– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
Earlier this week I had the opportunity, and pleasure, to visit Seabourn’s offices in Miami. I had the opportunity to visit with everyone: reservations, marketing, sales, tours and hotels, guest relations, the Seabourn Odyssey “command center”, etc. and, of course, the President, Pamela Conover.
It was great putting faces to those voices in Reservations who have so wonderfully assisted me over the years. As many of you know from when you speak with them, we have a great relationship. What I truly enjoyed was seeing that they not only sound like nice people, they are nice people. And they seem to really enjoy each other. Great photos of their fun moments are proudly posted by many desks. So, if you call Seabourn, I can assure you that the pleasant voice you are hearing is not fake. They really do smile…a lot. (In fact, the only complaining I heard at all was about a certain someone – who will deny it – hoarding the brownies I had sent over earlier in the day!)
I was able to get a quick peak at some new things…Seabourn is always looking at ways to improve. So for those few misinformed complainers and doomsayers (and you know who you are posting away on Cruise Critic), I can assure you that you are very wrong. I never heard or saw anything about cutting back or modifying anything. All I heard about, and saw, were improvements. Sometimes improvements require change, but change can be good.
An example: I was, with some arm-twisting, able to see the new Pre-Cruise Documents that are going to be used shortly. They are so well designed and good looking. While they will not be leather-bound editions, I can assure you that many people will consider then keepsakes of their cruise before they even board. They have great style and, more importantly, much more useful information then the present ones, in an easy to read and use format.
Another example: Being nosy, I asked to see the new place settings for the Seabourn Odyssey. Each venue has its own style and, though I was not able to see the exact colors of the final pieces, the samples clearly reflect Seabourn’s concern with the details right down to the differences in presentation of the cuisine in each restaurant. (Restaurant 2’s menus have a far different need than the Main Restaurant, for example.)
I caught wind of some other things to come, but suffice it to say, if I tell you I won’t ever be told anything again! Trust me, it is all good.
Barry Hopkins, the Seabourn Odyssey’s Cruise Director, was hard at work with Hotel Manger, Guenter Steinbrunner. They were so intense I felt like I was intruding…but, of course, I was. In typical Seabourn style, they stopped what they were doing (with a smile) and enthusiastically answered my questions. They are feeling the pressure of the new ship, but they are very excited.
One place where there is what I will call “New York intensity” is on the hotel/tour/private excursion front. If you ever thought Seabourn was sitting back or placing less emphasis on these items you are well mistaken. Seabourn is really working hard to not only assure truly excellent experiences, but is pushing its vendors and hotel partners to provide better pricing. I should point out something that many probably do not consider when comparing Seabourn’s hotel pricing versus doing it privately. Seabourn’s pricing includes all taxes (which can be very significant) and gratuities plus private sedan transfers. So, while Seabourn works on getting the prices down, be sure you do the math correctly when choosing your pre- or post- cruise hotel. (Also, many hotel packages include tours…so keep that in mind too.)
My day was completed with a wonderful private dinner with Pamela Conover. The best part of it was that it was really just friends having dinner. Of course we talked about Seabourn, its plans, my goals, etc., but it also was just a nice evening spent in a little, local, Italian restaurant. It was, as Seabourn is really all about, the people.
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