ABOARD THE SEABOURN ODYSSEY – Every cruise ship seems to have a heart, a place where folks like to gather.
Maybe it’s the lobby, which is often a beautiful showcase on ships. Or it might be the lounge around the top-deck pool where folks can socialize and swim or enjoy a cold drink.
On the Seabourn Odyssey, the “heart” seems to be Seabourn Square.
“Whatever you need, you can find in there,” says cruise director Bruce Morrison. The Seabourn brochures calls it the “living room” of the Odyssey, located on Deck 7 aft.
On this day, a passenger is working a jigsaw puzzle. Several others are reading magazines. A woman browses through the large collection of hardback and paperback books in the ship library. About a half dozen people are using the desktop computers set up in a row of eight. The computers are available 24 hours a day for a small fee.
Like many others cruisers, I brought my own laptop and have a package for Wi-Fi minutes during my cruise. That way, I can use my laptop in my cabin or anywhere on the ship. Wi-Fi is notoriously slow at sea but it hasn’t been too bad so far on the Odyssey.
Cruise sales specialists are busy at their desks helping passengers plan their next Seabourn cruise. Guest service specialists are answering questions, booking excursions, making reservations at dining venues and doing other services.
On port days, a representative from local tourism will often come aboard with brochures to help passengers decide what to do for the day. “The question I get asked the most is what is the one thing we should do while we are here,” the tourism person says. “You only have so much time here and people want to be sure they make the most of it.”
Seabourn Square also has a European coffee bar with full bar service and a display case filled with pastries, cookies, tarts and dainty sandwiches, plus tempting gelato.
Although he had never been on a ship before he started working on the Odyssey two years ago, Charlton Rooyen says the job suits him just fine. “I wanted to be in the hospitality business and, for me, this was like starting at the top,” Charlton says, fixing a cappuccino for a passenger.
“I learned to make coffee at home in South Africa,” Charlton adds when a happy coffee drinker compliments him on his skills.
For shoppers, there are three stores in the vicinity of Seabourn Square. I’ve looked at all of them and expect to buy a wonderful reminder of my cruise before it ends. The Seabourn Shop features logo wear, accessories and souvenirs of The Yachts of Seabourn. The Boutique offers a nice selection of clothing , accessories and notions. The Collection has jewelry and watches. All duty-free, of course.
Seabourn Square is filled with comfy sofas and chairs, along with tables. Many of the seating places are turned toward that beautiful view of the wake of the ship. I saw some people just sitting and staring. Don’t blame them. Seabourn Square is a peaceful place, perfect for an ideal day at sea or a quiet day in port.
With a gentle rain starting to fall, think I’ll return to my cabin and watch it from my balcony. Something soothing about a lovely rain at sea.
Photos and video by Jackie Sheckler Finch