The plush new Seabourn Venture recently concluded its inaugural voyage to Antarctica. I had the pleasure of joining for part of that journey — from Lima, Peru, to Santiago, Chile — in late October. While the voyage continued to the Great White Continent without me, I spent almost two weeks being coddled at sea (interspersed with memorable excursions) as we made our way against the Humboldt Current, one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet.
Seabourn’s Venture gives guests both luxury and adventure: beautifully appointed public spaces and 132 suites, all with verandas, within a purpose-built Polar Class 6 craft that can go almost anywhere in the world, icebergs be damned. Or, as put another way by expedition leader Luciano Bernacchi, it offers “a cocoon of comfort and safety that is quite the contrast to the environment of the polar regions.”
Excited by the prospect of a voyage with this brand-new ship, which had been cruising for just three months at the time we boarded, we were eager to gather all the pre-trip specifics we could. But details on excursions, guest speakers and restaurants were difficult to come by. The Seabourn website was difficult to navigate and several phone calls ended with conflicting information: One staff member urged me to make reservations online for the Grill by Thomas Keller restaurant, another told me that it was open seating and yet a third said it had never existed in the first place. We were not off to an auspicious start.