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 LineSeabourn 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 most recent newbuild order, a series of three, nearly identical 32,000-ton, 450-passenger vessels, was recently completed. Its Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest debuted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively and at least the first two are already topping many best luxury ship lists (including Cruise Critic's own Editors Picks).
Seabourn Cruise Line FleetSeabourn's fleet consists of two styles of ships. The older trio, Pride, Legend and Spirit, are among the smallest luxury ships in cruising, carrying just 208 passengers. The onboard experience is focused on an intimate and personal ambience, and their small size means they can visit the world's most exotic ports. One downside is that no cabins have true balconies; some, as a result of a recent refurbishment, have Juliet verandas (with doors that open to the air but no platform to sit on).
Its larger -- and newer -- trio, Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, are about double the size and feature numerous contemporary amenities, such as vast spa, numerous open deck sunning and pool areas, a variety of restaurants, and spacious 300 square ft. standard cabins. 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, whatever class of ship, 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.
Fellow PassengersYour fellow passengers, demographically speaking, will vary but it's pretty safe to say that the line's older trio of ships, which lack a lot of the contemporary amenities that younger passengers require, are geared more to Seabourn's traditional, older clientele.
And of course the younger trio, while appealing to a broad mix of ages (from 40-something and above), offer shorter voyages and more mainstream calls, so it attracts a new passenger 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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