not going to be on the Odyssey, because I knew it was smaller than the Ovation.  Now that we’ve been on the Ovation, that’s our baseline for comparison.  No doubt our experience was enhanced by the fact that the ship was only half full.

 

We really liked being able to have pre-dinner drinks in the TK Grill Bar with piano player, but also valued being able to choose the Pool Bar, Observation Bar or the Club, as well.  The small bites offered in the Club bar were great.  The live music was top-notch.  Not specific to Ovation, but a huge, huge bonus was not having to wear a mask on the ship for 2 weeks   

 

We were originally assigned a V4 suite but were moved up to a suite right next to the pool deck on Deck 9, which we really appreciated.  It was super-easy to go out to the pool bar or the Patio for drinks or lunch.

 

I wasn’t too impressed with the MDR.  I thought it felt too large, cold and impersonal.  Maybe it was the lighting?  The food was good though. We enjoyed the coffee bar in Seabourn Square, the food in the TK Grill, but we had a couple awful dinners at the Patio, which is too bad because it’s a lovely outdoor setting.  Everyone on the staff was amazingly friendly and helpful.

 

We are now loyal Seabourn cruisers.  We doubt any other line would come close to being as perfect for us.  As I told my husband, “That cruise was the most fun I’ve had IN MY LIFE”, and we are 70!  I’m sure we will enjoy another cruise on ANY Seabourn ship.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, wyattsaunt said:

“That cruise was the most fun I’ve had IN MY LIFE”

 

Seabourn ought to pick up that quote and plaster it on their marketing materials! 😉

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1 hour ago, wyattsaunt said:

Thanks Isklaar and SLSD for your detailed replies. We had been scheduled to be on the Odyssey in June 2020, but due to Covid, that cruise was cancelled. When the chance to sail the Greek Islands came up this summer on the Ovation, we jumped on it.  I was a bit disappointed that our cruise was not going to be on the Odyssey, because I knew it was smaller than the Ovation.  Now that we’ve been on the Ovation, that’s our baseline for comparison.  

 

 

I understand what you are saying.  Our first cruise on Ovation was planned on short notice (about four weeks).  I remember being really nervous that the ship was larger than we were used to, with more passengers.  All those fears were allayed when we boarded and the ship was delightful.  

 

Right now, I just want to be back on a Seabourn ship!!  This pandemic is a menace.  I try to keep in mind that the least of the issues is the ability to cruise.  Wishing good health and happiness to everyone here.  

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Well, when I say that the Seabourn cruise was the most fun I’ve had in my life, I think it’s because it was so easy to access joy😶. By that, I mean, we got to get dressed up every evening and go “out” without worrying about driving or whether or not we had a few drinks.  We could walk just outside our suite and have access to just about any food or drink we wanted.  We had our choice of great dining venues, within walking distance.

We got to attend an elegant sailaway party just about every day.  We got to dance to excellent  live music under the moon and stars and be entertained nightly.  And everything was included, so there were no worries about piling on expenses.  It was the perfect vacation.  For my friends who don’t believe they’d like a cruise because they’re picturing a huge megaship with tacky shows and buffets, they won’t understand until they’ve actually experienced the Seabourn difference.  

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Just got back (last month) from two weeks on the Ovation and have previously cruised on the Soujourn in Alaska.  The ships are actually a lot alike with a similar layout except that the Ovation has an extra passenger deck, a Sushi restaurant,  and a much nicer design of the T. Keller Restaurant which has a very open design with a large bar (piano bar).   When we first got on the Ovation we felt like it was just an expanded version of the Soujourn.  DW and I would be happy to be on either ship size (either way it is Seabourn) and we would choose the ship based on itinerary...not on the vessel.

 

Hank

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I want to second a point which wyattsaunt just made. It's about fun on Seabourn ships and sailaway parties.

 

The sailaway party around the pool area and Sky Bar show off the Seabourn vibe best. What a pleasure to attend and they will never be repetitive or humdrum. Always convivial passengers enjoying live music or singers or both.

 

You won't find this effort made on our second favorite line, Silversea (Muse class ships only). Whether you choose the Ody or Enc size ships of Seabourn for fun, you have made the correct choice!

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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They built the Ovation and Encore with basically the same footprint as the Quest, Sojourn, and Odyssey. Sandwiched in one more deck, added a few feet to width and length. Nearly 150 additional passengers and not much more space inside and out for the 1/3 more. MDR overflowing. So they added tiny sushi place and expanded TKG. Retreat a total waste of space and a bust at nose bleed prices very few want to pay. The Pool and deck basically the same and with 150 more people on Ov and En  looking for chairs, uncomfortable as they are on all the ships with no chair pads, not surprisingly crowded.  When all ships sail again at full capacity, you'll notice the difference.

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Thanks, Isklaar, SLSD, cruiseej, Hlitner and Markham, brittany12. I appreciate your responses.  It’s great to have a community on CC that will share their personal experiences.

 

We don’t lounge around the pool a lot, but I can think of one pet peeve I’ve observed on every cruise ship and resort I’ve been to with a pool.  It wasn’t as bad on the Ovation this summer, maybe because the ship was only half full.  That is people who put a bag, book or towel on a lounge chair and then leave for hours.  I’m sure it’s difficult for the staff to monitor this.  I also don’t understand people who don’t remove their used towel when they leave for the day, so the staff has to do this chore.  It was really hot and humid a couple of days out on the pool deck.  I felt sorry for the staff, wearing hot masks, having to do this extra job when passengers could easily do it themselves.

 

so yes, Brittany, even though the ship was only half full, it was still sometimes difficult to find a lounge chair.

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On 9/24/2021 at 12:56 PM, brittany12 said:

They built the Ovation and Encore with basically the same footprint as the Quest, Sojourn, and Odyssey. Sandwiched in one more deck, added a few feet to width and length. Nearly 150 additional passengers and not much more space inside and out for the 1/3 more. MDR overflowing. So they added tiny sushi place and expanded TKG. Retreat a total waste of space and a bust at nose bleed prices very few want to pay. The Pool and deck basically the same and with 150 more people on Ov and En  looking for chairs, uncomfortable as they are on all the ships with no chair pads, not surprisingly crowded.  When all ships sail again at full capacity, you'll notice the difference.

You may have a very good point.  When we were on the Ovation (this summer) there were fewer then 300 on the ship which made it easy to find a deck chair.  But even at the time I wondered how it would be if the ship were full.  I also agree that not having chair pads is something that is not keeping with a luxury line.  My biggest complaint about the Ovation outside decks is the use of a large portion of a deck for the "Retreat."  We are talking about a luxury line that charges several hundred dollars a day (extra) for a cabana.  Since we had a lot of OBC we decided to book the retreat for a sea day (it was discounted to about $200).  That got us nice chairs, a bottle of Bollinger Champagne, and lunch from a menu that was pretty similar to the grill on the regular pool deck.  Most of the folks who were using the Retreat (on our Greek Island cruise) were comped to the place because of their loyalty status.   I expect places like the Retreat when I am on mass market lines like Princess but do not think it is a good use of the space on Seabourn.  If that space were to be turned into a nice public deck area there would never be a chair shortage on that vessel.   I would add that those of us who have cruised on MSC in their Yacht Club (ship within a ship) have all enjoyed the expansive sun deck (with great service) at no extra charge.  And this is just a mass market cruise line!   Celebrity also has a private "Retreat" area on their newer ships which is no extra charge for those in suites.  So why does an all-suite luxury line charge hundreds of dollars extra?   I have very few complaints about Seabourn (hard to complain about near perfection) but the Retreat would be my biggest negative comment.

 

Hank

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