Seabourn Cruises are the epitome of luxury and intimacy. Not for novice cruisers, Seabourn Cruises are the perfect choice for well-to-do, experienced passengers interested in a relaxed, unstructured ocean getaway. Based in Miami, Florida, the line was established in 1987 and acquired by the Carnival Corporation in 1991. Seabourn is among the smallest and most intimate of the luxury cruises lines, providing a very social atmosphere for all guests.
Vacationing with Seabourn
The adventurous traveler who likes to be pampered and explore exotic ports-of call will enjoy Seabourn. With departure points on five continents and ports-of-call on every continent, seeing the world is easy.
Departure ports for Seabourn Cruises are quite diverse throughout the year in order to provide their established clients with a range of cruise options:
- Americas: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Montreal, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts; Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Manaus, Brazil
- Caribbean: St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Barbados.
- Europe: Lisbon, London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Rome, Venice, and Monte Carlo
- Asia: Hong Kong and Singapore
- South Pacific: Auckland, Sydney and Bali
Consult the Seabourn website for upcoming locations of Seabourn ships.
Seabourn itineraries tend to be longer than mainstream cruise lines, and typically range from 7-41 nights and include destinations all over the world. Because the ships are smaller in size, Seabourn is able to navigate rivers and visit remote ports of call that are inaccessible to larger vessels, providing passengers a more intimate glimpse of each destination. They also are often docked right in the heart of cities like London, Seville, Bordeaux, Bangkok and Saigon where larger ships are miles from town.
Seabourn itineraries include destinations all over the world. Some notable itineraries include:
- Up the Chao Phraya River into Bangkok or the Saigon River into Ho Chi Minh City
- Down the west coast of South America to Antarctica
- New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands
- Up the coast of New England into Canada for the fall leaf peeping season
- Less common Caribbean destinations like St. Maarten, Antigua, and St. Kitts
- The Mediterranean coast
- From Portugal heading north through Europe, featuring Russia, Iceland, Norway and Greenland.
- Transatlantic cruises
- 116-day World cruise
Seabourn vs. the Competition
While the line shares similar characteristics with competitors like Silversea and Seadream Yacht Club, Seabourn is consistently ranked as the best in their category by passengers and travel experts alike. Seabourn has been voted the Best Small Ship Cruise Line in the Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, and has been chosen for the magazine's Gold List every year since 1994. In addition, the cruise line has been named the World's Best Small-Ship Line by Travel & Leisure. In addition, the line received the Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.
Other than size, a number of factors distinguish Seabourn vessels from ordinary cruise ships:
All cabins have ocean views, making the sea one of the principal decorative accents. Color schemes are muted with ice-blue, champagne, and similar modest tones, and the minimalist décor is unassuming and restful. There is little in the way of overt decoration aboard Seabourn ships, though some murals and other accents are tactfully displayed.
Compared to other cruise lines, Seabourn offers very few organized activities. Their itineraries are very port-intensive and the ships are usually in port all day most days. The line prefers to let passengers socialize at their leisure. The activities that are scheduled tend to be generally more unusual, such as wine tastings and galley tours, though the occasional team trivia contest is a spirited affair. Guest lecturers with a wide range of specialties (anthropology, history, music, literature, etc.) are on board every sailing for more educational events.
Dining on a Seabourn cruise is an elegant affair, complete with silver lids and exquisitely coordinated service. Open seating gives passengers mealtime flexibility, as does the varied menu that includes nightly vegetarian entrees, complementary wines and champagne, and customized dishes. Breakfast and lunch are slightly more casual, and twenty-four hour room service means no snack request will go unfulfilled. Dinner may be ordered off the restaurant menu and served by a waiter in the guest's suite. For ships of their size, they offer a surprising total of four dining options, from more formal to completely casual.
Seabourn's passengers expect luxury and pampering, and they are not disappointed by the available spas, with saunas, massage rooms, and classes such as yoga and Pilates. The most unique sports feature aboard these vessels is the retractable stern marina, which allows guests to indulge in a variety of water sports while the ship is in port, including swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, and water-skiing, all from the convenience of the ship rather than with a shore excursion.
Commitment to Luxury
The extra benefits of Seabourn Cruises do not come in the form of multiple activities or extravagant options, but rather from the line's intimacy and commitment to luxury. With one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry, passengers are assured of prompt, excellent service. The ships feature open bars, and fine wines are poured at each meal. Free, on-deck mini-massages help travelers indulge and relax, and the line also offers a shipping service for luggage to and from the ship to eliminate baggage-handling hassles. These seemingly minor extras guarantee a phenomenal cruise vacation for every traveler without going over-the-top and overwhelming passengers' sophisticated senses.
Seabourn has garnered dozens of awards, accolades and glowing reviews, far more than any other similar cruise line. Fodor's notes that Seabourn is "recognized as a leader in small-ship, luxury cruising, Seabourn delivers all the expected extras." Frommer's describes Seabourn as "genteel and refined... lavishing guests with personal attention and very fine cuisine." Cruise Critic notes that Seabourn tops other luxury cruise lines, "with intuitive service, superb cuisine...and an atmosphere that is elegant, but unpretentious."
Despite the line's appeal, Seabourn Cruises is not for everyone. Because it's a different type of cruise than the typical mega-ship cruise, there some things that will not appeal to all travelers.
- There are no organized children's programs, making the line a poor choice for families.
- Because the ships are small and ride low in the water, there are few cabins with verandas available, although the ships do have 36 suites with full-length sliding glass doors that open to allow fresh air and sunshine into the suite, as well as the chance to stick your head out and look along the side of the ship.
- The limited nightlife does not appeal to all cruisers.
- Seabourn ships do offer basic casino facilities, but like the ships' décor, they are understated and less glitzy than the gambling palaces on board larger ships.
- Because of the ships' small size, there is little room for extravagant entertainment and Seabourn Cruises does not offer elaborate lounge shows. Evening distractions include cabaret acts, solo musicians (piano, harp, violin, etc.), and comedians as well as other limited-space acts. They do have outdoor events when the weather is right, Rock the Boat shows, and movies "under the stars" on deck.
Simple, Luxury Cruising
With carefully chosen amenities and a relaxed at-sea atmosphere, Seabourn Cruises is a leader in the luxury cruise market. With intimate ships calling on remote ports and an exclusive clientele demanding only the best service, the line delivers amazing experiences to everyone aboard.