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Seabourn Ovation – She Gets a Standing One!

Now having spent a few days on the Seabourn Ovation I have to admit that I figured it would be cool to sail her out of the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, but otherwise she would pretty much be an identical sistership to the Seabourn Encore.  I was wrong.  The Seabourn Ovation is more akin to a Seabourn Encore 2.0 as well as a showcase for some new or improved Seabourn initiatives.

What an Honor!  Sailing the Seabourn Ovation
out of the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy

When I boarded…after a typically chaotic Italian inspection (where I was stopped for having a pair of pliers in my bag. Huh?)…the first thing everyone mentioned is the art work.  There is so much of it and it is beautiful.  The suite corridors are now galleries with various themes:  Birds, collages, maps, pastel colored women in landscapes and more.  The art in The Grill by Thomas Keller is exceptional from both painting and photography standpoints.  Beautiful sculptures abound.  Seabourn is definitely going to have to up its art game on the other ships.

I also need to mention that I am a “proud papa” as my daughter, Devin, interned with Adam Tihany, who is the interior designer for Seabourn, and as part of her internship worked on the curating of the art collection on the Seabourn Ovation.  

While the artwork is stunning, for me, it is always – first and foremost – about the software:  Officers, Staff and Crew.  What has struck me is how happy and enthusiastic everyone is.  There is a genuine sense of pride and excitement; far different from the debut of the Seabourn Encore.  While some of this can be associated with learning from her older sister, there just seems to be a “glowing” that harkens back to what captured me about Seabourn when I boarded the Seabourn Pride for my first Seabourn Experience in 2003.

To quell any rumors, while there is definitely a team which has some of the best staff and crew that Seabourn has to offer, don’t believe for an instant that all of the best staff is here.  Many are doing their Seabourn thing on the Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn, Quest and Encore or are on holiday.  There are many staff and crew that love particular ships and are loyal to them. So not to worry!

What I can tell you is that maybe not so true is in the area of Seabourn Executive Chefs.  Here there is an absolute All Star Team including Kurt, David, Jess, Franck, Raj and more (including one of Thomas Keller’s chefs).  Add to that the enthusiastic (and a little crazy…in the best, inspiring, creative, way!) Seabourn culinary visionary Tony Egger and let’s just say the cuisine and the new concepts are incredible.

Culinary Visionary Tony Egger
Chef Jes putting on a show in the Colonnade
(as usual!)

There have been certain changes and improvements in the hardware.  For example, the bar in The Club on the Seabourn Encore was not good.  On the Seabourn Ovation it is a showpiece.

There are nice subtle change to, for example, The Grill by Thomas Keller with more casual seating areas and a more rich, steakhouse, tone with more comfortable and intimate seating.

The most impressive change is the Patio Grill, which now – in the evenings only – is a legitimate full-fledged ala carte dining experience named Earth & Ocean; transformed from the prior partial buffet arrangement which still exists for lunch.  As I understand it, as Earth & Ocean is now considered a full dining venue it will be open every night, including formal nights.

Earth & Ocean and is now my favorite dining venue on the ship.  The culinary focus is on blending flavors from cuisines around the world with one dish each evening being served in a Moroccan tagine (though the dish probably will not be Moroccan cuisine).  Earth & Ocean will also focus on more local flavors, as the Seabourn Ovation sails, but will always put an interesting and unexpected twist on the dishes.

The first thing you may notice is the beautiful music or the artistic table settings, with pottery tableware from a single artist with homages to ocean and earth.

You are then presented with a fantastic bread presentation on a beautiful wood palate followed closely by a smoke-filled cloche with a surprise starter inside.  (I had duck confit.)

Yes, those are bacon-wrapped twist breadsticks!

 And then you have your choice of a variety of dishes.  ‘Er um, solely for investigative purposes I ordered the Fuzi (Croatian spindle pasta, Merguez sausage, smoked tomato and Parmesan), “Royale” Bouillebaise (Lobster, sole, dorade, scallops, lemongrass flavor, rouille, croutons) and a Bone-In Cowboy steak.

I, of course, had to try the Baked Camembert and then The Dessert Collection.  (And, No…I did not eat it all!)

Sushi has upped its game with more and more diverse Bento boxes and rolls now available at lunch.  There is also a Formal Night Menu which is only available on those nights, so your options have expanded yet more!

Speaking of matters culinary, Seabourn has upped its game in two other areas:  Gelato and Coffee.  Seabourn now makes its own gelato and is focused on obtaining fruits and other flavors (like pistachios) as they sail around the world.  It is truly world-class gelato created from recipes and oversight from one of the world’s top gelato makers.

Seabourn Ovation’s Gelato
Available in the Seabourn Square, The Patio
and, of course, the Gelato Cart!

As with the Seabourn Encore coffee is now being roasted onboard.  You do need to ask for the freshly roasted coffee the beans for which are prominently displaced in the Seabourn Square.

Freshly roasted coffee beans are prominently displayed
in the Seabourn Square

Overall the color palette of the ship has changed slightly and it definitely gives the ship a warming, more yachtie, feel.

My Penthouse Suite is very similar to the Seabourn Encore but there are changes to seating and a much larger television.

The Seabourn Ovation pool area remains consistent with the Seabourn Encore.

While I am sure I will  discover more about the Seabourn Ovation, there are two things you can count on:  The Seabourn Ovation is a very happy ship and it will, no matter what your tastes, have something that will wow you.

Interested in experiencing the Seabourn Ovation or any Seabourn cruise or want to ask me a question? Give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

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