By Michelle Branco, Part-Owner and GM of Marketing | People & Development, Ellison Travel & Tours
November 15, 2023
A few weeks ago, my husband Paulo and I had the opportunity to join some of our industry peers, and set sail on Seabourn’s 7-day Adriatic & Greek Treasures Cruise from Venice to Athens aboard the Encore – an all-inclusive small ship 5-star experience that changed our definition of luxury travel.
What made this trip truly exceptional was the personalized service that greeted us at every turn. From having our favourite drinks stocked in our stateroom to the constant flow of champagne and caviar, Seabourn set a standard of hospitality that surpassed our expectations. The dining experiences were incredible; from the delectable sushi to the dishes crafted by Michelin Star-winning chef Thomas Keller at the Grill, to the more casual but fresh and simple plates (note: the burger and fries!) – we were wowed. The clientele was mature – 40+ and we spoke with several other passengers who have been cruising Seabourn for many years, and keep coming back.
The ship itself, the Seabourn Encore, is beautiful. Its yacht-like ambiance, with mahogany wood accents and rich nautical tones, and comfortable furnishings, made every corner inviting. Our ocean veranda stateroom was expansive, with a walk-in closet and a generously spacious marble-lined bathroom.
While the onboard luxuries were exceptional, the real allure was in the destinations we explored. Venturing into Montenegro and the Ionian Greek Islands post-Venice departure was the real highlight. The unpredictable weather during the first couple of days altered our course slightly, but soon after, we sailed into warm sunshine carried on our itinerary as planned. Given the time of year, we were prepared for this.
The Seabourn Encore, a 690-foot vessel in their ultra-luxury segment, accommodates 300 staterooms, offering an intimate yet comfortable voyage. Its smaller size grants access to ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships, allowing travellers to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations less frequented by North American tourists. Personally, it is these hidden gems that most excite me about travel and make me want to explore the world. Many of these destinations’ economies survive largely on tourism – from small family run restaurants and inns, to tour guide services to artisan shops – which for me, helped foster a deeper sense of connection to the places and people we met along the way.
Recently added to my bucket list are Seabourn’s expedition cruise travel experiences to destinations including Antarctica and the Arctic.
If this type of small ship luxury cruise experience is for you, consider Seabourn – I highly recommend it.
Inspired by Michelle’s experience with Seabourn and looking to book your own luxurious cruise vacation? Let our advisor team help you!