The Seabourn experience is so different that the cruise line doesn’t even call its vessels ships. It refers to them as “the yachts of Seabourn.”
True, they are much smaller than typical cruise ships. The largest in the fleet—the Odyssey, Sojourn and the new Quest—can accommodate up to 450 guests, with the smaller ships limited to 208. For comparison purposes, large ocean liners have a guest capacity of about 1,000, with some mammoth superliners going as high as 2,500.
And yet there is nothing small about the experience. On the Quest, which recently made its debut on North American shores, every room is a suite, and 90 percent of these have balconies. Unlike other lines’ staterooms, where you always seem to be bumping into the furniture, even the most basic suites on the Quest have walk-in closets, generous sitting areas, writing desks, tables inside and out for private dining (any meal can be taken in suite), and bathrooms with separate tubs and showers and double vanities.
Public spaces are large, too (with the exceptions of the casino and Restaurant 2, the more-intriguing dining option, which seats only 48). For example, the two-deck spa measures 11,400 square feet and offers a Kinesis wall, herbal bath facilities and an extraordinary indoor/outdoor spa villa that is ideal for couples.
The main benefit of cruising Seabourn, however, is the service, in both quantity—the Quest’s mostly European crew numbers upward of 330, for a guest-to-crew ratio of nearly one-to-one—and quality. The company training must be rigorous, because these polished men and women ensure you want for nothing. If you happen to be aboard a cruise that offers the Caviar in the Surf experience, you’ll know what we mean. After the ship anchors, servers walk in the shallows with trays in hand to ply you with Champagne and caviar as you float without a care. It may not be for everyone, but no one can dispute it is the height of indulgence.
As you read this, the Quest is on its maiden world cruise, stopping at such ports as Cape Town, South Africa, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before terminating in Venice, Italy, in April. That enviable itinerary includes enrichment programs like lectures by composer Marvin Hamlisch and astronaut/aquanaut Scott Carpenter, performances at the Saigon Opera House, and private tours of the eponymous winery of golfer (and Jupiter resident) Ernie Els.
All this is typical of the Seabourn experience, where much is lavished upon few. After tasting it once, it’s hard to imagine any other way. seabourn.com