February 28, 2013
Ex-Seabourn head Pam Convover said no existing ships were suitable to buy and the line would look at building one new ship with an option on a second.
She added SeaDream owner Atle Brinestad “likes to look at new ship designs,” but there were no concrete plans at this stage.
Speaking to Cruise Critic, Conover said: “We do believe in the growth potential of the brand, and ultimately we do believe there will and should be new ships for the brand. It takes two years to build a ship from the signing of the contract, which takes at least a year, so I would expect there will be a new build in three to five years time. Most shipyards like to build one ship with an option on a second.”
Conover ruled out any major refurbishment projects on the two ships, which are more than 20 years old. The last major refurbishment was 12 years ago, when the two former Sea Goddesses became SeaDream I and SeaDream II.
When asked if she missed a trick in not purchasing Seabourn's three older ships -- which were recently sold to Windstar Cruises -- she said: “They wouldn't have been a good fit; we were never looking at them. They were very small, and we did have a certain affection for them, but they are mini-cruise ships.”
SeaDream's whole ethos is the pursuit of the “noncruiser” who is after a yachting-style experience rather than a traditional cruise. Both ships carry around 110 passengers with almost the same number of crew.
The main reason for her visit to the U.K. is to increase the number of Brits travelling on SeaDream, which stands at around four percent of the total market -- she is keen to increase this to nearer 20 percent.
Conover was president and C.E.O. of Seabourn from 2006 to 2011, where she oversaw the building and launch of the Odyssey Class of ships. Previous to that she was president of Cunard and oversaw the building and launch of Queen Mary 2. She became C.E.O. of SeaDream on January 2, 2013.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor