A veranda suite. // © 2014 Seabourn Cruise Line
Champagne and caviar would be the theme that best describes my Caribbean cruise onboard Seabourn’s Sojourn. It followed me from the bottle of bubbly waiting in my suite on embarkation day to the signature event — the Champagne and Caviar on the Beach barbecue — during the ship’s last day in port. It’s this love of classic luxury that defines the Seabourn experience.
Upon boarding the 225-suite ship, I was quick to find that the small-ship experience was, indeed, intimate. The vessel holds up to 450 guests and 335 crew members, making the ratio of crew to guests incredibly high. From the attentive staff at the pool who made sure that my drink never ran dry to the room attendant who happily stocked my fridge with strawberry yogurt and granola for midnight snacks, the service was impeccable. My fellow cruisers were equally delighted, and many of them noted that the exceptional service always felt sincere.
I often say that half of cruising is eating, and the Sojourn help prove my point. The ship features four dining venues, from casual poolside dining to a formal tasting menu at Restaurant 2. For those who would rather stay in, free room service is provided around the clock. In the elegant main venue, The Restaurant, there are no set dining times or table assignments, and passengers can dine alone at small tables or sit with other guests. Nightly dinners are hosted by the captain, his crew, the guest lecturers and performers, who send out dining invitations to the passengers for evening meals.
“We have American customers, so we have American-focused cuisine,” said executive chef Martin Kitzing. “We try to incorporate a European touch, particularly French, which is my favorite, and a Mediterranean influence that makes it kind of light. In other words, we try to find a balance between butter and olive oil.”
Elaborate menus are filled with items such as grilled figs and honey-roasted quail with foie gras stuffing. Guest can order any number of exotic dishes and specific dietary needs are easily accommodated. All gratuities are included, along with alcohol and dining in the specialty restaurant.
Overall, the ship was bright, elegant and peaceful. There were no children onboard my cruise. While finding a deck chair around the main pool was a bit of a challenge on a warm, sunny afternoon, I could escape to the lesser-known aft pool or the whirlpool in the front of the ship, which seemed to be a secret retreat. For passengers looking to truly unwind, a trip to The Spa is the ideal solution. Guest can indulge in a massage or go all out with the sumptuous 24 Karat Gold Facial.
I found my cabin, the Veranda Suite, to be the biggest standard suite I have ever sailed in, at approximately 365 square feet. It featured a walk-in closet, which is great for long cruises, and the bathroom was spacious and comfortable, with two sinks and a separate shower and bath. For another luxurious touch, guests can pick from one of many rainbow-colored body washes and have a special rose petal bath drawn by a room attendant.
Seabourn prides itself on providing unique experiences, from shopping with the chef in port at a local market to relaxing with a complimentary shoulder massage on deck with one of The Spa’s massage therapists. At our last port, we ventured onto a private beach for the Caviar and Champagne in the Surf event in the Dominican Republic. Chef Kitzing waded into the surf with his staff in full uniform and served guests caviar on toast from the top of a surf board. Wading into the warm turquoise water to get a glass of bubbly from a fully dressed and fully soaked waiter, I thought to myself, “This is truly decadent.”
The Seabourn Sojourn is now embarking on a 116-day world cruise that will visit 53 ports in 20 countries, docking in exotic ports of the South Pacific and Australia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, India, Arabia and the Mediterranean.