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Action vs Relaxation with Seabourn

15 Feb 2017

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Choice is one of the greatest luxuries of cruising, and the sleek and beautiful new Seabourn Encore delivers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like no other ship.

One day, you could be paddling a kayak along the deserted Pink Beach that fringes wild Komodo Island, looking for birdlife with an ornithologist. Drag your kayak up onto the sand and set out over the reef, snorkelling over rainbow-coloured corals in search of sea turtles, rays and giant clams in the company of a marine biologist.

The next, you could be chilling in your private cabana, a bottle of chilled Bollinger by your side, one attendant polishing your sunglasses while another prepares your grilled sea bass and Caprese salad.

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The Seabourn Encore
Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruises

Explore with an expert

Both these scenarios are relatively new to Seabourn. The first, Ventures by Seabourn, is a new, two-part experience blending lectures and Q&As on board by experts including ornithologists, archaeologists and marine biologists with soft adventures ashore, led by the same experts. These might be kayaking in small groups, or snorkelling, or hiking, but always with an element of surprise, like arriving at a gorgeous waterfall to find a uniformed waiter pouring the champagne.

As Robin West, Seabourn’s senior manager of expedition operations points out, you can have the most beautiful ship in the world but you have to create the memories to go with it. “It’s more about the lifestyle than what the suite looks like,” he says. “The experience far outweighs what the cost might be. People are looking for bucket list items.”

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Paddle the fjords in a kayak
Photo: Getty images

Close to nature

Seabourn Encore carries a fleet of six Zodiac inflatables for its Ventures excursions, taking guests along remote shorelines in search of wildlife. Sometimes, particularly in Alaska and the Norwegian fjords, guests paddle double kayaks, one of the best ways of getting close to nature, with the luxury of complete silence and utter solitude. When the ship is at sea, the team keeps a constant watch for wildlife on the deck outside Seabourn Square, and guests are welcome to grab a coffee, bring it outside and chat, while looking out for whales, dolphins and sea birds. It’s like having your own personal expert to hand, all the way through the cruise.

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The Retreat Seabourn Encore
The Retreat. Image courtesy of Seabourn Encore

Let the Bollinger flow

Another kind of luxury entirely is up for grabs in The Retreat, a smart new enclave on Seabourn Encore’s top deck. For US$249 on a port day or $349 on a sea day, you can enter a whole new realm of lotus eating. Fifteen cabanas are arranged around a hot tub, shaded by giant creamy sails. Each one comes with squashy loungers, a massive TV with wireless headphones, a stocked minibar and a living area that can be curtained off if you fancy a doze.


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What’s most blissful about this is the service. The day begins with a bottle of Bolly (which can be replaced if you run out) and hand-crafted cocktails on demand, which sound weird but taste extraordinary, especially the avocado daiquiri. Staff come round all day with fresh, iced water, canapes and dips, fruit platters, cold towels if you’re in the tropics, ice cream, or in our case, when we could consume no more champagne, tea and cookies. The lunch menu is short but perfect; exquisitely presented shrimp cocktail, grilled fish, beautiful salads, steaks and burgers and after, chocolate sundae and cheesecake with fresh berries. There’s a massage cabana in one corner where you can summon a spa therapist – and claim $50 off a treatment. 

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Service aboard a luxury Seabourn cruise ship
Service with a smile. Photo courtesy of Seabourn Cruises

The pinnacle of pampering

Granted, $249 for a cabana seems a lot but if you think about it, you would easily spend $125 each on a shore excursion, and The Retreat experience lasts an entire day. You’d think a ship like Seabourn Encore was so luxurious that it simply couldn’t be improved on but a day up in this little slice of heaven makes you feel just that little bit more pampered and special. Worth it? Most certainly.


Contact your local Travel Associates Consultant to find out more about cruising the world aboard the Seabourn Encore

Sue Bryant

Sue has been writing about cruising for 18 years and about travel generally since the backpacking days of her twenties, winning multiple awards for her work. She’s sailed on ships large and small to Arctic Norway, Myanmar, India, Ukraine, Alaska, Panama and beyond, although Antarctica and New Zealand are still high on the bucket list. Sue is based in London, where she is Cruise Editor for The Sunday Times newspaper, and has also co-written several books for Insight Guides, including Caribbean Cruises and Great River Cruises, Europe and the Nile.