My wife and I just returned from our 10 night cruise on the Seabourn Encore from Barcelona to Rome. I won't comment on the ports, but they were fabulous. This review will focus on Seabourn, the Encore, crew, service, dining and overall experience. We are avid cruisers who enjoy cruising the way it used to be before the mass market craze of the 80's starting to take flight. Seabourn Encore nails everything classic and amazing about cruising while incorporating that which is modern and relevant in 2017. From the moment we boarded - which was simple and painless - we knew we were embarking on something special. Being a new ship our first observations were how beautiful the Encore looked and how delicious she smelled. You can definitely smell the new and fresh fabrics - especially leathers. No doubt this beauty is a new ship! While boarding we were addressed by name and asked if there were any special occasions we would like to have acknowledged on board - this was indicative of service to follow. The ship is absolutely stunning and gorgeous. Those looking for the Vegas style glamour and glitz of mass market lines will be disappointed. This ship is more akin to a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental hotel is design and décor. We were concerned that Encore being the largest ship in the Seabourn fleet that she would feel to large and crowded. Not at all!!! There are so many amazing public spaces to disappear, read a book, relax and have solitude. The ship never felt crowded. For a ship this size it is impressive that there is a mid ship and aft pool in addition to a forward spa - really unique! We found little surprises everywhere - i.e. self service drink and suntan lotion station at pools. The Retreat does seem to be a wasted space that could be used for something that could be appreciated by all passengers. It was seldom used. Dining was absolutely fantastic! Don't forget to order caviar whenever you feel like it! Seabourn did not miss a beat. The new Thomas Keller Grill is an amazing addition! Don't miss the New York Strip. The bar lounge and restaurant are wonderful. We were told this restaurant is supposed to be billed as a classic 1960's steak house. The pool grill, Colonnade, and restaurant never disappointed. Room service was flawless. One afternoon my wife and I wanted a club sandwich for lunch by the pool. The bar waiter heard us and ordered it through room service. Suites are beautifully appointed, with perhaps the brightest, most luxurious and functional bathrooms at sea. The standard Seabourn suites have bathrooms that are even better than the Regent Seven Seas Explorer in my opinion. The overall ambience is that of understated elegance. The passenger mix probably averaged 60's and 70's. We are in our late 40's. However, the passengers on board were generally very young at heart, fun, fashionable and came from many countries and walks of life. Not stuffy at all as some posters have suggested. What we didn't see were walkers, wheelchairs or cranky people on this particular sailing. Additionally, we noticed most passengers were very fit and active. We normally don't go to the shows. However, we did on this cruise as we became friendly with some of the entertainers. There were 4 singers and a ballroom duo for main production shows. All were amazing with fabulous voices and terrific dancers. We really enjoyed the shows. The observation bar, the Club and Thomas Keller lounge all had impressive entertainment including a duo, band and pianist/singer. I would be remiss if I did not comment on the most fantastic and impressive aspect of this cruise - the crew! Out of my 80+ cruises I have never experienced a more accommodating, warm, happy and outstanding crew as we had on the Encore. I cannot compliment the crew enough. Special recognition goes out to Roberto at Seabourn Square, Julie and Olga (baristas), our cabin stewardness Nash (she was incredible), Victoria (bartender in Observation) - she was beyond words, Carolina Perez (dining hostess) and of course Handre the world's best cruise director! I have never gotten off a cruise and remembered so many names of people who contributed to making our experience a very, very special one. Can't wait to go back on Encore. I certainly understand that reviews are just opinions and people are entitled to their own opinions. However, I really don't understand some of the negative reviews about Encore. We have our next Encore cruise booked. Kudos to Seabourn! Lastly, people often ask me if I like Crystal, Regent, Oceania, Silversea or Seabourn better. These are my favorite lines. At this time I will say Seabourn ranks high above the competition. Here's why in short. Regent forces shore excursions on you. We don't like paying for something we might not use. We don't enjoy being on buses with 60 people and usually arrange our own excursions. Because of this policy I think Regent also attracts more of a nursing home mentality crowd who enjoys everything being done for them. So Regent tends to attract passengers not quite as young at heart. That being said, we still cruise Regent on certain itineraries. Crystal is a wonderful product, but ships are old and a disaster. Certainly not up to par with newer more modern ships. I hope the upcoming renovations change things a bit. Crystal also relies heavily on Indonesian/Filipino crew in service positions. I personally preference the strongly European service crew on Seabourn who provide a level of service that is unparalleled. Just a different level of service and Seabourn pays their crew more for it. Oceania is a fabulous product with phenomenal food and gorgeous ships. I find service on Oceania to be indifferent and they sit somewhere between luxury and mass market. Having to show your key card every time you order a drink is a game changer in the wrong direction. Silversea is not quite as polished as Seabourn. Service is outstanding, but the quality of food and overall experience is just a little inferior to Seabourn. Lastly, if I had to find one area to criticize about Seabourn it would be horribly uncomfortable lounges. Seabourn has invested so much in their bedding. Why not do the same with lounges. Regent and Oceania win in the lounge department with comfy cushions and terry cloth covers with their logo - classy! Anyway, if you are contemplating Seabourn Encore - just do it! Amazing!