Posted by: Tom Baker | May 26, 2017

The Lovely Seabourn Encore


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Another amazing entrant has joined a league of small ships in the luxury sector of the cruise market. Seabourn Encore entered service last December and has had nearly six months of service under her belt as the larger sister to a trio of slightly smaller ships in the Seabourn fleet.

This vessel is incredibly well laid out and offers plenty of space for its luxury seeking guests . Encore is 40,000 plus tons, almost 700 feet long, caters to 600 guests in an all-suite configuration, making her among the most spacious luxury vessels afloat.

My cruise was a March  10-day Indonesian Archipelago cruise sailing from Bali to Singapore stopping at Komodo Island, Celukan on Bali, Probilingo, Sumatra, and Singapore. I had taken a longer version of this cruise on one of Seabourn’s now retired 200 passenger ships in 1993 and loved it. This cruise was quite the opposite as things have changed dramatically in Indonesia with the advent of technology and a flourishing economy… I’m not saying that I did not enjoy this trip but found so much of the exotic charm of Indonesia had been erased. Bali still lured with its exotic charm and incredibly gentle people but the place was radically built up from a few short decades ago and that landscape was clearly changed exponentially. The highlights were the 6.4 earthquake on sailing day in Bali before boarding the ship, the frightening private tour at Komodo Island where the evil dragons do exist and are as dangerous as advertised, and a lovely day to visit the magnificent temple of Borobudur with a lunch at Aman’s amazing resort adjacent to the historic site. Singapore is always amazing regardless and about the cleanest and most organized city on the planet!

About The Ship

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Built at Fincantieri shipyards outside of Venice, the Seabourn Encore has a decidedly less Scandinavian feel than her predecessors and more of a yacht like feel with well-built dark wood furnishings and  richer fabrics. Each public space is exceptionally spacious and there is more public room space than on some ship that hold 1400 or more passengers. Famed interior designer Adam Tihany has created exceptional spaces throughout this elegant vessel with highly couture décor.

Seabourn Service

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Seabourn has always had the skill set to procure staff that are caring, kind, gentle, and willing to please their sophisticated guests. Encore did not disappoint in most areas although my cruise entailed a major cruise staff change out so there were quite a few staff who did not quite have the companies “knack” u to snuff but the experience was still very pleasing form a staff interaction standpoint.

The staff in the Colonnade Buffet restaurant was exceptional and in Thomas Keller Restaurant. The Main Dining room was where I had quite a few concerns but I found a lovely waitress from Barbados who was exceptional and my entire party gravitated to her as she was exceptional and provided over the top service. A really unique thin that Seabourn has provided its dining staff is a pad that enters your suite number and your picture comes up when the Maitre d’hôtel confirms your table space. The pad logs all your meals, where you sat, who your wait staff were, and who joined you at your table. This is a very good tool for the staff and helps remember guests discerning needs.

The level of bar service was exceptional as this onboard all-inclusive product has an open bar policy where I enjoyed a nightly pre-dinner lovely champagne Kir Royale Cocktail nightly in The Club enjoying live music and having more than my fill of Seabourn’s generous complimentary caviar policy… A quick visit to the small casino was easy as this venue sits adjacent to The Club tempting patrons to drop a few dollars here and there!

Public Space & Entertainment

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This ship has a wonderful feature called Seabourn Square that is an enormous lounge that serves as the ships Front Desk, a café, coffee house, library, shore excursion office, all with incredibly comfortable “living room” type of elegant furnishings. While I might ramble a bit about some features in other categories of this short review, this ship offers plentiful space and options for a magnificent spa and gym, observation lounge, huge showroom for Seabourn lectures and nightly entertainment that included excellent and professional review shows, two pools, multiple spa tubs, and a unique new area called The Retreat, where guests can pay extra for exclusive sunning areas, cabanas with TV’s and butler type service. This area has not taken off yet and I am not sure it will but it was drop dead gorgeous…

Encore’s Suites

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I was in the lowest verandah suite category on Deck 5 forward and my suite seemed to measure a little over 300 square feet inside and I had a larger balcony than higher suites at 83 square feet although it had a partial metal wall. I did not find this to be a deterrent whatsoever. The average suites are very spacious with oversized queen beds (almost a king), beautiful and bountiful cabinetry, a full sized sofa, vanity, coffee table, two club chairs, a walk in closet, and a stunning dark marble and granite bathroom with separate bathtub and shower stall and twin sinks-all this with ample storage. Movies are on demand and programming is all complimentary and abundant. Internet, however, is not free (not yet anyway). The suite was comfortable, soothing, and simply elegant. The only area I did not have good service was here as my attendant was brand new, never met us on the first day, and became ill half way through the cruise wherein the Chief Housekeeper had to attend her suites which created a long delay of making up the suites and sometimes not cleaning the room at all other than making up the bed and replacing towels…

Seabourn Cuisine

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Cuisine onboard was a mixed bag. Sometimes it was exceptional and sometimes it was not. The most disappointing aspect for me was Thomas Keller Grill. Having dined at both Perse and French Laundry, this steakhouse disappointed me hugely in the quality of food provided. Food was limp, under cooked, or even burnt… I tried the venue on 3 occasions during this 10-day cruise and all were a big disappointment. I heard this from many others as well but some thought it was the only place to dine. Go figure. I wonder what Mr. Keller would say if he just showed up… The Main dining room also varied although I always found something to eat. The advertised Sea Bass on formal night arrived as paper thin Barramundi. The complimentary wines were a bit weak. The biggest shock was the delivery of pedestrian Barefoot wine, where the  tried to tell me it was an award winning wine. I advised him I could purchase this for $4.99 a bottle at Costco in the US!!! As the cruise progressed the food did improve. I will add that the food at the outdoor poolside grill and in the Colonnade buffet was simply wonderful-as was the service there. Regardless of my comments, I did manage to gain close to 5 pounds…Perhaps the Kir Royales and caviar???

Please enjoy my Seabourn Encore photo album using this link: https://cruisecenter.smugmug.com/Seabourn-Encore-Cruise-March-2017/

Happy sailing…


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