I first sailed on Seabourn Encore six years ago when the ship was new. It was a great experience and I was happy to see that this all-suite, all-veranda ship is still in excellent condition today.
On our recent European sailing, we were in a V2 Veranda Suite on deck 8. The suite was beautifully appointed with a queen-sized bed, stocked in-suite bar, large walk-in closet with robes and slippers, comfortable sitting area, spacious veranda, marble bath with separate tub and shower and exclusive Molton Brown bath products. We were welcomed with a chilled bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries. As we had not pre-requested any beverages, our suite host left us a note to let her know of any items we wanted to have supplied. We had more than enough storage space for our seven-day trip. Many cruise lines have done away with single-use plastic bottles and Seabourn is no exception. They provide reusable water bottles in the suite and also had them available at the gangway to grab on your way off the ship as needed. Umbrellas were also provided both in the suite and at the gangway for the few rainy days we experienced. Extensive in-room entertainment was available on the TV with a diverse range of television programming, music and movies to choose from. They do not make announcements in the suites, except for safety purposes. Announcements can be heard in the public areas or on one of the TV channels in your suite.
The food and dining service were of the highest quality you would expect from a luxury line. The Coffee Bar at Seabourn Square is a favorite stop throughout the day. In the morning, coffee, tea and pastries are available with the selection changing to sandwiches, cookies, cakes and gelato later in the afternoon.
The Colonnade is a combination buffet-style restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner with table service for items from the menu and a rotating variety of themed menus throughout the cruise. The Restaurant is the main dining room with “Inspirations” changing on a daily basis and a “Classics” section always available.
The Grill by Thomas Keller has been a showpiece of fine dining for Seabourn for the past eight years. In early 2024, the line will introduce a new Mediterranean fine dining concept called “Solis”.
While we did not dine at Sushi ourselves, we heard nothing but rave reviews from fellow guests about the quality of the meals there. We also did not get to experience Earth & Ocean this time, but were told it was a favorite of others we spoke with as well. You can browse the menus for each dining venue on your suite television or on the Seabourn Source app to help make your dining decision each day. Many guests are familiar with Seabourn’s caviar service – be sure to try this if you are a fan.
We did take advantage of the In-Suite Dining and were impressed with the prompt and professional service of hot food on a white tablecloth with full table setting in the suite. This can also be set up on your veranda when the weather permits. You can choose from the 24-hour-a-day menu as well as service from The Restaurant menu during dinner hours.
Activities and Entertainment
There are quite a few places to relax and unwind both indoors and out – two pools, numerous whirlpools, the Spa and Thermal Area, the Retreat, the Sun Terrace or Seabourn Square. For those who want to play bridge, a board game, or work a puzzle, the Card Room is available.
Of course, there are also several places to enjoy your favorite beverage or to try something new – maybe even something blue! The Observation Bar on Deck 11 forward has a great panoramic view. The Sky Bar and the Patio Bar are found on Decks 10 and 9 respectively at the main pool area. The Club Bar is next to The Club and the Deck 5 pool area. And there is also a bar at the entrance to The Grill.
If you are in the mood to treat yourself, you can reserve one of the private cabanas at The Retreat via the Guest Service staff at Seabourn Square. Daily fees vary depending on whether the ship is at sea or in port. The cabanas provide a selection of amenities including fresh fruit baskets, premium sun lotions, Evian mist spray, plush towels and personalized bathrobes. A dedicated Retreat Concierge is on hand to satisfy guest requests.
In The Club, the Grand Salon and at bars throughout the ship guests were entertained with piano and vocals, a quartet, a band or DJ for dancing and the Seabourn singers and dancers. Guest entertainment included vocal performance and magic acts and a lecturer on topics of regional interest.
The Fitness Center, Salon and Spa were busy throughout the cruise. Various seminars and group courses were offered daily. There is also a small Casino available to try your luck when the ship is at sea.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Lost luggage can put a damper on any trip and, in our case, the airline left my husband’s checked bag in our departure city. Although we had gone to our embarkation port a day ahead, the bag did not arrive until after we sailed. The Seabourn Guest Services team was very helpful in working with the local port agents to organize shipment of his bag to the first possible port. They also placed a shipboard credit on our account as a generous gesture of goodwill even though the airline was at fault. A message was sent to all onboard department heads to advise the situation and a jacket was provided for his use on the one formal night during the voyage. Same-day laundry service can be provided if needed, and we were able to find some additional clothing items in The Boutique on board. They don’t have a dressing room in The Boutique, so you simply fill out a sales slip for anything you wish to try on, then try it on in your suite. If it works out, they ring it up. If not, just return the items and the sales slip is cancelled. We had also purchased travel insurance, which fortunately includes coverage for delayed baggage.
Seabourn’s modern fleet of intimate ships is the perfect way to visit both hidden harbors and marquee ports. With just 600 guests on Seabourn Encore, it was easy to get on and off in both docked and tender ports. It was never crowded, yet the atmosphere was lively and fun at various events on board. Seabourn continues to deliver an extremely enjoyable all-inclusive experience with gourmet dining, luxurious suites and personalized service to match.
We enjoyed both time on our own and meeting fellow guests. For those guests who are planning solo travel, Seabourn has some special offers on select voyages with a reduced single supplement of 110% or 125% depending on the itinerary.