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Roux Luxury Travel Blog


Trip Report: Jewels of India and Arabia on Seabourn Encore

Just wanted to share my recent experience on the Seabourn Encore. The ship is stunning, and we enjoyed a great voyage from Singapore to Dubai. If you like luxury cruising, you should definitely put Seabourn on your short list for future vacations. Here is my full review:

The Seabourn Encore

Sir Bani Yas with seabourn Encore-1

The Seabourn Encore hosts 600 guests in 300 suites, while the smaller ships take 458. I love this size of ship, because it's big enough to offer a lively mix of guests but not so big that you ever have to wait for anything.

We traveled in a Veranda Suite, the starting category, and found it very comfortable. It was about 246 square feet with a balcony. Tasteful decor, including a separate dining area for our room service breakfasts (one of our favorite indulgences when we travel.)  Bed was very comfortable.

We really enjoyed the spa on this voyage. Seabourn has partnered with Dr. Andrew Weil to offer a Mindfulness Program on board that includes meditation, yoga and other workshops. It's a nice addition to the other offerings from the Spa, including a fitness center and classes, plus spa treatments. Because we had lots of sea days on our voyage, we were able to take full advantage of the spa and it really added to our experience.

Dining was great, and an upgrade from the Seabourn Quest, which is a smaller ship. We really loved the Thomas Keller restaurant on board, The Grill. The bar at the grill was one of our favorite places to relax before dinner. Also available for specialty dining was a Sushi restaurant and an outdoor dining venue, Earth & Ocean. Between those restaurants and the main dining, we were able to have everything we wanted.

Service was friendly and attentive, not stuffy at all. We found the crew to be charming and helpful and really interested in making sure everyone had enough wine, food and a good time.

The Jewels of India and Arabia Itinerary

Of course, while I love a great ship experience, for me the most important thing is the ports we visit.


Singapore Maxwell Food Center

Our cruise started in Singapore, and we flew in a few days early to experience it. We loved it. We stayed at the Duxton Six Senses, a boutique virtuoso hotel in Chinatown. The hotel was lovely, with a comfortable, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. While in Singapore we loved sampling the local food at a Hawker Center, including the famous Hainanese Chicken and Rice, and exploring the tiny shops of Chinatown.

Phuket, Thailand

DSC_1763 Phuket, Thailand temple

We were originally set to visit Colombo, Sri Lanka, but unrest in the area the weekend before we were to make port prompted the Captain to cancel that call and put in at Phuket instead. We enjoyed a lively excursion with a local guide to some of the local temples.

Mangalore, India

DSC_1934 India Mangalore

In Mangalore, we lined up a local guide to take us on a private tour of the highlights. It's a mostly industrial city. Managlore has been a pit stop on international trade routes since the 6th century AD. We visited an important Hindu temple, a cashew processing factory, and some other site, but the highlight of the day was being invited into our guides home to see how the locals live and taste some of their local tea. 

DSC_1883 India Mangalore Rekha's House

Mumbai, India

DSC_1947 Mumbai, India

In Mumbai we hosted an exclusive shore event for the Virtuoso Guests traveling with us. We had a whirlwind tour of Mumbai where we visited Ghandi's home, rode the train like the locals, stopped by the Gate of Mumbai for a photo stop, and had a lovely lunch at Ziya, the Oberoi Hotel's phenomenal restaurant. 

Muscat, Oman

DSC_0225 Muscat, Oman

Muscat was one of the most beautiful ports we visited. Beautiful architecture by the sea and a vibrant souk for shopping. The cruise brochure called Oman, "The Pearl of Mystic Arabia," and it's an apt description. It's dotted with forts, castles, towers and mosques, creating a rich architectural landscape.

DSC_0336 Muscat, Oma

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

DSC_0375 Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, we visited the Emirates Palace Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the city. We had been to Abu Dhabi before, so we skipped the very mosque, which we saw last year but highly recommend. Again, we chose to explore independently, taking a taxi from the port to the hotel. Our drivers were polite, friendly and spoke English, and were very accommodating regarding our numerous requests to stop to take photos.

Sir Bani Yas, United Arab Emirates

The island of Sir Bani Yas was a fun stop, as the Seabourn Encore crew put on their trademark Caviar in the Surf event, and offered a lunch ashore (grilled lobster). The island is a designed as a cruise stop and offers changing facilities and covered areas for relaxing and enjoying the beach. There's also a wildlife reserve, and we enjoyed a 4x4 game drive to check out some of the animals.

DSC_0454 Sir Bani Yas

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

DSC_0523 Dubai, UAE 2019

Our voyage ended in Dubai, where we made a stop at the spice market for saffron and camel milk chocolates to bring home. Dubai is the most modern of the cities we visited in the UAE, and the women here seemed to enjoy more freedom of dress than in more conservative Abu Dhabi. 

Tips and recommendations

I highly recommend Seabourn, and can't say enough good things about our experience on the Encore. If you like "country club casual" lifestyle, you'll love Seabourn. It's not as formal as some of the other cruise lines. We only had one official formal night on our voyage where a jacket and tie were required. 

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you book The Grill at Thomas Keller in advance. You're allowed to pre-book one reservation before boarding, but if you think you want to dine there multiple times, make sure you get those reservations on the books as soon as you get settled. It's a very popular venue.
  • The sushi restaurant is great, and doesn't require reservations, but it is small so it pays to get there early if you want to be sure to get a table.
  • When you're choosing excursions, don't forget to consider the private car and driver option where it's available. It can be a nice break from the typical bus tour and allows you to customize your day according to your interests.
  • The gelato at Seabourn Square is really good! Once we discovered it, we couldn't stop eating it.
  • We loved the piano bar at The Grill, one of our favorite places to grab a pre or post dinner cocktail.
  • Your stateroom comes with a mini-bar, and it can be stocked with just about anything you want (even single malt scotch). Just ask your stewardess.

Want to learn more about Seabourn? Think you might want to consider it for your next vacation? Give me a call at 888-251-3096.

As a member of the Virtuoso Seabourn Elevate team, I’m a cut above the rest when it comes to designing the best cruise experience for you. I was chosen to be a part of Elevate by Virtuoso and Seabourn because of my existing expertise and my passion for the industry. With the support of these two esteemed companies behind me, I’ve gained the insider knowledge that allows me to create an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

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Topics: Seabourn

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