NINE NAU­TI­CAL TIPS

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Afloat -

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.

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