Shine a Light

Bigger and brighter, Seabourn Odyssey takes center stage

By: By Marilyn Green

Fast Facts

Passengers: 450 (double occupancy)
Crew: 333
Length: 650 feet
Width: 84 feet
Cruising speed: 19 knots
Decks: 11
Guest elevators: 6

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Light is a prevailing theme throughout The Yachts of Seabourn’s beautiful, new ship, Seabourn Odyssey. Her blond woods, white and cream walls, pale marbles, skylights and the extensive use of clear glass brighten the ship, while creating a contemporary feel.


Seabourn Odyssey has 13 suite categories. // © 2009 The Yachts of Seabourn

More than half of the passengers on my July cruise had sailed on Seabourn’s smaller ships. Although many of them came onboard expressing reservations about the size of Odyssey — which is Seabourn’s first of three newbuilds and the largest in the fleet — everyone I spoke to had been completely won over by the second day.

But it isn’t simply the extra space that creates the light-filled quality — it’s the designers’ management of it. When guests gathered in the main dining room for the first day’s safety muster, several guests initially commented that the room looked too small for the number of people aboard. It wasn’t. The reality is that the room is carefully divided up by soft, billowing chiffon draperies that create intimate, airy sections. The draperies extend to the second deck, giving the illusion of a two-level dining room.

The contemporary style in the public rooms surprised and eventually greatly impressed guests. The multi-purpose Seabourn Square, new to this class, was a magnet at all hours for passengers using the Internet, relaxing with specialty coffees and pastries, raiding the library shelves and lounging among the plush chairs and sofas as they chatted among themselves and with the charming staff.

With a choice of four dining venues, the ongoing topic of conversation was where to eat. Chef Charlie Palmer’s menus have earned Seabourn the International Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for 13 consecutive years, so the main restaurant selections were hard to pass up. But the indoor/outdoor restaurant, Colonnade, was in heavy use, too. For breakfast and lunch, guests dine under a snow-white canvas canopy and can indulge with voluptuous sundaes before sampling seared sea bass, sushi, cheeses, cold meats, hot vegetables and brilliantly conceived soups. In the evening, varying culinary themes and table service drew guests there as well.

Freshly baked pizzas and pastries made the Patio Grill very popular, while in-suite dining saw an increase in use as passengers selected elaborate breakfast and lunch choices and ordered from the dining room menu to have their meals served course-by-course on their verandas or in their suites.

Odyssey’s 225 suites, 90 percent with verandas, are mini resorts in their own right. The 13 suite categories range from 295 to 1,182 square feet of indoor space, with an additional 65 to 505 square feet of outdoor living area.

Odyssey guests loved the suites’ huge walk-in closets, which seemed to be about the size of a small Manhattan apartment. Other big hits were the minibar and refrigerator stocked to personal preference and the therapeutic baths drawn upon request.

There were no CDs or DVDs to check out but, instead, there was a spectacular selection of hundreds of music and movie titles available on the in-suite flat-screen televisions, and guests confessed to staying up all night using the entertainment systems.

The largest of any Seabourn suite, the Grand Wintergarden, offers 1,182 square feet of indoor space, in addition to a pair of verandas. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite also features a glass-enclosed solarium with tub and daybed, a whirlpool, dining space for six people, two bars and three flat-screen televisions.

Also exceptional in size, the 11,400-square-foot spa, is the largest on any luxury vessel, boasting two Spa Villas available for day rentals. Both villas have a treatment area large enough for couples, complete with shower; a bathtub big enough for two; a private balcony for sunbathing; a full living room area; a double daybed for relaxing; and a dining area for enjoying healthy snacks.

The onboard gym with resistance and cardiovascular equipment and a Kinesis Wall are necessities, given the dining choices onboard, as are the two outdoor swimming pools, six outdoor whirlpools and a watersports marina available in calm seas.

For guests coming to Seabourn from premium cruises, the line’s onboard culture is very different from the common conception of a luxury ship’s. However successful or famous passengers are, they tended to be exceptionally friendly and open. Traveling alone, I was constantly invited to join groups, and I noticed that passengers chatted with one another without restraint.

Clients who want to sail on Odyssey will find her in the Caribbean this fall before she embarks on Seabourn’s 108-day world cruise, departing Jan. 5 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Athens, Greece.