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Seabourn Ovation review: Summer in the Greek Islands

Trip Reports

I have always wanted to cruise around the Greek islands, and I was fortunate enough to finally get the chance on board Seabourn Ovation.

Prior to sailing I downloaded the Seabourn Source app, which allows you to check in online, view dining options, book your shore excursions and also 'chat' with other guests on the same cruise - very helpful if you want to arrange meeting for drinks or dining together, for example.

I travelled with a friend of mine, and our journey started with an early morning flight from London Heathrow. With all the forms required by the airline and the Greek government completed, our arrival in Athens airport was swift and straightforward. The taxi to the port of Piraeus took 45 minutes, where we registered with Seabourn, took an antigen test and, once cleared (about 15 minutes later), embarked the ship.

Seabourn Ovation - Veranda Suite

Our suite was located on Deck 5, the same deck as The Club lounge, casino and outdoor seating at the aft of the ship. The suite was a good size with ample room for the beds, a double sofabed and a flatscreen TV with on demand movies and programmes, which also allows you to make restaurant and spa reservations and book your shore excursions. The nightly turndown service usually came with The Herald, featuring the details of the following day's activities and port of call, plus a small gift of some sort - anything from a tote bag to a Molton Brown spray, a lovely personal touch.

A welcome cocktail party at The Retreat was followed by dinner in the main restaurant, the focus of which is the beautiful glass light hanging in the centre. The menu here changes daily, both for lunch and dinner, with wines that complement each course served alongside. Other dining options on board include Sushi, with a set menu at lunchtime and à la carte in the evening, and the poolside Patio restaurant turns into Earth & Ocean in the evening.

Seabourn Ovation - The Restaurant

The Thomas Keller Grill is the ultimate gourmet experience, focusing on the celebrity chef's unique style of cooking - this is the only restaurant that has to be pre-booked, and this can be done once before sailing, with any additional requests made on board. This is to give every guest an opportunity to dine here at least once during their cruise.

Breakfast was usually taken at the poolside Patio which offers healthy 'light' dishes such as cereals, homemade yoghurts, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and egg tagines - it was a wonderful start to the day eating outside in the sunshine. The main restaurant and in-suite dining is also available at breakfast. Afternoon Tea was served in the Observation Bar at the top of the ship, with assorted savoury sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and various cakes and pastries, all served alongside your choice of Twinings tea.

Seabourn Ovation - Cocktails in the Observation Bar

There are several bars on board; the Observation Bar was our favourite, with a selection of tapas in the evening and a duo playing easy listening music and tunes during our pre-dinner drinks. The outdoor pool bar is open during the day and in the evening during any outside entertainment. The Club lounge next to the small casino also had a bar where we headed for post-dinner drinks.

The mornings started for us with Body Conditioning, Pilates or Morning Stretch. These classes were held in The Studio within the Spa, or outdoors on the deck. Complimentary seminars and classes are held throughout the day, and there is a hairdressers, nail salon and treatment rooms for facials and massages. The Spa also provided entry to an area with hot stone beds, steam room and sauna.

Seabourn Ovation - Spa

Seabourn Square is the hub of activity on the ship. Here you can browse the Library for books, use the internet, book with the Future Sales Consultant on board (for additional benefits) or generally get assistance with any of the Guest Services staff. They were especially helpful in assisting guests with their Passenger Locator Forms for the return to the UK. There is also a coffee bar where you can have hot drinks, either pre-ordered or on arrival, along with a selection of sandwiches, pastries, fruit, cereal and ice cream.

Our itinerary took us first from Athens to Patmos, a small island in the eastern Aegean Sea. Here we strolled around the small port before winding our way up to the Cave of the Apocalypse (which was sadly closed!) stopping for a coffee en route.

Seabourn Ovation - Party on the pool deck

After a day at sea we arrived in Paphos, where we enjoyed some time exploring ashore, then an ABBA and Caviar Sailaway back on board as we departed in the afternoon. After dinner there was a celebration of the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons poolside, followed by Let's Dance on Deck.

Next on our itinerary was Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands. The highlight here was the Old Town with the medieval Street of the Knights, restored just as it was in the Middle Ages. The New Town features hotels along the beach, restaurants and shops.

The following day we arrived in Santorini. Here we took the cable car up to the town of Thira and had a walk around the narrow cobbled streets, admiring the variety of shops both local and designer, before taking the local bus to Oia. This is where you'll see the famous blue-domed houses and churches - simply breathtaking!

Oia village, Santorini

Our final port of call was Monemvasia, just off the east coast of the Peloponnese. The town is linked to the mainland by a short causeway, and access to the medieval town is by foot only, with many Byzantine churches remaining from this period. I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see here, and I would definitely come back to this hidden gem.

Finally we sailed back to Athens, where we left the ship with many happy memories. I'm already dreaming of returning to the Greek islands, and of sailing with Seabourn again!

Cathy enjoying afternoon tea on Seabourn Ovation
Meet the author

Cathy is a Cruise Consultant at Mundy Cruising, having worked with the company for 5 years and in travel for over 22 years. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Paul Gauguin, Ponant, Seabourn, Cunard, AmaWaterways, Viking River Cruises, Tauck and Pandaw. Her favourite destination is Bermuda however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, Adriatic, Myanmar, South Pacific and Antarctica. When she’s not travelling she loves going to the theatre.

More about Cathy

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