Seabourn Spirit


The Verdict

Though a bit dated, these smallish megayachts are almost a throwback to a more intimate and refined, less frenetic, and definitely less glitzy style of cruising.

Size (in tons) 10000
Number of Cabins 100
Number of Cabins with Verandas 6
Number of Passengers 208
Number of Crew 157
Passenger/Crew Ratio 1.5 to 1
Year Built 1989
Last Major Refurbishment 2008
Cabin Comfort & Amenities 4.0
Ship Cleanliness & Maintainence 4.0
Public Comfort/Space 5.0
Dining Options 3.5
Children's Facilities 0
Decor 3.0
Gym & Spa Facilities 3.0
Enjoyment 4.0
Sister Ships Seabourn Legend


Typical Per Diems: $500+

Seabourn Legend sails the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale and St. Thomas (winter).

Seabourn Spirit sails Central America from Fort Lauderdale (winter 2011) and the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale & St. Thomas (winter 2012).

While the newer Odyssey and Sojourn outshine Seabourn's original ships in pretty much every way, these are still superfine vessels that carry just 208 passengers each, so you'll never feel lost in the crowd. In fact, you'll feel like you practically own the place. Choose to be as social or as private as you wish, with no rowdiness or loud music and no one exhorting you to get involved. While you're on board, the ship is your floating boutique hotel or your private yacht.

A third sister, Seabourn Pride, doesn't currently visit any of the regions covered in this guide.


Just about everything in these ships' 277-square-foot standard suites has the feel of an upscale Scandinavian hotel, including ice-blue or champagne color schemes, lots of bleached oak or birch-wood trim, and mirrors and spot lighting to keep things bright. Only the Owner's Suites have proper balconies, though 36 regular suites on Decks 5 and 6 have French balconies with sliding doors and a few inches of decking -- not nearly enough to fit a chair, but they do allow sunlight to pour into the cabin and afford a great view up and down the length of the ship. You can sit on the sofa or in a chair and read while sunning yourself out of the wind and out of view. You can also sleep with the doors wide open and the sounds and smells of the ocean pouring in -- unless, of course, the officers on the bridge decide to lock up: If seas get even a little choppy or the wind picks up, a flick of a switch locks your door automatically and there's not a thing you can do about it. (Remember, these ships are small, so you're not that far above the waterline. The cruise line likes to avoid waves and sea spray messing up its lovely decor.)

The best features of the suites are their bathrooms and spacious walk-in closets (which contrast with a fairly minimal amount of drawer space). White marble bathrooms usually include both a tub and a shower (though 10 to 14 suites on each ship have showers only), and lots of shelf, counter, and cabinet space. Molton Brown bath products plus designer soaps by Chanel, Bijan, Hermès, and Bronnley are provided for guests along with a world atlas, terry bathrobes, slippers, and umbrellas to use on board.

The coffee table in the sitting area can be pulled up to become a dining table, and the minibar is stocked on embarkation day with a chilled bottle of champagne and two bottles of complimentary liquor or wine of your choice (a request form comes with your cruise documents). Unlimited bottled water, beer, and soft drinks are restocked throughout the cruise. Ice is replenished twice daily (more often on request), and bar setups are in each room. Each cabin has a desk, hair dryer, safe, radio/CD player (music CDs and audio books are available for borrowing), and flatscreen TVs and DVD players. Fresh fruit and a flower complete the suite scene.

The two Classic Suites measure 400 square feet, and a pair of Owner's Suites on each ship measure 530 and 575 square feet and have verandas, dining areas, and guest powder rooms. Their dark-wood furnishings make the overall feeling more like a hotel room than a ship's suite, but, as is true of any cabins positioned near the bow of relatively small ships, they can be somewhat uncomfortable in rough seas. Owner's Suites 05 and 06 have obstructed views.

Some suites are marketed as 554-square-foot Double Suites, and that's exactly what they are: two 277-square-foot suites connected by an interior door, with one suite converted into a lounge.

There are four wheelchair-accessible suites on each ship.

Dining Options

The formal Restaurant, located on the lowest deck, is a large, low-ceilinged room with elegant candlelit tables. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and officers, cruise staff, and sometimes guest lecturers host tables at dinnertime. If you're not in the mood for the formal dining room, the Veranda Café serves a combination buffet and full-service breakfast and lunch. Come evening, the cafe becomes the casual specialty Restaurant 2, serving multicourse tasting menus (reservations suggested).

Guests who don't want to change out of their swimsuits can get burgers, chicken, hot dogs, grilled items, and a special of the day (maybe pizza with pineapple topping, or fresh ingredients for tacos) at the pleasant Sky Bar, overlooking the Lido Deck. On sunny days, themed lunches are often served here, and in the evening a menu with steak-and-seafood is offered to guests by reservation. Occasionally, the tables and chairs may be pushed back later at night for entertainment and dancing.

Public Areas

Step onto most ships today, and you'll oooh and ahhh at the decor. Not so here, where a minimalist Scandinavian design aesthetic is in play. For the most part, public rooms are spare and almost ordinary looking. Art and ornamentation are conspicuous by their absence.

The forward-facing observation lounge on Sky Deck is the most attractive public room, a quiet venue for reading or cards, the spot for afternoon tea (during which a pianist provides background music), and a good place for a drink before dinner. A chart and compass on the wall outside will help you pinpoint the ship's current position, and a computerized wall map lets you track future cruises.

The Club piano bar in the stern has great views during daylight hours, is packed before dinner, and sometimes has after-dinner entertainment such as a Name That Tune game or a cabaret show. Hors d'oeuvres are served here before and after dinner. A tiny, cramped casino is adjacent, with a couple of blackjack tables, a roulette wheel, and about 10 slots. The downstairs show lounge is a dark, tiered, all-purpose space for lectures, the captain's cocktail party, and featured entertainers such as singers, comedians, and pianists.

One of the best places for a romantic, moonlit moment is the isolated patch of deck far forward in the bow on Deck 5, where a lone hot tub also resides.

Pool, Fitness & Spa Facilities

The outdoor pool, which gets little use, is awkwardly situated in a shadowy location aft of the open Deck 7, between the twin engine uptakes and flanked by lifeboats hanging from both sides. A pair of whirlpools is better situated just forward of the pool. A third hot tub is perched far forward on Deck 5. It's wonderfully isolated and a perfect spot (as is the whole patch of deck here) from which to watch a port come into sight or fade away.

A retractable, wood-planked watersports marina opens out from the stern of each ship so that passengers can hop into sea kayaks or go windsurfing, water-skiing, or snorkeling right from the vessel. An attached steel mesh net creates a protected saltwater pool when the marina is in use.

Located forward of the Lido Deck, the gym and Steiner-managed spa are surprisingly roomy for ships this small, and renovations have incorporated modern gym equipment. There are also two saunas, massage rooms, and a beauty salon. Yoga, Pilates, and aerobics classes are held in a lounge or on deck.