Cruising in Style

The beautiful Seabourn Legend is luxurious and legendary.

By: Marcia Levin

I’ll admit it. I love the good life and am fond of the style and grace of the Seabourn vessels. They are what dreams are made of: a premium experience comprised of many details that seamlessly fall into place to create the ultimate ocean-going adventure.

On our recent Central American cruise aboard the 208-passenger Seabourn Legend, my husband and I sat on lounge chairs beside the hot tub on deck 5, just a few feet from our suite. We were the only two there that morning, and we soon felt like we owned the place.

With our hats, sunscreen and mystery novels, we had just settled in when a uniformed crew member brought us glasses of ice water and asked if we’d like something else to drink. (He returned minutes later with sandwiches.) Cold washcloths and spritzes of cool water were also available, in case we didn’t feel pampered enough.

It was all a bit surreal. But then again, there’s a reason why the Yachts of Seabourn are the highest-ranked small cruise line by readers of Departures and Travel + Leisure magazines and always rank high on Conde Nast’s Gold List. Seabourn offers a level of personal service and care sought by customers who want the very best. Not surprisingly, many guests (more than 60 percent on average) are repeat passengers. On our cruise, the captain recognized one couple for sailing more than 180 days with the line. We only sailed for 21, but found ourselves in good company, listening to veterans discussing their cruises in the Far East, European or Canadian waterways.

It’s easy to see why Seabourn attracts such loyalty. Upon check-in, a crewmember personally delivered us to our balcony suite from the lounge, carrying our hand luggage and calling us by name. Officers and crew are trained to learn the names of passengers and to use them often.

On the Legend, even the smallest suite 277 square feet includes a well-stocked (at your request) bar and refrigerator, walk-in closet, marble bathroom, comfy robes, slippers and fine Egyptian cotton linens. While the balconies cannot accommodate a chair or lounge, opening the large sliding glass doors offers a great view while providing a refreshing breeze. Suites without balconies have large picture windows.

Seabourn features an open bar and complimentary wine and spirits, soft drinks and mineral water. Fresh fruit is delivered daily. Lovely Molton and Brown amenities in each suite include shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and shower liquid. New enhancements in place this spring include flat-screen TVs and DVD players (rooms already feature Bose Wave radio/CD players); a redesigned Veranda Cafe offering indoor and outdoor dining in a new restaurant concept dubbed “2”; and tea samplers containing a dozen fine teas specially brewed for the line’s guests.

The Legend’s public rooms are delightfully decorated in muted, relaxing tones. Most popular are The Club on deck 6 and the Midnight Sun Room on deck 8, with marvelous views of the ever-changing seas and some of the

most comfortable seating at sea. The Club is also home to a musical duo that performs nightly. Deck 7 houses the award-winning Seabourn Spa, a saltwater pool, two whirlpools and the Veranda Cafe.

Breakfast is served daily in the Veranda, as well as in the restaurant on deck 3 and the Sky Bar on deck 8. The Sky Bar also offers a daily cookout of fish and meats plus salads for lunch, while guests choose from the other two venues for dinner. Daily tea is served in the Midnight Sun Lounge and, of course, there was also 24-hour room service.

Dining is but one area where Seabourn’s renowned personalized service shines through, and we observed this first-hand.

One morning, a British passenger remarked to his wife, “I’d love some simple beans on toast.”

A bar waiter overheard, passed the information on to the maitre d’hotel and the next morning the man had beans on toast.

Another guest opted to special order Weiner Schnitzel not on the menu and was able to enjoy it the next night, complete with lemon, capers and anchovies.

These outstanding personal touches are not accompanied by great fanfare but are standard operational procedure making every guest feel valued.

During our cruise, the ship’s officers regularly hosted tables for dinner, making for great social interaction. Passengers meet one another and then sit together during an evening’s entertainment or on a shore excursion, and friendships quickly spring up. We heard stories about several couples who met on Seabourn cruises and later planned subsequent sailings together.

Of course, guests who are interested in a quieter experience can be seated at a small table if they wish. And every effort is taken to make sure that guests traveling alone feel comfortable. Seabourn has a policy that no lady ever crosses the dining room unless she’s on the arm of a staff member.

One of our fellow passengers, a widow from Southern California, was particularly grateful about this small but meaningful gesture. It was yet another example of the attention to detail that Seabourn is famous for.

“Here you’re a guest, not a passenger,” said Joerg Grossmann, the Legend’s hotel manager. “We try to please every guest in every way we can."