ABOARD THE SEABOURN ODYSSEY – It is just a small thing. But it makes me happy. And it shows the strong commitment that Seabourn has to taking care of even tiny details for a top-notch cruise.
One of my pet gripes is that cruise ships and international hotels often don’t provide clocks in guest rooms. I don’t want to carry a bedside clock with a lighted dial every time I take a cruise or go overseas. As a longtime journalist, I have this thing about knowing what time it is – no matter whether it is day or night.
If I wake up during the night, I want to be able to take a quick glance and know that I can sleep for four more hours. Or whatever. Might be years of meeting deadlines but a nearby clock is important to me.
And there it is. Attached to the wall by the queen size bed in my suite is an easy-to-read clock. But that is only the beginning of the special touches that I am discovering on my first cruise with Seabourn.
Shortly after entering my luxurious suite with its marvelous ocean view – all guest rooms aboard the Seabourn Odyssey are suites and all have marvelous ocean views – I was greeted by a knock on the door from my room attendant Timea. She was carrying a tray with caviar hors d’ouevres, a glass of champagne and some special bath soaps. Gifts from her to welcome me aboard.
My room already has a basket of fruit and a bottle of champagne on ice as welcome-aboard gifts from Seabourn.
Timea also asked if I would like two complimentary bottles of liqueur for my room. Thinking it might be nice to sit on my balcony, watch the ocean roll and savor a nightcap, I asked for a bottle of Kahlua and a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Figured they would be those teeny bottles you get on the airlines, good for about one drink.
Imagine my surprise when Timea brought me two huge bottles of the liqueurs. No way would I drink that much on this weeklong cruise. I didn’t even open the bottles. Might as well tell you right away about the drink policy on Seabourn.
Any drink is free. Day or night. Anywhere on the ship. Any kind of drink. Beer, wine, cocktails, fruit juice, fancy coffees, tea, sodas, on and on.
I’ve never been on a cruise like this. I have been on cruises where beer or wine was served with meals. One drink or maybe two. I’ve also been on cruises where soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea are complimentary. But I’ve never been on a ship where the drinks flow so freely. Will let you know how that goes when I write my final cruise review.
Another unbelievable Seabourn policy notes that “tipping is neither expected nor required” on the Odyssey. It is an all-inclusive cruise. From what I’ve seen so far the service is impeccable. No one is being nice to you because they expect a big tip at the end of the cruise. They are just being nice because, well, they are nice people.
But back to my room. The more I look, the more I like.
My large suite 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.
Amenities include a flat-screen TV, refrigerator (stocked with soft drinks, beer and wine), a 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.
The balcony is large and covered with teak decking. Balcony furniture includes a round table (bet this will be my favorite breakfast spot), two deck chairs, a chaise lounge and a footrest. Instead of a sliding glass door, the Odyssey has a hinged door that stays wherever you leave it. It doesn’t slam shut. That is really neat. You don’t have to keep opening the door or propping it open with your foot while you carry out a snack or drink. It stays where you put it – fully opened, partly opened or shut.
In fact, all the drawers and doors in my suite seem to have some kind of magic opener/closer. The many drawers are fitted with a special quiet mechanism to soften their closure. I don’t know how many times I have been awakened by a hotel or cruise ship neighbor closing a closet, drawer or door. Not on the Odyssey. Quiet rules here.
Speaking of sleeping, Seabourn has designed curtains that almost completely block out the light coming from the balcony. I like to awaken with the sunlight coming in my window but sometimes it is nice to have a darkened room for a nap or when in port at night with strong outside lights.
The stateroom entertainment system has a big flat screen TV mounted on a pullout tray and an iPod deck with a remote. You can watch any of the ship’s lecture series on the TV and a bunch of new and old movies “on demand” without charge. When satellite reception is good, you can also get a selection of CNN, BBC, Fox News and other entertainment options.
Don’t know how much TV watching I will be doing. Too many other wonderful things to do both on the ship and on shore. Right now, I’m headed off to explore this beautiful Odyssey and decide where I will eat dinner tonight. Decisions! Decisions! But, oh, what exciting ones.
Photos and video by Jackie Sheckler Finch