Seabourn Encore – A Ship For Our Times

by Vanessa Lee

Rick Meadows

Rendering of the pool deck on Seabourn Encore

Vanessa about to embark on the inaugural voyage of Seabourn Odyssey in 2009.

Adam D.Tihany

I recently met with Rick Meadows, President of Seabourn to discuss  their new ships coming our way. Rick is also President of Cunard Line and one busy chap, but we had time to reminisce about the 1 st time we met about 20 years ago when he was running Windstar Cruises and we drank too many yummy Lemon Drop martinis and gabbed for hours!

Rick and I have long shared a love and passion for the gorgeous yachts of Seabourn but most of our conversation this time was about the new ships – the 1 st of which is the Seabourn Encore arriving in December 2016. And of course you know how much I love the name ENCORE – so it’s a great choice I must say!

Here are some key points about  Seabourn’s direction and the onboard experience. The 1 st is that the highly regarded designer, Adam D. Tihany is designing every aspect of Seabourn Encore and her sister ship, Seabourn Ovation (coming in 2018). This is an unusual departure and quite a bold move to have just one designer do a full ship. Rick is thrilled at how the yacht is progressing in that way and happily says, “Adam is the perfect partner- he knows what’s in the mind of the luxury consumer”. 

Rick also told me that Adam went on part of a world cruise to see how guests interacted with each other and the staff and he used his experience onboard to see the design of the vessel from a guest perspective. And as Rick states, “So Adam has designed new space with the sense of a guest”.

When I studied the deck plan of Seabourn Encore I noted how similar it is to the fantastic Odyssey class ships that came out in 09/10 and 11, the Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest – stunning ships for sure and some of my all-time favourites in a long career of favourites! Although I know Encore will be spectacular too – just bigger.

The ship has one extra deck which affords more suites and a new specialty restaurant – but it has many of the known and loved Seabourn features including the main restaurant, the stunning Colonnade for more casual dining, the Club Lounge, the Grand Salon and so forth. Consequently existing Seabourn cruisers will feel very comfy on Encore – with the addition of that deck and a little more space but they will know their way around.

We can expect some changes in the popular Seabourn Square, the heart of the ship in many ways – making it more open for the concierge staff to engage the guests with individual attention and offer an even more
welcoming feel. 

Simply making a successful aspect even better. Changes are coming to the food and beverage offerings there too –  stay tuned for those updates.  

Renderings of Encore are now available on its dedicated microsite: http://encore.seabourn.com.

Then there’s the specialty dining and the partnership with American Chef Thomas Keller which has made the news in recent months. Discussions between Seabourn and Chef Keller, a Michelin-starred culinary leader, began some time ago in keeping with his desire for partnerships that have a strong foundation and are very relationship-oriented. Rather like successful long term dating leading to matrimonial bliss but here it’s all about bliss for the taste buds.

Rick could not say enough wonderful things about Chef Keller and explained to me how highly he regards him. “It’s just an amazing experience with him and his team looking through a culinary lens”…. “he’s not just unique; not many chefs have his detail and exactness through the cooking of a dish to the plating and service. He has an end to end vision of delivering food, he’s an authentic master – all his accolades are well-deserved”. 

So people – we have some remarkable and delicious food experiences ahead of us with the newly created and designed Chef Keller restaurant which will be on both Seabourn Encore and Ovation. In the meantime guests can taste some of the food that has come out of the French Laundry and Per Se, on Seabourn Odyssey which is introducing some of Keller’s specifically designed dishes.

Bespoke restaurants will appear on each ship next year with the 1 st being on Seabourn Quest in the space that is currently held by Restaurant 2.  In concert with Chef’s input, the restaurant will be completely rebuilt and designed by Adam D. Tihany, who also designed Chef Keller’s restaurant Per Se. As Rick says, “We’ve all worked on it together – not an introduction needed and there’s a trust between us. These men are 2 of the world’s best at what they do”.

Overall Seabourn Encore will offer a super yacht experience with clean lines, high gloss wood and, according to Rick, “is very current, sleek and modern”.  I can’t wait to sail this yacht and will also tell you more about my conversation with Rick in the future where we discussed the attributes of the guest and Seabourn’s marvellous programs of delivering authentic destination experiences. 





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