The Seabourn experience just got even better, as Seabourn Sojourn makes her first world cruise. Words: Maggy Oehlbeck
With the addition of three new-generation ships – Seabourn Odyssey (2009), Seabourn Sojourn (2010) and Seabourn Quest (2011) – Seabourn’s fleet now comprises six luxury vessels. The expanded inventory allows the company to offer stops at 266 ports in 78 countries.
A committed Seabourn voyager, I have sailed to some extra-special corners of the globe on Seabourn Spirit, exploring the Greek islands, squeezing through the Corinth canal, visiting the monasteries of Meteora and, on another occasion, sailing up India’s Malabar coast from Cochin to Mumbai. (Seabourn Spirit is one of the line’s earlier-generation ships, along with Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Legend. All are going strong.)
I’m now aboard Seabourn Sojourn, which is fresh out of the Mariotti yards in Genoa and on her first world voyage. Superbly designed and engineered, this high-performance vessel is the seagoing equivalent of a Ferrari. The innovative interior features pale-blonde panelling throughout, an exemplary choice of fine art, and clever use in the lobby and fine-dining room of backlit white panels with exposed rivets and filmy draperies. This décor provides a refreshing ‘shock of the new’, though the white-on-white impression may leave some yearning for a bold splash of colour. The draperies are repeated in Seabourn Square, a new-concept social mixing pot featuring a library, coffee shop, service desks and swish shops.
Seabourn Sojourn has all-suite accommodation, 197 of the 225 with verandahs. Suites have comfortable living areas, queen-size or twin-single beds, lavishly appointed granite bathrooms with stylish contemporary fittings, Hermès or Molton Brown toiletries, a flat-screen TV, wi-fi access and direct-dial telephone. Your in-suite refrigerator is stocked with your preferred spirits, the champagne, beer and soft drinks replenished daily. Featured house wines are complimentary with all meals. Gratuities are neither sought nor expected.
There are four restaurants on board. The Restaurant, an elegant fine-dining venue, and the more eclectic and adventurous Restaurant 2 showcase the skills of celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, whose 11-course degustation menu (reservations essential) is a shimmering artwork of tiny masterpieces. For less formal fare, there is the popular pool-deck Patio Grill or the breezy brasserie-style Colonnade. Alternatively, try one of the ship’s six bars and cafés.
The pièce de résistance for many passengers is the spa, the largest and most luxurious of any new ship. Spread over two decks, this sanctuary of health and fitness features a Kneipp Walk pool (where alternating water temperatures improve circulation) and a Kinesis Wall (for improving cardio fitness and core strength), in addition to an extensive spa menu.
Those craving outdoor activities are not neglected: when conditions permit, the Marina Deck aft becomes the focus for snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, banana-boat rides and water skiing, even featuring an enclosed pool for ocean swimming.
With all this at your fingertips, no wonder the Seabourn Sojourn experience represents the ultimate in cruise travel.