Cruise line: Seabourn,
We flew with BA to Venice and were swiftly transferred to the Port of Venice. The red carpet was out as we made our way into the terminal for check-in, which was very quick, and then we made our way to the pier side.
As we left the check in area, we got our first view of the Seabourn Odyssey –she looked amazing – all gleaming white in the Italian sunshine.
We made our way to the ship and embarked. As our suites were not yet ready, and it was lunchtime, we headed up to The Colonnade – the equivalent of the buffet area on other ships. This was beautifully designed, with tables both inside and out, laid up with crisp white cotton tablecloths and silver cutlery. There were 3 food stations (salads, main courses and deserts), where chefs serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in an open kitchen, and you can actually watch them prepare your order. Plenty of tables in this area, and the waiters will carry your plate of food to your table. Seabourn have taken the standard buffet concept and certainly given it a luxury twist.
After lunch our suites were ready and we went off to explore them. We had Suite 822, a V5 grade Veranda Suite. All the Veranda Suites are the same size at 300 sq ft regardless of what deck they are on. The veranda is additional at 65 sq ft. As you enter the suite, on the right side is the door to the bathroom. The bathroom was very spacious with a granite double sink and large mirror covering one wall. Amenities are provided by Molten Brown and are exclusively designed for Seabourn Odyssey. A large bath on the left and a separate shower on the right completes the luxurious bathroom
Next is the closet – well its big enough to be a dressing room too – plenty of storage and hanging space, drawers and the safe. 2 cotton robes are provided along with Seabourn slippers – also on the back of the door is a full-length mirror – a feature some ships seems to forget.
Then there is the bed – huge – a king size and then some, with 2 soft pillows and luxurious duvet- the bed was very comfortable and guaranteed a good nights sleep. At the foot of the bed was plenty of space for passing and there were also drawer units provided – adding to the varied storage space.
The entertainment centre was discreetly stored in a cupboard, and the doors folded back inside the unit so the flat screen TV could slide out. On the TV there was a choice of movies and music on demand, your account information, port of call and destination information, as well as a nifty Ipod dock, so you could play your music through the TV speakers. Opposite this was the fully stocked refrigerator, again hidden in the cupboard, and glasses cabinet.
There was also a seating area with comfortable sofa, table and chairs for in-suite dining leading to the veranda. The veranda was large enough to accommodate table and chairs for al fresco dining, and a sun lounger.
After we unpacked we made our way to the top of the ship to start exploring properly.
Up on deck 11 is The Retreat and Sun Terrace. The Sun Terrace has 36 Balinese style double sun loungers, pointing forward and situated over the bridge. The perfect spot for quiet sunbathing and for watching the ship pull into port. Glass screens prevent it from getting too windy. Stewards provide sun cream, drinks, cold towels, water spritzes, and beverages; they will even clean your sunglasses!
Just aft of the Sun Terrace is The Retreat, a quiet area for yoga and fitness classes, it also features a mini golf course, shuffleboard mats, giant chess set and large outdoor sofas for reading or for surfing the web as its also a wi-fi hotspot.
On deck 10 forward there is the Observation Bar – a great room for ****tails and for watching the world pass by through the floor to ceiling windows. Decorated in blue and cream, the room features a central bar and piano. I think the traditional Seabourn guests will love this room.
On deck 9 the aft area is completely given to The Spa At Seabourn, complete with massage and therapy rooms, salon, fully equipped gym and a revolutionary Kinesis Wall fitness area.
Deck 8 features The Colonnade as previously mentioned, and the alternative-dining venue – Restaurant 2. This room is boldly decorated in black and red, with dramatic walls and ceilings in an Asian theme. This room seats 48 and offers innovative tasting menus, wine pairings and dishes presented in an unusual fashion. We didn’t get the chance to dine in this room unfortunately, but it looked amazing!
Mid-Ship on deck 8 is the pool area, featuring the pool, two covered whirlpools, the patio bar and grill. Plenty of space here and certainly not crowded with sun-loungers or tables. Drapes partition off secluded sitting areas to the sides, which gives the area a touch of sophistication.
Mid Ship on deck 7 is the card room, popular no doubt for the bridge players, and the first of the gift shops. This area leads into one of the most innovative areas of the Seabourn Odyssey – Seabourn Square. Seabourn have done away with the traditional pursers desk, shore excursions desk and concierge desk and replaced them all with an area where one member of staff (called a Guest Services Specialist) can assist the guest with all of their needs – whether its settling their account, organising a tour or a future cruise booking. The area is designed to create a lounge like atmosphere, with café bar, library, and computer stations surrounded by comfy seating and quiet areas – sure to be the hub of the ship and it has worked well in operation on the fist cruise from the feedback I have received. There is also The Boutique and Seabourn Shop here. Aft and outside of the Seabourn Square is the Club Terrace Pool – a nice area for relaxing and for getting some sun.
On Deck 6 is the Grand Salon – the show lounge and the largest lounge on board. There is showroom seating in the front, with banquette seating the back. A very bold style of décor, creams and beige at the back with glowing tables, moving to red seating in a sofa style for watching shows and lectures in the front.
The shows we saw consisted of four singers, all of whom had West End experience. The shows were very simple but effective – no flashy sets, feathers, sequins or acrobatics – just good quality singing and talent.
There is also a small casino on deck 5, with slots, a crap table, roulette and black jack tables. Also on this deck is The Club, the liveliest lounge onboard. Afternoon tea is served here, both inside and out, and there is a band area for live music, late night dancing and a disco for the night owls. Outside The Club is another pool, two whirlpools and sun bathing area – I think this is a ‘hidden area’ on the ship and a perfect place to go to relax.
Finally on deck four is the amazing Restaurant. As you enter this room majestic white square pillars that glow from within greet you – and the perspective of them really creates a wow moment. Once inside, the room is divided by magnificent white drapes that surround a modern chandelier, with lights that subtly change colour during the meal. Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer has created the menu, and breakfast lunch and dinner are served here. Tableware is all white with a number of different table sizes.
Food on board was exceptional and of a very high standard. The first meal we had in the dining room was actually the very first time the galley was used to produce a full service – the chefs, galley staff and wait staff did an amazing job and the service was faultless and the food delicious – I can only imagine how slick it will be with a few days experience under their belts – truly 6-star service.
Seabourn have created a wonderful product in the Seabourn Odyssey – wonderful suites, attentive and well-trained staff and crew, innovative areas with exceptional friendly service. Once the ship ‘beds-in’ for a few weeks it will surely surpass all your expectations for what a 6-star ship should deliver.
View a selection of images here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK5CLd4ujtg