BEHIND THE SHIELD
HOW SEABOURN COMPOSES EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGES.
Did you know?
If you have ever wondered exactly how and why Seabourn ends up calling at Putuoshan, China, or Motobu on Okinawa, the answer is because Timothy Littley said we should. Tim is Seabourn’s Director of Deployment & Itinerary Planning, responsible for crafting the daily schedules of each of Seabourn’s ships throughout the year. We talked to him about Seabourn Sojourn’s upcoming itineraries in Asia.
“Asia is an exciting cultural experience for travelers,” says Tim. “It’s exotic, steeped in history, tradition and heritage, and it offers a huge variety of new things to discover.” He is also adamant that a small ship is the best way to cruise there. “Small ships visit ports in a more exclusive way, like traveling up the Saigon River into Ho Chi Minh City,” he explains. “Our ships also enable us to visit off-the-beaten-track ports like the Hundred Islands in the Philippines, Ishigaki in Japan and Vietnam’s picturesque Halong Bay.”
Setting out a deployment is more complicated than simply picking ports, however. “Before I even think about the day-today itineraries, I have to know with certainty the regions where each ship will be, and when,” Tim notes. “I pay special attention to seasonal weather and vessel size,” he continues. “I look at the navigational capabilities of the ship, as well as the logistics involved with operating in Asia; fueling and supplying the ship. I want to ensure we are in the right place at the right time with the right ship, to create the best possible itineraries calling at the most compelling destinations.”
One consideration unique to Seabourn is being alert for opportunities to create signature experiences such as our Caviar in the Surf beach barbecues and Shopping with the Chef. “Asian markets are like catnip for our chefs,” laughs Tim. “There are so many exotic ingredients and spices, vegetables and fruits you don’t see anywhere else. Ho Chi Minh City has a huge market. We also operate a world-class beach party with watersports on the small island of Ko Kood in Thailand. The setting is extravagantly beautiful and the experience is once-in-a-lifetime.”
The Ko Kood beach party is a fixture on Seabourn’s 14-day cruises of Vietnam and Thailand between Singapore and Hong Kong, one of our most popular Asian itineraries and a favorite of Tim’s. “South-East Asia is very rich culturally and gastronomically,” he says, “and this particular cruise is jam-packed with amazing experiences. It visits world-class destinations and ports day after day, each unique in its own way. The ports give access to some of the most monumental natural heritage and cultural wonders in the world. Personally, I also recommend participating in the overland Seabourn Journey to Angkor in Cambodia. You won’t regret it!“
Tim has planned a number of new destinations for Sojourn in Asia. “Puerto Princesa, in the Philippines, has the world’s longest underground river, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests will see an unexpected side of Japan at Motobu on Okinawa. Most guests might not be familiar with Putuoshan,” he admits, “But it is one of China’s four sacred mountains for Buddhists.”
Two more of his favorites are Da Nang, Vietnam, where guests can visit either the ancient imperial capital Hue or the picturesque old trading town of Hoi An, and Thilawa in Myanmar, where he plans a longer stay so guests can see Yangon and also tour Mandalay and the amazing Plain of Temples at Bagan.
So should Club members plan a cruise in Asia? “I highly recommend that travelers choose a destination they feel passionate about,” he says. “Let your desires and emotions guide you. Seabourn has wonderful itineraries in Asia, and to travelers who have not yet taken the opportunity to cruise in Asia, I would say it is a ‘must-do.’ I invite you to look at our Asia cruises. I am confident you will find something appealing.”
Mekong River Delta, Ho Chi Minh City
Halong bay, Vietnam
Angkor Wat, Cambodia