Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 435 out of 500
Accommodation: 178 out of 200
Food: 332 out of 400
Service: 343 out of 400
Entertainment: 81 out of 100
Cruise: 334 out of 400
Overall Score: 1703 out of 2000
Seabourn Quest Statistics
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Seabourn
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9483126
Builder: Mariotti (Italy)
Original Cost: $250 million
Entered Service: Jun 2011
Length (ft/m): 650.0/198.1
Beam (ft/m): 83.9/25.6
Draft (ft/m): 21.3/6.5
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (23,040kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 330
Passengers (lower beds): 450
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 71.1
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.3
Cabins (total): 225
Size Range (sq ft/m): 295.0-438.1/27.5-133.6
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 199
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 7
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 6
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This is an elegant, all-inclusive ship for trendy cruisers
Overview. This ship’s big attractions are its staff, service levels, and wellness facilities. Like its sister ships Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn, it has one of the highest passenger space ratios in the cruise industry, so you will never feel crowded.
The Ship. Seabourn Quest has two small outdoor swimming pools, midships and aft; the aft pool is in a delightful area, although there’s not a lot of sunbathing space, and the pool is just a ‘dip’ pool. One popular outdoor area is the Sky Bar - good for those balmy evenings in the right cruise areas. But for stargazing, the hot tub located by the ship’s bow is a delight, and it’s dimly lit and peaceful.
All the accommodation areas are in the forward section, with most public rooms located aft, so the accommodation areas are quiet; however, you’ll need to traverse through several decks to get to some of the public rooms. The Marina, at the stern, has a staging area from which water sports are organized. This was converted during 2013 to provide expedition equipment, Zodiac shore landing craft, a boot-washing station, and storage for boots and parkas - so that the ship could focus more on expedition-style cruising. Four suites were also added.
Seabourn Square, the focal social gathering point of the ship and ‘concierge lounge,’ has a relaxed, club-like ambience. The area includes a library, shops, eight computers (Internet use is chargeable - at high cost - a major source of passenger complaints), an outdoor terrace, and a coffee bar. Its ‘concierges’ can provide in-port shopping tips, set up shore excursions, get dinner reservations in ports of call, etc. There’s a private diamond showroom, called The Collection. Drinks, wines with meals, and all gratuities are included, though premium brands and high-quality wines cost extra. Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.
The ‘vertical stacking’ layout is not user-friendly. While real teak is used in most outdoor areas, Flexteak (faux teak) is used in other areas. The cabin doors are narrow, and doors within the cabins are of varying heights and sizes, and feel utilitarian. Most public rooms are of a single deck height, so there’s not such a good feeling of spaciousness, and support pillars are everywhere.
Accommodation. There are 13 grades of suites in many price categories - while the smaller ‘suites’ are really large cabins, not suites. However, there are many balcony cabins - good for personal privacy.
All cabins have a separate tub and shower enclosure in a granite bathroom setting, twin beds convertible to a queen-size bed, flat-screen TV plus CD and DVD player, minibar, vanity desk with hairdryer, world atlas, personalized stationery, and large walk-in closet with personal safe.
The interior designers have created very homely, contemporary living spaces in the suites and cabins, although the walls are rather plain and unimaginative. It’s good to see that the beds are high enough off the floor to enable even the largest suitcases to be stowed underneath. All drawers are fitted with soft gel, which means they are quiet.
The suites are bathed in soft earthy tones - a splash of color wouldn’t go amiss. The cabinetry has many seams and strips covering joints which suggest that the ship’s outfitters would benefit from joinery lessons. One neat, creative feature is a leather-clad vanity stool/table that converts into a backgammon table. The design of a ‘cube table’ that can be inserted under a glass-topped table when not being used as a footrest is a smart idea for making more space.
The Seabourn Suites and Veranda Suites are quite narrow, and feel cramped, with little space in the passageway between the bed and the opposite wall. However, the bathrooms are generously proportioned, with gray and chocolate-brown decor; there are two washbasins, a bathtub, and a separate shower enclosure.
Some size examples (excluding balcony): Grand Suites 1,135 sq ft (105 sq m), including two-bedrooms; Signature Suites 819 sq ft (76 sq m); Wintergarden Suites 914 sq ft (85 sq m) - rather neat suites within a glass-enclosed solarium, set in front of the funnel, with a side balcony; Owner’s Suites 611-675 sq ft (57-63 sq m); Penthouse Suites 436-611 sq ft (41-57 sq m); Veranda Suites 269-298 sq ft (25-28 sq m); Seabourn Suites (295 sq ft (27 sq m).
Four ‘Penthouse Spa Suites’ were added in a 2013 refit. These are located directly above the spa itself (and connect to it via a spiral stairway), and measure between 64 sq m (688 sq ft) and 66 sq m (710 sq ft), including balcony. The suites have a living and dining area with seating for four persons, a separate bedroom, walk-in closet, a bathroom with tub and shower, and balcony. Plus, there’s free access to the spa’s Serene Area.
Dining. There are three venues, plus a Poolside Grill. The Restaurant has open-seating dining at tables for two, four, six, or eight, with menus designed by American celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. It is a large venue that actually feels more clinical than classical with its white-on-white decor and double-height ceiling in its central section. The most-sought-after seats are in the center rather than along the port and starboard sides, which have a window, but low ceiling height.
Restaurant 2, with around 50 seats, has regional, seasonal cuisine and tasting menus, perhaps for a mini-dégustation; however, the ceiling height is rather low, which makes the feeling cramped. The cuisine is contemporary, with a flirtation with fusion, where taste and flavors are what the experience is all about. This venue shares the same galley as the adjacent The Colonnade.
The Colonnade, located aft, has indoor/outdoor seating and is nicely decorated, although its free-flow design could be better; there’s too little outdoor seating for the demand in warm-weather cruising areas, when many passengers like to eat outdoors. During dinner, passengers who are dressed formally on designated formal nights have to share the space with those who are more casually dressed. The venue is also adjacent to one of the fine-dining restaurants.
The Patio Grill is in a casual poolside setting outdoors - and most enjoyable on a balmy evening, as a change to the air-conditioned interior dining venues.
In addition, a 24-hour, in-suite menu offers the à-la-carte items served in the main dining room during dinner hours.
Extra-cost Silver ($225) or Gold ($450) “connoisseur” wine packages provide a choice of red and white vintage wines for a set amount - perhaps a good idea for a longer cruise.
Entertainment. The Grand Salon is the main entertainment venue for shows, cabaret performances, social dancing, and for use as a cinema. However, the stage is small - large enough for a live band, but performers need to use the dance floor area - and the room has nine thick pillars that make it awkward to see anything at all, although the room has a gentle slope. There’s also a decorative steel ceiling grating in the central section which is black, cold, and unappealing. It has banquette seating in the front and mid-section, and, strangely, sofa-style leather seating along the side walls to the rear, which mean you actually sit with your back to the stage - a rather unhelpful arrangement.
Small production shows (remember this is a small ship) are performed well to pre-recorded tracks, and the audio equipment and sound dispersion are extremely good. Another venue, The Club, is a large, cool, trendy but high-volume nightclub/disco with a wooden dance floor, large bar and minimalist design. Located beneath the Grand salon, it incorporates a comfortable casino.
Spa/Fitness. The Spa at Seabourn, operated by Elemis, occupies the aft section of two decks, and is quite large, at 11,500 sq ft (1,068 sq m). It offers full services in a very pleasant setting that includes a two-deck-high waterfall at the entrance and seven indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, as well a Kneipp ‘walk-in-the-water’ experience, a thermal suite (for which a pass costs extra), and complete salon facilities, while a hot tub and relaxation area on the deck above is accessed by a spiral staircase. Separate saunas and steam rooms for men and women are provided, but they are very small. In the gymnasium, personal training sessions, yoga classes, mat Pilates, and body composition analysis are available at extra cost, but some basic exercise programs are free.