For the most part, we at Wallpaper* have tended to be a little leery of cruise-liners, preferring to practise our sea-legs on smaller, more intimate luxury yachts. However, the recent launch of the Seabourn Encore in Singapore has us taking a considerably more expansive view of our maritime travels.
Constructed in the Fincantieri shipyards in Marghera near Venice, the Encore is the latest salvo by the Seattle-based Seabourn to capture the upper end of the cruise market. It certainly helps the cause that the 300 all-suite ship was designed by Adam Tihany who, even before the paint on the bow is dry, is already at work on the Seabourn Ovation which is due to launch next year.
The Wintergarden Suite. Photography: Michel Verdure
Despite the impressive statistics – 13 levels and a full sailing capacity of 600 passengers – there is little sense of the madding crowd. A judicious spread of venues and activities disperses passengers across two swimming pools, library, six whirlpools, small casino, seven lounges and bars, a swanky spa headlined by Dr Andrew Weil and at least six dining options, one of which is The Grill by Thomas Keller.
It helps, too, that Tihany has unleashed all the tricks in the bag, all while acknowledging the complexities of the project. ‘This is a giant moving piece of steel,’ he says. ‘It’s a complex engineering puzzle.’
The deck of the Signature Suite. Photography: Eric Laignel
Early in the process, the designer found the key: an airy staircase of glass, stainless steel and varnished timber that spirals up the central core of the ship, pulling light in from the top deck atrium and refracting it down to the lower levels. Through the ship, there are no real hard corners, just bends and circular shapes and looping corridors. Even the top deck The Retreat is a set-piece in the round with a sailed canopy that provides shade and shadows. Here, Tihany lines the edges with generously proportioned cabanas and deck chairs, all of which look inward towards an elevated Jacuzzi.
Measuring 690 feet by 92 feet, the relatively small size of the Seabourn Encore means it can swan into smaller harbours, a particular attraction if the goal is to steer clear of destinations bristling with giant cruise-liners. That’s the kind of cruise control we like.