Holiday cruises can feel like a bit of an ocean trap. Most cruise ships we’ve encountered before are behemoths, massive floating cities filled with thousands of passengers. Not to mention mad buffet lines where everyone seems to be perpetually starving. But if you’ve decided to give it a try this coming year, we’ve recently come across the Seabourn Encore. It’s the boutique equivalent of the floating hotel chains we’ve tried before. And a great holiday option.
Stretching over 210 metres, with a cruising speed of 15 knots, the Encore is slim-lined and sleek in white. It’s constructed in the Fincantieri shipyards in Marghera near Venice. “Seabourn’s passengers are affluent and adventurous travellers who want the best of the best in all they do. They like to travel in style and tend to come back often, many booking the next cruise while still on board,” says Chris Austin, the senior vice president of global marketing and sales.
Rising 12 levels, it has a capacity for 600 passengers who settle into 300 suites dressed in a palette of white, cream and brown. The rooms offer an elongated floor plan. Suites offer a generously proportioned balcony, walk-in wardrobe and a bathroom that includes a double sink, shower and bathtub. Not bad. And in the ultra-luxe Winter Garden Suites, rooms have their own private jacuzzis.
There is little sense of the madding crowd on board, thanks to a judicious spread of venues and activities. Passengers are spread out across two swimming pools, a library, six whirlpools, a casino, seven lounges and bars, a spa headlined by Dr Andrew Weil, and five dining options, among which is The Grill by Thomas Keller. It can all seem a bit too much at times, but this is a floating resort, make no mistake. Think of it as the Orient Express, but out in the ocean.
Seabourn’s also spent a lot of time planning unique and interesting travel routes that will appeal to both the culturally inclined, or if you just want to have a good time. The shortest route departing from Singapore is a seven-day sojourn to Bali. But if you want to roam Southeast Asia, there are other options. 16-day holiday across Thailand, Vietnam and the Javan sea. 25 days to the East coast of Australia, passing through the Great Barrier Reef. Or 14 days to the Seychelles. There are plenty more to pick from. but instead of making a race to the finish line, you’re cruising along, indulging in fine food and good company and taking in sights. That’s what a holiday should be like.
Check out Seabourn’s Encore here. And if you’re already planning for your summer holidays, it may be a perfect choice for you. Meanwhile here’s a clip from its maiden voyage to Singapore.