10 Seabourn Moments in my first 24 hours aboard Seabourn Ovation

I woke up early on the day of my flight to Monte Carlo for my first Seabourn cruise. I was nervous, but in a good way — this was something beyond a typical friends or family holiday in Spain — it was something completely different for me.

Meg and Nicole on Seabourn Ovation

We landed in Monte Carlo and hailed a taxi, nothing like a typical English taxi, and it exuded an air of sophistication. Our Novotel digs were also more special than normal — more 4-star than 3-star if you ask me, with picturesque views of the charming old buildings across the street from the balcony. We dumped our bags and headed out to a local shop where we picked up some wine, cheese and assorted nibbles. It was a hidden gem in every sense of the word.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed our finds while watching an episode of Master Chef, sipping wine, and engaging in casual conversation about our personal lives. In that Moment, stress melted away, and I felt relaxed and prepared for the adventures that awaited. I could feel something coming on — my first Seabourn Moment of the trip, easily.

Meg and Nicole walking through Monte Carlo with their suitcases

It was surreal waking up in Monte Carlo. Once everything was packed, we left the hotel, and Nicole suggested we walk to our destination. Although I'm not usually one for walking, I thought "why not give it a try", even though we had two large bags and two full-sized suitcases. The walk turned out to be an unforgettable memory; I was in stitches the entire time, and my face hurt from laughing so hard. If you've been to Monte Carlo before, you'll know it's filled with very steep hills, which didn't make our suitcase-laden stroll any easier. It felt like the suitcases were dragging us rather than the other way around!

A hilarious Moment I’ll never forget — the second of the trip before we had even clapped eyes on the ship. The next unforgettable Moment was just steps away as we caught sight of that beautiful ship, glimmering in the sun. Three. After passing through security and checking in, we eagerly headed to explore the interior of the ship. Excitement levels were peaking.

Our first stop was the Seabourn Square, a cosy space where you can sit, enjoy some beverages and chill. From there, we ventured to explore the restaurants. The Thomas Keller restaurant caught our eye with its 80s retro vibe and the Colonnade, with a sprawling buffet that surprised us with its beautifully designed setup. We then made our way to the main restaurant, and at that Moment, I couldn't wait to dine there and experience the ambiance in the evening.

Lance and his cocktails on Seabourn Ovation

A drink was in order — and as if by chance met the friendliest bartender ever, Lance, who was eager to help. Nicole simply asked for a drink with Prosecco, and Lance crafted his own special cocktail. The smug delight on Nicole's face made it clear that the cocktail was a hit. I wanted something more specific. Unfortunately, Lance was fresh out of peach schnapps to make a classic Sex on the Beach and despite his willingness to leave the ship to fetch it, I chose an alternative so as not to inconvenience him — but a lovely gesture all the same. I settled on a San Francisco cocktail, a personal favourite when abroad. Although Lance initially didn't know the recipe, he didn't let that stop him. After some research, he prepared the finest San Francisco cocktail I had ever had the pleasure to sip. Five, six — a double Moment — one for myself and one for Nicole.

Our stateroom was finally ready, and Nicole, with her camera ready, gave me the impression that this room was going to be amazing. As we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the massive dressing table; then came the the beds — large, plush singles with perfectly plump pillows and crisp white linen sheets — and then we moved onto the balcony, where two glasses and an iced bottle of Champagne lived. I sat down captivated by the view, quite plainly living my best life. 

Nicole decided to start unpacking while I stood on the balcony, captivated by the view. We were in a V3 which meant you could see the full view without it being obstructed. Once Nicole had finished packing, we sat on the balcony, and she took charge of opening the Champagne as I was too scared to do it myself. Shortly after, we heard the doorbell and were greeted by two cleaners who would be looking after our room during our time on board. They brought mimosas and canapés. Being a bit of a fussy eater, I skipped the canapés... but I gladly enjoyed the delightful mimosas!

Champagne on Seabourn Ovation

Nicole and I spent a few hours on the balcony, engaging in a meaningful conversation. This holiday marked the first opportunity we had to really connect outside of work. From our discussion, I could sense that Nicole understood me as a person, and I was confident that she would go above and beyond to make this trip magical for me. An unmistakable 100%-guaranteed Seabourn Moment. Seven!

Later, we prepared for the cocktail party. I was so impressed by the bathroom’s fantastic features — a spacious walk-in shower, a bath, six different scents of Malton Brown bath soap, double vanity sinks and two illuminated mirrors; it was something else and far removed from what I’m used to. Once ready, we made our way to the cocktail party scheduled for 7pm at the retreat on Deck 12, hosted by Dani, a representative from Seabourn.

The venue was hemmed with waters offering a variety of more canapés and flavoured mimosas. We had the chance to connect with fellow travel agents and explore the retreat. Nicole and I then made our way to the main restaurant — something which I had been waiting for since we had boarded. It looked incredible, classy and welcoming. The generously sized tables added to the overall comfort and the decadent menu was a little overwhelming for little old me.

Mushroom tagliatelle on Seabourn Ovation

For starters, I chose spaghetti Bolognese, mushroom tagliatelle for the main course (which surprised me as I usually avoid rich, creamy foods) and a soufflé for dessert. The starters were outstanding, and the spaghetti Bolognese was served in the perfect portion size to whet my appetite for the main course — and I hesitated before trying mushroom tagliatelle for the first time. The first bite left me speechless — there were truly no words. It was so delicious that it became my favourite dish. A simple one, but a Moment all the same. Since returning, I've attempted to replicate it, but it never quite matches the perfection of that night. The soufflé for dessert was served beautifully, with the waiter cutting the top off, filling it with warm milk sauce, and placing the soufflé back on top. It was gorgeous, light, fluffy and all kinds of chocolatey.

After finishing our meal, we headed to the club where they were hosting an 80s night – my kind of music. The atmosphere was lively, with everyone up and dancing. While I'm more of a sit-down-and-sing type, I thoroughly enjoyed the fantastic vibe. I ordered a glass of champagne and settled in to enjoy the music while singing along. Nicole got up and danced with fellow guests. Then, one of my favourite songs, "At Last" by Etta James, started playing and partners slowly made their way to the stage for a slow dance, creating a beautiful scene. Watching them dance, I observed a different kind of love that I had never seen before. A Moment — a particularly beautiful one. Moment number nine.

Seabourn Ovation with Monte Carlo in the background

Nicole stayed in the club while I headed back to the stateroom to call my mum and share the fantastic day I had experienced. Throughout the night, I had been expressing my excitement to Nicole about watching the ship set sail. While in the room, I felt the boat move, and I hurriedly went to find Nicole, who had come looking for me so we could witness the ship's departure together. As soon as we reached the deck, I was captivated by the nighttime view of Monte Carlo. A massive smile adorned my face as we slowly watched the enchanting Monte Carlo disappear.

My final Seaborn Moment before drifting into a peaceful sleep — the perfect 10 for a perfect 24 hours.


Call Panache Cruises on 0161 513 8200 if you want to experience Seabourn Ovation like Meg and Nicole.

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