MEET THE CREW
GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND.
Seabourn staff goes above and beyond.
When Seabourn Encore leaves the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, in December, she and her crew will be under the capable command of Captain Mark Dexter. No doubt many of the ship’s crew, and many of the guests who will embark during her maiden season, have had the pleasure of sailing with him in the past, either on board Seabourn Pride or Seabourn Odyssey. He joined Seabourn in 2007, attracted from sister-company Cunard Line to try Seabourn’s smaller ships.
“I was always attracted to the smaller ships for their intimacy, and their ability to reach the most remote parts of the world,” he says. “I love the fact that during a cruise I meet the majority of our guests, many of whom have become personal friends.”
Captain Dexter was born in Portsmouth, England, and grew up in various places in England and Scotland. He now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
“I am really at home and feel I belong here now,” he confesses. “I love the open spaces, the awesome scenery and the outdoor lifestyle.” That love of scenery and the outdoors accounts for the fact that he fills his time off pursuing hobbies that include beekeeping, acting as a New Zealand Cricket umpire and fly-fishing New Zealand’s pristine rivers. He also loves to take in the spectacular scenery, either up close on his Harley Davidson motorcycle or aloft, piloting a glider or a small plane.
Captain Dexter joined Seabourn Encore’s team in mid-June in Italy. He has experience with introducing ships. In 2009, he was master during Seabourn Odyssey’s maiden Mediterranean season, and took her on her first-ever World Cruise.
“There is a team getting the ship ready for our guests; my main focus is getting myself and the crew ready to deliver an outstanding product from day one. With a new ship, we need to practice everyone’s routine duties and procedures to be sure we’re well-prepared.”
As for the ship itself, two areas are particularly interesting to him:
“The bridge layout and equipment is important to me, for obvious reasons. And having seen the drawings of the Adam Tihany-designed public rooms, I was really excited to see those in the flesh. Particularly Seabourn Square, which is the social heart of the ship.”
As for the itineraries during Seabourn Encore’s inaugural season, Captain Dexter knows the ports well, and holds them in high esteem. “Singapore is a simply amazing city with something for everyone, and Sydney, Australia must rank as one of the top arrival ports in the world. The guests always line the decks to see the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and other views as we sail in. But I guess I am biased towards New Zealand,” he admits. “Sailing into Milford Sound, dominated by the lofty height of Mitre Peak, is simply breathtaking in any weather. And I am looking forward to introducing the ship to my home port of Akaroa. I have been learning much about the native Maori people from my best friend Ruru, who is a Maori descendant. In a way, our arrival can be seen as symbolic for them, because according to their tradition, the first Maori people arrived in New Zealand from the sea, in a waka (ship).”
His advice for guests sailing with him on Seabourn Encore: “They will not have seen anything like this ship. She will set standards for others to follow. Between us, we are going to show this ship off to the world, and share some amazing experiences doing it.”
Artist rendering, Seabourn Encore