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Sailing The Med In Style Onboard Seabourn Ovation

Sailing The Med In Style Onboard Seabourn Ovation

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to cruise the Mediterranean onboard the luxury Seabourn Ovation ship?

We have the answer to your prayers!

Seabourn is renowned for exceptional service onboard its intimate, all-suite ships. With a commitment to personalised attention, Seabourn offers a unique cruising experience that transcends the ordinary. When sailing with this ultra-luxury cruise line, guests can explore the world’s most captivating destinations in style, enjoying award-winning cuisine and sumptuous amenities.

Read on to hear all about Cruise.co.uk consultant, Gemma Larder’s, fantastic experience onboard the dazzling Seabourn Ovation, calling at St Tropez, Marseille, and Palamos along the way…

Inside The Suite

On arrival to Seabourn Ovation in Monaco, the sun was shining and we were greeted by smiles from the security team on the gangway, after which we were promptly checked in to our Veranda Suite on deck 8- welcomed by champagne on ice!

Our cabin attendant came by to introduce herself and to check if there was anything we needed that wasn’t already in our suite. Seabourn offers guests a pillow selection and a mini bar stocked with drinks of guests choosing – as many as they want, with 1 litre bottles replenished throughout the sailing. These ‘personal touches’ can be selected up to 10 days before embarking.

Inside the cabin, the bathroom- wow! Luxuriously styled, our bathroom had marbled white tiles, a decent full sized tub with a hand held shower, a double vanity unit, large walk in shower and a decadent white fluffy bath mat- it was divine. I loved this; it was such a small thing but it made me smile, and its these little touches that I think makes Seabourn such a special cruise line.

Our beds were set as twin configuration but, had they been together, they would have also made a substantial sized double bed. Either side, we had our nightstands with two pin plug sockets and a USB socket each, although I found that my phone charged much faster using my converter plug.

Elsewhere in our cabin, there was a large double sofa bed and a walk-in wardrobe (which is heated on the expedition ships to dry boots and coats), containing an umbrella, robe, slippers and hair dryer. The room also featured a full sized glass table, perfect for in-suite dining, with two chairs and a stool; a drinks unit/mini bar with fridge and freezer for ice; a big screen TV (with UK channels, news, movies, menus and dining venue opening times & the aft and forward cameras on the ship); plus a curtain that pulls across to separate the living area from the bed for privacy.

We also had a good sized balcony with loungers and footstools. Throughout the cabin, there are plinth lights for the night time, so that when you step out of bed the sensor will flick on a dim light to lead the way to the bathroom. This was just enough light to guide you, but not too much as to wake your sleeping companion.

Dining & Bars

Dining wise, we made a concerted effort to eat in all of the venues on offer, apart from Sushi as neither of us are overly keen on it. We ate breakfast in the main dining room, the Colonnade buffet style restaurant and we also ordered room service. The menu is the same throughout: granola; yoghurts; cereals; English breakfast; toasts; preserves; cold meats; eggs anyway you like; pancakes; and waffles.

Guests can even order items not on the menu. One morning, another lady ordered French toast with cream cheese, salmon and maple syrup- the word no, truly doesn’t exist when sailing with Seabourn!

We were lucky enough to secure a reservation at The Grill by Thomas Keller one evening, which was divine! I chose lobster mac and cheese to start, the nicest fillet steak I have ever eaten for main, and a chocolate peanut butter torte for dessert Yum! Although there is no charge for The Grill, a reservation is required; it gets booked up before the sailing so is definitely worth reserving in advance to avoid disappointment.

The main dining room menu’s were varied. There were the ‘Classics’ available every night, including steak, chicken, lamb and pasta, but also ‘Inspirations’ options which were slightly more adventurous! Ladies would be escorted to their tables on the arm of an officer and often we saw officers, captain and their wives or partners dining with guests. I thought this was a nice touch.

The Patio on the pool deck is a lovely dining venue, operating as a half buffet, half cooked in front of you restaurant. During the day, it offers a selection of shrimp, chicken, steaks, gyros, pizza and a huge salad bar with more dressings and leaf types than you can shake a stick at! You can also order gourmet burgers, hotdogs and fries from the menu.

In the evening it turns into Earth & Ocean, which is a more inventive menu featuring dishes from around the world and served under the stars. I imagine this would be beautiful in warmer climes but, sadly, the weather was too cold for us to brave the elements, so we didn’t try this.

At all dining venues onboard, the service was always excellent and served with a smile. We were given the perfect amount of time between courses, without being rushed or waiting too long for the next.

The Observation Bar is a lovely area of the ship with stunning panoramic views of the outside world, low-key entertainment with a piano player who sings tunes on request, plus pre-dinner snacks, hors d’oeuvres and more.

Seabourn Square and its coffee lounge was probably one of my favourite places on the ship. It didn’t take crew members, Tatiana and Oscar, many orders to take note of my preferred size and choice of coffee, so several times a day I’d go for my ‘latte to go’- although I didn’t go anywhere, I just wanted the huge ceramic take out cup to make my coffee last longer! I often sat out on the aft terrace where there were ample loungers, sofas and chairs along with cushions and fleeces under patio heaters to keep the chill away.

Inside, guest relations and the future cruise desks all operate in the centre of the huge space and are surrounded by a variety of chairs and sofas. Here you can find the posh watch shops, hundreds of books (free to read and swap!), puzzles and board games, as well as tasty treats on offer from 6am until 6pm daily: pastries and muffins at breakfast, and then biscuits, cakes and sandwiches from lunch onwards. Oh and gelato- of course!

The Retreat

Other than the main pool deck and the whirl pool areas, there is also The Retreat area for guests who crave a little more exclusivity. Currently, this costs $134 per guest on port days and $174 per guest on sea days for full day use- until 8pm in the peak season.

The Retreat comes with an exclusive lunch menu and the use of a private cabana equipped with loungers, robes, a table and chairs for dining, sofa and TV. Guests can even sip Bollinger champagne in the huge whirlppol! We were told this area is usually sold out on most Caribbean sailings so, again, it is worth reserving before travelling.

Entertainment & Amenities

Entertainment in the Grand Salon is a fairly intimate affair, with the venue being fairly small. Nevertheless, it was tastefully designed with a choice of sofas and swivel chairs all perfectly positioned with enough space.

We saw two shows whilst onboard: the Latin Quarter (a singing and dancing production put on by the in-house team), and a magician show by Jamie Raven (Britain’s Got Talent runner up in 2015).

Seabourn now include WiFi for surfing only, with the option for guests to upgrade to a streaming package if they wish. I didn’t decide to upgrade, so I can’t comment on the speeds of the extra package, however the included WiFi provided by Starlink was fast and stable.

Port Days

St Tropez

At St Tropez cruise port, the tender ride from our ship to the marina was around five minutes. Unfortunately, due to the time of year, when we arrived in St Tropez, most of the shops had closed for the season and it was also raining.

So after an hour or so of walking around, I headed back to the ship. Despite this, I imagine that during the summer it’s a vibrant, sophisticated marina resort with lots of lovely café terraces and bars along the front.

Marseille

From port to the centre of Marseille, the journey takes around 20 minutes by bus. This was definitely one of my favourite ports!

We took the tourist train through the windy roads up to Notre Dame du Garde, from where you have 360 degree views of the city below- it didn’t disappoint!

We also visited the Cathédrale Basilique Sainte-Marie-Majeure, a Catholic Basilica which I found to be one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in. It is certainly worth a look inside if you are visiting Marseille.

Palamos

Palamos is only a three minute bus journey from the port to the centre. This was a lovely little fishing village which I got the feeling was very much a Spanish tourist destination for locals.

Of course, at this time of year the beaches were virtually empty except for some dog walkers, but the promenade stretched for miles. I think I walked for about an hour and then turned back but it was a lovely walk.

Lots of shops were closed here too, however there were plenty of fruit and veg markets, quirky buildings and another lovely church to look around. Additionally, we came across a fishing museum which, according to other guests onboard our ship, had an amazing gift shop.

My biggest takeaway from this trip was simply how attentive the staff are. Not just the serving staff, or the cabin attendants, but everyone. Every person you passed by would say hello, ask how you were, and wish you a good day. It felt genuinely warm and welcoming.

With a 1-1 staff to guest ratio and big bright smiles from early morning to late evening, its easy to see how Seabourn achieve their 64% repeat guest rate.

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