Just stepping off the Seabourn Encore in Barcelona I feel we got a lot of fresh new takes on cruising with familiar favorites. Having cruised a large major cruise line over the Fourth if July the not having to sign for drinks and having wait staff recognize and anticipate our orders was a breath of fresh air.
We stayed in the Owners Suite so we had plenty of living room space, more choices of liquor at the in room bar than a reasonable couple could consume in 6 months and a separate bedroom with a large bathroom. A half bath off the living room area was a nice touch. The balcony had two entrances one from the living room and one from the bedroom and Seabourn modified the balcony wall with some glass so you can actually sit down on a lounger and have a view. Older ships have a solid metal wall that does not afford you a view when seated on the balcony or lying on the bed.
Toiletries in the bathroom are Molton Brown and generously sized. More than a reasonable could possibly use in a week let alone a month. Double sinks with plenty of counter space and shelves along with a medicine cabinet insures plenty of space for a person to make home in the bathroom with no compromising for your partner. The tub is large with jacuzzi jets and there is a separate shower with great water pressure. All very bright, pleasant and comfortable.
Dining options have been expanded with the addition of a sushi restaurant open for lunch and dinner which we particularly liked. Though the menu didn’t change daily we found some consistent favorites that didn’t fail to delight along with ordering different sushi rolls to mix things up. Service was the best in the Sushi restaurant and I am pretty sure we may have been their first frequent diners on a cruise but hey when you really like something why not go for it.
We also found the Earth and Ocean outdoor grill by the pool a surprisingly excellent dining option. The grill is open later for lunch until 3 pm which is particularly helpful when shore excursions get you back at 2 pm with no lunch having been provided. But it’s the evening menu although limited to 3 staters 3 mains and 3 desserts, each time we went the food was exceptional. I had the best mushroom entree that I would die for again. I’m not a vegetarian but would be a convert if I could have that dish every night. My husband had a Nigerian Prawn dish that were as large as a lobster and served piping hot but not over done. Service was impeccable at this dining option as well.
The Collanade restaurant was our go to for breakfast and it was reliably sticked with everything you would expect- fresh fruit, egg options, cheese, meat, nuts and other savories, breads and sweets. Hand sanitizers at the entrance were used regularly so no concerns in sanitation issues.
I can’t comment on the main dining room as we never went as well as we didn’t get into the Thomas Keller restaurant.
Other things of note were thoughtfully presented shore excursions which we did every day and the entertainment in the Sky Lounge daily was lovely- a mix of modern and classics by a singer accompanied by a pianist. What’s not to love about sailing out of a port to well made martini and lovely music?
My only observation on the Encore that was different than other Seabourn cruises was that the cabin stewards seemed as a rule sullen and generally unhappy. Very few ever treated us and our own steward seemed to go out of her way to not greet us at any time. We had several instances of cabin crews coming into to our cabin later at night to close our curtains- apparently forward facing cabins must keep the curtains closed starting at 6 pm. Another night a storm threat caused another crusade of cabin stewards to pull in our deck furniture. I was in bed both times these occurred and my husband was in the shower. 5 minutes earlier or later and the cabin crew members would have gotten an eye full of something they probably din’t Want to see- ever.
So to sum up Seabourn Encore lives up to it’s reputation for sophisticated elegance with a beautiful ship. Food, wine and drinks are superb. Shore excursions to some new not well known places were a pleasant surprise. Room intrusions and sulky cabin stewards was a surprise.