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Seabourn Ovation has left the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy for her "shakedown" preview cruise. TravelPulse is on board as an invited guest. As we pulled out of the yard the morning of April 30, workers lined the docks, saluting the ship with hardhats in hand.
"On behalf of the officers and crew, we salute the good people of Fincantieri shipyard," said the captain over the loudspeaker. "We now depart for a new lifetime with Seabourn. This is a moment we shall all treasure."
The latest in the line's Odyssey class, Seabourn Ovation is a sister ship to Seabourn Encore. She features 300 all-oceanfront suites and a contemporary design by Adam D. Tihany. The hospitality design icon has worked with celebrity chefs and legendary hotels as well as cruise lines. He's on board the sailing with us.
With Ovation, Seabourn aims to deliver a luxury "home away from home" for its guests. From what we've seen thus far, the crew certainly is up to the task. When jet-lag hit after our long flight from L.A. to Genoa, we found ourselves wide awake at 3:00 am. The round-the-clock room service graciously provided us with an early-morning breakfast tray. They also came back again with a second breakfast, at the time we'd originally requested it.
All that transpired before we even left the shipyard.
The home-away-from-home concept takes shape in Seaborn Ovation's accommodations. Suites feature plush bedding, dark woods, and glass accents. There's room to spread out in a living area with a full-size sofa and dining table. Teak-floored balconies include comfortable lounge chairs with footstools, plus a table for al fresco dining. Suite bathrooms are a showcase of marble. They include a double sink vanity with ample storage space, full-size tubs, and a separate rain bath shower. Suites also feature walk-in closets, plus a bar and fridge stocked with guest preferences.
The purpose of a shakedown cruise is to discover any fine tuning that needs to be done before revenue cruises begin. A checklist in our stateroom asks us to note any problems with lighting, plumbing or room fixtures. Naturally, a few tweaks are still needed in the restaurants and public spaces. But, servers, staff, and crew are eager to get the season underway. They're already delivering the personal touch luxury travelers are looking for.
This week, we're looking forward to experiencing the ship's culinary offerings. At the top of our list is The Grill by Thomas Keller. We'll definitely venture to the holistic spa and wellness experience in conjunction with Dr. Andrew Weil.
Seabourn Ovation's maiden season officially begins on May 5, with a voyage from Venice to Barcelona. She'll then offer a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian sailings between Copenhagen and Stockholm. The ship will also sail 14-day voyages to the Norwegian fjords and the British Isles.
Ana Figueroa is a veteran travel industry writer based in Los Angeles. She's a former contributing editor for Travel Agent...
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