Singapore—Luxury cruise line Seabourn officially introduced its new 600-guest Seabourn Encore on Jan. 7 here in the Lion City in a naming ceremony featuring top soprano Sarah Brightman as the ship’s godmother.
Guests of Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Sojourn (which was also ported in Singapore), travel agents and travel media attended the christening ceremony, which featured entertainment by local musicians and cultural acts, including lion dancers and stilt walkers.
Seabourn Encore is the the first of two new all-suite vessels that the company intends to introduce by spring 2018, when the 600-guest Seabourn Ovation will make its debut. They will join Seabourn’s existing fleet, which includes three 458-guest ships—Seabourn Odyssey (2009), Seabourn Sojourn (2010) and Seabourn Quest (2011)—effectively giving Seabourn the youngest fleet in the luxury cruise segment.
“Seabourn Encore marks a major step forward in terms of growth for our company,” says Seabourn President Rick Meadows. “This ship is stunningly beautiful and I know guests are going to be absolutely captivated as they step aboard and see it firsthand.”
Meadows observed that the new ship gives Seabourn roughly the same total number of berths it had before it sold its three 212-guest vessels—Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend—to Windstar.
Built by Fincantieri in Italy, Seabourn Encore displaces 40,350 GRT, is 690 feet long and 92 feet wide, and has four diesel engines that run the ship at a cruising speed of 15 knots. There are 13 decks (including crew spaces), 300 verandah suites, seven guest elevators, and more than 400 crew.
Adam Tihany design
The ship is the first of the line’s fleet to be completely designed by hospitality and restaurant designer guru Adam D. Tihany, who has recast the vessel in what he calls a “revolutionary evolution” of Seabourn’s existing product.
Tihany says his goal was to make the ship “feel more like a luxury yacht,” with dark wood finishes in passageways and dark wood railings, as well as more rounded edges in the public spaces and suites. He also wanted to cater to Seabourn’s existing customers (more than 50% are repeaters) with a design that was familiar yet much more sumptuous.
Indeed, Seabourn Encore is more spacious, with much wider passageways and higher ceilings, and is more opulently designed than the three other vessels in Seabourn’s fleet. Seabourn Encore features one additional deck compared to those three other ships, and restaurants and lounges familiar to past Seabourn guests are now located in slightly different places and are larger with greater capacity.
For example, Seabourn Square, the ship’s hub on Deck 7, is now “round,” with much more open space in the center housing the reception and concierge desks, as well as a coffee and gelato shop, a library, and more seating. The Observation Lounge on Deck 11 has higher ceilings, including a skylight over the main bar. The Club on Deck 5 now features a larger casino and more seating.
The ship also features The Retreat, a first-time sanctuary for Seabourn on Deck 12; it has 15 private cabanas, each with its own large flat-screen TV, that are offered to guests for an additional per-suite charge of $349 on sea days and $249 on port days, as well as a hot tub. Venues familiar to Seabourn’s past guests, such as the Seabourn Square, The Club and the Observation Lounge, have been expanded and adhere to Tihany’s new design concept.
The Retreat is a new area on Deck 12 featuring 15 private cabanas.
Thomas Keller dining
On the dining front, Seabourn Encore features The Grill by Thomas Keller, a much larger classic American chophouse designed by Tihany, now located in the stern on Deck 8 with capacity for 100-plus guests. The restaurant is reservations-only but carries no extra charge.
Seabourn debuted Keller as its culinary partner last July with a 40-seat Grill on Seabourn Quest; it also features his food on selected nights at The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining venue on Deck 4, and The Colonnade, the food-station restaurant now on Deck 9, which offers a full Keller menu on selected nights.
The Restaurant and The Colonnade, both redesigned by Tihany for Seabourn Encore, also are larger and feature such design elements as more elaborate chandeliers (in The Restaurant) and more immediate access to food stations (in The Colonade). Seabourn Encore also offers Sushi, a 30-seat dining venue on Deck 8, found on no other ship in the Seabourn fleet. Again, there is no charge, and guests also can sample sushi as a take-out on the room-service menus.
The Grill by Thomas Keller is a much larger space now located in the ship’s stern.
There are several new onboard partner programs, including spa and wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil in partnership with Steiner, offering a holistic spa and wellness experience on Deck 10 that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual wellbeing. There’s also a new production show, “An Evening with Tim Rice,” created exclusively for Seabourn in association with Belinda King Creative Productions, which is now being performed in the ship’s Grand Salon on Deck 6.
New Encore sailings
After the naming ceremony, Seabourn Encore departed on its inaugural voyage, a 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise bound for Indonesia. It will then cruise on a 16-day Great Barrier Reef & Gold Coast sailing and back-to-back 16-day Australia & New Zealand voyages. Encore will then reverse the earlier 10-day Gems of the Java Sea cruise to Singapore, sail on a 16-day Jewels of India & Arabia cruise to Dubai, and finish with a 19-day Arabian Gems & Holy Land voyage before ending her winter season in Athens on May 5.
Seabourn Encore will spend this summer in the Mediterranean, offering a seven-day Greek & Italian Jewels cruise departing from Piraeus (Athens), Greece, on May 6, followed by a seven-day Riviera Allure voyage departing Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, on May 13.
The ship will then offer a series of 7-, 10-, and 14-day cruises throughout the Mediterranean, including a Mediterranean Moments itinerary that departs Barcelona (Spain) on June 3 and makes stops along coastal cities and villages in France, Monaco, Italy and Greece. In August, it will finish the summer with a 10- or 20-day UNESCO Gems of the Western Mediterranean cruise, arriving in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 13 for the start of its autumn season.