Seabourn Encore Rome to Athens
We recently had a most enjoyable cruise from Rome to Athens on the lovely ship Encore. After 2 nights spent independently in Rome, luckily in between recent storms, we boarded in the afternoon, no queues, no waiting, stateroom ready. We were immediately visited by our cabin stewardess who pointed out where everything was, including the champagne on ice, most welcome. The room was one of the best we have had in the category of balcony cabins, roomy, nice seats on the balcony. There was a roomy walk in wardrobe with plenty of hangers and numerous other storage spaces in the room . A very comfortable big bed. Immaculate housekeeping. The ship generally was quiet, there never seemed to be any queuing or people rushing about, making noise. We ate mostly in the main dining room where the food was without exception delicious, the wines (choice of one red, one white offered each evening) very good indeed, one night it was not to our taste and they changed it to another. I did however dislike the way that upgraded wines were offered, sometimes at a you must be joking price. We ate in the Grill by Thomas Keller on the first evening and were suitably impressed by the ambiance, the food and the service. However we were only allowed one booking per week on a one week cruise, so that was that. We were so happy with the main dining room that it did not matter. The swimming pool was on the small side but good on a warm day, and drinks were offered regularly, or one could order anything. Champagne flowed readily, at any time. I was a little disappointed that the sun beds, while a good mesh design, did not have a padded mattress, unlike the ships of Azamara and Oceania we have been on. We took a few excursions which were well organised, and included a trip through the Corinth canal, awesome, and something I have always wanted to do. However the first morning,in Amalfi, we managed to lose our guide at the busy quayside, who left for Ravello without us. I dont believe it was our fault but felt stupid anyway, but the staff at the tender dock sorted us out with a taxi where we joined the group. A word on excursions: we were sent a brochure itemising the excursion programme but it was irritating that the first offerings were private car, capacity 2 guests, $799 for half a day, 4 hours. What?? Otherwise the excursions we took were quite fairly priced, and the on board spend helped, as we spent nothing onboard. All in all, an excellent cruise, with few exceptions. Such as the area called The Retreat where you can spend the day in the company of a few other couples with a jacuzzi, for about $180. A strange idea to me, and did wonder if anyone ever used it.
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