Seabourn Odyssey Entertainment
Most evenings, passengers have three entertainment sources: piano music before and after dinner in the Observation Bar; dancing in The Club with several alternating singers and the ship band; and a show in the Grand Salon, which may be a Broadway revue or consist of variety acts, a magician, a comedy set or a classical music performance.
On my cruise, The Club tended to be quite lively, as singers took turns with pop and rock until about 11 p.m.
One area that Seabourn could really step up a notch is its daytime offerings. Admittedly, most of Odyssey's itineraries are port intensive and feature minimal time at sea, but the offerings were pretty tired for such a dynamic ship. They included shuffleboard, bridge, trivia, dance class, cooking demonstrations, Wii games, golf putting and occasional lectures focusing on the ship's itinerary or on history, art and culture.
Kudos to Seabourn for offering shore excursions, usually one per port, that incorporate recreational activities (cycling, kayaking and the like). Otherwise, its tours are pretty much comparable with those offered by other lines. It does offer concierge-organized services for travelers willing to shell out for unique experiences.
Seabourn Odyssey Public Rooms
Odyssey's size (well, relative size, since we're comparing it with Seabourn's smaller ships and not cruising's mega-sized vessels) is deceptive, because interiors and deck spaces are designed to feel intimate and sociable. And yet, you might spend a week on this ship and never get around to exploring it all, as there are plenty of nooks and crannies that make perfect reading or chatting spots. I'm thinking of the fantastic hideaways around the whirlpool at the bow on Deck 6, the pool area at the aft end on Deck 5, the small sitting area on Deck 10 overlooking the main pool, and the Sun Terrace on Deck 11. There's also a lovely deck area, with wicker couches and dining tables, just off Seabourn Square.
Decor is tasteful throughout the ship, which has a contemporary feel -- from the sweeping Observation Bar on Deck 10 to the Grand Salon showroom on Deck 6 and The Club (with outdoor terrace), popular for dancing on Deck 5.
Seabourn Square on Deck 7, new to Odyssey, was a terrific idea, as it replaces the traditional reception area with a warm and comfortable meeting place for coffee, pastries, library books and computer use; it also houses a quiet space for ship concierges. I appreciated using Seabourn Square to connect with local tourism people who came aboard ship and were available, with maps and excursion ideas, for at least an hour after the ship pulled into ports. This was a helpful service for passengers who were not signed up for shore excursions and wanted to roam about on their own.
Seabourn Odyssey Spa & Fitness
Odyssey's lovely main pool area is a vast improvement over the line's older trio of ships. The pool, with attendant whirlpools, is graced by wicker-style chaises and loveseats, and as it's ringed by two decks, there's generally plenty of room for all.
There's another small pool on the stern -- it's the quieter of the two -- just off The Club. And a third spot worth checking out is a large whirlpool on Deck 6, all the way forward.
The Spa at Seabourn covers two decks, though the space on Deck 10 is consumed by two private spa villas (each with a pair of treatment beds), an oversized whirlpool tub, double day-bed and wraparound terrace with lounge chairs for private sunbathing. The minimum cost is $500 for half a day. The villas seldom seemed busy. (Perhaps fortuitously, Seabourn limited the private villa concept to just one on Sojourn and Quest, Odyssey's younger siblings, and opened up Deck 10 to more seating).
The spa entrance on Deck 9 leads to a panoramic, sliding-glass wall to the outdoor relaxation area; six treatment rooms; a hydro spa pool; saunas; steam rooms; a fitness studio with Kinesis Wall -- with free Kinesis training on a pulley system to improve balance and strength; and all the usual gym equipment you find on new cruise ships. The cost for a spa pass to the pool and thermal area is $30. Several group classes -- including Kinesis training, yoga and Tai Chi -- are available, and there's no fee. However, you will pay extra for private lessons and sessions with a trainer.
One popular Seabourn trademark that's featured on Odyssey is its water sports marina on Deck 2. Typically open on one day per voyage, weather permitting (and only when the ship is anchored, not docked), it's fantastic. Offered is an array of toys, from a banana boat and kayaks to a most bizarre activity in which you sit in an inner tube and are pulled along by a speedboat to a swimming platform. A heads-up: On my autumn cruise, the cool weather meant the marina was closed.