The wind in your hair, the wide expanse of ocean around you, unbroken vistas of sea and sky as far as your eye can see – and then the sight of your next destination sending anticipatory quivers down your spine: when it comes to travelling the world, nothing elicits a greater sense of luxurious freedom than exploring by ship. Especially when that ship is one of Seabourn’s three sensational Odyssey-class ships – Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. Having received rave reviews, and acclaimed as ‘game changers’ when they entered service, the ships offer a sumptuous all-inclusive lifestyle that has changed the face of luxury cruising.
Think spacious suites, most with verandas, and superb dining in a choice of venues. Bars with a relaxed, sociable atmosphere and, with just 458 guests each, one of the highest ratios of space and staff per guest. And then there are the boundary-breaking destinations. Take February 2016’s Myanmar & Malaysia cruise: a 16-night round trip from Singapore, offering the ultimate experience for adventurers.
The journey will include idyllic Phuket, Langkawi, Georgetown, Pulau Pangkor, Port Klang and Malacca – while three days in Thilawa’s port will allow guests to explore Myanmar’s marvels. Take in Rangoon’s colonial architecture and 2,500-year-old Schwedagon Pagoda, with its huge gilded dome encrusted with 5,448 precious stones; Mandalay’s enormous golden Buddha; Bagan plain’s 2,000 temples and pagodas scattered beside the Irrawaddy River; and the ancient Mon capital of Bago, with its six stunning temples dominating the skyline.
Or perhaps the ‘Pearls of the Philippines & Borneo’ cruise, carrying guests from Hong Kong to Singapore, departing in April 2016. This 14-day itinerary will navigate the Philippines’ scattered islands, before continuing to the mystical island of Borneo. At the Hundred Islands National Park, guests can explore the islands before swimming and snorkelling in idyllic blue seas. On the small island of Boracay, guests can relax in a picture-perfect tropical paradise.
Then it’s on to the beautiful ‘green’ city of Puerto Princesa, steeped in Spanish colonial history and boasting one of the world’s longest navigable underground rivers, a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Indeed, thanks to its newly formed partnership with UNESCO, Seabourn is set to offer exclusive tours to over 160 World Heritage sites and ports around the globe. Specialist speakers will join the onboard ‘Seabourn Conversations’ programme, introducing guests to UNESCO’s mission of identifying, safe- guarding and promoting unique cultural and natural features around the world deemed to possess universal value. Now that’s what revelationary travel is all about.
Your wildest dreams
Alaskan nature is beyond words. So how to describe the feeling of insignificance as giant slices of ice break from a glacier and crash with a thunderous roar into the sea below? How to capture the nerve-tingling sensation as a bald eagle glides above you, calling with its distinctive cry? How to put into prose the raw beauty of a soaring peak, bathed in sunshine and filling the sky – or the skipped heartbeat as you stand on a teak deck and watch huge black orca fins slicing through the water towards you?
All the way across Alaska’s 375 million acres, such heart-stopping scenes are simply part of the scenery as you sail, rail and walk among some of the most magnificent surroundings on earth. Cruise through the scenic Inside Passage, floating serenely on a five-star ship – with their elegant lounges, sparkling crystal, fine china and gracious hospitality on the inside; and on the outside, vast emerald forests, spellbinding glaciers ‘flowing’ into the sea, frontier ports brimming with adventure, and teeming marine life – orcas, otters, sea lions, eagles and spirit bears .
Settle in at a McKinley Wilderness Chalet lodge and explore Denali National Park – the largest protected ecosystem in the world, its untrammelled nature dominated by the soaring spectacle of Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain. As far from civilisation as you are ever likely to get, this tranquil place promises remote wilderness adventure (whether on foot, flight-seeing, hiking trails or river-rafting), shared with only the ‘locals’ – grizzlies, caribou and moose.
Step aboard the luxurious glass-domed railcars of the McKinley Explorer and snake your way through glacier-carved valleys, across rugged river canyons and over extraordinary feats of railway engineering. Panoramic windows frame awe-inspiring backdrops to Alaskan-inspired dining; open-air viewing platforms ensure unadulterated views of the passing scenery.
En route, tour the gold fields and heritage boardwalk towns of the Gold Rush era at Dawson City, Fairbanks and Whitehorse; explore the wilderness-edge city of Anchorage; glide along the Yukon River on an authentic paddle-wheeler; learn about native Indian culture – or savour the Spa resort of Alyeska, nestled in the Chugach mountain range. Whichever way you look at it, a journey through Alaska will make the wildest of dreams come true.