Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn’s three 450-passenger, all-suite ships serve an older clientele who’s looking for polish and attention to service. The small size of the low-key ships allows for personal attention, and the itineraries are worldwide, so the fiercely loyal return again and again to see new places. Their favorite itineraries: anything the line hasn't offered before, and the more exotic or far away the better.
What We Love
Order Another Round: If you're traveling with a group (or happen to make friends on board), no one need worry whose round it is because all beers, wines, and spirits are included in the fare. Our advice? It's a pleasure to indulge in Champagne at every meal, and the line keeps it flowing ... all you need to do is ask. This is also a great place to try a new cocktail, and their menu of classics (from Manhattans to mojitos and Negronis) by mixologist Brian Van Flandern never disappoints.
Seabourn Square: This complex has the bustle of a small town center, and it’s the heart of the ships. Passengers flock here to choose a book from the library, read, have a latte and cookies at the café, talk to one of the receptionists about a shore excursion, surf the Internet, browse the shop, and relax with indoor and outdoor lounge seating. Best of all, their brown leather arm chairs allow you to put your feet up and settle in with a book and a proper reading light.
Customized Service: Not in love with pillow chocolates? Having your clothing put away when you leave it out? Having music turned on at turndown? Just let your steward know and they'll serve you, well, the way you want to be served. In addition, they can bring you everything from bubble bath to a standing afternoon order for tea and cookies. You'll find that cruisers in every cabin — from the top suites to the entry-level options — get exactly the same attention.
Best Known For
Top Service: The staff works hard to get to know passengers and will often greet you by name when you become a regular in a restaurant or bar.
Dining Options: You don’t expect to find so many choices on such small vessels — five if you count in-suite dining. Best of all, the quality of the menu choices is impressive, especially in The Grill by Thomas Keller, the new steakhouse that is replacing the Restaurant 2 concept. (Just be sure to secure a reservation early; tables go fast.)
Dressing Up: It isn't just the crew that takes the formal nights seriously. Dress down, and you'll hear about it from the regulars, who love the elegance of tuxedos and gowns and always make room for them in their suitcases. (If you really hate the idea of getting dolled up, make those the night you stay in and order room service on your terrace or have a picnic in bed in front of a movie.)
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Who It's Best For
Sophisticated Travelers: The passengers — who are both older and well-traveled — can be demanding in what they expect aboard, and often it is delivered in spades. Our favorite touch: If you leave your reading glasses behind, the dining room has a tray of loaners on hand to make sure you can make out every word on the menu. They also have black napkins so that you don't get white lint on a dark-colored outfit.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Limited Entertainment: Cruisers who like the big shows and buzz of the big ships may be disappointed with the line’s smaller-scale entertainment. Don’t book these ships if you won’t be happy with cabaret acts, mind readers with brain teasers, pianists, and destination lecturers. One of the hottest events on sea days? The trivia hour, where the debates can get pretty heated.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.