July 13, 2001
In what falls under should-be-surprising-but-it’s-not, Seabourn announces today that it has sold its two, 100-passenger Sea Goddess ships to a Norwegian investment group. The ships will transfer pretty quickly (particularly for passengers booked on those ships for the rest of the year) -- the contract for purchase allows the new owners to take the vessels on August 31. Of this year. Why is this not surprising? The Sea Goddess twins were part of the Cunard fleet that Seabourn inherited when parent cruise line Carnival bought the latter. Never a natural mix, this added some variations to the existing fleet of three identical Seabourn ships -- Pride, Legend and Spirit -- which all carry 200-passengers and were built between 1988 - 1996. Cunard’s Royal Viking Sun, renamed the Seabourn Sun, was more than twice as large. It’s since been dispatched to Holland America, where it will be reborn as the Prisendam. Seabourn Goddess I & II, half the size of the line’s original triumvirate, also didn’t quite fit, so much so that an officer on board Seabourn Goddess I told us last winter that the line had lost interest in the ships. So, no surprise. On the other hand, Seabourn may now be positioned to focus on its original strengths -- and perhaps regain some of the momentum it has lost to lines like Silversea and Radisson Seven Seas in the ultra-competitive ultra-luxury market. Passengers booked on future Sea Goddess cruises get a pretty generous offer from Seabourn. They can exchange any Sea Goddess trip (of any length) for any Seabourn cruise of up to 14 days, though itinerary has to be similar. They'll also get an undefined shipboard credit. Want to cancel? You get a refund and a future credit.