ABOARD THE SEABOURN ODYSSEY – Last evening we chatted with Capt. Bob Sample from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. A former pilot for British Airways, he is age 86 and traveling alone on his fifth Seabourn cruise. He has already signed up for another one this summer in the Med and confided that he is bringing his new lady friend along.
At lunch today we met Eleanor and Dave from Ft. Worth, Texas, traveling with her parents, Ken and Helen from south of Tampa, Florida. This was their second Seabourn cruise and they were asking us lots of questions about what previous cruises that we had done.
Early on we met Doug and Eileen from Alexandria, Va. Theirs is a romantic tale. They actually met on the Seabourn Sojourn. “She was traveling as a companion to her uncle,” Doug explains, “and I am so glad that she showed up at the first singles gathering on that cruise. She saved me from a raft of older ladies.” Whether that is true or not, they admit they spent almost every evening of that cruise getting to know one another and kept dating after. They have now been married for four years and sail on Seabourn regularly.
Eileen particularly enjoys one of the perks of sailing on Seabourn that any passenger can enjoy, most anytime. She orders caviar each and every evening during cocktails.
This is how it is on small ships. At almost every turn you meet someone and begin chatting and new friendships blossom. Everyone compares notes. They want to know what ships you have sailed, what ports you liked most, what ship’s food you like the best. There are quite a few passengers sailing solo on this trip, like our friend Bob, and each evening they are invited by Seabourn to join a larger group table so as not to dine alone. Bob admits he sometimes declines but generally takes them up on the offer.
This makes for loyal cruisers. At the past-passenger reception a couple of days ago, three men and one woman were honored for their high number of days sailing with Seabourn. The men had all just passed the 200-day level and she had surpassed 550 days, the most of anyone else on board. It appeared that all four were traveling by themselves. The total days sailed on Seabourn by the 406 sailing on this trip was 36,341, represented by 22 nationalities, according to Mihaela Cotoanta, the cruise sales specialist.
This noon at our Trivia session – our team from day one is still together, by the way – our group began discussing their next Seabourn cruises. Margery and Toby, who are from the U.K. said they had already booked the next crossing from Barbados to Monaco got into a discussion with Cathy, our group leader, about the the pros and cons of losing time as you sail across the ocean as opposed to gaining it.
On this crossing, we are gaining back gradually the five hours that we lost when we flew to Lisbon. Every few days we are directed to turn our clocks back on hour during the night. Everyone likes gaining an extra hour of sleep. However, Toby and Margery say that losing time when traveling from west to east isn’t bad at all. This is a typical shipboard debate.
We have only two more days on board the ship before we all go our own ways but many know they will see each other again, probably on another Seabourn cruise next year. They admit that they like the perks that they earn by being frequent cruisers on Seabourn and while most have tried Silversea and other lines, they remain loyal to Seabourn.
December 16, 2016
Photos by Cynthia Boal Janssens