Seabourn Odyssey: Five Little Annoyances & How To Deal With Them

I thoroughly enjoyed my week on Seabourn Odyssey last month. No doubt that the fine ship delivers one of the industry’s best luxury cruise vacations.

But, of course, as I am often reminded, there is always room for improvement. Based on my experience and conversations with other guests, here are a few areas that I believe Seabourn could improve on Odyssey.

Seabourn Odyssey Stateroom

  1. Larger stateroom television. I rarely watch television, but when I do, I like to be able to actually see the screen. From the far corner of my bed, the small LG flat-panel television resembled a postage stamp. OK, I am exaggerating. But the television was not equal to the quality of product that Seabourn Odyssey aspires to. I’ve stayed in three-star hotels with better televisions. You can see the television in the photo above – well, almost.
  2. An iPod docking station with robust sound. Again, blame the television. The iPod docking station, while a great idea, runs its sound through the television. Sound is tinny and cheap. I’m not expecting disco-booming bass, but rich, robust sound would make the listening experience worthwhile. Seabourn Odyssey Menu
  3. An easier way to make restaurant reservations. For dinners at Restaurant 2, Collonade and the Patio Grill, reservations are required. That’s acceptable. What’s not is the process. You may make reservations only 48 hours in advance and only beginning at 7:30 p.m. — and only by phone. So potentially it’s you and 449 other guests calling in at the same time. On the second day of our cruise, I called at 7:32 p.m. to make reservations at Restaurant 2. It had sold out within two minutes. Another guest told me he called every minute for 10 minutes from 7:30 onward. When he finally got through, all of the restaurants were fully booked. And keep in mind, you’re trying to make reservations not for the same night or even for the next night, but the night after: two nights in advance. The Maitre d’ can’t make reservations; restaurant staff can’t. So put down that glass of champagne at the cocktail party you’re attending and rush to find a house phone to call — and wait. It’s frustrating and inconvenient. Seabourn Odyssey Laundry Bags
  4. User-friendly laundry service. For same-day laundry, dry-cleaning or pressing, you’ll pay a 50 percent surcharge on Seabourn Odyssey. And to qualify, your laundry must be picked up by 9 a.m. to be returned by 7 p.m. Regular service adds 24 hours, which means that laundry picked up by 9 a.m. is returned the second day by 7 p.m. So if you want that wrinkled shirt cleaned or pressed and you don’t want to pay a surcharge, you need to board the morning before your cruise departs.Seabourn Odyssey Marina
  5. Better marina management. The marina just doesn’t work efficiently on weeklong cruises when there is only one day when it can be used. Imagine 450 passengers funneling onto the small platform to participate in water sports. Well, the photo gives you an idea of what it’s like at the marina.

I’m sure Seabourn will sort much of this out in the coming months. To be fair, Seabourn was innovative with the Odyssey, and with innovation, it’s expected that, like those wrinkled shirts, there will be issues to be, er, ironed out (just make sure they’re in by 9 a.m.!)

Meantime, a little advanced planning on your part can make for a more pleasant experience. Bring headphones, a little patience and understanding, and, last but not least, a clean and nicely folded knit shirt for that first night of dining.

Join the Conversation

Mark D says:

Ralph, Thanks for the low down on some of the issues to expect on Odyssey. For me, the restaurant reservation system sounds the most annoying. I didn’t expect to have problems getting a table reservation on a luxury cruise. Maybe they need to add a surcharge for these restaurants if the demand is so great. Although the idea of not being “nickel and dimed” on board is one of the attractions of Seabourn. Hopefully this will be sorted out in the next month or so.

josephone says:

I experienced all of your comments except the marina. We were on a 10 day cruise (still part of the maiden voyage) and they didn’t lower the marina.

The TV is amazing it is really as small as described. It is even to small for an American kitchen.

They have to improve the restaurant reservation system. It is even worse than you imagine as some of the tables for 6 in Restaurant 2 only have 2 guests!! It must be part of the newness!

Still a fabulous ship and a great crew!!! Never had such terrific service.

Jacquie says:

While I have never sailed on Seabourn, I find your description of the restaurant reservation system not only frustrating, but hilarious. Having just returned from 2 weeks aboard Oceania’s Insignia I must say they have a must easier system. For the most part we just had our butler make our reservations, even the last minutes ones, but ok, for those who don’t have a butler it was a pretty simple operation, and they are most accommodating.

Geoff Edwards says:

Geoff Edwards, currently on Seabourn Odyssey, looked into some of the issues that I wrote about on a cruise this past summer. – Ralph Grizzle

On the first leg of the World Cruise, there have been some changes. No reservations are required at any dining venue except Restaurant 2. Getting a table, even for the next night was not a problem. Possibly passengers on this cruise just are not that interested, or the system has been adjusted.

We are now in the Panama Canal and the marina has not been lowered from Ft. Lauderdale to here.

No clue as to how the Ipod is working, it is hard enough just to find the TV.

Sue says:

If you love dressing up for work everyday to meet clients; you can continue your dress up ways here. I can only say My husbands 50th birthday surprise -a cruise on the Oddyssey (Yes, we have cruised before) was a cruise far below my expectations.
When everyone was finally boarded we were put in the Grand Salon with No explanation, welcome speech, update or entertainment and an hour later escorted to our room where our bags had been dumped in front of the cabin door. We carried the bags in, viewed our outside deck, beautiful cabin and bath, and then noticed wood shims along the ceiling. I took pictures; I was stunned but thought nothing more until the boat left the harbor and was on its way and it was rockin and rolling. #1 I noticed a stability issue ( It was my understanding that 90% of the people were ill and also that there was a stabilizer issue) #2 our room was creaking loudly and the bed had a wierd vibration. I thought; well now I understand the shims. We were unable to sleep. The next day I called and they immediatly sent a maintenance man up to fix the noise. He walked in and I said”Are these shims all that can be done for the noise and he said, Yes” The noise seemed to increase and by the 4th day of little sleep I called, asked to be moved and got Guenther the “hotel” manager. Another guy came up moved the shims around. I took pictures and the noise was very light for 3 days and then gradually started again. We don’t drink soda and asked that the soda be removed and replaced with water for the fridge it never was. However water was stacked in the wine cabinet which we never opened. By the time we left the room was creaking almost as loud as when we tried to sleep the first 3 nights. Severasl of us were sharing our craking , vibrating stories before departure. We talked to others who like us also had vibration in the beds, noises etc. Beautiful boat but something is wrong here. I think its nice to have one restaurant formal BUT we brought dressy casual clothes/ Tommy Bahama etc and they were not acceptable by the 3 main restaurants. I went on a cruise to escape my dress up , business suit lifestyle. We ate at “The Grill” service and food was excellent menu VERY limited so the wonderful food we wanted to enjoy happened only several times at the still formal but least formal Collonade. The food was good, not great. The coffee bar was great, the barrista talented. On Christmas my husband and I were at the restaurant with friends, I asked that the servers sing Happy Birthday and they refused saying it was not policy to do that. I was stunned and Several days later we saw a merry group of servers surrounding and singing Happy Birthday to another person.

This was a high end get away to eat well , relax and enjoy ourselves instead It was shades of the 50’s when my grandparents traveled around the world, grandma in her little hat and suit and grandpa in his suit waving goodby with their 6 suitcases.

A memorable moment when a server dumped a fancy drink on the tray before it left the bar area and the staff spooned it off the tray and back into the glass, yummmmmmm.

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