Amazing 14 day cruise of the Philippines
I have just returned from a 14 night cruise on Seabourn Sojourn to the Philippines and was so impressed by the experience that I felt compelled to write a review. Seabourn is advertised as a six star experience and as soon as we stepped on board, we felt this to be the case. The ship is considerably smaller than any we have travelled on before, but smaller did not mean less well equipped. All the comforts we experienced on larger ships of other lines were there, but better. The bar was more luxurious, the dining room was more comfortable and the food was definitely in a superior category. Even the onboard entertainment appeared to be of a higher caliber. The singers were West End quality and I believe that at least one of them had already appeared on the London stage. Our cabin, or should I say suite, was equivalent to a balcony cabin in another cruise line, size-wise, although what it lacked in space, it made up for in storage, and bathroom opulence. We were comfortably able to get two cases under each bed, so it was perfect for passengers, like us, who travel heavy. The bathroom was entirely marble clad with a very comfortable tub, a stand-alone shower cubicle and two sinks, which meant that both of us could be brushing our teeth at the same time. Luxury! The six star experience included drinks which meant that our fridge always had sodas inside and we had a bottle of gin and a bottle of rum that we barely touched, as all drinks on the ship were included in the price. Although we paid more for the cruise than we are used to paying, we found that when we added up all the things that we DIDNT have to pay for, like tips, alcohol and photos, we ended up paying about the same as we pay when we travel on Princess. A list of pros and cons that we compiled showed that Seabourn is better all round than other lines we have travelled on, even at the extra cost. One thing that must be mentioned is the superior room service. All meals, even breakfast, come with a tablecloth and proper, high quality cutlery and china, similar to those you would see in a five or six star hotel on land. The professional meal set up by the waiter delivering the food is almost regal in its execution. With regard to the ports we visited, we saw a number of places that we had not visited before. Xiamen in China was interesting, especially for pearls, then we had five stops in the Philippines. In each port we were serenaded by local bands, singers, stilt-walkers, tiny children playing xylophones, dancers, you name it. It brought a tear to my eye the energy and love they brought to the pier. I dont think I have experienced this kind of welcome and farewell in any other port I have visited. The ship also had a stop in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, which was quite low-key after the exuberance of the Philippines. The itinerary was one of the most interesting I have experienced and has made me want to return to the Philippines for a longer stay to experience more of the outstanding hospitality. One thing I noticed from this cruise is that all employees make an effort to know your name and greet you with it whenever they see you. I did notice a booklet kept behind the desk of the spa, which had all the traveler boarding pictures and names on it, so I expect this is handed out to each department with instructions to learn. Even though this is a little calculated, I really appreciated it, and it made me feel more welcome. Seabourn truly goes above and beyond the call of duty. My only complaint about the ship is that there are only two miniscule laundry rooms on board, which is really not enough for the size. However, if you can afford to travel on Seabourn, you can probably afford to pay for your laundry service as well!
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