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Seabourn Quest luxury cruise ship arrives in Fort Lauderdale

Quest barThe Seabourn Quest, the only new ship arriving in South Florida for the 2011-2012 season, sailed into Fort Lauderdale Monday for inaugural festivities and will embark on its first Caribbean cruise Wednesday.

The ship, the last of the luxury line's three new 225-suite vessels, made its maiden cruise from Barcelona in June and spent the summer and early fall doing European cruises, so the festivities at Port Everglades were relatively modest. Even so, it’s hard to beat a flute of champagne on the pool deck of a cruise ship – any ship, but a luxury ship even more so – on a warm (77 degrees) Florida evening. Back in Seattle, Seabourn’s corporate headquarters, the temperature was 45 degrees.

Noteworthy guest: Heat President Pat Riley, who has some time on his hands right now, accompanied his boss, Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp., Seabourn's parent company, and majority owner of the Miami Heat. Dinner was a six-course tasting menu that started with tuna tartar with Malossol caviar and lemon sabayon and ended with a Napolean of berries and vanilla custard cream.

Quest suite

Seabourn Quest's vital statistics: 65 feet long, 84 feet wide, 11 decks, capacity 450 guests. Except for some of the art, it is nearly identical to the two other ships in its class, the Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn. But they are beautiful ships, with striking architectural details like the spiral staircase and Observation Bar pictured here, and all-suite staterooms, most with verandas. Quest staircase

After its Caribbean cruises, the ship will sail a 109-day world cruise out of Fort Lauderdale starting on Jan. 5, with the first leg to Cape Town, South Africa.

For information, click here.

Photos, starting from the top: the Observation Bar; verandah stateroom; spiral staircase, looking down; "Too Too Far," by Peter Clark, one of the original pieces of art on the Seabourn Quest. Quest art