Seabourn’s luxury cruising experience puts an emphasis on personalized service, extraordinary experiences at sea and on land, and—in the words of famed Seabourn Ovation designer Adam Tihany—"design, design, design." So when it came time to envision how Seabourn’s newest ship, the Seabourn Ovation (sister ship to the Seabourn Encore) would look and feel, Tihany knew the ship had to be extraordinary. Launching in May 2018, we were among the first on board the newly-minted ship to get an insider’s look at what makes the Seabourn Ovation an ultra-luxury cruising experience.
The Differences Between Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation
While the Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation are near replicas, there are some slight differences that add more capacity in the ship’s most popular areas. The most notable change is Ovation’s Club Bar, which now features a more traditional bar setting than Seabourn Encore’s less-favored discreet bar. The atmospheric bar at The Grill by Thomas Keller (the cocktails, designed by celebrity mixologist Brian Van Flandern, are the best on the ship) is larger on the Ovation, as is the art collection—with more than 1,600 pieces by nearly 120 artists (curated by ArtLink), Ovation has nearly double that of the Encore (which has 974 pieces by 36 artists). The art on the ship surprises and enchants, with even the most remote halls adorned with intriguing photos and prints.
What We Love
The Culinary Program: Set to impress the fussiest gourmand, no bite onboard the Seabourn Ovation feels compromised. Finely tuned by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller, the culinary program is comprehensive, daring, exciting, and at all times remarkably fresh. Seabourn Ovation excels with its high-concept dining options, including the “Earth & Ocean at the Patio” experience available nightly on the pool deck. Don’t miss the chance to eat dinner during one of Thomas Keller’s special nights at The Colonnade (the eatery primarily used as a buffet for breakfast and lunch) where meals are served family style à la Keller’s comfort food mainstay Ad Hoc. Each day, passengers receive a comprehensive guide to the ship’s five main dining options that evening (our favorite piece of reading material onboard), so they can pore over menus and make their dinner reservations. It takes more than 40 days to see the same menu again in the main restaurant—a testament to the ship’s wide range of culinary capabilities.
Best Known For
The Design: Adam Tihany, known for his extensive work in hospitality design (Per Se, The Beverly Hills Hotel) has imbued a sophisticated charm throughout the ship that exudes luxury. With a mission to smooth out the corners on the ship, all lines bend and curve, providing an intimate feeling akin to sailing on your own private yacht. Facing challenges of deck height, Tihany masterfully uses dark wooden accents throughout the ceilings to give each space a sense of height and character. Walking through the ship makes you feel important while the suites feel residential, with a sense of comfort that you’re proud to call home. The comforts extend beyond your typical cruise so much that when it comes time to port you might have doubts about leaving the confines of the sumptuous haven.
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Who It's Best For
Foodies & Luxury Lovers: The ship is ideal for those looking for a luxury getaway without the fuss of a mainliner. Travelers who seek refined and authentic experiences in port will appreciate the intuitive nature of the ship. Attracting a well-heeled scene, Seabourn is eager to welcome younger couples onboard with the subtle angle that cruising with Seabourn offers incredible value. Considering the costs of a land-based five-star hotel, the all-inclusive Thomas Keller dining experiences, the all-inclusive top-shelf open bar, and the level of personalized service paid to each guest, each day onboard can be valued at more than a thousand dollars per person. As for actual cost, expect fares for the Seabourn Ovation to start in the low $500s per person per day.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Quiet Sea Days: Beautiful, seamless, and not for those who seek high-thrill getaways, Seabourn Ovation is more yacht than cruise ship. Don’t expect the bells and whistles of some of the larger, more Vegas-style ships that sail with ice skating rinks and ropes courses. The main attraction on a Seabourn sailing is the comfortable luxury, the dining, and the destinations. Come prepared with a few books and seek out one of the many cozy spots on deck for a decidedly low-key day at sea.
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Seabourn Ovation at a Glance
- Line: Seabourn Cruise Line