Makeover At Seabourn

New upgrades perfect the pampering

By: Ginger Dingus

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Seabourn Pride’s Sky Grill
has been refurbished.
From the welcome aboard bottle of French champagne to the farewell gift of a post-Seabourn survival kit, the Yachts of Seabourn are all about pampering with a capital “P.”

“Anything is possible,” our waitress replied to a special luncheon request on our recent trip, summing up the line’s philosophy.

How do Seabourn’s three nearly identical and nearly 20-year-old ships maintain their allure while continuing to over-indulge guests? Multi-million- dollar makeovers are key to keeping the 208-passenger sisters thoroughly modern, sleek and laden with new options for guests.

This October, we cruised down the U.S. East Coast aboard Seabourn Pride, the first of the trio to emerge from drydock. Seabourn Spirit is scheduled for similar refurbishments in Singapore in January and Seabourn Legend in Lisbon in April. The makeovers are the most extensive since French balconies were added to 36 suites on each ship five years ago.

Seabourn Pride’s new look centers around two alternative dining venues. The Veranda Cafe, located aft on deck 7, is open for casual breakfast and lunch in an indoor/outdoor setting. The outdoor area has been expanded, outfitted with new aluminum and mesh tables and chairs and covered by a large canvas awning. Each evening, the Veranda Cafe is transformed into Restaurant 2, a reservations-only dining option. Restaurant 2 dinners vary from such themed menus as French bistro, Indian cuisine and steak house to special tasting menus. Tastings @ 2 consists of many small portions to tease your palate, starting with a chef’s cocktail appetizer and ending with a nightcap. “In the beginning, we offered tastings every night,” said Laurent Lalouer, Seabourn Pride’s hotel manager.

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Shopping with chef Markus Gerber in
Philadelphia, another Seabourn perk.
Themed dinners were added within the last year. Currently 135 new dishes are being introduced throughout the ship. The Sky Bar on deck 8 is an outdoor drinking and dining alternative overlooking the whirlpools and sun deck. The space has been expanded by combining two stairways leading down to deck 7 into one central staircase. During sea days, guests enjoy barbecue lunches around teak tables for four. The Sky Grill opens for surf and turf dinners under the stars, weather permitting. Smoking is allowed, hence the popularity for after-dinner cigars and brandy.

The new refurbishments are good news for clients who may feel they need an extravagant wardrobe to cruise with Seabourn. The expanded venues mean it’s possible to enjoy formal nights even if you don’t pack a tux or sparkly gown though most guests do. On nights when it’s strictly formal (tux or dark suit for men) in the main dining room, dinner in Restaurant 2 is elegant casual (jacket, no tie). Other evenings are casual (no jacket required) in Restaurant 2. The less formal dress code is also applicable to the al fresco Sky Grill. Every night, Seabourn officers and entertainers host guests for dinner in the dining room. All guests receive multiple invitations per cruise. As seating is open, the solo travelers we met were especially delighted to have company and meet new friends.

Along with dining improvements, the renovations include new bedding in the suites, complete with matching bed scarves and pillows. For outdoor entertainment, a movie screen has been created near the whirlpools. Another change is visible on the ship’s exterior. The hull’s formerly dark blue stripe is now black and the Seabourn logo on the stack has been painted gold.

Seabourn cruises are about as all-inclusive as cruises can be. Gratuities and most beverages, such as bottled water, spirits and wine, are included. The line features such complimentary Signature Delights as daily massage moments, 10-minute head and shoulder treatments given on deck or in the spa. Exclusively Seabourn is an included shore experience. Ours unfolded in Charleston, S.C., with a horse-drawn buggy ride to the historic 1811 William Aiken House for a tour, refreshing mint juleps and afternoon tea.

“On every cruise of seven or more days, we have a caviar event,” said Lalouer.

The most impressive is Caviar in the Surf. Sailing in cool autumn weather, we were treated to pre-dinner caviar and gourmet hors d’oeuvres in Seabourn Pride’s cozy lobby.

“Guests can have caviar 24 hours a day. It’s one of our signatures,” said Lalouer.

Yes, it’s complimentary.

One of Seabourn’s less publicized and most unique complimentary perks is Shopping with the Chef. While most passengers booked scheduled excursions in Philadelphia, we joined executive chef Markus Gerber and about 20 other guests for an outing to the city’s expansive Reading Terminal Market. Not only did chef Gerber purchase fresh spices, edible flowers and U.S.-made cheeses for our onboard dining, he treated us to Philly cheese steaks and ice-cream cones. With all those extras, it’s little wonder Seabourn has such a high percentage of repeat cruisers.


Hits: Nearly everything on a Seabourn cruise is included in the fare. Typical extras are shore excursions, spa treatments and premium wines.

Misses: Lounges are small and smoking and non-smoking areas are within close range.