Seabourn has long deserved its superb reputation for quality cuisine at sea and that's not changed on Odyssey. What has changed over the years, and to tremendous effect, is the variety of cuisine, from the chic Restaurant (the main dining room) to the Colonnade, one of the best casual venues at sea. Certainly, Seabourn's partnership with Thomas Keller, one of America's most influential chefs, puts it in a lofty culinary category. What we really liked about the Keller/Seabourn partnership is that his food appears in nearly every venue, not just his eponymous grill restaurant.
Menus do indicate dishes that are vegetarian, gluten-free and heart-healthy. We found that ordering a la minute never posed a problem, particularly in the Restaurant, if there was something we wanted that wasn't on the menu.
Wines are poured at all venues with lunch and dinner and though there are selected bottles-of-the-day, wine waiters are very happy to find alternatives if the choice presented doesn't suit.
The Restaurant (Deck 3): Open for breakfast, lunch (most days) and dinner, The Restaurant offers open-seating dining at all meals. During the day, especially when the ship is in port, it's the most peaceful place for breakfast and lunch because many passengers are flocking to more casual venues. At dinner, The Restaurant is the ship's most formal eatery, and it's the only place onboard with, on occasion, a more elegant dress code.
At breakfast (open on sea days from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and on port days from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.), the menu ranges from pastries and fruit to egg dishes, pancakes and waffles. For carnivores, grilled minute steak, ham and lamb chops are among options, and omelets can be custom-ordered.
Lunch (available most days from 12:30 to 2 p.m. save for ports with long day tours) offers a small menu of choices, often with a theme, but there was always something tempting. For example, a Thai-influenced lunch included starters like shrimp salad, soto ayam (chicken soup) and pad Thai. Entrees were grouper, beef satay or a vegetarian puff pastry. Desserts were probably the weakest parts of lunches with one sugar-free option along with ice cream and one pastry choice. There's an everyday menu that stays the same and includes Caesar salad and shrimp cocktail, burgers and hot dogs, and roasted chicken breast and grilled minute steak.
At dinner (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.), The Restaurant shines. With special lighting and flowing white curtains creating cozy nooks of tables, the venue glows in the evening. Officers frequently host tables, and there's plenty of choice of tables, whether you're hosting 10 new friends or just dining with your travel companion. The "Today's Inspirations" menu changes nightly and includes four appetizers (grilled figs, veal sweetbreads, eggplant soup and marinated vegetables), four entrees (grilled tuna, prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, prime rib and gnocchi primavera) and four desserts. The "Seabourn Classics" menu is the same each night, and offers more traditional options, such as chilled shrimp, chicken or tomato soup, pasta with a choice of sauces and Caesar salad to start. Entrees are salmon filet, chicken breast, beef tenderloin, New York strip and lamb chops.
Every two nights, a specially designed Thomas Keller set-menu is an optional addition. One memorable meal was a three-course dinner that was as much about how ingredients were sourced via California purveyors as they were about the cuisine. It started with a salad of blistered heirloom carrots, a choice of Sonoma duck breast or roasted heart of romaine and, for dessert, a chocolate ganache tart. For those who've hankered to try or have enjoyed Keller's restaurants, such as the French Laundry and Per Se, these menus were the closest reflection to his gourmet cuisine.
Seabourn Square (Deck 7): A revolutionary concept when first introduced on Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Square is still a central hub onboard where passengers gather, play cards, read and nosh. We found the selection of snacks, which hardly varied during our cruise, to be the weakest food onboard. Breakfast, served from 6 to 11 a.m., is limited to sugary pastries. At lunch, from 11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., the same selection of sandwiches -- egg salad, ham and cheese -- is served every day; the offerings were fine, but got boring. The cakes and desserts available throughout the day are the best items on offer and these do vary. At night, Seabourn Square serves basic snacks from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for those who are still peckish after dinner.
The Colonnade (Deck 8): Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Colonnade, which features patio seating as well as a large indoor venue, really is the heart of mealtimes aboard Seabourn Odyssey. It's a mix of casual, serve-yourself fare, prepared to a high standard, and a small menu of special dishes made to order. At any meal we tried in The Colonnade, and we went at various times on various days, the service was a particular standout.
At breakfast (8 to 10:30 a.m.), The Colonnade can get busy, especially on a port day, but different types of food are displayed at separate stations that are well spaced out to prevent crowding. Breakfast fare includes bread and pastries, granola and cereal (even Froot Loops!), cheese and yogurt, and a few hot dishes. Orange juice is freshly squeezed, and coffees are prepared to order. A different selection of hot dishes, such as pancakes, waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict and eggs cooked to order, are available via a menu.
Lunch (noon to 2 p.m.) is frequently centered around a theme, such as seafood, German or Italian, and you can always order more simple fare, like roast chicken breast or a steak. Salad fixings are fairly standard each day but there is always something new and different to try. The cheese selection is superb, and desserts are also way-too-good in this venue.
Frequently themed at night, dinner (7 to 9 p.m.) at The Colonnade is relaxed and very rarely busy. On nice evenings, the outdoor patio is beautifully lit and a wonderful alfresco dining spot. Some nights are internationally themed, such as French or Italian. On other nights, a more casual Thomas Keller-created meal is on tap, such as an all-American barbecue. On one night, the set-course meal, served family style, included a Waldorf salad, rib chop with asparagus and mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese and freshly baked bread, and a chocolate silk pie. It was all quite delicious but also very rich, and though reservations are highly recommended, we rarely needed to make them for a Thomas Keller night. (On the other hand, a huge hit in The Colonnade for dinner on our Central American cruise was a Mexican dinner with many ingredients supplied from the day's "Shopping with a Chef Tour" to a local market.)
The Grill by Thomas Keller (Deck 8): Added in May 2017, The Grill is Thomas Keller's steakhouse restaurant -- don't go expecting a version of Keller's legendary French Laundry. The menu features six starters, nine mains and six desserts with a daily special of each. The food is typical grill fare taken to new heights of deliciousness -- a scrumptious crabcake on top of a rich aioli; super-moist roast chicken; lobster thermidor people raved about for days.
Starters include Caesar salad prepared tableside and New England clam chowder. Mains are rib eye of Snake River Farms beef, Dover sole, eggplant Parmesan and the aforementioned lobster. Sides include garlicky spinach, a rich mac 'n' cheese, steak fries and glazed carrots. You don't want to skip dessert, which includes a seven-layer coconut cake, lemon meringue pie and a decadent ice cream sundae.
Wines of the day are poured as they are elsewhere on the ship. The premium wines, selected by Eric Johnson, the sommelier from The French Laundry, range from reasonably priced to seriously expensive; for example, $39 for a Napa Valley sauvignon 2015 to a Colgin IX Estate 2012 for $789. A 2012 Australian shiraz from the Barossa Valley is $39. Wines by the glass start at $12.
The Grill is open for dinner only, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; reservations are essential.
The Patio (Deck 8): The Patio is a popular, limited menu spot for lunches and surf-and-turf dinners.
During lunch (12:30 to 3:30 p.m.), Thomas Keller's influence is felt via his signature Napa burger -- it is out of this world -- and the artisanal hot dog dubbed the "Yountwurst." Hot and cold serve-yourself antipasto and salads are available, as is a hot dish-of-the-day. You can order paninis, and a thin-crust pizza of the day.
At night, The Patio is a reservations-only spot (and you really do need to book as it's very popular) that serves the same surf and turf menu each night, with variety added via a different appetizer menu each day. Finish up with a yummy dessert.
Afternoon Tea (Observatory Lounge, Deck 9): Held daily from 4 to 5 p.m., afternoon tea on Odyssey is a rather slap-dash affair, offering rich pastries and tea, of course. (A full bar is also available.) Service was way off here; we had to make several requests to have our table cleared and another couple of asks to get scones, a basic cornerstone of afternoon tea. When they arrived, finally, they were stone cold.
Room Service: Room service is available 24 hours. Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 10 a.m. and features a wide range of options, from continental fare to hot dishes (including eggs Benedict, which you don't often see via room service). Lunch features a medley of soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and entrees -- such as Caesar salad, roasted chicken breast, grilled New York strip and a burger or hot dog. Desserts included New York-style cheesecake and a most decadent pot au creme. The menu never varies. At dinner, passengers can order off The Restaurant's menu from 7 to 9 p.m. It's delivered all at once so if you've ordered ice cream you may want to start with dessert.