NINE NAUTICAL TIPS
Seabourn has three all-suite, 11-deck ships: Odyssey (2009), Sojourn (2010) and Quest (2011), each 198m long and with a maximum 450 passengers in 225 suites (197 with verandas) and 335 crew. Seabourn has just sold the smaller Pride (1988), Spirit (1989) and Legend (1993) to Windstar Cruises.
The only extras are: laundry and dry cleaning (there are also self-service laundrettes); vintage wines (bragging rights only; the included wines are very good); beauty, wellness and personal fitness services at the double-deck Spa at Seabourn; organised shore excursions; and purchases from the boutique. I recommend a Thermal Suite day pass ($US30) to Spa at Seabourn (pictured) to lie on warm tiled couches and cushioned waterbeds and to try the dipping pool, sauna, steam room, monsoon showers and outdoor hot tubs.
The small Restaurant 2 is as pretty as a jewel box, but the daily-changing degustation menu is perhaps a bit too experimental in its execution and presentation (sample dishes: lobster corn dog with truffle sauce; butternut squash presse with foie gras sandwich) and you can’t order substitute dishes. However, there is no surcharge (unlike most cruise lines), so it’s definitely worth a try; bookings essential.
If you want a more private pool experience, away from basking rows of sun-starved northerners (and, yes, there are enough lounger beds to go around), head to The Retreat on Deck 11 or the whirlpool up front on Deck 6.
The casual Patio Grill by the pool serves burgers, salads and lighter fare and is perfect if you don’t want to change from your swimwear.
There’s no need to dress up, either, if you’re dining at the Colonnade, but glittery formal evenings in The Restaurant are a real event and usually include the likes of malossol caviar, chateaubriand and lobster on an eight-course menu. (The nightly fare is also available as in-suite service if you fancy a pyjama supper.)
This may be a luxury liner, but there is team trivia and all the expected shipboard fun stuff, including comedians, variety acts, magicians, resident entertainment troupe and dance classes. A sports marina folds down from the stern on summer itineraries for water- skiing or sea-kayaking.
Details are plentiful and appreciated, such as bottled water and hand sanitiser gel being provided before shore excursions; thorough explanations of the sommelier’s wines of the day; fresh flowers in suites and on room-service trays; and luxury toiletries such as Hermes, L’Occitane and Molton Brown.
Book as far ahead as possible for Value Fares, which are up to 50 per cent less than published rates.