To board Seabourn Sojourn and sail out of Sydney on a sizzling 42 degree Sunday provided a fabulous opportunity to escape the heat and recline in the air-conditioned comfort of this deluxe ship.
But as any Sydney-Hobart yachtsman knows, once through the Heads it is not always smooth sailing. And so it proved for us. Once we turned right out of the Heads, we took the full-force of a southerly buster. Captain Karlo Buer was very apologetic and reassured us we would be out of it later that night. Very late.
Undaunted, we retreated to our suite (Seabourn Sojourn is an all-suite ship) to fetch some warm clothing. Had I packed any? No. Nothing. What an idiot. Still, a colleague on board had made the same mistake – it had been so hot for so long, we could not get our heads around cooler temperatures.
In our suite were welcome-aboard with fresh flowers, fruit and a bottle of fine French fizz.
Well why not? So we did. Then teetered off to dinner without anyone observing we were listing from port to starboard. Blame it on the seas. Anyway, Seabourn guests would be too polite to comment. We were all in the same boat. After all, Champagne and most other beverages are on the house on all Seabourn ships.
The fabulous all-white dining room, The Restaurant, is a design marvel, with soaring ceiling, huge chandelier, filmy curtains, and beautifully-dressed tables. But wait! The white rosebuds in the vases of every table are fake. Surely a no-no on a ship with a Seabourn pedigree?
However, she is undeniably chic, state-of-the-art, and perfectly finished in every respect. So perfect, I found it a bit clinical. I yearned for some big, bold splashy colour. And I found it on a plate in Restaurant 2 – the small, intimate dining room that features the cuisine of celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, who has 11 highly applauded restaurants from New York to Las Vegas. His 11-course degustation menu glittered like the Crown Jewels and tasted like heaven. And over the course of several more days at sea we ate our way through as many menus as we could at all four different restaurants.
On our way back to our suite every day, we had to walk past the spa and fitness centre – a solemn reminder that we might have to lighten-up.