Apart from being one of the most beautiful ships I’ve ever seen (apart from her identical twin sister Odyssey), Seabourn’s newest ship, Seabourn Sojourn, provided welcome air-conditioned relief from Sydney’s stifling heat on Saturday. We were on board for a walkaround and lunch, and to meet Seabourn

President Pamela Conover before she steps down from this role as Seabourn moves from Miami to Seattle. (She will continue to be a special advisor and brand ambassador for the line.) Stand-out features include Seabourn Square, a central gathering spot comprising café, library, shops, computer hubs and bookings desks (which replaces the traditional reception area); the luscious spa on Deck 9 (which includes the ultra-luxury, private spa villa, booked out by one passenger for an entire cruise segment at an extra $600 a day); and the magnificent spiral staircase.

Lunch was served in The Restaurant, an elegant, contemporary space: dishes included seafood ceviche, grilled rainbow trout, rib-eye steak and an array of exquisite sorbets, ice creams and even a sugar-free (how can that be?) chocolate hazelnut mousse. We had the pleasure of Captain Karlo Buer’s company at lunch; a Norwegian with a wry sense of humour who has been at sea since he was 16, he has served as captain on all Seabourn’s ships over the past 19 years. Captain Buer mentioned that there was a couple on board who have taken 250 cruises, and another couple who have clocked up 2,000 days on Seabourn ships … who knows how they fund their addiction but it is certainly a magnificent obsession. Seabourn Sojourn set sail yesterday for Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle, then onwards to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and finally Southampton, which will complete her maiden world voyage.

The Seabourn fleet includes Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit, Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn; Seabourn Quest will enter service in June 2011.