Editor's Note: Interestingly, Seabourn's new-build program, which we heralded as the first salvo in a fresh era of luxury cruising, was followed by announcements by Oceania and Silversea about their new-build plans. Both made their announcements in March, promising to let us know when contracts were actually signed (only letters of intent). Both have been quiet ever since.... So at this point, only Seabourn has concrete plans for new-builds.
Back when the new-build project was announced, we asked: What's on your wish list for the new Seabourn ship? Well, it looks like our wish list was consulted! The highlights:
Get ready for Seabourn Square. This heart-of-ship center will house the purser's desk, shore information area, library, Internet center and three retail shops.
All suites will of course be oceanview; 90 percent will have private verandahs. Seabourn's current ship suites are smaller than most other lines in the luxury sector, but are upping their sizes -- they'll range from 277 to 1,300 square ft. A new concept to be introduced is its series of 22 penthouses; located on Decks 9 and 10, they'll be 450 square ft. in size and feature 100-square-ft. balconies.
More on suites: Owners Suites will measure 700 square ft., including verandah. And the ship's biggest will be its four 1,300-square-ft. Grand Suites, which feature two bedrooms.
Charlie Palmer will continue to oversee Seabourn's cuisine in its newest model and the four eateries onboard are fairly evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary). The Restaurant will be the ship's main dining venue. Restaurant 2, an intimate, boutique restaurant, will feature tasting menus. The Veranda Cafe will serve "regional" specialties (presumably tied to cruise regions), and offer indoor and outdoor seating. Patio Grill will be the place for casual poolside fare.
Seabourn's open bar policy will be challenged more than ever by the variety of bars on the new ship. They include a coffee bar that will offer everything from espresso to champagne and an outdoor patio bar with entertainment. Others that are more familiar include The Club, where a pianist or small band, will perform; what's new here is that seating will be indoors and out. The Grand Salon will be home to the ship's dance band, and the Sky Bar -- as on Seabourn's other ships -- will be perched above the sun deck. The forward-facing observation lounge (still unnamed) will be the top-of-the-ship observation venue.
The Marina, Seabourn's fabulously popular fold-down platforms from which passengers can embark on speedboat, kayak and paddleboat rides, will be recreated here.
In The Spa at Seabourn, there will be aromatic steam rooms, a thalassotherapy whirlpool, and his-and-hers Finnish saunas. The outdoor deck space in the fitness facility sounds promising (yoga, anyone?).
There will be two pools and seven whirlpools. As well, the ship's sun deck will feature a large, terraced enclave protected by a glass windbreak.
While this is the first droplet of information regarding the design of the new ship, we anticipate more colorful details down the pike (such as maiden season itineraries) and will keep you posted. In the meantime, what do you think so far? Answer our poll: What's Your Take on Seabourn's New Ship?
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor