Since I’ve been on board, I’ve been looking for the real key that sets Seabourn apart from other ships. True, it is small. True, it is service oriented. True, it’s a place where everybody knows your name. But what is it’s piece de resistance?
What is it that makes a small ship worthwhile when you are the type of family who can enjoy mass-market cruising and semi-humorous comedian? Don’t judge me Virtuoso readers; normal is what you know.
I wasn’t completely sold until tonight – it takes you a while to get out of the super-crowded ship vibe and to grow accustomed to the differences found here. It’s all about the companionship, the common thread that bonds each guest: travel.
I had an excellent time at my cocktail party, where I mingled with my Virtuoso group, as well as many of the key staff members on board. Among them, I felt as though my family finally began to integrate ourselves into the same situation as a Seabourn client; we are not just here to host the Virtuoso club, but to actually take the time to experience the brand as a whole. The staff has really welcomed us wholeheartedly. We’ve gotten to know the captain, cruise directors, sales rep, and even the chef on a first-name basis. It’s not until tonight that we really get acquainted with the other guests, though. Everyone in my Virtuoso group that attends the cocktail party has sailed with Virtuoso before, and they simply rave about their past experiences. I have a lot to live up to as far as hosts are concerned, but, after my welcome speech, they assure me that I’m doing a great job. Score!
After the cocktail party, we are invited to dinner with Casey, one of the assistant cruise directors. My family and I are all assuming that this is a dinner among the four of us – but when we arrive, we are mistaken. A table for 9 has been set up, full of diversity. We are interspersed between one another – to my right is a honeymoon couple from Florida, to my left is one half of a pastry-chef duo (she is from California, he is from France – where they now live); my family is divided evenly between these two couples, Casey, and a solo traveler from Ireland.
The meal lasts for nearly two hours, but it’s so interesting – we discuss past travel, current jobs, future endeavors. It’s a really wholesome kind of feeling. The smaller ships provide you with the opportunity to get to know your fellow travelers in a much more intimate setting.
After our dinner, we head out to the Flambe Under the Stars – crepe suzettes, not chocolate, unfortunately – but it’s still a night of dancing (or people watching, in our case) and everyone really seems to be enjoying themselves.
Ramona and Michael had raved about Seabourn before my departure, and I believe it was Michael who mentioned something along the lines of the entertainment being a little different. The entertainment, he assured me, is not onstage – it’s in the fellow travelers. Seabourn certainly fosters this environment. That, I’ve discovered, is where it sets itself apart.