The latest news on Seabourn Encore


Since the disposal of the three small sisters, now all reunited in the Windstar fleet, Seabourn has been proud to refer to its fleet as the most modern in the 'best of the best' sector. (This might be disputed by Ponant, of course). Anxious to retain that position, and also to add capacity following the loss of over 600 berths, they announced the build of their newest all suite vessel, the Seabourn Encore, with another to follow.

Given that Seabourn Encore is to join the fleet late next year, Seabourn have been remarkably coy about their new baby. The discreet drip-feeding of information to the website has been supported by surprisingly little in the way of fanfare. But let's take a look at what we know. First of all, the ship will be an adaptation of the Odyssey class ships, rather than something new. 25% bigger, with 35% more guests, the space/guest ratio will reduce, but we don't perceive this as a negative, as the ship will still have loads of space, both public and personal, for guests to enjoy.

There will be one additional deck, where those extra guests will be accommodated, and instead of the small number of seaview suites we have on the current vessels, all suites will have their own veranda - the first company to copy Regent in this. And the very personal service in which Seabourn take such pride will be replicated, with nearly one staff member per guest on board. Designer Adam D. Tihany is working with spaces that are close to the hearts of regular Seabourn guests, so it was interesting to see his take on what is many guests' favourite meeting place, The Club, always a versatile space for dancing, conversation and entertainment.

Continuing Seabourn traditions, the design is yacht style, a contemporary space with lots of intimate areas, and as always, a little casino in the corner. We love the direct access to the Club Terrace, an al fresco lounge area with sweeping sea views and an illuminated fountain. The rendering of the Grand Salon has just been revealed. Plush, pivoting chairs are set up cabaret style bring the audience closer to the performers and we are sure that particular attention has been paid to sightlines, as this has been something of a problem on the existing ships. We are still waiting for more news on the new dining options on deck eight, which we think will be the key difference from the existing ships. There will definitely be al fresco dining, just as there is for the Colonnade on deck 9.

Seabourn have always maintained an excellent balance between indoor and outdoor space, enabling guests to have a relaxed no shoes al fresco experience right alongside elegant and stylish indoor bars and lounges, and we are particularly looking forward to seeing what Tihany will do with The Retreat, at the top of the ship, which looks as if it has been planned far more carefully than the equivalent underused space on the existing ships. Seabourn Encore will head straight for the Orient, and has an interesting set of itineraries on sale through to April 2017 when she turns back towards the Mediterranean. Sales are good, so if you think this might be the ship for you, don't hang around, book now to be a part of her inaugural season.

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Edwina Lonsdale
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Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

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