She is sleek, stylish and sophisticated; as you would expect of one of the newest vessels afloat, and clearly well worth the $300 million spent on her. However if you were looking for just one word to sum up Seabourn Sojourn it has got to be “space”. She has (so it seems) endless acres of space.
If the measure of success with any customer is exceeding expectations then this is where Seabourn Sojourn exceeded ours. Never once did we feel crowded, never once did we have to “stand in line” to get on or off, to find a deck chair, to get a seat in either “The Restaurant” or “The Colonnade”; and if on occasions we had to wait to get a coffee at the fabulous “Seabourn Square” in the morning, it was never for more than a few minutes as “Jo and Ferry” worked their Barista magic for all who needed a morning (or afternoon) fix.
Sojourn is 32500 Gross Tons, she carries (when full) 462 passengers and 338 crew, almost one to one. In comparison, and it’s probably an unfair comparison as times (certainly over 45 years) change, the first ocean liner that I ever travelled on; P&O Iberia was 30000 Gross Tons and carried 1406 passengers and around 400 crew, that’s more than a bit of a difference in both available space and crew to guest ratio.
With four restaurants, the two mentioned above plus the Patio Grill (poolside) and the very stylish Restaurant 2 (reservations required but no extra charge) as well as six bars/lounges and an open bar policy there are plenty of options to both eat and drink exceedingly well.
The cabins are spacious, light and airy; 197 (out of 225) have balconies and all have ocean views, they have walk in wardrobes, full sized baths and your fridge is well stocked with your personal beverage choices prior to embarkation. The cabin spaces are well utilised, the furnishings modern and stylish and the TV has a good range of channels and a very full list of movies, for those stopping in.
The corridors are wide, the decks clean and neat, the pools areas well presented and the highlight; well our highlight anyway Seabourn Square is just sensational. Incorporating the guest services area (open plan style) in the centre and a more formal reception desk to one side the Square is a well stocked library, a great coffee shop, a quiet reading room, the computer centre, a centralised meeting place and a great spot to just sit (inside or out) and watch the world go by. It is unique in my ocean going experience.
We travelled on Seabourn Sojourn from Hong Kong to Singapore, which was just one leg of her inaugural Round World voyage after being urged for a while by colleagues to experience the “Seabourn difference”. I have to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish. The crew were exceptional and the level of service was very high, the passenger mix was interesting, dominated on this trip by Americans (about 50%); there were 61 Australians on board which is reflective of the increased Australian presence on all cruise lines.
I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese ports Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Cai Lan (Ha Long Bay); less so the Cambodian (Sihanoukville) and Thai (Laem Chabang) ports, but that’s just a personal thing; the shore excursions that we went on were “OK” – they were well organised and not outrageously expensive but lacked something I thought. The information/enrichment lecture programme was first class with a special mention to Dr Jean Pierre Isbouts who both entertained and informed at every lecture and was the stand out performer.
Are there things that I could criticise, yes; some parts of the ship I felt were very cold, there are only four laundrettes for 400+ guests (and laundry is expensive), the internet is slow – make that very slow and the choice of toiletries was (in my opinion) limited. I simply do not understand the
slowness of the internet, on one of the most modern ships afloat the speed is almost third world, in fact speed and capacity ashore in Thailand left the ships services for dead. BUT, these truly are minor irritations and they did not detract from the overall experience, which was exceptional.
I experienced and enjoyed the Seabourn difference; I consider Seabourn Sojourn to be a truly fine lady of the seas; and I will be back to sail on her (or one of her two sisters Seabourn Odyssey or Seabourn Quest) again, hopefully in the not too distant future.