Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Quest of the Seabourn Sojourn - The Inaugural & Maiden Voyage Travelogue - Part IV - The Naming and Inauguration

I am aboard the Seabourn Sojourn and I am happy to report the ship is, well…Ship Shape!

The staff is smiling and on their game with friendly and familiar faces greeting us at the gangway after our short tender ride from the Four Seasons Canary Wharf – the staging area for the very quick boarding process.

The champagne is flowing, the stewardess arrived promptly with more champagne, canapés and a choice of Hermes, L’Occitane or Essence soaps. Our suite (No. 622) is perfectly completed…as is the rest of the ship.

No crew rushing around. No apologies. No making things work. No, the issues with the delivery of the Odyssey are pretty much non-existent. Even the little things, like the deck on my balcony is clean and the trim freshly painted. All the furniture is not only in place, it is all perfectly staged with towels, cushions, awnings, etc.

My stewardess was literally bragging that within four days of arriving in Genoa from the Seabourn Pride the crew area was complete and she was able to move onboard. That allowed her, and the rest of the staff, to get into their routines early and consistently. So they confidently present a polished product right from the start.

I guess I must ask myself, “Why am I even mentioning the problems with the delivery of the Seabourn Odyssey?” And I guess the answer is because the delivery of the Seabourn Sojourn shows, once again, why I am such a believer in Seabourn. Seabourn may not be perfect, but the people of Seabourn will do everything they can to make it so.

I have notice a few changes/improvements; most of which are quite subtle (such as the elimination of the large silver “walls” at the rear of the Grand Salon – what a difference!), but the Spa has really been improved in a few significant ways. I will discuss these in a later post – with specifics – but the focus has been on delivering a consistent product at the highest levels of quality.

I was going to delay in describing the Inaugural Events because I don't want to ruin anything for those attending the charity event tonight or the Maiden Voyage events, but I have been told that other in the UK have published some of the details.  Soooo, with the preface that it is pretty hard to get Iamboatman to tear up, there were quite a few watery eyes last night.  It started with a wonderful cocktail party on deck in 75 degree weather which included beautiful flower arrangements everywhere...including the center of the pool....a huge martini ice bar (complete with Seabourn insignia) and wonderful passed tastes. 

Twiggy was announced and made her grand entrance, followed by her brief and very classy speech including the requisite, "This is My Yacht" and a bottle of champagne ran on a line running from the forward mast to a plague christening the Seabourn Sojourn.

After a wonderful dinner - flawless service and with great cuisine (my halibut was perfect, but Bjoern is the chef!), it was back to the pool deck for the big event.  A quartet of beautiful women played some incredible upbeat classical music that was mesmerizing.  Then, with the strings in full crescendo...Fireworks.  And the fireworks were seemingly times to the music.  It was, without question, very emotional.

It was, without question, very Seabourn.  A new, more energized and youthful Seabourn.

As I dine, drink and am entertained I will write more. But for now, if you are booked on the Sojourn you can rest easy (and with positive excitement). If you have been waiting to book because you were concerned about the shape of the ship on delivery…wait no more.  I feel like I am on one of my flawless Seabourn cruises and that the Quest has been very, very successful.