I have listened for years about how wonderful Regent Seven Seas was and how, absent a balcony, the Regent devotees would never try Seabourn. And for years I have said that the service and cuisine, as well as the yacht-like size of the Seabourn triplets, more than makes up for the lack of true balconies. But the staunch (dare I say irrational...even militant) devotion to Regent remained and there wasn't a thing I could do to convince these folks that Seabourn was just plain better: Better service, better cuisine and better ports of call.
Ironically, it seems that the changes to Regent Seven Seas have been such that those devotees (even the militant ones) are looking elsewhere...and Seabourn is obviously one of those cruise lines. And, truth be told, while I have been waiting for the irrational complaints (after years of reading and hearing them from these folks who have never stepped aboard The Yachts of Seabourn), I think I am a surprised as they are.
One poster, who comments on multiple message boards, just wrote, "For being a first timer here on Seabourn, we are quite impressed. The food and service has been impeccable. We haven't missed the balcony (surprise, surprise) as the sliding glass door allows the same view we would have with a normal balcony door closed. We do open the door sometimes for the sea breeze and the French balcony does allow you to step out for fresh air but much too small for any furniture".
Another first timer to Seabourn - while not thrilled with the triplet's pool (who is?) wrote yesterday, in part, "Absolutely love our cabin and the service has been perfect so far...Am loving the inside venues. Always quiet places with views and superb drink service...So far, a fantastic trip."
In this time of challenges to the cruise industry, Regent has take the approach of charging more, reducing service, limiting menu offerings and then claiming that the tours and air are "free". Seabourn has taken a different approach: It provides excellent pricing and, get this, refuses to compromise on service and cuisine. Not a marketing gimmick in sight.
So if you are considering a cruise, but feel the balcony is the only thing stopping you from trying out one of the Seabourn triplets or you think that all so-called luxury lines are similar, you don't have to listen to me. Listen to the diehard skeptics. (And, truth be told, it is music to my ears!)