Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 408 out of 500
Accommodation: 170 out of 200
Food: 327 out of 400
Service: 336 out of 400
Entertainment: 77 out of 100
Cruise: 323 out of 400
Overall Score: 1641 out of 2000
Seabourn Spirit Statistics
Size: Boutique Ship
Cruise Line: Seabourn
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 8807997
Builder: Seebeckwerft (Germany)
Original Cost: $50 million
Entered Service: Nov 1989
Length (ft/m): 439.9/134.1
Beam (ft/m): 62.9/19.2
Draft (ft/m): 16.8/5.1
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (5,355kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 6
Total Crew: 160
Passengers (lower beds): 212
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 47.0
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.3
Cabins (total): 106
Size Range (sq ft/m): 277.0-575.0/25.7-53.4
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 6
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 4
Wheelchair accessibility: None
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 3
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This is a contemporary small ship for mature-age cruisers
Overview. The intimate Seabourn Spirit is best suited to sophisticated and well-traveled couples - typically over 50, but possibly younger - looking for a small ship with excellent food and fine European-style service. The ship’s big advantage is being able to cruise where large cruise ships can’t, thanks to its ocean-yacht size. You sail with only 100 other couples, and a sense of intimate camaraderie.
The Ship. This pleasantly appointed cruise vessel has sleek exterior styling, handsome profile with swept-back, rounded lines, and is an identical twin to Seabourn Pride. It has two fine mahogany water taxis for use as shore tenders. An aft water sports platform and marina can be used in suitably calm warm-water areas. Water sports facilities include a small, enclosed ‘dip’ pool, sea kayaks, snorkel equipment, windsurfers, waterski boat, and Zodiac inflatable boats.
The sunloungers are now a steel mesh design. There is no walk-around promenade deck outdoors. There is only one dryer in the self-service launderette. Non-American passengers should note that almost all entertainment and activities are geared towards American tastes, despite the increasingly international passenger mix.
A wide central passageway divides port and starboard side accommodation. Inviting, sumptuous public areas have warm colors. Fine quality interior fixtures, fittings, artwork, and fabric combine to present an outstanding, elegant decor. For a small ship, there’s wide range of public rooms. These include a main lounge that stages small cabaret shows, a nightclub, an observation lounge with bar, large, deep armchairs, and a cigar smoking area complete with cabinet, cigar humidor, and small selection of good cigars. There is a small business center, small meeting room, and a small casino with roulette and blackjack tables, plus a few slot machines.
Not for the budget-minded, this ship is for those desiring supremely elegant, stylish, small-ship surroundings, but is perhaps rather small for long voyages in open waters. During the past few years, there have been complaints about falling standards aboard the Seabourn ships, particularly with regard to maintenance - they are now over 20 years old - and that food, presentation, and service had deteriorated. However, the company has turned things around, and the product delivered is again pretty decent.
Seabourn Spirit provides a fine level of personal service and an utterly civilized cruise. All drinks except premium brands and connoisseur wines are included. So are gratuities, aromatherapy bath selections from Molton Brown and soaps by Bronnley, Chanel, and Hermès, short massages on deck (‘massage moments’), open-seating dining, use of water sports equipment, one free Exclusively Seabourn shore excursion per cruise, and movies under the stars. Port charges and insurance are not included.
Note that Seabourn Spirit has been sold to Xanterra Parks & Resorts, parent company of Windstar Cruises, and will be transferred in May 2015, to be renamed Star Spirit. Sister ship Seabourn Legend (to be renamed Star Legend) will be transferred in April 2015.
Accommodation. This is spread over three decks, with nine price categories. The all-outside cabins (called suites in brochure-speak) are comfortably large and beautifully equipped with everything one could reasonably need. Electric blackout blinds are provided for the large windows in addition to curtains. All cabinetry is made of blond woods, with softly rounded edges, and cabin doors are neatly angled away from the passageway.
All the suites have a sleeping area, with European duvets and Frette linens as standard. A separate lounge area has a Bose Wave audio unit, DVD player and flat-screen TV, vanity desk with hairdryer and personalized stationery, world atlas, minibar, and refrigerator (stocked with soft drinks and two bottles of your favorite liquor when you embark). There’s a large walk-in closet illuminated automatically when you open the door, wooden hangers, electronic personal safe, umbrella, and wall-mounted clock and barometer. A full passenger list is also provided - a rarity these days - as are a fresh fruit basket, replenished daily, and flowers.
Marble-clad bathrooms have one or two washbasins, depending on the accommodation grade, a decent but not full-size tub (four suites have a shower enclosure only - no tub), plenty of storage areas, 100 percent thick cotton towels, plush terrycloth bathrobe, designer soaps, and Molton Brown personal amenities. A selection of five Molton Brown aromatherapy bath preparations can be ordered from your stewardess, who will prepare your bath.
In 2001, Seabourn added 36 French balconies to suites on two out of three accommodation decks. These are not balconies in the true sense of the word, but they do have two doors that open wide onto a tiny teakwood balcony that is just 10.6ins (27cm) wide. The balconies allow you to have fresh sea air, together with some salt spray.
Course-by-course in-cabin dining is available during dinner hours, and the cocktail table can be raised to form a dining table. There is 24-hour room service. Also provided are personalized stationery, and fancy ticket wallet. Non-smoking cabins are available. Menus for each dinner are delivered to your suite during the day.
Four Owner’s Suites (King Haakon/King Magnus, each measuring 530 sq ft (49 sq m), and Amundsen/Nansen, each 575 sq ft (53 sq m), and two Classic Suites (King Harald/King Olav), each 400 sq ft (37 sq m) offer superb, private living spaces. Each has a walk-in closet, second closet, and full bathroom plus a guest toilet with washbasin. There is a fully secluded forward- or side-facing balcony, with sunloungers and wooden drinks table. The living area has ample bookshelf space including a complete edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, large refrigerator/drinks cabinet, television, and DVD player, plus a second TV set in the bedroom. All windows, as well as the door to the balcony, have manually operated blackout blinds, and a complete blackout is possible in both bedroom and living room.
Dining. The Restaurant is a part-marble, part-carpeted dining room with portholes and restful decor. The silverware (150g weight - the best available) is by Robbe & Berking. Open-seating dining means that you can dine when you want, with whom you wish.
The menus are creative and well balanced, with a wide selection of foods and regional cuisine. Seabourn’s cuisine is artfully presented, with many items cooked to order. Special orders are also available, and caviar (well, sort of) is available on request. Flambé desserts can be presented at your table. There is always a good selection of exotic fruits and cheeses.
Each day, basic table wine is included for lunch and dinner, but the decent bottles cost extra. The wine list is quite extensive, with prices ranging from moderate to high; many of the wines come from the smaller, more exclusive vineyards. The European dining room staff provide excellent, unhurried service.
In addition, relaxed breakfasts (available until 11am) and lunch buffets and casual, themed candlelight dinners, including a ‘2’ tasting menu, can be taken in the popular Veranda Café adjacent to the swimming pool.
The Sky Grill provides an above-poolside setting for candlelit dining. It specializes in sizzling steaks and seafood.
Entertainment. The Amundsen Lounge has a sloping floor that provides good sight lines from just about every seat. ‘Production’ shows are of limited scope, as dinner is usually the main event. You can, however, expect to see the occasional cabaret act. Singers also tend to do mini-cabaret performances in The Club, one deck above the showlounge, the gathering place for late-night drinkers.
Spa/Fitness. The Spa at Seabourn is a small but well-equipped health spa/fitness center. It has sauna and steam rooms (separate facilities for men and women), an equipment-packed gymnasium - but the ceiling height is low - and a beauty salon.
The spa is staffed and operated by concession Elemis by Steiner. Treatment prices equal those in an expensive land-based spa. The beauty salon has hair beautifying treatments and conditioning. In the gymnasium, personal training sessions, yoga classes, mat Pilates, and body composition analysis are available at extra cost.