Passengers:450 World's Best 2016 Awards Rank: #5 Midsize Ocean Ship Best for: High-end cruisers who love sophisticated cuisine and the intimacy of a small ship
Sails: Africa, Antarctica, the British Isles, the Caribbean, Central America, the Mediterranean, New England & Canada, Northern Europe, South America
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing fifth in the Midsize Ocean Ship category. Like its fellow Odyssey-class ships Odyssey and Quest, this haute mid-size vessel spoils passengers with warm service, inventive food, and lots of little luxuries.
The high number of cabins with verandas means that most people don’t have to leave their room to spend time outside. This goes doubly for passengers in the 1,097-square-foot Wintergarden suites, each of which have a large balcony and a glassed-in solarium with a tub and a day bed. Even guests without a veranda still have plenty of room to move: ocean-view staterooms are a spacious 295 square feet.
This is a luxury ship, so you won’t have to worry about being nickeled and dimed once you’re onboard. Most beverages (including many wines and spirits) and all meals are included in your fare, as are gratuities.
Much of the food on board is sourced locally, and Chef Thomas Keller has created dishes that appear in many of ships restaurant. (He’ll open one of his own, The Grill by Thomas Keller, later in 2017, which will replace the intimate Restaurant 2.) At The Restaurant, the ship’s main dining room, guests choose among cruise classics like beef carpaccio and filet mignon, and creative options like chipotle-glazed escargots and sautéed scallops in coconut curry. Or go casual at The Colonnade, which has regionally themed menus. On a South American night, for example, you might choose from ceviche, a foie gras and dried fig empanada, and a pan-seared grouper with warm lobster salad.
On warm-weather cruises, passengers can go water skiing, kayaking, or board sailing directly from the ship’s marina at the aft of the ship while at anchor. For swimmers, there’s even a steel-mesh enclosure, allowing guests to take a stress-free dip.
During one of Seabourn’s signature Caviar in the Surf beach days, expect to see the crew pushing surfboards piled with caviar and champagne into the water to pass out to guests. Also on the agenda: lunch on the beach, a massage area, and plenty of kayaks, banana boats, and other watersports.