A Stylish Lady:
Seabourn Sojourn Debuts
By Georgina Cruz
If one had to summarize the Seabourn Sojourn with just one word, “stylish” would come to mind.
Second of a trio of new Odyssey-class, 32,000-ton sister vessels for Seabourn, the Seabourn Sojourn, though bigger than previous Seabourn ships, still has the ambiance of an elegant yacht.
Built at T. Mariotti in Genoa, Italy, its decor is understated and refined, mostly in neutral tones with color accents here and there.
My husband Humberto and I arrived at Port Everglades at 2:15 p.m. for a two-night preview voyage for press and travel agents, in plenty of time for our prescribed 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. boarding time. We did not get to our suite until 4:05 p.m.
Some passengers told us they waited two hours to board. We were told that the culprit was a computer glitch that's hopefully now resolved; this was the first time the ship embarked passengers in Port Everglades.
What helped - despite the brief delay? While we waited, Seabourn waiters in white gloves offered us champagne, mineral water and fruit punch.
Once onboard, we immediately felt the warm embrace of Seabourn’s service. Cordial staff greeted us and assisted with our hand luggage and showed us to our suite. Liliana, our stewardess, materialized bearing glasses of champagne, canapes and fine soaps.
During our two-night preview voyage, I quickly determined that the Seabourn Sojourn is a mega-yacht where the line's legendary service reigns -- with 335 crew members ready to pamper and serve 450 guests. Amazingly, many of the staff knew our names by the first full day at sea.
Those who are familiar with the Seabourn Odyssey, will instantly feel at home on the Seabourn Sojourn as the ships are virtually identical – the spa is essentially the only facility that has been changed on the Seabourn Sojourn.
Seven of the ship’s 11 decks boast 225 suites – all have ocean views with either a window or a glass door to the veranda. Ninety percent of all suites have balconies.
Suites themselves are spacious -- ranging from 295 to 1,182 square feet of indoor space. Add to that the verandas, and you have an additional 65 to 505 square feet of outdoor space.
Our suite, #605, featured a comfortable living area decorated in tones of brown, cream and gold. There was a separate bedroom area and the marble-and-granite-accented bath had both a tub and separate shower. Bathroom amenities include toiletries by Molton Brown, Hermes and L’Occitane.
Suite amenities included a personal bar and refrigerator stocked with guests’ drink preferences. Guests also enjoy an iPod dock and interactive flat-screen television with complimentary movies and music selections.
Liliana spoiled us by drawing a bath with our choice of the Pure Pampering therapeutic bath menu.
Other suite perks include an umbrella, world atlas and fruit basket (replenished daily). A nice touch was the shipwide WiFi access.
One of my favorite areas is Seabourn Square, the heart of the ship and a new feature of the Odyssey-class vessels.
The square incorporates a relaxed lounge with concierges ready to assist with questions and requests.
It also serves as a library, and has multiple shops, a café, eight computer stations and an outdoor seating area.
Here is the best place onboard to spend a pleasant morning or lazy afternoon -- chatting, reading and enjoying a cup of coffee.
Another great place to relax onboard is adjacent to the teak-decked outdoor pool and whirlpools on Deck 8. Staff deliver delightful frozen fruit sorbets and chilled towels to cool down guests.
Water lovers might head for another outdoor pool and whirlpools on Deck 5.
Or, if you want to catch some rays, Deck 11's Sun Terrace is the place. It's adjacent to The Retreat, which boasts a giant chess board, shuffleboard and two small putting greens.
Spa enthusiasts will likely enjoy the facilities and treatments at The Spa At Seabourn, a two-level, 11,400-square-foot facility with a gym, fitness studio with Kinesis Wall and beauty salon.
Located on Decks 9 and 10, The Spa on Seabourn Sojourn is noticeably different from its counterpart the Seabourn Odyssey. The large hydrotherapy pool on the Seabourn Odyssey has been replaced by a Kneipp Walk, a round wading pool that resembles a fountain.
It has hot water on one side, cold water on the other, with lounge chairs all around. Guests utilize each side to stimulate circulation.
On a personal note, while it's clearly something new for cruisers, I'm a huge fan of hydrotherapy pools. So I was distressed to see this change.
Access to this area with the Kneipp Walk and steam/sauna facilities is free on the day guests book a treatment. Otherwise, there's a fee of $30. Before and after a treatment, guests might utilize indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.
A Spa Villa on Deck 10, is also available to book with treatments. It's a luxurious tented area with daybeds, massage tables and a large, free-standing bath. Cost is $650 for two people.
In addition to spending a blissful time in the spa, guests might enjoy such other daytime pursuits as bridge games, cooking demonstrations and complimentary water sports from the portable marina located aft on Deck 2.
A business center and a self-service launderette are available. The ship also provides full laundry and dry-cleaning services.
Dining in Style
Mealtime is an occasion on Seabourn Sojourn. Among the four onboard dining venues is the cream-and-white Restaurant, the main dining room.
Located on Deck 4, it features fine dining selections with open seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unless you order a premium wine or spirit, drinks -- including wine, beer, soda and cocktails -- are complimentary.
Menus with gourmet fare including regional specialties and an attractive presentation are designed by Charlie Palmer, a two-time winner of the James Beard Award.
Chef Palmer is the creative force behind 11 land-based restaurants from New York to Sonoma.
My personal favorites? I loved the twice-baked goat cheese soufflé with roasted sweet garlic cream, as well as the grilled lobster tail with soft truffle gnocchi and beef Wellington with sauteed vegetables.
Hint? Guests can order these and other favorites as room service fare during regular evening dining hours.
Each day different complimentary wines are served to accompany the meals. Additional wines are available for purchase from a premium wine list.
While Seabourn has shifted a bit toward less formal attire, most evenings the dress code for The Restaurant is still “jackets required.” Some nights are more formal and designated as “black tie optional” with most men donning tuxedos or dinner jackets.
Three more casual dining options are available, all on Deck 8. Our favorite for breakfast was The Colonnade, a restaurant exclusive to the Odyssey-class ships. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this venue features an open kitchen.
Breakfast offers such choices as omelets, fresh berries, succulent papaya slices and smoked salmon. Dinners here have ever changing flavors with different cultural themes – perhaps French one evening, Italian or Asian the next.
Restaurant 2 is an intimate, avant-garde venue decorated in a striking red and black scheme. It serves wine and food pairings degustation style -- with seven small portions to savor -- and features an occasional themed dinner.
On the menu one evening during our sailing we enjoyed the degustation style offerings. Among the small portion items were artichoke salad with seared sushi tuna in black olive vinaigrette; roasted duck breast with mango and chili mint oil; and barbecue glazed short rib.
Reservations are required for Restaurant 2 but there is no fee unless guests order from the premium wine list.
Poolside, cruisers also may dine for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Patio Grill. Not to be missed?
In the morning, the freshly baked cinnamon buns are mouthwatering.
Guests also enjoy savory gourmet pizzas in the afternoon
But if you just can't get away from your suite, the line offers 24-hour in-suite dining. The room service menu includes chilled shrimp cocktail, rosemary roasted chicken breast and grilled salmon.
Guests who order from the restaurant menu during dinner hours may opt to have the meal served course by course in their suite or on their veranda.
After dinner, guests may relax in six lounges and bars. The Observation Bar on Deck 10 features live music. You'll enjoy cabaret-style entertainment and a six-piece band in the Grand Salon on Deck 6.
I loved the “I Write The Songs” show with four singers and a pair of ballroom dancers performing the hits of Billy Joel, Elton John and Barry Manilow. For dancing, head for the The Club on Deck 5.
Those wishing to tempt Lady Luck might visit the Casino, next to The Club, a nightclub on Deck 5. Fun evening events on Seabourn Sojourn include Movies Under the Stars, with hot popcorn, of course; Dessert Under the Stars with sinful treats from the chef; and Dancing Under the Stars on special nights.
Schedules and More Information
Guests on this ship are generally well-heeled, well-traveled couples in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
After only a few sailings in late 2010 from Port Everglades, Seabourn Sojourn, will sail elsewhere in the world during 2011.
But the good news is that the ship will return for several departures from Port Everglades in early 2012.
On Feb. 17 and Feb. 27, 2012, the ship will sail 10-day "Caribbean Sojourn" itineraries roundtrip from Port Everglades.
Port calls will include San Juan, Puerto Rico; Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; St. John's, Antigua; Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Isla Catalina in the Dominican Republic.
In addition, the vessel will depart Port Everglades on March 8, 2012, on a 15-day trans-Atlantic voyage to Nice, France.
For more information on Seabourn, visit www.seabourn.com.
All photos above are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line. Do not copy nor utilize in any way without permission from Seabourn. Photos are representative of the look of the Odyssey-class ships, but Seabourn uses "generic" shots to represent all ships in that class.
This first-hand professional writer review was written following a recent press preview cruise, in which the writer received complimentary accommodations and certain other features onboard in order to view and write about this ship.That said, neither SouthernCruising.com nor the writer were paid in any way by the line for any content nor did the line have any input into this story prior to publication. The views represented here are those of the writer alone. All rights are reserved by SouthernCruising.com. (TM) for this content and its usage.