My husband and I went on a 7-night sailing with Seabourn to the Baltic Sea. Seabourn is the only cruise line to consistently offer 2 overnights in St. Petersburg on a 7 night cruise….which was exactly what we were looking for.
Seabourn has a great reputation and I was looking forward to the sailing. Overall, it was an amazing experience.
-I had reserved the lowest category verandah in a guarantee status. Our stateroom was assigned less than a week before sailing. However, we were upgraded to a V6 in an excellent location. The stateroom was very large with a sofa, table with two chairs, queen size bed, and a long narrow dresser. There was also some storage in the nightstands and above and below the TV. The balcony was large and had room for two chairs and a small table (with room to spare both in front of the chairs (you could stand and look out easily without touching the chairs) and with space in between so you were not right next to your companion). The bathroom had a double vanity with space to store items and a separated tub and shower. Molton Brown amenities were provided. The walk in closet had two tier racks, as well as a one tier higher rack for longer items. There were also a few small drawers and a safe.
-The food was excellent. The specialty restaurant (The Grill by Thomas Keller) was fantastic, especially for my husband who is a huge meat eater. It was ok for me (I’m a vegetarian who does eat some fish). There were several places to eat on board and the quality of the food was great across the board. There were healthy options at each meal, such as fruits and vegetables. I noticed several meal choices were offered such as gluten-free, sugar free, vegetarian. Afternoon tea was held most days and was a nice addition. The desserts in the Colonnade (buffet) and the restaurant were quite good (same with those offered at afternoon tea).
-Drinks are mostly included. I thought some of my husband’s favorite single malt whiskies might be considered premium and charged extra, but that wasn’t the case and he tried several. Be warned that Seabourn will ask for your drink preferences to stock your mini bar. I wasn’t prepared and couldn’t think of anything we liked to drink :) The cabin stewardess met with us the first night to request any drink items we may have forgotten.
-The staff to passenger ratio is very high on Seabourn and while staff were available when we needed them, the service varied quite a bit.
-Fellow passengers. Most passengers were in the 40 to 60 year old range. A good percentage were repeat Seabourn clients (probably 50% or so of the people we met). I was surprised to see as many kids on board as I did---from infant age to teenagers. I would guess 20+ kids on our sailing. Not a big deal for us, but I know some people that are interested in Seabourn want an adult only experience.
-Docking and Port Calls. We stayed on schedule and announcements were made as to which deck to disembark each day (varied between two locations). Most docking locations were close to the city center. In Tallinn, Seabourn offered a free shuttle bus. Most disappointing was that we had to dock outside of St. Petersburg----normally Seabourn docks on the river in the middle of the city with amazing city views. It added about 15-20 minutes driving time each way into/out of the city, but you can only get off the boat with a guide or on a tour (unless you have your own visa), so going on our own wasn’t possible for most at this port.
The two overnights in St. Petersburg were important to us because we also wanted to visit Moscow. You have to have 2 overnights to make this work as it is around 18-19 total hours away from the ship. The high speed train is 4 hours each way or you can fly. It is a long day, but was the complete highlight of the trip!!! Our guide was wonderful---if you want her name, please message me.
-The other item to mention is the ship size. I have sailed on Windstar and was expecting Seabourn Quest to only be a bit larger (I was on Star Breeze---a former Seabourn ship). I was wrong. The ship itself is definitely a medium sized ship. From the pier, it looks quite large (until it docks next to a Princess ship which we did the next day!) We had about 450 people on board—a good amount for a ship this size. However, there were times the boat felt crowded. If you want a small ship experience, Seabourn Quest may be a bit too big. However, if you are used to the big ships and want to scale back some, Seabourn would be a great option.
Tracey is the owner of Unraveled Travel and has traveled to every continent except Antarctica.