Friday, March 14, 2008

Seabourn Legend

We've just spent the last couple of weeks aboard The Seabourn Legend. There has been much ink, electronic and otherwise, spilled about Seabourn and its amenities (my favorites are CruiseCritic and it's board), so we'll only lightly discuss the overall cruising experience, before diving down into the food aspects of it.

Seabourn has gained a well deserved reputation as one of the premier small ship luxury cruise liners. Service across the entire boat is taken seriously, and it shows. With a crew of 165 serving 208 guests, it's pretty rare that someone wasn't at hand to help us with anything that came up. Alexis noted two hallmarks of their service are that the answer is always 'yes' and then if they aren't the one that can answer your question or help you, they will seek out the person that will.

Seabourn's main clientèle are retirees, causing us to be the youngest passengers by at least a couple decades, with most of the passengers at least double our age. While this did not bother Alexis and me, it obviously does color the choices the cruiseline will make with regards to cuisine, excursions and service. In fact, the few times that the service became cloying stemmed directly from that. For instance, during buffets they will alway carry your dish to your table after you are done picking food. For us, that was a bit embarrassing, particularly when Alexis just had to go back to get a small dish of ketchup. Alexis also was slightly annoyed at the waiters' insistence on escorting her to our table on their arm.

The other weaknesses of the ship derived directly from its strengths. For instance, because of it's intimate size, the ship did get really rocky, enough to affect my usual iron stomach. The casino was also too small for any serious gambling, and there was no bingo (presumably because you wouldn't be able to get enough people together). The excursions available ended up being on the tame side, and the more active one we signed up for ended up being canceled. The entertainment likewise was not to our taste. (Though to be fair, I've never liked any cruise's live entertainment.)

In general, all these things can be mitigated with a little effort. The ship boasted a large enough DVD collection to keep us busy on ship, and on port we are happy with just aimless exploration anyway.

Finally, we get to the food. This being a cruise, over-eating and gluttony are still the norm. However, the food is definitely superior, and probably the best that can be extracted from a ship's galleys. The cuisine and menu are designed by Chef Charlie Palmer, and on our boat executed by Chef de Cuisine Adam Lockwood. I hear complaints from some of the regulars that there is not enough selection, but we didn't experience that. I expect that if you go to any restaurant for a few weeks straight, any menu would get tired.

The ship is split into three dining areas. First, the Restaurant and it's galley took over the entire second floor. It was the main dining room, and open during all meals. It was also the more formal dining room, with dress code varying from business casual to black tie optional. We found that even during breakfast and lunch, you ended up getting the largest selection here, probably due to it's proximity to the galley. Second was the Veranda, (or as it is called at night, 2). This area offered outdoor seating with a more casual feel during the day, and then theme nights, or tasting menus, during the night. Finally, there was a small grill set up beside the bar during lunch where you could always grab a quick burger, and would usually have some themed lunch or dinner.

Of course, you could also always get served in your room. And like everything on Seabourn, this was also done in style. The coffee table in your suite would be converted in a dining table, with full linen and silverware provided. We hear that you could get course by course dinner service, but we reserved room service for breakfast and midnight snacks.

Oh, and one other thing, we could get caviar service anywhere we happened to be on the boat, and oh did we take advantage of that.

Because of the massive amount of courses and pictures that we took we decided to take the tack of splitting the cruise up into smaller posts, based around where it was served and what course it was. Hopefully this will give you more of a flavor of what it was like for the entire cruise, rather than meal by meal.

The Restaurant
The Veranda Cafe
Tea Time at the Midnight Sun Lounge

Room Service


The Fiancé & I are just 48 days away from our own Caribbean embarkation—albeit, compared to yours (Luxury Class), ours will only be Premium Class (and with like 3,998 other passengers). Yes, I know, there’s no way we’ll be able to have the same kind of food experience as yours when scaled with the size and capacity of our ship. Nevertheless, your photos sure have gotten me continuously salivating.

On another note, even though the actual marriage will still be months away, we’re letting the cruise line think we’re on our honeymoon. Wink wink!
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