Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Berlitz 2010 Scores: Seabourn is the World's Best Cruise Line

Douglas Ward annually publishes his Berlitz ‘Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships’. In the about to be released 2010 edition (the 25th edition) he ranks every Seabourn ship in its uppermost echelon.

Mr. Ward bases his review on a plethora of items with each weighted as he deems appropriate: Cabin storage; amenities; service; food quality; ship facilities; decor; etc. If you read Mr. Ward's reviews of virtually every cruise ship out there, you will find that he has some definite likes and dislikes and standards which may or may not be the same as yours. For example, comment is regularly made on the cheese selections which for most would not be sufficiently high on the one's rating radar to mention it when going to press. (I happen to love cheese, so I enjoy his comments, but I am fascinated that he tends not to mention whether a proper cup of tea can be obtained.)

Some refer to the annual review as a "bible". I think that is a bit of an overstatement. It can be a valuable resource, however. The information and ratings, even with Mr. Ward's personal preferences, are about as objective as anything out there. No ballot stuffing. No kissing up to a particular cruise line. So what you have is one man's measuring of how each ship matches up with his ideal cruise ship. As I said, it isn't perfect, but when trying to objectively find information about a particular ship and comparing one ship to another I don't think there is a better single source out there.

It is reported that for 2010 the Seabourn Odyssey was the top Seabourn ship with a total of 1,787 points out of a possible 2,000 (second in the ratings only to his longtime favorite Hapag Lloyd’s Europa ). Following very closely behind are the Seabourn Legend which scored 1,779, the Seabourn Spirit at 1,700 and the Seabourn Pride with 1,769.

You will note that the Seabourn Odyssey did not rate that much higher than the Seabourn triplets...(or is that the triplets did not rate that much lower than the Seabourn Odyssey?). That is, I mentioned, a function of what Mr. Ward places emphasis on. You will also note that the Seabourn Legend rated slightly higher than its two virtually identical sisters. (Interesting as the Legend has only one lavatory sink in each suite, while the Pride and Spirit have two. Possibly there was an incredible meal, a special wine or better cheese to bump up the Legend's rating?)

Overall that indicates there is - as there should be - a great consistency among and between each of the four ships. And, of course, that Seabourn has the top fleet of luxury cruise ships...from cuisine to service...out there.