It is not often that one embarks on a ship and has one’s breath taken away. For me that was my overwhelming impression of the Seabourn Encore, launched just over a year ago. The ship is beautiful, elegant and glamorous but not over the top, nor is she particularly glitzy. She is simply stunning in every way and not only as a result of the remarkable work and vision of renowned luxury interior designer Adam D. Tihany. Her glory is as much about the onboard service, the delectable cuisine, the impressive attention to detail and the practically flawless execution.
As I explored all of its swooping curves of this amazing ship - the stunning atrium staircase alone worth the price of admission - all I could think of was the John Legend lyric from “All of Me”. “Love your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections.” The ship as a whole, is both luscious and lyrical with not a single imperfection. You simply want to gorge yourself on this dazzling and perfect example of ship building and design.
Come with me on a journey of exploration with Seabourn Encore - indeed a feast for the eyes and the senses. A remarkable ship, she represents the evolution of the three Seabourn Odyssey-class ships. While there’s a certain aura of familiarity, it’s as if three young teenagers – Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest have grown, with the arrival of the Encore, into full-fledged, sexy women, with curves and sensuality galore. The Encore is a particularly tactile ship – you’ll want to run your hands and fingers over every cushion, fabric, drapery and covering - and along the harder surfaces too - on every balustrade, piece of wood, sculpture and railing. You’ll delight in the whole ship and also the charming and delightful service provided by a brigade of talented young personnel expressly recruited by Seabourn to ensure the highest levels of personalized service.
Much has been made of the impeccable design credentials of the remarkably talented Adam D. Tihany - and he has wowed in every aspect and small detail. In the ceilings, the furnishings, the positioning of glass, the chandeliers and sconces and so very much more. The ship flows and the ease of getting around is wonderful – public rooms aft and suites mid to forward – each deck anchored by that gorgeous atrium staircase – which is the heartbeat of the ship in more ways than one.
The intuitive super-yacht design is a gift to Encore's 600 privileged guests. Room after stunning room each enhances the other and affords a very special cruise experience. All accommodations are spacious suites with a verandah and a calm and serene atmosphere. A large bathroom with twin sinks and both tub and shower, large walk-in closet and a mini-bar stocked with beverages of your choice combine to define Seabourn’s impeccable credentials. Add to that some really fine cuisine, attentive and thoughtful service from the staff and crew and you’ll find yourself anxious to return time and time again.
It’s the very special and sometimes surprising, Seabourn Moments, however, that really make this cruise line a stand-out. Consistently delighting the guests, the Moments can be caviar and Champagne in the surf, or poolside, or on ice (literally), depending on the itinerary and weather, at sail away, light opera on deck with a beautiful performance by the Seabourn Singers, or dancing on deck as the ship sails through a diamond-lit, starry and inky night. The heartfelt farewell at the end of each cruise, dubbed “Officers on Deck” provides a marvelous way to say goodbye, until we meet again. It gives guests goosebumps and brings everyone together in a charming way – all souls at sea in the same time and space, experiencing each very special moment. This is the magic spell that Seabourn weaves – unforgettable and memorable experiences that resonate for each and every guest.
There are a number of dining options on Seabourn Encore all of which are included in the cruise fare – with a highlight being The Grill by Thomas Keller, a remarkable new offering by the Michelin award-winning American Chef. Reservations are a must for this very popular spot with a focus on classic American dishes. Its accompanying glamorous art deco bar is a great venue regardless of where one dines, and there is a pianist playing popular tunes during the evening. I loved the main dining space – The Restaurant - another major and clever design moment, with gorgeous décor and lighting that never seems crowded or noisy. The classic menu offering is the same each evening, with specialties from Chef Keller and Seabourn Inspirations as well, designed to enhance the range of dishes.
A new, authentic, intimate and very popular dining option on the Encore is Sushi, which is open for lunch and dinner. Absolutely delicious Asian cuisine includes the aforementioned Sushi, as well as Sashimi and Nigiri, Bento Boxes and more. Another perennial favorite on all Seabourn ships is the more casual indoor/outdoor dining space – the Colonnade. I love sitting out on deck here, especially on a sea day, for either lunch or dinner. The menu changes often and theme dinners such as Indian, French, Pacific, Australian and such are offered each evening with an extensive buffet service for breakfast and lunch. One can also choose to dine In Suite for any meal with The Restaurant menu being presented for evening dining. If you want to loll poolside and have a light patio lunch, that’s available too. A small menu of some grill offerings, pasta, pizzas and appetizers, along with a vegetarian option are always available on deck where you can also dine in the evening.
Enjoy the re-imagined Seabourn Square - a meeting place for guests with a lovely, relaxing atmosphere. Sit and watch the world go by, check email or surf the net; have a coffee and some delicious treats, curl up with a good book or plan a great shore excursion. Perhaps enjoy evening cocktails and a great view in the Observation Bar along with an expansive and amazing array of pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres. The Club on Deck 5, adjacent to the small casino, beckons for pre-or post dinner entertainment and an aperitif, and is always a popular spot.
For rest and relaxation, the Seabourn Spa with its newly introduced Spa and Wellness program from the highly-regarded Dr. Andrew Weil, the first of its kind at sea, is impressive. Be inspired and educated as you take part in a Mindful Living Program and further enhance your cruise experience and your mind and body balance, or spoil yourself with a massage and facial, or any of the extensive list of services.
Seabourn sails all over the world and can introduce you to regions and ports you may have never considered visiting - from the Far East to Antarctica and just about everywhere in between. With its partnerships with UNESCO, an extensive selection of pre-and-post cruise land-based options with Seabourn Journeys and the Ventures by Seabourn program which provides guests with remarkable shore excursions that enable them to engage in a more interactive and experiential way, the cruise line takes you on adventures you will never forget.
The ‘Extraordinary World’ of Seabourn, with its all-inclusive sensibility, where all beverages, including premium liquors, wine and Champagne are offered and gratuities are neither required nor expected, is truly a luxury resort at sea. Extra touches are commonplace, names and preferences are remembered, the space on board is generous and the Encore is a ship where elegant adventures and those memorable Seabourn Moments are true touchstones of your cruise experience.
Written by Vanessa Lee. Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Winter/Spring 2018 issue.
PHOTO CREDIT: Seabourn