Seabourn's biggest ships ever, these two newbies use their extra space to great advantage, most notably with wonderful public spaces (especially the dining spots), a superhigh passenger/space ratio, and balconies off virtually every suite.
Typical Per Diems: $350-$495+
Seabourn Odyssey sails the Panama Canal from Ft. Lauderdale (winter).
Seabourn Quest sails the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale (winter).
Seabourn Sojourn sails New England/Canada from New York & Qu?bec City (fall).
Until 2009, Seabourn hadn't had a new vessel in 17 years (since the launch of Seabourn Legend in 1992) and no one thought it ever would have one again -- mostly because it was presumed that Carnival Corporation, the line's owner, would consider it more economical to put money into bigger ships. To everyone's pleasant surprise, we were wrong. And to everyone's even pleasanter surprise, the ships turned out to be fantastic: spacious, luxurious, with just the right mix of new features and old favorites that longtime Seabourn guests have come to expect.
Because Sojourn debuted in summer 2010, just as this guide was going to press (and since Quest isn't due to launch until summer 2011), all details in this review refer to Odyssey -- but no worries: The ships are essentially identical.
The ship's 225 suites are all outside, and 199 of them have private balconies. All are done in a softly muted color palette with fashionable furniture that doesn't clutter up the room or distract by being over-the-top plush. About 85% of all rooms fit into the Seabourn Suite (295-300 sq. ft.) and Verandah Suite (295-300 sq. ft., plus a 65-sq.-ft. balcony) categories. All of these staterooms have separate bedroom and living room areas, queen-size or twin beds, walk-in closets, flatscreen TVs with music and movie channels, a fully stocked (and complimentary) bar and refrigerator, a writing desk (with personalized stationery being a nice, if sort of frilly, touch), a separate tub and shower in the bathroom, robes, slippers, hair dryers, and more. Both the walk-in closets and the drawers are plenty spacious and the push-to-open-and-close mechanism for the drawers is excellent.
At the higher end, accommodations run from the Penthouse Suites (436 sq. ft. and larger, plus 98-sq.-ft. balconies) all the way up to the Wintergarden Suites (914 sq. ft., plus two balconies totaling 183 sq. ft.) and the forward placed Signature Suites (907 sq. ft., plus 353-sq.-ft. balcony). Passengers who book the Wintergarden or Signature Suites but still need more leg room can book the suites next door as well, and the two can be connected to make one enormous space. All of these suites come with added amenities when compared to the standard suites, including (based on category) separate dining areas, an extra TV, a butler pantry, whirlpool tubs, a guest bath, an extra closet, an extra bedroom, a glass-enclosed solarium with a tub and day bed, and even an extra bar. The Wintergarden Suites, placed as they are midships, have a curved balcony that allows 180 degree viewing forward and aft.
Seven suites are wheelchair accessible.
Odyssey and Sojourn are much more than proportionately larger vessels compared to Seabourn's earlier ships. The company has done a sensational job of using the extra tonnage while also increasing the passenger-space ratio, and it has done this while remaining faithful to many of the design and decor features that made the three smaller ships so popular and so highly rated. The Club is one popular room that has gotten bigger. There's still the back bar area, sort of set apart from the rest of the room and the stage by glass barriers, while the rest of the room has the stage, the dance floor, and lots of seating. The aft area outside the Club has a pool, whirlpool, and a smattering of seating. It's one of the ship's many great daytime escapes. Seabourn Square is a new addition that's a big hit with passengers. Essentially serving the purpose of a concierge area (such as you'd see at a small luxury hotel), it has four central desks where staffers take care of all administration needs, including those traditionally covered by the purser's desk (of which there's none on board). Grouped around are various sitting areas for the library, the Internet area (with its eight computers), and a neat little European-style cafe serving snacks and beverages.
The main entertainment lounge is the place for the small production shows staged by four talented performers. This is the only room on board that's not quite up to snuff, or at least to the fine snuff that's otherwise the standard here. Pillars hinder sight lines and the assorted seating types are less than really comfy. Another evening (and day) area is the Observation Bar way up on Deck 10, which has a 270-degree view over the bow. It's a wonderfully quiet room during the day and a fun conversation/dancing/meeting place in the evening, when a piano player is on hand for live pre/post-dinner music. Other public rooms such as the casino, card room, and shops are no larger than they need to be.
Pool Fitness & Spa Facilities
This is an area where Seabourn has really put Odyssey and Sojourn's extra space to great use. The pool area on Deck 8 is very spacious (much more so than on the line's smaller ships) and is a wonderful location for relaxing and enjoying the outside world. The nicely sized pool is surrounded by two large whirlpools. Above the pool area, on Deck 9, is additional space full of deck chairs. One surprising note: While the chairs were comfortable, there were no cushions. Way up at the top of the ship and forwardly placed is the Sun Terrace, probably the quietest place to relax and enjoy the view and the rays. Perhaps the most overlooked pool area is the aft section of the ship behind the Club, which has a small pool plus two whirlpools, lounge chairs, and tables. It's quiet and the views over the ship's wake are mesmerizing.
Seabourn is justifiably proud of its two-deck spa and gym area, called simply the Spa at Seabourn. Run by Steiner Leisure (as are most other ship spas), it's a series of rooms ranging from gym to spa, salon to private villas, spa pool to "kinesis wall" (a new kind of modular strength-training system that requires some explanation from one of the gym's trainers). Overall, it's 11,400 square feet and designed with an indoor/outdoor look and feel. The gym is much larger than aboard the line's smaller ships, with 19 pieces of training equipment as well as eight high-tech treadmills. Those who want a retreat within a retreat can rent out either of two spa villas for specialized treatments of up to 4 hours (or longer based on special arrangements). Each villa can accommodate up to four guests for private massages including stone therapy, facials, bathing rituals, and more. The regular spa and salon are no slouches either when it comes to offering exotic treatments, including the Seabourn 24 Karat Gold Facial, the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial, SkinCeuticals Gel Peel Treatment, Bamboo Massage, Thai Herbal Poultice Massage, Fire and Ice Manicures, and Pedicures and many, many more, all of them in the not-so-cheap category.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.