As soon as I stepped on board I really was very impressed. Although I have seen a few of the Seabourn yachts since I first started cruising this was my first time on board one of them and I was savouring every single moment.
Our first stop was the Observation Lounge, a small bar area with superb panoramic views from the front of the ship. Here we had a never ending supply of champagne and caviar canapés. I took the champagne but opted out of the caviar, I just don’t have the pallet for it.
After 20 minutes or so it was time to start the tour. Our guide was very good, he gave information on every area we stopped in and didn’t rush ahead, and there was ample time for everyone in the group to get a real feel for what a cruise with Seabourn must be like and to take plenty of photographs of course. Sometimes you can feel rushed but this certainly was not the case. The staff wanted you to soak up the atmosphere and feeling, and I wasn’t going to say no!.
We explored most outdoor areas including the mid-ships pool. All I can say in regard to this area is WOW. This truly must be one of the best places on earth when the ship is sailing and the sun is out. Everything was perfect! Each sun bed was lovingly arranged and adorned with fresh folded towels. The hot tubs were literally steaming, tempting you to go in and relax. There was fresh pizza on the outdoor grill and not one thing seemed out of place, it looked and felt simply perfect.
Another area on our tour was the Casino. Not very big but more than suitable for the number of guests on board. There were a few slot machines and then your typical roulette wheel and black jack tables. The casino sat just alongside an area that our guide said was called the “Seabourn Square”. This area consisted of on board shops, library area, interactive area and a reception area.
Next we made our way to the buffet area, this was very busy. Many passengers were back on board and simply wanted something to eat. Again I was simply in awe of how even this area was oozing sophistication. You think of a buffet area on your average cruise ship…….now times it by 10 and you get what I was looking at. Although I didn’t manage to get right in to where the food was I did manage to spy at a few of the passenger’s plates. The food looked superb and the choice was unreal. There was more choice here for 400 passengers than you ever find on a ship for 3,000. One woman walked past with a king prawn on her plate that looked like it had been growing in compost for the last 6 months. It was HUGE! The deserts were also special, lovingly prepared and presented as if for a fine dining restaurant. Everything looked delicious; I think everyone in the group simply wanted to dive in.
We continued with our tour visiting other areas including the salon and spa. I could have stayed here all day; you simply have not encountered a spa area like it. Again this was perfect. Heated ceramic beds, crisp white folded towels placed upon them. A water fountain in the middle that we were told was hot on one side and cold on the other, the idea is you walk through it? It was precisely what you want from a spa area, it was quiet, the colour tone was relaxed, and the lighting was perfect, even the room temperature was exactly as it should be. Passengers on board could have full access to this area through spa packages, one of which was $300 and sounded like sheer heaven.
As we carried on our adventure there were numerous examples of why Seabourn is a 6-star cruise line. OK some things I am sure won’t make any difference on the rating scale but they were really nice touches and I am a firm believer in the little things do make a big difference. For example the lifts, on the inside they had a leather border on the walls, where else have you seen that before?!. Outside one set of lifts was a huge glass cabinet and contained within was a beautiful wooden model of a yacht.
Even the cabin corridors were something special. There didn’t seem to be an endless stream of doors. Now I know the ship is only small but still everything had space and privacy. The doors were set back slightly; a dark wooden colour and they looked slightly different to your typical cruise ship cabin door. The carpet looked brand new, the colour on the walls was slightly warmer than on other ships I have been on and even the lighting on the stairways felt softer. It gave such a warm and pleasant feeling. As I said, the little things can make a big difference.
Our last stop was definitely the best! The main dining restaurant. Again I walked into this area and was blown away. It was simply beautiful. The best way I can describe it to you would be imagine it is the type of layout and décor every bride would dream of for her wedding day. It was crisp, clean, simple yet stunning. The fine white china glistened off the oversized chandeliers that hung above the tables. I could only imagine what an evening meal in this restaurant would be like. It was one of the most beautiful spaces I have ever seen.
All I can say to close is thank you Seabourn! The Sojourn is a wonderful ship and I hope more yachts of Seabourn will call at Port of Tyne in the not so distant future!
To those of you maybe considering booking a Seabourn cruise, you really should! You will more than likely have the bext cruise experience of your life.
You can view the Seabourn Sojourn photo album here – http://on.fb.me/JNGi3N