When Diane Love and I completed the first segment of our 61-day journey near the end of Encore's inaugural year, we found that in many ways it delivers what Seabourn promises-- contemporary design, more dining and entertainment venues than its other ships, more open deck areas for swimming and sunning, and the feel of an upscale resort.
Encore and its sister ship due next year fulfill the company's commitment to pursue an exponentially larger customer base. Its three other ships launched in the last decade each carry 450 passengers. Encore, with 600 passengers, alone carries the combined capacity of all three of the previous fleet of Spirit, Legend, and Pride that was sold to competing brand Windstar.
We found a mostly enthusiastic ship's company and many satisfied fellow guests. About half of the passengers are repeat-customers from its previous, smaller ships, members of what Seabourn calls its “Club.” This is an outstanding loyalty rate that testifies to the brand's historical appeal despite the conversion to nearly-mid-size ships.
Cabins on Encore continue design basics developed on earlier ships, which provide a spacious approximately 10 by 30 foot private environment, big compared to lesser cruise lines or even to a king-bedded cabin on ships like the Queen Mary 2. All cabins have balconies. With the exception of a few oversize suites, all Encore cabins are the same, which minimizes the need to pay more for a different or better equipped cabin. This equality of accommodation was a principle since the days of the Spirit and buyers should beware overpaying for cabin location, other than to avoid being next to elevators or a stairway.
Try shopping with the chef at the new fish market, and walk on your own through the bazaar.
Like a dream, especially because we were there in off-season and faced no crowds or delays getting up and down, dock to town.
The Seabourn BBQ event staged here-- buffet, caviar in the surf, swimming-- was the best we have experienced since the day of the 200 passenger ships.
Great walking through neighborhoods on our on. Bring your smart phone with GPS (linked to local cell networks.)