By Rhiannon Taylor, November 2016
Arriving at the Athens port terminal there's a queue of women draped in linen scarves and fabulous hats and dashing men clad in suede loafers and smart blazers lining up to board Seabourn. Grandeur is in the air and stepping on to the boat for the first time seems such an occasion.
Bags are all taken care of and you're seated at The Colonnade while your room is prepared. The Colonnade is an indoor/outdoor restaurant that serves up extravagant buffets, with the menu changing daily. Dining on the back deck with a plate piled high with fresh tacos and champagne (Nicolas Feuillatte) that is free flowing to a view of Athens really gets you in the cruising mood.
With a maximum of only 438 guests, Seabourn feels incredibly exclusive. However, there is no pretense, with staff having an engaging and genuine approach. Despite your glamourous surroundings, there is a welcome feeling and the boat feels like home.
The rooms are genourous in size and your personal steward attends to you throughout your sojourn. There's a soap menu to choose from, which includes Molton Brown and Loccitaine products and there are spongy slippers and plush robes for those "Do Not Disturb" evenings. The queen size beds are comfortable and linens are changed regularly throughout the trip.
The mini bar comes stocked with your choice of alcohol alongside soft drinks and water, which is able to be pre-selected and customised on Seabourn's easy-to-use online guest check-in. There's also a daily fruit platter which changes depending on the port's local produce. And if you've really got the munchies room service is available 24/7. Moorish burgers, Ceaser salads and chocolate mousse arrive quick, hot and fresh.
The grandest room on Seabourn Odyssey is The Restaurant, with guests dressing elegantly each evening for dinner service. Fine dining is taken to the next level with consulting chef Thomas Keller's menus. Intricate dishes of foie gras and beef brisket are served up with matched wines from South Africa, California and South Australia. And if you're after something else off menu, the chefs go above and beyond to accommodate your requests.
After dinner it's time to hit one of the six bars for a drink. Nearly all of the spaces have stellar views and are perfect to watch the sun go down (martini in hand). Seabourn has expert mixologists from New York consulting on the cocktail menu and the bartenders are really creative with what they serve up. Just mention your mood and they will create something that hits the spot.
After a drink, or three, it's time for entertainment. Piano playing in the Observation Bar is a great spot for a relaxing night. Or check out The Club for performances, singing and comedy shows. If you're game, there's a small casino on board where you can try your hand at blackjack and slots. Otherwise jump in to one of the hot tubs with a bottle of sparkling and star gaze for a romantic evening.
Sailing overnight is incredibly peaceful with virtually no operation noise coming from the ship. Mornings are particularly spectacular, waking up to the sun rising over a different view each day from your balcony. Breakfast is served in The Colonnade however it's also available in-room, which is fabulous taken on your own patio.
If you're not heading off the ship during the day then there's plenty to do while on board. You could spend hours at The Spa, which is a zen-like and ethereal space. Stone day-beds are gently heated and are separated by chiffon curtains that gently move as the boat rocks. A treatment menu offers world-class therapy and the spa has its own Kneipp Walk Pool that aides in releasing the body's toxins and reducing stress; perfect for travellers after a long-haul flight.
The centrally located pool has a deck restaurant which makes a day of sun baking a great option. Order the Thomas Keller burger, it's bursting with umami flavours and incredibly popular. And if you're not sure of what's happening on board visit the Seabourn Square which is a unique cafe and concierge space where staff are on hand to answer all your questions. Here you can book tours and gather information on the upcoming ports on your itinerary.
Disembarking at each port, there's a bevvy of excited faces, jumping off the boat. When cruising on Seabourn, you can't help but feel nourished, pampered and relaxed, ready to explore the world.
Rhiannon cruised courtesy of Seabourn.