VENICE, Italy – When I went to board the Seabourn Odyssey at the ship terminal, I saw a slow-moving, long line of folks snaking in front of me. Hundreds of impatient passengers were waiting for their chance at the check-in counter.
This certainly wasn’t what I had in mind when I booked a cruise on Seabourn. And, indeed, it wasn’t.
Arriving at the terminal to embark on my weeklong cruise, I had taken an escalator to the upper floor, as directed. Then I had turned to the left instead of to the right. That’s how I ended up in the boarding line for a mega ship.
Didn’t take me long to figure out this wasn’t the Seabourn Odyssey. A few steps across the hallway was where I was supposed to be.
And what a difference those few steps made.
Seabourn Odyssey passengers were comfortably seated, sipping complimentary cool drinks and renewing old friendships or making new ones. No hassles from salespeople trying to get money for shipboard services as I had seen across the hall. No hasty photos of me in front of a make-believe seascape before being allowed a place in that lengthy waiting line as was part of the process for that other cruise ship.
Oh, how thankful I was to be sailing on the Seabourn Odyssey.
And I hadn’t even begun my cruise. But the embarkation process did give me a hint of what was ahead on the Yachts of Seabourn.
In fact, I had learned a bit about the Seabourn attention to detail when my cruise packet arrived in the mail at my home a few weeks before the cruise. Inside was a soft brown drawstring bag with the Seabourn logo on it. The bag held a lovely brown leather folder with the Seabourn logo and a sturdy clasp, along with two brown leather luggage tags stamped with the Seabourn logo. The folder held my itinerary as well as information about my cabin number, emergency numbers and other important facts, plus it had room to carry my passport and other documents.
Since her inaugural journey in 2009, Seabourn Odyssey has earned the reputation as a leader among the ultra-luxury cruising market. The Odyssey can carry about 450 guests in its 225 ocean-view suites.
Cruise director Bruce Morrison said that our cruise has 440 passengers. “It’s the perfect size,” Bruce says. “The ship is not too big with so many people that you can’t find little quiet nooks and crannies if you want some privacy.”
I think Bruce already has my number. I travel with a laptop computer and seek out those special “alone places” to write and think about what I’m going to write.
Boarding the ship was a breeze. No lines. No waiting. Walked aboard about noon and went straight to lunch in the Colonnade restaurant. Rooms would be ready around 2 p.m. After all, previous passengers had just disembarked that morning.
When my room was ready, so was I. Although I had read the Seabourn literature, I was still not prepared for the elegant beauty and spaciousness of my suite. All cabins onboard the Odyssey are suites, all have ocean views.
My large suite (and it is not the top of the line on the Odyssey) has two areas with a curtain that can be drawn to separate the sleeping quarters from the sitting room. Nightstands are placed on either side of the queen-size bed and a large dresser on the wall at the foot of the bed is a handy place to store books and papers. A leather folder contains complimentary stationery imprinted with my name, plus several personalized Seabourn business cards, and a copy of the daily Seabourn Herald with my name on it.
Amenities include a flat-screen TV, stocked refrigerator, safe, fluffy robe and slippers, sofa, footstool and dining table with two chairs. There is a huge walk-in closet and the biggest bathroom I have ever seen on a ship – a full-size tub (really it is bigger than mine at home), a separate walk-in shower, double sinks and a commode. The bathroom is marble and it gleams.
There is storage galore. I counted more than a dozen drawers and cabinets, including one in the bathroom with lovely Molton Brown toiletries, before I stopped counting. I will never fill up all those storage spaces.
I’ll write more tomorrow. Right now it’s time to head to the mandatory emergency drill, then on to our Venetian Cocktail Sail-Away Party on the top deck. The Odyssey is leaving Venice at 5:15 p.m., headed to Triluke Bay, Croatia, and I’ve heard we will be passing some awesome scenery on the way out of Venice.
Come along with me on this Adriatic journey and see what treasures we find along the way. Already, I am smitten with the outstanding Odyssey.
Photos and video by Jackie Sheckler Finch