In the fourth of my series of tips from Seabourn insiders, I talk to Jan Stearman, the Cruise Director, who explains how they cater for solo and family travellers and gave hertips on getting the most your of time on board.
Tips for Travellers: Jan, on the cruise that I’ve been on it’s mostly been couples but could you tell me how you cater for solo travellers?
Jan: We’ve taken care of solo travellers for years. We’re known throughout the industry for always taking care of them. We have a lot of loyal guests on board and we’ve been around for a very long time. Some of them have lost spouses and they want to continue traveling. They will still come and travel with us. Solo travellers get together for two or three nights, especially at the beginning of the cruise so everybody can meet each other. Then the most important thing that we do, in my opinion, is we invite them to a hosted dinner table since we’re entirely open seating. It’s a little awkward if you’re on your own to just go down to the dining room and stand there and go oh, I’d like to join someone. What we will always do every night is invite solo travellers to a hosted table.
Whether they want to come or not is entirely up to them, but we will certainly ask them – unless we’re told that they specifically do not want to then of course we won’t continue. Every night they’ll be dining with different people and they can find people that they have things in common with or other solo travellers that they can sit and chat and go ashore with.
We do have staff that will go with guests ashore as well if we feel that they’re not enjoying themselves so much. We will even sometimes take them shopping. We’re very aware of their needs and whether they’re enjoying themselves, because we know it’s not easy to come out and be on your own.
Tips for Travellers: And how do you cater for families?
Jan: On the Odyssey class ships we have youth staff in the summer months but they are not here to create a big hubbub. We don’t want anybody to get confused with some of the larger ships who have big youth programs. Our ships are not really made for children. There’s plenty of ships out there that are, but ours are very sophisticated, very relaxed. Our clientele of all ages are here to relax. Our youth staff are on board to keep the kids occupied and we turn the card room into the youth room where they host activities.
We run youth activities from the little kids to the teenagers to keep them occupied with Playstations, video games, movies and arts and crafts. Every day they’ll come up with something new for the kids to do, which is nice for the parents because they know where the kids are going to be and what they’re going to be doing. If they want to go ashore on their own or do something else they can and are also able to have some private time.
It’s also good for the other guests, because the kids aren’t wandering around on their own and I don’t want to say create havoc, but if you are trying to relax on deck and there’s screaming children it is a bit distracting. It serves a multitude of purposes, so we’re very grateful to have them.
Tips for Travellers: If someone’s coming on to Seabourn for the first time do you have any tips?
Jan: Well, as everybody’s individual, Seabourn is very good at doing as much activity as you want to or as little as you want to. My tip would be to check everything out once on board. It’s a very easy ship to customize. If you’re coming to relax and get away from it all, our ship has an incredible amount of personal space for you to find nooks and crannies and quiet place to read. We’ve got sun deck’s everywhere. If you want to get out and to meet as many people as possible and do as much as you possibly can, we can certainly accommodate you between the shows, open seated dining and events to meet as many people as you want to do.
Don’t be hesitant to ask. Just come and ask for what you want. That’s the thing about Seabourn. Whatever you really would like to do, make sure you let us know so that we can create the kind of vacation that you really want. Let us know what you want and we’ll do everything we can to comply and make it your best vacation ever.
Read all my Insider Tips and Advice: Exclusive Interviews with the Crew series: