Seabourn Quest is the last of Seabourn’s trio of all-inclusive, 32,000-ton ‘yachts’. She was preceded by the sleek, contemporary Odysseyand Sojourn, of which she’s virtually a carbon copy. Décor in creams and whites alongside warm colours – as well as expansive teak decking and an indoor/outdoor nightclub with a pool – make Quest feel more like a boutique hotel than a cruise ship.
What makes the Seabourn product special, luxurious surroundings aside, is the attention to detail in the service; even the lowest-ranking crew member will always go out of his or her way to solve a problem. Seabourn calls its staff ‘clairvoyant’ and it’s true that there are lots of lovely touches. As the sun climbs higher in the sky, butlers circulate around the pool with bottles of expensive Lancaster sunblock; when a guest on the table next to mine in the al fresco Sky Bar develops a sudden craving for caviar to go with his champagne, a beautiful platter of it is miraculously produced.
The majority of the 225 staterooms fall into categories V1 to V5 and are practically identical in appearance, each with the appointments you’d expect from a luxury ship: walk-in wardrobes, huge granite-and-marble-clad bathrooms, a fully-stocked fridge (with drinks included in the cruise fare), one or more flat-screen TVs, DVD and CD players and wi-fi. The only important difference between V1 and a V5 grade is location on the ship, so think hard before you splash out on a more expensive cabin. Suites are, unsurprisingly, very impressive.
There are three main places to dine: The Restaurant, the main dining room, serves contemporary international cuisine; Restaurant 2 offers a quirky tasting menu, with imaginatively presented mini-dishes that come in threes (not good for vegetarians, as there are no variations); while the casual The Colonnade on Deck 8 does superb breakfast and lunch buffets and offers a set menu in the evening.
Instead of a reception area, Quest, like her sisters, has The Square, a kind of cyber-café/library/coffee shop with screened-off desks at which you can get queries answered and book shore excursions. There’s a constant buzz of activity here, particularly at morning and afternoon tea times, when pastries and cakes appear at the coffee bar.
Quest is an outdoorsy ship and guests tend to spend as much time as possible on deck, sitting around the pool and chatting, eating swordfish kebabs and salads from the Patio Grill on Deck 8 and lounging in the two canopied jacuzzis on the pool deck.
Evenings are pretty low-key, though a new cabaret show, Red Hot & Blue, is excellent and surprisingly contemporary. After dinner, people gather in the tiny casino adjacent to The Club, which opens out onto a deck with a pool and hot tubs, should the party get really wild. Nice idea, but the reality is that most Seabourn passengers are 50-plus and evenings tend to be sociable but sedate.
Cruise line: Seabourn
Vessel: Seabourn Quest
Star rating: (identical ships Seabourn Odyssey and Sojourn are 5 star)