Style: Small (450 passengers), private-yacht-style in concept.
Scene: Seabourn Sojourn is on her maiden world voyage with all the excitement that entails. Her older sisters (see box below) are all sea-going aristocrats.
Seen on Deck: The well-loafered in quality resort Casual by day. All glitter at night.
I am a passionate supporter of Seabourn. I have sailed to some extra-special corners of the globe on their beautiful ships from Rome to Greece, threading our way through the islands, squeezing through the Corinth canal, lurching (by bus) up to the monasteries of Meteora (waving to the Queen of Spain as she drove past), then back on board bound for Istanbul.
On another occasion I sailed from Colombo, to Cochin, Goa and up to Mumbai.
These destinations were all on the previous generation ships, which were really more yacht-style in the traditional sense, and to this day I treasure every port, every on-board indulgence and the spectacular service and food.
So how would I find Seabourn Sojourn? Fresh out of the Marioti yards in Genoa - she is a sight to behold: Sleek, perfectly-engineered - the high-performance, equivalent of a Maserati, Ferrari or Lamborghini. And that's only the hardware! On board the interior design is confronting to say the least. It is the most-unlike of any ship-shape decor I have ever seen. It is breathtaking. With pale pinkish-blonde paneling throughout, balanced by low-key, backlit, white panels and exposed metal rivets, is architecturally in-your-face. Some love it, others are bewildered by it.
Another illusion is created by the addition of filmy white draperies which drift and swirl with the breezes and gentle movement of the ship. They also act as clever space dividers in the new-concept Seabourn Square, where the focus is on bringing people together - a social mixing pot with library, coffee shop, outdoor terrace, ship service desks and swish shops.
Seabourn Sojourn is a 225 all-suite accommodation ship,197 with verandahs - a perfect size for al fresco dining - especially when you are in some fascinating port. Suites have comfortable living areas with queen-size or twin single bed, lavishly appointed granite bathrooms with stylish contemporary fittings, Hermes , L'Occitaine or Molton Brown toiletries, and even a Pure Pampering therapeutic bath menu. As well, there are flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi access and mobile phone service at sea. Your in suite refrigerator stocked with your preferred spirits, and champagne, beer, and soft drinks are replenished daily. Featured house wines are also complimentary with all meals. Gratuities are neither sought, nor expected.
Around the deck most of my fellow passengers sport Quality Resort Casual .All stops are out on formal nights especially for the round-the-worlders. After all, if you have lugged that gear all the way, you want to get a bit of mileage out of it. Where else do you get to toff it up ashore? Make the most of it afloat.
Fear not, there are wonderful walk-in closets and a butler to help out with such pressing matters .
[The] degustation menu of 11 courses GLITTERS like the CROWN JEWELS - each tiny serve finished with the dedication of a true craftsman.
And where to go once preened and pressed? There are four restaurants
in all: The Restaurant is the more formal fine-dining free-seating restaurant, whereas the Colonnade is more breezy Brasserie in style. Then there is the popular pool deck Patio Grill, and drumroll ,
the triumphant Restaurant 2 - a fabulous showcase for the creative genius of celebrity chef Charlie Palmer
who has 11 highly-applauded restaurants from New York
, to Las Vegas
and Sonoma. His degustation menu of 11 courses glitters like the Crown Jewels - each tiny serve finished with the dedication of a true craftsman. (Reservations are essential here).
For many guests however, the spa is the piece de resistance. It is claimed to be the largest and most luxurious of any of the new luxury ships. It is a sanctuary of health and fitness spread over two decks. Among its highlights are a Kneipp Walk Pool where alternating water temperatures improves circulation; a Kinesis Wall, cardio and strength equipment and more. Then you can luxuriate with a Hot Stone massage, a re-invigorating facial, body wrap or whatever.
And when weather and location permits, the marina deck aft becomes the focus of activity with snorkeling, kayaking, sail boating, windsurfing, banana boat rides, water skiing and an enclosed steel mesh pool for ocean swimming. Cruising doesn't come better than this.
Our Luxury Insider says:
is on her maiden world voyage, younger sister
Seabourn Quest is
due to debut in June 2011. (Elder sister,
made her debut in 2009). The Seabourn fleet now comprises six ships in all: the three new generation ships listed above, and their older siblings -
Seabourn Pride1988, Seabourn Spirit
A little older perhaps, but these ladies are sheer aristocrats and still very much an active part of the Seabourn fleet. They carry 208 guests and a crew of 160. Now, with their expanded fleet covering more than 220 destinations, you could say the world is Seabourn's oyster.
Your very own butler service.
|Most Indulgent Moment:
Caviar in the Surf, where depending on the suitability of the location, fully-clad, formally-attired waiters, wade into the water to serve you caviar (with the trimmings), and champagne, from a surfboard bar.
Has to be seen to be believed.
If it is cool on deck, a staff member will magically appear with a bright orange blanket to wrap around your shoulders, or tuck you in while you snooze on your chaise.
|The Little Things:
A menu of pillow options, luxurious Frette bathrobes (and slippers) for cooler mornings if you fancy your first coffee on your private balcony, or a kimono on a hot August night for that after, after-dinner drink.
Not much. While not discouraged - they would need to be polished teens - although they could enjoy marina activities - snorkeling, windsurfing et al from the marina deck.
Anywhere between LA to
Miami smart resort-wear. Gentlemen a jacket for dinner, no ties necessary. Black-tie or dark lounge suit on formal nights. Ladies - whatever you fancy that makes you feel fabulous.
|Dent in the platinum:
|Luxury Cruise Link: www.
Maggy Oehlbeck 15/3/11