The new Seabourn Ovation customizes the group experience.
Seabourn is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with the launch of the new Seabourn Ovation, which will be the fifth ultra-luxury ship in its fleet, joining its sister ship Seabourn Encore. “Our fleet is the newest overall in our category, which makes for a great onboard experience for groups,” says Tanya Barnette, director of strategic key accounts, charter & incentive sales at Seabourn Cruise Line. “This fleet expansion allows us to visit more destinations than we did before. We were the innovators of a new standard of small ship, ultra-luxury cruising back in 1988 and that tradition continues today.”
The Seabourn Ovation will begin her maiden season this month with an 11-day inaugural voyage from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. It will then offer a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm, including a three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Groups can also opt for longer 14-day voyages visiting the Norwegian fjords and British Isles.
The ship offers 300 suites, each with its own private oceanfront veranda with interiors by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, and draw inspiration from the line’s history and yachting heritage. Seabourn has also partnered with Michelin-rated chef Thomas Keller to open The Grill by Thomas Keller aboard the Seabourn Ovation. Inspired by classic American restaurants of the 1950s and ‘60s, its menu offers updated versions of iconic dishes such as tableside-prepared Caesar salad, lobster thermidor, and Meyer lemon meringue tart.
The line is also launching a new artisan gelato program that will roll out across the fleet during 2018. The authentic milk- and fruit-based gelato will be made fresh daily and has been designed by Seabourn chefs who visited Carpigiani University in Bologna, Italy to perfect their knowledge of the history and techniques used for gelato making.
“Today luxury is all about acquiring unique, bespoke, curated experiences that improve quality of life,” says Badura. “The experience of beauty, knowledge, and humanity at their deepest and most inspiring across the world. Today’s luxury client continues to expect the finest in service, quality of accommodation, and food & beverage, which we have delivered since our company’s founding.”
The new ship includes a collection of more than 1,600 pieces of art from nearly 120 artists. Sourced from five continents, the artworks reflects the climate zones and habitats of the destinations that the ship will visit. Notable art includes a Murano glass sculpture of polished and hammered lagoon green crystal created by Luciano Vistosi, named “Warrior The Second.”
Also debuting on the Seabourn Ovation is the new “Seabourn Conversations” enrichment program, hosting speakers from a variety of disciplines. Highlights from the maiden season include English author and lyricist Tim Rice, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and historian Michael Teitelbaum. The program can also be customized for charter cruises.
“For groups that charter Seabourn, we can customize everything—itinerary, daily programs, menus, entertainment and more,” says Barnette. “Each charter client works closely with our team to create an experience that is specifically tailored to their needs. Luxury travelers are also placing a greater emphasis on the level of authentic experience they can have at destinations around the world. The development of programs like ‘Ventures by Seabourn’ and our UNESCO partnership are all designed to help fulfill some of these desires to be immersed in the world like never before.”
“Ventures by Seabourn” blends ultra-luxury and expedition-style travel into one with a series of optional, for-charge shore excursions in Alaska and British Columbia, escorted by expert guides. The program also offers informative complimentary lectures by knowledgeable teams of scientists, scholars and naturalists, while the modest size of the ships and length of the itineraries allow groups to explore destinations that many other cruise ships can’t reach. Excursion options on select itineraries include kayak or zodiac exploration of sites such as the Aialik Glacier, Holgate Glacier or College Fjord, as well as kayak exploration of the Inian Islands, where groups can view humpback whales, sea lions and harbor seals in their natural habitats.
Groups can also explore Alaska’s temperate rain forest near Juneau on the Perseverance Trail Hike, where they will learn about local flora and fauna as well as Alaskan and Native history. Other options include bear viewing and photography in Anan Creek, led by a bear expert and photography specialist who will guide groups through this ancient Tlingit Native fishing site on the south end of Wrangell Island that attracts significant numbers of black and brown bears due to its abundant salmon.