This year Seabourn is celebrating 30 years of ultra-luxury cruising with the introduction of Seabourn Ovation, the fifth ultra-luxury vessel to join the Seabourn fleet. Seabourn Ovation features 300 oceanfront suites with private verandas, along with modern design elements and innovations in keeping with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance.
We recently joined Seabourn Ovation to discover what sets Seabourn apart from other cruiselines.
THE SEABOURN DIFFERENCE
Contrary to today’s ocean giants, the Seabourn fleet consists of five intimate yacht-like ships carrying between 450 and 600 guests each. On board, guests are served by a crew numbering nearly as many as the guests. They are hand-picked and trained to deliver Seabourn’s signature style of thoughtful, personalized and heartfelt hospitality.
In 2009 Seabourn introduced Seabourn Odyssey, “a game-changer” for the ultra-luxury segment. Carrying just 450 guests, Odyssey offers a wealth of amenities made possible by the highest ratio of space per guest in the cruise industry, including the largest spa on any luxury ship and generous private verandas on 90 percent of her suites. Seabourn Odyssey has since been joined by two identical sisters, Seabourn Sojourn in 2010 and Seabourn Quest in 2011. In December 2016 seabourn launched Seabourn Encore, carrying 600 passengers.
Just like Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation was fashioned by the master in hospitality design, Adam D. Tihany. In keeping with Seabourn’s reputation for understated elegance Tihany created an oversized yacht with contemporary interiors, modern design elements and numerous innovations.
One of the innovations, as introduced onboard Seabourn Encore, is The Retreat. Located on the top deck this exclusive area features a central whirlpool surrounded by 14 private cabanas (an additional Spa Treatment Cabana is also available). The cabanas are designed as private living rooms with their own large flat screen television and personalized refrigerator.
Up to 28 guests can stretch out on comfortable sun loungers, pull up a bar stool or take a table seat under the flower-shaped canopy while enjoying a glass of champagne. While sailing with Seabourn is all-inclusive, access to The Retreat comes with an additional charge.
A FLOATING LUXURY RESORT
Seabourn has replaced the traditional reception lobby with Seabourn Square, a multifunctional “living room” complete with comfortable sofas, easy chairs, cocktail tables and a coffee bar serving specialty coffees, drinks, sandwiches, pastries and gelati.
Located in the center of the room, an enclave is home to Guest Services. Onboard Seabourn the specialists from Guest Services are seated at individual desks, instead of standing behind a counter, to assist guests in a more discreet and individual manner. Outside of the enclave the onboard library offers a selection of fiction, nonfiction and reference books, and computer workstations.
Seabourn Square is also home to The Seabourn Shops selling Seabourn logo wear, fashions, cosmetics, scents and designer luxury goods. Also available is a selection of fine watches and jewelry and a private showroom for diamonds and other gemstones.
Walking through the ship’s corridors we caught a glimpse of the interior of the accommodations. The 300 suites are designed to provide guests a “home away from home” feeling while cruising the world. Every suite includes a comfortable living area, elegant bedding, a walk-in closet, in-suite entertainment options, a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower, luxury bath products by Molton Brown and a private veranda perfect for intimate al fresco dining while enjoying the seaview.
During our visit we couldn’t help but admire some of the more than 1,600 artworks by nearly 120 artists.
Some of our favourite works include a glass piece by Luciano Vistosi, named “Warrior The Second”. The piece, a Murano glass sculpture of polished and hammered lagoon green crystal, is featured on Deck 4 at the base of The Atrium.
Another favourite is a vase by Korean ceramic artist Yoo Eui Jeong. Yoo Eui Jeong uses timeless Korean vase making techniques in order to highlight the influence of contemporary culture on traditional art forms. His one-of-a-kind vase is displayed in Seabourn Ovation’s elevator lobby.
A WEALTH OF CULINARY OPTIONS
To provide guests with a wealth of dining options, Ovation offers no less than five complimentary gourmet restaurants. While Tihany designed the interior, the menu was created and inspired by world-renowned Michelin-starred Chef Thomas Keller. Seabourn and Thomas Keller’s partnership is most noticeable in The Grill by Thomas Keller.
The Grill serves a timeless menu with updated versions of iconic dishes in an ambiance inspired by the classic ’50s and ’60s American restaurant. Seabourn chefs are trained by Chef Keller’s team to create a dining experience like no other at sea.
Sushi – exclusively on Seabourn Encore and Ovation – features an open-kitchen concept where sushi chefs prepare fresh, high-grade sushi created from the finest ingredients. Hot and cold offerings such as Salmon Tataki, Black King Fish Sashimi and BBQ Eel Maki are available as well as a sake menu.
Located right by the pool, The Patio offers luncheon buffets with salads, pastas, soups, grilled specialties and freshly baked gourmet pizza. At dinner time The Patio is trasformed in Earth & Ocean at The Patio, an a la carte dinner venue to entice guests with candlelight seating and a sophisticated menu celebrating flavors from around the world.
The Restaurant offers a fine-dining and open-seating gourmet experience with extensive menus offering a wide variety of delectable choices and dishes prepared to order. The menu includes dishes such as Black Truffle Risotto & Poached Egg, Char Broiled Iberico Pork Chop, Crisp Polenta and Mushroom Cake and Hot Coconut Soufflé. On select nights, The Restaurant offers a selection of dishes by Thomas Keller as well as favorites from Seabourn’s menu.
We enjoyed lunch in the casual The Colonnade. This casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared in open-kitchen style and offered via table service or lavish buffet.
As lunch came to a conclusion, with a second visit to the dessert buffet, so did our visit. We would like to thank Seabourn for inviting us onboard and letting us fall in love with the beautiful Seabourn Ovation.
Since her christening ceremony in Valletta (Malta) on May 11, 2018, Seabourn Ovation has been sailing from the Mediterranean towards Northern Europe for an inaugural season cruising around Scandinavia and the United Kingdom.
For more information visit Seabourn.com.