Seabourn Cruise Line
OnboardOnboard, Seabourn is at the top of the luxury cruise game with intuitive service, superb cuisine, relatively inclusive extras (no charge for cocktails, coffees or fitness classes), and an atmosphere that is elegant -- but unpretentious.
All cabins are suites, and they are well equipped with designer soaps, and all the latest and greatest amenities (flat-screen televisions, Bose Wave sound systems, and so forth). A complimentary bottle of champagne greets you in your cabin. Bar drinks are complimentary and refilled promptly. With an abundance of public space and few fellow passengers, you may feel you have the vessel to yourself -- no annoying crowds or lines here.
About Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn Cruise Line was founded in 1987 to compete in the ultra-luxury cruise market. It was originally intended to be named "Signet Cruise Line," but a ferry company in Texas owned that name and refused to give it up.
Seabourn's first voyage was in November of 1988 on the newly built Seabourn Pride. Another huge milestone for the company: Carnival Corp. purchased 25 percent of Seabourn in 1991 and an additional 25 percent in 1996. In 1998, a consortium, which included Carnival Corp., purchased Seabourn and merged its operations with Cunard Line. At that time the fleet included its three present ships plus Seabourn Goddess I and II (which left in 2002 and are now SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I and SeaDream II) and Seabourn Sun (which left in 2002 and is now Holland America's Prinsendam).
Carnival Corp. bought the company outright in 1999 and Seabourn became one of their "world's leading cruise lines." Carnival Corp's Cunard operations separated from Seabourn's in 2004 (the former moved to the corporation's newly purchased Princess Cruises, and Seabourn operated independently from other Carnival Corp. brands.
More recently, in April 2011 Seabourn underwent another major shift as Carnival Corp. moved its operations under the umbrella of Holland America Line, another of the cruise conglomerate's brands. Seabourn is now based at Holland America corporate headquarters in Seattle.
In other major news for Seabourn, its six-strong fleet was halved in February 2013 when Windstar bought its three original vessels, and it now operates a series of three, nearly identical 32,000-ton, 450-passenger vessels. Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest debuted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, and regularly top many best luxury ship lists (including Cruise Critic's own Editors Picks).
Seabourn is also building two new vessels for launch in 2016 and 2018. Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will be slightly larger sisters to the three existing Odyssey class ships, boasting an extra deck and carrying 150 more passengers.
Seabourn Cruise Line Fleet
Up until February 2013, Seabourn's fleet consisted of two styles of ships: an older, smaller trio -- Pride, Legend and Spirit -- and a larger, newer trio -- Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest. However, the three smaller siblings were bought by Windstar Cruises, and are currently undergoing extensive refurbishment before entering the Windstar fleet from May next year.
Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, are identical siblings and began to be introduced to the Seabourn fleet from 2009. They are three of the most luxurious ships afloat, featuring numerous contemporary amenities, such as vast spa, open deck sunning and pool areas, a variety of restaurants, and spacious 300 square ft. standard cabins (which are more like suites). Private balconies and expansive suites are plentiful. With a capacity of 450 passengers, the ships are by no means too big! And can still access many of the world's exotic ports, especially those that large ships cannot get into.
Hallmarks of Seabourn include superb, intuitive service; high quality cuisine that includes innovative and traditional dishes; and a more inclusive experience, in which cocktails, coffees, and spa classes are all included in cruise fares.
Seabourn' next new ship, Encore, is scheduled to launch in late 2016, and Seabourn Ovation will follow in spring 2018. Both are part of the line's Odyssey class, and the expansion will bring the total number of ships in the class to five.
The 40,350 ton, 604-passenger ships will be larger versions of their Odyssey-class sister ships and will have 12 decks, as compared to 11 on the other three ships. The extra deck will allow the ships to house more than 150 extra passengers in the ships' all-balcony suites. Other new additions include expanded public areas and updated design throughout the ship by noted hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany.
Fellow Passengers<--!Seabourn's three older ships attracted an ultra-loyal group of traditional, older clientele, and it's unclear at this stage whether that group will go over to the younger, more modern -- and crucially, larger -- vessels. They may, of course, have no choice now since the older three were sold to Windstar Cruises in February 2013.
--> Seabourn's Odyssey class ships, while appealing to a broad mix of ages (from 40-something and above), offer a variety of itineraries from the offbeat to more mainstream calls, in order to have a broad appeal and continue to attract new passengers to the line.
While most of your fellow passengers are likely to be American, Seabourn appeals to travelers from a variety of countries, particularly the English speaking South Africa, Australia and Great Britain, among others. All are likely to be well-off and well-traveled.
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