On Site: A Firsthand Look at Seabourn Venture's Public Spaces & Dining

Editor’s Note: This is a firsthand look at many public venues, dining options and accommodations on Seabourn Venture—gleaned during our recent Greenland and Iceland voyage. For additional details on the expedition product and onboard service, check out last week's “Photo Tour: Exploring the Arctic on Seabourn Venture." 

Cruise guests boarding any ship often quickly identify a few favorite "go to" spots. Well, during Luxury Travel Advisor's recent 15-day “Greenland and Iceland: Vikings and Volcanoes” voyage to the Arctic on the 264-passenger Seabourn Venture, we did just that. Four, in particular, gained our favor: The Expedition Lounge, Discovery Center, The Club and, yes, our private suite veranda.

Cozy Lounge, Realistic Faux Fireplaces

Hands down, the cozy Expedition Lounge reigned as our favorite public space for relaxation and socializing with friends. Centrally located on Deck 4, it beckons guests with soft cushioned furniture, fluffy pillows, a small bar and two faux fireplaces, among the most realistic we’ve seen anywhere. 

This is one of the realistic "faux fireplaces" in Seabourn Venture's Expedition Lounge.
Faux fireplaces create a cozy ambience within Seabourn Venture's Expedition Lounge.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

Another nice touch? Wall-mounted HDTV screens display gorgeous photos taken by a shipboard photographer. As we conversed with friends, we'd look up to the screens to gaze at incredible shots of wildlife, polar scenery and the tiny enclaves of civilization along our Arctic route.

Hugging one side of the lounge was the ship's boutique. A small bar was positioned on the other side. Frequently, we 'd observe a guest heading into the shop to browse for a few minutes, while his or her companion snagged a lounge seat and ordered drinks. A nice touch: The lounge’s bartender was particularly adept at not only remembering guests' names but exactly what they'd ordered previously. 

Activity-wise, the Expedition Lounge hosted a wine-tasting event one day. Guests signed up in advance and then arrived at the lounge to sip and savor high-quality vintages from France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, the U.S., South America and Australia. In addition, this lounge—just off the gangway—is a great place to meet up with friends prior to going ashore. 

Discovery Center: Enrichment & Entertainment

Another reason to like the Expedition Lounge is its close proximity to the one-level Discovery Center, the ship's theater. Nightly expedition recaps/briefings for all guests unfold here nightly. During the day, Seabourn Conversations enrichment talks or expedition team members provide guests with insight about local cultures, ecology, heritage and traditions.

For example, during our Arctic region cruise, Seb Coulthard lectured about “Vikings: Founders of Europe,” “Polar Mania” (the race to the geographic North Pole), and “Arctic Warfare,” a look at World War II’s historic era in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard in Norway and Russia. Merel Dalebout discussed taiga, tundra and polar deserts, while Brent Houston lectured about “Sea Ice as a Wildlife Habitat” and “Seabirds of the North Atlantic.”

Seabourn Venture's Discovery Center is the ship's theater. It's the spot for Seabourn Conversations enrichment talks, expedition briefings, cultural programs and entertainment.
Discovery Center is the spot for expedition briefings/recaps, Seabourn Conversations talks and nightly entertainment.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

The Discovery Center also hosts evening entertainment. No, don’t expect full-blown production shows, but instead individual musicians or entertainers, cultural performances or movies. On our cruise, for instance, CH2 performed. That’s an awarding-winning South African musical duo, comprising guitarist Corneille Hutten and multi-instrumentalist Dirkie van Staden.

Another night, guests watched an hour-long video of famed singer Jonathan Antoine performing at Ephesus, Turkey, during an 2022 exclusive program for Seabourn's guests there. Most notable during our cruise? Sorine Peterson, an Inuit performance artist from Greenland, accompanied by an Inuit friend, shared stories, danced, chanted and provided insight about the local Inuit culture and traditions

The Club: Entertainment, Drinks & “Sushi Central”

Another of our favorite spots was The Club. Located aft on Deck 9, this roomy venue sports a lodge-style interior by Tihany Design. Guests can expect comfortable seating areas, a bar with stools, space for live entertainment, a small dance floor and expansive windows. We liked being able to exit quickly to the exterior deck, if notified via the P.A. system that wildlife or marine life had been spotted on land nearby or in the ocean.   

During the day, The Club hosts team trivia or other activities orchestrated by the ship’s entertainment director or another crew member. In the early evening, a pianist or guitarist (sometimes also singing) performs. Between 9 p.m. and midnight, those musicians are typically back with more live entertainment.  

Seabourn Venture's popular space, The Club, which has a bar, entertainment and evening sushi.
The Club on Seabourn Venture is a popular gathering spot for beverages, freshly prepared sushi and live music.   (Photo by Susan J. Young)

Above all, though, we enjoyed venturing to The Club for its nightly, unlimited and complimentary sushi and sashimi offerings between 6 and 9 p.m. At a counter adjacent to the bar, guests can watch sushi chefs preparing the fresh sushi bites. We just grabbed a seat in the lounge and a bar server was quick to arrive and take both drink and sushi orders.

So what's on the menu? Here's a snapshot look at the four different menu sections: 

  • Otoshi: Roasted Japanese nuts and Edamame
  • Sashimi – Nigiri – Maki: Tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, squid, octopus, omelette and cucumber
  • Sashimi – Nigiri Selections: Tuna, salmon and yellowtail
  • Signature Rolls: California, Hamachi, Dragon Maguro, Oyako and Yasai

Luxury Travel Advisor can vouch firsthand for the freshness and tastiness of the cucumber (Kappamaki) as well as the Dragon Maguro roll with spicy tuna, mayo, avocado and rice crackers. Many fellow guests raved about other choices. For most passengers, the sushi bites were their pre-dinner appetizers, before they headed elsewhere on the ship for dinner. That said, we observed several folks who chose to create a full meal of the sushi with multiple orders.

Newly launched sister expedition ship, Seabourn Pursuit, also offers Sushi at the Club. Plus, Seabourn also recently announced that it will extend sushi offerings to some other ships that didn’t have it in the past. For example, the concept is now aboard Seabourn Quest

Fine Dining in The Restaurant

The Restaurant on Seabourn Venture is the main dining room.
The Restaurant is the elegant main dining room on Seabourn Venture. (Photo by Susan J. Young)

On Deck 4, The Restaurant is Seabourn Venture's spacious, elegant main dining room. Plenty of windows provide natural light; plus, this restaurant has an attractive large wine case extending across one end of the venue. This eatery is open with full table service for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

As for service by both servers and sommeliers, we felt the professionalism and friendliness of both were stellar during our two-week cruise. We even had a so-called “Seabourn Moment” in this dining room (as described in "Part 1" of this series). 

Good to know? Nightly menus are split into "Inspiration,” consisting of creative, inventive and, at times, exotic choices, and “Classic,” for steak, salmon and so on. The soup on the "Inspiration" menu one night was “Black and Blues Onion Soup with Fresh Thyme,” featuring Jack Daniels and a blue cheese crust. In turn, the "Classic" menu that night offered “Chicken Consomme” or “Roasted Plum Tomato Soup.”

Tapping into both menu sections, one night’s entrees included everything from “Carved Roast Lamb” to “Butter Poached Shrimp,” a Chef’s Special, “Jidori Chicken Supreme,” “Seared Sea Bream Filet,” “Gratinated Cauliflower Polonaise” and more.

One nice feature? Each night during suite turn-down service, a hard copy of the Daily Menu for dinner at various venues the following day is left on the beds. We liked having a good sense of the nightly menus, so we could best choose where to dine each evening. 

While all dining venues on Seabourn Venture are complimentary for guests, a few special food-or-wine events carry an added cost. On our President’s Cruise, an optional food-and-wine pairing dinner unfolded in The Restaurant. But on other voyages, a similar offering is also created by the ship's chef. Guests who sign up will be seated at a designated large table and order from a special food-and-wine-pairing menu. A sommelier will explain the red, rose and white vintages and their characteristics.

Casual Dining: The Colonnade and The Patio

The Colonnade is a casual restaurant on Seabourn Venture.
The Colonnade is a casual restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enhanced offerings at night with table service include themed nights (Singaporean, Indian, American, French and so on) and Earth and Ocean.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

For casual dining, The Colonnade on Deck 5 is the place for robust breakfast and lunch buffets. At lunch, for example, guests will find hot dishes, a carving station, fresh pizzas, soup, an extensive salad bar, freshly baked breads, and charcuterie including prosciutto and cheeses. Desserts included creatively presented cakes, pies, custards and multiple types of cookies.

The Colonnade also offers a few set menu items (cooked-to-order eggs at breakfast, or a cheeseburger at lunch, for instance) that can be ordered by guests seated at their table. Hint: If you love gelato, this restaurant’s stand-alone gelato cart offers multiple flavors, such as vanilla, pistachio and mint; they change daily. Throughout dining hours, crew members also circulate to take drink orders.

At dinner, The Colonnade transforms into a still casual, but bit more sophisticated restaurant with full table service. Wildly popular here, too, are themed culinary nights (offered on select evenings), which are akin to a specialty dining experience. Think Singaporean, Italian, American or Spanish night, for example. We loved the Indian Market Dinner. If guests would prefer classic fare, the restaurant offers that, too: Shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, pan-roasted salmon or a grilled, New York-cut strip steak loin.

For guests who enjoy al fresco dining, at lunch, they can head just outside The Colonnade to The Patio. Diners will have views of the ship’s Infinity Pool, two hot tubs and scenic vistas beyond.  

Another wildly popular specialty dining option is "Earth and Ocean," offered on select nights with table service both inside at The Colonnade or outside on The Patio. Here's a look at our yummy options on one evening: 

  • Appetizers: Grilled prosciutto-wrapped green asparagus; sea scallops Basquaise; or rigatoni pasta
  • Entrees: Nigerian shrimp Provencal; Asian-style rotisserie duck; or curried Naan bread
  • Cheese and Dessert: Farmer’s-style baked Camembert; salty caramel; or yogurt citrus mouse

Seabourn Square: The Ship's Hub

On Deck 6, the multipurpose Seabourn Square is the ship's hub. It's a place of contrasts—often busy, yet relaxing at the same time. It's home to the Guest Services area, the shore excursion desk and future cruise desk. Public computers are available for guest use, and a library spans a long wall. Other books are positioned in nooks and crannies throughout the venue.

We liked the configuration of the Guest Services area, which isn't a reception counter as on some industry ships. Instead, it’s a small grouping of individual desks, ringed by low-level walls with several entry points. It's a pleasant spot for guests to sit down and chat one-on-one with a Guest Services' crew member. That seems more personal and civilized than talking across a high reception counter.  

Many times of the day, Seabourn Square buzzes with activity as guests gravitate to its food counter for made-to-order coffees and lattes. Plus, guests can ask the server for savory-looking breakfast items, lunchtime sandwiches, salads and wraps, plus cookies. All are nicely displayed in a glass case, while an adjacent case displays yummy gelatos of many flavors.

Guests can relax with their light bites, gelato or drinks while seated at couches, upholstered chairs or bistro-style tables and chairs. It’s a cheery spot with windows on multiple sides. Plus, there's easy access to the outside deck.

The Bow Lounge and Constellation Lounge

The forward Bow Lounge on Seabourn Venture has many monitors with navigation charts.
The Bow Lounge on Seabourn Venture has many video monitors with the ship's navigational charts.   (Photo by Susan J. Young)

If clients are maritime buffs and fans of ocean travel, we’d suggest they definitely head to Deck 6's fully forward Bow Lounge. Touch screens show the ship’s plotted location as well as navigational charts and scientific information used to create the journey. Large screens project live footage from mounted cameras outside and even a drone (conditions permitting).

Those touch screen monitors also invite guests to explore on their own with a live map, weather information and notes on upcoming expeditions. Simply put, some guests just couldn’t get enough of this "deep dive" into the navigational workings of their voyage. Some came daily to check out the latest navigational details.   

If whales are spotted or for scenic views, people also can pop out the exits to the open forward deck. The Bow Lounge also serves early risers’ pastries and coffee or tea starting at 6:15 a.m. or so. Plus, there are light bites, beverages and cookies throughout the day. Cocktail time tapas are also served.

Elsewhere on the ship, the Constellation Lounge on Deck 9 provides good views for those guests savoring a cocktail, or enjoying dainty sandwiches, tidbits and treats during afternoon tea, the latter with light live music. Here, guests will also enjoy such daytime activities as “Social Stitching and Knitting” and multiple spa seminars including “Eat More to Weigh Less.” At early evening cocktail time, it’s a relaxing spot for drinks with live piano or guitar music. Late night music is also typically offered between 9 p.m. to midnight.

Finally, one unique facet of this lounge is that its exterior mast holds a 4K GSS Cineflex Camera, which can capture wildlife and scenic views from miles away. Those are then displayed on video screens throughout the ship and in suites.

New Room Service Menu

Seabourn debuted its new room service menu during our cruise. New options included some vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as “Rustic Garden Vegetable Minestrone a la Genovese,” “Franck’s Riviera Style Vegetable Tartine” and “Fregola con Melanzane,” a Sardinian tomato fregola pasta and oven-roasted purple eggplant confit.

Guests will also find such new classic dishes with a twist such as “Crispy Skin Fresh Alaskan Salmon Fillet,” “Thyme Roasted Jidori Chicken Breast” and “Oven-Roasted Free Range Chicken Sausage Casserole.” New desserts include “Tony’s Childhood Banana Split” and “Black Forest Sundae.”

During dinner hours, guests desiring room service may also order from The Restaurant's menu. They’ll receive course-by-course service within the suite or on their private veranda.

Suites on Seabourn Venture

Seabourn Venture and its new sister Seabourn Pursuit each offer 132 ocean-front suites, all with private verandas. We stayed in No. 823, an elegant, comfortable V4 category suite, which we'd describe as a "luxurious home-away-from-home." V4 suites generally offer 335 square feet of space including a 78-square-foot private veranda, but the space can vary slightly depending on suite number.  

Living area of a V4 category suite, #823, on Seabourn Venture
Awaiting us upon arrival in No. 823, a V4 Category stateroom, were champagne, chocolate treats, fresh fruit, and—on the living room couch—a light orange parka and other expedition items.  (Photo by Susan J. Young)

One nice suite amenity is the personal heated wardrobe for storing some of one's expedition gear. For instance, we put our line-provided orange parka in that closet to dry. After returning from an expedition, though, guests will instead place their wet boots into an assigned cubbyhole in the ship’s Mud Room.

(Tip: Less than a year ago, we stayed in a virtually identical V4 category suite, No. 703, on Seabourn Venture.)

During our voyage, we also toured a two-level Wintergarden Suite, available in one-bedroom and two-bedroom configurations. For guests seeking incredible views and plenty of space, Nos. 735 and 736 are definitely the “top digs.” They each span 1,044 square feet of space including a 129-square foot veranda.

Wintergarden Suites offer a comfortable, well-appointed living area, fully stocked bar and refrigerator, writing desk, make-up vanity and more. An open stairway leads to an upper bedroom loft area. There guests will discover a queen-sized bed (convertible to two twins), a master bathroom with separate tub and shower, and superb destination or water views through the expanse of two-deck-high forward glass.

To create a condo of sorts, guests can combine adjoining accommodations (Suites No. 735 plus No. 733 or No. 736 plus No. 734) to create a 1,399-square-foot, two-bedroom suite that includes two private verandas. 

Whatever suite guests choose, though, they’ll have their own private veranda. It was one of our absolute favorite spots on Seabourn Venture, equipped with two chairs and a small table. But we liked it most for outside access. We could be relaxing comfortably inside our suite, happen to gaze outside and suddenly spot dramatic icy Arctic peaks, cliffs, cascading glaciers, ice floes, glaciers, a bird rookery and even whales. We’d quickly rush outside for photos and use the line-provided binoculars (available in each suite) for a closer look.  

A Luxurious Cocoon

From our firsthand perspective during a two-week Greenland/Iceland cruise in July 2023, Seabourn Venture is nicely “fine-tuned” since our initial sailing in late 2022. In particular, the ship's expedition product is humming along nicely. 

Aboard the ship, guests will stay in ultra-luxury suites with all private verandas. They’ll be pampered with stellar service, relax in comfortable public spaces and find enhanced dining. Plus, the ship has a state-of-the-art fitness center and full-service spa. The line’s partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil extends his “Mindful Living” programming to spa treatments, enrichment programs, stateroom amenities, and at times, even activities ashore.

The ship just completed a Northwest Passage voyage, and will be repositioning southward. For instance, on October 15, 2023, the expedition vessel will sail a 16-Day "South America & The Humboldt Current" voyage from Punta Arenas (Puerto Caldera), Costa Rica, to San Antonio (Santiago), Chile. From there, it will journey even farther southward, operate Antarctica sailings in winter 2023-2024, and return to the Arctic region in summer 2024.

Overall, Seabourn Venture is a nimble, cocooning PC6 polar-class expedition ship. Guests will venture to the ends of the Earth but travel in ultra-luxury comfort and style. 

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