Monday, July 21, 2008

Seabourn Odyssey - The Details.

So what is this new Seabourn Odyssey all about?

First, let me state the obvious...which might not be that obvious to those who have not cruised on Seabourn. The new ship is about service. Consistent service. The service you expect.

Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean have far more toys and venues than the Odyssey, but you would never cruise on them expecting the same level of cruise experience. So when thinking about the new ship, don't think you need to go WOW! about anything. (OK, the Spa is a WOW!) Think about how the venue, its setup, its atmosphere blends, embellishes, or compliments Seabourn Service.

I will keep away from most statistics because they are to most just boring or, worse, confusing.

SEABOURN SQUARE

Every hate the feeling of having a barrier between you and the purser, when you want to discuss something? Dread lining up to talk about a tour or to book your next cruise? Well Seabourn is implementing something pretty cool (actually somewhat more akin to what private banking used to be like). You will be able to sit in comfortable chairs in a lounge atmosphere and deal with your requests, inquiries and needs in a most civilized manner. And what would make your feel a bit more comfortable? A coffee bar will be located in the same area....and just down the corridor from the Card Room.

DINING:

Main Dining Room - Seabourn has done something pretty unique. It has very shrewdly designed the Restaurant to be essentially two mirror-images of the triplet's dining room (as far as layout in the dining room and galley). Even the waiter stations are in the same locations. Why you might ask? So that any staff that comes from one of the triplets knows exactly where to go, were things are, and how to serve. While the room will be beautiful, the service will be - here's that word - consistent.

Restaurant 2 - Again consistent with the Pride, Spirit and Legend, this alternative restaurant will feature innovative menus with wine parings.

The Colonnade - This is an indoor/outdoor restaurant with an open kitchen serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It will feature a different theme each evening. Sound familiar? How about both indoor and outdoor seating?

Patio Grill - This is not just any poolside grill. There will be nice touches that make it a bit special at various times of the day. Wander by with a cup of coffee in the morning and you will be greeted with the aroma of warm cinnamon buns.

In Suite - Seabourn does this the best of any cruise line. Your meal will be served course by course, timed as you like it, with the Main Restaurant's menu available. If you simply want a late night pizza or an afternoon snack, there will be an extensive menu available.

SPA

Seabourn will have a unique, two story, indoor and outdoor spa with expanded services. But what is really exciting is that there will be 750 sq. ft. Spa Villas which provide you a private indoor area with seating and dining areas, a double bed lounger, two treatment beds, an oversized bathtub and shower...plus a private outdoor wraparound terrace with sun loungers. You will be able to rent these villas for your private treatment sessions for half or, demand permitting, full days.

In addition to Finnish saunas and aromatic steam rooms, there will be seven private treatment rooms with a much broader spectrum of services than is available on the triplets including a full service salon.

Seabourn will also be providing a state of the art gym for cardio, strength and weight training along with a Kinesis Wall. (For those of you that don't know what that is, don't worry about it - you will never use it!)

And for those wanting to just relax, the indoor pool will be located on Deck 8 and the Spa's own outdoor whirlpool will be located on Deck 9.

POOLS

If the triplets have glaring weakness it is the pool's location and layout. No more. On the Odyssey the outdoor pool is centrally located on Deck 8 with two whirlpools adjacent thereto. Modern, upgraded, lounges will be provided as well.

There will be a second smaller outdoor pool with two more whirlpools aft on Deck 5, as well, providing a quiet place to relax.

Wait until you see the water effects.

MARINA

Seabourn will have its very popular marina installed on the Odyssey and the offerings will be expanded to include water skiing and windsurfing in addition to snorkeling, banana rides, etc.

LOUNGES

One of the interesting things is that the lounges are designed to keep the intimate settings that exist on the triplets. Yes, The Club and the Observation Lounge will be larger, but their layouts are such that they are broken up into smaller spaces. Seabourn has not forgotten that it is the socialization among its guests that is one of its strongest features and these spaces are designed to enhance conversation.

Also, while the Sky Bar will be present in its familiar location and with a now fairly consistent look (thanks to the recent upgrades to the triplets!), there will be a second outdoor bar one deck down...right by the main pool.

STAFF

I have kept the best for last.

Seabourn is doing an incredible amount of work to make sure the staff on the Odyssey is trained, knowledgeable and, of course, familiar. Continuing with the tradition of European and South African staff, Seabourn has put in place an extensive shoreside education and training program.

But as you know, there is nothing like actual experience, so Seabourn is doing something unheard of. It is sacrificing suites on the triplets to house some staff so that they can shadow the current staff and learn "on the job" while not compromising either your upcoming cruise on the triplets or having you face an untrained staff member on the Odyssey. While I am sure it will not be perfect, the effort to make the service as consistent as possible from stewardesses to bartenders, pursers to waitstaff, is remarkable.

If you have questions or would like more information on any particular aspect of the Odyssey, leave a comment or drop me an email. Better yet, give me a call!