Bon Voyage Magazine

Seabourn Odyssey review

Seabourn Odyssey in Sydney
Seabourn Odyssey in Sydney - Photo by Seabourn

Line: Seabourn
Built: June 2009
Passengers: 450
Class: Sister ship of Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest 
Routes: Summers in the Mediterranean; winters in the Indian Ocean, Australia, and Asia.

Best for

Sophisticates and foodies, and those who like to sip cocktails and champagne, without racking up a bill.

Not for

Families with small children (the ship does not allow passengers under 12, and there are no kids’ activities). Anyone looking to party should also reconsider.

Highlights

Watersports

Kayak off the back of the ship
Photo by Seabourn

  • Watersports as well as a steel cage that forms a pool in the sea are unfurled from an aft marina during one sea day each week.
  • Restaurant 2, which could use a better name, is an intimate, darkly lit space that serves seven courses with wine pairings, at no additional charge.
  • At the Caviar in the Surf party, caviar and champagne are presented in the sea or pool on a floating surfboard bar by waiters in whites.
  • First-run Movies Under the Stars are played on deck, complete with popcorn.

Overview

The size is what truly sets the Odyssey apart — it has 225 cabins. Couple that with the 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio, and you’re basically floating around the globe on an oversized yacht. The attention to detail is impressive: Six lounges ensure that the champagne is always flowing, and the gelato bar is open 24/7. Because the ship is only 650 feet long and 84 feet wide, it can dock in ports that are off-limits to bigger vessels.

Tip: On Marina Day, which transforms what could be a ho-hum day at sea into a waterpark thrill, you’ll want to sign up for waterskiing and other watersports in advance to ensure a spot.

Cabins

Penthouse Suite

A cabin with a veranda
Photo by Seabourn

Ninety percent of the cabins have verandas — and those that don’t have picture windows. Inside, they reflect what you might find in a luxury resort on land: Nearly all include walk-in closets, flat-screen TVs, and separate baths and showers. Every stateroom gets a bar stocked with guests’ beverage favorites and, before arrival, a choice of bath products, including Hermes and Molton Brown.

If you’re a spa junkie, consider one of the four new Penthouse Spa Suites, which were added in May. Accessed by a private spiral staircase, the suites come with an additional mini-bar for constant access to water, juice, and nuts. Feeling like a steambath? Head downstairs and ask the spa concierge to arrange a treatment.

Activities and entertainment

This ship doesn’t have a rock-climbing wall, but a run around the deck or a cooking lesson with the chef is usually enough to keep guests busy. An enrichment program is part of the appeal, and guest lecturers prep passengers for the next port.

To be fair, active offerings are spare onboard, but many guests take high-energy excursions (a bike ride through wine country, a kayak tour of the coast). On the ship, the mission is to slow down, not to compete on a ropes course.

In the evening, passengers convene in Seabourn Square for aperitifs, and to check email and book shore excursions for the following day. Evening entertainment is worth staying up for: There’s dancing in The Club, piano in the Observation Bar, and (our personal favorite) musical revues and magic shows in the Grand Salon.

Tip: You don’t have to plan in advance as you do on larger ships. There is usually availability for shore excursions on the day of, and the knowledgeable concierges can book a walking tour or a private car for you.

Dining

During the day, you have various casual choices. You can also have anything served onboard presented on your veranda at any time, so you needn’t get out of your robe to indulge in a steak tataki.

Show up anytime for dinner at The Restaurant, and you’ll enjoy a fine dining affair with an unenforced “jacket required” policy and elaborate dishes like poached octopus terrine and sautéed scallops with corn risotto.

That said, the buzz onboard is about Restaurant 2, the dazzling seven-course degustation restaurant. Picture beautifully plated foie gras crème brulee and white chocolate mousse with almond foam, served in a rarified setting you might expect to find in Paris.

Tip: Booking for Restaurant 2 starts 48 hours in advance, to the minute. At 7:30 pm on your first night, pick up the phone and call until you get through. Trust us: It’s worth the 20 minutes of busy signals.

Heidi Mitchell
Heidi Mitchell   Google+

Heidi Mitchell is a Manhattan-based contributing writer for Bon Voyage magazine. She contributes to The Wall Street Journal and Vogue, and has been an editor at Travel + Leisure, Rolling Stone, and Town & Country.

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