Seabourn Venture is the first of two purpose-built expedition ships built by Seabourn. Credit: Seabourn

Everything you need to know about Seabourn Venture, Seabourn’s first purpose-built expedition vessel

Author: Kaye Holland

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The 264-passenger Seabourn Venture is the luxury cruise line’s first expedition ship. A sister ship, Seabourn Pursuit, is slated to launch later this year

The first of two new ultra-luxury expedition ships for the Seattle-based line, Seabourn Venture is not a new ship per se – it welcomed its first guests back in July 2022 on a 12-day Northern Isles expedition from Tromso, Norway, bound for the Arctic and the Svalbard Archipelago.

“Exploration has always been part of our brand legacy, but the launch of Seabourn Venture turned the page on a new chapter for us, offering our guests opportunities to explore remote destinations in every corner of the globe and truly be a part of the natural wonders, wildlife, history, and culture they’ll find there,” said Natalya Leahy, president of Seabourn.

“Seabourn guests are as passionate about discovery as they are about travelling in ultra-luxury, and Seabourn Venture offers a new type of expedition experience allowing our guests to discover the magnificence from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”

However Venture only recently made its maiden call in the UK – and World of Cruising was invited onboard for a media dinner and overnight stay. Read on for our verdict on Seabourn’s new luxury vessel.

Style and character
Seabourn has been synonymous with luxury cruising ever since the line’s inception 35 years ago so chances are you won’t be surprised to hear that Venture, with its sleek, hunter-green exterior, is one of the most aesthetically pleasing ships in the expedition sector.

The interior elates too: Step onboard and the first thing you’ll see is a small atrium with a crystal sculpture and skylight. Noted New York-based designer, Adam D Tihany, is the creative genius behind Venture and he has gone for a luxury lodge style: faux-fur pillows, cosy blankets and fireplaces with dancing water vapour flames abound.

A focal point onboard Venture, the Atrium connects all guest-area decks via an elegant staircase. Credit: Seabourn

Expect 132 oceanfront suites replete with marble bathrooms generously stocked with Molton Brown toiletries and featuring a bath with a separate tub and shower; a private balcony; a complimentary bottle of champagne and fully stocked bar; a vast bed with a choice of three pillows (soft, medium and hard); and their own sitting area. Further thoughtful touches include walk-in wardrobes and a heated locker for expedition gear.

If you really want to, ahem, push the boat out, plump for a penthouse or premium suite. The owner’s, signature and winter garden suites offer extended dining areas, guest baths and wet bars as well as special features: the Signature Suite verandas, for example, come with private whirlpools.

The Panorama Veranda suites is a new suite category for Seabourn. Credit: Seabourn

Food and drink
If you’ve sailed with Seabourn before, you’ll be familiar with the restaurants found onboard Venture. Like its sister ships, Venture offers passengers a choice of eight dining venues including The Restaurant – an elegant, open-seating dining room featuring geometric blue and purple carpeting surrounding porcelain floors serving breakfast, lunch and dinner – The Colonnade, a more casual alternative for a buffet breakfast or lunch that also offers a themed dinner served table-side under leek copper ceilings, and the communal Seabourn Square. The latter is best described as a lounge/cafe/concierge/ library/meeting spot all rolled into one.

I enjoyed lunch in the Colonnade, where I was impressed by the variety of flavour-packed dishes available and dinner in The Restaurant. Here, the spring rolls, satisfying parcels of flavour, proved to be an unexpected highlight. And I loved the open seating, no-reservations policy that’s in place at all of Seabourn’s dining venues.

The Restaurant is Seabourn's main dining room. Credit: Seabourn

Entertainment and excursions
Like the lion’s share of expedition ships, entertainment onboard Venture is small-scale and restricted to the Discovery Centre – which serves as the ship’s classroom offering natural history and cultural programming – and eight bars and lounges including the Constellation Lounge on the top deck with its stunning, 270-degree views, and the Bow Lounge, a prime setting for watching marine life – where professional singers and pianists provide the entertainment. Fancy throwing some shapes on the dance-floor? On our overnight stay, a DJ got the party started.

Where Venture really comes into its own is on the excursion front (the vessel's 2023 and 2024 seasons include expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctica and Amazon). As an expedition ship, Venture offers two custom-built, six-seater submarines so as to provide an unforgettable view of the world beneath the ocean's surface, a full complement of kayaks, and 24 zodiacs – all alongside a crew that includes an outstanding and well-travelled expedition team compromised of highly regarded wilderness experts, historians and naturalists.

The Constellation Lounge offers guests a breathtaking perspective on the remote destinations in the world. Credit: Seabourn

Value for money
Seabourn is an ultra-luxury cruise line and this is reflected in the prices for a voyage onboard Venture. However, while a cruise with Seabourn certainly isn’t cheap, it is good value: almost everything from WiFi to tips, alcohol – including champagne – and caviar is included in your fare as the line’s loyal following of repeat guests can attest.

All told, if you've always wanted to try an expedition cruise but aren't keen on sacrificing the luxuries and creature comforts you've become accustomed to on an ocean cruise, then Seabourn Venture is the solution.

A 13-Day Antarctica Exploration itinerary onboard Seabourn Venture departs Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 8, 2024, and costs from £13,999 per person for a veranda suite.

The Discovery Centre hosts daily briefings, lectures and Seabourn Conversations. Credit: Seabourn
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About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]