Seabourn Encore docks in Darwin this weekend as part of a 16-day cruise from Bali to Sydney, and will follow with 16-day cruises from Sydney to Auckland and Auckland to Sydney. A 16-day cruise from Sydney to Bali, departing March 6, starts at $8499 a person twin-share; the full 42day voyage ends in Dubai. Seabourn Encore will return for a longer season in our waters in November, offering a range of 16-day voyages to February, 2018. More: 132 402; seabourn.com; encore.seabourn.com. Marina Bay Cruise Centre. It is a gala event, with lion dancers and drummers, excited crew and inaugural voyage passengers, overseen by the chief executive of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald. Musical theatre star and soprano Sarah Brightman has been designated godmother of the ship and will send it on its way with the ceremonial bottle break.
The last time I was in the same space as Brightman, it was London’s Theatre Royal in 1987; she was onstage with Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera and Princess Diana just happened to be in the audience, clad in red leather trousers. It’s a fair bet Brightman doesn’t remember me like I remember her. On this occasion she pays tribute to Encore and the honour of being its godmother, but doesn’t sing its praises, so to speak. She pulls a lever and we see video of the bottle’s crash against the bow.
In these first days, Tihany says he has enjoyed walking the ship, listening for comments and any criticisms. “What could we do better? I’m still waiting for an answer,” he says.
Graham Erbacher was a guest of Seabourn.