Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Seabourn
Ship: Seabourn Pride
Sailing Date: n/a
Embarkation – 10 (scale of 1-10, 10 being best)
My wife and son and I arrived by taxi at the cruise terminal in Quebec City. There were Seabourn personnel at the curb to take our luggage, and we were escorted to the security area where refreshments were on hand. There were several x-ray machines available, so there was no waiting. After passing through security, we were escorted to the purser’s desk by a man in white gloves and a tuxedo. He pushed the stroller of our 20 month-old son and remained with us until we were checked in.
The Cabin - 10
Upon arrival at our cabin, our cabin stewardess offered us a selection of premium soaps, and pointed out some features of the cabin. Our cabin was large, with a queen size bed, sofa, two chairs and a large picture window. The crib was already set up, as we had requested. There was a refrigerator, stocked with various complimentary beverages. In addition, there was fruit and two complimentary bottles of liquor. Also, a bottle of champagne was chilling. The bathroom had two sinks and a marble vanity, as well as a large bathtub. The walk in closet was adequate, but did not provide as much space as you would expect.
Service – 10
This ship rates the best in service in my humble experience on the larger lines. To illustrate, I asked the bartender in the Observation Lounge where I should go for a cappuccino, and he replied “wherever you are, just ask”. An extensive room service menu was available 24 hours, and special requests were accommodated (even if not enthusiastically, there was never a refusal or hesitation). At the buffets, someone would follow you and carry your plate to your table for you. Don’t miss “Galley Market” during lunch in the dining room (one day only). This was the noon buffet where they really showed off (their cooking skills, that is--don’t expect anyone on this ship to dance around with a plate on his head). Good service also extended to the way we were treated on shore. Top notch complimentary shuttle service and polite personnel to/from downtown Boston. And when we tendered into Newport, it was in a mahogany-trimmed tender boat, not a bright-orange lifeboat like those used by other cruise lines.
Dining – 10
I wish we would have been able to take better advantage of the fine dining available on this ship, but with a small child, we felt a little self-conscious in the dining room. We still went there for dinner (most nights), but as we busied ourselves keeping our son occupied and entertained, it was not a relaxing experience and we opted to have coffee and desert in the cabin. This was not really an environment engineered from a child’s perspective. The crew did not seem to have a lot of experience with children either---not that they would. We were told that they hardly ever have children aboard. Even so, passengers and crew alike, were accommodating. Many people told us that they were glad to have a child aboard, and we were certainly glad that we brought our son. We were also glad that the ship offered in suite dining---same menu as the dining room, served in courses (the coffee table converted to a dining table). The food was the best we have ever had on any ship. We are accustomed to eating in fine restaurants, and the food on Seabourn Pride would compare favorably to the better restaurants we visit nationwide.
Ports – 7
Ports we visited: Quebec City; Halifax, Boston, Newport, and New York. We liked Quebec City the best. We flew into Montreal from Raleigh, NC, and visited the Botanical Gardens (I recommend it), then drove up to Quebec City, where we stayed for a couple of days.
Public Areas and the Ship in General – 7
I thoroughly enjoyed the intimacy of this small ship, but found too much time on my hands during the days we were at sea. There was a good library of books and videotapes for in-cabin viewing, but not enough activities elsewhere on the ship. Our itinerary, Quebec City to New York, during the fall, limited outdoor activities, and there was little else to do during the day except stay in the cabin and read or watch movies (remember we had a toddler with us). A larger ship would have offered more space for roaming, bingo, souvenir shopping, cheesy art auctions, a larger gym area, perhaps a “kid’s zone” or indoor pool, etc. Most passengers were in their 50’s, although there were a few well-preserved elders. We were the youngest. The atmosphere was upscale, but in a genuine way. No one seemed to be trying to impress anyone else (OK, there was this one old lady that we met while dining at the cruise director’s table…). We were originally booked on the QE2, and were offered this as a replacement because of an oversight. I’m glad that we had the opportunity to try Seabourn, but think that big ships are better suited to families. There was also a lot of motion (it enhanced the cruise for me), which we have never experienced on larger ships. None of us became sick, but we were taking medication as a precaution.
Disembarkation – 10
We were supposed to dock in New York at 08:00, and we had a 10:59 flight. We made it with time to spare. The limousine available through Seabourn was outrageously priced, as I know from experience what a sedan from midtown to LGA should cost. We walked outside of the cruise terminal, found a stretch limousine (really an unlicensed “gypsy cab”), which we shared with another couple for a total of $90, which itself was too much, but we had a lot of luggage, did not see any taxis around, and were in a hurry. Overall, this was a great trip. If you like service, and are willing to pay for it, try Seabourn.