MEET THE CREW
GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND.
Seabourn staff goes above and beyond.
For Seabourn sommeliers, continuous learning is a way of life. With each new cruise, they welcome a new complement of guests with varying tastes, levels of interest and different appetites for exploring the wide world of wines. Sommeliers match those individual palates with the contents of their cellars and the menus served up by the ship’s culinary staff, in an ongoing endeavor to offer each guest the perfect wine on every occasion, as well as assisting them in discovering new wines. Seabourn has selected Canadian-born Karen
Siemens to act as a visiting angel for the sommelier teams, delivering news, advice and expertise from around the world to assist them in their mission.
Karen was born in Ontario, Canada, and grew up on a large farm. She studied anthropology at the University of Toronto, and achieved an ARCT Level at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Her interest in wines eventually led her to the prestigious
Court of Master Sommeliers, where she attained the status of Certified Sommelier.
“I had a career of 20 years in various food and beverage roles before a friend of mine who was a Cruise Director secretly sent my resumé to Seabourn,” she says. “That was in the spring of 2009, just before Seabourn Odyssey launched.
I was upset at him, but I flew to Miami to meet with two of their Hotel Directors, and was hired that day.” She laughs, “Now I guess
I owe him a good bottle of wine!”
Although she enjoyed her previous time as a Head Sommelier on board, she also finds her new role traveling across the fleet as Corporate Head Sommelier very fulfilling.
“The world of wines changes constantly,” she notes. “Every year, in every region, there is a new vintage with its own character and quirks. And of course, wines already in bottles are still alive and changing too. This new role fulfills three of my greatest passions: learning about wines, training and supporting my teams and traveling the world.”
When she is not on board, Karen often visits her family in Canada.
“I stay with family in a small town north of Toronto, or in summer in a lakeside house among the vineyards. My mother would do anything for you, and my father brings out my sense of adventure. I have a great sister and two younger brothers with new families of their own. Simple pleasures and outstanding people keep me humble, “she says. “They are always happy to see me as if no time has passed. I am currently serving as beloved Auntie to all their horses and dogs!”
The most memorable destination Karen has visited with Seabourn is Antarctica, which inspired in her a sense of humility. “Somehow I learned that every moment is fleeting,” she explains, “and we must grab every chance to experience life.”
Karen says her greatest job satisfaction comes from seeing her teams’ knowledge and confidence improve and Seabourn guests’ satisfaction increase. Traveling from ship to ship, she gets to see the results of her work again and again, with many different hospitality professionals and over an extended time. “Now that I have been with Seabourn for quite some time, the teams have come up with a nickname for me. They call me ‘Mummi K,’” she says, “and I admit I find that very endearing.”