With its Thomas Keller restaurant and luxurious cabins, Seabourn Encore is among the best new ships on the high seas.
Seabourn has long been a favorite of Travel + Leisure readers, who consistently give the brand high marks in our annual World’s Best Awards. So it was with much anticipation that their latest ship, the Seabourn Encore, took to the seas last December. Would the cruise line, which is known for its spacious guest rooms and personalized service, be able to replicate that same luxury experience in a larger vessel?
Having sailed on Seabourn Encore, I can say the answer is yes. The 600-passenger ship certainly is bigger — and grander, some might argue — than the brand’s three Odyssey-class liners, which each carry 458 guests and have one less deck. But Seabourn loyalists will note many similarities regarding the overall layout and flow. The main restaurant, for example, is still on deck three, and the ever-popular Seabourn Square, where passengers can book excursions and read magazines, is back in its same place.
But Encore’s Square has a newer, airier look, since the squared-off walls surrounding the concierge desks were removed. Doing this somehow allows your eye to naturally turn to the other elements — the bookshelves, the coffee bar, the gelato station. This sense of openness and expansiveness is present throughout the ship thanks to designer Adam D. Tihany, who was brought in to give the Encore curves and a modern vibe. For example, mahogany veneer is strategically placed on walls to give the ship a clubby, yacht-like feel, and arching columns in the main restaurant lead to stunning, blue starburst Murano chandeliers. The Grill by Thomas Keller, a new concept, is a glamorous, Deco-inspired steakhouse, with its curved Moroso velvet couches and columns with gold accents.
Mr. Keller's influence and thinking went into all aspects of the Grill, from the waitstaff uniforms to the restaurant layout to the food, which includes classics like Caesar tableside for two, whole roasted chicken, and hearty steaks. At times, the celebrity-chef concept can feel overplayed on cruise ships, but it doesn’t here.
Travel + Leisure was invited as a guest about the Seabourn Encore on a recent sailing. Read on for more on this beautiful new ship.