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Seabourn Sojourn
Luxury Cruising through the
"Yachtsman’s Caribbean"

by Linda Coffman

December 2010, Miami, FL — Founded on the principle that dedication to personal service in elegant surroundings would appeal to sophisticated, independent-minded passengers whose lifestyles demand the best, The Yachts of Seabourn has lovingly maintained their original trio of megayachts for more than two decades. Although the 208-guest Seabourn Pride, Spirit, and Legend, which entered service in 1988, 1989, and 1992 respectively, have been routinely updated with new features, the announcement late in 2006 that Seabourn would embark on a building program and add a new set of triplets to the fleet was met with great expectations by the line's past guests as well as industry watchers.

Launched in 2009, the 450-guest Seabourn Odyssey was followed by Seabourn Sojourn in 2010 and the third of the 32,000 ton ships, Seabourn Quest will enter service in 2011. Triple the tonnage and with more than double the guests onboard, would the larger ships deliver the line's traditional experience of understated elegance and signature features in a larger setting? That's what the Cruise Diva team set out to discover as we boarded Seabourn Sojourn in Port Everglades. Our "Yachtsman’s Caribbean" 10-night cruise visited San Juan, St. John, St. Kitts, St. Barts, and Isla Catalina where we splashed in the water during Seabourn's signature champagne and caviar in the surf party. We also spent four relaxing days at sea.

Getting Our Sea Legs
Although we arrived at the terminal at the start of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm embarkation window, check-in proved to be efficient with no waiting. Once upstairs we were quickly escorted on board by stewards who relieved us of our carry-ons and showed us to the Grand Salon where light snacks and refreshments were served until suites were ready. This is where the personal attention began. After less than an hour, stewards began greeting guests by name and guiding them to their suites. Our veranda suite 620 was conveniently located on Deck 6 so it was a short walk from the Grand Salon.

Our stewardess arrived shortly after we did bearing a tray with champagne and canapés and to offer us a choice of soaps for the bath. We were indecisive so she left both soaps after showing us some of the features of our 300 square foot home for the next ten days. There would be plenty of time to relax and enjoy the 65 square foot veranda, so we went exploring and soon found ourselves at the Sky Bar overlooking the main pool. As newcomers to Seabourn we were greeted by a friendly group of repeat guests and quizzed about our skill at trivia. One don't-miss activity is the daily team trivia contest, but we're sadly lacking. Not a problem, we had a grand time getting to know one another and planned to meet later in the cruise for dinner. It's almost a law that sailaway includes entertainment and toasts and we raised our glasses as Sojourn inched away from the pier and we were on our way.

The View Aft of Seabourn Square

The Heart of Sojourn: Seabourn Square
I must admit that before I saw it, I wasn't sure how Seabourn Square would work with no "real" reception counter. As I discovered, the concept is genius. Guest Services representatives are always present at desks in the center of Seabourn Square in a "cubicle" type arrangement. Surrounding their semi-private spot are comfortable seating areas, the computer center, library shelves, the Destination Services counter, boutiques, and the Coffee Shop & Bar, where sandwiches, baked items, and ice cream, as well as cocktails, are served throughout the day. Tucked into a corner of Seabourn Square is the desk of one of the busiest people on board, the Cruise Sales Specialist who is available to book future voyages.

Immediately aft, a wide open deck with more comfortable seating affords a view of the ship's wake and is the ideal spot for sitting in the sunshine or shade to relax. Before long, Seabourn Square became my favorite spot on board. Most mornings you could find me on the aft deck after stopping inside for a cup of coffee and a pastry to start the day.

Dining Delights
As expected, dining on a Seabourn cruise is an exquisite experience. Food and cruise travel just naturally go hand-in-hand and for us the breadsticks symbolized the excellence of the meals on Seabourn Sojourn. Everyone loved them and every night they were perfect—crispy and flavorful. They’re so good that many guests would have gladly taken the breadstick baker home with them. Like the breadsticks, all dishes are carefully prepared using the highest quality meats and seafood for diners in Seabourn Sojourn's four restaurants.

  • The Restaurant is the main dining room where the atmosphere is stylish and elegant, but not stuffy, and the menus are diverse and interesting.
  • The Colonnade is the daytime buffet for breakfast and lunch and features themed evening bistro dining such as French, Italian, Midwestern, Spanish, and Indian, as well as alternative steak and fish offerings with table service, either inside or al fresco.
  • The Patio Grill is poolside with salads, burgers, and other favorites at lunch and table service on most evenings when grilled steaks and seafood are featured.
  • Innovative tasting menus in the reservations-required Restaurant 2 include seven sensibly portioned courses served in a casual, friendly style. Reservations are required, but there is no additional charge.

Wines chosen to complement each meal proved to be very good on our cruise and we enjoyed trying a wide variety of new vintages.

Lastly, of course there is room service which is set up with flair—and crisp tablecloths—en suite, even at breakfast. Guests may order from the restaurant menus during dining hours. Or, if there is something you want, such as the sliced papayas Mel craved at midnight, all you have to do is ask. If it's available, room service will provide it.

Cruise Diva is far from a food critic, but a few dishes deserve special mention. My room service breakfast often included Eggs Benedict after I first tried them just to see how they would measure up to those in the dining room. Even from room service, they were consistently delicious with a creamy lightly flavored sauce and always arrived piping hot. When I ordered Grilled Nigerian Shrimps from the Patio Grill evening menu I expected to receive jumbo shrimps, but had no idea how jumbo. The shrimps, which were served in the shell, were so huge that they could have been mistaken for small lobsters. Every steak I ordered arrived as rare as I like and most didn't need a steak knife to cut them. This may seem like something odd to mention, but Seabourn Sojourn has the very best crispy French fries you'll find anywhere.

While dining hours are set, restaurants are open seating and guests dine with whom they please, when they wish, within the scheduled times. Requests for tables for two were always honored in The Restaurant and evenings in The Colonnade.

Where else are you going to play, relax, and sleep on board?

Seabourn Sojourn -> Part Two

Photographs, © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com

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