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We are in the initial week of the inaugural Seabourn Alaska sailing. While we are only at the halfway point and I have already honed in on several things our readers will love! Here are seven things I think everyone can agree are amazing about the Seabourn Alaska cruises. (You can read more about the Seabourn Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn 2017 on our dedicated page.)
1. Expedition team
Having the Seabourn Alaska expedition team on board has been a special part of this sailing. As I shared, they will be on for the entire Seabourn Alaska season! I’ve seen one-on-one coaching sessions on how to improve nature photography. We’ve looked at maps together to watch for upcoming sights. And they’ve been ever present on the various decks to help guests search for brown bears, bald eagles, and marine life.
2. All-weather parkas
Guests love the teal blue jackets provided as a welcome aboard gift for all of the Seabourn Alaska guests. They can be spotted all over the ship – and around town in each of our ports. We’ve now dined al fresco twice – and enjoyed two on-deck sail away parties – thanks to our cozy jackets.
Pro tip: While the jackets are a great identifier, if for any reason you are trying to haggle while shopping in town and don’t want the obvious flag, lose the jacket for your shopping trip! Just like the ubiquitous canvas Seabourn tote in Mediterranean and Caribbean ports, nothing says “I just stepped off an all-suites ultra-luxury cruise liner, please overcharge me!” to the locals quite like that identifying brand jacket.
3. Warm touches everywhere
The hospitality staff is making certain that no one gets too cold whether inside or out. We have plenty of opportunities to warm up. Cozy wool blankets are available on all of the decks along with heat lamps that have been installed.
At the Patio Bar, a bouillon bar has been set up for guests needing a warm up. Or the bartenders are more than happy to make something stronger – like a hot toddy! The hot tubs have all been open and the pool is heated. And the Serene Area in the spa also a quiet area for those who seek to watch the glacial views, polar bear style.
The staff is more than glad to bring around a glass of champagne so the water dwellers can lounge in style. For those who prefer to watch from a more enclosed vantage point, Seabourn Square has remained busy (the reclining chairs on the back windows remain one of my favorites) with the coffee bar doing brisk business all day. The Observation Bar has also stayed full from dawn to dusk.
4. Going the extra mile
The Seabourn staff, are as usual, going the extra mile. We’d hoped to, by now, review two different Seabourn shore excursions. That hasn’t worked out quite as planned. We went out on one excursion in Ketchikan and things went south very quickly with the tour operator. First, the event order was unexpectedly changed, placing an all-you-can eat crab dinner at the beginning of our excursion – right after most of our guests had just finished an onboard lunch. And then as we were sitting down for that, we were informed that this would be our only stop as the remainder of the tour was going to be cancelled due to a broken tour boat. Most of the guests were, understandably, upset and wanted to instead abort the tour and return to the ship immediately.
The large group of us who did were fully refunded for the entire excursion, no questions asked, before our bus even arrived back at the pier. The other guests who stayed to eat still received half of their excursion fee back. No hassles, no lines, just an apology and a credit.
That’s how ALL cruise lines should operate!
We decided to cancel a second excursion in Wrangell because it was possible that we might not be making some of the planned stops. Again, we were refunded with no questions asked and no hassle. Other guests have experienced some issues because Seabourn has run into some regulatory snags with a few of the planned Ventures by Seabourn kayak and zodiac excursions. They worked to immediately find replacement alternatives for the guests who were displaced and offered full refunds. Some of the new alternatives were great additions for passengers who could not participate in the existing more active excursions as well.
Seabourn staff to the rescue again!
5. Ventures by Seabourn
Despite not being able to operate from the Seabourn-owned kayaks and zodiacs at the moment, the Ventures by Seabourn excursions are off to a great start. While I have not taken one, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from passengers who have. We’ve heard about hikes, kayaking, and nature photography from passionate passengers who were impressed by the guides they had.
6. Excited crew
It is always fun for me to see the crew on a cruise ship as excited about the passengers about a destination. I’ve noticed a lot of amazed smiles this week. It was the Future Cruise Sales Manager hopping out to grab a few photos of a glacier this morning. Or the excited port stories from crew members who have explored for a couple of hours in the afternoon. The Seabourn Alaska crew are discovering this beautiful state for the first time. They are falling in love as well.
7. Caviar on Ice
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the Signature events, reimagined for Seabourn Alaska. Last night we had a sail away part from Sitka party called “Caviar on Ice”. It honored Sitka’s Russian heritage with iced vodka shots, chilled champagne, and plenty of caviar on offer. Guests enjoyed music and entertainment staff in Russian fur hats. Chef Jes served up plates of caviar in a Russian military cap.
Pro tip: As an all-inclusive ultra-luxury line, premium vodka, champagne, and yes – even caviar – are available 24/7 on Seabourn as part of your cruise fare. So there was no feeding frenzy to get to the goodies like there might be on other lines. Some guests opted for their warm suites – and room service – instead.
These are just seven of the many reasons why I am a loyal Seabourn guest. The Seabourn Alaska cruises will no doubt bring a new legion of fanatics to the line. These are just a few of the reasons to love Seabourn and keep returning.