Above: Seabourn's new expedition ship, the Seabourn Venture

Seabourn’s Latest: A New Luxury Expedition Ship

Seabourn Venture in Greenland

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.

Panorama Veranda Suite, Seabourn Venture
Bar at the Constellation Lounge, Seabourn Venture
The Restaurant, Seabourn Venture
Sauna, Seabourn Venture
Discovery Center, Seabourn Venture
Seabourn Venture

After our driver got us through a maze of trucks at Lima’s Callao port, embarkation procedures were smooth and well organized. Our entry-level Veranda Suite on deck 5 was a mere 280 square feet, but with sliding glass doors that opened onto a 75-square-foot terrace, it felt spacious. The beds, configurable as twins or a queen, could be partitioned off by heavy curtains from the living space, which consisted of a sofa, dressing table, side chair and minibar (though there was nothing “mini” about the complimentary 750 ml bottles of gin and vodka). The credenza at the foot of the bed and a large walk-in closet provided ample storage space. While we never needed the drying closet for expedition gear, it surely comes in handy after Antarctic excursions. The gleaming bath impressed with a single wide sink and dual faucets, a full-size tub and a separate shower outfitted in faux-Carrara marble.

The Venture may be Seabourn’s smallest ship (558 by 85 feet), but it has all the features that the line’s guests have come to expect, including eight dining options, eight bars and lounges, a spa with a sauna and gym overlooking the waves and an infinity pool and four whirlpools on two decks (unfortunately on our trip, all the whirlpools were inoperable due to a missing part). The inviting Discovery Center on deck 4, called the Grand Salon on other Seabourn ships, hosted expedition briefings and formal entertainment, including professionally executed musical-theater numbers and opera arias.

Above: Seabourn's new expedition ship, the Seabourn Venture

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