Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn Encore

Overall Editor Rating
Stacey Lastoe April 26, 2023

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Seabourn Cruise Line
Cruise StyleLuxury
Ship SizeMidsize
Price Range$$$$
Sails To Mediterranean
Sails From Mediterranean
Duration8-15 days

Designed by Adam D. Tihany, the Seabourn Encore can accommodate 600 passengers, placing it squarely in the mid-size ship category. Even still, the ship’s layout and dedication to ample open spaces for passengers to while away an afternoon post-excursion make it so the ship never feels crowded or cramped.Read More

Encore is similar to Seabourn’s other Odyssey-class ships but somewhat sleeker and shinier, albeit still classy as can be. A Thomas Keller partnership comes alive via The Grill, a reservations-required restaurant on deck tk, and Dr. Andrew Weill, author and health guru, is the name linked to the ship’s spa and wellness offerings.

The ship is all-inclusive though supplementary options aren’t exactly scarce. Spa services, including massages, facials, and nail care are extra, of course, and if you want to drink a premium wine with your ribeye at The Grill or elsewhere on the ship, you can certainly do so for a fee. The ship has no shortage of places to sunbathe and relax, but if the scene at the main pool is too much, and the smaller outdoor lounge areas not quite enough, consider The Retreat. The VIP area (pay for a half or full day CQ?) is akin to booking a poolside cabana at a five-star resort. Big-screen TVs, dedicated staff, and cozy quarters laid out around a spacious whirlpool tub provide a terrific excuse for skipping on shore activities at least one day of the cruise.

That said, Seabourn’s excursion offerings are worth considering. Depending on the port, on shore activities to suit all interests and activity level are offered. Sleepier stops can be a little sparse on this front, but Seabourn’s size means easy access to the main part of town across ports, so passengers can get off and on the ship throughout the day.

With the exception of a couple of nights on a recent seven-night cruise, all guests were required to be back on board by around 5 p.m., just in time for a pre-dinner cocktail at The Patio Bar or the Seabourn Farewell Party, where light bites and cocktails are served alongside live performances. Dancing is encouraged.


Outstanding service and engaging staff go a long way
Multiple whirlpool, pool, and sunbathing options outside the main pool deck mean the ship never feels crowded
Coming and going from the ship while at port (even multiple times a day if you like) is seamless
Seabourn Source app is not user-friendly, and the website isn’t much better
Limited meal times mean returning to your cabin for room service if you’re hungry outside the designated dining hours
Food quality is uneven

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Editor Rating

Eight categories comprise the 300 guestrooms, with the veranda category of suites on one end and the wintergarden suites being at the tippy top.

Veranda suites, which make up the bulk of accommodations, are perfectly serviceable and comfortable with large two-sink bathrooms decked in marble and a balcony containing two chairs, two foot rests, and a table. A curtain separates the sleeping area from the living, which contains a couch, wet bar and mini-fridge (pre-stocked with your liquor of choice), table and chairs, and television.

Burgundy, navy, and cream colors dominate the masculine-leaning aesthetic; bathrooms (which contain a full-sized tub in addition to a separate shower) are stocked with Molten & Brown CQ products and are downright luxurious save for the small, scratchy towels; walk-in closets include a safe, well-placed hooks, and plenty of hangars. Seabourn robes, best worn with ultra-soft slippers, hang in the closet for use throughout the journey.

When set up as two twin beds, the sleeping area in the main class of cabin feels cramped, but matching nightstands sit on either side of the split queen bed, and reading lamps sit above each bed.

Seabourn’s six accessible suites feature accommodations with wider entry doors and thresholds to both the suite and the en-suite bathroom. Accessible showers have grab bars, benches/seats, and a hand-held shower spray and lowered towel rods.

For accessibility around the ship, it’s best to check out the detailed deck plan.

With regards to getting on and off the ship, the use of a wheelchair will most likely be required. Guests with limited mobility may find it difficult to embark or disembark, depending on where the ship docks.  Also, some port facilities may not provide accessible transitions options between the tender and shoreside landing.

Seabourn encourages guests with questions or concerns to contact its Access & Compliance Department and to submit a Special Requirements Information form (SRI) well in advance of the departure of the cruise.

Food & Drink

Editor Rating

Seabourn Encore’s dining option ought to appeal to all tastes and preferences, thanks to numerous, diverse venues. The Colonnade is the restaurant’s main dining venue, and this is where to find the massive breakfast buffet, which, in addition to featuring an egg station (omelettes, sunny-side up, over-medium—there’s nothing the friendly egg cook can’t do), array of fresh fruit, hot and cold cereals, and option to order a la carte (the French toast is especially memorable), may tout local goods—honey, yogurt, and jams—from the likes of Rhodes, a Greek island stop on one Encore’s itineraries.

Dinner at The Colonnade changes nightly and is themed, with Thai or Mediterranean nights, for example. Once per week, Ad Hoc, tk, takes reservations for a special Thomas Keller meal.

If you miss out on the Ad Hoc night (not recommended), be sure to make a dinner reservation at The Grill, the official Thomas Keller restaurant on board the ship. While the food here is a little uneven, in spite of the venue’s use of special vendors such as Elysian Farms and Snake River Farms, it’s worth it for the chocolate chip cookies alone.

It’s not uncommon to see passengers dressed to the nines when dining at the Grill or sipping cocktails at the handsome bar adjacent to the piano player, but the most formal venue is The Restaurant. Start with caviar and all the accouterments (unnecessary as they are) and move on to the seafood cassoulet before indulging in the surf and turf. Menu changes nightly.

The Restaurant’s massive size detracts from its upscale feel, despite white tablecloths and formal service, so if it’s intimacy you’re after, head to Sushi, a 30-seat dining venue open for lunch (Bento boxes star gyoza or miso salmon) and dinner (fish is extremely fresh and excellent, though the fillings in the specialty rolls tend to overpower the fish).

Tk patio is billed as the most casual dinner option and is also considered on the healthier side of things, according to several staff members. It’s especially delightful for breakfast—steel cut oatmeal or the quiche of the day a great way to fuel for the day ahead.

Room service is available 24-7, which is helpful considering the limited dining venue hours. It’s particularly helpful for squeezing in a breakfast before heading off the ship for an excursion.

Finally, a coffee bar located in Seabourn Square serves barista-made beverages, small sandwiches, and baked goods. Gelato by the cup or cone can also be enjoyed here or outside next to the Patio Bar.

Every effort will be made to comply with special dietary requests. Advance notification is highly preferred.

There are technically five bars on board Encore: Observation Bar, Patio Bar, Sky Bar, The Club, and the bar at The Grill, where guests who’ve already enjoyed their one allotted reservation can still sip a cocktail and listen to piano.

During the ship’s events—first-time Seabourn passengers are invited to a cocktail reception, and, on the last night, a staff farewell is the main pre-dinner event, to name just a few—specialty cocktails like an appletini or Cosmpolitan are featured, but you can always order anything you like.

That said, the bars are not all stocked with the same liquor, so if you’re looking for something specific, you might need to bounce from bar to bar until you find it.




Editor Rating

Live music dominates the nightly entertainment scene, while daytime trivia is a lively daytime option.

In addition to nightly performances by The Band & Grace (Grace’s rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” is incredibly moving), passengers can expect a Welcome Aboard Pool Party (itinerary/weather-dependent) with a DJ spinning tunes, and musical performances by the TK. Tk also offers entertainment in The Salon, which is also the place guests can enjoy An Evening with Sir Tim Rice. Music in The Club gets going after 11 p.m., and this is when the ship’s best dancers strut their stuff.

Just off The Club is a small but flashy casino with Black Jack tables and slot machines.


Spa & Fitness

Editor Rating

About a dozen treadmills face the water on deck 10, so immediately you know this is not your average basement gym that’s a frustrating after thought at many hotels.

Elliptical trainers and stationary bikes round out the cardiovascular equipment, and both machine weights and hand-held weights are available. Newer exercise equipment such as resistance bands, kettle bells CQ, and weighted balls are absent, and there are no fitness class offerings.

There are, however, oodles of consultations (acupuncture, teeth whitening), seminars (back pain relief), and complimentary treatments (help for puffy eyes). and other pseudo-health classes promising weight loss and inch shaving proffered.

Fitness classes may include yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi.

Key cruising tips

Health & Safety

Seabourn has created a tool for passengers to look up the vaccination and/or testing protocols for their upcoming voyage.

Masks on board the ship are recommended but not required.

Passengers should be aware that enhanced sanitation procedures on board may result in some changes in food and beverage service. There are numerous hand sanitizer stations on board the ship.

Should you get sick while on board the ship, you may be quarantined in one of the vessel’s dedicated suites. For more information on Seabourn’s health and safety protocols, visit the website which is updated as items change or protocols are adjusted.


Dress Code

By day, casual, resort-style attire—shorts, jeans, tank tops—is expected in dining venues and lounges. Swimsuits and cover ups as well as exercise attire should be reserved for poolside, and at the spa and fitness center.

Elegant casual is the name of the game come dinner. Men may wear collared dress shirts and nice slacks (jacket is optional), while women wearing dress slacks, skirts, dresses, pantsuits or jumpsuits will be considered appropriately dressed. The ship’s most elegant restaurant, The Restaurant, asks that guests not wear jeans to dinner.

There may be a formal night on 7-14 night cruises, and for this, men are expected to wear a tuxedo or suit and jacket and women, evening gowns or similar formal attire.

Junior Cruisers

Guests under 21 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or chaperone, and one adult chaperone per person is required.


Service across the board is outstanding. Staff members seem eager to engage with guests, and everyone is happy to point passengers in the right direction when looking for a particular venue or restaurant.


No tipping is expected or required, though gratuities offered at the end of a passge won’t be refused either.


Entered Service
Number of Cabins
Passenger Capacity
Crew Members
Passengers to Crew Ratio
Gross Tons
92 feet
690 feet

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