I have never considered myself a cruise traveler, nor have I thought about taking a cruise, so, when the opportunity presented itself, I was apprehensive but welcomed the chance to see what it was all about. Sure, the brilliance of unpacking once and seeing multiple destinations and countries was appealing but I always thought it would feel confined with limited choices, and if I am being honest, I love luxury hotels in amazing locations. Having just returned from my first cruise, with Seabourn (I know, lucky me), I can confidently say luxury cruising on small ships has its advantages.
Seabourn is recognized as a pioneer in small-ship ultra-luxury cruising, offering a unique, yachting style experience. With an almost one-to-one staff member to guest ratio, personalized and heartfelt service is at the foundation of their approach to luxurious, relaxed, all -inclusive travel. While spa services, retail, shore excursions and a select list of ultra premium beverages are at your discretion, Seabourn’s considerable inclusive offerings mean you are well taken care of and for the most part, find yourself wanting for nothing.
Seabourn offers an extensive list of voyages and expeditions across all seven continents, from five days (or as long as you want) to their world cruise of 140 days, the world really is your oyster.
Seabourn Itineraries on my bucket list: Greenland & Iceland: Vikings & Volcanoes, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India & Arabia, and from The Amazon to The Antarctic
Travelling to the most desirable locations across the globe at their peak seasons, itineraries visit landmark cities in top rated destinations but most significantly, explore lesser-known smaller ports rarely visited by the larger ships. This I quickly realized made for uncomplicated in port experiences, less crowds, truly authentic cultural immersion at your own pace, and you avoid the unnecessary large groups where everyone has a number and follows the leader.
The experience is tailored-made, the itinerary can be as adventurous or relaxed as you wish. Optional shore excursions fall into one of seven ‘collections’ (interest points) suited to every style of decerning traveler – Cultural, Bespoke, Adventure, Mindful Living, The Essentials, Epicurean and Journeys (escorted multi-day overland experiences mid or post cruise). In short, it is your trip, your way.
The Seabourn fleet, which is the youngest in the luxury cruise segment, consists of six ships in the water and the seventh (the second expedition ship) being delivered in 2023. Ranging from 458 to 600 guests when at capacity, the ships are small yet spacious – effortlessly establishing a warm, relaxed, and sociable atmosphere that is a hallmark of the Seabourn lifestyle.
Design and décor throughout the ship is what you expect from the most luxurious hotels, open spaces with sumptuous seating, unrivaled views with beautiful art & sculptures throughout. Elevated retail spaces offer everything from skin care and jewelry to Seabourn’s signature line of yacht-lifestyle apparel. Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness program by Dr. Andrew Weil is the first of its kind at sea, offering a holistic spa and wellness experience with a wide variety of treatments and services. For those that wish, The Retreat (available on some ships) is an exclusive area, situated on the highest deck, offering a tranquil environment with dedicated services.
Most impressively, the intimate size of the ship means you will rarely queue when getting on and off at ports of call, tables are readily available in the restaurants, outdoor spaces and pool areas always have seating. The design and size of the ship means you frequently see the same passengers and team members creating a friendly and approachable vibe on board.
For the more adventurous traveler, Seabourn recently launched Seabourn Venture, its modern expedition ship affords the opportunity to travel to the some of the most diverse parts of the world in style.
Having a passion for luxury hotels, this perhaps was the part of the experience I was most skeptical of, however, I was pleasantly surprised! The spacious cabins had a residential feel to them while being thoughtfully designed and with the luxury touches one would expect at the finest hotels around the world. A variety of stateroom types are available to suit your needs,
The Veranda Suite, which makes up the bulk of the room inventory is 300 square feet with an additional 70 square foot veranda. The best part of Seabourn's accommodation offerings is that almost every stateroom has large picture windows, leading to a private outdoor seating area – the only cruise line that offer this. Staterooms range from the Veranda Suite to the premier suite categories, the spacious Wintergarden Suite (pictured), which is just shy of 1000 square feet with an outdoor space at 200 square feet.
Rooms are beautifully appointed with a sitting area and bedroom area, available with two twins or a queen-sized custom bed, linens are luxurious and there is ample storage with various cabinets/drawers and a walk-in closet, offering more than enough space for those that prefer a multitude of outfit options. Bathrooms provide a double marble vanity, soaker tub and separate shower, complete with plush terry products and Seabourn’s signature amenity line by Molton Brown.
PERSONAL SUITE HOSTS
Perhaps the most indulgent ‘room amenity’ included on board are the personal suite hosts and attendants, hands down I can say the team taking care of my experience was a highlight of the voyage.
Starting with a bottle of champagne and canapes upon arrival and a variety of thoughtful touches throughout the trip, the team was personable and conscientious of my schedule. Aside from taking care of the room cleanliness, they are also responsible for personalizing the in-room experience, such as stocking the included private bar with my favorite spirits/snacks each day or leaving a handwritten note with a small gesture - I found myself excited to see what was waiting every time I entered the room. The team made a point to connect with me in a heartfelt manner and they went above and beyond to create a memorable first cruise experience. When speaking with other passengers throughout the trip, the hosts were always top of conversation - they really are a key element to the Seabourn’s experience.
Aside from the exceptional offering of champagne and caviar on demand (whenever and as often as your want), depending on the vessel, Seabourn offers up to five elegant dining venues and a host of culinary activations during the trip, the most memorable was the Caviar in the Surf party.
The award wining cuisine is offered in a variety of experiences to suit your mood, from the Thomas Keller Grill (the only by reservation venue), the refined and more formal The Restaurant, Japanese Cuisine, the alfresco Earth & Ocean and the Colonnade, there is ample dining possibilities on board. The Colonnade is the perfect spot for a breakfast and lunch, the most relaxed offering on board, the food station/buffet style set up is exactly what you need before heading ashore or relaxing after an adventure.
Another option and what I will call the heart of the ship - The Seabourn Source offers fantastic coffees, light bites, pastries & gelato in a lounge style setting during the morning and afternoons, complete with the Seabourn Library, providing a wide range of literature.
The elegant Observation Lounge serves Seabourn To Tea (high tea) daily and fantastic cocktails accompanied by piano & live music in the afternoons and evenings.. For those that wish to dine in suite, the twenty-four hour in room dining menu has all the staples you would expect and by request you can have a coursed meal from The Restaurant served on your veranda, or in the suite. Bottom line, the dining on board rivals some of the best land-based restaurants and you will not go hungry.
Seabourn does it right… for those that like to travel well, enjoy tailor made experiences in relaxed luxury, while exploring the world (and unpacking once), this is the cruise line for you.
All photos courtesy of Seabourn