We choose this cruise to visit Japan and Alaska and we liked that there were a lot of sea days when crossing the Bering Sea. The embarkation in Kobe was a little slow, but not bad. we were in cabin V705, on the same floor with Seabourn Square, which was convenient for getting morning coffee and snacks.
As one cruiser said in her review, the ship was clean, but the decor snd furnishings are a little tired and needs updating. we have been on Seabourn before, so we were familiar with the cabin layout and happy with it. We had a very good cabin attendant, Camila, and our refrigerator was stocked as we requested. Many of the staff knew our names within the first few days of the cruise. We felt that overall, the food was very good. we usually had breakfast in the colonnade, and other reviews have mentioned that more staff is needed, and they are right about that. one morning I waited 30 minutes for a bowl of oatmeal - on our last cruise, oatmeal was self-serve, but on this cruise, Congee was self serve, even though the number of non-Japanese far outnumbered the Japanese passengers. If the weather was nice, we ate at the Patio, but it was sometimes closed because of noxious chemicals being used on the pool re -do and also, some days it was closed because it was too windy and rainy. We ate at the Keller Grill several times - the best lobster I've had except in Maine, and the whole chicken dish is awesome, and the best Classic Iceberg Wedge Salad. The steaks, however, weren't that great. Also there are only one or two daily changes to the menu, so you can't eat there too many times. We had some fabulous dinners at the Patio, but we had to really bundle up there as it was extremely cold - coats, blankets, gloves, hats - the works. Some of the meals in the Main Dining room were excellent, some were ok, and a few were so bad that we got up without eating and went to the colonnade or the patio. We also noticed that more staff was needed there also. The selection of complimentary wines was quite nice. Heather Inggs, the guest service manager, is one of the best and most effective senior staff I've ever dealth with (more later)
Alaska!!! the wildlife - the tons of eagles, sea otters with babies, seals, puffins, whales, grizzly bears, the vast wilderness areas, the glaciers, the wonderful wild salmon, the art of the Tlinget and other native Indians- it was all so very beautiful. Even Ketchikan was picturesque, once you got away from the pier area and the two huge cruise ships there at the same time.
prior to the cruise, I had called Seabourn Customer service:
I needed to get pillow protectors (allergies) so I called to ask what was the size of the pillows - I was told they were standard pillows so I bought those- NOT - they were the biggest pillows I've ever seen - much larger than king.
I asked if the TV had a CD/DVD player- I was told it did - NOT.
the hinges on the cabinet doors opposite the bed kept coming off
we returned one night to find the large vent cover in the bathroom on the floor.
The bath tub in a cabin on our floor overflowed and flooded the room and hallway - there were loud fans in the hallway for 2 or 3 days drying out the carpet and it didn't smell good.
The internet access was mostly very, very slow and sporadic, and we used up many minutes just trying to connect
On the 5 or 6 sea days, the crew decided to paint somewhere on the ship near our floor. The noxious, heavy smell of paint fumes was overpowering inside the cabins and the hallways - we opened the balcony doors wide open, but it didn't make any difference _ I have asthma, and it made me sick- Went to talk to Heather - she was very concerned and was very diligent in tracking it down. She thought the problem had been resolved. two days later it happened again. Heather was immediately there and worked out a solution to keep the smell out of the cabins. If she hadn't solved it, I thought I would be living and sleeping in Seabourn Square lounge chairs. Even if I didn't have asthma, this was an extremely noxious, overbearing smell that none of the passengers should have to tolerate - it shows a mentality of a total disregard for passengers.
after we boarded the ship, we also found out that e cigarettes are allowed in the cabins - the "new smoking policy" on the 1 page agreement we signed doesn't mention this at all - it can only be found in the detailed online passenger agreement. This means that all the vapors, nicotine, and additives in e cigarettes that is now killing and severely injuring people, would be sucked into the ventilation system and spewed out into the nearby cabins. I'm just incredulous that Seabourn would adopt this policy! we spoke to at least 1/2 of the passengers on this ship since there were so many sea days, and only one person was aware of this policy, and the others were very surprised to learn this.
PS we would never cross the Bering Sea again - days of very rocky seas, rain, wind, nothing to see except an occasional bird - never saw the sky or stars and didn't sleep well with all the rocking of the ship.
kodiak had the worse weather, but we liked the small real- town atmosphere and we saw more wildlife here than other places
remote, wilderness area on a jet boat to a small glacier.View All 8 Island Highlights and Native Cultural Tour Reviews
this was a very large catamaran that was jammed packed to the gills with people. we had to go up to the second deck, as the lower deck was hot and smelly with so many people packed into that deck. on all the other excursions we were on, snacks and all drinks were complimentary. this company gave us a voucher for a crummy sandwich and a cookie - drinks and any other food had to be purchased. the loud speaker system on the 2nd deck was garbled and we couldn't understand what the tour guide was saying. we asked about it and were told it had problems, which we could tell, as there were towels stuffed all around the speaker that had been there so long they were moldy and discolored. there was also paint peeling off of the boat in places. it was a long boat ride to the grizzly bear area, and we did see 4 of them, but there were so many people on the decks jammed together trying to take pictures of them that I couldn't see anything. I only saw the bears on someone's camera later. this excursion was over-priced and very, very long and I would not recommend it to anyone. we saw much smaller, faster boats coming from Prince Rupert Island that got there in about 1/3 of the time.View All 6 Bear Watch Reviews
there is a great Indian museum there with ancient totem poles and exhibits of native life. the large river running through the town is very scenic and you can follow it from the museum and you will see salmon ladders on the river when you towards the town. Lots of tacky tourist shops, but some of them off of the beaten path were very nice. You can get fresh, delicious crab there -expensive but worth it.