Seabourn Sojourn boasts a full booklet of shore excursions that vary according to the ports the ship visits. Although they're not included in the line's fares, the offerings are generally reasonably priced, with two tiers of excursions: standard and Ventures by Seabourn.
Offered on select itineraries, Ventures excursions focus on exclusive small-group experiences that are often active and adventurous, utilizing Zodiacs and kayaks stored onboard the ship.
Price tags are higher for Ventures tours than for standard ones, but when you factor in the more intimate experience, fantastic photo opportunities and the expertise of Ventures guides who accompany the trips, most are well worth the cost.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
The ship's main theater is the Grand Salon on Deck 6, which is more of a cabaret than a true stage. It's used during the day for cooking demonstrations and lectures, as well as pre- and postdinner entertainment. Pillars obscure much of the view, so you have to work to find a seat with good sight lines.
Sojourn has a troupe of singers and dancers who focus primarily on somewhat tired revue-style production shows that take advantage of their voices. These entertainers also perform at least once a cruise at the outdoor Rock the Boat dance party.
Otherwise, Sojourn relies on a constantly changing roster of guest performers for its main theater entertainment. Unfortunately, the acts on our sailing were a bit lackluster.
The one standout show was "An Evening With Sir Tim Rice," which Seabourn describes as "a concert-style presentation narrated throughout by Sir Tim Rice ... taking us on a musical journey through some of his best-known work." Once per weeklong cruise, Seabourn's cast of singers and dancers performs hits by the Broadway great as he tells stories about how he was inspired to write them.
Showtime is 9:45 p.m. nightly. We found that to be too late for us due to busy days in port, postdinner carb comas and jet lag (particularly on the first few days, when many of us were dealing with a four-hour time difference).
Sojourn usually brings cultural performers onboard in port. On our Alaska voyage, these shows included native music and history.
At the entrance to the theater, passengers will often find crew members passing out premade drinks. During the day, soda, tonic water and bottles of spirits can be found at a counter near the entrance for passengers to make their own beverages.
Sojourn's limited daytime activities included bridge, trivia, cooking demonstrations and wine tastings, the latter of which carry a fee.
Sojourn has a small casino, which seemed to attract only a few passengers on our cruise. It's off The Club on Deck 5. The Card Room on Deck 7, just outside Seabourn Square, provides a selection of books, board games and a TV with video games for passenger use.
Seabourn Conversations, which feature guest lecturers, were also fascinating and tied in well with the destination.
On our sailing, lectures were given by members of the onboard Ventures by Seabourn staff, who talked about topics relevant to Alaska, such as John Muir, the gold rush and the life cycle of salmon. We found some of the presentations to be interesting, but we had to fight to stay awake during others.
The Club (Deck 5): The Club is the main bar for predinner drinks, and TouchTune on-demand jukeboxes allow passengers to pick their own songs, which helps to break up the otherwise sleepy lineup of lounge and piano music.
Seabourn Square (Deck 7): Seabourn Square is the ultimate social hub. Whether you're looking to relax with a newspaper and Baileys coffee or a good book and a pastry, it's the place to go. You won't find live music, but you will be rewarded with lovely views from large floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
The Pool Bar (Deck 8): Adjacent to The Pool Grill, the Pool Bar serves the pool area. On cold days, crew often set up steaming pots of self-serve hot chocolate and hot toddies, which is a fantastic touch. The bar also serves made-to-order drinks and ice cream scoops throughout the day.
Sky Bar (Deck 9): The Sky Bar on Deck 9 overlooks the pool and serves that area in addition to The Pool Bar. Smoking is allowed there, and on nice days, it's where smokers often congregate.
The Observation Lounge (Deck 10): While The Club is also open after dinner, the action seemed to head to the Observation Lounge after the evening show. There, passengers gathered for nightly wine or liqueur tastings, which grew more sociable as the cruise went on.
Sojourn passengers looking for a dip, a soak or some sun can take advantage of the fantastic sun decks and outdoor hideaways throughout the ship. They include a whirlpool at the bow on Deck 6, the Club Terrace pool with two hot tubs 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, and the main pool with two hot tubs on Deck 8.
Sojourn has two pools and five whirlpools that are accessible to everyone. The main pool on Deck 8 is saltwater and features a ledge for people to dip their feet without fully submerging. There's a round water feature and several showers for rinsing. Twin whirlpools separate the pool from the Patio Grill and Patio Bar, which leaves privacy for people in the pool.
Wicker-style chaises and loveseats are spread throughout the area and up to Deck 9. Even on a busy sea day, we saw plenty of spots available. One touch we loved: On warmer sailings, attendants circulate during sea days with sunblock, sunglasses cleaner and cocktails.
There's another small pool on the stern, just off The Club, along with two whirlpools. We found that while this pool was much quieter than the main one, the area could get windy. A third spot worth checking out is a large whirlpool on Deck 6, all the way forward. This whirlpool seemed rarely used, although it is visible from decks above (so it's not as private as you might think it is).
The Spa Pool on Deck 9 and Spa Terrace hot tub are available to passengers who book a spa treatment, a spa cabin or a thermal suite pass.
Sun decks abound on Sojourn. On Deck 11, all the way forward, is a lovely sun deck with 36 stacked loungers, although there's no pool. This area, plus the Deck 6 whirlpool, have drink carts for passengers to serve themselves.
Also on Deck 11 you'll find The Retreat, with shuffleboard and table tennis, both sheltered from the wind. There's also an area for golf enthusiasts, with mini-putting and a golf cage for driving.
As with Seabourn Cruise Line's other ships, Sojourn has a water sports marina on Deck 2. We found that it's only open to passengers on certain voyages, however; you'll have to check your itinerary carefully if you want to take part (and even then, it's weather permitting, so in effect, it's rarely used).
The ship has a collection of toys, such as a banana boat, kayaks and pedal boats. Passengers can water ski or try the "donut," an inflatable chair in which you sit while being pulled along by a speedboat. On warm-weather cruises, these toys are available during the Caviar in the Surf beach barbecue day.
In colder climes, cruisers can participate in a polar plunge at the ship's main pool. Crew members also take part. Even if you don't want to get wet, the event makes for some fun photos.
Seabourn Square on Deck 7 serves as the information center for the ship, but it's so much more than a traditional reception area. Instead, it's been designed as a warm, spacious and comfortable meeting place for coffee, pastries, library books and computer use. (Passengers will find eight desktop computers and two printers that are free to use if they've purchased an internet package.)
Daily newspapers from around the world are available, both in print and on iPads. Seabourn Square also houses a quiet space for the ship's concierge, as well as guest services, and shore excursion and future cruise bookings.
A fairly large shop lies off Seabourn Square, as well. Besides sundries, the shop stocks quite a collection of jewelry, purses and brand-name luxury goods. A more exclusive shop with high-end watches and jewelry is also onboard.
Conference rooms are on Deck 5, along with two self-service launderettes that are free to use and provide soap, washers and dryers, and ironing boards. The medical center can be found on Deck 3.
Internet access on Sojourn is slow and only suitable for sending emails and basic surfing. You won't be able to stream or Skype. At 40 cents per minute, prices are exorbitant for a modern cruise ship. An unlimited access package will set you back $240 for a week or $400 for more than a week. Only one device at a time is supported.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside the ship or on cabin balconies; passengers who violate that policy will be fined $250 per day. Designated smoking areas are available outdoors on the starboard half of Deck 9 by the Sky Bar, the starboard half of the aft open terrace outside of The Club on Deck 5 and the starboard half of the open terrace outside of Seabourn Square on Deck 7. The Deck 7 area is the only place onboard where cigars and pipes may be smoked. E-cigarettes may be smoked inside of passenger cabins and in designated smoking areas.
Sojourn doesn't have a huge atrium like larger cruise ships, but there is a spiral staircase midship that is the central walkway to main venues on each floor. The artwork on Sojourn is relatively subdued with one clever surprise: a statue of a dachshund, named Techsel (or Tex).
The spa spans two decks and is one of the largest on a luxury ship of Sojourn's size. Seabourn's partnership with celebrity doctor Andrew Weil means that the spa menu focuses on alternative treatments like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, detoxification and sound therapy, and mindful massages. It also means prices are a bit on the high side, but you won't get a sales pitch at the end.
The spa also has a thermal suite, with passes available by the day or the week; passengers who purchase spa treatments also gain access for an hour before and after their services. The area includes heated ceramic loungers; cocooned meditation chairs; a Kneipp pool, with its varying hot- and cold-water temperatures; an aromatherapy sauna and steam room; and a private sun deck.
On Deck 9, you'll find a small but efficient gym, featuring Technogym treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, rowers, exercise bikes and free weights up to 50 pounds, as well as weight machines. There is a separate room for Kinesis wall training and classes in yoga and Pilates. Most classes are included in the cruise fares, but you'll pay extra for some, as well as for private lessons and sessions with a trainer.
The locker rooms offer showers and saunas, and there's a small relaxation room with flavored water and fruit for those who don't take advantage of the thermal suite.
Runners and walkers will be disappointed by the small path available to them around the pool's upper deck, as it quickly becomes repetitive. That said, we appreciated the cool towels and bottled water set up at the Sky Bar for those who want an outdoor workout.
Sojourn also has a salon that offers hair styling and coloring, barber services, manicures, pedicures and waxing. Book ahead on formal nights; women on Sojourn definitely like to get their hair done. Kerastase is the brand of choice for hair products.
While Seabourn Sojourn does not have dedicated kids clubs, the ship accommodates families with children. You'll typically see more children on the ship in the summer or holidays, during shorter sailings in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.
The minimum age is 6 months for sailings with ports and 1 year for ocean-crossing sailings.
When children are onboard, the line arranges for child care. The Card Room is turned into an activity room, and low-key events are planned for the younger set. Keep in mind that on a ship this size, a sailing with 30 children is considered "a lot"; kids who splash in pools or take over hot tubs will not be looked upon favorably by other passengers.
Although there are no family cabins per se, some staterooms can be combined into larger suites that are more suitable for people traveling together.