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John Licharson

Age: 64

Occupation:Self-Employed

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Seabourn

Ship: Seabourn Pride

Sailing Date: 2010-03-21

Itinerary: Lisbon - Venice

This was our first Seabourn cruise. We looked forward to it with anticipation and were not disppointed. From the time we approached the check in desk in Lisbon until we got on the water taxi in Venice, we were treated with respect, courtesy, attentiveness and friendliness. Within two days of embarkation, every crew member knew us by sight and addressed us by name, pronounced correctly nonetheless. (This included the captain, and some maintenance staff who didn't normally deal with passengers.) Within four or five days, the restaurant and bar staff had picked up on our likes and dislikes and anticipated or recommended options to us without being pushy or overweening.

Food was consistently good, often excellent and always more plentiful than necessary. We preferred the Garden (I think it was called) to the formal restaurant. The outdoor deck was even more informal, but always good. Bar service is superlative. Some passengers, I am sure, will always have to go into detox after Seabourn..... I noted someone else's comment about plastic glasses. I think that outrage was overblown. I can understand having heavier synthetic for very informal and deck/poolside service. For dinners, departure parties and anything moderately special, crystal/glass was the order of the day.

Our stateroom was spacious, clean and comfortable. Everything we expected. It was, however, the only cause for diappointment on the whole trip: On our arrival, the End of Cruise cleaning staff had missed the window sill which had dried leaves and paper scraps left from the previous occupants. Our cabin stewardess (not the one responsible for cleaning after the Atlantic crossing) was abjectly apologetic when I pointed it out to her and cleaned it up immediately Second, someone in another part of the ship had ignored the request not to flush anything other than the supplied toilet paper. This caused the vacuum in our toilet (and several others on the ship) to malfunction making it impossible to use the facilities. After three repair visits, including a complete change-out of our toilet, they found where the problem actually was (two decks up!) and repaired the vacuum line.

We were happy with the duplicate bridge and made some new good friends. The couple doing most of the entertainment were talented and good enough to make me accede to my wife's entreaties to get up and dance with her. The historian/lecturer on board was very knowledgeable, entertaining and candidly helpful about which organized excursions were worthwhile and which not, as well as about how to do things on your own.

Excursions can be expensive, but we found them worthwhile: Seeing the Alhambra in a group of eight or so people and being ushered in around long lines without hassle or bother was a dream. Ditto for Mistras. Some of the shore stops and excursions can be make-do or works in progress. For example, the olive oil farm visit in Trappani was a first run, which I am sure they will reorganize a bit to improve the next time. Pick and choose carefully and you won't be disappointed.

This was a fun and relaxing cruise. Superlative enough to make us come back to Seabourn for a second trip and to book a third. Boarding and disembarking in port was a dream after experiences on monsters like the QM2 and QV: No lines, no jockeying for position, no push, no shove, no wait, no delays. Seabourn must do the right thing by authorities in difficult ports. I am sure it helps having exponentially fewer and higher class passengers. Not having to worry about bar bills or tipping at the end made it completely pleasurable. Another word about the staff: After I had inquired about buying a Maltese flag late in the day there, they had one delivered to me on board before we left port. And when I asked about getting a Corfu Nomos flag, which is nigh impossible for anyone unconnected, they somehow managed to secure one gratis and presented to me with official ceremony. Service over and above any definition of the call of duty.!!

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