Seabourn Quest – Dover to Montreal
Our Seabourn Quest review saw us undertake a voyage we have always wanted to experience, as somewhere back in the distant past, it seems that our family has Viking heritage! This voyage from Dover to Montreal with 22 days was aboard Seabourn Quest, which is one of our favourite ships and also one of our preferred cruise lines.
This is the third of the 3 Seabourn Odyssey-class ships that represented an impressive design change for the company.
At just 450 passengers the Seabourn Quest is the perfect size for us. Definitely not one of the many Mega Ships you see, but a more intimate cruising experience. As we are itinerary driven, this particular cruise ticked a lot of boxes for us visiting many ports we had not experienced before.
Seabourn Quest Pool Deck
The full itinerary included:
Dover • Dublin • Greenock, Scotland • Isle of Mull • Stornaway • Heimaey, Iceland • Reykjavik • Isafjordur • Cruising Prince Christian Sound, Greenland • Qaqortoq • Nanortalik • CornerBrook • Saguenay •Quebec • Trois Rivieres & Montreal.
ALL Inclusive Cruising – done right
Seabourn is pretty close to being “All Inclusive” meaning that all drinks, gratuities, speciality restaurants etc. are included in the cruise fare. The only things you need to pay for are Shore Excursions, Spa treatments, onboard shops etc. We just love this arrangement as you don’t spend your time signing for everything and then trying to account for it at the end of the cruise.
Embarkation at Dover all went very smoothly and we were on-board by about 11:45 am.
Lovely feel on-board the Seabourn Quest, bright and contemporary design and furnishings and it feels like a home away from home as Seabourn would quite rightly say.
Our Suite Experience
Our Suite was 648 midships port side on deck 6 of 11 decks. This V6 grade suite is 300 SQ FT in size and features a sizeable veranda balcony of 65sq ft. The balcony furniture is well presented and perfectly sized for the Veranda. Our room steward Daniella introduced herself and offered the traditional glass of Seabourn champagne and canapés plus a choice of speciality soaps including Hermes, L’Occitaine and Salvatore Ferragasso along with the standard Moulton Brown products.
Our V6 category suite was comfortable without being over the top indulgence. The bathroom is well appointed and of a sensible size with both a shower cubical and separate full-size bath which I always request. The bathroom features marble floors, worktops and splash-backs. The walk-in wardrobe is a decent size with 2 sets of hanging rails, drawers and a safe. Suitcases, (we have 4 of them) store nicely under the double bed.
The lounge area and integrated furniture is adequate and featured drinks cabinet and refrigerator plus storage for glasses and bottles etc. The flat screen TV is tad small in comparison to other cruise lines but has a simple to use the interactive system for bridge information, TV, account status and on-demand movies. We counted 12 television stations to choose from and several hundred on-demand movies.
Seabourn Quest Dining Options
There are numerous dining opportunities on board the Seabourn Quest all of which, unlike many cruise lines, are all included in the cruise fare. This includes “The Grill”, a speciality restaurant by Seabourn culinary partner Thomas Keller.
The Patio Grill
The poolside casual dining option on Seabourn serves salads, grilled lunches and themed dinners. This is always a popular venue when the sun is out and it is warm. We found the Patio Grill fairly limited in its choice of food but presents a great opportunity for Seabourn. Having sailed with Seaboard many times, it seems the food choice and quality is fairly consistent. The Patio Grill is a great place to meet for an informal lunch or pre lunch drink. Top tip – The signature “Seabourn Fries” are absolutely divine.
This is Seabourn’s self-service buffet restaurant which is used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast and lunch, this can be a bit of a scrum in the mornings for breakfast mainly due to the main restaurant not opening until 8:00 am. Early shore excursions mean that most guests seem to head for the Colonnade. Lunch can also be a challenge at one o’clock when Trivia is finished, so a good plan is to arrive early. The food is generally of a high standard although the choice of salads was limited on occasions due to non-arrival of food deliveries at certain ports. This must be the cruise lines worst nightmare!!
Themed lunches sometimes reflecting the locality of the voyage were always good and well supported.
The Main Restaurant
Located on deck 4, this is an impressive space with seating for all guests onboard, which on this cruise was 438. The great thing about eating here is that the restaurant is open seating, anytime dining, so there is no rushing through courses for the second sitting. This is a very civilized arrangement that works well for the guests. The dress code is somewhat confused as Seabourn state that jeans are really not permitted but this is not enforced and jean clad guests were seen in the main restaurant.
Service in the restaurant was a little patchy probably due the influx of Academy trainees let loose on the paying guests. Some of these were very good and will eventually be a real asset to Seabourn. At breakfast, service was extremely slow and on one occasion we waited up to 50 minutes for cereals.
The Main Resturant on Seabourn Quest
The Grill by Tomas Keller
Seabourn have partnered with the American chef Thomas Keller to provide a new on-board culinary experience. Chef Keller is the first and only chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide. The focus in “The Grill” is on updated versions of iconic American dishes. We ate in the grill 3 times during our voyage and whilst the food is of a high quality and service a notch higher than elsewhere on the ship, the menu somewhat limited for our liking and the food very rich. The newly updated restaurant decor reflects an art deco feel. See our detailed review of the Thomas Keller offerings on Seabourn here.
The Grill By Thomas Keller on Seabourn Quest
Most shows are performed in the Grand Salon theater, designed to hold all the guests onboard. Quite small and intimate but you need to arrive early to get a seat if you want to avoid your view being blocked by one of the 10 pillars supporting the floor above! Hopefully the new Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will overcome this problem. Some very good shows on board, but you need to pick and choose carefully. Highlights included the local dancers and Pipe Band from Scotland plus “The Unexpected Boys” performing a tribute to the Jersey Boys and Beach Boys. One of the best shows we have seen at sea. Also not to be missed was the very talented Cruise Director and pianist/composer Handré Potgieter with his “Handré in Concert” show. A very emotional, sophisticated and brilliant performance. It comes as no surprise that Handre has been appointed as Cruise Director for the new Seabourn Encore
The most amazing cruise director at sea
It came as no surprise that Handré Potgieter was chosen to be the Cruise Director on the Inaugural Voyage of Seabourn Encore. A very talented, amusing and warm person who we are privileged to know.
Special On-board Events
It seems that Seabourn have the knack of coming up with events that keep you entertained while you are at sea. If you are not one for sitting round the pool all day or reading a book, then there is always and activity or two to keep your mind buzzing. On this voyage we had some very different events, which included:
A special talk on how Gin is made with tastings of 5 different gins inclusing Hendrick, Colhoun, Bombay Sapphire, Martin Miller Gin , Plymouth Gin. Caorunn Gin
Gravlax and Aqavit curing Gravlax and Aqavit primer
A great demonstration given by The World Wine Guys Mike DeSimonne and Jeff Hansen on how to prepare gravlax together with tastings of Aqavit.
Northern Lights Viewings
Sailing as we did close to the Arctic, we were lucky enough ot have sightings on the Northern Lights on several occasions when it seemed the whole ship was up on deck to enjoy the spectacle.
The Seabourn Signature “Caviar in the Surf” now comes in a variety of guises depending upon where in the world you are and the weather conditions. This time we had a wonderful Caviar Sail Away part on deck when leaving Reykjavik, Iceland.
Caviar Sailaway – Seabourn Style
Ventures by Seabourn
Seabourn have come up with a unique way to extend to ways extend your destination experience through the Ventures by Seabourn Program. In select ports of call a new series of optional excursions by the onboard expeditions team. This includes exhilarating sea-lovers adventures aboard a fleet of Zodiacs or Kayaking adventures in the double seat kayaks. Not for the faint hearted and you need to be reasonably fit to partake in these alternative adventures. To further enhance your Ventures voyage there is a team of knowledgable experience expedition scientists, scholars and naturalist who gave fascinating lectures.
Up close to the Greenland Ice sheet on a Zodiac expedition
Seabourn Conversations, Port Lectures and Destination Talks
One of the great things when travelling with Seabourn are the “conversations” which are talks given by specialists in a particular field. On this Route of the Vikings voyage, there were a number of extremely interesting session discussions and lectures on the Vikings and their adventures moving westwards to Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and onwards to Newfoundland.