By Carolyn Hedley,
Firstly it wasn’t that warm in Europe in April this year. We arrived early (very early) at Civitavecchia Port which is the port for Rome. We flew in on the same day as the cruise departed which is what we tell our clients not to do. However we were short on time so opted to take the risk.
As we arrived at the dock while people were still busy disembarking so we took a seat to wait. We were noticed sitting there and approached to see what we were waiting for. An hour later the Director of Guest Services greeted us and got us onboard – fabulous! He showed us to the Café where we could have something to eat and great coffee, just asking us to make our way to Guest services at midday when they would start embarkation. But this just got better, as an hour later we were lounging around the pool and he came and got us, addressed us by name (I hadn’t told him our names) and showed us to our cabin. This is the service that Seabourn pride themselves in and we were impressed.
Our cabin was lovely and of a moderate size but very well laid out with a good size balcony, walk-in robe, and plenty of drawers in the main part of the cabin, we didn’t fill them all. Your cupboard and fridge are stocked with your preferences of alcohols and soft drinks and water – did I mention this is all included and no additional charge? Seabourn don’t expect any gratuities either, so there is no additional bill at the end.
Our first port of call was Bonifacio in Corsica and I loved it there, we chose the tour up to the old city and a boat tour of the coastline. Next we visited La Spezia (5 villages) in Italy, it was a long day tour but well worth it and the time flew. Our guides were great with one of them from Canada so her English was great and she lives in the Cinque Terre which worked out in our favour.
Someone hadn’t organised our permit to take the coach into town so we waited on the side of the road for this to be sorted out. In the end our guide knew a friend with a taxi service so she came and got us and took us through the barrier arms and right into the village. No other tourists got to do that so it was fantastic flying past them walking down the hill and worked in our favour.
We had an 8am start so ordered room service breakfast and I didn’t know what to order so ticked a lot of boxes. The next morning at the requested time the waiters turned up with 2 trays, haha he commented that we had 2 trays so I think that was unusual. He proceeded to set our little table and left us to it with instructions to call them when we had finished. But we just put our plates back on the trolley and went off on our tour, and of course when we came back our room was looking spik and span.
On to Santa Marguerita where we took a local bus around to Portofino to enjoy lunch, and then on to Bandol in France where we got e-bikes and cycled on an organised tour to the medieval village of Pals. That was great although nobody told me how hard I would have to pedal up the hills.
Back onboard and the crew were setting up for a food tasting of the local areas and some of the local cocktails, just another added extra which was great. I couldn’t eat too much though as I had to save some room for dinner.
The next day we were in Palma de Mallorca in the Ballearic Islands off the coast of Spain, if you can call it an Island as it is massive with 4 land freeways interconnecting. This is also where Rafael Nadal is from and is a golfers mecca.
We loved the Observation Bar onboard at the top of the ship and were usually there for pre-dinner drinks. After the 2nd night the barman knew what my husband and I drank. We met another couple there from America and shared a few dinners with them so that was great and I think one of the benefits of a small ship – most people want to talk to you.
The food onboard was outstanding and even though we went to the Thomas Keller Restaurant we thought the food in the other restaurants was just as good. We normally had lunch in the Colonnade Restaurant buffet style but this was no ordinary buffet. There was a variety of hot dishes which varied daily, smoked salmon, crab claws, prawns, mussels all for the seafood lovers plus delicious deserts and gelato all made onboard. This of course came with your choice of wines and you could choose from champagne, red or white wines and if the wine you liked wasn’t being offered all you had to do was ask.
I have cruised quite a few different cruise lines, we loved Seabourn and yes I would definitely cruise with them again, we were very impressed.