Ship review: Seabourn Encore
December 11, 2017
Editor Hollie-Rae Brader checks out the luxury line's newest ship
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Seabourn Encore was a carbon copyof the rest of the luxury line’s fleet. It certainly feels the same, with a wonderful consistency that is bound to comfort the brand’s loyal customers.
The suite categories remain the same, the favourite dining and lounge areas have returned and there will even be familiar faces among the staff, who have been drafted in from other ships for the launch.
But there are slight differences throughout the 12-deck ship, and repeat guests will notice these, regardless of how subtle they are. Let’s be honest, a luxury line that almost always sails full doesn’t need to change much. It’s already a winning formula and perhaps that’s why designer Adam Tihany was instructed to be “evolutionary, rather than revolutionary”.
The ship looks and feels like a luxury yacht, and the “sexy Italian yacht feel” is something Tihany deemed critical when designing it. Seabourn Encore was Tihany’s first cruise ship design project, having built his reputation designing luxury hotels, but he says he enjoyed introducing Seabourn to a more “Italian look and feel with sexy round curves and no sharp edges”.
The biggest, and most obvious difference is the size of the ship. Seabourn Encore carries 150 more guests than Seabourn Odyssey, Soujourn and Quest, with 604 passengers. An extra deck has been added to the ship to allow for more suites and dining options.
Those extra venues include The Grill, by US chef Thomas Keller, and Sushi, the first Japanese restaurant in the fleet.
Another new feature is The Retreat –a top deck area with a whirlpool, cabanas and loungers. Seabourn guests aren’t used to having to pay extra for onboard facilities. However, they’ll have to if they want access to The Retreat, which costs between $250 to $350 per day depending on whether the ship is in port or at sea.
Despite having Bollinger on demand, guests may find the price a little steep and you’d have to drink a few bottles to make the price worthwhile.
Agents who joined the christening in Singapore were most impressed with the transformation of Seabourn Square. The new open-plan lounge design is more welcoming and bound to be a popular hang-out spot for guests.
Edwina Lonsdale, co-owner of Mundy Cruising, said the size increase wouldn’t faze past guests.
“This is an evolution of the Seabourn brand. When some lines launch new ships the massive change on the newer vessel isn’t always a good thing, it puts more spotlight on newer ships and guests are less inclined to travel on the older ships. However, the consistency in the Seabourn fleet means there won’t be a preference among the ships because everyone will love each of them.”
Simone Clark, managing director of Iglu.com, said: “Past guests will like that Encore feels like a Seabourn ship. It’s consistent with the rest of the fleet.
“Everything that is loved on Seabourn is still there, but it’s just been enhanced to be made even better.”
Seabourn Encore returns to Europe in May for a season cruising around the Mediterranean. Sister ship Seabourn Ovation will launch in 2018.