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Seabourn Ovation Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
51 Reviews

A one dimensional review for a one dimensional cruise ship

Seabourn Ovation Cruise Review by paul94708

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Suite

Here it is October 2020 and I've begun getting promotional literature from Seabourn. In the midst of the plague I must have forgotten to tell them how much I didn't like my cruise with them in December of last year.

First, the good points. Great stateroom. Clean, spacious, nice bathroom, comfortable bed, quiet (!), easy access to the private balcony. NIce ship. Not too big, not too small, well kept up. Friendly captain - he looked like someone I could ask a question of and he was, even after I noticed from the label on his chest that he wasn't a second lieutenant but THE captain.

Let me get to the main negative. Before signing up for the voyage, in reading past reviews, I noticed an emphasis on the character of other passengers, shall we say "entitled", snobs, parvenures. I did meet a number of people I enjoyed hanging out with for meal or tea or excursions. There were those, though, noted by reviewers of this cruise line, who made my time on the ship less than congenial.

The main dining room was cold - really cold, with the air conditioning on full blast. At the first evening meal I wore a hoodie over a dress shirt and a cap over my completely hairless scalp. The next night when I showed up at the restaurant I was refused entry by a very stiff young man who called himself the assistant manager. I was informed that I was not appropriately dressed in "elegant casual" which is the requirement. I asked to speak with his superior and, in about 10 minutes, the maître d’, a young lady, appeared. She reiterated the point he made that I was not suitably dressed and that there had been complaints the previous evening. I felt like I had been targeted - in other words that the staff knew who I was and they knew how they were going to proceed when I showed up for dinner. She look me over like I was a cow at a cattle auction from my footwear to my pants to my shirt to my hoodie to my cap and I could see her evaluating and judging me on each item of clothing as she went up from my feet to my head. She commented on the hoodie and the cap but I could feel she would’ve commented on the shirt and the shoes and the pants as well if she felt she needed more ammunition.

Someone(s) with clout, I learned later, had complained that I was flouting the regulations which called for "elegant casual". Was I? You bet - it was that or freeze. Was I the only one not dressed for "elegant casual"? Not nearly. Elegant casual is, as it should be, open to interpretation, and many of the diners were even more casual than I. I obviously triggered someone's animosity, most likely someone with a bigger suite, a bigger budget, a longer history with Seabourn - and a more formidable mien; and who the ship's staff was quite eager to please. To summarize this rant, I would say that the dress code isn’t onerous; the attitude is.

This series of experiences (I was henceforth "labeled" by staff and some guests) brings up another liability of Seabourn dining. There is one main restaurant, THE Restaurant, which is cold and stiff and unwelcoming, but with a menu that the cruise line extolls for good reason. Aside from several smaller specialty dining options, there is only one other restaurant, the Colonnade, which, while it is a much more comfortable restaurant to dine in, has a much smaller selection at every level of a meal. I did don a suit jacket (which I don't consider "casual") - because it remained cold - and dined at The Restaurant a few times, but I had most dinners at the Colonnade, which I enjoyed. However, on a luxury cruise - with luxury pricing - I don't expect to be relegated to second class citizenship. Nor do I expect to be purposefully placed in a demeaning position.

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