Embarking Seabourn Sojourn in Vancouver For A Voyage to Alaska
Monday, June 26, 2017
Call it a voyage of firsts: This is ultra-luxury line Seabourn’s first Alaska cruise season in 15 years. It’s also the first time that the 450-guest Seabourn Sojourn has ever sailed these waters. And while I have cruised to Alaska numerous times before, this will be my very first Seabourn cruise. I’ve sailed with other luxury lines in the past, but I walked down the ramp to the cruise terminal at Vancouver’s Canada Place with a renewed spring in my step. I love discovering new ships.
There has been considerable buzz about Seabourn’s return to Alaska, and the excitement is entirely warranted. Eschewing the weeklong sailings that are the staple of nearly every other cruise line in the region, Seabourn developed three breathtaking itineraries for its 2017 season that range in length from 11 to 14 days, sailing either one-way between Vancouver and Seward, or roundtrip from Vancouver.
I’m sailing the 11-day Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn, from Vancouver to Seward. It’s a great itinerary that calls on Ketchikan, Wrangell, Haines, Juneau and Sitka, and offers scenic cruising opportunities in the Inside Passage, Misty Fjords (Rudyerd Bay), Endicott Arm, and a full day in Glacier Bay National Park.
The full itinerary, both here and onboard:
Seabourn Sojourn – Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
|Monday, June 26, 2017||Vancouver, British Columbia||Embark Seabourn Sojourn||1700|
|Tuesday, June 27||Cruise the Inside Passage; Seymour Narrows; Queen Charlotte Sound|
|Wednesday, June 28||Ketchikan, Alaska||0800||2300|
|Thursday, June 29||Scenic cruising Misty Fjords|
|Friday, June 30||Wrangell, Alaska||0700||1600|
|Saturday, July 1||Scenic cruising Glacier Bay National Park||1000||2000|
|Sunday, July 2||Cruising Tracy Arm and/or Endicott Arm|
|Monday, July 3||Haines, Alaska||0700||2000|
|Tuesday, July 4||Juneau, Alaska||0800||1700|
|Wednesday, July 5||Sitka, Alaska||1000||1900|
|Thursday, July 6||At Sea|
|Friday, July 7, 2017||Seward (Anchorage), Alaska||0700||Disembark|
I also want to point out how fantastic the line’s longer itineraries are. Seabourn has made a point to call on more ports of call in British Columbia, including Prince Rupert, Alert Bay, and the First Nations village of Klemtu, not far from Bella Bella. The ship also spends time scenic cruising the picturesque Grenville Channel.
These names and places may not mean much to you, but know this: these areas are so remote that even many British Columbians have never been to them. No other major cruise line is doing what Seabourn is doing in British Columbia, and it’s something I hope they include more of as they continue to develop future itineraries in Alaska.
Making Seabourn’s itineraries in Alaska even more alluring is the addition of a pseudo-expedition element. In addition to your standard shore excursions (curated, of course, to appeal to the Seabourn guest), the line also offers special Ventures by Seabourn excursions. These active, adventurous excursions are led by the line’s dedicated Expedition Team (many of whom I know well from voyages on other luxury expedition lines), and include bucket-list opportunities like glacier hikes, kayaking through Misty Fjords, and bear-watching.
Embarkation at Canada Place went smoothly, with only Seabourn Sojourn and Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder in port. Security was fast and efficient, and the new Kiosk system that the Port of Vancouver has had in place for a few seasons now was a major improvement. Because you’re leaving Canada and travelling to the United States, passengers clear US Customs & Border Protection in Vancouver, and I was impressed with how friendly its Officers were.
There was a delay due to a surprise inspection of Seabourn Sojourn by Canadian authorities that pushed embarkation back, but boarding took place soon after I arrived in the waiting room. Total time from curb to ship: 71 minutes.
My Suite: Category V6 Veranda Suite
My home for the next 11 days is one of Seabourn’s Category 6 Veranda Suites. Mine is the last on the port side of Deck 7, number 748. The most numerous accommodations type onboard, these Veranda Suites (Categories V1 to V6) measure 300 square feet, plus one generous 65 square-foot veranda. There are a few exceptions to this, but these are all clearly noted in the Seabourn brochure.
Decorated in soothing earth tones with sea foam green accents, the room feels spacious and luxurious. A marble-clad bathroom stocked with Molton Brown toiletries is located just off the main entrance, and includes dual sinks along with a full-sized bathtub and a glass-enclosed stand-up shower with two separate water points.
Forward of the bathroom is a walk-in closet that has generous storage space for two. I defy anyone to fill all of the shelves, drawers and hangers that are located throughout the suite, though that probably could be accomplished on longer voyages.
As part of Se